By Matthew Russell Lee, Twenty Second in a Series
UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- At the end 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 tenure, year by year. See also this Twitter Moment.
And now Ban aver evicting the Press in New York threatens to sue, for ambition.While Ban threatens further necessary measures according to one Korean media -- Ban refused to release the threat letter; Inner City Press appeared on JTBC television news in Korea, here -- others are given statistics about how much Ban traveledduring his UN decade.
This special service to some Korean media, while evicting the investigative Press, was a hallmark of the Ban era, which early on featured false Ban claims of transparency, which would culminate in 2017 with Ban unwilling to state his net worth in 2007 and now. From Inner City Press' 2011 story:
"UNITED NATIONS, January 28 -- Rather than admit that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon misspoke when he claimed two weeks ago that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press on Friday, “I wouldn't get hung up on the ninety nine percent figure as a mathematical absolute, because it is also a metaphorical expression, that nearly everyone” disclosed. Video here, transcript below.
But this claim of 99% transparency has been Ban's response to questions about the UN's lack of accountability under his watch. On January 14, Ban told the press that “now ninety nine percent of senior advisers of the United Nations have declared their financial assets publicly on the website.”
Inner City Press reviewed the UN's web site and found that this was not the case. On the eve of hearing before the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee about the UN, Inner City Press published a list of the many Ban officials who instead of making even basic disclosure state that “I have chosen to maintain the confidentiality of the information disclosed by me in order to comply with the Financial Disclosure Program.”
The officials not making public disclosure range from Ban' two Sudan envoys Ibrahim Gambari and Haile Menkeriosthrough Rule of Law chief Dmitry Titov to Ban's close ally and envoy to Cote d'Ivoire Choi Young-jin.
The lack of public disclosure came up at the House of Representatives hearing on January 25, and Inner City Press that day and each day since has e-mailed Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky with this request:
“Please explain Ban Ki-moon statement that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclose in light of the actual, much lower figure on [the UN website], with non public disclosure by inter alia Gambari, Choi Young-jin, Jan Mattsson, Greg Starr, Iqbal Riza, Terje Roed-Larsen, Said Djinnit, Mr. Diarra, Ajay Chhibber, Haile Menkerios, Ray Chambers, Peter Sutherland, dead links Nicolas Michel and Achim Steiner, only "outside activity" and no finance or clients for Alexander Downer, Douste Blazy, etc.”
Nesirky, who on January 21 after Inner City Press asked about the UN's seeming failure to comply with its own Regulation 1.2 said he wouldn't answer any more questions until Inner City Press somehow acted “appropriately,” never answered this e-mail question."
After Ban Ki-moon evicted in 2016 one of the most active media at the UN, this cannot be repeated or continued in 2017. 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.
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.