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US Tells UN All Governments Have Secrets, of Spies, Malvinas & Stonewall

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 6, updated -- A UN day full of criticism of the US global spying program and, from Latin countries, of the UK's claims on the Malvinas or Falkland Islands ended at 8 pm Tuesday with a whimper rather than a bang.

  The United States, through its Number Three Ambassador to the UN Jeffrey DeLaurentis, said "All governments do things that are secret." And then, at least Tuesday, defend them only at the end of a debate when nearly everyone is gone.

Later the US Mission e-mailed out DeLaurentis' reply, but online it was only Permanent Representative Samantha Power's prepared statement, here.

  Diplomats from three Latin American countries, exiting the Council, panned DeLaurentis' right of reply. It's up to you, one of them said, apparently meaning the press.

  Covering the meeting to the end, Inner City Press noted Sudan saying that it liked a segment of the Presidential Statement about helping national judicial systems. This, it seems, was a code word for a local trial of the country's ICC indictees, including President Omar al Bashir with whom the UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous met in July.

  UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant came back to say that there would be no bilateral talks with Argentina with "the Islanders" involved; he disputed Uruguay's minister's statement about UK illegal hydrocarbon searching near The Islands.

(Argentina's Permanent Representative Perceval replied briefly, that her government's position on Malvinas is well known, which she gracefully repeated to Inner City Press while leaving.)

  Lyall Grant also chatted amiably with Inner City Press, about Puntland in Somalia, but had nothing to add, past 8 pm, to his right of reply on Falklands / Malvinas. It was e-mailed out, and this was put online. It had the feeling of a ritual, even on the only recently revealed spying programs.

  Five Latin foreign minister came and met with Ban Ki-moon. In a question and answer Inner City Press put a portion of online here, Brazil's minister Patriota said that with this meeting, they had achieved their objective for the moment.

  He did not say, but Inner City Press does, that governments come to New York to say they raised an issue to the UN. Ban Ki-moon's lack of action on the issue, or as in the case of Edward Snowden, his seeming antipathy, don't really matter to the governments that visit. They raised the issue.

  Yesterday Inner City Press critiqued the UN Department of Public Information for issuing quite different "stories" of Ban's meetings with the ministers through its English and Spanish language UN News Center stories, here. Several Permanent Representatives commented on that on Tuesday. But will they raise it to the UN? Countries just use the UN Secretariat -- and vice versa.

As was said on the NSA spying, somehow it's up to the press.

Footnotes: The Free UN Coalition for Access posed a number of questions Tuesday to the Department of Public Information, from its UN Television and Media Accreditation and Liaison Units up to their supervisor, Stephane Dujarric.

  Why were reporters for the first time banned from using the south stairs by the Security Council stakeout? The UN and Dujarric never answered; the rope remained up but it was said that one might be able to work around it, as is now said of the Turkish Lounge. This DPI and UN like to leave things gray -- that way their favorites can use it, and others not. FUNCA objects.

  Favoritism with DPI runs two ways. The first vice president of the UN's Censorship Alliance, Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, gave UN official Dujarric an internal anti-Press UNCA document three minutes after promising not to do so. Story here, audio here, document here. Now, Dujarric has additional incentive for DPI to respond only to UNCA. But respond on what? Nothing is being fixed.

  Why was the video of the UN noon briefing not online even as of 3 pm? An answer on the giving of a UN post to a Ugandan figure questioned as recently as July 31 about financial irregularities was on the video and Inner City Press was asked by some in Uganda to send to link. Without the video archive going up on a timely basis, this was impossible. But why is it getting later? This question was never answered.

  DPI big shots left the UN while the Security Council meeting continued, without apparently caring how it could or would to covered. This is today's UN -- and FUNCA objects. Watch this site.


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