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After UN Security Beaten, Ban Apologizes to Turkey, "Buys Silence," Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 26, updated -- After an apology to Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for an incident that left UN security officers injured, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon through his spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press Monday at noon that "unfortunate misunderstandings" with "security officials of member delegation... have been satisfactorily resolved."

  Inner City Press, which first reported the fight between Turkish and UN security on Friday, earlier on Monday exclusively reported eyewitness accounts and dissatisfaction within UN Security at Ban's apology and the suspension of UN Security officers. Nesirky refused to confirm the suspensions, saying that since it's been "resolved [there's] nothing to be gained by me giving chapter and verse."

   In follow up interviews with UN Security staff, who requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation, Inner City Press has been told that "the emergency response team was suspended." The number of suspensions was put at six, with Team Ban now shifting to calling it "modified duty."

   In the incident, in the General Assembly balconies during Palestinian President Abbas' speech, Erdogan's delegation was informed where they could and could not walk.

  A scuffled ensued, with Officer Matthew Sullivan being injured in the ribs, and according to sources a female Jamaican officer being injured in the face.

   "They called a Code Thirteen, calling all officers available," a source told Inner City Press. "I saw my colleagues on the ground, with blood on the floor. They didn't let us approach."

  Now the suspension of the nine officers has been deemed "with pay," which at least one source characterized as "buying silence" after selling the officers out. The source asked, referring to member state's budget woes and debates, "Who's paying for this?"

  Nesirky refused to comment on any of this, telling Inner City Press, "I've told you what I have to say... We are grateful for the understanding and forbearance shown by all involved."

Ban Ki-moon &
Greg Starr, disclosure & requested press conference not shown

  Turkey has already bragged about getting an apology. Turkish Mission sources tell Inner City Press that Erdogan had a similar incident two years ago outside the Clinton Global Initiative in Midtown, when his entourage was stopped by security. He has not since returned to CGI, the sources say, noting that Bill Clinton was around when Ban met with Erdogan to apologize.

  Ban has often said he is committed to defending UN personnel. This did not take place after UN Security's Louis Maxwell was killed by Afghan National forces in Kabul -- in fact, the UN covered up the murder, then begrudgingly said Maxwell was a hero.  Inner City Press asked UN Security chief Greg Starr, who replied, “The problem is, in many cases you're asking the Afghans to really follow up on one person. How many thousands of Afghans have died? So you've got to be sensitive culturally.”

  But beyond "cultural sensitivity," Ban's decision in this case to apologize seems to many in UN Security, and beyond, as eminently political, and now lacking any transparency. "If he won't even defend his own people," one UN Security officer asked, "how can he pretend to defend civilians?" How indeed. Watch this site.

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Turks Broke UN Officer's Ribs But UN Guards Suspended, "Sold Out" by Ban

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 26, updated -- The fight on September 23 between UN Security and the Turkish delegation, on which Inner City Press exclusively reported that afternoon including the hospitalization of a UN Security officer with broken ribs, has now resulted in the suspension of nine UN Security officers.

They feel they were not to blame, that too many ID passes were given to the Turkish delegation, and that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did not back them up.

Ban met with the Turks, and with UN Security at 7:15 am on Saturday. Nine officers were suspended, and all were told not to talk with the press. Some analogize it to the UN's cover up of the killing of UN Security officer Louis Maxwell in Afghanistan by Afghan National Forces, for which no one has ever been held accountable.

"We're just pawns to Ban Ki-moon," one officer complained to Inner City Press. "He sells us out. Ban will do anything to avoid a confrontation with the Turks, even after they broke [officer] Matt Sullivan's ribs, and beat up that Jamaican officer."

On September 23 alongside publishing its exclusive story, Inner City Press asked Ban's Office of the Spokesperson for a comment and was told that a "line" was forthcoming. More than sixty hours later nothing has been said, although the Ban Administration through channels indicates a statement is forthcoming. Watch this site.

Update of 10:27 am -- outside the Security Council (further outside than usual as the press is banned from the regular stakeout) a Permanent Five member diplomat told Inner City Press that the incident, learned about from Inner City Press' Friday report, was causing ripples: "We need to beef up the capabilities of UN Security." Or of the S-G?

  As several Security officers complained to Inner City Press, they are now not allowed to use or even carry their non-lethal security equipment. "We've been defanged by Ban," one said. Echoes of Southern Kordofan, even of Rwanda, another said. This not be seriousness but structure: UN Secretariat leaving peacekeepers or security officers immobile due to politics.

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Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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