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At UN, AFP Is Pass-Through for US, No Mention of Ban's Travel Costs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 – When Agence France Presse writes up the US' critique of UN business class air travel, it does not mention the UN's refusal to disclose how much Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has spent on travel, even when this was requested by the UN Staff Union before they voted “no confidence” in Ban.

   Then again, lapdog AFP never reformed on that “no confidence” vote either.

   Nor did they seek out any non-Western source for their pass-through article, which is little more than extended quotations of US Ambassador Joe Torsella.

  At the end, AFP asserts with a single blind quote that Western countries agree with Torsella's campaign if not the style. Really?

   Until now, we've covered the use of AFP's Tim Witcher as a pass-through for Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping.

  But now it seems AFP and Witcher are branching out: they will serve as pass-throughs and lapdogs for other Western countries, at least in the Permanent Five members of the Security Council.

   Will this make more potent Witcher's hypocrital complaint against Inner City Press, for after Witcher on March 8 cut into a conversation to hiss “lies and distortion” Inner City Press having said “lapdog”? Or at least shield Witcher from the repercussions that should accrue for filing a pre-textual complaint?

   Witcher remains a “leader” of the UN Correspondents Association, increasingly known as the UN's Censorship Alliance, and asked UNCA to act against Inner City Press for a report it published about Ladsous.

  Later, documents obtained from Voice of America under the Freedom of Information Act show, AFP supported VOA's push to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  Now this complaint about free speech, the refusal to disclose the complaint -- and the slavish channeling of Torsella. This is part of why the UN does not, and for now cannot, reform itself.

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