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At CFR, Ban's All About Syria, Stonewalls on Sri Lanka & UN Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – It was carefully scripted, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday evening.

  It was set up to only take questions from dues-paying CFR members, chosen by Christiane Amanpour after ten minutes of her own questions.

  But when two unexpected questions were raised -- about the UN's failure in Sri Lanka and what it learned from the so-called Petrie Report, and about the UN's lack of transparency and hiring of some incompetent high officials under Ban -- the questions simply weren't answered.

  And neither the softball Sri Lanka questioner nor Amanpour followed up. Ban answered the Sri Lanka question by talking about Mali, then praised the questioner (who had refused to disclose even the topics of his meeting with Ban, or his organization's position on Ban's UN moving to use drones).

  The session ended with a question chosen from the chair of Ban's own Democracy Fund. It was like Ban's lunch of the lost last week, with the 13 opaque apostles of UNCA.

  There, as at CFR, the topic of the UN bringing cholera into Haiti wasn't raised, as Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky tersely disclosed to Inner City Press on February 8. It was Syria, Syria, Syria. And all to what end?

   One good question asked by Amanpour was who in North Korean Ban has spoken to. No one, as it turns out. Ban says the North Koreans don't speak to any outside by telephone. Then what is the smart phone Kim Jong-Un was seen with for?

   Ban said he is going to Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.

  A questioner CFR member from the UN press corps, who has hissed that only UNCA and not FUNCA, the Free UN Coalition for Access launched after UNCA tried expelling journalists from the UN, was called on and said that Congress, apparently as a whole, doesn't like foreigners. Tell that to Chuck Hagel.

   Down in Washington, one wonders if Ban will be asked about the waste and fraud in his UMOJA program, and the memo exclusively published by Inner City Press today complaining that Ban's Office of Internal Oversight Services dropped its investigation. And will the session and questions, and requirement of answers, be fairer than Monday at CFR? We'll see.

Footnote: at other CFR events, similarly attended, Inner City Press as a non CFR member journalists has gotten questions in. But Amanpour announced from the start it would be members only. In the front row was Ban's political adviser Jeffrey Feltman, and the president of his partner in censorship, also a CFR member.

  That this UN Censorship Alliance or UNCA has most recently mocked an alleged victim of sexual harassment , including with a flyer posted on the door of Inner City Press' UN cubicle office on February 8 and still up late on February 11 after the CFR event, while tearing down FUNCA flyers about free speech and reform, has not been acted on. But it will be raised. Watch this site.

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