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At UN, Press Table Relocated by Implicated Security Official, Under Picasso Pretext, of Porno and Preferential Treatment

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Security Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 27, updated -- A senior UN security officer, part of promotion irregularities exposed by a memo leaked to this publication by Department of Safety and Security whistle blowers, on Monday morning ordered the relocation of the press table that for three years has been to the side of Security Council entrance.

  Captain Mark Hoffman, named for one of the now-questioned promotions in the leaked memo, pointed at the table and Inner City Press and told an officer under his command, that has to move. Asked for an explanation, he said, it is “blocking the Picasso.” There is a tapestry replica of “Femme Sur l”Echelle,” Woman on the Ladder, along the wall.

   Inner City Press moved the table away from the front of the replica. Captain Hoffman persisted, no I am going to move it away from the Security Council. Inner City Press suggested that he ask the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, which is charged with ensuring the media access to newsmakers at the Security Council and elsewhere. Hoffman announced his intent to MALU's chief, and had the officer under his command move the table to a back area where diplomats and others are allowed to smoke.

   While Inner City Press assisted the officer in moving the table, it appears that Captain Hoffman's reasoning to order the relocation of a table that has been in the same spot for at least three years was retaliatory.

At UN stakeout, Picasso reproduction in background, table-gate not shown

  Beyond the promotion irregularity leak, which has given rise to a formal demand by the UN Staff Union for an independent outside investigation including of Captain Hoffman's superior Bruno Henn, last week following the arrest of UN employee for child pornography, Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson to confirm or deny that several senior DSS officers have been informed that they are under investigation for similar -- but non-child -- issues.

   Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson

  (5a) The child porn guilty plea, on which I am asking for updates on what the UN does, was by "Jose Antonio Ortega Osona, 40, a Spanish citizen who lives in New York, pleaded guilty Friday in Dartmouth provincial court to a Criminal Code charge of possessing child pornography and a Customs Act charge of smuggling prohibited goods."

(5b)  Finally, for now, a simple factual question best answered in this format / medium:

 please confirm or deny that there are several senior DSS / SSS officers at UNHQ in NY who have received letters of reprimand for pornography, and explain any difference of treatment from that accorded on the same charges to a lower level staff member. To ensure your answer, I suggest you ask OHRM, OIOS and DSS.

  While the Spokesperson's Office has yet to answer the question, DSS sources tell Inner City Press that Hoffman is among the officials now belatedly being considered not for promotion but demotion. We continue to await the Spokesperson's Office's answers to the questions asked last week.

   A lower level UN official lost his job for viewing and forwarding pornography, as Inner City Press reported. Many now complain that higher ups engaged in the same behavior are being given preferential treatment. To cover the Security Council from a table that has for at least three years been open to all reporters is not preferential treatment. But its arbitrary removal is viewed as retaliation, as yet another sign of lawlessness in the UN, in this case by a purported representative of the law. We will have more on this.

Update of 11:30 a.m. -- after the above report, the table's relocation was partial revoked, and the table moved back to the side of the Security Council entrance. "I got calls from the highest levels," Captain Hoffman came to Inner City Press to say, quite affably. Let's hope it stays that way.

  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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