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Darfur Banned, Ban Ki-moon Reads Prepared Answers To Set-Aside Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 4 -- When Ban Ki-moon was selected as UN Secretary General in 2006 it was an untransparent process. This accelerating trend at the UN under Ban, including for example UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, has been enabled and concealed by what has become the UN's Censorship Alliance, formally the United Nations Correspondents Association.

 On December 17 when Ban held a rare press conference the first question was set aside for UNCA's outgoing head, Pam Falk of CBS. She asked a question that Ban was happy to ask, on the US' new policy on Cuba over which Ban has no responsibility or impact. Ban said he'd been told in advance -- by the US, but some began to suspect, of certain questions as well.

  This became increasingly clear, as Ban looked down at notes as he read answers to questions which, even on the US torture report, held back from the real question, for example if Ban believes those responsible should be prosecuted.

  Inner City Press has repeated asked that question to Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who took to responding by saying Ban would hold a press conference before the end of the year. But Inner City Press was not allowed to ask a question (although at the end it did say, "What about Darfur rapes" and the cover up by Ban's Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous).

  To a sample question, Ban read his entire answer from a prepared script. What are the ethics of requesting a question in advance? Of not reporting what one sees?

  Past and future UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli was not yet installed to be given set aside first questions -- in the past, he had a back and forth in which he read "his" question from notes, and Ban read his answer. Reporting this made the bigwigs of UNCA, now the UN's Censorship Alliance, mad; ultimately they tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, see here and here and here.

  On December 3, 2014 this organization in decline formally announced that not only Pioli but also a slate of five others officers had been "elected" -- all without any competition at all.

  Tellingly, the UN Secretariat which benefits from lame or servile coverage offered its thanks on December 4, after a Ban Ki-moon stakeout at which only three questions were taken, apparently pre-selected, none on such UN scandals as the cover up of rapes in Darfur.

   In the UN noon briefing transcript, UN Spokesman Dujarric "congratulated the newly elected members of the UN Correspondents Associationís executive board for next year and especially its incoming President, Giampaolo Pioli.  And thank you, Pamela Falk, for your leadership of UNCA over the past years." Click here for that -- and here & here.

 It was a pure rubber stamp. The top post was  handed (back) to Pioli, who engaged in outright censorship while last using the position. After that he was rarely seen at the UN; even when he returned in Fall of 2014, pressuring people to vote for him, he did not ask questions in any noon briefing or stakeout (though he did appear in evening wear with his ubiquitous glass of wine, winning the title Party-Boy Pioli.)

  But there is nothing funny about it. Pioli, who had rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador, unilaterally granted Kohona's request to use UNCA to screen inside the UN a government film denying war crimes, and sat on a panel with only Kohona and his deputy Shavendra Silva, who is still in the news. That was another Ban low point - and that's another story. Watch this site.


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