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Stonewalling on Cholera, UN Tweets Haitians in Brazil World Cup Jerseys

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 21 -- As Haiti cholera legal papers were dodged in New York by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his spokespeople, in Haiti the UN Peacekeeping mission tweeted and uploaded videos of Haitians in Brazil and Argentina jerseys in the World Cup.

     This is today's UN.

  Earlier this year when legal papers for a lawsuit were posted on the door of Ban Ki-moon's UN-provided residence on Sutton Place, his spokespeople repeatedly refused to confirm or deny to Inner City Press that the legal papers had been received. The Free UN Coalition for Access has protested the UN's increased stonewalling.

  Now, this new low.

   Hearing that Ban had finally been handed legal papers in a second Haiti cholera lawsuit while he went to give a speech about Syria at the Asia Society on Friday morning, Inner City Press e-mailed Ban's top two spokespeople to ask: “Can you please confirm or deny asap that the Secretary General got handed or served with legal papers in one of the Haiti cholera lawsuits, on information and believe this morning near the Asia Society?”

  Even as Ban's spokesperson's office murkily distributed a report on Syria which mirrored Ban's speech (review of speech here, of distribution here), neither spokesperson answered, even to confirm receipt of the question.

  Now it emerges that Haq replied to the Miami Herald to the same question, telling “the Herald he was standing behind ban during the alleged encounter and Ban did not take the papers. 'No one at the UN took the papers,' Haq wrote in an email.”

  Well, in this context we must point out: this is the same Haq who on camera told Inner City Press that Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was dead -- and then corrected himself by doctoring the UN's transcript of that day's noon briefing, while never informing Inner City Press that it had been changed.

 Nothing was ever done about this.

On Haiti cholera, Haq told Inner City Press that UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous now screens peacekeepers for cholera before deploying them. This turned out not to be true but was never corrected. More Haq on Haiti video here.  In other instances, Haq rather than pass along answers to Press questions given by UN Deparments withholds them to the next noon briefing to read out loud.

But when the UN kills people then plays games about even confirming the receipt of legal papers, it has reached bottom. Or has it? The Press' question from June 20 has still not been responded to, as of June 22. We'll have more on this.


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