Wednesday, March 15, 2017

After UN Evicted ICP, Sources Says Ban OK-ed It, Of Gallach, W Sahara & Cameroon

By Matthew Russell Lee, SeriesVideo, Reply

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 –  After the UN's eviction of Inner City Press, I couldn't go to the Delegates Lounge anymore with my reduced access pass. But walking past the World Bar in the Trump International Tower, a voice I recognized called my name. It was, how to phrase it, a well-placed UN staffer. Walk with me, he said. I did.

  Ban knew all about it, he began. There was a Monday morning meeting, of all the USGs -- Under Secretaries General - and Gallach brought it up, said you have to be punished. He paused. “A few spoke in favor of you, I won't tell you who because then you'll go after the others. But the point is, Ban listened but didn't say anything. He didn't stop it. It was an implicit OK from him.”

  We had crossed Third Avenue and just kept walking. Hadn't Ban told me, “That is not my decision”?

He ran through other things I didn't know: that John Ashe's former chief of staff had kept her diplomatic status even while the UN was paying her, that Gallach's immediate underlying, formerly of Reuters, had hated Gallach so much she'd taken a demotion from D2 to a D1 in Brussels just to get away from her.

 The guy went bigger picture, as we walked west. “Maybe you're going to have to wait it out for the next SG,” he said. That would be eight more months, seven of them after my pass ran out. Would I stop covering the UN, or really covering it, for half a year? On what basis could or would I return?

  They hate you, he told me. They really hate you. They've always hated you, on issues from Sri Lanka to Western Sahara to Burundi [and now Cameroon]. But when you started asking about Ashe and Ng Lap Seng, tying it to Ban Ki-moon, after you'd already asked about Ban's son in law Sid Chatterjee being promoted and that nephew Dennis Bahn, that was it. He wants to run for President of South Korea, everybody knows it. So this is inconvenient. You're inconvenient. He got you out, and they are going to keep pressing.

  And I'll push back, I said.

  Good luck, the guy said. He'd gotten to his subway stop. That's all I can tell you, he said. And he was gone.

  And on my way back east I chanted it again: Ban Ki Moon.. is corrupt. Ban Ki-moon. Is so corrupt.