By Matthew Russell Lee, Seventeenth in a Series
UNITED NATIONS, December 31 -- 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.
Ban hyped up his appearance in Times Square - where he only stood with De Blasio like a sidekick, waving inanely and promoting a corporation, Planet Fitness. It was a fit ending.
Ban's ambition, then as now, was about South Korea. Here's from Inner City Press' February 2010 stories about one of Ban's already murky South Korean meetings:
"UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 9, updated Feb. 11 -- The schedule of photo opportunities by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for February 9 contained only one item, a 10 a.m. courtesy call with his new Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallstrom. Then at 9:40 a.m. in an alert to UN correspondents, another item was added: a 5:20 p.m. photo op with the head of the Korea Tourism Promotion Corporation, Lee Cham.
Several correspondents scratched their heads, asking Inner City Press by e-mail what to make of the addition. Ban Ki-moon has complained that the media unfairly portrays him as playing to an audience in his home country, South Korea. Most recently, his top adviser Kim Won-soo gave an exclusive on the record interview to JoongAng Ilbo, while eschewing such interaction with non-Korean press. [Update of February 11 -- Ms. Soung-ah Choi has stated, on the record, that JoongAng Ilbo did not have an exclusive interview with Kim Won-soo." There's more to this, but that for now is the on the record version.]
Why then would Ban Ki-moon so openly not only meet with a Korean tourism group, but seek to publicize the meeting with a photo op? To find out, Inner City Press went to cover the photo op. Camera in hand, Inner City Press waited on the ground floor of the UN's new building, dubbed UN-KIA or Bantanamo.
A UN photographer arrived, and Inner City Press traveled up in the elevator with him. On the third, executive floor, Inner City Press submitted to a screening with an electronic wand, and agreed to leave a laptop out in the anteroom.
But just before the photo op began, Mr. Ban's South Korean spokesperson Ms. Choi Soung-ah came up, as the UN's own photographers were entering, and announced that Inner City Press could not enter. You'll have to wait for MALU, she said, referring to the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit.
It was obvious to all that MALU would not arrive on time. So to cite this rule was to exclude Inner City Press from the photo op that the UN itself has publicized.
UN's Ban and S. Korea's Lee, (c) UN -- as of 10pm no KTPC photo on UN.org"
...Ban's spokesperson a the reporter the criteria for covering Ban's travel included multi-media platforms, "coverage of the UN," circulation, history of covering the region and inclusion in the directory of the UN Correspondents' Association. "
UNreal - this group would later move to get Inner City Press evicted, then smash its camera. This is / was Ban's UN. Watch this site - and the Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA.info.
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.
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.