Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ban Ki-moon NYU Speech Has Prerequisites While $100,000 Speech Withheld

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, November 18 -- 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.
It is now even worse that we thought. 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, now for a speech at New York University, an Inner City Press request, twice, to cover it has been rebuffed.
There are, 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. 
On September 27, Inner City Press asked a number of the Unde Secretaries General who wrote chapters about the book, and asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I'd been asking for some time now about this book, and I've actually now seen a copy of it.  So I wanted to ask you, seems that the general editor was Vijay Nambiar, and there's 15 chapters.  And they're written by various USGs (Under-Secretaries-General).  Mr. Ladsous wrote the one on peacekeeping.  So I just… I wanted to know, I think when I first… how much time… how much of Mr. Vijay Nambiar's time as Special Adviser on Myanmar was devoted to editing this 15-chapter book?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as you know, he's a Special Adviser with a series of portfolios.  It's not restricted simply to the situation in Myanmar, although that has devoted an amount of his time.  But in terms of their work, a lot of people were involved simply doing basically a lessons learned exercise, in terms of things that we either did well or could have done better over the course of Ban Ki-moon's tenure.  That was the point of that exercise.  And regarding the book, I believe it is to be published sometime in the latter part of October.

ICP Question:  When you said like lessons learned, like, I was reading in the chapter by Prince Zeid about… about Rights up Front.  It doesn't seem to mention Sri Lanka and the reason that the policy was elucidated.  So I guess… can you point… I guess when it's released… it's actually been… it's now available.  I wanted to know how it's consistent, having these USGs write chapters about their own departments, saying Mr. Ban did this, Mr. Ban did that, with the idea of a lessons learned exercise?

Deputy Spokesman:  It's consistent insofar as they're the experts about the work of their respective bodies.  Of course, the overall book will touch on most of the issues that happened over the course of the Secretary-General's tenure.  And it does include, of course, things that could have been handled better, as well as things that went well.  But the idea is to offer some sort of guide for the next Secretary-General about how things were conducted over this ten-year phase. 
 And then an online version was "deleted" by the UN, photo here tweeted by Inner City Press.
Did any of the USGs resist? As set forth below, Herve Ladsous had an interest in penning the chapter to exonerate himself (and blame Babacar Gaye) for the rapes in the Central African Republic. Kim Won-soo is already promoting Ban's South Korea Presidential run. But Stephen O'Brien? Jeffrey Feltman? Helen Clark? We'll have more on this.
The Peace Operations chapter is ascribed to Herve Ladsous, under whom the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has been involved in more and more sexual abuse and exploitation scandals. (Ladsous, who refuses Press questions, publicly linked the rapes to “R&R,” video here.
  Ladsous' chapter says that after rapes in the Central African Republic “Mr. Ban... in an unprecedented measure demanded the resignation of the head of MINUSCA,” Babacar Gaye. Since the abuses continued after this scapegoating, it is a laughable conflict of interest for Ladsous to write this chapter of Ban Ki-moon's vanity press book. Here is a photo of Ladsous' spin of cholera in Haiti.
The Human Rights chapter, ascribed to Jordan's Prince Zeid, is also an embarrassment. It brags about “Rights Up Front” without describing how Ban Ki-moon's failure during the Sri Lanka bloodbath on the beach in 2009 led to the stated change in policy. 
Tellingly, Sri Lanka's president this week has bragged that Ban put now pressure on him for accountability during their bilateral meeting. Too busy hawking the vanity press book.
   This book calls Rights Up Front “ground-breaking” while burying without mention Ban's failure in Sri Lanka. Instead it brags of Ban's action in... FYROM. This is a fraud. 
Whether Zeid, who was selected for his position by Ban (putting the objectivity of the chapter into question, to put it diplomatically) actually wrote the chapter is not clear: he refers to himself in the third person. Perhaps it is catching.

  The page on which Ban's supposed “Rights Up Front” is laundered also describes the “Human Rights Screening of UN Personnel,” involving certification by countries which nominate officials and attestation by the individuals nominated. Inner City Press has asked Ban's spokesman if Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee made this attestation with regard to his activities in Sri Lanka -- without answer. We'll have more on this.