By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 18 -- As Ban Ki-moon's time at the UN winds down and he prepares coyly to run for President in South Korea, his packaging of his legacy has become a vanity amateur operation.
Take for example the hard cover book on his conference table when he met on September 18 with Donald Tusk, President, European Council and Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, European Commission. It was called “Highlights of the tenure of Ban Ki-moon, 2007-2016.” Inner City Press asks: who wrote it? Who paid for it? Why was this done?
For the next meeting, with Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, another copy of the Ban vanity book was out, along with a pen to sign it.
By the last meeting of the day, after Inner City Press tweeted then first published this story, the copy of the book for UNASUR's Ernesto Samper Pizano was covered up with a file by Ban's staff. Is this on the level?
In the hall was the office of Nardos Bekele-Thomas, moved out of the top job in Kenya so Ban's son in law could occupy it before Ban leaves. Legacy, indeed....
The Friday before UN General Assembly week starts in earnest, reporters at the UN were told of some of the upcoming meetings and how, despite restrictions, to cover them.
Inner City Press asked the head of the UN's Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach why DPI says the non-resident correspondents, the vast majority of journalists covering the UN, will be placed in basement Conference Room 1 where no only food and beverages but even water is not allowed.
(In Ban's conference room there is water and, we've noted at his all-Korean meeting, tea.)
Gallach's reply cited to “professionalism” and rules, both of which she invoked when she ousted and then evictedInner City Press from the UN earlier this year.
Ironically, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric less that an hour later explained having violated the rules (about those without cameras not attending photo ops) so that South Korean print journalists could witness Ban's speech to politicians visiting from Seoul.
The UN's rules are selectively implied, in this case to censor.
On September 16, Inner City Press asked Gallach about the since-released Office of Internal Oversight Services audit, which found that her DPI did not due diligence on events by Ng Lap Seng fundees.
Gallach said that the outside event - the case in Federal court - is being followed. So Inner City Press asked for her response to testimony in the case that South South News, which unlike Inner City Press the rule-invoking Gallach left in its UN office despite or because of it not asking any questions at the UN, was named as a “conduit of bribery.” This, she did not answer.
After the briefing, which included film maker Richard Curtis whom Inner City Press asked about the Next SG race, Gallach's staffer asked for further information about the water(less) issue.
Inner City Press added the exclusion of non-resident correspondents from access to the UN's EZTV which shows more events than the UN webcast. See flier here of the Free UN Coalition for Access, also ejected and sign torn down under Gallach. What will change? We'll see. Watch this site.