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As US Quits UNESCO, France & Egypt Tied, Emergency Call Oct 15, DPI & Sisi's Pooler

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 12 – Today's US withdrawal from UNESCO comes amid a daily series of votes to choose the next head of the organization, now with the candidate from Qatar ahead with 22 votes and those of France and Egypt tied at 18. Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre about it. He replied that the French candidate Audrey Azoulay is running hard; this was not included in the French mission's "transcript" of the press encounter. Now Inner City Press' sources tell it that the Department of Public Information under Alison Smale is having a conference call on Sunday October 15 about the UNESCO budget cut and what to do. We'll have more on this. Egypt, of course, locks up journalists; its candidate is Moushira Khattab. Then again, UN DPI now under Smale has ghoulishly chosen to try to give the long time office of investigative Inner City Press to an Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom which never asks questions and rarely comes in (only in order to pretend to "pool" Sisi's meeting with the Secretary General, as Akbhar al Yom's Saana Youssef did, to block real Press coverage, see here). On the culture beat: when the most main of mainstream media covers the UN, run for cover. The New Yorker this week has a blow-by-blow account of Rex Tillerson with Javad Zarif inside the UN Security Council consultations room, a meeting their Dexter Filkins couldn't possibly have been at. But there is no attribution, even to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, for whatever reason. Meanwhile CBS chimed in with its season opener of “Madame Secretary” at UN General Assembly week, denouncing “mere bloggers” for questioning her about a death of a Timor-Leste minister right in front of her. In real Hollywood Harvey Weinstein, with an assist from Lisa Bloom, has flamed out; no one has mentioned Weinstein's UN connections, for example here. It's a circus, in which mass killings like those taking place these days in Cameroon are ignored, by UN Global Communicators obsessed with the past European jobs. The UN may be swept out, Rotten Tomatoes style, but for all the wrong reasons. To be continued. It is telling that the new pro-UN book "A Worldly Affair," though copyrighted 2017, does not even mention the 2016 UN bribery scandal of former President of the General Assembly John Ashe, much less now convicted briber Ng Lap Seng. It does however praise Antonio Guterres, who came in as Secretary General in 2017, and acknowledge Maher Nasser, who moderated an event promoting the book, and shouting down the Press which asked about Ashe and Ng. Haiti is mentioned in connection with Brooklyn - diplomats living there, and "Albanians in The Bronx." It is an essentially elitist book, with a sidebar o the UN's mansion at 3 Sutton Place, bought in 1972 for Kurt Waldheim and renovated at a cost of $4.5 million for Ban Ki-moon. It derides the cheap construction of Uganda House, and laughs at the penthouse in Libya House shown by Ali "Treiki." For weeks the UN promoted its book event featuring author Pamela Hanlon.

But when Inner City Press went and asked about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti and paid nothing, and whether Haitians in Brooklyn had been able to get any accountability from the UN, there was no answer.

A heckler in the audience said loudly that the question was not appropriate. Video here. So Inner City Press followed up on Ms. Hanlon's statement that the land under the UN is still US territory. If so, what of John Ashe selling diplomatic posts from inside his UN General Assembly President's office, and Inner City Press for covering the scandal being thrown out onto First Avenue by eight UN Security officers? Audio here. (NYPD told Inner City Press it has no jurisdiction to take criminal complaints, even for assault, for anything east of the First Avenue curb.)

That question wasn't answered, either, including by Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs.

Instead Maher Nasser, in charge of the UN Department of Public Information from April 1 until tomorrow, said “it's always about you” and ended the event, encouraging those present to buy books for signing. And so it goes at the UN.


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