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At UN, Transformers 3 Is Filmed, Truth Transformed, Is Ban a Decepticon?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 13 -- Transformers 3 is filming in the UN today. The middle section of the General Assembly hall was full of extras, in suits and native dress, while a camera on a mechanical arm panned the crowd and then the three faux speakers on the rostrum. From the photo booth on the GA's third floor, Inner City Press heard stage directions, saw the vote tally board lit up.

  After learning indirectly of the project, Inner City Press on November 9 asked the head of the UN's Department of Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka why nothing had been publicly said about the movie filming. Mr. Akasaka told Inner City Press he did not know about the filming.

   There has been less and less transparency about how UN decisions are taken, during Ban Ki-moon's now four years as Secretary General. As Inner City Press has exclusively reported, an event in the Dag Hammarskjold Library auditorium was sponsored by the Trump Group.

  Once exposed, the printed programs for the event were taken away and Inner City Press was told to “ask Kazakhstan” about the event.

   When musician Taylor Swift bragged that she was launching her new album “at the UN” on October 25, Inner City Press asked who had approved it. “Ask Aramark,” the cafeteria contractor, Inner City Press was told.

   Ultimately the event was canceled -- not because the UN had any standards, but because VH-1 didn't like the venue. A Central Park concert was held instead.

   So who approved the Transformers use of the UN, and why not only was it not announced, but did Ban Ki-moon's head of Public Information claim not to know about it?

At UN on Nov 13, Transformers 3 filming, UN Decepticons not shown

  When Ban's spokespeople have been asked to whom in the Chinese government Ban ostensibly raised human rights, and maybe even the name of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, the answer has been that some things are better left unsaid.

  But why say you weren't aware of something you were?  As one source asked, has Ban Ki-moon become a Decepticon?

* * *

As Musharraf Campaign Stops on Park Ave at CFR, Coups, Cases & Debt Scoffed At, Osama Likened to Che Guevara

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- Pervez Musharraf is on a roll, or thinks he is. After launching his All Pakistan Muslim League in the UK, he has held roll out events in hotel ballrooms in Florida and New Jersey.

  Tuesday morning found him at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, fielding questions about how and why he plans to reclaim power in Islamabad.

  Musharraf sung his own praises, that after his 1999 “coming into power” -- as his CFR biography tactfully puts in it -- he grew the Pakistani economy until, he said, it had more promise that India's.

  But after things were “stirred up against” him, foreign direct investment has dried up and 50% of factories have closed, in his telling.

  Back in Pakistan other stories are told, of how Musharraf hurt the electrical power market, allowed for the first time the US to fly drones over the country, attacked the judicial system. (Click here for Inner City Press recent coverage of Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund, on power subsidies and textile taxes).

  Musharraf claimed there are no court cases against him in Pakistan, and that if any began now it would be “political.” Meanwhile, in his New Jersey appearance where he took no questions from the media, he accused Nawaz Sharif of stealing $1 billion and hiding it in London.

At CFR questions were taken, chosen by NPR's Deborah Amos from among “members,” as she put it. At least one member called on was a journalist, Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker. The last question was finally given to the back of the room, but to (at least) 32 year CIA veteran Jack Devine of the Arkin Group, who asked about Osama Bin Laden and Pakistan's seven tribal areas.

  Musharraf compared Bin Laden to Che Guevara, saying the latter was able to evade capture too.

Musharraf, 9/20/06, before the stir up

  He said that the tribal areas were left undeveloped as a buffer between Russia and India, there there is “two to three percent literacy.” Bin Laden “is viewed as their guest,” Musharraf said, recounting how on one of his visits, he traveled virtually without security because he was protected as a guest of an elder.

According to The Nation, beyond possible court cases Musharraf has been told not to return to Pakistan due to a lack of “security arrangements.” This heralds back to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto when she returned. The UN's three person investigations panel's report left open many questions as to Musharraf, but no one raised it at the CFR event.

It was unclear if Musharraf viewed his appearance as part of his campaign, or more akin to a speaking tour. He said he's spoken in Hong Kong and is going to Nigeria, that his son in Palo Alto started his Facebook page on which he has 350,000 friends. But how many enemies? Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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