Wednesday, May 25, 2016

For Next SG, Slovakia's Miroslav Lajcák Becomes 11th Candidate, Of Malcorra and Malvinas, Sri Lanka, Clark and Team Ban, Debate June 7

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 25 -- And then there were eleven. Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcák early on May 25 confirmed what had long been rumored, that he is a candidate to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General. His announcement Tweet is here. There will be more.

  On May 20 Susana Malcorra told Argentine media that President Macri will nominate her later in the day. She herself was in China, after earlier trips to other P5 capitals.

Sources tell Inner City Press of attempts to address in advance the Malvinas / Falkland Islands issues, to "put it in the freezer," as one source put it.

 Where does she stand on freedom of the press - generally and in the UN? We'll have more on this, and on the positions of Lajcak, et al.

How should the next UN Secretary General be selected, to improve the Organization?
First, how low has the UN fallen, in terms of corruption, not stopping rapes, and retaliating against the Press that asks the questions? On April 16, the UN evicted Inner City Press from its long time UN office, putting five boxes of its files out on First Avenue, video here. The New York Times of May 14 is here.
 On May 3, Inner City Press asked about the UN Development Program's audit into the Ng Lap Seng bribery the UN Secretariat has yet to act on, and asked about UNDP's Helen Clark's campaign and travel. UN transcript:
Inner City Press: Helen Clark has kicked off a campaign trip for next SG, which is obviously within her rights.  But I wanted to ask you again, what are the sort of…  as the head of the UN system, Ban Ki-moon, what are his thoughts on sitting, you know, full-time UN officials…  kicking off a campaign…  essentially a political, you know, campaigning for the next SG site.  Is she taking days off to do that?  Is that…

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  I think that's… I think the details are questions for UNDP.  As far as Secretary-General's concerned, he would expect that any UN official who is in the running for next SG will completely separate those activities from their professional work.

Question:  Who's paying for the travel?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think those details you should ask UNDP. 
  While UNDP which presumably monitors the UN's noon briefing has yet to answer, New Zealand's Mission to the UN did response, on Twitter: 
"@innercitypress NZ Govt covering full costs of #Helen4SG campaign. Helen is taking annual leave for campaign activities."
Press Q: who's paying for this travel? Is unpaid leave being taking from @UNDP? Asked May 3 at noon 
@innercitypress NZ Govt covering full costs of campaign. Helen is taking annual leave for campaign activities.
Inner City Press thanked and replied: "Thanks. Can you say what NZ's budget for @Helen4SG is, as Bokova, Kerim & others have done? #NextSG"
But to that, no answer, at least not yet. UNDP has issued a denial that Clark played a role in retaliating against Lena Sinha for her role in Charles Petrie's report on the UN's failures in Sri Lanka.
 The underlying report, perversely, makes Ban Ki-moon and his Secretariat, primarily responsible for the failures, into heroes; Ban's "envoy" during 2009, Vijay Nambiar, is not even mentioned. (Inner City Press did mention Sinha, back in 2006, here.
 Could Team Ban and the Malcorra loyalists within be trying to put their thumbs on the scale? On the other hand, Inner City Press having been a target takes UNDP's denials with more than a grain of salt.
  But further as to (Clark's) UNDP, where in the promised press conference on the audit? Shouldn't Clark take questions about this audit, under her tenure?
On April 13, Inner City Press asked candidate Vesna Pusic what she would do to avoid corruption; she said keep an eye on everything coming in and going out, and keep the rules simple.
 Inner City Press also asked Danilo Turk if journalists in the UN should have due process rights, which they do not now (he said yes) and about the Haiti cholera case. He said he thought Ban Ki-moon is working behind the scene on compensating the victims. But when Inner City Press asked, Ban's spokesman only spoke about trying to improve sanitation going forward.
  On April 14, Inner City Press asked Vuk Jeremic what he would do to clean up the ongoing corruption shown in the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng case and the audit Inner City Press exclusively put online, here.
  Jeremic replied he would require UN officials to make public financial disclosure (unlike Ban Ki-moon), would strengthen OIOS (whose Ng Lap Seng audit lets Ban off the hook) and protect whistleblowers.
  Inner City Press asked Jeremic, as it has asked the other candidates, to disclosure his campaign's funding. Jeremic said he won't take money from countries, including Serbia which nominated him; he'll "fundraise" and disclose it.
  (Luksic told Inner City Press he will disclosure; Danilo Turk disclosed in a tweet his 40,000 Euro limit).
  The UN of Ban Ki-moon moved to evict Inner City Press, which is asking the question. It happened on April 16, video here and here (Periscope); the New York Times of May 14 is here.

On May 10, Inner City Press asked UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, just before his thematic debate on Peace and Security, what the General Assembly is doing about peacekeepers' sexual abuse and exploitation, and about UN Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous saying it would take 18 months to deploy 3,000 troops to Burundi.

 Lykketoft acknowledged that 18 months is too long -- some think Ladsous overstated it, to take the option off the table -- and on sexual abuse he said beyond the GA punishment is up to the Troop Contributing Countries.
  Even getting to the stakeout to ask Lykketoft this question was hindered by Ban Ki-moon's and Cristina Gallach's UN. Now Inner City Press can only access the Conference Building's second floor with a Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit minder or escort. But on May 10 there was none available.

  Inner City Press, needing to cover the stakeout, asked the UN Spokesperson's office, which had just announced the stakeout over the same public address system it announced the January 29 event in the UN Press Briefing Room for which Inner City Press was thrown out.

 But UN Security said only MALU minders can escort Inner City Press. This is called targeting, and is UN censorship.

 On May 4, Inner City Press at noon asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to confirm or deny that Herve Ladsous told the Security Council it would take 18 months to deploy 3,000 to Burundi.

 Inner City Press sources on this say it is troubling it would take the UN that long. Others surmise the Ladsous is trying to undermine the proposal by making it take so long, or saying it would take so long. This UN needs reform. But who would actually do it? 

  Inner City Press has covered not only the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng / Frank Lorenzo / Sheri Yan corruption case, but also Kutesa's dealings with the highest reaches of Ban Ki-moon's UN Secretariat, for example here and here.

 On February 19, Inner City Press was thrown out of the UN on two hours notice. Audio and petition here. On February 22 Inner City Press was told it was Banned from all UN premises. After three days reporting on the UN from the park in front of it, and stories in BuzzFeed and Business Insider, Inner City Press re-entered the UN on a more limited "non-resident correspondent" pass, under which on March 10 UN Security ordered it to leave the UN as it worked in the UN lobby at 8 pm. Video here; UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric's March 11 justification here.

  The underlying UN rule only says that non-resident correspondents can only come into the UN up until 7 pm. But the UN's goal, it seems, is to prevent or hinder coverage of UN corruption, which usually doesn't take place in the UN Press Briefing Room. (January 29, 2016 and September 8, 2011 -- Frank Lorenzo, UNdisclosed -- are notably exceptions.)

  Lobbying the deciding UN official, Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach, were the honchos of the UN Correspondents Association, including France 24 and, as in 2012, Voice of America. Freedom of Information Act documents here and here. The UN needs a FOIA. But who would actually do it? Watch this site.