By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 21 -- After the UN under Ban Ki-moon killed more than 10,000 people in Haiti by bringing cholera, Ban spent years dodging court papers and the issue.
The UN now says it has a new approach to Ban Ki-moon longstanding impunity for bringing cholera to Haiti. But on October 14, the UN of Ban and his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press thrown out of of the “available” meeting on the new approach.
On November 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to, to ask about Haiti and cholera, also on the immunity front. I'm sure you've seen the story in IRIN where they're saying that very little money has yet been contributed after that meeting on October 13th, but what jumped out at me was a quote by David Nabarro saying, it's hard to have certainty that there will be money without clarity on what the actual material assistance might look like.
So since he's part of the UN's team on cholera and he seems to be saying, like, the time is running out, what is the time schedule for the Secretary-General to… to lay forth his plan? Does he expect to vote on it before he leaves?
Spokesman: We expect the Secretary-General to present his plan next week to the General Assembly, and we'd also try to organise a briefing for you, either on or off the record, prior to that, the day before, so you get a little bit of understanding and deeper understanding of what the Secretary-General is going to propose.
Inner City Press: Request that it be on… on the record.
Spokesman: I hear…
On October 25, Philip Alston gave a press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room, at which a total of two journalists asked questions: the New York Times and Inner City Press. (Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not even list Alston's press conference in his office “Week Ahead.”) Periscope video here.
Inner City Press asked Alston if he saw Ban Ki-moon's UN's impunity for cholera in Haiti as similar to the lack of accountability for rapes, including of children, in the Central African Republic. Alston distinguished the two, saying that some of the problems with peacekeeper sexual abuse are up to member states, and praising Ban for firing Babacar Gaye.
(One wonders if Alston is aware that Gaye's boss Herve Ladsous of France has publicly raped the rapes to “R&R” and that the abuse has continued after Gaye, from Senegal, was fired.)
Alston made an analogy to Ban backing down to Saudi Arabia and its allies and dropping the Saudi led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict annex on Yemen, and said that the United States is similarly pressuring Ban.
Inner City Press while quite aware of the U.S. role asked Alston if that explained for example Ban dodging legal papers, having the press thrown out and if in fact the 11th hour offer of charity might just be to attempt to clean up his legacy for a run for South Korea's presidency.
Alston said he couldn't speak to that, but that he had two meeting with Ban, one in January and another, just with Ban and Ban's deputy. He said he met with the US Mission's deputy ambassador. Inner City Press asked if he meant Isobel Coleman, present in the October 14 “available” meeting Inner City Press was thrown out of and banned from covering. An Alston staff clarified it had been with Deputy Permanent Representative Michele Sison. But what has by the US Mission's and U.S. State Department's role?
Alston decried both the US administration and the UN for failing to provide their legal arguments. As to the UN, this is was also refused, for example, when the UN threw Inner City Press out earlier this year. Here's USG Gallach's first letter and second letter; here's her bogus response to Alston's fellow Special Rapporteurs Kaye and Forst. Here's the UN's memo to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The lawlessness is pervasive.
On October 26, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Dujarric, Video here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask some questions about Haiti. One is about this teenage girl that was shot and killed while awaiting aid. I wanted to know whether the… the media reports say that the UN peacekeepers fired rubber bullets and teargas and that… but they… they… they believe that the girl was killed by Haitian National Police with whom the UN was working. What does the UN know about this death? And… and, again, it seems like you have this teargas and rubber bullet deployment on… on, in this case, a teenager. I mean, I guess it depends on the age. But what was the rationale for the UN using teargas and rubber bullets?
Spokesman: My understanding from the update we received from the mission is that, indeed, one civilian died; two more were injured yesterday around Dame Marie. The harbour was, indeed, secured by the Haitian National Police with the support of MINUSTAH [United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti]. The incident took place as the humanitarian assistance was being offloaded from a ship. There was a demonstration. Uncontrolled movements by the crowd upon the [arrival of the] humanitarian aid led MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police to attempt to contain the potentially dangerous situation. MINUSTAH used crowd control measures, including rubber bullets. The Haitian National Police also participated in crowd control separately. According to initial findings, a woman who was badly injured then died in the hospital. Two other civilians were slightly injured. The investigation is now being launched by MINUSTAH. MINUSTAH extends its condolences and sympathy to victims and family of the deceased. And we, of course, call on all to respect the delivery of humanitarian aid. I think we all understand the frustration of the people in Haiti, but it's important that people respect humanitarian aid. There's an investigation going on. If there is uncontrolled movements of people in a dangerous situation, obviously, they will use appropriate measures including teargas, including rubber bullets, if needed. I'm not going to second-guess the actions of those colleagues on the ground for the time being, but, as I said, MINUSTAH has now launched an investigation.
ICP Question: And I wanted to ask you, in this room yesterday, as I'm sure you know, Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur, said that he… among other things, he said that he believed the Secretary-General had given in to US pressure on his legal position on… on not acknowledging that the UN brought cholera to Haiti and not… and I also wanted to… in looking at Mr. [Jan] Eliasson's response, Alston had asked him to respond to five questions by 12 October. And the letter… that's why I asked you yesterday… it wasn't clear to me, because he did not… there's certainly no numbered bullet points in his response. But what the questions were, what are the political and policy issues that… that make it impossible for the UN to acknowledge or make some legal recognition in payments? Will the illegal [sic] advice of OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] be released? And will the payments, to the degree they're made, be solely ex gratia in order to avoid any type of legal accountability for the cholera?
Spokesman: I think… I'm not going to go into the advice that the legal counsel gave to the Secretary-General. That is privileged, as any relationship between the legal counsel and the Secretary-General. We've explained our position here over and over again. We very much heard what Mr. Alston had to say and what other Member States had to say. The legal position does not prevent us from putting forward effective steps to stop cholera and to bring assistance to those who were impacted by the cholera outbreak. More details of the two-track approach will be released by the Secretary-General, and hopefully, that will answer some of your questions.
QICP Question: But do… it's not my questions. I'm thinking about Mr. Alston's questions. Does the Secretary-General believe that Member States, for example, that get letters from Special Rapporteurs with five questions should, in fact, answer the questions? And I'm asking you because Ms. [Cristina] Gallach didn't answer…[UN cut off reference to SR Kaye, letter with questions here.]
Spokesman: No, I understand… obviously, there's dialogue between Mr. Alston and the Secretariat. That dialogue will no doubt continue. Questions are asked, and they're answered to the best of our ability.
On October 24, Ban Ki-moon gave a grotesque speech about the rule of law, without mentioning his years of dodging legal papers about Haiti cholera, and continued lack of accountability.
At midnight on October 24-25, Inner City Press reported UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston's October 5 letter critiquing Ban's approach -- that it is a travesty that the UN is unable to accept accountability -- and Ban's October 5 response - not even by himself, but by his deputy Jan Eliasson, embarrassingly, here.
On Haiti Cholera, Ban Ki-moon Has Deputy Eliasson Dodge Accountability in Letter to Alston, Here by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd
This is a repeat of impunity. Meanwhile Ban threw David Nabarro under the bus, having him deny science and accountability and spoon-feed quotes to Reuters and AP. This is shameful, and entirely designed to distance Ban himself from his lawlessness and lack of responsiveness, so he can run for President for South Korea. It is time for accountability.Video here.
From the UN's October 24 transcript:
Inner City Press: about Haiti. I wanted to ask you, first, about this report of the… Philip Alston will be presenting tomorrow to the GA about the new approach. He's quite critical of it. He says, "There's not yet a promise of an apology or acceptance of responsibility. The regret and moral responsibility don't do it and set a terrible"… they say… "this will be the ultimate ongoing travesty of justice."
So I wanted to know, one, what… in advance, what the response of the Secretariat is to this critique, two, why Mr. Alston's press release in this room that's set for tomorrow at 1 p.m. wasn't in The Week Ahead and everything else is.
Spokesman: I don't… for some reason, I don't have it on my calendar. If he is booked for this room at 1 p.m., I'm sure somebody will bring me a note, but I don't have him on here.
ICP Question: What do you make of the critique…?
Spokesman: I… first of all, I think we're obviously all looking forward to his briefing in the Third Committee tomorrow. We will take a look at that. We're not going to engage in a tit for tat. Mr. Alston, as all Special Rapporteurs, plays an important role in speaking out freely and independently.
The Secretary-General expressed his deep regret and his personal commitment when he was in Haiti at doing whatever he can for the UN system to help the people of Haiti deal with the cholera outbreak.
Deputy Secretary-General and others have outlined this two-track approach. The full details of it will be announced before the end of the Secretary-General's term.
ICP Question: What I wanted to… I guess… you're saying that you don't want to prejudge it, but I've seen this interview by the Secretary-General or a response by him to Deutsche Welle about…
Spokesman: Is that Margaret Thatcher?
Spokesman: And in Sherwin's phone. Yes, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sounds like one of my old English teachers. Scared me there for a second.
Go ahead. Sorry.
ICP Question: Sure. I wanted to ask, I guess, you're saying not to prejudge, but one of the things that he's most critical of is the Secretary-General's repeated assistance that he doesn't know who brought it. And, just recently, I don't know when this answer was given, but published, I think, today by Deutsche Welle is a quote by Ban Ki-moon where he says, "On Haiti, we should have done more irrespective of judicial immunity or who caused the epidemic." And Alston is saying these comments are… are… create an ongoing judicial travesty when it's entirely clear who caused it.
Spokesman: I… I think people are allowed to disagree. We appreciate Mr. Alston's work. The Secretary-General has made his position… has made his position clear.
The legal position notwithstanding, he is focused until the end of his term on trying to get as much help to the people of Haiti to deal with the issue of cholera on the island.
And tellingly, while Special Rapporteur Philip Alston this week will report on the new approach to the General Assembly's Third Committee and will hold a press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room - Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric omitted this from even his “revised” Week Ahead. Like
Dujarric said when asked why he threw Inner City Press out, he thinks it's HIS room, to do with as he pleases. For how much longer?
Alston's report says, among other things, “there is not yet a promise of an apology or an acceptance of responsibility. The repetition of previous expressions of “deep regret” and “moral responsibility” is nothing new. The “legal position of the Organization”, which is to deny all legal responsibility, is comprehensively reaffirmed. The obligation to provide an appropriate remedy is thus rejected.”
We'll have more on this - and on Ban's cynical public claim to be focused only on the UN until December 31, while giving a “private” speech to the Council of Korean Americans on the same October 14 his UN was ousting Inner City Press, yet again, this time from the Haiti cholera meeting - a speech for which the Council on Korean Americans sought $100,000 sponsorships.
On October 20, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: there are, in fact, 800 new cases of cholera since Hurricane Matthew. And I wanted to know, given the UN's role in having brought cholera to Haiti, the outcomes of that meeting on Friday, have any pledges been made? And what does the Secretary-General himself, personally feel about… it's one thing to say sanitation causes its spread, but if the UN caused the introduction of the strain of cholera… what's his response?
Spokesman: I would refer you back to what the Secretary-General himself said in Haiti. You can look it up. I think it was, it was very personal and very heartfelt, and that stands. We're very well aware of the increased cases of cholera. I think Dr. Nabarro, who was down there earlier this week, even said they were probably underreported. I think all of that, it just underscores the need to deal with the outbreak, both quickly in terms of sending out chlorine and water purification tablets and other medical supplies. And as we've said, we're working on this two-track approach, and more details will be unveiled very soon.
ICP Question: I'd asked or begun asking about teargas last time. And I wanted to just know what your response is. It seems like it was reported that teargas was used on “looters”, but there's footage of people taking infant children on motorcycles to get the teargas used by MINUSTAH had washed off them. So, what is… what's the protocol for MINUSTAH and UN peacekeepers to use teargas…?
Spokesman: It is very important for MINUSTAH to be able to protect the humanitarian convoys. They're doing their best. If there are any issues that need to be investigated, they will.
On October 13 Ban's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric said speeches by three UN officials the next afternoon would be available.
Inner City Press went on October 14 to cover it, and began Periscoping the largely empty Conference Room 2. See video here. Will Ban use this as his new excuse to leave victims without recourse, just as he is trying to use Hurricane Matthew as a reason to not move forward with his belated promise?
Down on the floor were the three UN speakers, and UN official Cristina Gallach who previously ordered Inner City Press out of the UN and its office as it sought to cover corruption by her, and Ban Ki-moon, as part of the Ng Lap Seng bribery case. Also in attendance: the US Mission to the UN's ambassador in charge of management and reform Isobel Coleman, who was asked to act on the UN's eviction of the Press but did nothing.
During the speech of envoy Sandra Honore, the second of the three UN speakers, Inner City Press was told to leave the media booth and the meeting. When Inner City Press said, check the noon briefing, it was ignored. Upstairs, Dujarric who it is appears is being replaced stayed staring at his desktop computer and said, that's how it is. He previously got Inner City Press thrown out of an event in the UN Press Briefing Room, see here and here.
On October 17, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: as you may have seen, Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, while he was there, said it was out… quote, it is outrageous for the Secretary-General to come to Haiti… and I'll simplify it to say… to not directly address the UN's culpability for having brought cholera. So I wanted to get your response to that. Also, in terms of media coverage, I did want to ask you why, during the meeting in Conference Room 2 on Friday on this very topic, the press was ejected while Sandra Honoré was speaking. Was there some miscommunication? And I have other questions.
Spokesman: On the second part, what I said both on Thursday and Friday is that the meeting would be open to webcast. I never said the meeting was open.
ICP Question: What's the difference? If a meeting can be seen on television, why can't the press be there…?
Spokesman: Matthew, that's just the way it is.
ICP Question: The room was empty and I think…
Spokesman: Everybody… the room was… it was attended by key Member States, and I think we were very pleased with the meeting.
ICP Question: Then why not let the press go?
Spokesman: And you were able to follow the issues on the webcast. On your first part, obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think the Secretary-General did address, head on, the issue of cholera and, again, expressed his… his regret and his compassion and underscored that the UN would be… is currently working on a plan… on a two-track plan to address the issue of cholera in Haiti, as the Deputy Secretary-General and others did on Friday, and he will go back to the General Assembly soon with a great… with more details.
ICP Question: I want to ask about the use of tear gas in Haiti.
Spokesman: I'll come back to you.
It has yet to be answered.
As Ban Ki-moon nears the end of his term as UN Secretary General, with his eye on running for president of South Korea, he or his advisers have adopted a new strategy: do nothing, but tell eager media they are doing something, or will do something.
That was the case again on September 29, when UN official David Nabarro, already running to head WHO, spoke to a single media outlet about Ban's twice announced, yet to be implemented about-face on Haiti cholera. Beyond the Vine video here; UN transcript here: and below.
On October 13, with Ban on his way to Haiti, Inner City Press asked his spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the World Bank and Ban's role in helping a South Korean garment firm get a sweet deal in Haiti. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Haiti, and disaster risk reduction, which I saw a statement by the Secretary-General on today. There's a World Bank-managed fund called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, which redirected $14 million that had been earmarked as natural disaster mitigation. He… they earmarked it… redirected it to energy projects. And people are pointing to this as saying, like, is there some coordination between what the UN says and what the World Bank does? And also, I'd been meaning for some time to ask you about a report… maybe you'll deny this… that for the for the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti, "With the help of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean trade minister, the organizers recruited Sae-A Trading Co., a South Korean-based global garment giant that supplies many of the clothes you buy at Target, Wal-Mart, Gap, Old Navy and stores…”
Spokesman: I'm not aware.
ICP Question: Are you aware of that? Can you ask him whether, in fact, he played a role in…?
Spokesman: I'm not aware of the report. On your first question, I think it's a question for the World Bank.
On October 10 Ban Ki-moon held a two-question stakeout and spoke about Haiti and Hurricane Matthew and even cholera, but made no mention of reparations. As he walked away, Inner City Press audibly asked, what about reparations. Vine here. There was no answer, nor when Ban came out of an untelevised meeting on “financial solutions” later in the day. Financial solutions for whom?
There was a meeting all afternoon about Haiti, but no stakeout afterward, a trend in the UN of Ban Ki-moon and his peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous. The UN early in the day said only 900 were killed by its cholera; it was changed, after complaints it seems, to 9000.
On October 11, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript:
Inner City Press: at the stakeout yesterday, when the Secretary-General was speaking about Haiti, he didn’t mention the… the second part of what Dr. [David] Nabarro had talked about, which is a… seemed to be $181 million to improve water, water and sanitation and an amount equal or greater than that to somehow try to make whole people that were… or try to, that were the victims who had family members die from cholera. Is that… was it just an omission on his part, or do you think…?
Spokesman: No, I think the plan as outlined in greater detail by Dr. Nabarro stands, and we hope to be able to announce something by the Secretary-General soonish.
ICP Question: And can… I understand the formal announcement is coming, but given that Dr. Nabarro said these things in an interview… it wasn’t a leak or anything else, what is the Secretary-General’s plan, to meet with Member States and ask for money for each of these two baskets…? [inaudible]
Spokesman: He will come back to the General Assembly with a more formal proposal and, obviously, a need for those proposals to be generously funded.
On October 7 in the deadly aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: Even though the guest from Haiti didn't come, I just wanted to ask one question about that, which is I've seen… I guess Dr. [David] Nabarro is down… he's tweeted that he's down in Washington. He's meeting with the US and others about the possibility of the spread of Cholera in the wake of this hurricane. So I wanted to know, is what he had described to AFP of $181 million and an equally-sized or larger fund for reparations for victims of the Cholera that was apparently brought by the UN, is what he's discussing down in Washington separate from that or part of that?
Deputy Spokesman: He's discussing the situation in Haiti including, as the circumstances now have dictated, the current situation, which is the hurricane and its impact. But of course, there are concerns, including the issue of Cholera, and I do believe that in the coming weeks, the Secretary-General will also have more to present to the Member States on this.
September 29 transcript:
Inner City Press: On Haiti, I've seen this interview by David Nabarro, I guess with AFP (Agence France-Presse). It's mostly in French, and it seems to be saying that… previewing the plan and saying some $181 million in renewed funding and at least that amount in reparation to victims to be announced by late October. So since he said it and he works for the Secretary-General, is that the current thinking? Is that a solid commitment of $181 million for…?
Spokesman: I think what we're talking about is really a minimum. There really… I think the Secretary-General was very clear. He said he would come back to the General Assembly. He has talked about the moral responsibility that the UN has towards the victims of the cholera epidemic and also helping Haiti overcome the structural issues it has in fighting waterborne diseases. There really are two tracks to this new approach that the Secretary-General will announce in more details later. One would be to intensify support to the country for cholera control and response and address the sanitation issues. And the second one would be to provide material assistance and support to those Haitians who have been most directly affected by cholera. Now, both of those will require generous and active participation of donors. There has been… you know, I think, for the two-track approach, it will be more than $185 million, as I think… I think Mr. Nabarro was really talking about a minimum for one of the tracks. We've had some initial contacts with donors, and we'll continue to do so. And, as I said, the Secretary-General will present a more detailed plan soon to the General Assembly.
ICP Question: And what's his goal… I mean, I'd heard some reference to the… I mean, is it tied in any way to the… to the budget committee here, or is it something he aims to raise? Does he aim to raise this money or get the commitments before he leaves office, or is he announcing it in October with… what's the…
Spokesman: No, I think the Secretary-General aims to get this well underway before he leaves office. Obviously, this will not come out of the regular budget. It will have to be funded by donors, but it is something he does… he wants to leave on a solid footing by December.
On Auugst 18 after years of harming families in Haiti after bringing cholera there, Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq -- who accused Inner City Press of “bullying” him for actually asking follow up questions -- with a single email casts Ban Ki-moon as reformed on accountability. Has Ban done anything? No. He dodged legal papers.
Likewise after dropping Saudi Arabia from the Children and Armed Conflict annex on Yemen, and issuing surreal statements equating Saudi airstrikes to low-tech firing across the border, a Ban defender quoted unanmed Ban officials that Ban is about to do something.
On August 18, Inner City Press asked Haq, Vines here (Haiti) and here (Yemen), UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: to deal with the Haitians impacted, and these obviously include families who lost a… a family member or breadwinner who died due to the cholera. So, I guess what I'm wondering is, there are headlines all over the world saying Ban Ki-moon is acknowledging his responsibility and putting it in a very positive light. What… what exactly… I mean, what would you say to a theory that says that these… this combined with the Yemen announcement that Ban Ki-moon may or may not write to the Saudis and reiterate his list is sort of an attempt to make… the Secretary-General is taking action on these two controversial topics without actually doing anything. What has he actually done? Is he going to write a letter to Saudi Arabia? They're two issues. I'm mixing them because I see…
Deputy Spokesman: You're kind of mixing two topics. If you’re…
ICP Question: They came out on the same day, and they're both quoting unnamed UN officials, and the other one quotes you. So, what is actually being done on these two topics?
Deputy Spokesman: Indeed, I'm a named UN official. And what I can say about Yemen, on the question of a letter… ultimately, what I can say is that there's an ongoing review of measures that the Saudi-led Coalition is taking to stop and prevent violations against children and other civilians in Yemen. That review is continuing. And, as you would expect, as part of that review, there will be communications back and forth.
ICP Question: Right, but, so, it… unless that story is inaccurate, there are senior Ban Ki-moon officials saying that this letter's going out. And so, stories come out saying Ban Ki-moon's getting tough with the Saudis. Is this… given that the statement yesterday sort of equated a relatively unprofessional attack across the board onto Saudi Arabia with airstrikes from the air that have been ongoing for days, what is… what's the timeframe for him to take action on Saudi Arabia? Two months, as well?
Deputy Spokesman: I don't think that there's an equation. I think, if you've noticed, in the last four days, there have been three statements about Yemen. Each of them say fairly tough things, and each of them apply across the board to the need to protect civilians and particularly children in Yemen. That's one of his priorities.
ICP Question: Does he now think it was a bad idea to take them off the list, that this may have emboldened them to take these airstrikes?
Deputy Spokesman: What we have said repeatedly is that they continue to be under review. That review is ongoing.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's “Special Envoy For Disaster Risk Reduction and Water” Han Seung-Soo is listed on the board of directors of South Korean firm Doosan Infracore - which does business with the UN. Was this approved by Ban Ki-moon? Now it seems Yes. But should it have been?
Especially when, as now, it is exposed that Doosan has billion dollar business with Saudi Arabia, to whose money Ban deferred in dropping the Saudi-led Coalition from the UN's Children and Armed Conflict Yemen annex? This is Ban's UN: see new Inner City Press 47-minute film here, "Banning the Press: Corruption in the UN of Ban Ki-moon, John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng, Yemen."
As Inner City Press first reported and asked about on August 11, Han Seung-soo is on the board of directors of Standard Chartered bank, awarded the UN's master banking services contract (see this UN document, at Paragraph 50), and a brokerage contract (UN Procurement website, here).
When Inner City Press asked about this and how many OTHER board Han is on that do business with the UN, Ban's spokesman Farhan Haq cut off the questions and claimed Inner City Press was “bullying” him. Video here