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At UN, Union Incumbent Vents at Sham, Censors' MC Decline, War Crimes Ball

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- While the UN preaches democracy and accountability around the world, in two elections held last week inside the UN, disputes and decay were the rule, as they will be tonight at what we'll call the Censors' Ball.

  In the UN Staff Union election, in which an incumbent has sought to stay on despite term limits, there were charges of illegal polling, and an attempt to stop paying the Elections Services Company. Nevertheless polling took place in the UN lobby on December 10 and 11 and yesterday December 17 Inner City Press published the results, putting the document online here:

Winner with 430 votes: Ticket 1 [They have thanked voters]

President Stephen Kisambira (DESA/PD)

First Vice-President Emad Hassanin (DGACM/MPD/PS)

Second Vice-President Leonid Dolgopolov (DSS/DSSS/SSS)

2d place with 231 votes: Ticket 2

President Nadir A. Dirar Bashir (DGACM/MPD/PS/DTPU)...

  Now the incumbent has chimed in:

In the end, it will be up to the Administration to recognize this farce and sham. And from their communications/action (or lack thereof) so far, the Administration seems determined not to respect the legitimate decisions of the bodies of the Union - Unit Chairs, Council, Arbitration Committee. So far, contrary to what it preaches to the world, the United Nations Administration does nothing to respect of the rule of law at home.

   "The Administration" means Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; he will appear and deliver scripted jokes to what's become his UN Censorship Alliance tonight. It's called the United Nations Correspondents Association, and in 2012 its leaders tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, pointing at a factual article Inner City Press published about Sri Lanka, the UN and conflicts of interest.

  Ban's Secretariat now admits on Sri Lanka a "systemic failure" - but UNCA, which still has no rules against trying to throw journalists out of the UN, nor apparently any conflict of interest rules, makes no admission, no reforms.

  Not surprisingly it is in decay. Even as to its annual overly expensive ball, its draw Richard Roth of CNN is being replaced tonight by BBC's Laura Trevelyan (with another Sri Lanka connection, watch this site.)

 Though over 2000 journalists are accredited at the UN, last week only 111 even tried to vote in the three days of polling -- and door to door demands to vote for -- the United Nations Correspondents Association. Seven of these ballots failed. The incumbent Pamela Falk of CBS, running unopposed, still managed to not get 26 of the 104 votes cast.

  Her vote total of 78 is lower than the 85 obtained in December 2011 by her predecessor, who was the one who first demanded that Inner City Press remove an article about Sri Lanka from the Internet, click here for that.

 The article UNCA "leaders" tries to censor reported on the previous financial relationship of Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative with UNCA's then president, in the context of this president screening in the UN the Sri Lankan government's war crimes denial film, without asking or the consent of Inner City Press then on the Executive Committee of UNCA.

  No reforms in UNCA were ever instituted after this.

  Now as Inner City Press exclusively reported yesterday, picked up in Sri Lanka in English and Tamil, Sri Lanka's defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is in New York. Some in Sri Lanka have asked: will he attend UNCA's $250 a plate event with Ban Ki-moon tomorrow night?

 Will the leaders of UNCA, an association of correspondents, make public who is attending their ball, who paid and how much?

(Inner City Press after withstanding a kangaroo court UNCA proceeding quit the organization and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info, to actually defend the right of free press and free inquiry in and about the UN system.)

   UNCA is an organization in continued decline. In 2012 many of its "leaders" tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, as documented by documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Voice of America asked the UN to "review" Inner City Press' accreditation; VOA said it had the support of Agence France Presse and Reuters, click here for that.

The Reuters first vice president of UNCA spied for the UN, giving them an internal anti Press UNCA document three minutes after promising not to (story here, document here, audio here).

 While he has stepped off, the Reuters reporter he supervised (and who also tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN) campaigned to get on UNCA's board, demanding in Friday's noon briefing to all present, "Have you voted?" It's as if Reuters has a Permanent seat on UNCA's 15-member Executive Committee, like the P5 in the Security Council.

Here are the results, compared to votes in December 2011 for the "candidate" or their predecessor

Dec '13 Dec '11

Prez: * 78 [85] Pamela Falk, CBS News TV and Radio

1st VP * 74 [79] Kahraman Haliscelik, TRT Turkish Radio & TV

2d VP * 48 71 Masood Haider, Dawn, Pakistan

* 48 [71] Sylviane Zehil, LOrient Le Jour

3d VP * 55 [62] Erol Avdovic, Webpublicapress

38 Ali Barada, An-Nahar/France 24

Trez * 81 [71] Bouchra Benyoussef, Maghreb Arab Press

Sect * 79 [81] Seana Magee, Kyodo News

Members at Large (9)

* 57  Nabil Abi Saab , Alhurra TV

* 57  Talal Al-Haj ,Al-Arabiya News channel

22  George Baumgarten , Jewish Newspapers, Nation Media

* 50 Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcasting (SABC)

* 51  Zhenqiu Gu, Xinhua News Agency

* 69  Melissa Kent, CBC/Radio Canada

* 56  Evelyn Leopold, Huffington Post Contributor

49 J. Tuyet Nguyen, German Press Agency DPA

* 67  Michelle Nichols, Reuters

41  Edwin Nwanchukwu, News Agency of Nigeria

27  Cia Pak, Scannews

*54  Valeria Robecco, ANSA

* 54  Sangwon Yoon , Bloomberg

  Some of the elected are new and their positions on UNCA Executive Committee members trying to get other (investigative) media thrown out of the UN, and the need to preclude this and UNCA leaders' anonymous social media trolling, are not yet known. (Some not elected were among the better / more diverse candidates.)

 Beyond the lack of reform after UNCA "leaders" tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, and then engaged in 2013 in anonymous social media trolling which the incumbent though told on the record did not stop, there's now a dispute of the statement that donated Samsung television equipment "did not involve a mission," which the UN itself admits Samsung have the equipment to the South Korean Mission, which gave it to the UN, which forwarded it on to UNCA.

 Why, given how much they are charging this week in Cipriani's? They will honor Ban Ki-moon, whose spokesperson's office squawked Friday, immediately after a briefing on Syria chemical weapons, that wine would be served in the UNCA room and that election results were out: to UN, newsworthy.

  As is the UNCA "ball" with Ban Ki-moon. Who from the Sri Lankan government will attend it? Will defense secretary Gotobhaya Rajapaksa?

When the UN Correspondents Association leaders tried stealthy to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, and have failed to institute any reform since, it became the UN's Censorship Alliance. Watch this site.


 

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