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At UN, Trump Group Sponsors Kazakh Event, Program Confiscated, Questions Cut Off

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- When in the UN on Monday night a war film was screened, with a free spread of cheese cubes and white wine outside, most took at face value the announcement that it was sponsored by Kazakhstan's Mission to the UN. The film was “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons.” The speakers included Norman Atkins, an expert on Sudan from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

But little noticed, on the last line of the program of the event, was the notation “Sponsored by the Trump Group.” The back of the four page program was an advertisement for “Acquilina, the only AAA Five Diamond Resort on Miami Beach.”

How could a real estate entrepreneur be allowed to sponsor an event in the UN? Inner City Press asked the Under Secretary General of the Department of Management Angela Kane. She said that when a member state asks to use UN space, no check is made. After the fact, she said, a review can be made.

Back in the reception space in front of the Dag Hammarskjold Library auditorium, all copies of the event program were confiscated.

UN's Ban and Kane, Fast Eddy Trump not shown

 When Inner City Press asked the representative of the Kazakh Mission what the connection to the Trump Group was, the answer was: “personal.”

It was argued that “Eddie” Trump of the Trump Group is not affiliated with the better known Donald Trump. But what is the connection? “Stop asking questions,” Inner City Press was told. For now, there is no choice. Watch this site.

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UN Happy Talk from Ban & Spokesman, No Sudan, No Sri Lanka or Congo Accountability

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- Ban Ki-moon and his team, trying to manipulate the media, will attempt to use the upcoming UN General Debate to nail down a second term for “Mister Ban,” UN sources observing Ban's recent behavior say.

  On Monday, Ban and his spokesman Martin Nesirky chose and answered questions, none of them on such topics as the UN's inaction in Darfur, Myanmar, on the rapes in the Congo, or corruption and dissension in Ban's own administration.

  Rather, Ban positioned himself a something of a spiritual guru, opining on the state of relations between Muslims and the West, telling the media not to cover planned Koran burnings, which Ban said “cannot be tolerated.”

  But these are issues over which the UN, and Ban in particular, have no power at all. What about Sudan, where despite two $1 billion peacekeeping missions, Darfurians are slaughtered without the UN coming to their aid before they get permission from Khartoum?

  How about Eastern Congo, where hundreds of women were raped within short distances of UN Peacekeepers? Ban's envoy to the Congo, Roger Meece, blatantly misspoke to the UN press corps, saying that the first his Mission heard of the rapes was August 12. Disproved by a July 30 e-mail sent out by the UN, there has been no retraction, much less accountability.

  The only vaguely pointed question Nesirky accepted for Ban on Monday concerned a drunken toast by the director of DESU, Sha Zu Kang. “He has apologized,” Ban said smugly. “Let us move on.”

  But what about the critique of Inga Britt Ahlenius? No questions on that, none of the promised follow up briefing. At Ban's last press conference, he said that the Ahlenius critiques, of corruption and weak leadership, were “too small,” and would be the subject of a separate briefing - which has yet to occur.

  An issue which seems to have entirely fallen off the table, with the Ban administration's push, is the panel of experts on the war crimes in Sri Lanka. Ban announced his panel in March, but its work -- and four month time clock -- has yet to begin. No questions on that, no answers: issue disappeared.

UN's Ban and Spokesman, Qs or As on Sudan, Sri Lanka, corruption not shown

  Ban's trip to Rwanda is now viewed as an attempt to keep the issue of genocide in the Congo under wraps until after the General Debate, at which Ban will attempt to be omni-present in a highly controlled way, with critique questions screened out by Nesirky.

  Likewise, the top post in UN Women will be used in this way, sources say: either Michelle Bachelet to ward off a challenge for Ban's second term, or less likely now Rwanda's foreign minister, in an attempt to forestall untimely hypocrisy criticism from Rwanda. So it goes in Ban Ki-moon's UN.

  Nesirky, who has loudly proclaimed that as to UN briefing there “are no rules, it is my briefing,” may now say that he was attempting to spread questions around. But given the UN's spending and responsibility in Sudan, once no questions on the topic were asked, it was Nesirky's job to allow such questions. He pointedly did not. Watch this site.

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For UN, Is Merely Being There Enough, with Ban Under Fire for a 2d Term?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 26 -- What has Ban Ki-moon accomplished as UN Secretary General in Myanmar and Sudan, Inner City Press asked his spokesman Monday, for the fourth day in a week.

His record is clear,” Spokesman Martin Nesirky replied. “From standing in front of a still burning warehouse in Gaza, to visiting Haiti five days after the earthquake, to visiting Darfur refugee camps... he has achieved a huge amount.” Video here, from Minute 26:55.

But the three achievements listed were only “being there” -- celebrities have traveled to Haiti, and to refugee camps in Darfur and elsewhere.

  Meanwhile reports on the UN's performance in Sudan are largely negative. Rubble still fills Haiti's streets. And even the Goldstone response is late, due to failure to translate. Myanmar, telling, was not even mentioned. Is being there enough?

Seeking the Ban Administration's -- if not yet Ban Ki-moon's -- response to the criticism being heaped upon his tenure, Inner City Press asked Nesirky when he made a piece by a heretofore big UN supporter, “Good Night, Ban Ki-moon.”

We don't need to comment on every piece,” Nesirky said, calling that piece a “rehash.. a lot of what is in the piece has been seen before.” A lot by not all: the piece mentions inaction on Sri Lanka:

A peacekeeping official pointed out that Ban had insisted on behind-the-scenes diplomacy in Sri Lanka even as the government was killing thousands of civilians in its campaign to erase the brutal insurgency of the Tamil Tigers: "We're doing everything we can to avoid saying anything at all about it. That's been our line on practically everything. The SG is clear that his final consideration is going to be the political costs of whether he should or shouldn't speak." That's a very real calculation every secretary-general must make. But, he added, "There's no sense that the deliberations include, 'What should we do?'"”

  Only this year, Ban after saying he would name a panel of experts on war crimes in Sri Lanka, then delaying 90 days, has gone out of his way to limit the scope of the panel to providing advice on “models of accountability” to himself and the Rajapaksa government, if they want it. The Rajapaksas have said they will deny visas to the group; Ban through Nesirky has repeated declined to comment on the refusal to cooperate.

UN's Ban on plane: he was there, cracked windshield and direct responses not shown

  Now a brewing fight is Ban's decision to bypass South African and other developing world candidates to nominate a Canadian, Carman Lapoint-Young, as the new head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Inner City Press, which reported exclusively on the move on the night of July 23, asked Nesirky for Ban's response to developing world countries who say the post was meant for their regions.

Nesirky once again declined comment, except to say there is “very strong, overwhelming support” for the nominee. Sort of like the overwhelming support for a second term?

It is time for Ban Ki-moon to speak for himself on this controversy -- time for him to “be there,” as it were. He will appear before the press Monday at 5:30. Before his appearance Friday at a reception for the press, Inner City Press was repeatedly told not to ask about the controversy, not to “hijack” the event. That cannot similarly be asked on Monday evening. 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.

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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

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