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UN Ban's Capitulation of Policy to Feltman Unanswered, Sri Lanka Q Not Taken

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 -- With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the verge of handing over the UN's Middle East policy to US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press on March 28, on Tuesday Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to respond to Press questions about whether this conflation harms or helps the UN.

  When we have something to say, we will, Nesirky said, apparently meaning after Feltman is officially named. After Inner City Press ran the scoop in March, many diplomats and senior UN officials responded with criticism of Ban's plan. One even on Tuesday said, there was some wobbling (or re-consideration of if Feltman was right.)

  On May 21 Reuters then some others ran the Feltman story as if it were theirs, with no credit or analysis. Even Lynn Pascoe, whose retirement triggers Obama's election year appointment of Feltman, said they should have given credit. But Reuters has blocked even a comment on its story to this effect, pointing to the omission. Inner City Press first wrote to one of the three reporters on Reuters story, so far without response.

  By contrast, appropriate credit was given by Josh Rogin of FP's The Cable, here.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky used to work at Reuters, as he's at times proudly said. But on Tuesday he functioned as a blocker of press questions.

  First during a so-called question and answer session with Ban's Congo envoy Roger Meece, when Inner City Press asked a follow up question about its April story of corruption in Meece's "Quick Impact Project" in Walikale, Nesirky cut in and said there was no more time, but he would take the question later.

  Then in what is supposed to be the UN noon briefing at which questions of the day can be asked, Nesirky allowed Inner City Press only one question -- the Feltman question he declined to answer -- and then refused even the factual question of whether Sri Lankan General and alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva was told not to attend that morning's meeting of Ban's Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

  As a third question, not permitted, Inner City Press had planned to ask about the Rio +20 conference about which Ban speaks so much: did Ban agree with Monday's move to push through a 53-33 vote the accreditation of NGOs bragging of going business in occupied territories, even if it blocks consensus in Rio?

  This is how Ban Ki-moon is operating: openly turning over the UN's Middle East policy to the US in a way that many of his own officials say undermines the perceived independence of the UN, doing the same with Rio + 20 and accepting advice from alleged war criminals - then not answering questions....

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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