By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 14 -- Today's UN, where so many talk about freedom of the press, has a soft spot for its denial.
On February 19 of this year, as Inner City Press pursued the still-expanding corruption scandal of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng buying General Assembly President John Ashe, and at least a photo op with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Correspondents Association ball, suddenly Under-Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach deactivated its resident correspondents pass and ordered it out.
She did this, she wrote, because of a January 29 "incident" in which Inner City Press tried to cover and report on an event in the UN Press Briefing Room by the UN Correspondents Association, which took money from South South News and gave its funding Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban. On April 14 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcript here:
Inner City Press: I asked you about this event that took place the middle of last year in the GA Lobby and the critique in the OIOS audit that says that… among other things, it says that this violated the rules. DPI [Department of Public Information] didn't stop it. Secretary-General went because it was a one-artist event. But, then I've… I've… I recall back, there was an event held in the… I guess they call it the Secretariat Lobby, the checkerboard floor just below us, in which it was a single artist… it was actually Sheri Yan's father, the indicted and pled guilty Sheri Yan. And I wanted to know, do these same rules… that was done openly. They said openly: "This is my father. These are his paintings." It's not in the audit, but it seems even more extreme in the sense that it was a…?
Spokesman: I think the…
Question: Did that violate the rules, and if so…?
Spokesman: I think the audit is clear on what needs… what parts need to be strengthened. Thank you.
But the UN and its UN Censorship Alliance both claim that UNCA does not play a role in accrediting or eviction journalists - but it's a lie.
In 2012, an UNCA board member bragged of UNCA "quietly" trying to get Inner City Press out, document here.
In 2016, the same UNCA honcho filmed and laughed at Inner City Press' ouster from the UN. UNCA boss and landloard Giampaoli Pioli, whom the UN claims does not control office space, has strutted around even the "bullpen" saying he wants to install a wall -- reminding you of anything? -- even as he tried to sell or rent out Inner City Press' longtime office. We'll have more on this.
On February 19 Inner City Press, from the Security Council stakeout where it was working, was physically ejected from the UN, thrown onto First Avenue along with its laptop (audio here) as two honchos from the UN Correspondents Association stood pre-positioned, laughing and filming. This included the Voice of America correspondent who previously tried to get Inner City Pressthrown out of the UN, here.
Now USG Gallach, who is revealed in the Office of Internal Oversight Services self-serving audit of l'affaireNg Lap Seng was having inappropriately allowed a corrupt event in the Visitors Lobby and even corrupted the UN's slavery memorial, has ordered all of Inner City Press' files, on this and other matters, physically removed on Saturday April 16 from Inner City Press' long time share office in UN.
That same day, April 16, the UN Correspondents Association (whose leadership including Reuters andAgence France Presse with permanent seats, and presidentGiampaolo Pioli who granted a tenant's request to screen his government's war crimes denial film in the UN, (most recent communication here) is quite happy with getting Inner City Press thrown out) is ready to play game with ambassadors -- literally.
Here, before the UN's eviction notice, is the notice which several disgusted UNCA members have sent to Inner City Press, as they did Pioli's come-on to Ambassadors to pay $6,000 to sit next to Ban Ki-moon:
"Dear colleagues, On Saturday, April 16th there will be a soccer tournament with UN ambassadors, diplomats and UN journalists at the Field House located on Pier 62, Chelsea Piers at 23rd street and the Hudson river. The games will take place from 5:30 - 8:00pm, with four teams competing.
Please see the event details and team listings below. Giampaolo Pioli, UNCA President
Soccer Tournament – April 16, 2016; 5:30 - 8:00 pm
*Please plan to arrive by 5:30 pm the latest – there will be a group photo and team discussions
Christian Wenaweser, Liechtenstein, Captain
Stefan Barriga, Liechtenstein
Laura Elena Flores Herrera, Panama
Won-soo Kim, United Nations
Georg Kerschischnig, United Nations
Olivier Maes, Luxembourg
Matthew Rycroft, United Kingdom
Olof Skoog, United Nations
Daniele Bodini, San Marino, Captain
Philippe Bolopion, Human Rights Watch
Omar Hilale, Morocco
Jan Kickert, Austria
Samantha Power, USA
Kai Sauer, Finland
Ioannis Vrailas, European Union
Boguslaw Winid, Poland
Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Tunisia, Captain
Mansour Al Otaibi, Kuwait
Jamal Fares Al Rowaiei, Bahrain
Sabri Boukadoum, Algeria
Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Peru
James Cockayne, United Nations University
Christian Karstensen, Denmark
Andrej Logar, Slovenia
František Ružicka, Slovakia
Team 4 – UNCA Journalists
Giampaolo Pioli, UNCA/Quotidiano Nazionale
Samuel Oakford, VICE News, Captain
Nabil Abi Saab, Al Hurra TV, Deputy Captain
Oscar Bolanos, OMB News
Shotaro Imazu, Fuji TV
Mostafa Keles, Anadolu News Agency
Jessica La Masurier, France 24
Yin Miao, People’s Daily
Waldo Mendiluza, Prensa Latina
Emmanuel Saint-Martin, France 24
Will Pavia, The Times of London
We will have soccer bibs available for the teams. Lockers and showers are available for use at the site. Audience members are welcome and will be seated next to the field and in the mezzanine."
Soccer bibs? While media is being evicted from the UN?
Here is the UN's notice:
To:matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
From: Tal Mekel [at] un.org
Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 6:47 PM
Dear Mr. Lee,
Further to the letter to you from Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, on 30 March 2016, we note that you did not remove your belongings from the office by the 6 April deadline as required.
As you have still not removed your belongings, we wish to inform you that your belongings will be packaged on Saturday 16 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
After carefully packaging them up, your belongings will be forwarded to Bronx NY headquarters address for Inner City Press that you had listed in your media accreditation application. If you wish us to forward your packaged belongings to another address instead, please let us know as soon as possible.
We request your presence during the packing. Please contact the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) to make the necessary arrangements. If you are not present, the packing and forwarding will still take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday 16 April 2016.
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-250
New York, NY 10017
Bibs, indeed. Here is a letter to Ban Ki-moon, not even acknowledged, from the whistleblower protection Government Accountability Project. Since the UN is lawless, here is a petition signed by over 1300 people from all over the world.
Bibs, indeed. We'll have more on this.