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After Press Banned from UN Event, Ladsous on Drones Claims, Join Us

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 10, audio here -- In today's UN, press questions about the use of drones are not answered; events promoting drones are tweeted as "join us" - and then the press is told to leave. This is today's UN.

  At the UN, events about Many meetings are needlessly closed to the press and public at the UN, but a new and absurd low was hit on June 9 - and then June 10.

  On June 10 the "UN Summer Academy" gushed on Twitter, "Hervé Ladsous Undersec-General of @unpeacekeeping will discuss innovation & technology for peace & security. How shld @UN do it? Join us."

  Even without the irony below, this seemed strange: Ladsous on May 29 refused a Press question about why he is procuring drones from use out of northern Mali without any approval; before that Ladsous had repeatedly refused questions on rape by Army units he supports, here.

  The further irony: on June 9, the organizer of this "UN Summer Academy" had told the Press to leave its events, they are closed and for a small group of people. Join us?

  Of this "UN Summer Academy," the head of the UN Correspondents Association Pamela Falk had been tweeting for weeks, even as both UNCA and she bought and then deleted Twitter followers, once uncovered.

 On June 9 itself, Falk promoted her appearance, citing UNCA. So Inner City Press, after covering Libya and the UN's continuing failure to issue a promised "Bulletin on Accessibility" for persons with disabilities, went to cover the event.

  It was in the Dag Hammarskjold Library auditorium, where notably UNCA screened a Sri Lanka government film denying war crimes, then tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN for its reporting on it, summary here. There have been no reforms of UNCA since.

  On June 9 no sign said "closed;" there was a UN Summer Academy banner in front. Inner City Press went in and, in order not to take any seat that could be sold -- UNCA as noted charges money, then holds faux UN briefings in the room the UN gives them for free, now long sitting empty until an upcoming scam "reopening" -- stood in the back.

  Down on the stage, Pam Falk was citing anger at sovereignty and non-interference. Inner City Press began to record and prepare to report on this event which had been and was being publicized. Audio here.

  Then a man rushed up from near the stage and asked Inner City Press to step outside. He said the session was "a closed meeting" for "a small group of people." Inner City Press made its argument to continue to record and report on the substance of this meeting being held in the UN. He declined to let Inner City Press back in. Audio here, from 0:19.

  What is the purpose?

  How can a supposed group of UN correspondents, or at least its two year figurehead, promote such a meeting which is then closed to the press?  This question UNaddressed, Falk promoted her mid-day toasting with UN officials whom correspondent purportedly cover. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance.

   Needless to say, the new Free UN Coalition for Access, formed after UNCA's board tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN and then remained unreformed, opposes and will have more on this. #Ladsous2014.



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