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In UN of Cholera & “Selfish,” Media Boss Stands Behind False Complaint, Leaves

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 -- This UN has no accountability. It arrogantly “stands behind” whatever it says or does, because it has impunity. A fish, as they say, rots from the head. But the lower down it gets, the worse it smells.

  The UN brought cholera to Haiti, which has killed over 5,000 people. But faced with a detailed legal complaint, the UN waited 15 months then said only that the claim was “not receivable.”

   Inner City Press has asked for the legal basis, a half dozen times, without response.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, when Inner City Press asked him about UN staff opposition to his budget cuts and mobility proposals in the course of a long and seemingly heartfelt response said that his opponent are “selfish.”

  Inner City Press asked his spokespeople if he might wish to rephrase. No, was the answer, Ban Ki-moon “stands behind” what he said.

  Lower down but similar, the UN Department of Public Information invited Inner City Press, representing the new and needed Free UN Coalition for Access, to a meeting on February 22 with the old UN Correspondents Association.

At the meeting, Inner City Press said clearly, “you are on the record.” And UNCA's President, Pamela Falk of CBS, said “he's going to write this up.” Audio here.

   Here is audio of UNCA's first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters refusing to answer questions about 2012 UNCA/ Voice of America requests to Dujarric to "review" Inner City Press' accrediation, which VOA documents say Reuters and AFP supported (and now pursue by bad faith UN Security complaints, see below).

  But after Inner City Press did report on the February 22 meeting, with verbatim quotes and audio, the UN official left in charge of Media Accreditation, Stephane Dujarric, wrote to Inner City Press that “it was clearly understood by all sides there would be no reporting or recording of the meeting.”

  Inner City Press has provided audio; another attendee wrote to Dujarric and the head of the UN Department of Public Information that Inner City Press “did indicate, in response to a comment Pam made, that the meeting was being recorded.”

  So since February 27 Inner City Press and FUNCA have requested an explanation or retraction of the February 27 letter, which is in essence a complaint by the official in charge of UN Media Accreditation.

  Having no response at all, Inner City Press wrote to the head of DPI on the morning of March 15.

  Nine hours later, as Inner City Press was covering an evening meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women at which UN Women's Bachelet announced she will be leaving the UN, it was not the head of DPI but Dujarric who replied, stating on this that “the letter stands and I have nothing to add.”

  How can that be, when the central claim of the letter has been disproved by two participants and even recorded audio?

  But this is the UN, where the Secretary General can call the headquarters staff “selfish” and then stand behind it.

  And so, given Dujarric's lawless behavior, it is any wonder that UNCA “leader” Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse has filed a frivolous complaint, along with Reuters' Michelle Nichols, about an entirely verbal interchange with Inner City Press?

  Tellingly, this was about the use by the head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Lardsous, of Reuters and AFP, on one of whose management boards Ladsous served, as pass-throughs for half-answers to questions about rapes which Inner City Press had asked.

  A fish rots in stages, from the head through mid-level officials to wormy scribes like Witcher.

  Inner City Press immediately responded to Dujarric's flabbergasting statement that his false February 27 letter “stands” -- with audio, send also to the head of DPI.

  Then an auto-response from Dujarric, that he will henceforth be away from UN Headquarters. Hit and run, they call it. Or lie and run? And what of Ban's DPI? We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

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