Thursday, March 30, 2017

After UN Evicted ICP, Frozen Out on Press Freedom Day, Gallach's South South News Pushed Back

By Matthew Russell Lee, SeriesVideo, Reply

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 – After the UN evicted and restricted me it was soon "UN World Press Freedom Day." I went to Conference Room 4 to ask a question. But justafter I went in, the UN's evicter Cristina Gallach said she had to leave. Her deputy who'd applied for Gallach's job but been passed over, took almost no questions, tweeted back at me that in any event I'd left. Yeah: to go up to the noon briefing, the only place I could ask anything anymore. So I asked, how can you do this? Kofi Annan-era spokesman Stephane Dujarric called it a personal question and left the podium. This is what it had come to.

  As I teed off on the UN for corruption, I was being teed off on by the corrupt: they did the work for the UN. Sure, the United Nations Correspondents Association or UNCA had done this. But now a reconstituted South South News did it too, calling out in a press release first unnamed “independent journalists,” then when that didn't work, Inner City Press by name.

  And Reuters covered it. Not the UN bureau, but Reuters' courthouse guy. They all worked as a team, as an industry, a monopolySouth South News said it was unfair and unprofessional to even mention that their founder and former president Francis Lorenzo had pleaded guilty to bribery, and vice president Vivian Wang too. They were a new team, they said - no names were given - yet this blogger kept attacking. Of course, the UN continued to give South South News as office, while evicting Inner City Press into the street. But South South News, it seemed, wanted Inner City Press shut up completely. How could they accomplish it?

  Alongside my other projects including my exclusion log, now for no one, I kept my eyes out for the South South crew. One afternoon in the basement near the Vienna Cafe I saw a former South South big wig, Carlos Garcia of El Salvador, talking with a white and white-haired man with three what looked to be interns. I staked them out, taking a few photos, then following the white haired man and his encourage down what's called The Neck and into the General Assembly basement.

  The white haired man sat on one bench talking on his cell phone; the entourage, now including a beefy guy I dubbed The Russian, sat on another, waiting. I set up on a table in the Visitors' Cafe. I filmed some but didn't live-stream, not wanting to blow my cover. Who were these guys? It was a race against time.

 Online I found another constellation, including Carlos Garcia and some others: the Global Governance for the UN SDGs. I asked about GGUNSDG, whose webmaster had been Ng Lap Seng's, at the noon briefing; South South News put out another press release trashing me. Who were these meant for? To help the UN further target me? The UN Corruption Alliance?