By Matthew Russell Lee, Fifteenth 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.It's that Ban wants to be president of South Korea. But what has he accomplished at the UN, even on North Korea?
All the way back in 2007, in the time frame in which South Korean media report Ban took $30,000 in cash in a New York City restaurant (Ban's spokesman denies, and denies he's issued any threat, but won't disclose his letter to Inner City Press, or Ban's net worth in 2007 and now), Inner City Press obtained and published a leak of Ban's “policy” review of the UN's role on the Korean Peninsula.
From Inner City Press' June 4, 2007 exclusive, linking to thememo Inner City Press published:
"UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- As questions mount about the UN's no-visit audit of programs in North Korea, on Monday Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson refused to confirm or comment on a UN memo to Mr. Ban which recommended, more than a month before the North Korea audit report was released, that the UN Development Program resume operations there. Also on Monday other audited agencies did not come forward with responses to the report.
Inner City Press obtained a copy of the "Korea Peninsula UN Policy and Strategy Submission to the Policy Committee" memo on Thursday and in a story on the eve of the audit's release quoted the memo's recommendation that "Unless it is reversed, the UNDP program risks being terminated. Rather than being able to support the six-party talks process and international engagement with North Korea at this critical juncture, the UN will lose its unique comparative advantage in that area altogether."
On Monday, Inner City Press asked spokesperson Marie Okabe:
Inner City Press: On the Department of Political Affairs, there’s this memo from DPA called Korean peninsula: UN policy and strategy. It's dated April 25th and it proposed to Ban Ki-moon three proposals about how to deal with North Korea, one of which is to get the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) back involved. Do you confirm that this document is what it is and what happened? What happened with the policy committee? What did they decide after this presentation? And how does it relate to the UNDP audit?
Deputy Spokesperson: It doesn't relate. First of all, you're talking about reports of a paper that was circulated in some news media. I can tell you that it has nothing to do with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) audit, which you had extensive briefings on on Friday. But what I can tell you about what you read about in these reports is that the United Nations is constantly reviewing its work in all the countries in which it is engaged and a normal part of the process involves preparing options for the consideration of the Secretary-General. The United Nations does not comment on internal documents developed as part of its ongoing work. And that's my response on that.
Question: And there is a policy committee?
Deputy Spokesperson: There is a policy committee that meets frequently. As the Secretary-General is a new Secretary-General, obviously, he is reviewing all the policies of the United Nations.
Question: Do you know who is on the policy committee?
Deputy Spokesperson: It's an internal setup. I'm sure I can find out for you. But it's composed of his senior advisers. I think I'll leave it at that.
[The Deputy Spokesperson later drew the correspondent’s attention to the Secretary-General’s bulletin (ST/SGB/2005/16) that set up the policy committee and lists its membership.]
First, Inner City Press did not base its question on media reports about the memo, but rather on the memo itself, which it now in the interest of transparency makes available to all, click here to view in PDF format.
UN group photo -- how many of the memo's authors are pictured?
So what has Ban accomplished on North Korea?
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.