Saturday, February 25, 2017

Burundi's UN Rep Calls Ban Ki-moon Part of “Axis of Evil,” Guterres A Word Inventor, Spox Dujarric Silent


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- How little does today's UN care about Burundi? They dodge and ignore questions - and, it seems, cover up famine. Still, new Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a delayed February 23 report says, of Pierre Nkurunziza, "an attempt by the president to seek a fourth term in office under the current circumstances would risk intensifying the crisis and undermining collective efforts to find a sustainable solution." But is Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric listening? He won't even say where Guterres is, click here for that.

 Now Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro, hitting back at even the use of the term "four term," has tweeted: "With the intention of destabilizing #Burundi in 20 the same axis of evil that failed regime change in15,invents another magic word'4th term'."
   Pressed, Shingiro has said he wasn't called Antonio Guterres part of an Axis of Evil, since he wasn't UN Secretary General in 2015. But could hapless, corruption plagued Ban Ki-moon be a part? More like the Axis of Mediocrity. 
 And did Guterres really "invent" fourth term as a "magic word"? Or wouldn't a Pierre Nkurunziza run for election in 2020 be a run for a fourth term? How will the UN react to this? For now, Guterres spokesman Dujarric - who has previously been the face not only for AoE Ban Ki-moon but also Kofi Annan before that - won't answer the most basic question. Dujarric too is a fourth term man. We'll have more on this -- and this, that Shingiro previously outed his own second Twitter account by tweeting a photo with the UN's evicter in chief Cristina Gallach, here. Axis of Evil, indeed.
 Now the UN is training the Burundi security forces in how to use drones; Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza -- himself repatriated from the UN Mission in the Central African Republic after Inner City Press questions (credited on AllAfrica.com here) bragged about it and refused to answer about Burundi's use of drones. 
  So Inner City Press on February 24 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Herve Ladsous' UN is training this already problematic Burundi contingent in the use of drones. Video here from 25:50. Dujarric didn't substantively respond to that question and on Inner City Press next question about Ladsous, Dujarric ran off the podium and out of the room. UN DPI under Cristina Gallach produced a video with the audio of the question cut, see here at end. This is today's UN.
  Not only Gallach, who is now set to be out on March 31, but Dujarric who is trying to hold on while refusing to answer questions, ill-serve new Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, who in a delayed reported sent to the UN Security Council on February 23 says of Nkurunziza "an attempt by the president to seek a fourth term in office under the current circumstances would risk intensifying the crisis and undermining collective efforts to find a sustainable solution."
  Likewise an attempt by Dujarric, who has become increasing abusive in defending corruption under Ban Ki-moon, to stay on will undermine the UN. Watch this site.
 On the morning of February 22, Inner City Press submitted questions including about Burundi to UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who had canceled the day's noon briefing.
  More than two hours later, having no response at all, Inner City Press posed a (UN cover up of) Burundi famine question to new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, adding audibly that his spokesman Dujarric is not answering basic Press questions. Video here; compare to footage of UNTV of Cristina Gallach, which at end cuts audio as Inner City Press is asking Guterres about UN leak on famine in Burundi.
 On February 23, Inner City Press at the noon briefing asked Dujarric about Burundi, video hereUN transcript here.
   The UN email lists famine in Kirundu Muyinga, Cankuzo and Ruyigi in Burundi.
  The UN is belatedly repatriating Burundi military figure Budigi from its Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, after Inner City Press twice asked the UN why it deployed a person who burned down Radio Publique Africaine.
  The first time Inner City Press asked, the UN didn't even transcribe Budigi's name. So Inner City Press asked again. When the UN Spokesperson's office finally had an answer, it did not email it to Inner City Press, but rather waited to read it out at the February 21 noon briefing.
 Inner City Press then asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq why Budigi wasn't caught in what the UN claims its its routine first screening. Video here. This has not been explained. Watch this site.
  When self-styled Burundi facilitator William Mkapa drew up a list of participants, he allowed Pierre Nkunrunziza to in essence choose his interlocutors, making their participation contingent on Nkurunziza granting them provisional immunity. 
  This and Burundi's request to Tanzania to have opponents arrested should be raised in the February 23 UN Security Council meeting about Burundi. But it will be behind closed doors, and penholder France's constant quote when Inner City Press asks is the vague "we never give up."
  In Burundi, government electricity and water authority (Regideso) employee Lydia Nibogora was murdered and dumped. Sources Inner city Press has come to trust say it is because she blew the whistle on corruption. There should be an investigation, but where is the UN? We'll have more on this.
Inner City Press on February 17 asked, video here, UN transcript here.
Inner City Press on February 16 asked, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: the Government itself has said it's not going to participate.  So I wanted to know if you have any kind of update to what you said yesterday.  And, also, a Burundian minister has visited refugees in Uganda.  This has given rise to protests, because there's a sense that… that, by visiting people that fled the country in fear of their lives, there's essentially a threat to them to be repatriated or refouled back to Burundi.  I wanted to know if the UN has a view on that.   And, finally, I'd asked some weeks ago about a guy called Budigi, a Burundian military figure that was involved in the burning down of Radio Publique Africaine.  And it's, again, reported by Radio Publique Africaine that this Nicolas Budigi is part of UN CAR, the UN Mission in Central African Republic.   And so Stéphane had said he'd look into it.  I wanted to know, have you found out that this… whether or not… can you confirm that the guy is there?  And, if not, what does it say about the vetting that's being conducted by DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations)?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, our peacekeeping colleagues have been looking into this matter.  I think they're trying to gather details on this now.  Once we have that, we'll let you know.  Regarding the participation by the parties in the Arusha talks, we do regret the decision by any invited participant to decline attendance of the consultations to be held in Arusha under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC) and facilitated by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.  We urge the parties to demonstrate the necessary flexibility to make a negotiated solution possible, and the UN will continue to support the process led by the EAC.
  On February 14, after Inner City Press asked a second time (and about the constitution, here), the UN sent Inner City Press this response, which we publish in full: "Special Adviser Benomar is in Arusha at the invitation of the Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa, to support his efforts. The Facilitator has invited both the government and opposition and offered assurances to those members of the opposition who are on a Burundian Government arrest warrant list that they will not face arrest or extradition while in Tanzania."
  Meanwhile, an Nkurunziza minister is "visiting" refugees who fled Nkurunziza into Uganda, giving rise to protests.
 Inner City Press first asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on February 13 how the UN can support this. With the answer UNclear, and just before Haq called Inner City Press an obsessive a*hole, Inner City Press asked him, from the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press:  The other thing I wanted to ask about was on the Burundi talks is, you'd said yesterday that the UN is doing everything possible to make sure they're inclusive and that there shouldn't be preconditions.  And I wanted to get your response now.  The ruling party, CNDD-FDD, has said, quote, we are not going to sit with people who are under arrest warrants.  So this means that the peop… that… that exactly what you were saying yesterday you're opposed to will take place in these talks.  And I wanted to know, will Mr. [Jamal] Benomar nonetheless attend?  Will there still be UN funds to support a process in which large parts of the opposition are not allowed to participate?

Deputy Spokesman:  We'll check with Mr. Benomar what his intentions are on that.
From the February 14 UN's transcript:
Inner City Press: In Burundi, the talks that are re-beginning, there's a list out of the participants, but it says at the bottom of the lists that the… the opposition's attendance is contingent on discussions with Pierre Nkurunziza to grant conditional immunity.  Since the UN is supporting this process, is it really a process if one side gets to choose who from the other side can attend?  What is the role of the UN in ensuring inclusivity of the talks?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have stressed and will continue to stress the need for all talks to be inclusive.  And we want, therefore, all people to be able to participate in a manner that is not conditional.

Inner City Press:  But, what is… I mean, conditioned on immunity.  This is a letter… this is a document from Mr. [Benjamin] Mkapa, and he seems to be accepting that Pierre Nkurunziza can choose who can attend.

Deputy Spokesman:  We're in touch with the parties, and we're doing what we can to ensure that talks will be as inclusive as possible.
  So what is the UN doing?
  On top of Mkapa's attempt to up his pay to $1500 a day, and inclusion in his team of a person named in a previous UN sanctions report for DR Congo, there are more and more questions about this facilitation. But the UN, which "supports" it, won't even disclose the delay and blocking of its visas. 
  Herve Ladsous, the fourth French national in a row to run UN Peacekeeping, overrode recommendations and continues to pay the Nkurunziza government for Burundian peacekeepers accused of 25 rapes in the Central African Republic. This is calling out for action and cuts, and a re-thinking of how and by whom UN Peacekeeping should be run. Watch this site.
While the UN claims, even now, that it vets the peacekeepers it deploys before it deploys them, it has already had to repatriate a number, from Burundi. On January 24 Inner City Press asked about another, but the UN in its transcript didn't even take down the name. Video here,UN transcript here and below.
   At the confirmation hearing for Nikki Haley, nominee as US Ambassador to the UN, on January 18 Haley three times said that countries whose peacekeepers abuse should not keep getting paid.
  Inner City Press asked the UN and UK about this, with the example of the UN having chosen to keep paying Burundi for 800 troops even after the UN's own inquiry charged 25 rapes by Burundian soldiers in the Central African Republic.
  UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft signaled agreement, that sexual abuse by peacekeepers should be met by repatriation. Tweeted video here. But simply to be replaced by troops from the same country, to get paid? 
(During Rycroft's answer, there was a smirk at the mention of Burundi, from US state media that's had John Kerry on its Board - perhaps aflashback to Liberians, here. We may have more on this.)
 UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called it a "case by case" decision, tweeted video here. But who decided it, and why?
As Burundi "facilitator" William Mkapa reconvened talks, the attendees list obtained by Inner City Press shows not only Ken Vitisia, of whom we're previously written, but also Francis Mnodolwa.
   Inner City Press previously on December 29 asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric to comment on the inclusion of an individual listed in the November 2009 DR Congo sanctions Group of Experts report, without answer. (Dujarric answered only two and a half of the 22 questions Inner City Press submitted: and those only to defend Ban Ki-moon and himself.)
  Now, from Paragraph 74 of that report:
"The Group has been informed by several sources, including a source close to Mr. Ndagundi, that he has close links to the ruling Counseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party in
Burundi.. Mr. Ndagundi.s Burundian telephone records also show 27 communications from April to September 2009 between himself and the number used by Francis Ndoluwa, the ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to Burundi, a former general in the Tanzanian military. A source close to Mr. Ndagundi informed the Group that he works closely with the Ambassador."
  So there is yet another of Mkapa's team that is close to the CNDD-FDD. 
On January 16, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhaq Haq, video here, UN Transcript here.
  On January 11, long after the UN Security Council ostensibly mandated the deployment to Burundi of 228 UN Police, no progress had been made. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: Has there been any progress in deploying the 226 police that the Security Council also mandated for Burundi to Burundi?  Do you have any update on that?

Spokesman:  No.  None that I can report.  Go ahead.  Last one.
   While corpses are found in Burundi and the government blocks the deployment of both the UN Police and UN Conflict Prevention staff ostensibly called for by the UN Secretariat and Security Council, the government's supporters try to side with either UN censors like Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, who evicted and restricts the Press which reports on Burundi, or more generally UN staff. 
It is more than a little ironic. UN staff are being PNG-ed and having visas denied from Burundi.
   While the UN says little and does nothing about this, they made a point of ordering Inner City Press to stop broadcasting on Periscope, with voice-over, a Town Hall meeting with new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which was on the UN's public UN Webcast website. And the government supporters, saying Inner City Press entered the meeting (it didn't) and picking up on the anti-Press maze Cristina Gallach of Spain and DPI has created, piled on. The UN of Gallach has brought this on; this is how the UN is perceived and to this has it sunk.
   There is also a strange announcement of a 500 Euros loan being arranged from a shadowy, seemingly dormant company “Biz Planners.” We'll have more on this.
 Benjamin Mkapa as Burundi mediator has kept his mind on his money, and his money on his mind, even as amid assissination of minister, closing down of NGOs. Well placed sources exclusively teold Inner City Press that Mkapa demanded a raise -- up to $1500 a day -- and was rejected.

Mkapa then took his demand to the East African Community heads of state. Will he get the payday? By declaring Pierre Nkurunziza legitimate because Ambassadors still present their credential to him, Mkapa is working for the money. But $1500 a day?

   There are other of his advisers gunning for up to $500 a day, including one who is said to have previously help arm CNDD-FDD related groups. Yes, we'll have more on this.

On January 4, Inner City Press asked about the Security Council's (lack of) Follow through on Burundi, to Ambassador Delattre of France, the "penholder" on Burundi. Tweeted video here.

On Western Sahara, Belated Statement on Guerguerat By UNSG Guterres Spox Who Refuses Qs


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 – Morocco's King Mohammed VI spoke to UN Secretary General on February 24, his media reports, while Guterres' spokeman Stephane Dujarric ran out of the UN Press Briefing Room as Inner City Press asked him about a leaked letter to the UN staff ousted from Western Sahara by Morocco. 

   Now belatedly the UN has issued this statement, while declining Press questions as basic as: where IS Antonio Guterres? Here is the statement:
"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the increased tensions in the vicinity of Guerguerat in the Buffer Strip in southern Western Sahara between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border. Armed elements of both Morocco and Frente Polisario remain in close proximity to each other, a position they have been in since August 2016, monitored during daylight hours by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

The Secretary-General calls on both of the parties to exercise maximum restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid escalating tensions, be that through the actions of military or civilian actors. He also underlines that regular commercial traffic should not be obstructed and that no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip.

The Secretary-General strongly urges the parties to unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible, to create an environment conducive to a resumption of the dialogue in the context of the political process led by the United Nations. He further calls on the parties to adhere to their obligations under the ceasefire agreement and to respect both the letter and the spirit of it."
   Inner City Press' February 24 question to Dujarric and his deputy including about where Guterres is have gone unanswered. What is wrong with today's UN?
   Even after Morocco threw portions of the UN Peacekeeping mission out of Western Sahara, when the UN Security Council met on the topic on February 22 it was not listed on their agenda and afterward the President of Council told Inner City Press he couldn't remember how many of the Morocco-ousted staff were still banned from Western Sahara. Video here.
  After the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who refuses to answer Inner City Press' written questions has claimed he is unaware of any of the ousted staff being reassigned to other UN missions, on UNTV on February 23, Inner City Press on the morning of February 24 exclusively publishedi a letter from the UN's Herve Ladsous, that the UN "will contact these staff members and discuss a way forward in the coming weeks." Letter published by Inner City Press on Scribd here.
  But when at the UN's February 24 noon briefing Inner City Press began asking "Spokesman" Dujarric about the letter, he immediately ran off the podium and out of the briefing room (after this). And UN DPI under Cristina Gallach produced a video file where the audio cuts off in the middle of the Western Sahara file. See here, at end. Both should leave; March 31 is too long.

Permanent member France has ensured it remain this way, and has managed to get its fifth national in a row put atop UN Peacekeeping, to succeed Herve Ladsous who again and again told Inner City Press, I don't answer your questions, until it was evicted from its office and remains restricted by Spain's Cristina Gallach. Last week Inner City Press asked what to expect from Antonio Guterres, see below. 
 On the afternoon of February 22, with Western Sahara on the Security Council's agenda, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre how many of the ousted UN staff are still out, and about the meeting. He said to Ask his colleague, who would attended, joking "cheap shot." Video here.
 At the Security Council stakeout, at least four Moroccan diplomats held vigil, including the sponsor of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Eric Tistounet's book party. 
After cover up man Herve Ladsous left, it was said the President of the Council would speak at the stakeout.  When he did, Inner City Press asked for a summary, at least how many of the ousted UN staff had returned. I don't remember, was the answer. Video here.
  So on February 23, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric how many have (not) returned, and if any have been reassigned to other UN missions. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: yesterday, after the consultations in the Council about MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), I asked the President of the Council if Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous had provided a number of the staff that had yet… had been ousted that had yet to be returned.  And he said, yes, a number had been provided.  He didn't say that he could remember the number, but I'm assuming that you can remember the number.  How many are still out?

Spokesman:  Well, I don't have to remember it because I have it written down in front of me, which is very good.  I can tell… I know there have been a lot… a number of questions about the level of the mission in Western Sahara.  We're obviously continuing our efforts to restore full functionality to the UN Mission, to MINURSO.  At this time, there remains 17 staff who have been unable to rejoin the mission after requested… being requested to depart by Morocco, and efforts continue to enable their return.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and MINURSO remain in close touch with staff members concerned in order to keep them informed of the current situation.

Inner City Press:  One follow-up.  I've heard that some of these people have been assigned to other missions.  Is that the case?  And, if so, does it kind of acknowledge--

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of those people having been reassigned to another mission. 
  We'll have more on this. 
Back on February 16 at a rare panel discussion on Western Sahara just off Manhattan's Park Avenue, a questioner brought the proceedings to a halt when he asked about Trump adviser Steve Bannon working in MINURSO.  Several audience members - on both sides, as it turned out - asked, Why? From the podium came the answer that the reference was to John Bolton. The Q&A continued.
  Inner City Press asked about Antonio Guterres, who recently gave the top position in UN Peacekeeping to yet another French official, Jean-Pierre Lacroix the fifth in a row, and what his views may be on Western Sahara.
  Amy Goodman of Democracy Now responded that as a former Portuguese prime minister Guterres should remember, and be asked about, East Timor. Video here, from Min 1:30:26. Consider it an assignment.
 The event was at Hunter College's Roosevelt House and included Prof Sandra Babcock, lawyer Katlyn Thomas, Madeleine Bair of Watching Western Sahara and Mohammed Ali Arkoukoum of the Saharawi Association in New York. The final questioner, with a pro-Morocco perspective and some supporters with filming phones, came in from Boston.
  Back on January 27 after the UN Security Council held a closed door meeting about Western Sahara, Inner City Press asked the Council's President for January Olof Skoog of Sweden what happened in the meeting. Video here.
  Specifically, Inner City Press asked Skoog how many of the 83 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission expelled by Morocco have be able to return.
 Skoog did not give a number, but said that MINURSO is still no up to full functionality. He mentioned Guerguerat.
  Inner City Press asked if Morocco's attempts to join the African Union, and the impact that might have on the political negotiations, had been discussed. Skoog said no.
  There was no time to ask about the Norwegian oil fish ship that, it seems, violated the recent European court ruling. And less than two hours later, guards citing the eviction / Press downgrading order of Spanish UN official Cristina Gallach demanded to know where Inner City Press' "minder" was, putting an end to a diplomat's provision of information to Inner City Press. This is today's UN.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Exclusive: On Western Sahara, ICP Publishes Ladsous on Ousted Staff, Spox UNaware of Reassignment


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 – Even after Morocco threw portions of the UN Peacekeeping mission out of Western Sahara, when the UN Security Council met on the topic on February 22 it was not listed on their agenda and afterward the President of Council told Inner City Press he couldn't remember how many of the Morocco-ousted staff were still banned from Western Sahara. Video here.

  Now after the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who refuses to answer Inner City Press' written questions has claimed he is unaware of any of the ousted staff being reassigned to other UN missions, Inner City Press is exclusively publishing a letter from the UN's Herve Ladsous, that the UN "will contact these staff members and discuss a way forward in the coming weeks." Letter published by Inner City Press on Scribd here.

Permanent member France has ensured it remain this way, and has managed to get its fifth national in a row put atop UN Peacekeeping, to succeed Herve Ladsous who again and again told Inner City Press, I don't answer your questions, until it was evicted from its office and remains restricted by Spain's Cristina Gallach. Last week Inner City Press asked what to expect from Antonio Guterres, see below. 
 On the afternoon of February 22, with Western Sahara on the Security Council's agenda, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre how many of the ousted UN staff are still out, and about the meeting. He said to Ask his colleague, who would attended, joking "cheap shot." Video here.
 At the Security Council stakeout, at least four Moroccan diplomats held vigil, including the sponsor of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Eric Tistounet's book party. 
After cover up man Herve Ladsous left, it was said the President of the Council would speak at the stakeout.  When he did, Inner City Press asked for a summary, at least how many of the ousted UN staff had returned. I don't remember, was the answer. Video here.
  So on February 23, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric how many have (not) returned, and if any have been reassigned to other UN missions. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: yesterday, after the consultations in the Council about MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), I asked the President of the Council if Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous had provided a number of the staff that had yet… had been ousted that had yet to be returned.  And he said, yes, a number had been provided.  He didn't say that he could remember the number, but I'm assuming that you can remember the number.  How many are still out?

Spokesman:  Well, I don't have to remember it because I have it written down in front of me, which is very good.  I can tell… I know there have been a lot… a number of questions about the level of the mission in Western Sahara.  We're obviously continuing our efforts to restore full functionality to the UN Mission, to MINURSO.  At this time, there remains 17 staff who have been unable to rejoin the mission after requested… being requested to depart by Morocco, and efforts continue to enable their return.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and MINURSO remain in close touch with staff members concerned in order to keep them informed of the current situation.

Inner City Press:  One follow-up.  I've heard that some of these people have been assigned to other missions.  Is that the case?  And, if so, does it kind of acknowledge--

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of those people having been reassigned to another mission. 
  We'll have more on this. 
Back on February 16 at a rare panel discussion on Western Sahara just off Manhattan's Park Avenue, a questioner brought the proceedings to a halt when he asked about Trump adviser Steve Bannon working in MINURSO.  Several audience members - on both sides, as it turned out - asked, Why? From the podium came the answer that the reference was to John Bolton. The Q&A continued.
  Inner City Press asked about Antonio Guterres, who recently gave the top position in UN Peacekeeping to yet another French official, Jean-Pierre Lacroix the fifth in a row, and what his views may be on Western Sahara.
  Amy Goodman of Democracy Now responded that as a former Portuguese prime minister Guterres should remember, and be asked about, East Timor. Video here, from Min 1:30:26. Consider it an assignment.
 The event was at Hunter College's Roosevelt House and included Prof Sandra Babcock, lawyer Katlyn Thomas, Madeleine Bair of Watching Western Sahara and Mohammed Ali Arkoukoum of the Saharawi Association in New York. The final questioner, with a pro-Morocco perspective and some supporters with filming phones, came in from Boston.
  Back on January 27 after the UN Security Council held a closed door meeting about Western Sahara, Inner City Press asked the Council's President for January Olof Skoog of Sweden what happened in the meeting. Video here.
  Specifically, Inner City Press asked Skoog how many of the 83 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission expelled by Morocco have be able to return.
 Skoog did not give a number, but said that MINURSO is still no up to full functionality. He mentioned Guerguerat.
  Inner City Press asked if Morocco's attempts to join the African Union, and the impact that might have on the political negotiations, had been discussed. Skoog said no.
  There was no time to ask about the Norwegian oil fish ship that, it seems, violated the recent European court ruling. And less than two hours later, guards citing the eviction / Press downgrading order of Spanish UN official Cristina Gallach demanded to know where Inner City Press' "minder" was, putting an end to a diplomat's provision of information to Inner City Press. This is today's UN.
***

Nikki Haley Wants to See Who "Has An Excuse for Chemical Weapons," Holdovers Draw Line


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 – On US inauguration day on January 20 at the US Mission to the UN the photos of Obama, Biden, Kerry and Samantha Power came down. As of February 24 they have not been replaced.

  But as elsewhere an "Alt USUN" Twitter account continues in a parallel online universe the views of Power, most recently promoting an AFP spoon-fed story about the UN Security Council's Syria chemical weapons draft resolution and calling it the "first test of US influence over Russia." Apparently in this view, if Russia casts a veto, it's a win for US Power. Call it a revived red line.
  Meanwhile, here is the video Inner City Press put on Twitter of Nikki Haley saying the draft will be put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.” 
@NikkiHaley says US worked on  draft & will put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.”

  The account previously called out new Ambassador Nikki Haley for only attending three of 13 UN Security Council meetings, on Ukraine, ISIS and Israel - Palestine.
  Fair enough. But how many meetings did Samantha Power attend? And after the Israel - Palestine meeting Nikki Haley took questions at the Security Council stakeout, not pre-screened by Power's spokesman Kurtis Cooper - who remains at the US Mission, tweeting, along with many others.
  In fact, Isobel Coleman who did nothing when the DC-based whistleblower protection group Government Accountability Project wrote to her about the UN's eviction of the investigative Press, here, still as of February 17 lists herself as the US representative on UN reform. Is it true?
   In the UN itself, Obama and Hillary Clinton nominee Jeffrey Feltman has gotten his UN contract extended. Inner City Press first reported, from multiple sources, that Feltman sought this so that his UN pension would hit the five year vesting dateline. The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric called Inner City Press' question, and by implication Inner City Press, "despicable." Or is that, deplorable?
  Meanwhile Voice of America, which was shown under the US Freedom of Information Act to have asked the UN to throw out the investigative Press, has now asked about Jared Kushner (video via here) and asked the UK about Nikki Haley's inexperience. Like we said, an alternative universe.

  Other former State Department officials like Bathsheba Crocker wring their hands about changes in foreign policy. But what did they do, when the UN killed 10,000 plus people in Haiti with cholera? They had their time to try to improve the UN, and largely failed. It's time to #MoveOn.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

After Press Freedom Meeting With Guterres, CPJ Cites Intternational Law, UN Guards Order Press Away


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 23 – After the Committee to Project Journalists came to the UN for a meeting on the 38th floor, Inner City Press asked CPJ's Joel Simon for a summary of what had been raised. "Not yet," Simon said, as one of his escorts told Inner City Press to back away. It was a typical UN scene: a group promoting a principle outside of the UN not pursuing it inside the UN, in order to maintain access and perceived influence.

  Hours later, this was issued: "Without Borders (RSF) Secretary General Christophe Deloire and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Executive Director Joel Simon met with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres today to discuss the #ProtectJournalists campaign to appoint a UN Special Representative for the safety of journalists. David Callaway, board nominee for president of the World Editor’s Forum, part of WAN-IFRA, an early supporter of the campaign, also attended the meeting. 
"'As journalists around the world are increasingly under attack physically and verbally it is encouraging and gratifying to have this kind of support from the Secretary General,' said Joel Simon, CPJ’s Executive Director. 'We look forward to working with him to move this commitment forward.' 
"A worldwide coalition of NGOs, media outlets, journalists and prominent public figures are supporting RSF’s initiative for the creation of a Journalist Protector. CPJ, the Associated Press, WAN-IFRA, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Bangkok Post, and the Brazilian Center for Investigative Journalism are just a few of the more than 120 organizations that have joined the coalition to date.... The goal of the #ProtectJournalists campaign is to establish a concrete mechanism that enforces international law."
  But at the UN for journalists, there is no law, no due process, no appeal. And when CPJ reported on the killing of journalists, it omitted a journalist killed right under the UN's nose in South Sudan, John Gatluak (Inner City Press reported it here CPJ mentioned only Syria and the Middle East in its press release. And in its count of journalists killed in 2016, CPJ does not count for example South Sudan journalist John Gatluak, executed in the Terrain in Juba. 
The United Nations' Cammaert / cover up report on its failures in Terrain also does not mention Gatluak. It's like the UN Censorship Alliance. Click here for video of Inner City Press' live-Periscope camera being grabbed, thrown and smashed by "journalists" on December 16 on Wall Street. Who watches the watchers?
  It is the same as groups speechifying about accountability not holding the UN to task for killing 10,000 Haitians with cholera, nor for the lack of prosecutions for peacekeepers' sexual abuse. The UN talks about the rule of law but does not abide by it.
    CPJ, including Simon and his deputy Robert Mahoney, were informed in detail of the UN's lack of due process for the press - but they have done nothing. One year ago, covering the UN corruption scandals which have resulted in two sets of indictments for bribery involving the UN, Inner City Press was ordered to leave the UN Press Briefing Room by then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
  Other correspondents were allowed to stay in the briefing room, which Dujarric had "lent" them. But he insisted that Inner City Press leave. Video here.
  Inner City Press asked to see any paperwork that the event was closed; none was provided. Inner City Press stated that if a single UN Security official asked it to leave, it would. Finally one guard came and said Dujarric wanted it to leave. 
  Inner City Press immediately left, uploaded the already live-streamed Periscope video, and continued digging into the corruption that's resulted in the indictment for bribery and money laundering of Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki Sang and nephew Dennis Bahn.
  But three weeks afterward, without a single conversation or opportunity to be heard, Ban's Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach ordered Inner City Press to leave the UN, after ten years, on two hours notice. Order here.
   This was enforced, as Inner City Press worked on its laptop at the UN Security Council stakeout, by eight UN Security officers led by Deputy Chief McNulty, who tore Inner City Press accreditation badge off its chest and said, "Now you are a trespasser." Audio here.
  Inner City Press was marched down the escalator and around the UN traffic circle, without even its coat which was up in its longtime office. It was pushed out of the gate and its laptop, in a bag, was thrown on the sidewalk and damaged.
  The next work day when Inner City Press arranged for a fellow journalist to sign it in as a guest so it could cover the Security Council, UN Security official Matthew Sullivan said it was Banned from UN premises worldwide. Audio here.
   After three days covering the UN from the park in front in the sleet, and articles like this one, Inner City Press re-entered with a "non-resident correspondents" pass - to which it is still, more than eleven months later, confined.
  The then-US Mission under Samantha Power and Isobel Coleman, even petitioned by the DC-based Government Accountability Project, did nothing. Indirectly, a offer was made of an upgraded pass if Inner City Press would agree to a gag order, to which it would not and will not agree.
  There has been no UN opportunity for appeal or reinstatement. After having five boxes of Inner City Press' investigative files thrown on the sidewalk in April, Gallach is giving its office to an Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom which rarely comes in, a correspondent Sanaa Youssef who had yet to ask a single question. 
Her only claim is that she was once, decades ago, a president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, the group to which Duajrric "lent" the UN Press Briefing Room, without notice or written record, on January 29, 2016. 
 Even as the scope of Ban Ki-moon's corruption is being exposed upon his return to South Korea, here, his successor Antonio Guterres has yet to reverse this year of censorship and no due process. On January 6 Dujarric and Gallach led him on a tour of... the UN Correspondents Association, which now wants him again in their clubhouse. (More on this to follow.)
 On January 27 as Inner City Press moved to cover Guterres at the UN's Holocaust event, it was targeted by UN Security and told it could not proceed without a minder, who did not appear for over 15 minutes. 
  The harassment continued through the day, as Inner City Press exposed more corruption, including involving Jeffrey Feltman (Dujarric told ICP its questioning was "despicable"), and the use of military contingents involved in war crimes in Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping, as criticized by new US Ambassador Nikki Haley.

 All of this must change. This is a scam, and censorship: the UN's Censorship Alliance. We will have more on this.