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As Ladsous Refuses to Answer ICP on Haiti & Sri Lanka, UN Says Unacceptable

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 -- When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous was asked Tuesday by Inner City Press to respond to documented charges that his Department introduced cholera into Haiti, and has Sri Lanka alleged war criminal general Shavendra Silva as an advisor, he flatly refused to answer. Video here, from Minute 26:47.

  Ladsous told Inner City Press, "Well, Mister, I will start answering your questions when you stop insulting me and making malicious and insulting insinuations." Video here, at Minute 28:10.

  The insults and "insinuations" appear to include Inner City Press reporting that Ladsous proposed in a closed door C-34 session that the UN should use drones (this was later confirmed), and that he was at best Nicolas Sarkozy's second choice for the designated French spot atop UN Peacekeeping, after Jerome Bonnafont who after Inner City Press published his bragging in India and congratulation cards was replaced by Ladsous.

  But Monday's was a unique media strategy for the UN, some say reminiscent of for example North Korea: if they think the coverage of them is too critical, they refuse to answer any questions.

  And, it seems, seek to expel the critical journalist. On the day Ladsous so publicly refused to answer Inner City Press questions on Haiti and Sri Lanka, the UN Correspondents' Association later had a meeting scheduled to seek to expel Inner City Press.

  One of the drivers behind the push to expel Inner City Press is Timothy Witcher of Agence France Presse who, at the complaint of the French Mission after Inner City Press' reporting showed it to be so out of touch with Paris it still though Bonnafont was the candidate, began an UNCA process against Inner City Press.

  (Ladsous happily answered not surprisingly a softball question from Witcher on Tuesday.)

    Witcher has more recently been joined by Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, user without credit of Inner City Press' March 28 exclusive that US official Jeffrey Feltman come work at the UN. (Foreign Policy's The Cable by contrast did credit Inner City Press.)

  Charbonneau filed a complaint against Inner City Press with the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, copied to Witcher and UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli who has insisted, "Ladsous-like" it might be said, that information about his relation with Sri Lanka's UN Ambassador should not be published, even if put in context.

  After Ladsous refused to answer the Sri Lanka and Haiti questions, Inner City Press followed up and asked if his colleague Anthony Banbury of the Department of Field Support would answer. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky cut in, saying that it is improper to speak over others.

  After Ladsous and Banbury left, Inner City Press asked Nesirky a question about Sudan then if Ban thought it appropriate that his Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping would refuse to answer questions. Nesirky called it "not acceptable" but refused to explain what he meant. Video here from Minute 48:53.

  Inner City Press asked, is it unacceptable for a UN Under Secretary General, of Peacekeeping no less, to refuse to answer at all on accountability for peacekeepers bringing deadly cholera to Haiti? Or was Nesirky and Ban Ki-moon saying that critical press coverage is unacceptable?

  Nesirky refused to answer. Perhaps we will find out. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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