Saturday, September 24, 2016

On Yemen at UN, Hadi's Puppetry at Photo Op, Ban's Upstairs Insiders


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS,  September 23 -- The UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.
On September 23, Inner City Press went up to document Ban Ki-moon's meeting with Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The latter walked slowly in to the room for the ceremonial handshake and book signing. Ban Ki-moon appeared to position Hadi (more than one reader called Hadi puppet). Hadi in turn in term spread out his hands. Photos here andhere.  Beyond the Vine video here.  
  It was quickly over but to way to the elevator down, Inner City Press ran into and greeted UN envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed on his way to the meeting and two representatives of Human Rights Watch, on the UN's 27th floor. What were they doing there? Both were formerly journalists covering or channeling Ban Ki-moon, now with insider access. Does it make Ban Ki-moon feel better, to have them around while he sells out Yemen's children?
 Earlier on September 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here: 
Inner City Press: Given that the Secretary-General himself decided to remove the Saudi-led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict regarding Yemen, given that this airstrike has killed children and women, what's the status of putting them back on?
Spokesman:  Well, they were… as I said, they were not removed.  It was a temporary suspension, as you can look on the document.  I think we are constantly looking at and reviewing the situation in Yemen, and when we have something to share with you, we will.
  We're waiting. It seems clear Ban gave Hadi a copy of hisvanity press book. Birds of a feather.
On September 22, Inner City Press asked the European Union's Federica Mogherini if the EU has any role in Yemen. She said she had just met Hadi. And?
The EU's envoy to Yemen Bettina Muscheidt, viewed as a possible replacement for Ban's Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has moved on to Libya. At the UN on September 23, Hadi will deposit... Yemen's / his Paris Accord document. Hot air. Now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, through Cecile Pouilly, has issued a statement which makes sure to equate Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes with Taizz and does not mention Hadi's move to starve Yemen's by moving the Central Bank:
"We note with deep concern the sharp increase in civilian casualties since the suspension of peace talks, with 180 people killed and 268 injured in August. This represents a 40 per cent increase compared to the civilian casualties the previous month, with 60 killed and 123 injured.
There has been an increased number of attacks against protected civilian objects, with at least 41 incidents affecting educational and health facilities, markets, places of worship, airports and civilian homes in August.

The most recent incident took place two days ago, on Wednesday, 21 September, when an airstrike hit a residential area in the town of Hudaydah, killing 26 civilians, including seven children, and injuring 24 others, among them two children. The death toll could be much higher, as our team continues to collect information.

We are particularly concerned at the situation in the city of Taizz, where a blockade imposed by the Houthis-affiliated Popular Committees has caused serious food, water and fuel shortages, and a near collapse of the health system.

In the light of the high civilian casualty numbers and the terrible suffering of the civilian population, we urge all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. We reiterate our call for the setting up of an international and independent investigative body.

In total, 3,980 civilians have been killed and 6,909 injured between 26 March 2015 and 22 September 2016."
 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric at noon on Septmeber 22 about Yemen. He called the question "granular" and his office later said, too little too late, "The Secretary-General condemns the multiple airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on 21 September in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, which killed and injured dozens of people, including children and women. The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General once again reminds all parties to the conflict that they must fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. He reiterates his call for urgent measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The Secretary-General also urges all parties to recommit to the terms and conditions of the 10 April cessation of hostilities. Stressing that a negotiated political settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties remains the only viable solution to the conflict, he calls for a new round of peace negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen."

On the Central Bank, the IMF later on September 22 issued this: 
“IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met on September 22 with Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Yemen is going through a difficult period, and the Managing Director expressed her concern for the adverse humanitarian and economic fallout from the conflict which keeps mounting.

“The Managing Director and President Hadi exchanged views on the current situation and prospects, including preserving the operational capacity of the central bank system so as to improve the financial stability and economic and social outcomes for the Yemeni people.”
On September 19, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Staphane Dujarric two questions on Yemen: "what is the Secretary General's or his Envoy's comment on Hadi firing the head of the central bank and moving the central bank's headquarters from Sanaa to Aden?" and on "reports that Saudi Arabia / the Saudi-led Coalition threatened to shoot down a UN aircraft... Please confirm or deny that."

Two days later, while leaving other questions unanswered, Ban's office sent this answer to Inner City Press:
Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Your question on Yemen
To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at] un.org

The Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is extremely concerned by the recent inability of the Central Bank to pay salaries due to lack of revenue and shortage of liquidity. Millions of Yemenis families depend on civil service salaries and the stoppage in salary payments is expected to have a severely negative impact.

The Special Envoy is advocating that any changes in the Central Bank ensure a rapid resumption of salary payments and that these are provided to all civilian civil service in all parts of the country without discrimination."
  What about the firing, and proposed moving? What about the reported threat to UN plane? And see below.
On August 18, Inner City Press exclusively published the proposal that Ban's envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made in Kuwait. This was the proposal described as blatantly one-sided that led to a collapse of the talks, the Saudi-led Coalition increased airstrikes and the death of more civilians.  
According to local media the Saudis threatened to shoot down UN aircraft - click here. Direct sources have told Inner City Press the UN envoy wanted the Sanaa delegation to sign a waiver, and to stop over in Saudi Arabia and be searched. Would the UN go public if this were true? No, under Ban Ki-moon. His spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to confirm or deny or comment for two days now.
Meanwhile early on September 21 there was a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Yemen held in UN basement Conference Room 12, sponsored by the UK
  In order to stake it out, Inner City Press was required by Ban Ki-moon's eviction order to seek a minder, which are first was withheld. By the time Inner City Press was escorted, all participants were inside the closed meeting.
   Inner City Press observed Grandi of UNHCR leave the meeting at 8:30, and WFP Cousins walk right by minutes later. What is the UN doing in Yemen, after Ban Ki-moon sold it out? We'll have more on this.
  On September 14 the Saudi ambassador to the UN wrote to the UN Security Council to complain - belatedly, in the case of events of August 31 - of attacks from Yemen, saying Saudi Arabia reaffirms “its right to take all appropriate measures.” Letter posted on Facebook, here. But they've already been engaged in airstrikes all over. Some have wondered what the response to Javad Zarif's op-ed in the New York Times would be.
Now there is a response to the Saudi letter, from the Iranian mission to the UN: 
"The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations categorically rejects the allegations, as contained in Saudi Arabia’s letter to the President of the Security Council, dated 14 September 2016, regarding arms transfers to Yemen and violations of Security Council Resolution  2216

This letter includes unsubstantiated claims that have not been verified by any independent entity. These   claims are raised against the numerous confirmed reports, documenting Saudi Arabia’s war crimes and violation of international law and international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabia has engaged in a year and a half long wide ranging, non proportionate and irrational war against the people of Yemen, where they have undeniably committed crimes against defenseless women and children. Saudi Arabia has also decimated much of Yemen’s civilian infrastructure and not hesitated to destroy schools and hospitals.

It is surprising that Saudi Arabia would complain to the United Nations about the use of weapons in Yemen even while Saudi Arabia itself has purchased tens of billions in arms that it is using against the Yemeni people.

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not believe in a military solution in Yemeni and has always urged for cessation of hostilities, dialogue and resort to legal and peaceful mechanisms to achieve a peaceful resolution to this conflict. "

Meanwhile, Inner City Press is told of a Yemen meeting in UNGA week, convened by the UK - at 7:30 pm. It's never too early when it gets this late. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

Inner City Press Asked Ladsous of 2-Tier in Mali, Rapes in CAR & S. Sudan, He Refuses To Answer Qs



By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23-- As Inner City Press has reported on UN Peacekeeping's unseemly two-tier structure, under which in Mali African Ambassadors complain their troops are left in danger, not allowed to use the equipment of NATO members in the UN mission, DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has refused to answer, and Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric has enabled and assisted Ladsous.

  On September 23 when Ladsous held a “press availability” with Mali's foreign minister, Inner City Press asked the former about Al Qaeda (he answered) and Ladsous about Chadian peacekeepers denied access to NATO-members' in MINUSMA's equipment. After Mali's foreign minister answered -- Ladsous whispered to him, apparently not to, Vine here -- Ladsous said, Mister you should know I never answer you questions. YouTube of UNTV Video, here.

   Ladsous' spokesman had told UN TV's boom operator to stay away from Inner City Press - despite the right of Mali and its foreign minister to not be drawn into censorship by the UN of Ladsous and, ultimately, Ban Ki-moon. Ladsous's 2:20 pm stakeout, promised by Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, was canceled. Inenr City Press asked Dujarric, here.

At 4:30, Ladsous on South Sudan refused Inner City Press' questions about inaction amid rapes and the murder of a journalist at the Terrain Hotel, calling on the same more-friendly scribe twice. He refused to answer if there have been any convictions for the rapes in CAR, giving rise to another questions, Video here.

   Back on July 18, Ladsous at an International Peace Institute event to which Inner City Press was not invited said he recruited two Mauritanian intelligence agents but couldn't deploy them in a NATO part of Mali. So Inner City Press on July 19 asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here and below. Now on August 8, the UN Security Council has condemned two attacks on UN Peacekeepers in Mali, which killed a peacekeeper.. from Chad. Full text here.

  While the UN says it is updating its policies, when Inner City Press on July 22 asked if new German drone in Mali will have their information shared with other peacekeepers, the answer was not "Yes." From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: you had come back with this answer about in terms of how equipment is shared in peacekeeping missions, specifically in Mali, saying there is some updating of the procedure; so I have seen since then an announcement by Airbus and the German Government that Airbus will be providing and operating a drone for German troops in Mali, presumably with the UN Mission.  And said it said that the procurement was done by the German defence procurement agency VAA and VW and covers a 15-month period.  So I want to know, do contingents that serve in UN peacekeeping, can they bring their own drones?  And, if so, is the information shared with other contingents, for example from Chad and elsewhere, that are serving in the same chain of commands?

Deputy Spokesman:  The basic point, like I mentioned, is that contingents own their own equipment.  How that is handled, like I said, where the UN is currently updating its protocols and procedures and that is designed to address issues of access of information in all UN missions.

ICP Question:  Right, so maybe you don't have an answer to this, but it seems to me they should be able to say it, it has been announced, that these drones will be flying, contracted by Germany, will this information be shared with other contingents?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this point I don't have an announcement to make about the use of the drones, so we will have to see what arrangements are made.  Beyond that, of course, like I said, the entire point of the policy that we're seeking is to make sure that that access to assets and information can be shared better."

While Ban's spokesperson's office never emailed Inner City Press any answer, Inner City Press on July 20 asked about it again and got this admission, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: on Mali, beyond what I asked yesterday, now there is reports of a deal reached in Niger under which the Azawad Group who controlled Kidal.  I wanted to know, first, did the UN have any involvement in this negotiation of the security arrangement in Kidal?  And do you have any answer yet from DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] about what Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous said at IPI about NATO versus the Mordanian agents?

Deputy Spokesman:  On the question of the agreement of Kidal I don't have any reaction to that at present.  Regarding what you were asking yesterday, I can confirm that the UN's currently updating its protocols and procedures to address issues of access to assets and information in all UN missions.

Inner City Press:  Right. So I'm asking, a couple months ago I asked directly whether the Chadian peacekeepers could use NATO equipment in the possession of the Dutch peacekeepers and it was never answered.  And can I know, from what you have said, is this true it has been a problem for months?

Deputy Spokesman:  I mean, this is an issue that we needed to deal with.  We are not able to speak about particular arrangements by troop-contributing countries, that is not in our ability.  But this is something for which we needed to update protocols and we are currently updating protocols and procedures in order that you will have access to assets dealt with in a better way.

Inner City Press:  But isn't the mission responsible when, for example, the Netherlands contingent deployed to know whether an extremist went under attack by terrorist or extremist forces, whether these can be shared with other peacekeepers?

Deputy Spokesman:  We try to work out things, but, you have to remember, the UN itself is not the owner of this equipment and the UN itself is not the employer of the peacekeeping troops.  These are national contingents in service to the UN and their equipment are equipments by the national contingence.  You know, having said that, what we are trying to do, we do have protocols and procedures in place and we're trying to update those so that the access to assets and information will be shared.

Inner City Press:  When they say same chain that is one on this because it comes up in South Sudan where they say they want the soldiers to be all in the same chain of command, doesn't this somehow imply that you don't have one contingent with much better equipment than the other ones, not sharing it when people are under attack?

Deputy Spokesman:  The point of UN peacekeeping operations is that the peacekeepers coordinate their activities with each other so that they work efficiently together, that's what we try to do.

Here was July 19:

Inner City Press: On peacekeeping, yesterday, Under-Secretary [Hervé] Ladsous was speaking at IPI, and he said that he had recruited two intelligence agents from Mauritania, but they couldn't be put into a part of Mali where NATO and NATO member troops are… are operating.  And it… and it seemed to be a reference to this idea that there are… there's equipment that the NATO members in the mission used that can't be shared with non-NATO members.  So I wanted… I've asked about this before and was sort of never answered.  But now that he's said openly that these Mauritanian intelligence agents couldn't be de… de… deployed there, can you explain how… one, is this the case?  And, two, is it fair to have different parts of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) mission using better equipment than others when some peacekeepers are, in fact, getting killed? ... And specifically these two Mauritanians that he said could not be deployed where NATO was, why was that?  That's, I guess, my question.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, I believe that the whole point of the MINUSMA arrangement is that they share the equipment, but I'll have to check with MINUSMA what their arrangements are.

Eight hours later and counting, nothign from Ban's Office of the Spokesperson.

Back on the UN's day for peacekeepers, about which DPKO chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer questions from the Press, five UN peacekeeper were killed in Mali. On May 31, another has been killed in Gao, three wounded, UNMAS attacked to. The UN mission MINUSMA issued this statement, in French, fast translated by InnerCityPro.com:  

"This evening at around 8:45 pm, the MINUSMA camp in the Water Castle neighborhood of Gao was the target of an attack by rockets or mortars. According to preliminary reports, one peacekeeper was killed and three were grievously wounded, while more than ten members of MINUSMA including civilians were lightly wounded and have gotten the necessary medical care. MINUSMA has deployed attack helicopters for aerial surveillance and a rapid reaction force is currently patrolling in Gao.”

  “The attack on the MINUSMA camp was followed by another attack by light arms targeting the location of the UN Mine Action Service UNMAS in another neighborhood in Gao. Two Malian private security guards and one international expert were killed.

  “I am revolved by this vicious, cowardly and totally unacceptable attack on the MINSUMA camp,” the head of MISUSMA Mahamat Saleh Annadif said. “I urge the Malian government and the local Gao authorities to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are identified and brought to justice.”

This occurs as Ban Ki-moon has just ended a multi-day trip to South Korea, where many view him as preparing to run for the Presidency. In New York, he has evicted the critical Press. See New York Times to May 14, here, to which Ban has not responded.

Back on March 13 in another "friendly fire" incident among UN peacekeepers in Mali, two were dead and another injured. The UN Mission MINUSMA issued a statement, only in French; InnerCityPro.com translated it, below.

"Bamako, le 13 mars 2016 - Hier vers 19h, un tragique incident s’est déroulé dans le camp de la MINUSMA à Tessalit, région de Kidal, lorsqu’un Casque bleu à tiré sur trois de ses collègues.
Deux morts sont à déplorer, un autre a été légèrement blessé.
Le suspect a été arrêté, la sécurité dans le camp a été renforcée, une enquête permettra de déterminer les causes et circonstances exactes de l’incident."

InnerCityPro.com's translation:

“Yesterday near 7 pm, a tragic incident unrolled in the MINUSMA camp in Tesalit, in the Kidal region, when a Peacekeeper fired on three of his colleagues. Two deaths are to be deplored, another was lightly injured. The suspect has been detained, the security of the camp has been reinforced, an investigation will let us determine the exact causes and circumstances of the incident.”

  This is the second friendly fire incident in Mali recently; Herve Ladsous' peacekeeping, beyond rapes, is in rapid decay, full of double standards.


Back on Februayr 26 when two UN peacekeepers from Chad were killed in Kidal in northern Mali, the UN in New York made no mention of it. This stands in contrast to announcements in other cases of peacekeepers' death. But this one was "friendly" fire. So, silent.

  Inner City Press, after being Banned from the UN for the first three days of the week (BI herepetition here) for having tried to cover in the same UN Press Briefing Room an event it believed relevant to the current UN corruption scandals -- the UN Correspondents Association took money from Ng Lap Seng and gave him a photo op with Ban Ki-moon -- was back in with reduced access on February 26 and asked, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask about this incident in Mali where one Chadian peacekeeper killed two other peacekeepers.  It says that it's based on tensions in their contingent.  Is it based on the conditions there?  Why didn't you announce it from the podium if two peacekeepers are dead?

Spokesman Dujarric: On the incident, yes, there was a press release issued this morning by the Mission in Kidal.  There was a shooting incident in the camp yesterday within the Chadian contingent.  One soldier opened fire, killed one of his colleagues.  Another one was wounded and later succumbed from his injuries.  As for the… the perpetrator was detained and is in custody, and there's an investigation going on.

Inner City Press:  I guess I'm asking because there… there… there are even some Security Council or recent Security Council members have said that the conditions for particularly the African contingents in Northern Mali are quite negative.  But I also… I repeat the question.  Is… is it the norm to… to announce here… not by a press release from Bamako, but here, when peacekeepers are killed, and if so… why didn't that happen in this case?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm confirming it now, and as I said, the announcement was made very publicly from the Mission in Kidal… in the Mission in Mali.  The conditions for peacekeepers in Mali, especially in the north, are extremely challenging.

Question:  Are the conditions… [cross talk]

Spokesman:  I'll come back to you.  Sherwin?

  And after this dodge, a second round:

Inner City Press: what I wanted to know is whether the conditions of the Dutch contingent, which is a part of MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali), are similar or different than those of the Chadian contingent, as I previously asked you about their equipment, their communications equipment, that seem to also be different.  So some people look at it and they say it should be one peacekeeping.  How do you explain the different… or do you acknowledge or disagree that…  [cross talk]

Spokesman:  I don't know where the Dutch are stationed.  I don't know if they're stationed in Kidal.  The issue of equipment, especially sometimes with contingents, they don't come with enough equipment, creates challenges for DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations).  I know the Chadians have been on the front lines of the UN's work in Mali, have borne the brunt of some of the violence that we've seen.  And I know we and DPKO, everyone, is extremely grateful for what they do.  And I'm sure the Mission does whatever they can to ensure that their conditions are acceptable.

  Yeah, sure.
 
Back on January 11 when the UN Security Council heard about Mali it was not from the new UN Envoy to the country, but rather first from UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who has overseen two-tier peacekeeping in the country and bears responsibility for rapes in Central African Republic.
 
In Mali, where many UN peacekeepers nearly all of them from Africa have been killed, the Dutch battalion has communications equipment that only contingents from NATO member countries can use, Inner City Press has been exclusively informed.

  While the reasoning may be to prevent copying of the technology by others, the result leaves non-NATO troops at increased risk. Belatedly, there is an attempt to procure alternative, non-NATO limited technology.

 But this two-tier system, which some even call in context racist, has been allowed by UN Peacekeeping under its boss Herve Ladsous.
  Two week ago, Inner City Press asked Ladsous, who usually refuses to answer all Press questions, about the two-tier nature of UN peacekeeping.

On December 2 after a screening of a film about UN Peacekeeping, “Last Station Before Hell,” which portrayed missions in Lebanon, DR Congo and Central African Republic, Inner City Press asked Ladsous why French and other European troops like the Dutch serve alongside but not with UN peacekeepers, in Mali (including Germans and Slovakians now replacing French), Cote d'Ivoire and CAR. The second was for an update on the rape allegations against French and UN peacekeepers in CAR. Video here and embedded below.

  Ladsous, who has repeatedly outright refused to answer Inner City Press questions in the UN, did respond to the first question, denying there is a two-tier system and describing what some view as a vestige of colonialism: he listed the UK having a special interest in Sierra Leon, like France has in Mali, and a desire to serve under its own command.

Ladsous pointedly did NOT answer the request for any update on the sexual abuse allegations against Sangaris and MINUSCA, something pointed out afterward by a number of those in attendance at the International Peace Institute.

  One also noted this: while Ladsous trumpeted a number of female SRSGs in UN Peacekeeping, only that day one of them, Ellen Loj, was confined to speaking behind closed doors after Ladsous' public speech, and then followed his pattern of no comments to the media afterward, a come-down from her predecessor Hilde Johnson and even her own previous appearances. (Johnson, sources say, pursued the Somalia SRSG post that was given to Michael Keating.)

  One of Ladsous two fellow panelists at IPI, Lise Morjé Howard, an Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University, answered Inner City Press that the French troops are not really peacekeepers but more akin to counter-insurgency forces.

Ladsous called France “the country I know best.” He is listed in UN Dispute Tribunal documents as having tried to fire, then to retaliate against, the whistleblower who revealed the allegations of child rape by French soldiers in CAR.

There's talk, even about the P5, of Ladsous being a liability who shouldn't remain even during Ban Ki-moon's remaining time. His non-answer on sexual abuse on December 2 is particularly noteworthy given his Septembr 11 on-camera linking of the CAR rapes to “R&R,” video here. We'll continue on this.

On Mali, Inner City Press Asked Ladsous of 2-Tier Peacekeeping, He Refuses To Answer Q, Cancels



By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23-- As Inner City Press has reported on UN Peacekeeping's unseemly two-tier structure, under which in Mali African Ambassadors complain their troops are left in danger, not allowed to use the equipment of NATO members in the UN mission, DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has refused to answer, and Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric has enabled and assisted Ladsous.

  On September 23 when Ladsous held a “press availability” with Mali's foreign minister, Inner City Press asked the former about Al Qaeda (he answered) and Ladsous about Chadian peacekeepers denied access to NATO-members' in MINUSMA's equipment. After Mali's foreign minister answered -- Ladsous whispered to him, apparently not to -- Ladsous said, Mister you should know I never answer you questions.YouTube of UNTV Video, here.

   Ladsous' spokesman had told UN TV's boom operator to stay away from Inner City Press - despite the right of Mali and its foreign minister to not be drawn into censorship by the UN of Ladsous and, ultimately, Ban Ki-moon. Ladsous's 2:20 pm stakeout, promised by Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, was canceled. We'll have more on this.

   Back on July 18, Ladsous at an International Peace Institute event to which Inner City Press was not invited said he recruited two Mauritanian intelligence agents but couldn't deploy them in a NATO part of Mali. So Inner City Press on July 19 asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here and below. Now on August 8, the UN Security Council has condemned two attacks on UN Peacekeepers in Mali, which killed a peacekeeper.. from Chad. Full text here.

  While the UN says it is updating its policies, when Inner City Press on July 22 asked if new German drone in Mali will have their information shared with other peacekeepers, the answer was not "Yes." From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: you had come back with this answer about in terms of how equipment is shared in peacekeeping missions, specifically in Mali, saying there is some updating of the procedure; so I have seen since then an announcement by Airbus and the German Government that Airbus will be providing and operating a drone for German troops in Mali, presumably with the UN Mission.  And said it said that the procurement was done by the German defence procurement agency VAA and VW and covers a 15-month period.  So I want to know, do contingents that serve in UN peacekeeping, can they bring their own drones?  And, if so, is the information shared with other contingents, for example from Chad and elsewhere, that are serving in the same chain of commands?

Deputy Spokesman:  The basic point, like I mentioned, is that contingents own their own equipment.  How that is handled, like I said, where the UN is currently updating its protocols and procedures and that is designed to address issues of access of information in all UN missions.

ICP Question:  Right, so maybe you don't have an answer to this, but it seems to me they should be able to say it, it has been announced, that these drones will be flying, contracted by Germany, will this information be shared with other contingents?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this point I don't have an announcement to make about the use of the drones, so we will have to see what arrangements are made.  Beyond that, of course, like I said, the entire point of the policy that we're seeking is to make sure that that access to assets and information can be shared better."

While Ban's spokesperson's office never emailed Inner City Press any answer, Inner City Press on July 20 asked about it again and got this admission, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: on Mali, beyond what I asked yesterday, now there is reports of a deal reached in Niger under which the Azawad Group who controlled Kidal.  I wanted to know, first, did the UN have any involvement in this negotiation of the security arrangement in Kidal?  And do you have any answer yet from DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] about what Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous said at IPI about NATO versus the Mordanian agents?

Deputy Spokesman:  On the question of the agreement of Kidal I don't have any reaction to that at present.  Regarding what you were asking yesterday, I can confirm that the UN's currently updating its protocols and procedures to address issues of access to assets and information in all UN missions.

Inner City Press:  Right. So I'm asking, a couple months ago I asked directly whether the Chadian peacekeepers could use NATO equipment in the possession of the Dutch peacekeepers and it was never answered.  And can I know, from what you have said, is this true it has been a problem for months?

Deputy Spokesman:  I mean, this is an issue that we needed to deal with.  We are not able to speak about particular arrangements by troop-contributing countries, that is not in our ability.  But this is something for which we needed to update protocols and we are currently updating protocols and procedures in order that you will have access to assets dealt with in a better way.

Inner City Press:  But isn't the mission responsible when, for example, the Netherlands contingent deployed to know whether an extremist went under attack by terrorist or extremist forces, whether these can be shared with other peacekeepers?

Deputy Spokesman:  We try to work out things, but, you have to remember, the UN itself is not the owner of this equipment and the UN itself is not the employer of the peacekeeping troops.  These are national contingents in service to the UN and their equipment are equipments by the national contingence.  You know, having said that, what we are trying to do, we do have protocols and procedures in place and we're trying to update those so that the access to assets and information will be shared.

Inner City Press:  When they say same chain that is one on this because it comes up in South Sudan where they say they want the soldiers to be all in the same chain of command, doesn't this somehow imply that you don't have one contingent with much better equipment than the other ones, not sharing it when people are under attack?

Deputy Spokesman:  The point of UN peacekeeping operations is that the peacekeepers coordinate their activities with each other so that they work efficiently together, that's what we try to do.

Here was July 19:

Inner City Press: On peacekeeping, yesterday, Under-Secretary [Hervé] Ladsous was speaking at IPI, and he said that he had recruited two intelligence agents from Mauritania, but they couldn't be put into a part of Mali where NATO and NATO member troops are… are operating.  And it… and it seemed to be a reference to this idea that there are… there's equipment that the NATO members in the mission used that can't be shared with non-NATO members.  So I wanted… I've asked about this before and was sort of never answered.  But now that he's said openly that these Mauritanian intelligence agents couldn't be de… de… deployed there, can you explain how… one, is this the case?  And, two, is it fair to have different parts of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) mission using better equipment than others when some peacekeepers are, in fact, getting killed? ... And specifically these two Mauritanians that he said could not be deployed where NATO was, why was that?  That's, I guess, my question.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, I believe that the whole point of the MINUSMA arrangement is that they share the equipment, but I'll have to check with MINUSMA what their arrangements are.

Eight hours later and counting, nothign from Ban's Office of the Spokesperson.

Back on the UN's day for peacekeepers, about which DPKO chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer questions from the Press, five UN peacekeeper were killed in Mali. On May 31, another has been killed in Gao, three wounded, UNMAS attacked to. The UN mission MINUSMA issued this statement, in French, fast translated by InnerCityPro.com:  

"This evening at around 8:45 pm, the MINUSMA camp in the Water Castle neighborhood of Gao was the target of an attack by rockets or mortars. According to preliminary reports, one peacekeeper was killed and three were grievously wounded, while more than ten members of MINUSMA including civilians were lightly wounded and have gotten the necessary medical care. MINUSMA has deployed attack helicopters for aerial surveillance and a rapid reaction force is currently patrolling in Gao.”

  “The attack on the MINUSMA camp was followed by another attack by light arms targeting the location of the UN Mine Action Service UNMAS in another neighborhood in Gao. Two Malian private security guards and one international expert were killed.

  “I am revolved by this vicious, cowardly and totally unacceptable attack on the MINSUMA camp,” the head of MISUSMA Mahamat Saleh Annadif said. “I urge the Malian government and the local Gao authorities to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are identified and brought to justice.”

This occurs as Ban Ki-moon has just ended a multi-day trip to South Korea, where many view him as preparing to run for the Presidency. In New York, he has evicted the critical Press. See New York Times to May 14, here, to which Ban has not responded.

On Next SG, Inner City Press Is Told of Possible Guterres Deal, Tries To Ask Lavrov



By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 -- Russia is counting the Next Secretary General ballot in September, and President of the Security Council in October, so when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a press conference on September 23 it seemed clear he would be asked for Russia's view.

But despite claims about a desire for transparency in the sit was not to be. Ten of the eleven questions selected were about Syria; the other was about Palestine. As it ended Inner City Press asked, Do you have any thoughts about Next Secretary General?  A lot, Lavrov said. Then was gone.

  The previous evening at the Serbian mission “frontrunner” Antonio Guterrez whispered with rival Vuk Jeremic. Vine video here.

Sources tell Inner City Press of the possibility that Russian might NOT veto Guterres (from EU and NATO member Portugal), if he selected Jeremic or perhaps Irina Bokova as  Deputy. We'll see.

At the first Q&A stakeout of this year's UN General Assembly debate, Inner City Press asked  the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades if he has any view of the Next Secretary General process, whether or not an agreement on Cyprus is reached by the end of the year when Ban Ki-moon leaves.

  After some whispering from staff, Anastasiades told Inner City Press, “No.” Vine video here. There was laughter, and Anastasiades flashed Inner City Press a thumbs-up as he went out to his limousine. He'll be in New York a full week. And Inner City Press, even under Ban Ki-moon's and his Cristina Gallach's eviction and restriction orders, will be here too, asking about Next SG. Watch this site.

Nearly all of the current candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, and those who have dropped out, are active or at least have accounts on Twitter. Now Antonio Guterres, ahead in the straw polls but with “Discourages” which may well include a Russian veto, has joined Twitter. Is it really him? How will he use the account?

   Vuk Jeremic has tweeted a photo with his grandmother, and of the plane that will fly him to UNGA 71. Irina Bokova tweeted a photo of herself with Forest Whitaker.

Helen Clark, ever active, has been tweeting from the NAM meeting in Venezuela; she has also tweeted, or really been re-tweeted by, Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, to whom Ban gave the top UNDP job in Kenya without recusing himself.

(Inner City Press first expose here; picks up so far in Sri Lanka andSouth Koreatranslated here)

Clark's UNDP has yet to answer who was on the selection panel, despite multiple Press questions to Clark's former (and Ban's current) spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

   Ban Ki-moon, tellingly, has no twitter account. In fact, under him this year the UN ousted and evict the most active social media journalist in the UN, now confined to minders. But we digress!

Amid the jockeying to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, there has been revisionism and outright mis-reporting of what happened ten years ago when Ban was chosen as a suitably weak Secretary General.

Then, in 2006, there were only four candidate in the first straw poll. Even bland Ban drew a “discourage,” which he insisted was from Ghana. (Ban's theory was that Ghana's Kofi Annan preferred Shashi Tharoor to continue his legacy, as some surmise Ban would prefer a cover-up artist this time.)

Last week Inner City Press asked current Council member Venezuela about Kristalina Georgieva jumping in; Ambassador Rafael Ramirez told Inner City Press, “It's too late.” Vine here.

   In 2006 Prince Zeid of Jordan jumped in late in the process, as did Latvia's president, drawing a not-embarrassing seven “Encourages.” Many say Sri Lanka convinced its candidate to withdraw to help Ban, who repaid the favor by covering up 40,000 deaths in 2009 and since.

   The US, according to its them Ambassador John Bolton, cut the deal on Ban with China, and chided the UK to not demand the Department of Political Affairs job (the UK lost it.) Bolton writes that he told Ban to demand the resignations of all high UN officials. That is even more needed this time, particularly in the Department of Public Information (become Censorship), Peacekeeping and others.

  In 2006 there was only one round of polling with colored or differentiated ballots, in early October, and it was sent to the General Assembly the next week. And this time, after October 3? Watch this site.

In the fourth straw poll for Next UN Secretary General,Antonio Guterres and Miroslav Lajcak stayed in first and second place (with 12 and ten encourages, respectively) despite statements commitments to a female SG.

In fact, the top four finishers were all men -- Vuk Jeremic came in third with nine encourages and Srgjan Kerim fourth, with eight. Then Susana Malcorra and Irina Bokova tied with Danilo Turk, all with seven encourages. Helen Clark had six, Christiana Figueres five, and Natalia Gherman but three. So much for commitment to women.

UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the "absolute minimum" is nine encourages and no vetoes, so some should drop out, he implied. Inner City Press Vine here.

Here are the September 9 results:

Antonio Guterres 12-2-1
Miroslav Lajcak 10-4-1
Vuk Jeremic 9-4-2
Srgjan Kerim 8-7-0
Irina Bokova 7-5-3
Danilo Turk 7-6-2
Susanna Malcorra 7-7-1
Helen Clark 6-7-2
Christiana Figueres 5-10-0
Natalia Gherman 3-11-1

Compare to the August 29 third straw poll results:

Antonio Guterres: 11-3-1
Miroslav Lajcak: 9-5-1
Vuk Jeremic: 7-5-3
Irina Bokova: 7-5-3
Susanna Malcorra: 7-7-1
Srgjan Kerim: 6-7-2
Helen Clark: 6-8-1
Danilo Turk: 5-6-4
Christiana Figueres: 2-12-1
Natalia Gherman: 2-12-1


In the run-up to the third straw poll for Next UN Secretary General to be held later today, New Zealand which will be president of the Council in September announced it will cede Next SG powers to Russia, which will also hold the Council presidency in October.

As we await clarification, candidate Helen Clark is now in Cameroon, after a stop at TICADIV in Kenya, where Ban Ki-moon has named his own son in law head of the UN system without even recusing himself. New Zealand's Key is quoted that “Obama has a lot of respect for Helen Clark 'but we'll see how it goes.'”

In related conference news, Susana Malcorra is promoting the “IV Reunión Extraordinaria de la Red Iberoamericana de Organismos y Organizaciones contra la Discriminación.”

  Vuk Jeremic by contrast comes to New York for the voting - perhaps smart, given the specific targeting of his candidacy from Kosovo last week.

Irina Bokova is fighting back against a piece in the Times of London by Andrew Mitchell promoting Kristalina Georgieva, including saying she is “appalled by the 'undignified' campaign against her." 

On August 23 Inner City Press asked August's Council President, Ramlan Bin Ibrahim of Malaysia, to explain this; he said to wait for “the breakfast,” on September 1, for it to be formally presented.

   Meanwhile another candidate has dropped out: Igor Luksic of Montenegro. His letter is here. Along with Vuk Jeremic of neighboring Serbia, he was once of the younger and more articulate of the candidates -- including answering the Press on his budget back on April 12.

Now since Luksic followed through -- too rare in the today's UN -- we'll follow up as well: Luksic has disclosed that his “travel expenses during the campaign were 34,626.44 euros and costs related to the preparation and presentation of his vision statement and the platform at different events were 24,204.89 euros,” for a total of 58,831.33 euros. Will the other candidates disclose?

  At the other end of the spectrum, on August 25 Inner City Press asked outgoing SG Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban had even bothered to recuse himself when his own son in law Siddarth Chatterjee was made the UN system's (and UNDP's) Resident Representative in Kenya. No. Is this acceptable? Would the candidates to succeed Ban do this? Watch this site.

  As noted, Susana Malcorra met with the European Union in New York And more recently met with Angola); Christalina Figueres was in Mali. As we've asked all candidates, who is paying for that trip? Last week the Lancet inquired how the race may impact global health; watch this site.

The third straw poll for Next UN Secretary General is now set for Monday, August 29, UN Security Council president Malaysia told the press on August 12. It will still not involved color ballots which would allow one ot know if a candidate's discourages involve permanent, veto-holding members. Periscope video here.

The second poll happened on August 5, leaving frontrunner Antonio Guterres now with two discourages. Inner City Press' Periscope video here.  Second round, compared to previous:

Antonio Guterres: 11-2-2 (prev 12-0-3: one encourager left, P5 discourager(s) came out)

Vuk Jeremic: 8-4-3  (prev 9-5-1: one less encourage, one less discourage, no opinion grows)

Susana Malcorra: 8-6-1 (prev 7-4-4: one more encourage, but two more discourage)

Danilo Turk: 7-5-3 (prev 11-2-2: four encouragers leave, three more discourage: ouch)

Irina Bokova: 7-7-1 (prev 9-4-2: two less encourage, three more discourage)

Srgjan Kerim 6-7-2 (prev 9-5-1: three less encourage, two more discourage)

Helen Clark: 6-8-1 (prev 8-5-2: two less encourage, three more discourage)

Then with no comparison for discretion and feelings, Christiana Figueres 5-8-2), Natalia Gherman (3-10-2), Luksic, Lajcak - could there be a replacement?

The Security Council's decision sources tell Inner City Press may well not come until October, when Russia holds the monthly presidency of the Council.

   While Antonio Gutteres led in the first round, sources tell Inner City Press not only of P5 in his “no opinions” but also of the idea floated of Guterres as a Deputy Secretary General, along the lines of today's Jan Eliasson. There's been outreach to Bulgaria. Inner City Press again hearkens back to Ban Ki-moon rejecting Guterres' request for a mere one year extension at UNHCR. Is it pay-back time?

   On that front, while FYROM's Srgjan Kerim did better than expected in the first round, now there are detractors pointing back to a scandal while he was President of the General Assembly, in which his driver was found with big time (but not Iran-sized) cash, 750,000 euro, on the Hungarian border. Inner City Press reported it at the time, and has been multiply contacted since.

   On the issue of dual nationality, first reported by Inner City Press, outgoing Council member Spain is said to have two stealth nationals in the race (and, as reported, a desire to keep an Under Secretary General spot despite what its Cristina Gallach has mis-done with the Department of Public Information: perhaps Disarmament this time).  Which other Council members are asking for high posts from candidates? Watch this site.

And then there were eleven, running for Next Secretary General of the UN. Former Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusic on August 4 dropped out, saying the results of the first straw poll show that the Security Council members want an insider.

   This comes after the anticipated expansion of the field to 13 with Kevin Rudd did NOT happen; Rudd was Turnbulled. But there are still others out there. And the issue of dual citizenship, involving Spain, is still in the mix. The second straw poll is set for August 5 and Inner City Press, barring further censorship by Ban Ki-moon and Spain's highest UN official Cristina Gallach, will be there.

As the UN Security Council on July 21 held its first closed-door straw poll on the 12 current candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if it was too late for Australia's Kevin Rudd or others to get into the race. Video here. Rycroft replied that it is not too late, candidates can enter after the first straw poll pursuant to the Council's earlier letter.

Inner City Press understands that some Security Council members are reaching out to still unannounced candidates beyond the current 12 and Rudd. Meanwhile, Council sources indicate that among ostensible frontrunner Gutteres' three “no opinions,” a Permanent Five member's veto waits. Inner City Press is told France supports Irina Bokova, but there is opposition within the other P3.

So the real politik frontrunners: Danilo Turk and Helen Clark, in this view. But others may loom.

   On the dual nationality front, we immediately report that Vuk Jeremic approached Inner City Press on July 28 to deny what some Council sources floated about his dual nationality. Jeremic states he is Serbian, only Serbian. Noted duly, and immediately.

  Inner City Press asked Ukraine's Ambassador if the issue of Crimea arose in the Council's interviews. He responded that a candidate's position on it will determine Ukraine's support. And obverse, of course, is also true. We'll have more on this. The second straw poll is set for August 5.

Below from multiple sources are the results of the first straw poll; Inner City Press can also exclusively report that questions have arisen about dual nationality of some candidates, including Christiana Figueres and Susana Malcorra (Italy / Spain),  beyond their listed countries which nominated them. It should be noted that the UN's “PHP” forms require such disclosures.

On July 25, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN emerged from a closed door consultation of the Security Council and told the press that the second straw poll, which had been scheduled for July 29, would not be held then, but instead in the first week of August. Asked if he wouldn't be on vacation, he said no. And the others? Or, les autres?

After Ukraine said no second straw poll this week, Malaysia's Ambassador when asked said, No final decision. So does the Eastern Europe Group want a delay, to regroup?

Kevin Rudd continues to push to get into the race, and Susana Malcorra has complained of the results being leaked. There's talk of “strategic voting” -- which Permanent Five members were among the three “no opinions” on Gutteres? How could a country have no opinion of the long time UNHCR chief?

From multiple sources, results of the first straw poll, in the format of Encourage - Discourage - No Opinion:

Antonio Guterres: 12-0-3
Danilo Turk: 11-2-2
Irina Bokova: 9-4-2
Srgjan Kerim 9-5-1
Vuk Jeremic: 9-5-1;
Helen Clark: 8-5-2
Miroslav Lajcak: 7-3-5
Susanna Malcorra: 7-4-4
Christiana Figueres: 5-5-5
Natalia Gherman: 4-4-7
Igor Luksic: 3-7-5
Vesna Pusic: 2-11-2

After the straw polling, Ambassadors said no comment and it went well; Council President Koro Bessho said much the same on UNTV. Inner City Press asked him if the actual results had been given to the President of the General Assembly. Bessho began to say yes, then clarified, no.

At least he took Press questions. The candiates most recently appeared in an event for which the UN did not even provide a UNTV camera at the stakeout so these qustions culd be asked. Inner City Press wasBanned from streaming Periscope from the exit of the General Assembly hall after the event.

The "frontrunner" Antonio Gutteres is the one without a Twitter account; the runner-up Danilo Turk to his credit wants whistleblower Kompass back in the UN.

It's worth remembering that Gutteres was dissed by Ban Ki-moon when he asked for one more year atop UNHCR. Sources say Malcorra and Andrew Gilmour, recently promoted without proper process, were involved in the decision on Gutteres.  Revenge? Or just more of Ban's bad judgment, like he and his head of "Public Information" Cristina Gallach evicting Inner City Press as it covers the UN?

   US Ambassador Samantha Power, who took no questions, named issues for the Next SG, from counter-terrorism to the sustainable development goals.

One wondered if the Obama administration has conferred with Hillary Clinton on its position - and what would happen if the Security Council hasn't decided later in the Fall and the US presidential race is still open.

  French Ambassador Francois Delattre said counter-terrorism is a separate issue; one wanted to ask him if France is as before linking Next SG to an Under Secretary General position, different this time than the UN Peacekeeping that Herve Ladsous has nearly destroyed.

Venezuela's Rafael Ramirez spoke at nearly the same time and was asked if he supports one of the two (for now) Latin American candidates. End of video here; we've noted that Alicia Barcena has been in New York.


Candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General worked it on July 13, with Vuk Jeremic, Christiana Figueres and Danilo Turk debating at CUNY, Miroslav Lajcak meeting with the Secrurity Council then opening a photo exhibit on the floor below it, and Helen Clark in DC.

Now on July 17, Kevin Rudd has made his move. Julie Bishop went public with Rudd's request for Australia's nomination to be Next SG; Rudd on Facebook said “I respect the internal processes of the Australian Government. I respect the fact that the Government has many other priorities at this time, having just been returned to office. This is a matter for the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and their colleagues at a time of their choosing.”

   Existing candidate Bokova put off UNESCO's decision on Jerusalem until October, citing the failed coup in Turkey.

   Meanwhile, as Inner City Press first reported, Security Council members are reaching out to candidates beyong the 12 announced - and beyond Rudd - to for a Next SG. We'll have more on this.

   On July 13, weaknesses in Ban Ki-moon's final years were apparent in much of what was said. Jeremic said peacekeeping is failing and that an SG need a backbone - to Inner City Press this connoted Ban's back-down to Saudi Arabia, removing them from the Yemen Children and Armed Conflict list.

  Danilo Turk recalled chiding diplomats for being unresponsible on vacation during an August of scorched earth in Kosovo, and said an SG needs to do that. Figueres returned to the topic of Haiti; even Helen Clark speaking in DC chided the UN's performance in Syria, at least during the first three and a half years. Video of Clark's presentation here.

(Whether UNDP has done better since then, and why UNDP and Clark have yet to hold a press conference on UNDP's role in the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal remained unaddressed.)

   Security Council president for July Koro Bessho of Japan said the Council met earlier in the day with Lajcak, after meeting Kerim on July 8th, Pusic, Gherman and Gutteres on the 11th and Malcorra on the 12th.

Later, Lajcak spoke at a photo exhibition opening one floor below the Council chamber, introduced by UN official Cristina Gallach, video hereand see explanatory petition here:  Gallach evicted Inner City Press for seeking to pursue the UN bribery scandal in covering an event in the UN Press Briefing Room that was nowhere in writing listed as closed. Whenasked by the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders, Gallach claimed Inner City Press had an altercation: False.

 Gallach without once speaking to Inner City Press - but having beenquestioned by it on her role in the Ng Lap Seng scandal, a role noted inOIOS' audit at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20(b) - ousted and then evicted Inner City Press this year, purporting to give its long-time workspace to an Egyptian state media which rarely comes to the UN and never asks questions. This must be reversed.

   On July 14, Figueres will do her interactive dialogue with the General Assembly then a stakeout. Unless subject to Gallach-triggeredcensorship like on July 12, audio here, Inner City Press will be there. Watch this site.

Before ten candidates for Next UN Secretary General were asked questions in a General Assembly Hall given over to Al Jazeera, Inner City Press asked the UN and the President of the General Assembly (PGA) why there was no UNTV stakeout in front so other journalists could ask questions. None was provided but Inner City Press was told to just go there after the debate and ask questions.

   The debate had questions mostly from Al Jazeera - no mention of Saudi / Yemen or the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case -- and from ambassadors. Whereas Al Jazeera had not asked the first panel of five candidates about peacekeeper sexual abuse, Liechtenstein to its credit did. But the follow up on the firing of whistleblower Kompass was not put to Susana Malcorra on the first panel, who was involved in the firing.

   Likewise on Haiti cholera, without follow up Helen Clark said that she wouldn't comment on reparations because there is a case in the courts. But in this case, the UN - or really, the US for the UN which refuses to show up in court - is arguing for immunity. So the obvious question to candidates would be, would you waive immunity? Not asked.

Christiana Figueres raised her hand on giving an apology, but again said no to reparations. Ultimately, that's impunity. Here is a fast write-up of (some of) the debate, with Inner City Press / Free UN Coalition for Access commentary in italics:

Vesna Pusic: I’ve done a lot of jobs…but I truly believe in development, human rights. And I want to do this because I believe in countering cynicism. There’s a lot of cynicism in politics today.

On Mali, Inner City Press Asked Ladsous of 2-Tier Peacekeeping, He Refuses To Answer Question, Cancels



By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23-- As Inner City Press has reported on UN Peacekeeping's unseemly two-tier structure, under which in Mali African Ambassadors complain their troops are left in danger, not allowed to use the equipment of NATO members in the UN mission, DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has refused to answer, and Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric has enabled and assisted Ladsous.

  On September 23 when Ladsous held a “press availability” with Mali's foreign minister, Inner City Press asked the former about Al Qaeda (he answered) and Ladsous about Chadian peacekeepers denied access to NATO-members' in MINUSMA's equipment. After Mali's foreign minister answered -- Ladsous whispered to him, apparently not to -- Ladsous said, Mister you should know I never answer you questions.YouTube of UNTV Video, here.

   Ladsous' spokesman had told UN TV's boom operator to stay away from Inner City Press - despite the right of Mali and its foreign minister to not be drawn into censorship by the UN of Ladsous and, ultimately, Ban Ki-moon. Ladsous's 2:20 pm stakeout, promised by Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, was canceled. We'll have more on this.

   Back on July 18, Ladsous at an International Peace Institute event to which Inner City Press was not invited said he recruited two Mauritanian intelligence agents but couldn't deploy them in a NATO part of Mali. So Inner City Press on July 19 asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here and below. Now on August 8, the UN Security Council has condemned two attacks on UN Peacekeepers in Mali, which killed a peacekeeper.. from Chad. Full text here.

  While the UN says it is updating its policies, when Inner City Press on July 22 asked if new German drone in Mali will have their information shared with other peacekeepers, the answer was not "Yes." From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: you had come back with this answer about in terms of how equipment is shared in peacekeeping missions, specifically in Mali, saying there is some updating of the procedure; so I have seen since then an announcement by Airbus and the German Government that Airbus will be providing and operating a drone for German troops in Mali, presumably with the UN Mission.  And said it said that the procurement was done by the German defence procurement agency VAA and VW and covers a 15-month period.  So I want to know, do contingents that serve in UN peacekeeping, can they bring their own drones?  And, if so, is the information shared with other contingents, for example from Chad and elsewhere, that are serving in the same chain of commands?

Deputy Spokesman:  The basic point, like I mentioned, is that contingents own their own equipment.  How that is handled, like I said, where the UN is currently updating its protocols and procedures and that is designed to address issues of access of information in all UN missions.

ICP Question:  Right, so maybe you don't have an answer to this, but it seems to me they should be able to say it, it has been announced, that these drones will be flying, contracted by Germany, will this information be shared with other contingents?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this point I don't have an announcement to make about the use of the drones, so we will have to see what arrangements are made.  Beyond that, of course, like I said, the entire point of the policy that we're seeking is to make sure that that access to assets and information can be shared better."

While Ban's spokesperson's office never emailed Inner City Press any answer, Inner City Press on July 20 asked about it again and got this admission, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: on Mali, beyond what I asked yesterday, now there is reports of a deal reached in Niger under which the Azawad Group who controlled Kidal.  I wanted to know, first, did the UN have any involvement in this negotiation of the security arrangement in Kidal?  And do you have any answer yet from DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] about what Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous said at IPI about NATO versus the Mordanian agents?

Deputy Spokesman:  On the question of the agreement of Kidal I don't have any reaction to that at present.  Regarding what you were asking yesterday, I can confirm that the UN's currently updating its protocols and procedures to address issues of access to assets and information in all UN missions.

Inner City Press:  Right. So I'm asking, a couple months ago I asked directly whether the Chadian peacekeepers could use NATO equipment in the possession of the Dutch peacekeepers and it was never answered.  And can I know, from what you have said, is this true it has been a problem for months?

Deputy Spokesman:  I mean, this is an issue that we needed to deal with.  We are not able to speak about particular arrangements by troop-contributing countries, that is not in our ability.  But this is something for which we needed to update protocols and we are currently updating protocols and procedures in order that you will have access to assets dealt with in a better way.

Inner City Press:  But isn't the mission responsible when, for example, the Netherlands contingent deployed to know whether an extremist went under attack by terrorist or extremist forces, whether these can be shared with other peacekeepers?

Deputy Spokesman:  We try to work out things, but, you have to remember, the UN itself is not the owner of this equipment and the UN itself is not the employer of the peacekeeping troops.  These are national contingents in service to the UN and their equipment are equipments by the national contingence.  You know, having said that, what we are trying to do, we do have protocols and procedures in place and we're trying to update those so that the access to assets and information will be shared.

Inner City Press:  When they say same chain that is one on this because it comes up in South Sudan where they say they want the soldiers to be all in the same chain of command, doesn't this somehow imply that you don't have one contingent with much better equipment than the other ones, not sharing it when people are under attack?

Deputy Spokesman:  The point of UN peacekeeping operations is that the peacekeepers coordinate their activities with each other so that they work efficiently together, that's what we try to do.

Here was July 19:

Inner City Press: On peacekeeping, yesterday, Under-Secretary [Hervé] Ladsous was speaking at IPI, and he said that he had recruited two intelligence agents from Mauritania, but they couldn't be put into a part of Mali where NATO and NATO member troops are… are operating.  And it… and it seemed to be a reference to this idea that there are… there's equipment that the NATO members in the mission used that can't be shared with non-NATO members.  So I wanted… I've asked about this before and was sort of never answered.  But now that he's said openly that these Mauritanian intelligence agents couldn't be de… de… deployed there, can you explain how… one, is this the case?  And, two, is it fair to have different parts of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) mission using better equipment than others when some peacekeepers are, in fact, getting killed? ... And specifically these two Mauritanians that he said could not be deployed where NATO was, why was that?  That's, I guess, my question.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, I believe that the whole point of the MINUSMA arrangement is that they share the equipment, but I'll have to check with MINUSMA what their arrangements are.

Eight hours later and counting, nothign from Ban's Office of the Spokesperson.

Back on the UN's day for peacekeepers, about which DPKO chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer questions from the Press, five UN peacekeeper were killed in Mali. On May 31, another has been killed in Gao, three wounded, UNMAS attacked to. The UN mission MINUSMA issued this statement, in French, fast translated by InnerCityPro.com:  

"This evening at around 8:45 pm, the MINUSMA camp in the Water Castle neighborhood of Gao was the target of an attack by rockets or mortars. According to preliminary reports, one peacekeeper was killed and three were grievously wounded, while more than ten members of MINUSMA including civilians were lightly wounded and have gotten the necessary medical care. MINUSMA has deployed attack helicopters for aerial surveillance and a rapid reaction force is currently patrolling in Gao.”

  “The attack on the MINUSMA camp was followed by another attack by light arms targeting the location of the UN Mine Action Service UNMAS in another neighborhood in Gao. Two Malian private security guards and one international expert were killed.

  “I am revolved by this vicious, cowardly and totally unacceptable attack on the MINSUMA camp,” the head of MISUSMA Mahamat Saleh Annadif said. “I urge the Malian government and the local Gao authorities to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are identified and brought to justice.”

This occurs as Ban Ki-moon has just ended a multi-day trip to South Korea, where many view him as preparing to run for the Presidency. In New York, he has evicted the critical Press. See New York Times to May 14, here, to which Ban has not responded.

Back on March 13 in another "friendly fire" incident among UN peacekeepers in Mali, two were dead and another injured. The UN Mission MINUSMA issued a statement, only in French; InnerCityPro.com translated it, below.

"Bamako, le 13 mars 2016 - Hier vers 19h, un tragique incident s’est déroulé dans le camp de la MINUSMA à Tessalit, région de Kidal, lorsqu’un Casque bleu à tiré sur trois de ses collègues.
Deux morts sont à déplorer, un autre a été légèrement blessé.
Le suspect a été arrêté, la sécurité dans le camp a été renforcée, une enquête permettra de déterminer les causes et circonstances exactes de l’incident."

InnerCityPro.com's translation:

“Yesterday near 7 pm, a tragic incident unrolled in the MINUSMA camp in Tesalit, in the Kidal region, when a Peacekeeper fired on three of his colleagues. Two deaths are to be deplored, another was lightly injured. The suspect has been detained, the security of the camp has been reinforced, an investigation will let us determine the exact causes and circumstances of the incident.”

  This is the second friendly fire incident in Mali recently; Herve Ladsous' peacekeeping, beyond rapes, is in rapid decay, full of double standards.


Back on Februayr 26 when two UN peacekeepers from Chad were killed in Kidal in northern Mali, the UN in New York made no mention of it. This stands in contrast to announcements in other cases of peacekeepers' death. But this one was "friendly" fire. So, silent.

  Inner City Press, after being Banned from the UN for the first three days of the week (BI herepetition here) for having tried to cover in the same UN Press Briefing Room an event it believed relevant to the current UN corruption scandals -- the UN Correspondents Association took money from Ng Lap Seng and gave him a photo op with Ban Ki-moon -- was back in with reduced access on February 26 and asked, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask about this incident in Mali where one Chadian peacekeeper killed two other peacekeepers.  It says that it's based on tensions in their contingent.  Is it based on the conditions there?  Why didn't you announce it from the podium if two peacekeepers are dead?

Spokesman Dujarric: On the incident, yes, there was a press release issued this morning by the Mission in Kidal.  There was a shooting incident in the camp yesterday within the Chadian contingent.  One soldier opened fire, killed one of his colleagues.  Another one was wounded and later succumbed from his injuries.  As for the… the perpetrator was detained and is in custody, and there's an investigation going on.

Inner City Press:  I guess I'm asking because there… there… there are even some Security Council or recent Security Council members have said that the conditions for particularly the African contingents in Northern Mali are quite negative.  But I also… I repeat the question.  Is… is it the norm to… to announce here… not by a press release from Bamako, but here, when peacekeepers are killed, and if so… why didn't that happen in this case?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm confirming it now, and as I said, the announcement was made very publicly from the Mission in Kidal… in the Mission in Mali.  The conditions for peacekeepers in Mali, especially in the north, are extremely challenging.

Question:  Are the conditions… [cross talk]

Spokesman:  I'll come back to you.  Sherwin?

  And after this dodge, a second round:

Inner City Press: what I wanted to know is whether the conditions of the Dutch contingent, which is a part of MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali), are similar or different than those of the Chadian contingent, as I previously asked you about their equipment, their communications equipment, that seem to also be different.  So some people look at it and they say it should be one peacekeeping.  How do you explain the different… or do you acknowledge or disagree that…  [cross talk]

Spokesman:  I don't know where the Dutch are stationed.  I don't know if they're stationed in Kidal.  The issue of equipment, especially sometimes with contingents, they don't come with enough equipment, creates challenges for DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations).  I know the Chadians have been on the front lines of the UN's work in Mali, have borne the brunt of some of the violence that we've seen.  And I know we and DPKO, everyone, is extremely grateful for what they do.  And I'm sure the Mission does whatever they can to ensure that their conditions are acceptable.

  Yeah, sure.
 
Back on January 11 when the UN Security Council heard about Mali it was not from the new UN Envoy to the country, but rather first from UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who has overseen two-tier peacekeeping in the country and bears responsibility for rapes in Central African Republic.
 
In Mali, where many UN peacekeepers nearly all of them from Africa have been killed, the Dutch battalion has communications equipment that only contingents from NATO member countries can use, Inner City Press has been exclusively informed.

  While the reasoning may be to prevent copying of the technology by others, the result leaves non-NATO troops at increased risk. Belatedly, there is an attempt to procure alternative, non-NATO limited technology.

 But this two-tier system, which some even call in context racist, has been allowed by UN Peacekeeping under its boss Herve Ladsous.
  Two week ago, Inner City Press asked Ladsous, who usually refuses to answer all Press questions, about the two-tier nature of UN peacekeeping.

On December 2 after a screening of a film about UN Peacekeeping, “Last Station Before Hell,” which portrayed missions in Lebanon, DR Congo and Central African Republic, Inner City Press asked Ladsous why French and other European troops like the Dutch serve alongside but not with UN peacekeepers, in Mali (including Germans and Slovakians now replacing French), Cote d'Ivoire and CAR. The second was for an update on the rape allegations against French and UN peacekeepers in CAR. Video here and embedded below.

  Ladsous, who has repeatedly outright refused to answer Inner City Press questions in the UN, did respond to the first question, denying there is a two-tier system and describing what some view as a vestige of colonialism: he listed the UK having a special interest in Sierra Leon, like France has in Mali, and a desire to serve under its own command.

Ladsous pointedly did NOT answer the request for any update on the sexual abuse allegations against Sangaris and MINUSCA, something pointed out afterward by a number of those in attendance at the International Peace Institute.

  One also noted this: while Ladsous trumpeted a number of female SRSGs in UN Peacekeeping, only that day one of them, Ellen Loj, was confined to speaking behind closed doors after Ladsous' public speech, and then followed his pattern of no comments to the media afterward, a come-down from her predecessor Hilde Johnson and even her own previous appearances. (Johnson, sources say, pursued the Somalia SRSG post that was given to Michael Keating.)

  One of Ladsous two fellow panelists at IPI, Lise Morjé Howard, an Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University, answered Inner City Press that the French troops are not really peacekeepers but more akin to counter-insurgency forces.

Ladsous called France “the country I know best.” He is listed in UN Dispute Tribunal documents as having tried to fire, then to retaliate against, the whistleblower who revealed the allegations of child rape by French soldiers in CAR.

There's talk, even about the P5, of Ladsous being a liability who shouldn't remain even during Ban Ki-moon's remaining time. His non-answer on sexual abuse on December 2 is particularly noteworthy given his Septembr 11 on-camera linking of the CAR rapes to “R&R,” video here. We'll continue on this.

On Yemen, UN's Zeid Cites Taizz, Silent on Hadi's Central Bank Moves


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS,  September 23 -- The UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.
On September 22, Inner City Press asked the European Union's Federica Mogherini if the EU has any role in Yemen. She said she had just met Hadi. And?
The EU's envoy to Yemen Bettina Muscheidt, viewed as a possible replacement for Ban's Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has moved on to Libya. At the UN on September 23, Hadi will deposit... Yemen's / his Paris Accord document. Hot air. Now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, through Cecile Pouilly, has issued a statement which makes sure to equate Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes with Taizz and does not mention Hadi's move to starve Yemen's by moving the Central Bank:
"We note with deep concern the sharp increase in civilian casualties since the suspension of peace talks, with 180 people killed and 268 injured in August. This represents a 40 per cent increase compared to the civilian casualties the previous month, with 60 killed and 123 injured.
There has been an increased number of attacks against protected civilian objects, with at least 41 incidents affecting educational and health facilities, markets, places of worship, airports and civilian homes in August.

The most recent incident took place two days ago, on Wednesday, 21 September, when an airstrike hit a residential area in the town of Hudaydah, killing 26 civilians, including seven children, and injuring 24 others, among them two children. The death toll could be much higher, as our team continues to collect information.

We are particularly concerned at the situation in the city of Taizz, where a blockade imposed by the Houthis-affiliated Popular Committees has caused serious food, water and fuel shortages, and a near collapse of the health system.

In the light of the high civilian casualty numbers and the terrible suffering of the civilian population, we urge all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. We reiterate our call for the setting up of an international and independent investigative body.

In total, 3,980 civilians have been killed and 6,909 injured between 26 March 2015 and 22 September 2016."
 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric at noon on Septmeber 22 about Yemen. He called the question "granular" and his office later said, too little too late, "The Secretary-General condemns the multiple airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on 21 September in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, which killed and injured dozens of people, including children and women. The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General once again reminds all parties to the conflict that they must fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. He reiterates his call for urgent measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The Secretary-General also urges all parties to recommit to the terms and conditions of the 10 April cessation of hostilities. Stressing that a negotiated political settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties remains the only viable solution to the conflict, he calls for a new round of peace negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen."

On the Central Bank, the IMF later on September 22 issued this: 
“IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met on September 22 with Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Yemen is going through a difficult period, and the Managing Director expressed her concern for the adverse humanitarian and economic fallout from the conflict which keeps mounting.

“The Managing Director and President Hadi exchanged views on the current situation and prospects, including preserving the operational capacity of the central bank system so as to improve the financial stability and economic and social outcomes for the Yemeni people.”
On September 19, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Staphane Dujarric two questions on Yemen: "what is the Secretary General's or his Envoy's comment on Hadi firing the head of the central bank and moving the central bank's headquarters from Sanaa to Aden?" and on "reports that Saudi Arabia / the Saudi-led Coalition threatened to shoot down a UN aircraft... Please confirm or deny that."

Two days later, while leaving other questions unanswered, Ban's office sent this answer to Inner City Press:
Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Your question on Yemen
To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at] un.org

The Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is extremely concerned by the recent inability of the Central Bank to pay salaries due to lack of revenue and shortage of liquidity. Millions of Yemenis families depend on civil service salaries and the stoppage in salary payments is expected to have a severely negative impact.

The Special Envoy is advocating that any changes in the Central Bank ensure a rapid resumption of salary payments and that these are provided to all civilian civil service in all parts of the country without discrimination."
  What about the firing, and proposed moving? What about the reported threat to UN plane? And see below.
On August 18, Inner City Press exclusively published the proposal that Ban's envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made in Kuwait. This was the proposal described as blatantly one-sided that led to a collapse of the talks, the Saudi-led Coalition increased airstrikes and the death of more civilians.  
According to local media the Saudis threatened to shoot down UN aircraft - click here. Direct sources have told Inner City Press the UN envoy wanted the Sanaa delegation to sign a waiver, and to stop over in Saudi Arabia and be searched. Would the UN go public if this were true? No, under Ban Ki-moon. His spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to confirm or deny or comment for two days now.
Meanwhile early on September 21 there was a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Yemen held in UN basement Conference Room 12, sponsored by the UK
  In order to stake it out, Inner City Press was required by Ban Ki-moon's eviction order to seek a minder, which are first was withheld. By the time Inner City Press was escorted, all participants were inside the closed meeting.
   Inner City Press observed Grandi of UNHCR leave the meeting at 8:30, and WFP Cousins walk right by minutes later. What is the UN doing in Yemen, after Ban Ki-moon sold it out? We'll have more on this.
  On September 14 the Saudi ambassador to the UN wrote to the UN Security Council to complain - belatedly, in the case of events of August 31 - of attacks from Yemen, saying Saudi Arabia reaffirms “its right to take all appropriate measures.” Letter posted on Facebook, here. But they've already been engaged in airstrikes all over. Some have wondered what the response to Javad Zarif's op-ed in the New York Times would be.
Now there is a response to the Saudi letter, from the Iranian mission to the UN: 
"The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations categorically rejects the allegations, as contained in Saudi Arabia’s letter to the President of the Security Council, dated 14 September 2016, regarding arms transfers to Yemen and violations of Security Council Resolution  2216

This letter includes unsubstantiated claims that have not been verified by any independent entity. These   claims are raised against the numerous confirmed reports, documenting Saudi Arabia’s war crimes and violation of international law and international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabia has engaged in a year and a half long wide ranging, non proportionate and irrational war against the people of Yemen, where they have undeniably committed crimes against defenseless women and children. Saudi Arabia has also decimated much of Yemen’s civilian infrastructure and not hesitated to destroy schools and hospitals.

It is surprising that Saudi Arabia would complain to the United Nations about the use of weapons in Yemen even while Saudi Arabia itself has purchased tens of billions in arms that it is using against the Yemeni people.

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not believe in a military solution in Yemeni and has always urged for cessation of hostilities, dialogue and resort to legal and peaceful mechanisms to achieve a peaceful resolution to this conflict. "

Meanwhile, Inner City Press is told of a Yemen meeting in UNGA week, convened by the UK - at 7:30 pm. It's never too early when it gets this late. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.