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UN's Ban Has No Comment on Himalayan Glacier Gaffe, Doesn't Rely on IPCC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 -- With various ice research related scandals opening up around UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's signature issue of climate change, Inner City Press on Wednesday asked his spokesman Martin Nesirky for Ban's views on the misleading of the public about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.

  While Nesirky dodged the question, Ban's climate change advisor later in the day told Inner City Press that Ban may have something to say later on the topic. Meanwhile Doctor Pachauri, with no guidance from Ban, it attacking those who question him, refusing to answer questions or apologize. From the UN's transcription of its February 3 noon briefing, video here:

Spokesperson Nesirky: Last question, Matthew.

Inner City Press: There has been a lot of controversy around the finding of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about the Himalayan glaciers, and they have essentially back-tracked and said that they apologized; it was unverified information. Mr. Pachauri has said he won’t apologize. But, I wonder what, given the importance of climate change and the IPCC to the Secretary-General’s agenda, what does he make of this controversy and how can the IPCC process be reformed to not create this kind of controversy on the issue?

Spokesperson: The Secretary-General is obviously aware of these reports and what’s been happening in the last few days and weeks. But, you know, ultimately it’s for the IPCC to address this. It’s for the IPCC to talk about this, and they have talked about this in some detail. They have said that they regret what happened, and reaffirming their strong commitment to a high level of performance in their reporting and so on. So, therefore, it’s not really for the Secretary-General to weigh in on this specific report. There are many reports, there are many other aspects to the work on climate change, which is absolutely vital, as you’ve mentioned; it’s one of his priorities. So, I think that the most important thing is to focus on the road to Mexico and how you can improve the prospects for that meeting and what needs to be done between now and then.

Inner City Press: [inaudible] because… in the last 24 hours… Mr. Pachauri….

Spokesperson: IPCC regrets, Matthew, IPCC regrets.

Question: So, I mean, Mr. Pachauri says he wasn’t responsible for it. So, I guess what I’m saying is, who is in charge of the agency on which Ban Ki-moon rests his, you know, the case has been made by that agency

UN's Ban and Pachauri, no one responsible for Glacier-Gate, novel

Spokesperson: No, no, Matthew, the Secretary-General does not rest his case purely on the IPCC. There is an enormous body of evidence and information out there from various different sources, not just from the IPCC, however important that may be. And an error in one report does not undermine the entire science that is clearly proven.

  So who apologized -- the IPCC's website? To have nothing to say about the various scandals surrounding the IPCC and Pachauri seems strange. It's why some say Ban is now shifted to rolling the dice on a trip to North Korea -- our next story, forthcoming.

Footnote: The UN's and Ban's climate unit under Janos Pasztor, which was told there was no room for it in the UN's Temporary North Lawn Conference Building where Ban has his office, is now looking at space in the Alcoa Building on 48th Street, Inner City Press is told. For now, they are left behind in the nearly empty UN skyscaper where asbestos removal has already begun. Meanwhile, Pachauri has wished asbestos on his critics....

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As UN Spins Statements on Sudan Separatism, Ban's Stance on Sri Lanka Recalled

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 2 -- Following a protest of the UN in Juba, South Sudan which included calls for "Ban Ki-moon [to] repent before judgment," the UN belated rushed to argue that Mr. Ban was misquoted by AFP about disfavoring a vote for self-determination by the South Sudanese.

  Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq came in late for Tuesday noon briefing at the UN in New York, read a statement then began to leave the podium without taking any questions. Inner City Press called out, will you take questions later? When he did, later, the UN did not transcribe it.

But Inner City Press asked Haq both what the UN says Ban told AFP, and how Ban's statement about making unity attractive does not indicate a preference. Haq argued that this language is from the CPA. He said he would later provide Ban's actually words to those interested. Video here, from Minute 1:50.

When Inner City Press went to Haq's office before six p.m. on Tuesday, it was closed. The Deputy Spokesperson handed Inner City Press a print out in which AFP had dutifully modified the quote. This was taken at face value.

But also in Haq's begrudging Q &A period, when Inner City Press asked about UN vehicles stolen in Darfur, Haq answered that this would not undermine the UN's "relationship" with "military leaders of Sudan." Video here, from Minute 3:33.

  Ban Ki-moon, whether due to personal beliefs or by letting others in his administration take the lead, has elsewhere come down firmly on the side of central governments over minorities seeking autonomy.

Protest of UN and Ban in South Sudan, Tribune

  During the Sri Lankan bloodbath on the beach of 2009, for example, he and his closest advisors were seen as doing little to stop the Rajapaksa regime in Colombo from bombing civilians in norther Sri Lanka, to crush "separatism."

  This is not irrelevant from consideration of Ban Ki-moon's statements and attitudes about Sudan. You can make AFP run a correction, then dodge and not transcribe questions, but the issue remains and will be pursued. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debat

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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