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Sri Lanka Silva Not Seen at SAG, As Ban's UN Again Hinders Press Coverage

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 -- The involvement in the UN Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of an alleged war criminal, General Shavendra Silva whose Division 58 is depicted in the UN's report on Sri Lanka as shelling hospitals and civilians three years ago, has made the SAG meetings of interest.

  Of Tuesday's SAG meeting, which the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN bragged Silva would attend, Ban's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit told Inner City Press "the meetings of the SAG are not official UN meetings and we have not been informed of the location or time of any eventual meeting."

   Previously, MALU had told Inner City Press about covering the SAG meetings, perhaps tongue in cheek, "we will be happy to help."

  Without help, and with the SAG meeting moved from 380 Madison Avenue to another UN-rented building on Third Avenue, Inner City Press observed the entrants and spoke to several.

  One Asian Group representative urged Inner City Press to "stop" Silva and not let him come in. On the other hand, another said that the Press coverage would goad Sri Lanka's Silva into coming.

  But still he did not appear, even as at least two African Permanent Representative when in to the meeting on the 10th floor. Other UN personalities entered the building, which houses the Department of Political Affairs, including Jan Kubis, Ban's envoy to Afghanistan who attended the NATO Summit in Chicago with him.

Ban has refused to speak out about having an alleged war criminal as an adviser. More recently, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman what if anything was ever done on the petition to Ban about disappeared Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth. The question has yet to be answers, as has another Inner City Press question about the UN system's own finding that the Sri Lankan Army used cluster bombs in the 2009 conflict which killed 40,000 civilians. And so it goes at 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

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

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