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Jun-10-2012 14:54printcomments

Ban Ki-moon Advisers Defend Sri Lanka Crimes By Linking Press with LTTE, France Smells Blood?

This is the UN itself, at the highest level, fanning anti press freedom flames. - Inner City Press

Silva's photo inset with his handiwork
Silva's photo inset with his handiwork. Photo:

(UNITED NATIONS) - Amid threatening anonymous telephone calls triggered by a proceeding at the UN against Inner City Press, on June 7 a Sri Lankan journalist asked Inner City Press, "there is wide spread allegation that you have been funded by pro Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE lobby groups during the last few years. How do you react to that allegation?"

As Inner City Press was, in part for self-protection, seeking to end the public witch hunt against it by offering a balanced mutual apology, it could not on June 7 answer as directly as now. Instead the Sri Lankan journalist was told, and reported.

"I reject these funding allegations which are made by Sinhalese extremists, including in the Sri Lankan government, against anyone who raises the issue of the killing of civilians in May 2009. I am troubled that some in UN SG Ban Ki-moon's administration, who feel Inner City Press' coverage has made Ban look bad, including for accepting General Shavendra Silva as an adviser, are known to have echoed or amplified these Sinhalese extremist claims."

What does this last line mean? Well, advisers close to Ban Ki-moon now and before he became Secretary General have said, as a defense, that Inner City Press is funded by the LTTE.

Other UN officials have told Inner City Press that that the allegation of LTTE funding has been bandied around in decision making meetings.

This is the UN itself, at the highest level, fanning anti press freedom flames.

On June 3 the largest English langauge newspaper in Sri Lanka reported, "if the allegations against Lee are proven, the UN headquarters will be made out of bounds for him. If the harassment charges are proven he could face a jail term of up to six years." See,

After Ban's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit three times said it would renew Inner City Press accreditation to cover the UN, including in this context, on June 4 it reverse course and said no. What has the response to this been?

A week ago, Inner City Press wrote to Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the chief editors of Reuters (Stephen Adler) and Bloomberg (Matthew Winkler) and then UNESCO.

Inner City Press raised to these and others the fact that Inner City Press is being targeted by pro government Sri Lanka media, with stories now using information from the Sri Lankan Mission led by Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona and citing his deputy General Shavendra Silva. The stories also quote a letter and e-mails from the UN Correspondents Association, whose president Giampaolo Pioli accepted money as rent from Kohona and then refused to recuse himself.

So far, despite an inquiry with HRW's Richard Dicker outside a press conference by outgoing International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, there has been no response at all from Roth and HRW, nor from Adler or Reuters, nor Winkler or Bloomberg.

Inner City Press wrote to the editor of another UNCA officer, and the only response was to be hauled again in front of UNCA and berated for having dared write to the officer's editor.

When shown virulent Sri Lanka government media attacks on Inner City Press, the UNCA officer said "I don't care about that." The Reuters bureau chief turned over one such article handed to him, before Inner City Press was told it was summarily "suspended" from UNCA.

CPJ responded in writing that it is (too) busy; at a recent "protection of journalists" event sponsored by the French Mission at the UN, Inner City Press asked CPJ's director about the disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth, without answer.

The French mission has used "its" representative on UNCA, Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse, to push and vote to expel Inner City Press. Now, do they smell blood?

Others have said they will look into it, and still others will be asked. Luis Moreno Ocampo, when he spotted one of the Sri Lanka articles, took an interest and opined why "they want you out." What he will do is not yet known.

A journalist who daily covers not only Sri Lanka but also Sudan, Syria, Western Sahara, the Congo and UN corruption shouldn't need to go to such lengths to be allowed to continue to cover the UN. But this is Ban Ki-moon's UN, But this is Ban Ki-moon's UN, seen through the fun house mirror of the UNCA "Pioli's Playhouse."



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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NN June 14, 2012 5:27 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Lee is a passionate person and of investigative nature. Digging persistently, driven by best intentions for the common good. Over here in NYC we have enjoyed his effectiveness in pulling out UN System internals of interest to the public and often even greater interest for UN System insiders. He compensated the slowness and still all too often non-transparency of the UN System machinery. BUUUT…there are plenty of actors in the UN that have first-hand witnessed his self-righteousness, and articles based on slanderous claims, without reasonable effort to verify accusations with the other parties. He does not realize when getting abused as tool by people with personal agendas. Once his stuff is posted, the Internet has no way to take it back. The real ugly part is here that in contrast with his “big media” enemies his blog does not foresee the posting of comments and disagreements from the reader. So much about the freedom of opinion and fighting for equal rights.

Anon. June 12, 2012 3:55 pm (Pacific time)

Inner City Press is none other than a mouthpiece for the LTTE rump; has always been, will always be. It has been nothing but biased reporting against Sri Lanka. Lee seems to have been indoctrinated quite well by the LTTE supporters.

Editor: That is completely untrue, you are like a parrot citing the same false claim leveled against every group that tells the truth about what the GoSL did to the Tamils, it will never go away and our advocacy for Matthew is strong.  Sri Lanka is a state terror war crime state and no threat and slander about LTTE support will ever change anything, it is patently untrue.

Anonymous June 12, 2012 5:27 am (Pacific time)

What has Ban done on Sri Lanka after describing what he saw in the Wanni as the "most apalling scene anywhere in the world"? Merely appointing a Panel which gave a report of condemnation he has done sweet b-all while on Syria he is foaming in the mouth! The involvement of Vijay, his bother Ashok and Pallita are now common knowledge. For how long more will this candb daliance go on for? NO wonder UN is in the dumps and no wonder war criminals are getting away! A big shame.

vssubramaniam June 11, 2012 11:32 pm (Pacific time)

The stink of the Rajapakse regime infects Ban's UN offices. Ban's Nambiar nepotism and Rajapakse criminal insticts is a discrace to UN an august body to lead humanity away from evil.

vssubramaniam June 11, 2012 11:39 pm (Pacific time)

The stinck of Ban's Nambiar despotism and Rajapakse style of governance of Sri Lanka areon display

Sinniah June 11, 2012 11:16 pm (Pacific time)

Would like to support dudeen walker`s comment,blaming all who support directly or indirectly to continue such a PLUNDER uncheked by THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE !

Raja June 11, 2012 6:23 pm (Pacific time)

Ban Ki Moon is a collaborator of ALL crimes committed against innocent people in this world. He is there to scuttle UN's role in this world.

Saleem June 11, 2012 4:52 pm (Pacific time)

Anyone or any NGO talks about war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka is automatically linked to LTTE by extremist Sri Lankan government and its partners, JHU and Wimal Weerawansa.

dudean walker June 11, 2012 2:02 pm (Pacific time)

Ban ki moon's role in the U.N. seems to be protecting sri lanka's war criminals instead of pushing for a real independent investigation, I wonder what would have happened under kofi annan's time as head of the U.N.

Anonymous June 11, 2012 1:06 pm (Pacific time)

The truth hurts. No wonder they want Inner City Press's Lee out. Is there no freedom or human rights anymore? Read the End -of assigmnment Report of the recently retired UN Chief Auditor's Report. Very revealing.

gb June 11, 2012 12:31 pm (Pacific time)

What goes around comes around. You don't like the smell, do you Lee?

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