Friday, December 19, 2014

As Turkey Jails Samanyolu TV Chief, UN's Ban Ki-moon Used by UNCA for Turkish Billionaire Yucel's Faux "UN" Award


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 19 -- Amid the arrest of journalists in Turkey under Erdogan, see Ekrem Dumanli's tweet, here, from the UN there was a silence, as the new Free UN Coalition noted

  Now Dumanli is subject to a travel ban; still in full detention is Samanyolu Media Group head Hidayet Karaca. 

  Meanwhile on December 16, UN Secretary General took photos with Turkish billionaire Enver Yucel, who then claimed he had a "UN" award for his business. But it was an award from the UN Correspondents Association, with an entirely untransparent selection process. To this has the UN sunk.

  European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said the media arrests are "against European values." Freedom House said, "These arrests appear to be government retribution against journalists reporting on corruption and criticizing the government."
 US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said "We are closely following reports that Turkish police have conducted a series of raids and arrests at locations across Turkey today. It appears that media outlets that have been openly critical of the current Turkish government are among the targets of these actions by Turkish law enforcement." (See earlier comments of the State Department's Doug Franz, below.)
  Later, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that it "condemns  today's raids on media outlets in which police detained journalists and media workers on politicized anti-state charges. Among those detained today were Ekrem Dumanli , editor-in-chief of Turkey’s largest daily Zaman, and Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcast Group."
 The space just outside the UN Security Council is named the "Turkish Lounge" -- tellingly, the press is banned from it. But where is Ban Ki-moon, and his Censorship Alliance and now UN Corruption Association, UNCA, with which CPJ for example partners?
 At the time of the detentions, Ban was slated to attend as they gave an award -- NOT a "UN" award -- to Turkish billionaire profit education magnate whose firm Bahcesehir Ugur is at least 48% owned by the Carlyle Group. The president of UNCA is Italian (so, an award, for Haiti without reference to cholera or MINUSTAH shooting at protesters and pushing journalists around, to Andrea Bocelli), and the vice president is Turkish (hence, Enver Yucel) - is this any coincidence?  The latter chimes in to note scholarships by Enver Yucel, saying these should be encouraged and not discouraged. We note this, as offered to the former - but dispute that association with the UN's Censorship Alliance is "encouraging."
  The group, which has tried to get the investigative Press thrown out, has grandiosely (and hypocritically) issued statements on some other journalists jailed. Given its current officers, will it in this case? And if it doesn't, what does attending its grotesque ball really mean?
  After this question was posed, about arrest of journalists by Turkey and whether the "United Nations Correspondents Association" and its first vice president would stay silent, the response received involved defending the honor of the mysterious (or not so mysterious) selected billionaire, thusly:
"Having been very well known for his contributions to the cultural and educational life in Turkey and providing 25m USD of scholarship every year to the students in need, Enver Yücel was awarded with 'Outstanding Service Award' by The Turkish Grand National Assembly in 2008. He was also awarded with the 'Education Award' by the American Turkish Council in 2010. Mr. Yücel was accepted by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his contributions to the alliance of civilizations."
  The proffered paragarph has been published in full. But where is the answer as how the Turkish billionaire and the Italian tenor were selected? And will this dubious UNCA, before its grotesque ball, issue a statement about censorship by Turkey? 
  Posed otherwise if Federica Mogherini, until recently Italy's foreign minister, speaks out against these arrests of journalists in Turkey, will UNCA ostensibly under the leadership of Giampaolo Pioli do so? Or, as before, is the first vice president position the one to watch (out for)? Watch this site.
  On the same day, the sentencing of Barret Brown is scheduled, and the US government is fighting to keep all filings confidential from the press and public. 
Back on April 18, after Turkey's Erdogan shut down Twitter and YouTube, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Doug Frantz advised to go after leakers, like the US has after Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and not after the technology: lessons in censorship? Kinder and gentler censorship? From the US transcript:
"The release of the taped conversations involving the prime minister were certainly alarming and fascinating. I thought that the last one involving the Fidan conversation was shocking. I think that represented a clear violation of national security in Turkey. And – but the way we handle that in the United States, I think, can be illustrated by the Snowden case. You punish the leaker, or by the Chelsea Manning in WikiLeaks case, you punish the leaker; you don’t punish the technology. And I think that’s a critical difference. Otherwise, as I said, you’re dealing with a blunt instrument. You don’t want to take Twitter or YouTube or any other social media way from the millions of people who use it and who use it freely and legally."
  Or one can just try to remove from or block particular things on the Internet. Frantz's advise  follows Turkey's Erdogan, after using copyright law to censor, moving on to tax law. Twitter has been told it is a tax evader in Turkey.
  Tax law was good enough to take down Al Capone, so why not use it in the service of censorship? Likewise, to Google's YouTube Erdoban cited the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, allow for take-down or banning from Search of material that is copyrighted. 
   But can phone calls be copyrighted? As detailed below on Reuters' specious claim, can "for the record" complaints to the UN against other media later be called copyrighted, and Banned from Google's search?
  Turkey banned all of YouTube, after its foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared, "a cyber attack has been carried out against the Turkish Republic, our state and our valued nation."
  Actually, the leaked call concerned plans to intervene in Syria, ostensibly to protect the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, including the proposed creation of a false rocket incident. 
  Intelligence chief Hakam Fidan says, "if there is to be justification, the justification is, I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land. That's not a problem. Justification can be created."
  The national security argument for banning YouTube, by the country sponsoring the Press-less "Turkish Lounge" right next to the UN Security Council, follows Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan claiming he could copyright his leaked telephone calls, like Reuters at the UN claimed of its e-mail to the UN, sketched below and shown here.
   This use of copyright to try to censor has echoes in the UN -- and in Ukraine, where the Svoboda Party tried to getvideos of its Members of Parliament beating up a news executive taken down as violations of copyright. 
 On the Guardian website on March 21, where the video had been was a notice that "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim."
The New York Times reported that late on March 20, YouTube copies of the video were taken down "for violating the copyright of the Svoboda party spokesman, who seems to be working to erase the evidence from the Internet through legal means."
   This is a growing trend. As set forth below, an anti-Press complaint to the UN's Stephane Dujarric, now Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson, has been banned from Google's Search by an invocation of copyright similar to Erdogan's.
  On March 21, Dujarric from Kyiv told Inner City Press neither he nor, he assuumed, Ban had seen the Svoboda beat-down video. This seems noteworthy, given its prominence in Ukraine. Now we can add: perhaps Ban and Dujarric didn't see it due to the same censorship by copyright that has for now banned an anti Press complaint to them from Google's Search.
  As to Twitter, Dujarric in his previous post in charge of UN Media Accreditation grilled Inner City Press about a tweet mentioning World War Two - the basis for example of France's veto power in the Security Council, which it parlayed into essentially permanent ownership of the top post in UN Peacekeeping, now though Herve Ladsous(coverage of whom Dujarric tried to dictate, or advise, Inner City Press about.)
   Dujarric's now bipolar tweeting has intersected with a recently revived anonymous trolling campaign whichoriginated in the UN Correspondents Association, in support of the Sri Lankan government, alleging that any coverage of the abuse of Tamils must be funded by the now defunct Tamil Tigers. 
  These outright attempts to censor are echoed, more genteelly, even as part of the UN press briefings these days. When Dujarric took eight questions on March 20 on Ban's essentially failed trip to Moscow, fully half went to representatives of UNCA's 15 member executive committee, including state media from Turkey, France and the United States. Other questions -- by Twitter -- were not answered, except those from explicitly pro-UN sources. These are the UN's circles.
  Of this abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry told Inner City Press about the Reuters case:
"Unfortunately, it is all too easy for a copyright holder (assuming that the person that sent this notice actually held copyright in the email) to abuse the DMCA to take down content and stifle legitimate speech. As countries outside the US consider adopting DMCA-like procedures, they must make sure they include strong protections for free speech, such as significant penalties for takedown abuse."
  In this case, copyright is being (mis) claimed for an email from Reuters' Louis Charbonneau to the UN's chief Media Accreditation official Stephane Dujarric -- since March 10 Ban Ki-moon's new spokesperson -- seeking to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.  
  Access to the document has been blocked from Google's search based on a cursory take-down request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 
 If this remains precedent, what else could come down?
  Why not an email from Iran, for example, to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency? Why not a sanctions filing by a country? Here is Reuters logic, accepted if only automatically by Google:
The copyrighted material is a private email I wrote in April 2012 and for which I never gave permission to be published. It has been published on a blog and appears in on the first page of search results for my name and the firm I work for, Reuters. It can be seen here: http://www.innercitypress.com/reutersLC3unmalu.pdf
  But this is true of ANY leaked document: it can be said that the entity or person exposed "never gave permission [for it] to be published." Does that mean Google can or should block search access to it?

Reuters' Charbonneau hands to Ban at UNCA: banned from Search?

  Can a complaint to a Media Accreditation official against a competitor legitimately be considered "private"? In any event, the DMCA is not about protecting privacy.
  Iran or North Korea could say a filing or status report they make with the IAEA is "private" and was not intended to be published. Would Google, receiving a DMCA filing, block access to the information on, say, Reuters.com?
  Charbonneau's bad-faith argument says his complaint to the UN was "published on a blog." Is THAT what Reuters claims makes it different that publication in some other media?
  The logic of Reuters' and Charbonneau's August 14, 2013 filing with Google, put online via the ChillingEffects.org project, is profoundly anti free press.
  The fact that Google accepts or didn't check, to remain in the DMCA Safe Harbor, the filing makes it even worse. The request to take-down wasn't made to InnerCityPress.com or its server -- it would have been rejected. But banning a page from Search has the same censoring effect.
  The US has a regime to protect freedom of the press, and against prior restraint. But this is a loophole, exploited cynically by Reuters. What if a media conducted a long investigation of a mayor, fueled by a leaked email. When the story was published, could the Mayor make a Reuters-like filing with Google and get it blocked?
  Here is the text of Charbonneau's communication to the UN's top Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit official Stephane Dujarric and MALU's manager, to which he claimed "copyright" and for now has banned from Google's Search:
Hi Isabelle and Stephane,
I just wanted to pass on for the record that I was just confronted by Matt Lee in the DHL auditorium in very hostile fashion a short while ago (there were several witnesses, including Giampaolo). He's obviously gotten wind that there's a movement afoot to expel him from the UNCA executive committee, though he doesn't know the details yet. But he was going out of his way to be as intimidating and aggressive as possible towards me, told me I "disgust" him, etc.
In all my 20+ years of reporting I've never been approached like that by a follow journalist in any press corps, no matter how stressful things got. He's become someone who's making it very hard for me and others in the UN press to do our jobs. His harassment of fellow reporters is reaching a new fever pitch.
I just thought you should know this.
Cheers,
Lou
Louis Charbonneau
Bureau Chief. United Nations
Reuters News Thomson Reuters reuters. com
This email was sent to you by Thomson Reuters, the global news and information company.
"UNCA" in the for-now banned e-mail is the United Nations Correspondents Association. The story developed here, as to Sri Lankahere is a sample pick-up this past weekend in Italian, to which we link and give full credit, translated into English (NOT for now by Google) --

The fool of Reuters to the UN

by Mahesh - 12/27/2013 -calls for the removal of a letter from the head of his bureau at the United Nations, pursuing a copyright infringement on the part of the competition
Try to make out a small competitor from the UN press room and then, when these publish proof of intrigue, invokes the copyright to release a letter from compromising the network.
MOLESTA-AGENCY  Inner City Press is a small non-profit agency covering the work of the United Nations for years, with an original cut, which become distasteful to many. Unlike other matching its founder master sent never tires of asking account of inconsistencies and contradictions and often refers to unpleasant situations involving colleagues and their reportage, too often twisted to obvious political contingencies.
THE LAST CAVITY – In this case the clutch is born when Matthew Lee, Inner City Press ever since he founded and made famous in the 90 's, challenged the screening of "Lies Agreed Upon" in the auditorium of the United Nations, a filmaccio of propaganda in which the Sri Lankan regime tries to deny the now tested massacres (and destroyed by International Crisis Group)In the piece, in which denounced the incident, Lee also announced that the screening was organized by the President of the United Nations Correspondents (UNCA), ItalianGiampaolo Pioli, skipping the normal consultation procedure for this kind of events. Pioli then, was also accused of being in a conflict of interest, given that he rented an apartment in New York an apartment to the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Sri Lanka, named Palitha Kohona and is suspected of war crimes.
TRY WITH THE COPYRIGHT- So he comes to the letter with which Louis Charbonneau, Reuters bureau chief at the United Nations, wrote to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) calling for the ouster of Lee, which the UN being there for years as his colleagues, but we see that this was not done. Lee, however, comes into possession of the letter and publish it, and then writes to Google millantando Charbonneau the copyright on the letter and asking for removal pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright ActThat is a bit like if a company request the removal of a compromising document from a journalistic investigation, in the name of copyright, a claim clearly absurd and disingenuous.
HARASSMENT AND THREATS- In the letter published, Charbonneau complained about the aggressive behavior of Lee and cited among the witnesses to cases where Lee had been "aggressive" towards him even Pioli. Lee with that piece has gained throughout a hail of protests from Sri Lanka and an investigation by the UNCA, along with death threats and other well-known amenities the refugees away from the clutches of the regime, but it is still there. Behold then the brilliant idea of Charbonneau, improperly used copyright law to censor the objectionable publications to a colleague and competitor.Pity that Lee has already resisted successfully in similar cases, in 2008 was the same Google to remove your site from being indexed in the news in its search engines, it is unclear what impetus behind, only to regret it soon after that even Fox News had cried scandal.

 
  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turkish Billionaire Enver Yucel Publicly Claims He Got "UN" Award from UN Correspondents Association: UN and Ban Ki-moon For Sale By UNCA


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- When the UN Correspondents Association held its ball in Cipriani on December 16, fraud was engaged in. And tellingly it has yet to be corrected.

  A Turkish billionaire, Enver Yucel, as Inner City Press reported from in front of Cipriani was called out by fellow Turks on their way in as lying that he was getting a "UN" award. 

  In fact, it is just an award by a self-chosen group of correspondents, and entirely untransparent at that. When Inner City Press covered and questioned the award, UNCA quickly blocked the Press from its Twitter feed on which it announced the award.

  Inner City Press asked an UNCA officer to confirm that what Enver Yucel received was not a "UN" award but only an UNCA award. This was confirmed, and the ham-handed banning from UNCA's moribund tweets was blamed on the UNCA president. (The blocking continues; now their website is accessible only with a password. The group is closing in on itself.)
  But Enver Yucel and his for-profit network Bahcesehir Ugur a/k/a/ BAU International University, now following and supporting UNCA, has publicly called what he receive a "United Nations" award, and published photographsof Enver Yucel with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon taken at the UNCA event as proof. The same claim has been made in, among others, the Hurriyet newspaper, here ("Turkish education sector executive to receive UN award"). This is called selling the UN.
  Ban Ki-moon at a December 17 press conference in which he read out answers to questions he was apparently given in advance, praised the UNCA event, apparently unaware how he was being used by, or sold to, the Turkish billionaire:
"I am very glad to see you so bright-eyed after last night's UNCA [United Nations Correspondents Association] [Awards] dinner.  In fact, we have some pieces of cake left if anybody wants.  Thank you for all your friendship and cooperation and support for all United Nations work." Video hereUN transcript here.
   So what does the UN do, when access to the Secretary General is mis-represented and sold?
  Even durin the event, before Ban's above-quoted statement, it was tweeted at that "The U.N. has chosen Mr. Enver Yucel to receive the 'Award for Outstanding Contribution to World Education.' @EnverYucel." That is simply false. It is not a UN award. Meanwhile, while a fish rots from the head (see below), other UNCA bigwigs spent the event taking selfies and congratulating themselves, while the event itself was used to sell Ban Ki-moon and "the UN" to a Turkish billionaire. This is what UNCA has become: some now call it the UN Corruption Association.
  When Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli arrived, to receive an award about Haiti without any questions having been answered about UN Peacekeepers shooting demonstrators there, he again did not answer on Haiti, or the UN's role in cholera there.
   Since the past and future president of UNCA Giampaolo Pioli somewhatfamously rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador for who he later screened a war crimes denial movie inside the UN, one mused at the limos, how many of these have been or will be tenants of Il Presidente? How many, indeed.
  Tellingly, the majority of tweets from inside UNCA Bull were from the Italian mission, and from Turks claiming Enver Yucel was getting a "UN" award. Perhaps it is the UN's Corruption Alliance.
   Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived, and was met curbside by his spokesman. Bosnia's Permanent Representative arrived, France's arriving later, solo. Several Security Council members' spokespeople arrived. One attendee had a hard time getting in with a walker - imagine a wheelchair - UNCA is inaccessible. 
  Earlier, UNCA's former first vice president was called out harshly by a Council member but was seen smoking, in a tux, on the sidewalk. But that's another story. This individual censored Google (how European); now UNCA as a organization blocks those who ask questions from its (not very interesting) Twitter feed.
  
   UNCA blocked Inner City Press from its Twitter feed; later its web site began to require a password to view it: no access.)
  This is the UN's Censorship Alliance, or an organization in decline, or both. This apparently is what happens when you try to censor, or when the censor in chief Giampaolo Pioli returns to helm the group turning in on itself.
  What's on the menu?
  Pioli, who rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's Ambassador who later got Pioli to agree, without the agreement of other UNCA board members, to screen a war crimes denial film in the UN, has a real estate mini-empire founded on pasta, some of it, at least initially, Turkish.
  Beyond the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Turkish billionaire Enver Yucel (presumably absent any explanation to the contrary chosen by UNCA's Italian president and Turkish first vice president), are UNCA's other awardees aware UNCA blocks access by the press? 
  One awardee is an UNCA board member, so one would assume he knows. Another has indicated it's not worth the time to cover UNCA and its actions, even trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN or otherwise censoring.
 But how about Hanan Alkiswany, Al-ghad Daily (Jordan), Francesco Semprini, La Stampa, Alice Su, Freelance, Marina Aizen, Revista Viva, Clarín (Agentina), Soma Basu, Down to Earth Magazine (India) Amy Yee, Freelance and, with regard to Herve Ladsous, below, Tatiana Mossot, France 24? Are they aware of their awarder's censorship and blocking of the Press? What do they think of it? Four of the above have been made aware, by Twitter. Now the site is behind a wall. Watch this site.

   This is the association with which the UN partners, giving it a big clubhouse even as the UN threw the News Agency of Nigeria out of its work space, claiming it was in short supply.
The claim is that UNCA represents those who cover the UN; it's at the $100 (and more) UNCA ball Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will speak, though almost certainly not about the UN's responsibility for cholera in Haiti, and shooting at protesters there. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance.
  Less than 100 correspondents of the thousands who cover the UN voted for its past and future president, Giampaolo Pioli - and that without competition, for his and the other top five spots.
   But now we ask in more detail: who controls the UNCA Twitter account with the right of censorship - just Pioli? The 15 members of the Executive Committee, or just the six officers listed below? The (less than) 100 voting members?
The six officers of UNCA, elected in each instance with less than 100 votes out of the thousands of journalists who cover the UN, consists of:
Giampaolo Pioli, Quotidiano Nazionale / La Nazione / Il Resto de Carlino / Quotidiano.net / El Giorno; Kahraman Haliscelik, TRT Turkish Radio & TV; Sylviane Zehil, L'Orient Le Jour; Ali Barada, An-Nahar / France 24; Bouchra Benyoussef, Maghreb Arab Press; and Seana Magee, Kyoto News Agency.
  The rest of the Executive Committee, who may have been involved -- we have been checking -- includes Reuters, Bloomberg, Al Arabiya, the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Italian news agency ANSA, with votes out of 105:
Nabil Abi Saab, Al Hurra (US Broadcasting Board of Governors) 71 of 105
Talal Al Haj, Al Arabiya 51 of 105
Emoke Debiak, DPA 58 of 105
Sherwin Bryce-Peace, SABC 68 of 105
Zhenqui Gu, Xinhua 57 of 105
Melissa Kent, CBC 66 of 105
Michele Nichols, Reuters 58 of 105
Valeria Robecco, ANSA 65 of 105
Sangwon Yoon, Bloomberg 53 of 105
 For now we ask: is this an Italian thing? Now that Giampaolo Pioli is returning to head UNCA, after his previous attempts to use UNCA to censor articles about himself, does that explain this new Twitter block? We'll have more on this.

 After UN peacekeepers fired tear gas and a pistol at Haitians demonstration for democracy on December 12, on December 13 Inner City Press wrote to four agents of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, slated to receive an UNCA humanitarian award about Haiti this week, to request comment on the shooting and on cholera.
  No response has been received. But on December 15, UNCA blocked Inner City Press from the Twitter account it had used to announce giving awards to Bocelli (about Haiti) and also now to a Turkish billionaire, the selection process for which has not been explained.
  This is the UN's Censorship Alliance.
  Not only is the UN's role in bringing cholera to Haiti being ignored -- afterUN Peacekeepers under Herve Ladsous shot tear gas and pistols into crowds of protesters for democracy, Andrea Bocelli, his management Almud and his Andrea Bocelli Foundation have been asked for comment and have not provided any. 
   If he's accepting a UN-related award, shouldn't he? 
  The UN Censorship Alliance belated announced another awardee -- a for profit education magnate from Turkey whose firm Bahcesehir Ugur ismajority owned by the Carlyle Group. The president of UNCA is Italian (Bocelli), and the vice president is Turkish (Enver Yucel) - is this any coincidence? The latter chimes in to note scholarships by Enver Yucel, saying these should be encouraged and not discouraged. We note this, as offered to the former - but dispute that association with the UN's Censorship Alliance is "encouraging." 
The group, which has tried to get the investigative Press thrown out, has grandiosely (and hypocritically) issued statements on some other journalists jailed. Given its current officers, will it in this case? And if it doesn't, what does attending its grotesque ball really mean?

  After this question was posed, about arrest of journalists by Turkey and whether the "United Nations Correspondents Association" and its first vice president would stay silent, the response received involved defending the honor of the mysterious (or not so mysterious) selected billionaire, thusly:

"Having been very well known for his contributions to the cultural and educational life in Turkey and providing 25m USD of scholarship every year to the students in need, Enver Yücel was awarded with 'Outstanding Service Award' by The Turkish Grand National Assembly in 2008. He was also awarded with the 'Education Award' by the American Turkish Council in 2010. Mr. Yücel was accepted by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his contributions to the alliance of civilizations."

  The proffered paragraph has been published in full. But where is the answer as how the Turkish billionaire and the Italian tenor were selected? And will this dubious UNCA, before its grotesque ball, issue a statement about censorship by Turkey?

  Posed otherwise if Federica Mogherini, until recently Italy's foreign minister, speaks out against these arrests of journalists in Turkey, will UNCA ostensibly under the leadership of Giampaolo Pioli do so? Or, as before, is the first vice president position the one to watch (out for)? Watch this site.

  On the same day, the sentencing of Barret Brown is scheduled, and the US government is fighting to keep all filings confidential from the press and public. 
  When Ban Ki-moon was selected as UN Secretary General in 2006 it was an untransparent process, with secret ballots in the Security Council.  But at least there was competition. Now reportedly the top spot at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs may be given without competition.
  This trend at the UN under Ban, including for example UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, has been enabled and concealed by what has become the UN's Censorship Alliance, formally the United Nations Correspondents Association.
  On November 14 this organization in decline formally announced a slate of six officers -- all without any competition at all. These six were "elected" on December 3. The top post was handed (back) to Giampaolo Pioli of Italy, who engaged in outright censorship while last using the position. 
   An Italian media, the only ones reporting Pioli's coronation, said that "Back to guide the Italian Association of correspondents accredited to the United Nations (UNCA). Giampaolo Pioli, the National Newspaper, and 'was elected president of the organization that owns the 250 journalists 'residents' at the UN that become about three thousand in the days of the General Assembly."Click here for that, then (Google?) translate.

  It's telling, the idea that UNCA "owns" journalists, particularly all resident correspondents -- that is false. Also, well under fifty percent of that false 250 number voted. And what is that percentage, of 3000? The censor does not have the mandate that Dujarric UNwisely publicly claimed, for the UN's Censorship Alliance. Will correction of any of this be sought? We'll see.
  That Andrea Bocelli is UNCA's awardee -- Pioli was head of the committee -- was revealed here: "The Made in Italy arrives in America with a partnership against violence against women. The more than 600 distinguished guests will receive the bracelet Tatu, the new brand led by Manuel Giannini, Luca Zafarana Benedettelli and Barbara... This year the United Nations Correspondents Association will award the Master Andrea Bocelli and his wife Veronica Berti with UNCA Global Citizens of the Year for the devotion of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation towards people in difficulty due to illness, disability, poverty and ' social exclusion and for the 'special commitment in favor of Haiti. Sting and Trudie Styler will be rewarded for the work as co -fondatori Rainforest Foundation Fund."
  In fairness to Bocelli, it is pointed out he has worked on the Haiti issue. We'll add a link here - his foundation (which when searched for the word "cholera" yields "no result found - Sorry, we were unable to find any results that matched your search terms.") So what about the UN bringing cholera? What about the group, the UN Censorship Alliance, that's using him and others to prop themselves up?
   UN scribes and censors citing Haiti without reference to the UN having brought cholera there and killed over 8000 Haitians and hidden from court papers since, providing no restitution to families who lose their breadwinner. In a dinner for which they are hawking "discounted" tickets for $100. This is telling.
  After his censorship push in 2012, Pioli was rarely seen at the UN; even when back, pressuring people to vote for him, he did not ask questions in any noon briefing or stakeout (though he did appear in evening wear with his ubiquitous glass of wine, winning the title Party-Boy Pioli.)
  But there is nothing funny about it. Pioli, who had rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador, unilaterally granted Kohona's request to use UNCA to screen inside the UN a government film denying war crimes, and sat on a panel with only Kohona and his deputy Shavendra Silva, who is still in the news. 
   When Inner City Press reported, after his screening panel with Silva and Kohona, that Kohona has been his tenants in the past, Pioli demanded that reporting of these facts must be removed from the Internet (compilation of audio here) or he would use UNCA to try to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN. There followed a kangaroo court proceeding, which has resulted in Inner City Press receiving death threats from Sinhalese extremists in Sri Lanka. 
 Voice of America, then on the UNCA Executive Board, wrote a letter to the UN asking that Inner City Press' accreditation be reviewed; a Freedom of Information Act request showed that VOA said it had the support of Agence France Presse and Reuters (which they tried to censor its anti-Press complaint to the UN by claiming it is copyrighted, here.)
  Now for 2015 Pioli returns. Reuters has on the board its current correspondent though no longer its retired UN bureau chief. Agence France Presse, which had been off the UNCA Executive Committee after having used it to complain about Press reporting on Herve Ladsous, sought to return but was not able. 
 Only News Agency of Nigeria, which ran in 2013, did not run this time: its UN office space was taken away in 2014, ostensibly due to scarcity when UNCA is given a big room that sits empty and locked most of the time. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance -- now again with a chieftain with a documented history of demanding censorship.
  This is the face of UN decay, sanitized if at all by the desire of some to go to parties and balls, free lunch, or a backdoor way into the UN, like Kohona requested and got unilaterally from his former landlord, without written polling of other board members, to screen inside the UN a government rebuttal to a firm that was not shown in the UN. And then a campaign for censorship, triggering death threats. This is the face of UN decay: unsanitizable.

Silva, Pioli and his former tenant, Kohona, censorship demand not shown (but sample audio links here)


Ready for censorship, raised wine glass, Haiti cholera not shown

 As to the Secretary General's race, a November reform letter's signatories include Avaaz, Amnesty International, CIVICUS, Equality Now, FEMNET, Forum-Asia, Global Policy Forum, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, Social Watch, Third World Network, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy and the World Federation of United Nations Associations.
The new Free UN Coalition for Access, formed in response to the decline in media access and transparency generally under Ban Ki-moon, heartily agrees with the need to reform and improve the Secretary General selection process. 
 Candidates so far including Helen Clark of UNDP, who virtually never takes press questions while in New York, the headquarters of UNDP, amiduntransparent layoffs, and Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, an agency which on November 3 led an event about journalists at which not a single question from a journalist was taken. There's also among others, in this SG race we will closely cover, a Latina trio, Kristalina Georgieva, Miroslav Lajcak, Kevin Rudd, Dalia Grybauskaite, Vuk Jeremic, Danilo Turk, Jan Kubis - that is, unlike the UN's Censorship Alliance, at least there is some competition.
Tellingly, after September's General Assembly debate week, UNCA's“complaints” to Ban's Secretariat are to ask for fewer events, for a private wi-fi network for in-house UN journalist and not those who cover to cover the week, and a booklet co-signed with Ban.

UN Censorship Alliance lunch, Feb 11, 2014 including Pam Falk and continuing Kahraman Haliscelik, Sylviane Zehil, Erol Avdovic, Bouchra Benyoussef, Seana Magee, Nabil Abi Saab, Evelyn Leopold, Talal Al-Haj, Melissa Kent, Michelle Nichols, Sangwon Yoon, Valeria Robecco, Sherwin Bryce-Pease, Zhenqiu Gu UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Meanwhile, UNCA makes no mention of restrictions of access that week such as the French mission ordering all non-French journalists out of the UN's Press Briefing Room, and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous physically blocking the Press' camera, Vine here.

  The new Free UN Coalition for Access has raised these issues, publicly, in fliers and in the UN's Press Briefing Room. Tellingly, the UN Secretariat appears ready to limit its "interlocutors" on media access to the very insiders at UNCA who have overseen and promoted the decline in access. 
 Pioli, while strong-arming in his fashion for votes, said no one could simultaneously be a member of the Free UN Coalition for Access and "his" UNCA. Meanwhile, while UNCA tries to demand that it always gets the first question at press conferences, that this is somehow a precedent, at the December 2, 2014, Program of Work press conference by the Chadian UN Security Council President, the first question explicitly went to the Free UN Coalition for Access. That's it: no precedent, no more, particularly with the return of the Censor in chief.
  An analogy that some have now made: it's one thing that Kurt Waldheim was UN Secretary General once. But what would it say about the UN if he were to return, after a haitus, for more time atop the organization? We'll see.
  Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, is appearing in polls as running for president of his native South Korea in 2017. Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson about it, who said Ban is “currently” focused on his current job. This has been repeated in South Korea, here. The UN is being used; the UN is in further decline; there are moves afoot to stem the tide of decay. Watch this site.