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Ladsous Refuses Press Qs on His DPKO's Congo Killings & Spain Cuts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 17 -- When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous came to take media questions along with Lebanon envoy Derek Plumbly on Tuesday at noon, Ladsous' spokesman first peeped out of the Security Council to see which journalists were present.

  Finally he led Ladsous and Plumbly to the television camera and said they would take a few questions. But after one question from Agence France Presse, there was a silence. Inner City Press said it had a question on UNIFIL, the UN mission in Lebanon.

  Ladsous looked away.

  His spokesman said that "DPKO is on the record" as not taking any questions from Inner City Press. Nevertheless, including since there were no other questions on Lebanon and given issues in the Congo, Inner City Press asked about Spain cutting its troop contribution in half, and of reports that DPKO's Mission in the Congo MONUSCO had in fact killed civilians.

   Ladsous looked at this spokesman Kieran Dwyer, as if for guidance or support. One wonders, does Dwyer as an ostensible communications professional agree with Ladsous' strategy? Did he counsel it? Finally Ladsous walked away from the microphone, one of his few "question and answer" sessions. Video here, from Minute 6:50.

   Inner City Press ran to the UN's noon briefing and re-asked the questions to Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey, who did not have or even attempt answers to either question, beyond saying the Congo's "terrain is difficult."

   Since Ladsous began this strategy of explicitly conditioning answering or even taking question on getting positive -- and we and others posit, as yet unmerited -- coverage on May 29 in a televised press conference, and has continued it off camera since, Inner City Press asked Del Buey if Ban Ki-moon agrees with an Under Secretary General of his refusing to answer questions due to critical, investigative coverage.

   (Inner City Press has quoted sources from closed door meetings of the Committee of 34 that Ladsous proposes that the UN uses drones, and several delegations think he already has the French firm Thales in mind.)

  Del Buey said, "you're here, we answer you, that's where we'll leave it." Video here, from Minute 8:20.

   Still, Ladsous' approach is at odds with Ban Ki-moon's claims about his administration's approach to the media.

  We'll pursue this -- and, we hope, answers to the questions Ladsous refused to answer or even take, on top of the unanswered questions about DPKO introducing cholera into Haiti, and Ban and Ladsous having as a Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations an alleged war criminal, Sri Lankan general Shavendra Silva. Watch this site.

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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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