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Ban Ki-moon Uses UN in Kenya, Kim Won-soo in NY, Spox Calls Press Obsessive A*hole

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Series, Video

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 – Ban Ki-moon, exposed as corrupt in three short weeks in South Korea, now wants to return to the United States after stopping in Kenya to visit the son in law he promoted to the job UN job there. When Inner City Press asked the UN about it on February, Ban's long-time deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called Inner City Press an obsessive a*hole. This is the UN Ban's made.

  On February 13, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about Ban's UN-Kenya stop, and any public costs. Haq, who dodged for years on irregularities from Ban promoting his son in law in the UN without recusal to Ban's nephew working at the UN's landlord Colliers, said "get over it." Video here.

  So after learning more - including about the role in promoting Ban of his Kim Won-soo, still paid by the UN, that is the public, Inner City Press asked Haq again, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: Yesterday, I asked you… and I understand that, when you hear the word "Ban Ki-moon," you're tempted to say "get over it."

Deputy Spokesman:  Indeed I am.

Inner City Press: But I wanted to ask you, the question was and remains… it remains, number one, is any UN system funds being used for his visit to headquarters?  And, number two, since yesterday your "get over it" comment, I learned that Mr. Kim Won-soo, who I understand is still a UN official, has been speaking to the media about Mr. Ban's possible job offer from a university in Massachusetts.  And so I wanted to ask you, in what capacity is Mr. Kim Won-soo speaking for Ban Ki-moon?  And how is it consistent with your position here of "get over it" while there are, in fact, cases in the Southern District and other issues that remain unresolved?

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew, your inability to get over it speaks for itself.

Inner City Press: There are cases… I'm going to ask you…

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew.

Inner City Press:  So the nephew case.  I'm just saying, it's un… because it's a question about UN money.

Deputy Spokesman:  I understand… I understand…

Inner City Press: You defended him for ten years to say "get over it"…

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew, I've known you for a decade, so I know your fundamentally obsessive nature, but here's the point.  Ban Ki-moon is not the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  I do not speak for him.  I do not represent him.  When he travels, he travels as a private individual.  He has to do so on his own budget as a private individual.  He is not a UN official.

Inner City Press: That wasn't my question.  My question was, he said as he left South Korea that he was going to the UN to speak to UN staff.  That's why I think you said "get over it" a little too quickly, because my question is not who paid for his flight.  My question is, in what capacity did he enter UNON [United Nations Office in] Nairobi?  Did he speak to UN staff as he said that he would?  Does Mr. Kim Won-soo still speak for him on the UN dime?

Deputy Spokesman:  He can speak to the UN office in Nairobi as much as he wants as a former Secretary-General of the United Nations.  That is within his rights.

Inner City Press: It's not… I'm not saying it's not within his rights.  I'm saying, don't you answer for UN… the use of UN funds rather than say "get over it"?  Aren't you speaking for the UN?  So Kim Won-soo, when does his contract expire?

Deputy Spokesman:  His contract… we'll let you know once his time is done.  He is the head of the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  He is also capable of speaking about the topics that he wants to talk about.  The job that he does here is about Disarmament Affairs and is not about Ban Ki-moon.

Inner City Press: So he's off the clock when he speaks for Ban Ki-moon?  I'm asking you.

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew. Matthew, words fail me, your inability to get around things.

Inner City Press: You know there are two corruption cases.  Right?  So it's going to be an ongoing… I just want to put you on notice; there are going to be questions that are going to arise, and saying "get over it" is not cutting it.

Deputy Spokesman:  If there are things about cases that are ongoing, that's fine.  If you want a daily update about what Ban Ki-moon is doing, ask someone else.  It's not my job.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

  And as Haq walked about, he said "A*hole." This is the UN Ban's made. It must be cleaned up.

From the February 13 UN's transcript.

  The Pacific Century Institute, with board members from KBS and JoongAng Media Group, says it will give Ban an award in Los Angeles on February 23. Despite his flame-out in South Korea and the indictment of his brother Ban Ki Sang and nephew Dennis Bahn for using his and the UN's name to sell real estate, Ban is still presenting himself as a Giant of Asia. For now long?

 Seeking to strike while the iron is still somewhat hot, Ban's aide now brags to Chosun that Harvard's no-show job offer comes with a car and a house. Even on his way to the airport for his nepotism tour, Ban was accompanied according to Yonhap by " Incheon International Airport with Mrs. Yoo Soon-taek, who is accompanied by Mr. Kim Sook-joo, Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Dae-jung, former ambassador to South Korea Kim Bong-hyun." This last berated Inner City Press to cover Ban more favorably - before Ban had Inner City Press evicted and still restricted. Call it a cult of personality. But why would US universities pay for this?

After being exposed for nepotism and corruption, how is former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon trying to rehabilitate himself? His spokesman Lee Do-woon is telling friendly media that Harvard University, even while Ban was still UNSG, offered him a professorship.

   The Korea Times reports that  "some say the professorship is a 'lifetime position,' while others say it is a 'visiting professorship' that would need to be renewed every year." Are the geniuses at Harvard following the prosecution of Ban's brother Ban Ki Sang and nephew Dennis Bahn and what's coming out of it? NYU paid attention. Not Harvard?

 The Times has a quote that Ban "received the offer from Harvard Kennedy School toward the end of his term as U.N. chief." Should job offers be made to people still ostensibly working for the UN? Does Harvard routinely do this?

  The Korea Herald quotes Lee Do-woon directly on this timing, and that Ban "has not yet made up his mind, but the school suggested that he may join whenever he pleases."

   But why would Harvard makes such an offer, other than to collect former public figures who were put in big jobs, regardless of how they did in them, and the corruption and censorship exposed? Could it be Ban's gripping, off the cuff speeches? The impeccable morals that led him to promote his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee to the top UN job in Kenya, as Resident Coordinator working for UNDP?

  The Korea Herald puts the most pro-Ban spin possible on the reason he dropped out of running for president, and says Ban "left for Kenya on Thursday to visit his second daughter, Hyun-hee, an employee at UNICEF, and son-in-law Siddharth Chatterjee, head of the United Nations Population Fund in Kenya."

  This last is simply inaccurate, since at least August 2016. "Sid" was moved from UNFPA to UNDP and given, by Ban, the resident coordinator position.

  Ban Ki-moon's nepotism, uncovered first by Inner City Press then by parts of South Korea's press corps, triggered him dropping out of the campaign for presidency on February 1.
   On February 9 it was reported that Ban Ki-moon is headed to a "family reunion." The article only mentions Kenya, where in August 2016 Ban promoted his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee to the job UN job, resident coordinator.

  But some ask, will Ban's brother Ban Ki Sang who has still not be extradited to the United States be there? Or Ban's other brother Ban Ki Ho, who has mined in war zones in Myanmar after appearing on a "UN delegation" there, according to a Myanmar government website? That Inner City Press exclusive, picked up by the South Korean press, has yet to be answered.

  Tellingly, and triggering this story, the Korean article says "Ban plans to meet and encourage U.N. staff in Kenya as a former U.N. Secretary-General." Encourage them in what? That if you have a high enough position you can have impunity for nepotism and corruption, just don't try to run for public office afterward?

   As Inner City Press also exclusively reported before Ban's chief of communications Cristina Gallach, still at the UN, evicted and still restricts it, Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee was part of an Indian military unit which during his time with them engaged in what are described as war crimes in Sri Lanka.

  Under Ban and his holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Chatterjee was allowed to never answer these questions, and to tell "his" UN staff that if they ever talked to Inner City Press he would have them fired. It's time for answers: watch this site.

  Ban Ki-moon left the UN on December 31, after dodging Press questions about corruption and, in fact, evicting and restricting Inner City  Press. (Even 38 days later, Ban's photo is still the one on the wall of the UN's Uganda office, here. Cult of personality?)

  Tellingly Ban's first move in early January was to take legal action against the press. Before he left, he named his own son in law Siddarth Chatterjee to the top UN top in Kenya.

  In South Korea, Ban Ki-moon's campaign to run for president failed on February 1, as his long decade of corruption and censorship were quickly exposed (see Sisa Journal, and this in English from Hankyoreh, including Inner City Press' reporting on Ban's brother Ban Ki Ho mining in Myanmar, listed by the government as part of a "UN delegation").

   Now this, from the Korea Herald, echoing what Inner City Press found and reported about Ban Ki-moon at the UN, leading it its eviction one year ago and restriction still:

"Young, working-level diplomats were aghast at some of their retired and even incumbent seniors rallying behind the former foreign minister. Some senior officials rushed to New York to 'help Ban return home,' while others churned out videos, photos and memos via Facebook and Kakao Talk in an overwhelming, worshipping-like fashion, extolling the secretary-general’s legacy and personal character." (Yes, failed cult of personality.)

"One official, who worked with Ban and is now nearing retirement, had initially given up an ambassadorial position due to his daughter’s US citizenship, which disqualifies him for the job. With Ban’s ratings soaring, together with his own chances to serve the next administration, he recently changed his mind and persuaded his daughter, who is married and lives in New York, to abandon her citizenship. Rather disenchanted with the 'Ban syndrome,' meanwhile, a group of working-level diplomats had initiated a signature-collecting campaign against his presidential run."

  Then on February 1, barely three weeks after Ban Ki-moon returned to South Korea, amid mounting corruption charges Ban Ki-moon dropped out of the race he long used the UN for.

   He said, apparently without irony, "I have decided to fold my pure-hearted plan."

   His claims to have known nothing about the charges against his nephew Dennis Bahn and brother Ban Ki Sang make no sense, given that Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson about them, for example at the May 15, 2015 noon briefing on UNTV. It won't be the Blue House (South Korea's presidential mansion) - could it be the jail house?

  On January 30, Inner City Press staked out the annual meeting of the United Nations Correspondents Association, a group which had made Ban Ki-moon their guest of honor at a $1200 a plate dinner on Wall Street on December 16, 2016. Inner City Press asked if the honor should be revoked. One correspondent said yes.

  It was the previous year, on January 29, 2016, that Inner City Press went to cover and live-stream the UN Correspondents Association's annual meeting held in the UN Press Briefing Room. Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, still somehow at the UN, at the request of UNCA big wigs asked Inner City Press to leave, without showing any paperwork that the event was "closed."

  Inner City Press asked for the basis, but said if a single UN security officer asked it to leave, it would. An officer arrived and said, The spokesman wants you out. Inner City Press left, and wrote the story and uploaded the video.

  Three weeks later Ban's head of communications Cristina Gallach, still promoting herself at the UN even for an event in March 2017, ordered Inner City Press out of the UN after ten years, with no hearing, no appeal. At her (and Ban's) direction Inner City Press' files were thrown in the street, and its office is being given to an Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom whose correspondent Sanaa Youssef rarely comes to the UN and never asks questions (but is a past president of UNCA). This is disgusting and must be reversed.

  Ban's spokesman Dujarric canceled the February 1 noon briefing, ostensibly in exchange for an 11 am stakeout by Ban's successor Antonio Guterres. We'll have more on this.

  In 2016 Ban's UN spokespeople repeatedly told Inner City Press that Ban was "all UN" until January 1. But now Ban has said he decided in December. On January 25, Inner City Press asked Ban's lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here and below.

  And on January 26, when Inner City Press asked about efforts to ascertain with whom Ban met, using the UN, spokesman Dujarric claimed that daily schedules which are taken offline are in fact online. Video here. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  there are some in the South Korean media asking to know where it's available to find the daily schedules that are put up every day.  Are they just thrown out, or is there some repository of who met with the Secretary-General…?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm glad you're… you've asserted a role as the Spokesman for the South Korean media but they can look on the website, and everything should be archived.

Meanwhile, Dujarric threatened Sisa Journal in South Korea for its reporting (he said it wasn't a threat.)


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