By Matthew Russell Lee, Thirteenth in a Series
UNITED NATIONS, December 30 -- In the final days of Ban Ki-moon's decade as UN Secretary General, covering up genocides in Sri Lanka, Burundi and Yemen and evicting the Press which asked about (t)his corruption, Inner City Press is reviewing Ban's end, year by year. See also this Twitter Moment.
In 2009, Ban misspoke about his history in Sri Lanka, the mass killing in which he ignored to attend his son Woo-hyun's wedding, and where his son in law Siddharth Chatterjee had previously played an active, killing role.
While Ban would later evict and still restrict Inner City Press, in 2009 his strategy was to get it removed from Google News - and it happened (though it was later reversed). Here's Inner City Press' report from June 3, 2009.
And now Ban threatens to sue, for ambition.
In that connection, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric was quoted, “Ban Ki-moon has lived his whole life, especially during his distinguished career as a public servant both in the Republic of Korea and at the United Nations, with unblemished honesty and integrity.”
UNblemished? Well, beyond nepotism there is a UN bribery case pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, accusing Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng of bribery in the UN including two improper events allowed without due diligence by the UN's Cristina Gallach, who ousted, evicted and is restricting Inner City Press.
And, from October 23, 2009, this Inner City Press report concerning Ng Lap Seng's partner Frank Liu, buying the UN under “unblemished” Ban Ki-moon:
“UNITED NATIONS, October 23 -- After announcing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's participation in a UN Day concert later in the day, Ban's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq declined to answer Inner City Press' questions about whether the concert's sponsors, including the World Harmony Foundation, Frank Liu and/or the World Eminence Chinese Business Forum, had receive payments from businessmen, and if any of these were scheduled for photo-op with Mr. Ban.
Haq, in a nearly empty noon press briefing with no time constraints, nevertheless said that the questions would be answered at another press conference on Friday afternoon, "if you are there." ... An October 23 press release by the World Harmony Foundation states that "Secretary General Ban Ki-moon... tolled the bell signifying world harmony."
The press release was handed to Inner City Press at a surreal breakfast forum held by the WECBA and Frank Liu in Room 6 of the UN's Delegates' Dining Room. A businessman receiving an award stood at the front at a podium with the UN flag and intoned, "please remember that Chinese businessmen are the kindest people in the world."
Another speaker said that more people dying every year from obesity than hunger, and urged those in the audience not to eat too much. The Ambassador of the Dominican Republic urged the assembled businessmen to join the UN Global Compact.”
That would be Francis Lorenzo, of South South News, who has pleaded guilty. (Under Gallach, South South News still has its UN office, while Inner City Press reporting on it remains evicted). Watch this site.
In 2006 after Ban was given the job since he was NOT “God's gift to humanity,” even then he was criticized for close business links with Myanmar, by Djoko Susiloamong others.
And even in 2009, Ban was trying to manipulate press coverage of his engagements with Burma. From Inner City Press 2009:
"UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reportedly still undecided if he will stop in Myanmar on his upcoming trip to Japan, Ban's press office has nevertheless quietly selected the journalists who would be allowed to cover his visit with the country's military rulers.
Until now, the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General has informed at least all resident correspondents at the UN of the possibility of a trip, and to apply if they are interested in going.
This time, Ban's office refused to confirm when asked by the Press that he would go to Myanmar, while behind the scenes pre-selecting which journalists would be allowed to accompany him.
Some see this is a reaction to the increasingly negative media coverage Ban has been receiving. As Inner City Press asked Ban during his last press conference, the Economist rated him three out of ten on speaking truth to power.
Specifically raised was his performance in Sri Lanka where, as covered by Inner City Press, Ban smiled as Tamil children detained by the government were made to sing his name. The goal, some surmise, is to try to avoid that kind of coverage in the future."
As it turned out, Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki-ho would do mining and other business in Myanmar, after being on a “UN delegation.” Ban Ki-moon's nephew Dennis Bahn is said to have used his uncle's name and position while trying to sell real estate in Vietnam. The Bans have yet to answer these questions. Here's the December 26 round-up story by Inner City Press.
Now the South Korean media have picked up on Ban Ki-moon's nepotism as well, reporting that just after Ban Ki-moon "visited Korea at the invitation of the United Nations Global Compact Korea Association... his son Ban Woo-hyun was recruited by SK Telecom's New York office."
Inner City Press has been asking and reporting since 2009 about SK's Chey Tae-won being in the UN Global Compact, for example here.
It was in 2009 that mass killing by the Sri Lankan army against Tamils in the North was occurring. Inner City Press exposed how Ban's Secretariat was hiding the death figures; then amid pressure for him to visit Sri Lanka, Ban declined in order to attend the wedding of his son Ban Woo-hyun. See, Inner City Press of May 11, 2009.
On the morning of December 28, 2016, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's top three spokespeople questions including
"Please state the date and separately content of the Secretary General's last three communications with Chey Tae-won or any other official or employee of SK Telecom, SK or any of their affiliates. Please confirm or deny that the Secretary General's son Ban Woo-hyun was hired at SK Telecom."
Five hours later, the fully paid spokespeople closed their office without answering a single question, and while trying to keep "closed press" Ban's meeting with New York and US officials.
This is entirely consistent with what Inner City Press has witnessed and reported on, leading to and after Ban Ki-moon's ouster and eviction of Inner City Press and restrictions since: nepotism. Like getting his son in law Siddharth Chatterjee hired in Copenhagen then giving him the top UN job in Kenya.
Add to it - not (yet) noticed by the South Korean media, that SK Telecom's Chey Tae-won, who invited Ban, was previously convicted of fraud, NY Times here.
Ban Ki-moon's son Ban Woo-hyun has worked for "a Middle East branch of a New York-based financial company." We'll have more on this.
On December 26 it was reported in South Korea that even while Ban Ki-moon was UN Secretary General, he received $30,000 from a businessman, in a restaurant. See here, including Park Yeon-cha (as well as Vietnamese minister Nguyen Dy Nien) with this quote:
""It would have been early 2007, shortly after Ban took office as Secretary General of the United Nations. New York has a restaurant owner who knows him well. Park called the owner of the restaurant and said, "If Ban comes to eat, give me $ 30,000 as a gift to celebrate the inauguration of the secretary general." In fact, we know that money was handed to Ban. ""
Did the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services ever look into this? We're still waiting to hear from them. As to Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople, they have refused to answer Inner City Press' written questions back to November 25 about Ban Ki-ho, etc.
Ban Ki-moon has largely been immune from accountability for ten years, due to a mixture of sycophantry and, when seen as necessary in 2016, censorship, eviction and restriction of the investigative Press. But in 2017...
It is reported that Ban Ki-moon will push the button to drop the Times Square ball on New Years Eve, seemingly arranged by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's relentlessly pro UN Office of International Affairs (which never answeredInner City Press about any de Blasio position on Ban Ki-moon having shirked accountability for his UN bringing deadly cholera to Haiti.)
But the moment that ball drops, Ban Ki-moon's legal immunity is over. We'll have more on this.
In his first year, 2007, Ban Ki-moon bought in numerous South Korean staffers. Inner City Press asked and was told there was only one, then that there were five, including Kweon Ki-hwan.
Then Ban's spokespeople including Choi Soung-ha chastised Inner City Press for asking, and demanded that the names of 51 South Korea staffers of the Secretariat be removed from Inner City Press' reporting.
Ban's early censorship, which culminated in 2016 with Ban evicting Inner City Press through Cristina Gallach, audio here, and Inner City Press' camera being smashed.
Inner City Press even before Ban's Day 1 asked about financial transparency. It would end, a decade later, with Ban refusing to say who paid for his travel, even what “carbon offsets” he supposed bought.
On Ban's first day at work, after walking in with Vijay Nambiar who would go on to cover up genocide in Myanmar after participating in it in Sri Lanka in the White Flag Killings, Ban was asked about the death penalty (for Saddam Hussein) and replied that it is “up to member states.” His first spokesperson Michele Montas tried to repair the damage.
In late 2016 Inner City Press saw Montas in the UN, from the “focus booth” where it does what work it can after Ban and his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach evicted it from its long time UN office.