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UN: Sri Lanka


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UN Ignored Protest from Sri Lanka of Its Inner City Press Eviction, 1st Interest from DC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Part of Series, Video

UNITED NATIONS, February 17 – The key now, I thought, after the UN evicted me would be outreach. I sent emails to UN officials whom I thought might help - this list was short - and others, just to document that they didn't. Ban's chief of staff Edmond Mulet, the Haiti killer, didn't even respond. So I wrote to a generic “SGCentral” address. I wrote to the Guardian and VICE - they asked for a pitch, but they never wrote anything - and on the other side of the spectrum to Fox News. They'd helped me once before.

  I was sending out some more, to press freedom groups, when I saw online that there had been a protest, in Sri Lanka, amazingly about me. The signs were in Tamil but then said “Inner City Press;” they marched around the UN Compound in Jaffna saying I should be reinstated.

  I went to the noon briefing and asked then and now spokesman Stephane Dujarric about.  “This is getting personal,” he said. “But I'm not the one protesting,” I answered.

  The UNCA scribes with a new troll Twitter account started asking, who paid for the protest in Jaffna? Who indeed. I showed the troll account, soon to hit 600 tweets against me, to a second UNCA board member from the US Broadcasting Board of Governors.

  “I wish I could talk to you,” he said. “But I don't trust you to be off the record.”

  “I'm on the record,” I told him, speaking loud so the UNTV stakeout mic would catch it. “And what was done to me is on the record too.”

  A minute later MALU, the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, emailed all correspondents that the UNTV microphone was there for diplomats, and to be quiet. It was the content they didn't like. This was how the UN worked.

  I wrote to a US Senate staffer who had helped before, when Voice of America tried to get me out. He'd moved up, now chief staff of a committee. But his response was to work through the US Mission to the UN. Like GAP's letter to the US Mission's Isobel Coleman, I didn't think this would lead anywhere. He said to come down to DC and see him and his boss - a possible vice presidential candidate as it turned out - and maybe speak at the Heritage Foundation where I'd spoken once before. Could the conservatives, the last remaining critics of the UN other than Tamils and Haitians whose relatives the UN killed with cholera, get this turned around?

  The US did nothing, but South Africa tried. Maybe it was just that the Ambassador was nice, or that he was already slated for a UN position in Darfur and wanted to ingratiate himself to me. Whatever it was, he said he would speak to Gallach. I tried to get him ready, the way she'd lied to Jose Ramos Horta. But he shook his head. He knew how to speak to these people, he said.   To be continued.


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