By Matthew Russell Lee, English-language exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- The propriety of privatizing the UN General Assembly Hall on July 12 for a “debate” of the candidates for UN Secretary General, first raised by Inner City Press to the President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft and UN spokespeople before the event, has now been questioned on financing and transparency by Permanent Five Security Council member Russia. Tweeted photo of three page letter here.
While the UN never answered Inner City Press' questions about who was paying the costs of the event and why there was no UN Television stakeout in front of the GA Hall for other, non-Al Jazeera journalists to pose their questions, the financial question is squarely raised on page 2 of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin's letter, here.
Inner City Press on July 12 noted that Al Jazeera did not ask about about Ban Ki-moon dropping the Saudi-led coalition from the UN's Children and Armed Conflict annex for its killing of children in Yemen. Given that Russia has written this letter to Lykketoft, some may say it is a push-back against Al Jazeera's (or the Qatari royal family's) position on Syria.
But the financial questions are good ones, who ever raises then, especially in the wake of the bribery scandal involving former President of the General Assembly John Ashe, recently killed by a falling barbell while lifting weights alone in his house after twice collapsing unconscious while similarly alone. We'll have more on this.
Before ten candidates for Next UN Secretary General on July 12were asked questions in a General Assembly Hall given over to Al Jazeera, Inner City Press asked the UN and the President of the General Assembly (PGA) why there was no UNTV stakeout in front so other journalists could ask questions. None was provided but Inner City Press was told to just go there after the debate and ask questions. Then it was Banned from the stakeout due to Ban Ki-moon's eviction orders.
Here from multiple sources are the results of the first straw poll; Inner City Press can also exclusively report that questions have arisen about dual nationality of some candidates, including Susana Malcorra (Italy), Christiana Figueres (France) and Vuk Jeremic (Germany), beyond their listed countries which nominated them. It should be noted that the UN's “PHP” forms require such disclosures.
From multiple sources, results of the first straw poll, in the format of Encourage - Discourage - No Opinion:
Antonio Guterres: 12-0-3
Danilo Turk: 11-2-2
Irina Bokova: 9-4-2
Srgjan Kerim 9-5-1
Vuk Jeremic: 9-5-1;
Helen Clark: 8-5-2
Miroslav Lajcak: 7-3-5
Susanna Malcorra: 7-4-4
Christiana Figueres: 5-5-5
Natalia Gherman: 4-4-7
Igor Luksic: 3-7-5
Vesna Pusic: 2-11-2
The July 12 debate had questions mostly from Al Jazeera - no mention of Saudi / Yemen or the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case -- and from ambassadors. Whereas Al Jazeera had not asked the first panel of five candidates about peacekeeper sexual abuse, Liechtenstein to its credit did. But the follow up on the firing of whistleblower Kompass was not put to Susana Malcorra on the first panel, who was involved in the firing.
Likewise on Haiti cholera, without follow up Helen Clark said that she wouldn't comment on reparations because there is a case in the courts. But in this case, the UN - or really, the US for the UN which refuses to show up in court - is arguing for immunity. So the obvious question to candidates would be, would you waive immunity? Not asked.
Christiana Figueres raised her hand on giving an apology, but again said no to reparations. Ultimately, that's impunity.
After the July 12 “debate,” which entirely omitted the obvious question of outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dropping Saudi Arabia from the UN's Yemen Children and Armed Conflict list was never asked by Al Jazeera, and even the name of former PGA John Ashe indicted for bribery including of Ban's Secretariat, Inner City Press ran to go ask those questions in front of the GA.
But it was not possible: the UN Media Accreditation office was closed, and no UN security officer on duty at the turnstile that Inner City Press' Ban-reduced pass no longer opens.
The eviction was for seeking to cover an event, nowhere listed in writing as closed, to pursue the Ng Lap Seng UN briber case; the ouster and eviction order were by Cristina Gallach whose participation in Ng's South South Awards Inner City Press asked her about, and whose lack of due diligence of Ng's Global Sustainability Foundation as it sponsored the UN's slavery memorial are criticized in the UN's own audit. This is today's UN: it must be cleaned up.
UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: the UN bribery case of Ng Lap Seng has now had a superseding indictment that accuses Mr. Ng of buying benefits from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and expands the time limit of the case up to September 2015. So, one, I'm wondering if you have any comment on this, as it seems to be an expanding case. And, two, I want to reiterate the request now for several months that UNDP hold a press conference, at least on the audit that it released, and… and state where… why the money that was given…
Spokesman: I think on your… on your second part, you can address that request to UNDP.
Inner City Press: I have.
Spokesman: I have not seen the new indictment, so I cannot comment on it.
Inner CityPress: You had said from here that they would do it. I've spoken to the head of the office, and he hasn't done it. I'm wondering, has the Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, head of the system…
Spokesman: I know where we are.
Inner City Press: Cover up.
Spokesman: You're always free and have always been free to express your opinions.
Dujarric said Inner City Press is free to say what it wants . Yes: from the street, to which Ban and his Head of Communications, with an assist from Dujarric, first threw Inner City Press on February 19 (audio here) then evicted its files (Video here.) On July 1, Dujarric at noon said he hadn't read the superseding indictment. Then he left the UN just after 3 pm, with no briefing for six days. This IS a cover up, on which we're have more.