Thursday, June 22, 2017

On Haiti Cholera, After ICP Asked SG Guterres, UN Spins, Victims To Protest in Port au Prince

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 21 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. 

On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

At UNSG Guterres Presser, ICP Asks of Haiti Cholera Switch, Sex Abuse by RoC Peacekeepers, Burundi


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 20 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, it was his first in UN headquarters since he assumed office 168 days ago. He took nearly 20 questions, including two from Inner City Press, on the UN having brought cholera to Haiti, and sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the UN Mission in Central African Republic.
   On Haiti, he announced that he was just today - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as his dollar-a-year special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here.Transcript here and below. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. 
We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24 (a protest at the UN's “logbase” is planned.)
   On sexual abuse in CAR, SG Guterres said that before making the announcement, the Republic of Congo must be told. Inner City Press asked why the Burundi contingent is not being repatriated after 25 rapes alleged by the UN OIOS. He said there is a process. The Security Council meets about Burundi later on June 20, and Inner City Press will cover it. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.
From the UN's transcript: 

Inner City Press: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press. On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, thanks for the briefing. Glad to have it. Stakeouts would also be useful when you speak to the Council.  But I wanted to ask you about cholera in Haiti. As you may know, while you were away, your deputy gave... gave the speech, and many people in Haiti interpreted it as a... as a pulling back from the idea of compensating victims of the cholera that was brought. Maybe they misunderstand it, but they put out a press release. There's a protest planned there on Thursday during the Council's visit.  So I wanted to ask you, I know that Member States haven't come forward with what they might have, but are you going to put more time in? Do you think that the idea of actually compensating the people whose family members were killed by cholera is still alive?  And, also, I'd understood that there was going to be an announcement about the Congo Brazzaville contingent being repatriated... being repatriated from Central African Republic. Is it going to happen? And, if so, what's the standard?  Because the Burundians were found to have 25 soldiers accused by OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) of sexual abuse. Is there some... is there a number or what determines when people are repatriated? Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

Secretary-General:  First of all, in relation to Haiti, the policy that was announced by my predecessor had two dimensions. One is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support, namely, to support communities impacted. It was devised, not as individual support, but community support for the communities impacted.  As you mentioned, there has been little voluntary funding for these projects. So we have presented a proposal for the amounts that were not spent in the previous mission in Haiti and that should be given back to countries, for countries to be ready to accept not to receive those amounts back in order to be able to fund the cholera programme.  And, at the same time, we have just appointed Ms. Josette Sheeran as my Special Envoy for Haiti, centred, of course, in the fundraising for cholera. She was, as you know, the World Food Programme leader a few years ago. She is now President of the Asia Society, and she accepted, with a salary of $1 per year, she accepted to be fully engaged in fundraising for a programme that, indeed, until now, has received very little support but that is very important from the point of view of the people and from the point of view of the credibility of the UN.  In relation to what you mentioned, there is a procedure that is now being adopted systematically. That procedure involves an evaluation. That evaluation was concluded in relation to the Republic of Congo. There is a necessary contact with the authorities of the country before a public announcement of the measure. So I will ask for a little bit of patience, because you'll soon have the public announcement of what we have decided to do. But it will be, I mean, impolite and unacceptable in the context of our bilateral relations before a number of contacts that need to be established with the country to announce it.  This procedure will now be applied across the board, and it's an evaluation that is done by a group of experts on the situation. It depends on the capacity of countries to... even if something happened to correct what has happened or if we feel that there are more systemic failures that cannot be addressed and that require the withdrawal of the force we are discussing. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

UN Killed 10,000 in Haiti, Now Closes in South, ICP To Return to Scene of the Crime with UNSC


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here, song here

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 – While in some places the UN system may be doing good work, its killing of more and 10,000 Haitians with cholera, and its years of denial, have been a low point. Now with the UN Security Council slated to visit Haiti from June 22 and 24 -- Inner City Press will cover it -- the strange and some say shameful history of the UN's MINUSTAH mission comes to the fore. On June 20, the mission will hold a ceremony to close its regional bureau in the south, again bragging of spending $48 million. But given the reneging on much larger sums for bringing cholera, advocates slammed the "statement delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in a briefing to the General Assembly appealing for member state funding and reporting on the UN’s progress in implementing the New Approach. Ms. Mohammed announced that the UN proposes taking a 'community approach and establish[ing] priorities for projects in consultation with victims and their families and communities.'  The statement reverses the UN’s previous position, which committed to assessing the feasibility of individual victim payments before making any decision, including through 'consultations on the ground with victims and their communities.' Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux said that 'Powerful governments’ refusal to allocate even MINUSTAH’s leftovers to save lives from the cholera outbreak it caused demonstrates their lack of commitment to Haiti, to UN accountability and to the rule of law. Since the cholera epidemic started in 2010, these governments have found $4 billion to maintain soldiers in a country that has not had a war in anyone’s lifetime, and want to continue spending money on an unwanted peacekeeper presence, but they cannot find 1% of that amount to fight the worst cholera epidemic in modern times.” This is a pattern on which we'll have more. After then-President Aristide was forced into exile in, echoing today, the Central African Republic, the UN Security Council on April 30, 2004 dutifully created a mission to take over from the US, French and Canadian troops who has deployed during Guy Philippe's force's killing spree. Promoting it was then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, self-described father of the UN's since-questioned (at least on Yemen) Children and Armed Conflict mandate. Given today's Security Council splits, particularly on regime change, one marvels that Resolution 1542 was passed unanimously. Already in the mix was, for example, Haitian rights attorney Mario Joseph, now an astute critic of the UN's total evasion of responsibility for killing over 10,000 Haitians with cholera. We'll have more on this. On June 14, 2017 the new (well, 162 day old) UN presented what it called a new approach on cholera - not long after Secretary General Antonio Guterres' delayed approach to the UN's lead poisoning victims in Kosovo was criticized. Inner City Press asked the UN about it on June 16, in the run-up to the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti next week (we will cover that). From the UN's June 16 noon briefing, video here,  transcript: Inner City Press: on Haiti, I went back and looked at what Amina Mohammed said, that 'there are no funds for Track 2, and we propose to take a community approach. ' And I'm sure you've seen a number of advocates — Mario Joseph, other well-known, long-time Haiti cholera activists — have said this is an outrage, that basically what the Secretary-General announced, Ban Ki-moon at the end of his tenure, is being totally rejected, and any consultation with the affected communities will take place after this speech by Amina Mohammed.

Spokesman:  I don't think it's being rejected.  I think I was asked this question yesterday.  We, obviously, are eagerly awaiting funds.  But, I think… I don't think there's been a change.  The challenge for us is the lack of funding.
Inner City Press: But the sentence "we propose to take a community approach", that seems pretty definitive.  That seems like, this is the approach that we're taking.  Before there were two.  Now there's one.

Spokesman:  This is the approach that is being taken now.  I think it's one step at a time, as we had said in the beginning.

Inner City Press:  There's an upcoming visit by the Security Council to Haiti.  Do you expect… how is the Secretary-General going to hear from the affected communities, what they believe should happen?

Spokesman:  Well, I think, first of all, through our staff on the ground.  And, as we've said, we would be appointing an envoy soon. 
  We'll see. Also on June 16, the International Monetary Fund announced a staff-level agreement for a staff-monitoredprogram with Haiti, its Chris Walker saying, "the IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on an SMP covering the period of June-December, 2017. Under the SMP, fiscal policy will focus on mobilizing domestic budget revenue to make room for needed increases in public investment, notably with regard to reconstruction from the effects of Hurricane Matthew, and investments in health, education, and social services. This will be achieved in part through the elimination of excessive subsidies, including subsidies for retail fuel sales. Crucially, these actions will be accompanied by mitigating measures to protect the most vulnerable. The SMP also recognizes that to provide the resources for increasing public investment and raising economic growth over the medium term, it is vital to bring an end to the large losses arising from the operations of the public electricity utility EDH, which in recent years have been responsible for approximately half of the public sector deficit.
The Central Bank of Haiti (BRH) will aim to protect international reserves and preserve exchange rate flexibility, while acting as necessary to contain disorderly market conditions. Under the SMP, the BRH will limit monetary financing of the government deficit, based on the SMP agreement, and will strive to achieve low inflation, while maintaining an adequate flow of credit to the private sector. Structural reforms under the SMP will focus on tax reform and on improving transparency of public accounts. IMF staff will work closely with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program. In addition, the IMF will continue to provide technical assistance to support Haiti’s capacity-building efforts and its reform program. The SMP is designed to build a track record and successful performance will catalyze donor flows and support a future request for an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement."
 On June 15 the UN bragged of $48 million in projects as it closed down the northern Haiti outpost it opened in 2004 - still without paying for cholera. US Vice President Mike Pence met Haiti's President in Miami and issued this read-out: "The Vice President today met with President Jovenel Moise of Haiti in Miami, Florida. On behalf of President Trump, the Vice President congratulated President Moise for his election earlier this year, and recognized Haiti for filling key government leadership positions. The two leaders stressed the importance of pursuing an economic reform agenda to attract investment and generate growth. The Vice President and President Moise reiterated their common commitment to building on strong bilateral ties, and working together to pursue issues of mutual interest.." Would that include Temporary Protected Status? We'll have more on this. On June 15, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the presentation yesterday about the new approach to the UN's role in cholera in Haiti.  Two things. I saw David Nabarro there.  I wanted to ask you, I know that he ran for WHO.  Is he back as a UN official?  Amina Mohammed said that the Secretary-General will soon be naming a high-level envoy.  Maybe you won't give a time frame, but what's the process, I guess, as I haven't seen it advertised…?

Spokesman:  No, the Secretary-General, I think, is considering a number of people, and he will appoint the person he best sees fit.  As you know, not every high-level position is posted on the Secretary-General's website.  Some he chooses to do that with.  Others, he does not.  But he's obviously consulting with Member States and trying to find the best possible person.  I do… and, hopefully, we'll have that announcement sooner rather than later.
Inner City Press:  And Mr. Nabarro, did he just return to his Special Envoy… what's his post?

Spokesman:  I believe he's returned to a post that he had.  I'm not aware of the exact details.

Inner City Press:  When the Secretary-General took off on his trip that he would be back in New York the morning of Thursday, 15 June.  That announcement is still what qualifies as his daily schedule.  Where is he?  Is he here…?

Spokesman:  Yes, he’s landed.  He landed very early this morning, and I hope for his sake that he's resting at home, but he's in New York.
   To stake out the June 14 meeting, the "new" UN still required Inner City Press but not other less critical media to have a minder (who also asked Inner City Press to leave). Jamaica spoke the on the UN restoring its good name; the representative of the Hadi government whose call for airstrikes led to cholera in Yemen spoke too. Amina Mohammed spoke of a new high level envoy. In the hall afterward was David Nabarro. (In the hall DURING the meeting was Morocco's Omar Hilale, apparently more concerned with blocked UN human rights observers in Western Sahara or now, Rif.) Penned in, Inner City Press spoke with some Perm Reps but not the Secretariat's speakers. (In fairness despite restrictions it has added a link to the speech, here.) The Department of Public Information, which had defended Ban's denial of responsibility, now promoted Guterres and Mohammed's "new" approach. All this while imposing and continuing restrictions on the Press. This is today's UN. Ban before he left, for a failed run for South Korea's presidency, said he would raise $400 million for Haiti. 55 days later, barely two percent of that had been raised. Now major states merely "take note" of proposals to leave money behind in Haiti. Still, the worst of the organization is exemplified in its Department of Public Information, particularly as regards planning to mislead the public in 2017 about such issues has peacekeepers' rapes and bringing deadly cholera to Haiti. 
See UN Plan, exclusively put online here.
   UN Peacekeeping needs radical reform, and UN DPI needs to be disbanded. 
  Gallach produced a propaganda plan for 2017, which multiple outraged UN sources leaked to Inner City Press.  Gallach's "2017 Communications Guidance" has a paragraph on cholera in Haiti which does not mention that the UN brought the disease to the island. Page 9.
  While barely a million dollars, nearly all of it blood money from Ban Ki-moon's South Korea, has been raised, Gallach tells her propaganda troops to "promote the UN's efforts to combat the disease harnessing.. social media tools." 
  This is propaganda. 
 Likewise on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, Gallach's rah-rah implies that the corner has been turned. Page 5. While the UN's billion dollar DR Congo mission is a mere footnote, the UN's failed envoy on Yemen is portrayed as successful on Page 6. The section on the Middle East , and pages 10 and 14-15, are designed to trigger budget cuts.


 It is Gallach who should be fired, even before she is forced out on March 31.
  As the UN remains unreformed after Ban Ki-moon's ten years ended with corruption, long asked about by the Press, exposed, budget cuts are coming.
 In Washington executive orders are being prepared to cut up to 40% of the US' contributions to the UN, and to fully cut funding to entities blamed for violation of human rights.
  Inner City Press has put that draft EO online here.
  One obvious question is whether the total denial of due process for whistleblowers - already part of US law - and investigative press which covers UN corruption constitutes such a violation.
  For example, the UN Department of Public Information under Cristina Gallach in early 2016 threw Inner City Press out of the UN, dumping its investigative files onto First Avenue, without a single hearing or opportunity to be heard, and no appeal since
All this for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room which was nowhere listed as closed, and leaving as soon as a single UN Security officer said the Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, wanted Inner City Press out.
Gallach had a conflict of interest, having been asked by Inner City Press about her own links with Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, facing trial (like Ban Ki-moon's nephew and brother) on bribery charges.
There are no rules, only the one-person fiat rule of an official dumped on Ban's UN by Spain, where she had previously managed, at most, seven people as spokesperson to Javier Solana. Nothing has been done; eleven months later Gallach still requires Inner City Press to have "minders" to cover the UN Security Council. 
  The cuts, and a new US Ambassador, are coming. Six days after a confirmation hearing in which she called for accountability at the UN, including for peacekeepers' abuses, Nikki Haley on January 24 was confirmed to replace Samantha Power as US Ambassador to the UN.
  This came after at least two business days of no photos replacing those of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the US Mission to the UN. 
  On January 24, Inner City Press asked former UN official, now Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom about Haley's call to defund countries whose peacekeepers abuse. Tweeted video here. There are reforms needed at the UN.
  Back on January 18 before Haley spoke as nominee for US Ambassador to the UN, Senator Bob Corker said he sometimes wondered if just-left Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had a pulse.
  In fact, Ban was quite active in helping his own relatives at the UN, promoting his son in law to the top UN job in Kenya, his brother mining in Myanmar with a "UN delegation," indicted nephew using Ban's name to sell real estate.
  When Haley began, she said the UN has a "checkered history." That's being diplomatic. Consider a head of Peacekeeping who has linked rapes to R&R, video here.
  Consider a head of the UN "Department of Public Information" who did no due diligence over indicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng - then evicted and still restricts the Press which asked here about it. Audit here, Para 37-40, 20b; NYT here.
   In response to questions, Haley praised the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone, questioned the one in South Sudan and that country's government. She noted that countries make money off their peacekeepers. The case in point, we note, is Burundi, here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Before UN Killed 10,000 in Haiti, Roots in 2004 Exile, ICP To Return to Scene of the Crime with UNSC


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here, song here

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 – While in some places the UN system may be doing good work, its killing of more and 10,000 Haitians with cholera, and its years of denial, have been a low point. Now with the UN Security Council slated to visit Haiti from June 22 and 24 -- Inner City Press will cover it -- the strange and some say shameful history of the UN's MINUSTAH mission comes to the fore. After then-President Aristide was forced into exile in, echoing today, the Central African Republic, the UN Security Council on April 30, 2004 dutifully created a mission to take over from the US, French and Canadian troops who has deployed during Guy Philippe's force's killing spree. Promoting it was then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, self-described father of the UN's since-questioned (at least on Yemen) Children and Armed Conflict mandate. Given today's Security Council splits, particularly on regime change, one marvels that Resolution 1542 was passed unanimously. Already in the mix was, for example, Haitian rights attorney Mario Joseph, now an astute critic of the UN's total evasion of responsibility for killing over 10,000 Haitians with cholera. We'll have more on this. On June 14, 2017 the new (well, 162 day old) UN presented what it called a new approach on cholera - not long after Secretary General Antonio Guterres' delayed approach to the UN's lead poisoning victims in Kosovo was criticized. Inner City Press asked the UN about it on June 16, in the run-up to the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti next week (we will cover that). From the UN's June 16 noon briefing, video here,  transcript: Inner City Press: on Haiti, I went back and looked at what Amina Mohammed said, that 'there are no funds for Track 2, and we propose to take a community approach. ' And I'm sure you've seen a number of advocates — Mario Joseph, other well-known, long-time Haiti cholera activists — have said this is an outrage, that basically what the Secretary-General announced, Ban Ki-moon at the end of his tenure, is being totally rejected, and any consultation with the affected communities will take place after this speech by Amina Mohammed.

Spokesman:  I don't think it's being rejected.  I think I was asked this question yesterday.  We, obviously, are eagerly awaiting funds.  But, I think… I don't think there's been a change.  The challenge for us is the lack of funding.
Inner City Press: But the sentence "we propose to take a community approach", that seems pretty definitive.  That seems like, this is the approach that we're taking.  Before there were two.  Now there's one.

Spokesman:  This is the approach that is being taken now.  I think it's one step at a time, as we had said in the beginning.

Inner City Press:  There's an upcoming visit by the Security Council to Haiti.  Do you expect… how is the Secretary-General going to hear from the affected communities, what they believe should happen?

Spokesman:  Well, I think, first of all, through our staff on the ground.  And, as we've said, we would be appointing an envoy soon. 
  We'll see. Also on June 16, the International Monetary Fund announced a staff-level agreement for a staff-monitoredprogram with Haiti, its Chris Walker saying, "the IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on an SMP covering the period of June-December, 2017. Under the SMP, fiscal policy will focus on mobilizing domestic budget revenue to make room for needed increases in public investment, notably with regard to reconstruction from the effects of Hurricane Matthew, and investments in health, education, and social services. This will be achieved in part through the elimination of excessive subsidies, including subsidies for retail fuel sales. Crucially, these actions will be accompanied by mitigating measures to protect the most vulnerable. The SMP also recognizes that to provide the resources for increasing public investment and raising economic growth over the medium term, it is vital to bring an end to the large losses arising from the operations of the public electricity utility EDH, which in recent years have been responsible for approximately half of the public sector deficit.
The Central Bank of Haiti (BRH) will aim to protect international reserves and preserve exchange rate flexibility, while acting as necessary to contain disorderly market conditions. Under the SMP, the BRH will limit monetary financing of the government deficit, based on the SMP agreement, and will strive to achieve low inflation, while maintaining an adequate flow of credit to the private sector. Structural reforms under the SMP will focus on tax reform and on improving transparency of public accounts. IMF staff will work closely with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program. In addition, the IMF will continue to provide technical assistance to support Haiti’s capacity-building efforts and its reform program. The SMP is designed to build a track record and successful performance will catalyze donor flows and support a future request for an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement."
 On June 15 the UN bragged of $48 million in projects as it closed down the northern Haiti outpost it opened in 2004 - still without paying for cholera. US Vice President Mike Pence met Haiti's President in Miami and issued this read-out: "The Vice President today met with President Jovenel Moise of Haiti in Miami, Florida. On behalf of President Trump, the Vice President congratulated President Moise for his election earlier this year, and recognized Haiti for filling key government leadership positions. The two leaders stressed the importance of pursuing an economic reform agenda to attract investment and generate growth. The Vice President and President Moise reiterated their common commitment to building on strong bilateral ties, and working together to pursue issues of mutual interest.." Would that include Temporary Protected Status? We'll have more on this. On June 15, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the presentation yesterday about the new approach to the UN's role in cholera in Haiti.  Two things. I saw David Nabarro there.  I wanted to ask you, I know that he ran for WHO.  Is he back as a UN official?  Amina Mohammed said that the Secretary-General will soon be naming a high-level envoy.  Maybe you won't give a time frame, but what's the process, I guess, as I haven't seen it advertised…?

Spokesman:  No, the Secretary-General, I think, is considering a number of people, and he will appoint the person he best sees fit.  As you know, not every high-level position is posted on the Secretary-General's website.  Some he chooses to do that with.  Others, he does not.  But he's obviously consulting with Member States and trying to find the best possible person.  I do… and, hopefully, we'll have that announcement sooner rather than later.
Inner City Press:  And Mr. Nabarro, did he just return to his Special Envoy… what's his post?

Spokesman:  I believe he's returned to a post that he had.  I'm not aware of the exact details.

Inner City Press:  When the Secretary-General took off on his trip that he would be back in New York the morning of Thursday, 15 June.  That announcement is still what qualifies as his daily schedule.  Where is he?  Is he here…?

Spokesman:  Yes, he’s landed.  He landed very early this morning, and I hope for his sake that he's resting at home, but he's in New York.
   To stake out the June 14 meeting, the "new" UN still required Inner City Press but not other less critical media to have a minder (who also asked Inner City Press to leave). Jamaica spoke the on the UN restoring its good name; the representative of the Hadi government whose call for airstrikes led to cholera in Yemen spoke too. Amina Mohammed spoke of a new high level envoy. In the hall afterward was David Nabarro. (In the hall DURING the meeting was Morocco's Omar Hilale, apparently more concerned with blocked UN human rights observers in Western Sahara or now, Rif.) Penned in, Inner City Press spoke with some Perm Reps but not the Secretariat's speakers. (In fairness despite restrictions it has added a link to the speech, here.) The Department of Public Information, which had defended Ban's denial of responsibility, now promoted Guterres and Mohammed's "new" approach. All this while imposing and continuing restrictions on the Press. This is today's UN. Ban before he left, for a failed run for South Korea's presidency, said he would raise $400 million for Haiti. 55 days later, barely two percent of that had been raised. Now major states merely "take note" of proposals to leave money behind in Haiti. Still, the worst of the organization is exemplified in its Department of Public Information, particularly as regards planning to mislead the public in 2017 about such issues has peacekeepers' rapes and bringing deadly cholera to Haiti. 
See UN Plan, exclusively put online here.
   UN Peacekeeping needs radical reform, and UN DPI needs to be disbanded. 
  Gallach produced a propaganda plan for 2017, which multiple outraged UN sources leaked to Inner City Press.  Gallach's "2017 Communications Guidance" has a paragraph on cholera in Haiti which does not mention that the UN brought the disease to the island. Page 9.
  While barely a million dollars, nearly all of it blood money from Ban Ki-moon's South Korea, has been raised, Gallach tells her propaganda troops to "promote the UN's efforts to combat the disease harnessing.. social media tools." 
  This is propaganda. 
 Likewise on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, Gallach's rah-rah implies that the corner has been turned. Page 5. While the UN's billion dollar DR Congo mission is a mere footnote, the UN's failed envoy on Yemen is portrayed as successful on Page 6. The section on the Middle East , and pages 10 and 14-15, are designed to trigger budget cuts.


 It is Gallach who should be fired, even before she is forced out on March 31.
  As the UN remains unreformed after Ban Ki-moon's ten years ended with corruption, long asked about by the Press, exposed, budget cuts are coming.
 In Washington executive orders are being prepared to cut up to 40% of the US' contributions to the UN, and to fully cut funding to entities blamed for violation of human rights.
  Inner City Press has put that draft EO online here.
  One obvious question is whether the total denial of due process for whistleblowers - already part of US law - and investigative press which covers UN corruption constitutes such a violation.
  For example, the UN Department of Public Information under Cristina Gallach in early 2016 threw Inner City Press out of the UN, dumping its investigative files onto First Avenue, without a single hearing or opportunity to be heard, and no appeal since
All this for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room which was nowhere listed as closed, and leaving as soon as a single UN Security officer said the Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, wanted Inner City Press out.
Gallach had a conflict of interest, having been asked by Inner City Press about her own links with Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, facing trial (like Ban Ki-moon's nephew and brother) on bribery charges.
There are no rules, only the one-person fiat rule of an official dumped on Ban's UN by Spain, where she had previously managed, at most, seven people as spokesperson to Javier Solana. Nothing has been done; eleven months later Gallach still requires Inner City Press to have "minders" to cover the UN Security Council. 
  The cuts, and a new US Ambassador, are coming. Six days after a confirmation hearing in which she called for accountability at the UN, including for peacekeepers' abuses, Nikki Haley on January 24 was confirmed to replace Samantha Power as US Ambassador to the UN.
  This came after at least two business days of no photos replacing those of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the US Mission to the UN. 
  On January 24, Inner City Press asked former UN official, now Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom about Haley's call to defund countries whose peacekeepers abuse. Tweeted video here. There are reforms needed at the UN.
  Back on January 18 before Haley spoke as nominee for US Ambassador to the UN, Senator Bob Corker said he sometimes wondered if just-left Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had a pulse.
  In fact, Ban was quite active in helping his own relatives at the UN, promoting his son in law to the top UN job in Kenya, his brother mining in Myanmar with a "UN delegation," indicted nephew using Ban's name to sell real estate.
  When Haley began, she said the UN has a "checkered history." That's being diplomatic. Consider a head of Peacekeeping who has linked rapes to R&R, video here.
  Consider a head of the UN "Department of Public Information" who did no due diligence over indicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng - then evicted and still restricts the Press which asked here about it. Audit here, Para 37-40, 20b; NYT here.
   In response to questions, Haley praised the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone, questioned the one in South Sudan and that country's government. She noted that countries make money off their peacekeepers. The case in point, we note, is Burundi, here.

On Qatar vs GCC & Egypt, ICP Asked UN of Eritrea & Djibouti, Morocco Offer “Not Taken Seriously”


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 – As the stand-off between Qatar and the GCC and Egypt continues, Inner City Press on June 15 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Qatar pulling its troops out from between Eritrea and Djiibouti - and Dujarric answered about Ethiopia, see below. On June 17, an expert on Qatar's Al Jazeera said the Moroccan offer to mediate "wasn't taken seriously," which when Inner City Press quoted it, pro-Morocco trolls went crazy. Here's that quote, Vine Camera here, and here's the UN's June 15 transcript(video here): Inner City Press: on Qatar, they've announced that they're pulling out of their role on the border between Djibouti and Eritrea, where they've had… which is something the UN has worked on in the past.  And I… they… it seems pretty clearly tied to this standoff with the other Gulf countries.  Do you have any comment on that?  Do you anticipate Qatar pulling back from the role it's played in Darfur?  Is there any interplay between the… the… their… their… these diplomatic initiatives and, in the case of Djibouti and Eritrea, the actual imposition of troops between two belligerents?

Spokesman:  No specific comment on the issue between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  I mean, I think, as we've said, the Secretary-General has been following this closely.  He's been in touch with various parties, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait, and is very much supportive of Kuwait's diplomatic efforts.  I think it's important that the subregion regains its unity.  The disunity we're seeing, it serves the purpose… serves no one.  Go ahead.

Inner City Press: Djibouti.  I just want… I wanted to just be clear.  I'm asking about Eritrea.

Spokesman:  Eritrea.  I'm sorry.  I misspoke.  Yeah.

  The veneer that Al Jazeera was not Qatar state TV has been ripped off, with self serving reports from, for example, Georgetown Doha We'll have more on this. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Amid UN Libya Failure, Guterres Taps Salameh As Envoy, ICP Scoop on Strategic Review by Guehenno


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive confirmed

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, after multiple failures, has formally moved to appoint former Lebanese culture minister Ghassan Salameh as his envoy to Libya, replacing Martin Kobler. Letter here.The UN's failings in Libya forced Guterres to order a strategic review of its presence there, head by French former UN official Jean-Marie Guehenno who traveled to the region, sources told Inner City Press. Inner City Press published the exclusive, and at noon on June 7 got on-camera confirmation from UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric -- who still refuses, however, to say how and how much Guehenno will be paid. Now even before Guehenno's murky "strategic review" as been presented, we heard and on June 9 reported of former Lebanese culture minister Ghassan Salameh, a failed candidate for UNESCO, bidding for the UN's Libya post, instead of initially rumored Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed the envoy on Yemen, of whom Inner City Press asked Yemen penholder Matthew Rycroft of the UK on June 8. The UN is corrupt. From the UN June 7 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, can you… has the Secretary-General requested a strategic review of the entire presence in Libya of the UN?  And is Mr. [Jean-Marie] Guéhenno, former head of DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations], involved in it?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware, but I can check [Later]  I can confirm that there is, in fact, a strategic assessment of the UN presence in Libya that Mr. Guéhenno is leading.

Inner City Press: Is he now a UN official?  That was going to be my…

Spokesman:  I'm sure he's employed on a contractual basis to conduct this.
  But what kind of contract, given his other engagements? Inner City Press has now asked Guehenno on Twitter, here, and at 3 pm on June 7 asked the Ambassadors of the UK, Sweden and France, video here. The UK's Matthew Rycroft said it was always good to review missions, how many people they should employ. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Q: The strategic review that’s being undertaken by Jean-Marie Guehenno, by the Secretariat. What’s the goal of it? Does it put into question whether the mission will remain? Or is it simply what the mission should be doing?
 
Amb Rycroft: I think it’s more the latter, and we support that. It’s important that every political and peacekeeping mission in the UN has an honest look at itself. What is it doing well? What areas does it need to improve on? Does it have too many staff? Does it have too few staff? And he’s been very helpful in doing that in regards to UNSMIL.

Inner City Press: Will he brief the Council when he’s done? Is that your understanding?

Amb Rycroft: I don’t know whether he will or not, but we look forward to hearing the views of the UN Secretary-General.
  Sweden's Olof Skoog said there was a need to make political decisions and that was the role of the review, which would not impact the sanctions committee he chairs. France's Delattre praised (also French) Guehenno, alluded to the trip, then went into the Security Council's Libya meeting. Will Guehenno answer what Dujarric would not? Will he brief the Council?  Could fishy Yemen envoy Ismaeil Ould Cheikh Ahmed be shifted over from the Yemen beat he's failed on to Libya, even during the review? Guterres got his choice to replace envoy Martin Kobler blocked. The UN's servile role in Libya was exemplified  on April 4, when long time UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric cut off a Press question, to Italy, about its deal with and reported arming of tribes there in an attempt to stem migrant flows. So on April 5, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's Associate Spokesperson Eri Kaneko, from the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press: I tried yesterday at the UNMAS [United Nations Mine Action Service] press conference to ask this question.  There was a conference held in… Friday in Rome between the Italian Interior Ministry and what was described as tribes from Libya, particularly from the parts not controlled by the UN-recognized Government.  And at least some press accounts say that Italy has agreed to provide weapons to the tribes, basically to stop immigrant… migrants or refugees from coming to their soil.  So, what I wondered is, what's the UN's involvement in this?  One, what do they think of a country arming tribes, if that's what took place?  In any event, what is the UN… either Mr. [Martin] Kobler or… or… or anyone else in the UN system, UNHCR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], are they involved in any way in this Italian interchange with Libyan tribes?

Associate Spokesperson:  I mean, as you know, the UN is not a military force or has no military force in Libya, but I'm sure that the Italians are in touch with our team on the ground.  We'll check with them what they think about this development.

Question:  Right.  But, I guess… well, okay.  Check… check, if you could?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yoshita?
  Eight hours later, there was nothing, no answers. On April 4, the cut off was at a press conference co-chaired by Italy's deputy ambassador to the UN; Libya is one of the countries the UN says it does mine action work in. But when Inner City Press asked about Libya, and Italy, Dujarric cut in and disallowed the question. Later he allowed others to ask “off topic” questions. And, after Inner City Press followed up on its question about Richard Wilcox being proposed as UN envoy to Libya, Dujarric refused to confirm he has been blocked, despite loud protestation about the blocking of Salam Fayyad for the same position. This is today's UN.
   In Libya, the head of UNMAS said they work from outside of the country. Inner City Press asked her about Cameroon, too, including the Internet cut off she said she was aware of from Inner City Press - but that's another story.
After the UN's Antonio Guterres, under the advice of USg Jeffrey Feltman, had the pick of Salam Fayyad for UN Libya envoy blocked, the duo have a new, also US Democratic Party related, name for the position: Richard Wilcox. On March 24, after reporting this, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: the National Human Rights Commission in Libya has expressed concern about a proposal by Italy to open up, they say, migrant camps inside Libya, I guess, to stem the flow of people coming to them, but apparently, they… they… they… Italy believes they can open it without the Government's consent.  And I wanted to know, given that the Secretary-General is a… is something of an expert in immigrat… in migration law, does the Secretary-General or Secretariat have any view of a European country like Italy opening up migrant camps in countries of origin in order to keep people from coming even without that Government's consent?

Deputy Spokesman:  First, we'll check with UNHCR what they're saying about this.  I believe that they'll be looking at this matter, and they've been in touch with the relevant authorities.  So we'll have to see what the response is.
Inner City Press: Also on Libya, I wanted to ask you, the former ambassador here, Ibrahim Dabbashi, has written that the Secretary-General is considering naming Richard Wilcox, in a… he says… according to Dabbashi, an Obama-era official to be Special Representative to Libya.  And I wanted to know, where does the process stand?  Is that the case?  And, if so, would… this is… is this something that the Secretary-General would go through a more extensive process with the P-5 than was the case in the former nominee?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, the consultations on this issue continue.  There's nothing to announce in terms of any names, and the process that will be followed is the same one that we've been following.

Inner City Press:  But did it work last time?

Deputy Spokesman:  We will continue with our consultations.  Of course, what we want and expect is the cooperation of all parties.  Yes, in the back?
  One wonders if Guterres (or Feltman) will claim they got Nikki Haley sign off. Or, as a high ranking official on the 38th floor of the UN on March 23 asked Inner City Press, who actually has an interlocutor in the White House right now? Watch this site.
  The US blocked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' nomination of the Palestinian Authority's Salam Fayyad to be UN envoy to Libya.
  On February 20, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if there was any progress in replacing Fayyad as candidate -- apparently not - about an assassination attempt and travel ban on women in the East. From the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Libya.  Do you have anything on the attempted assassination attempt against Mr. Serraj?  And, also, there’s a reported ban on women… unaccompanied women traveling from the east.  Do you have anything either on that?  And any update on the selection of an SRSG that was previously blocked?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding the selection of an SRSG, that process… the consultations are ongoing, and I don’t have any… any further details to share for you beyond what the Secretary-General himself said to the press on this over the weekend.

Regarding… regarding the assassination… the reports, I don’t have a confirmation of those reports, so I don’t have any reaction to provide at this point.

Inner City Press: And I’ve noticed that António Guterres has put out a sort of a global call, generic call, for SRSGs to be in some sort of pool to become UN envoys to conflict zones.  I wanted to know, like, on the Libya one, given… given the apparent miscommunication about whether it would be accepted or blocked, is there any thought of doing an open process such as is being done with Department of Management and Department of Public Information, or is there any thought of having that more public or at least routinized process as opposed to a behind-the-scenes process?

Deputy Spokesman:  If there’s any changes to make in the current process, we’ll announce it.  We don’t… while we’re considering certain things, there’s nothing to announce at this point.

  On February 13 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to explain what the "usual consultations" mentioned in the February 8 letter to the Security Council from Guterres consisted of. Haq refused to elaborate, nor to explain Guterres reportedly preparing to give the top post in UN Peacekeeping to France to the fifth time in a row. Video here.