Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ban Ki-moon at NYU Claims Invisible Disarmament Wins, Spins S Korea Run

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 22 -- As Ban Ki-moon's time at the UN winds down and he prepares coyly to run for President in South Korea, his packaging of his legacy has become a vanity amateur operation, see below.
While Ban Ki-moon on October 14 gave a speech in Washington DC for which $100,000 sponsorships were sought but a copy of which was never released, for Ban's speech at New York University on November 22, an Inner City Press request, twice, to cover and ask questions at it was rebuffed.
And so Inner City Press follow it, as best it could, via intermittent live stream. Ban rambled in “Being There” fashion about being in Vienna, in New York as General Assembly President's chief of staff, even being in India at significant times. 
The speech was supposed to be about practice steps toward disarmament but mostly involved Ban praising himself, and denouncing North Korea, since he wants to be president of South Korea. What did he accomplish in ten years at the UN? It is UNclear.
   Afterward there were only a half dozen questions, with gushing about being impressed by Ban's “precious comments” -- it was insisted Ban would only take on-topic questions. That is, nothing about nepotism, failure on Yemen (though he did off-handedly mention cluster bombs), much less killing 10,000 people in cholera with Haiti and not paying a penny. 
NYU's president ended with praise and a plug for NYU's overseas campuses. Ban himself is headed on Thanksgiving to the UAE, where “his” (or Spain's) official Bernardino Leon sold out to while ostensibly the UN's envoy on Libya. The UN has fallen into decay but you wouldn't know it at NYU.
There were, it seems, prerequisites to cover this Ban Ki-moon speech. The solicitation stated: 
"In his final weeks as UN secretary-general, Ban will deliver a keynote address [at] NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Center for Global Affairs (CGA)... If you are a member of the press who wishes to cover it, please contact Cheryl Feliciano."
  And so, covering Ban Ki-moon closely, and his promoted son in law at the UN in Kenya, and brother Ki-ho mining in Myanmar, Inner City Press wrote to NYU's Feliciano: "Hi, I cover the UN and would like to cover Ban Ki-moon's Nov 22 speech. This is my RSVP. Please confirm."
  But what came back was a strange request: "Hi Matthew, Do you have an official UN press credential?"
  Inner City Press replied, cc-ing the Free UN Coalition for Access (FUNCA), that "I do. But why would that be a prerequisite to cover a speech by Ban Ki-moon not inside the UN? Please let me know."
  It is particularly strange given that in Washington, at least on October 14, for nothing but money one could hear Ban Ki-moon speak.
  NYU's response came from its director of Media Relations Christopher James:
"The prereq. Is NYPD press Creds or UN press creds. Security being what it is, these are the ONLY acceptable forms of I.D. for journalists. If you are on assignment, please have you editor email us to this effect."
  That is, yet another prerequisite to hear this sure to be groundbreaking speech by Ban "$100,000" Ki-moon... Other attendees include Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and Kim Won-soo a/k/a Ban's Brain or now, shaman. To this has the end of the Ban Ki-moon era at the UN sunk.
Take for further example the hard cover book on Ban's conference table when he met on September 18 with Donald Tusk, President, European Council and Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, European Commission. Inner City Press subsequently went and saw it give to Poland, Chad and it seems clear (all) others, up to Algeria on September 27 when Ban's son in law dodged Press questions in the UN lobby.
It is called “Highlights of the tenure of Ban Ki-moon, 2007-2016.” Inner City Press asked: Why was this done? 
On October 28, Inner City Press asked Ban's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here
Inner City Press: have you read… “Liberation” has a long interview with Anders Kompass, and among other things, he says that when he was first confronted before his badge was taken off and his mobile taken, he was asked about the, quote, boys in Mali, i.e. at the top levels of the high… Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights didn’t even know that it had to do with CAR [Central African Republic], and he calls Ban Ki-moon’s leadership uninspired.  I wanted to know, given that he’s a high-profile UN official, there are other things in it… what do… does the UN have any response…?

Spokesman:  To say that I disagree with what Mr. Kompass said would be an understatement.  I think… Mr. Kompass, as it relates to the CAR and others, those… how they were treated and everything around it was looked into in detail, in impartial detail, by the review panel the Secretary-General put together.  And I have no intention of revisiting it.  We’ve been, I think, as open as possible in updating you where we are on these investigations into the CAR on a regular basis. To say that the Secretary-General takes all these issues of sexual abuse extremely seriously and acts on them, I think, in a very strong way.

ICP Question:  One of the things criticized in that report was the kind of collaboration of OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] and the Ethics Office and the then chief of staff.  And I wanted… Recently you told me to ask the Ethics Office about whether the… whether the propriety of Ban Ki-moon giving speeches for which $100,000 were charged.  Is it true… do they have a spokesperson?  What’s the status?  How is… I thought it’s through you that we’re supposed to ask the Secretariat questions.  Is there an Ethics Office spokesperson?

Spokesman:  There’s no Ethics spokesperson… you can either contact them directly, or we can pass on questions.

ICP Question:  Please do.
 We'll see.
On September 28, after reviewing it then seeing it taken offline, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Beyond the Vine video here, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: You'd said don't review the book until I see it, and I did see it.  I've seen it, and I've read some chapters.  So I wanted to ask… there's something I wanted to ask you about the ones I've seen.  I also noticed that one way that it was online has since been taken offline, which I find it strange.  I don't know if you're aware of that, but somebody…

Spokesman:  The book will be in bookstores within… early October…

ICP Question:  But it was online for sale, and now it's no longer online at all.

Spokesman:  I don't know, Matthew.

ICP Question:  Okay.  But here's my question.  In the chapters that I saw written by various USGs (Under-Secretaries-General), including Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous, Prince Zeid, Mr. [Yukio] Takasu, it didn't seem that, for example, Mr. [Anders] Kompass and the idea of whistleblower protection as to the rapes in CAR (Central African Republic), which is, I think, you would admit is a major event.  It may not be a positive event, but it's not a small event.  It was talked about in newspapers all over the world.  I didn't see it in the book.  So I'm back with the same question:  Is this a book of only highlights, positive events of the Ban Ki-moon era or is it an attempt to do lessons learned?

Spokesman:  This is an open end-of-mission report, if you will, of the Secretary-General and his senior staff of the challenges, the successes and the challenges.  No one has ever claimed that it will be the definitive history of tenures of the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.  My personal sense is that this was a very positive exercise.  Whether it satisfies you or not, you know, c'est la vie, but it's… others will be… you know, others have written about the tenure.  I look forward to your own book.  You know, I don't really know what more words to use about the book.

ICP Question:  I say this because you were saying that it's not a positive spin.  It's a review.  Would you agree that Mr. Kompass… this was a major event?

Spokesman:  Matthew, there are… if you look back ten years, there are a lot of things that happened in the last ten years.  Some of them are more important to different readers than others.  You know, it's… this is why it's an open book, and everybody's entitled to have an opinion about it.  On that, I will close my book
For more than a week, Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople refused to provide the Press with access to a copy of Ban's vanity press book, “Highlights of the Tenure of Ban Ki-moon,” which Ban has given to heads of state throughout UN General Assembly debate week.
   Now we see why. The “General Editor” of the book was Vijay Nambiar, who as Ban Ki-moon's envoy to Sri Lanka lured surrendering fighters to their deaths. 

Now he is editor, on the UN's dime, compiling a book in which each of Ban's Under Secretaries General -- except Cristina Gallach, it seems, who was the publisher, worse -- writes a chapter praising the Dear Leader.