Friday, July 23, 2010

Ban Ki-moon's UN Called Secret on Corruption, Silent on Torture from Sri Lanka to Sudan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- The widening gap between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's rhetoric and what his administration actually thinks and does was on display on July 22. Ban preaches about transparency and accountability, but he was represented Thursday by a person who opaquely demanded to be identified as a “senior UN official” - that is, without accountability.

Ban's “senior UN official,” when asked by Inner City Press why under Ban moves toward a UN Freedom of Information Act were curtailed, replied, “ask the member states, let them legislate, then we'll do it.” He paused. “If the member states insist, our way of decision making would have to be modified” for “this kind of perfect transparency.”

But back on May 3, Ban intoned that “I welcome the global trend towards new laws which recognize the universal right to publicly held information. Unfortunately, these new laws do not always translate into action. Requests for official information are often refused, or delayed, sometimes for years... Too often, this happens because of a culture of secrecy and a lack of accountability” Ya don't say.

Inner City Press asked Ban's senior UN official to explain what if anything he has done about the military dictatorship and impending scam election in Myanmar, a country where Ban's administration allowed and covered by the theft of over 20% of UN aid funds by the Than Shwe regime using foreign exchange requirement the UN never complained about until exposed by this publication.

The official declined to give any specifics, but said

If you are leading on several fronts, you are not leading on any. Things take time; some things take time. Effort for us is a great thing. The kind of effort you make on particular issues is important. There is a definition of bureaucratic action: it is like elephants mating. There’s a lot of noise, and it take years to see the result.”

But Ban has had more than three years, and in the next six months on elections in not only Myanmar but also South Sudan, leadership is sorely lacking. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky this week why the UN has said nothing about reported torture of South Sudan referendum supporters. Nesirky said, it's “not our job to police the police.”

The senior UN official on Thursday, speaking more general of Ban, said that

He has called himself a carpenter, not an architect. The way he handled climate change was to take on the larger role. But on other issues – DRC, Sudan – he’s taken the nuts and bolts role. He has generally had a predisposition to look to practical aspects; he has taken a practical approach. That is part of his training.”

Apparently, “practical” means staying silent in the face of torture. Ban's training was as South Korea's minister of trade and foreign affairs. In this role, he praised a joint Daewoo and Indian pipeline across Myanmar as a “win - win.”

Ban also befriended Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, such that he remained sickeningly silent as Rajapaksa's forces killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians in 2009, and imprisoned hundreds of thousands more, using UN funds.

UN's Ban walking into Myanmar: follow through not shown

Ban visited the prison camps and smiled as Tamil children as gunpoint sang his name. That's not nuts and bolts, one wag said: that's just nuts.

But who will tell him? The senior UN official continued:

He has a wide spectrum of senior managers; not all yes-men as such. In every management team you have ones who prefer the subrosa approach, and ones who prefer the public approach. There is a necessity for the SG to insist on a certain modicum of discipline. That’s not very different than what would happen in any governmental or private sector management team.”

Not all yes-man as such. No, it is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual Organization, so there are also the men and women ofSi and Oui and iwa. Ban himself should have, and some say soon will have to, deliver his own defense. Watch this site.

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