Takes $2m for Mines from Association Silent on Its Budget,
Excludes Press, Writes It Own Feel Good Story
January 28. updated -- In covering the UN, Inner City Press is often
asked by UN officials to “write more positive stories,” and tries
to. Friday in front of the General Assembly, it was suggested that a
ceremony later that morning in the Indonesian Lounge next to the GA
would provide some “feel-good” news.
from MALU” -- the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit -- “to
escort you,” Inner City Press was told. Ten minutes before the
ceremony, to mark a $2 million contribution from the International
Road Transport Union (IRU) to the UN Mine Action Service for use in
Afghanistan, MALU arrived.
was escorted to an area just outside the Indonesian Lounge, where two
bottles of champagne waited along with a half dozen glasses. In the
front part of the lounge, Inner City Press was greeted by the
Permanent Representatives of Kazakhstan, Iraq and Chad.
representative of the Mine Action Service arrived, calling himself
“Lee,” and said that he was sorry to inform Inner City Press but
“some Ambassadors” did want it to cover the ceremony. Not to
worry, he said, Mine Action director Maxwell Kerley would give an
interview after the ceremony.
walked to the entrance of the ceremony and was told by the head of
the UN Department of Peacekeeper Operations Rule of Law office Dmitry
Titov that the event was private. But behind him, there was a
television crew and a still photographer in front of the microphone.
objected that the UN is not free to allow in some accredited
journalists and not others. “They are getting paid,” was the
response. Inner City Press asked who they were, and after several
refusals to answer was told they were from Zvezda TV, and are
accredited by the UN and its MALU.
Peacekeeping came out and said no answer could be given until the
ceremony was over (and could no longer be covered by Inner City
Press). She said she would call Protocol.
waited until the ceremony, filmed by the Russian TV crew, was over.
The Mine Action spokesman Lee, believed from the UN's staff roster to
be Edward Lee Woodyear, then brough Maxwell Kurley over.
Kurley said that
the Russian TV crew was making a documentary about the International
Road Transport Union. Inner City Press asked who had thought to
direct the donation to Afghanistan, the UN or IRU? We suggested
Afghanistan, Kerley said.
deputy Secretary General of the IRU De Pretto told Inner City Press
that his organization had suggested Afghanistan, as it has an
interest the entire Silk Road. In order to put the $2 million into
context, Inner City Press asked what the annual budget of the IRU is.
not going to
tell you, De Pretto answered.
From outside UN Lounge, Kerley & De Pretto,
Titov blocks camera
Press asked, are you a
non-profit? Yes, De Pretto said, but in Geneva, not the United
States. He said that the American Truckers Union is part of the IRU.
Inner City Press asked if IRU has a position on Mexican trucks in the
US. We are against protectionism, De Pretto answered.
the $2 million will not be subject to competitive bidding, but rather
proposals from five local NGOs. The work of removing mines, at least
in this case, is not done by the UN. On his way out, Chad's Permanent
Representative told Inner City Press dismissively that his country
doesn't use the use for mine removal, “we deal with the Canadians
bilaterally,” cutting out the middle man.
apparently what the UN wants to do, cut out the middleman of an
independent press. Hours after excluding such Press from its ceremony,
the UN's News Service published this.
still wants to cover positive UN stories. Watch this site.
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Obame Seeks UN Support, Echoes of Cote d'Ivoire & UNDP
27 -- In Gabon opposition leader Andre Mba Obame
declared himself his country's real leader -- taking a page from
Alassane Ouattara in Cote d'Ivoire -- and sought both UN recognition
the latter, his
precedent may have been the UN mission in Guinea Bissau, where an
indicted drug kingpin enjoy UN protection for months a year ago.
Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN why it protected a drug
kingpin and was told, in essence, it was hard to get him to leave.
Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office what was
happening in Gabon, and some hours later received the following back
Date: Wed, Jan 26, 2011
Re: Press questions: Gabon, withholding, 99% public financial
disclosure, Somalia, Cote d'Ivoire, CAR elections (5th time)
have the following: Mr. Andre Mba Obame, Leader of the
“Union Nationale”, is in the UN compound, along with party
leaders. Obame handed a letter to the Resident Coordinator
requesting UN protection, stating that they fear for their lives if
they step outside of the UN office. The Resident Coordinator is
consulting with authorities on the ground and with UN Headquarters.
Ali Bongo has dissolved Obame's party and blocked his TV station.
Street calls for democracy: UN double standards not shown
difference in how this will play out, a cynic opined, is that Gabon
happens to be on the UN Security Council and could make its voice
heard. Watch this site.
his band of 20 sought refuge in the UNDP building in
Libreville. In terms of UNDP's position on democracy, while
protesters in Yemen are now calling for Tunisia
style changes, Helen
Clark was just in Yemen for days, praising the government. Maybe the
Yemeni government used her and the UN?
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