New:Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv

     Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.  Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations  Search This Site    Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.     Click here for Inner City Press front page

  ICP has published a (double) book about a variety of Bronx-relevant topics -- a review in Commonweal magazine of Dec. 5, 2003, opines  that "Predatory Bender... is as vivid an account of life in the Bronx as you are likely to read" -- click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’]," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. CBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts." The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."   The Pittsburgh City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, wrote that it "may, in fact, be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including "low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs, hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web site."  And all in The Bronx!   Click here for that review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

January 21, 2019

As Amazon Abuses Opportunity Zone Law To Gentrify Local Fight Back to DC As UNSG in Limousine

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, story, FOIA docs

NEW YORK CITY, January 19 – Whatever one thinks of Amazon and its proposal to build a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, it seems obvious that this gentrifying area should not be using Opportunity Zone benefits which were presented as helping lower income people. Consider that already two Amazon employees bought units in Adam America Real Estate’s Galerie condominium on Jackson Avenue in LIC just before the subsidized deal was announced. Nowcarried by postal service employees in Queens are mailers promoting Amazon's claims of 25,000 jobs with a smiling swoosh imposed on the Unisphere, along with phone numbers to call local elected officials and tell them to support the project. But will the fight be limited to City Hall and Albany? Could the use of Federal Opportunity Zones legislation allow for a widening of the fight to the Federal level? Don't, for now under UN Secretary General Antonio Guterrres, count on the UN - Guterres drives around in a Mercedes and lives alone in a $15 million mansion on Sutton Place and 57th Street, right across the river from the Amazon's gentrification and corporate corruption site. We'll have more on this

January 14, 2019

On Haiti Trial Against US Ending TPS Judge Cites Cholera Exacerbated By If Not Introduced By UN Peacekeepers

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 9 – How arrogant is the UN, when it comes to Haiti like as to Cameroon and elsewhere? Just as the UN of Antonio Guterres didn't even send anyone one to the SDNY Federal court in December to monitor the UN bribery trial of Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, now it seems the UN has no monitor or response when in the case challenging the impending end of Temporary Protected Status in the US for Haitians - even as the judge in the case on January 8 referred to Haiti cholera "exacerbated by if not introduced by UN peacekeepers." [h/t Beatrice Lindstrom of IJDH. When Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse spoke in the UN General Assembly on September 27 he referred clearly to "le cholera introduit par la MINUSTAH" - the cholera introduced by MINUSTAH, the UN Mission in Haiti, here. But when the UN of Antonio Guterres put on its website a purported summary of Moise's speech, it contained no mention at all of cholera, here. Why not? This week in Federal court in Brooklyn there is the continuation of a case - the trial began January 7 - charging Donald Trump and DHS with not only arbitrarily ending TPS status for Haitian - but also being motivated by racism. The UN of course can't be charged - only before they assert total immunity and impunity. Call it the ultimate white-wash under Guterres, who has also banned from UNGA, and from the UN as a whole apparently for life, Inner City Press which accompanied and covered the UN Security Council's most recent trip to Haiti and interviewed some of the many victims of the UN. Inner City Press emphasized Guterres' failure on accountability for bringing cholera to Haiti to the Sept 23 New York Post, here. January 7, 2019

In SDNY Reichberg Convicted Of Bribing For Private Police As UN Corruption Cover Up Continues

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I II III RS HK

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, January 2 – Less than a month after a jury rendered seven UN bribery guilty verdicts against Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, for which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres continues to cover up, now on January 2 Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a unanimous jury found, Jeremy Reichberg orchestrated a years-long bribery scheme that led to tens of thousands of dollars in benefits being provided to a select group of NYPD officers to provide Reichberg with a private, paid police force.  These illegal acts clearly undermine the mission of the NYPD and leave the citizens of New York City poorer, and Reichberg’s subsequent attempt to hide evidence of his scheme from law enforcement cannot be tolerated.  We respect the jury’s verdict as to James Grant, and we thank the jurors for their service during this lengthy trial.  Our Office will continue to work with the NYPD and the FBI to prevent corruption.” His Office should do more to prevent continuing corruption in the UN of Antonio Guterres.

December 31, 2018

Annals of the NYS Assembly: Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has admitted he couldn't recall ever hiring any black employees.

"I don't know that I've had any," he responds when asked about ever having any African-Americans on his staff.

Asked how many people have worked for him during his tenure as a lawmaker, Dinowitz says he's unsure, according to the court documents.

"Twenty, I don't know; I'd have to look at the records to figure it out," he said...[DN]

December 24, 2018

  A Bronx case we follow is the decision by
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark NOT to seek Supreme Court review after New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, found that the risk of deportation entitles noncitizens to jury trials on misdemeanor charges. “After serious consideration of the court’s opinion, I have decided not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case,” Darcel said. “Instead, I believe a legislative solution is the best path forward for the Bronx and New York City.” We'll have more on this.

December 17, 2018


In SDNY Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years In Jail Media Circus Unlike For UN Bribery Verdict

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I II III RS HK

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, December 12 – Michael Cohen received a three year sentence on December 12 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, surrounded by a sea of cameras, tripods and a liv-streamer. See Inner City Press Periscope broadcasts here and here. In Courtroom 20B - while a week before in Courtroom 12A there was a guilty verdict in the UN bribery trial, see below. On Cohen, this US Attorney said, "Robert Khuzami, Attorney for the United States, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, announced that MICHAEL COHEN was sentenced today to three years in prison for tax evasion, making false statements to a federally insured bank, and campaign finance violations.  COHEN pled guilty on August 21, 2018, to an eight-count information before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III, who imposed today’s sentence.  In a separate prosecution brought by the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”), COHEN pled guilty on November 29, 2018 to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Congress and was also sentenced on that case today, receiving a two-month concurrent sentence.

NYPD Claimed No Records On UN Barred List But Called UN About It Misspelling Assaultant Name

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS, December 11 – The UN under Antonio Guterres has a non-public "BARRED" list which includes political activists, according to Guterres' own UN Security, audio link below. But when Inner City Press whom Guterres put on the list for asking him about corruption submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the NYC Police Department, NYPD first called UN Security insider Matthew Sullivan, then claimed they have no records or information. This is a scam. Inner City Press submitted an appeal, below. And on December 10 the NYPD replied, repeating exactly what the UN's Sullivan said: "Upon conferral with the NYPD Intelligence Division, it was confirmed by UN security that the list of “banned” individuals to which you refer in your request is an internal UN record that is not shared with this agency." But the rest of the response show how in bad faith the initial claim of no responsive documents was: "As it pertains to your request for records related to the “review, suspension or revocation of pistol permits for UN personnel”, the appeal is denied, first, because the records that you have described are exempt from disclosure under FOIL law; first, in that they are inter-agency or intra-  agency records that do not contain: i.) statistical or factual tabulations or data; ii). instructions to staff that affect the public; iii.) final agency policy or determinations; or, iv.) external audits [Public Officers Law §87(2)(g)]. Additionally, the disclosure of any records related to the “review, suspension or revocation” of a firearms license would reveal non-routine criminal investigative techniques or procedures [§87(2)(e)(iv)]; would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the license-holder(s) [§87(2)(b)]; and could endanger the life or safety of that person [§87(2)(f)]."

  But that means they HAVE responsive records, but are seeking to withhold all of them. To say, No records, is in bad faith. The NYPD ended, for now "Finally, to the extent that you seek information related to the Complaint Report filed with the 17th Precinct on July 4, 2018, enclosed herein please find the requested Complaint Report." On December 11 Inner City Press wrote again to NYPD and New York authorities: "   This concerns NYPD's December 10 response “denying” Inner City Press' and my appeal under FOIL of the NYPD's 4 December 2018 denial of my FOIL request acknowledged 15 October 2018 and quoted below, which was submitted on behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity.
  I am concerned that while the FOIL request was initially denied with the statement “The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has closed your FOIL request FOIL-2018-056-10172 for the following reasons: In regard to the document(s) which you requested, this unit is unable to locate records responsive to your request based on the information you provided.”
  But now it turns out that wasn't true. For example, the NYPD *does* have records concerning the pistol permits of and disciplining of UN Security personnel - it's that, on appeal, you've come up with an argument that you think it can be withheld.
  This should have been disclosed in the already delayed Dec 4 response. Now you leave no opportunity for an administrative appeal of the total withholding. The normal decision then decision on appeal process allows requesters to pursue their rights before having to resort to expensive litigation.
  So this is a request for a COOG advisory opinion on the now dubious Dec 4 denial stating there are no records. Even on the UN's barred list and any NYPD records related thereto, the fact that NYPD called the UN about it calls into question whether NYPD has no records. The argument that they are records of another agency or organization is a different argument.
Also, NYPD had the complaint information - with the name of the harasser mis-spelled. (It is Ronald E. Dobbins, not "Dobbing"). So why was I told, there are no record?
    Please explain, confirm that a substantive administrative appeal can be filed. And we will separately await an advisory opinion from the COOG so that does not keep happening. We want the requested records and the NYPD should not be protecting or running interference for the UN." We'll have more on this - the UN scam continues - as Guterres BARS Inner City Press in retaliation and to cover up his corruption.  This was the appeal: "To NYPD's FOIL Appeals Officer, and NYS Committee on Open Government, et al:

This is an appeal under FOIL of the NYPD's 4 December 2018 denial of my FOIL request acknowledged 15 October 2018 and quoted below, on behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity.

In short, I believe the NYPD's denial is not only erroneous but is in bad faith in its claim the NYPD is “unable to locate records responsive to your request.”

The request involved not only the processing of a complaint I filed against abuse and harassment by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins and others with the 17th Precinct on 3 July 2018 (report number #2018-017-2848) but also NYPD record about the pistol permits of UN Security officers and knowledge of the UN's “barred” list which includes, according to the UN, “political activists” - and me, confirmed by UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights email to me also pasted below and made part of this appeal.

Most troubling, and the reason for the cc, UN Security official Matthew Sullivan told me on camera on October 24, nine days after my FOIL request to the NYPD, that “NYPD called us, we called them also. 'Cuz it's an internal document.” See, from Minute 8:34, this video.

That the UN, which has no Freedom of Information procedures, characterizes its no due process barred list as internal is no basis for the NYPD to withhold information under FOIL, much less deny it is aware of any records. The requested records must immediately be identified - and provided. And we will appreciate an advisory opinion from the COOG as expeditiously as possible.

The initial request was for: “all records in the possession of the NYPD regarding the exclusion of persons in the last three years from premises of the United Nations, in and around First Avenue and 42-48th Streets in Manhattan, including of NYC residents including journalists. This is also a request for all records in the same time period of the review, suspension or revocation of pistol permits for any UN personnel including but not limited to UN Department of Safety and Security personnel and the grounds therefore. To assist you in identifying and producing the responsive records on an expedited basis, I personally was physically ousted from the UN by UN DSS Lieutenant Ronald Dobbins and another unnamed on 3 July 2018 as I staked out and covered, as a journalist, the UN Budget Committee meetings. On 4 July 2018 I filed a report at the 17th Precinct, despite being told - erroneously I now believe, including based on how my First Amendment rights have been impacted - that all UN personnel have total immunity. The report number is #2018-017-2848. On 5 July 2018 when I went to the UN to continue my work as a journalist I was told I am “banned.” I have since been told that the UN has a “current and active barred notice” against me, that there is a banned list that includes “demonstrators” and “political activists.”

For the record, 11 October 2018 UN DSS audio here.

I find this deeply troubling and worth of urgent Press coverage. This request includes but is not limited to all records related to the above, related to any knowledge by NYPD of any UN “banned” list and how it is compiled, and what due process protections if any are in place, etc. Also any knowledge by NYPD of any disciplinary measures taken against UN Security officers or other personnel, at least for the past three years.”

First NYPD denied expedited processing - while calling the UN, according to UN DSS officer Sullivan. Then the NYPD ruled / claimed: “The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has closed your FOIL request FOIL-2018-056-10172 for the following reasons:

In regard to the document(s) which you requested, this unit is unable to locate records responsive to your request based on the information you provided.”

It is not credible that the NYPD has no records about UN DSS pistol permits, or the complaint I filed on 3 July 2018, or in context the UN's “BARRED” list, which the NYPD ultimately enforces.

December 10, 2018


On UN Bribery Verdict SG Guterres Refuses To Comment From Mercedes to Cipriani Corrupt Censors

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I II III RS HK

CIPRIANI SIDEWALK, December 5 – Today's UN and its partners are well versed in hypocrisy - but sometimes things go so far they must be noted in person, in the street if necessary. On December 5 after an eight day trial Inner City Press covered, also here, a jury in lower Manhattan rendered seven guilty verdicts in the UN bribery case of US v Ho, in which a still UN accredited NGO known as CEFC used the UN to offer weapons to Chad's Idriss Deby for oil and a stake in the Chad - Cameroon pipeline. This is a new low even for the UN of Antonio Guterres, who did not answer through his spokesmen the written request for comment from Inner City Press, banned from the UN for 154 days and counting by Guterres. Later on December 5 in front of an expensive catering hall near the UN, Cipriani 42nd Street, Secretary General Antonio Guterres lumbered out of a Mercedes and Inner City Press asked him, Any comment on the UN bribery guilty verdict? Guterres, whose spokesman Stephane Dujarric was standing in Cipriani's entrance, made a dismissive gesture with his hand and went in. This is today's UN. Guterres was a guest of honor - of the UN Correspondents Association. The UN bribery verdict questions must and will continue be asked, and should be answered. Watch this site. December 3, 2018

In UN Bribery Case of US v Ho Gadio Admits Taking $20000 Then Pushes Photographer on Sidewalk

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I II III RS HK

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, November 29 – In the UN bribery prosecution by the US against Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, on the afternoon of November 29 Senegal's former Foreign Minister Cheikh Gadio admitted he took $20,000 from an unnamed courier from a businessman he did not want to identify. But Gadio is not the defendant in this bribery case - he is, at least so far, the prosecution's lead witness, with a Non Prosecution Agreement. But does that NPA cover Gadio, after his testimony, pushing a journalist on the street outside the court? Video here (YouTube), shorter (Twitter). Inner City Press along with other journalists, mostly from Hong Kong media, waiting outside the Southern District of New York courthouse at day's end. Gadio emerged and Inner City Press asked him how he thought the day had gone. He did not answer but rushed past. Inner City Press asked, louder, "Are you still running for president of Senegal?" Gadio turned back and pushed a journalist who was following him. This happened again a few blocks away. Finally on the stoop of a pharmacy on Canal Street Gadio's companion said he would not be answering questions today but to give your business card. Inner City Press gave its and asked if the former President of Senegal Gadio wrote took money from China for dropping Taiwan was Abdoulaye Wade. Gadio looked back in recognition - then was gone. Inner City Press preiously questioned him in the UN when he was the Organization for Islamic Cooperation's envoy on the Central African Republic. Much has changed since then. As Inner City Press reported yesterday, Gadio was already on shaky ground when his email to Ho complaining he hadn't gotten Chinese money after, as Senegal's foreign minister in 2005, he worked to drop Taiwan and recognize the PR of China. But the bag of (campaign) cash allegation, dropped without warning in cross examination by Edward Kim, caused a break in the proceeding. Inner City Press rushed down to retrieve its phone and tweet and quickly live stream the news, here. Back upstairs, the name of the businessman was not disclosed, allegedly to protect him - from current president Macky Sall? We'll have more on this. Gadio testified for a second day about how he tried to broker weapons to Chad's President Idriss Deby from CEFC's Patrick Ho, who delivered gift boxes with $2 million in cash inside. Gadio's testimony got more specific, that in March 2015 Deby wanted to keep the meeting with CEFC small and confidential, "because of the war situation." Gadio cited Boko Haram, and Ho in a text message said CEFC's offer, for CNPC's 10%, was $200 million "and some arms." This is the head of a still UN accredited NGO, offering weapons for oil - with no audit by SG Antonio Guterres. Gadio tried to get paid for offering opportunities with the Chad - Cameroon pipelines. Gadio's firm Sarata had its bank account in Dubai closed for not being able to document where the money came from; his joint UN tax return with his wife, the head of the UN in Equatorial Guinea, was found to be false and is part of Gadio's non prosecution agreement. And the UN? And Gadio's reiterated dream to run for President of Senegal, after saying in writing he wanted money from China, while foreign minister, for flipping the country from Taiwan to the PR of China? The defense began its cross examination shortly before the lunch break, getting Gadio to admit he misspoke when he claimed Deby was calling him everyday. Mid-day Periscope video here. November 26, 2018

UN Spokesman Dujarric Spins Censorship For Guterres While Former Boss Helen Clark Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR  Q&A, NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE,  NOVEMBER 19 -- As Inner City Press moved forward with its investigative reporting about the UN including its  Secretary General Antonio Guterres, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric on 20 June 2018 said that “things will soon be getting worse” for Inner City Press' reporter. Inner City Press has now been banned from the UN for 138 days and Dujarric is providing his and his boss' pretext, as purported background, to some of those asking questions, at least if they come from Europe, see below. But on November 19 Dujarric's former boss at UNDP Helen Clark, answering Inner City Press' question across First Avenue from the UN, pointedly called out "the exclusion of journalists across the road." Vine; longer version here. One might think this would be jarring for Dujarric. One might question if ANY of the other candidates for Secretary General would have been the censor Guterres has been for 138 days, enabled by Dujarric. Inner City Press at noon on November 19, before questioning Clark, asked in writing Guterres and Dujarric: "Now that the Trump Administration has given CNN time (44 hours) to response to their re-suspension, please explain why the UN did not nad has not provided even that amount of time or due process - and immediately provide it, readmitting Inner City Press in the interim to the noon briefing and SG and GA proceedings.

More specifically, please immediately explain how Mr. Dujarric's statement that “press credentials to work at the UN, just like any other institution, is a 'privilege'” is different in any way that the position taken by the Trump Administration in response to the CNN lawsuit. Now that the Federal judiciary has ruled that access to the White House is not, as OSSG Dujarric has claimed, a privilege but a right, this is a FORMAL REQUEST THAT THE SG LIFT MIS-USED LEGAL IMMUNITY IN THIS CASE." Eight hours later, no answer to this or any other question submitted, on DRC, Cameroon, Mali. Guterres' UN is corrupt, and Dujarric is a corrupter. We'll have more on this.

The pretexts of Dujarric for Guterres are lies - now that they are becoming public, the ban is more disgusting and should be UNtenable.

  Two days after Dujarric's threat this reporter was pushed out of the General Assembly lobby during a speech by Guterres by UN Security Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, who did it again more violently on July 3. Since then Inner City Press has been banned from entering the UN, and Guterres even tried to get Inner City Press ousted from Park East Synagogue twenty blocks north of the UN on October 31.

   As many online have questioned this no due process ouster, including from Cameroon, Japan, the UK, Italy and other places in Europe, we can now report that Dujarric while refusing to answer Inner City Press' and a UN Expert's written questions about how to appeal this lifetime ban has reached out to try to quiet some critics.

Tellingly, while he has entirely ignored for example Anglophone Cameroonian critics regardless of how polite or articulate they are, or how many social media followers they have, Dujarric has reached out to European critics. What does he tell them?

  To give the UN its best chance, Inner City Press on the morning of November 8 emailed questions to Guterres, his Deputy Amina Mohammed, Alison Smale, Dujarric and his Deputy Farhan Haq including: "November 8-2: I am informed that the SG's spokesman has selectively contacted those (from Europe) raising questions about the UN 3 July 2018 Press ouster and ban since, including stating that unnamed UN staff members or officials demand a lifetime ban in order to feel “safe.” Given the lack of due process, please name which officials or safe claim to feel unsafe in order to justify censorship, and the basis for your claims. Also, again, answer UNSR David Kaye's and others' question: what is the appeals process for a unilateral no due process physical ouster and banning by the UN of a journalist?" But seven hour later, no answer to any of the questions.

   So, for now due to the UN's constant threat of retaliation even against those it has unilaterally chosen to reach out to with dirt that cannot stand the light of day, this is a composite:

Dujarric claims that Inner City Press made "diplomats" feel unsafe. But he has yet to provide the name of a single diplomat, other than the false Morocco Mission complaint in USG Alison Smale's 17 August 2018 ban letter.

Dujarric claims that his staff didn't like having the movement reported on. This seems to refer to Inner City Press, once it had no office to use, working on a bench in the Secretariat lobby and noting when spokespeople who refused to even acknowledge formal questions went out to lunch. This is not a basis to ban a journalist for life.

Dujarric goes low and says that unnamed female reporters didn't want to see Inner City Press doing stand-up Periscope broadcasts. But the purpose of these -- filming on the fourth floor was permitted without an escort, Inner City Press was told by Media Accreditation -- was to show EMPTY offices, for example Morocco state media, while Inner City Press had nowhere to work. In fact, Inner City Press went out of its way not to speak with or engage in any way with Dujarric's coterie of pro UN correspondents - that why it left the building after work through the garage, which was later used against it.

  There is more, and we will have more. But it is clear these are pretexts. And even if Antonio "The Censor" Guterres, who believes it is impermissible for a journalist to do a critical stand up on the public sidewalk across two lanes of traffic from the $15 million publicly funded mansion he (sometimes) lives in believes these pretexts, an interim solution was and is clear.

 Simply allow Inner City Press in to go to the noon briefing and asked question - unless that is what they are afraid of - and to cover UNSC stakeouts and Budget Committee meetings. It is pathetic that a UN and Secretary General that be focused on "conflict prevention" can't find a solution other than violent ouster and banning for a critical journalist. We'll have more on this.

   This is how any dictatorship would try to justifying physically assaulting and banning a reporter - say that the journalist's reporting made unnamed people feel unsafe in unspecified ways.

  Yes, Inner City Press named UN officials who took money from now convicted briber Ng Lap Seng, including to provide Ng with falsified General Assembly documents. Is it legitimate for Guterres' UN to oust and ban a media for making briber-takers feel unsafe? There are others: the Patrick Ho trial starts this week.

November 19, 2018

 Today Nov 19 in The Bronx: "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. gives opening remarks at the New York Federal Reserve Bank's Economic Forum. Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx" - tell the Fed to more seriously review proposed bank mergers, and to not join with Comptroller of the Currency Otting in weakening the Community Reinvestment Act...

November 12, 2018

Financial Follies Mock Bankrupt Puerto Rico As in DC Forecloser Joe Otting Targets the Community Reinvestment Act

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, story, FOIA docs

SOUTH BRONX, November 10 – A non-funny thing happened at the Financial Folllies fundraiser of the New York Financial Writers Association on November 9. They said they would "Skewer Bankers, Executives and Politicians." But, beyond mocking the #MeToo movement, the skewering turned about to be of bankrupt Puerto Rico - and with the costumes and hats being from Mexico, sombreros, with lyrics, to tune of Despacito: We can help you with your little bankruptcito/we’re the brains, you’re the debtor in ‘el possessionito’/words turn into Spanish just by adding ‘ito’/when we’re in San Juan we drink mojito-itos/& look out 4 the Zika from the ‘squitos." Video here, via Law360's Alex Wolf. While many in the audience were outraged, there was little real time in-person opposition expressed. This is called skewering the victim. What's next, mocking those being foreclosed on - by OneWest Bank, now CIT? The US Treasury Department is in a process to try to weaken and take the community out of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. Docket file here. The protagonist, akin to Scott Pruitt when he was at the US Environmental Protection Agency (and soon it would seem to be subject to greater oversight in the House Banking Committee), is Comptroller of the Current Joseph Otting. On September 12 Fair Finance Watch (and on FOIA, Inner City Press) commented to the OCC, here. On October 16, yet more on Otting's assault on the CRA became known. Under him, the OCC has ignored the rare racial redlining settlement by Klein Bank, rubber stamping Old National's acquisition of the bank over the timely and detailed objection and public hearing request of Fair Finance Watch. Otting doesn't like public hearings.  In April 2018 his OCC approved an application by E-Trade Saving Bank which Fair Finance Watch had challenged based on the bank having no fewer than six states rare "Needs to Improve" CRA ratings. FFW noted rare Needs to Improve ratings for the entire states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oregon, and an undeserved “Satisfactory” for New York. Otting's OCC, after the approval, helpfully contacted E-Trade Bank to tell it that upon (Otting's) reflection, it was no longer even subject to the Community Reinvestment Act. Another institution was similarly contacted - the OCC under Otting is going through its roster of banks seeing which ones it can "free" from CRA even if they hadn't requested in. In one case, some in the bank still didn't want Otting's freedom and move more business into the bank to get a second reversal of Otting's orders. But it shows where Otting is coming from, beyond the unexplained comment-fraud for which he should be recused. Inner City Press on October 11 raised the E-Trade (and another bank) issue into the record on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. But, Otting being Otting, his OCC denied expedited processing for Inner City Press' Freedom of Information Act request bout his deregulation move, ruling that "You requested all records in the OCC's possession concerning the applicability of the Community Reinvestment Act to - or exemption there from - any affiliate of E-Trade or Bank of America California NA for the time period of October 11, 2016 to October 11, 2018. You also requested expedited processing of your request on the basis that the ANPR on CRA is open through November 19, 2018. Your request for expedited processing does not meet the criteria provided for in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(E) and Treasury disclosure regulations at 31 C.F.R. 1.5(e)." And that regulation... requires a formal certification. So Inner City Press appealed: "As a  a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, I am appealing the denial of expedited processing of my FOIA request, summarized by the OCC as for all records in the OCC's possession concerning the applicability of the Community Reinvestment Act to - or exemption there from - any affiliate of E-Trade or Bank of America California NA for the time period of October 11, 2016 to October 11, 2018.
...The OCC under Joseph Otting's actions to try to find banks to exempt from CRA outrageous and something on which there is an  urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. As noted in my request, this is particularly the case given the OCC's unilateral moves regarding the CRA. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. Executed on October 16, 2018." Now weeks later, the OCC's Deputy Chief Counsel Charles M. Steele has denied the appeal, claiming it is not clear why the public needs access to these records of Otting's current attacks on CRA before OCC closes its comment period on Otting's new, desperate attempt. The OCC's denial makes light of Otting's actions including soliciting false comments during the public review process of his sale of OneWest Bank to CIT - as if there is no connection to Otting's current gambit. FOIA Denial here and for download on Patreon.

November 5, 2018

UNSG Guterres Tried To Have Press Thrown Out of Synagogue Before His Speech No Answer on Why Or Missionary Killed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio, Video, Alamy photos

PARK EAST SYNAGOGUE, October 31 – In the wake of the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Inner City Press went to cover a memorial event at Manhattan's Park East Synagogue. As it stood in line with others to be screened, the UN Security detail of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, one of the speakers, pointed out Inner City Press. One heard audibly into the microphone in his ear, "He's going in." But once in, Inner City Press was told to go up to the balcony with the rest of the media including photographers. It was setting up its recording equipment when a non-UN security man told it to follow up. In the basement he said, "Go," opening a door out to 67th Street. Inner City Press asked why. Audio here. The security man reached over and turn off Inner City Press' recorder. Ultimately when Inner City Press demonstrated what it writes and streams about, the office -- Shay Amir, head of security - allowed Inner City Press back to the balcony. So here are Inner City Press' photos of the event on Alamy, here. Inner City Press photos of two of Guterres' Security involved in this censorship here. Inner City Press from the balcony, before noon, e-mailed questions to Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Alison Smale who told UNSR David A. Kaye questions would be answered, Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and others: "October 31-1: Immediately explain the basis on which SG Guterres' Security tried to get Park East Synagogue head of security Shay Amir to have Inner City Press removed from his speech about tolerance." Hours later, the UN refused to answer this question, and one on the missionary killed by Cameroon, while send a single canned answer on Sri Lanka. Also at the event were, among others, Bronx congressman Engel, US Deputy Ambassador David Cohen, Israel's Danny Danon. Guterres has yet to speak or have his spokesman Stephane Dujarric answer Inner City Press' question about Cameroon killing missionary Charles Wesco, despite promises by UN USG Alison Smale to UNSR David Kaye that questions would be answered. What has the UN become, under Guterres?
October 29, 2018

In The Bronx, Great Liberia Photos and Ambiguous Role of UN Failing on Cameroon and Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS, October 26 – There is in The Bronx an exhibition of photographs from Liberia by two martyred journalists, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. Inner City Press went to see it - and an exhibition opening speech by senior UN official Amina J. Mohammed. Video here. This is, therefore, a hybrid review - but we'll start with the photographs. They are stunning. Child soldiers, internally displaced people in a former Masonic Lodge in Monrovia, US Marines guarding the port.

Any positive UN role at the time of the photographs is harder to find. But people assume that the UN is good, or project on it all of their good feeling. And so Deputy Secretary General Mohammed, arriving characteristically later accompanied by unneeded security guards whispering into microphones that a question might be asked - was the keynote speaker, pitching her Nigerian government's role in all these West African conflicts. But what about Biafra? What about Mohammed herself remaining silent less than a year ago about her Nigerian government illegally detained and sent to Cameroon UN-registered refugees, Ayuk Tabe and 46 others? This was beyond the scope of the (excellent) exhibit.

In full disclosure, Inner City Press has in the past known the organizer, Michael Kamber, when he photographed the Inner City Press homesteaders fixing abandoned buildings in the Crotona Park East area of the South Bronx for the now defunct Village Voice. Inner City Press made point of telling him afterward, I'm going to praise the exhibit but tell the truth about the UN. He said he understood, that is Inner City Press' way. And so:

  In 2017 it emerged that Amina Mohammed, just before she left her position as Nigeria's Minster of Environment, signed thousands of back date certificates for illegally exported rosewood sent to China from Nigeria and Cameroon. Inner City Press, then in the UN, sought to question her about it. Soon Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Security and thrown out onto First Avenue on 3 July 2018, video here, and banned since.

   In fact the UN of Mohammed and SG Antonio Guterres who nominated her - and whose son Pedro does UNdisclosed business in Angola, Namibia, Sao Tome and Cabo Verde - have a secret banned from the UN list, on which they have put Inner City Press amid its questions, and which their Security official Matthew Sullivan is telling NYPD not to disclose. No self respecting Bronxite would put up with such a scam, and Inner City Press is not different. As we told Amina Mohammed as she fast-toured the exhibition after her speech, the UN should belatedly take action on the slaughter of Anglophones in Cameroon, and UN Censorship must end. She could end it - but will she? The request is in. These questions might seem aggressive. But that is journalism. The UN cannot be allowed to rough up and ban the Press that asks the questions.


  There was a speaker from the Office of the Mayor - which, when Inner City Press asked under the Freedom of Information Law for its knowledge of the UN's secret banned list which includes "political activists" conferred with the UN and then seeks to delay response to 2019.

 But, back the positive, the work of Bronx Documentary Center and Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), training freelance war correspondents in emergency medicine, must continue. We recommend their work, and the exhibition. It is at 364 East 151st Street in The Bronx. Tell us what you think.
October 22, 2018

For years Inner City Press has reported on the outrage of Metro North's red Connecticut trains not allowing on passengers at Fordham Road, even testifying about it to the MTA. Now the MTA claims it never knew, to the Daily News: "The New Haven line set up goes back to 1848, when the New York & Harlem and the New Haven railroad companies met at a junction in what is now Woodlawn.

The New Haven trains would pull into the station and let passengers off — but wouldn’t pick up any new riders.

By 1920, the Connecticut trains no longer stopped in the Bronx. But by the 1970s, a few New Haven trains began to stop at Fordham — but only to drop off riders.

When the rail lines became Metro-North in 1983, more trains were scheduled to stop at Fordham, along with the Harlem line trains. But the policy of excluding city riders at the Fordham and 125th St. stops.

“A lot of people wonder why you can’t get on the New Haven train in Fordham if you’re going to Grand Central,” Tom Meehan, New York Chapter, chairman, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. “It’s an anachronism.”

Metro-North and Connecticut Department of Transportation split the costs of running the New Haven line, with the Nutmeg State putting up two-thirds of the bill, totaling $130 million last year, after fares are collected.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said that the agency will review the policy and discuss the arrangement with Connecticut.

“It is essential to ensure that we’re providing the best service possible to all of our customers,” Donovan said." Really...
October 15, 2018

UN Has Secret List of People Banned Guterres Puts Inner City Press On With Political Activists Without Review

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio

UNITED NATIONS, October 11 – The UN maintains a secret list of people banned from entering its premises. Even the Security officers who enforce the ban are not told the reason why a person is on the list: whether it was for actual violence, or writing articles questioning the Secretary General Antonio Guterres' misuse of public funds, for example. One told Inner City Press the secret list includes "demonstrators" and "political activists," audio here.

  Guterres or apparently his head of Global Communications Alison Smale, if only as a proxy, can put a journalist on the list without any review, any notice, any appeal. It is a dictator's dream come true.

   Inner City Press was physically ousted twice by Guterres' UN Security this summer as it reported on his now-15 flights to his home in Lisbon with public funds, his trading away of Cameroon human rights abuses for favors in the Budget Committee, and now his son Pedro's undisclosed business links in Africa. Smale on August 17, without once speaking to me covering the UN for Inner City Press for 11 years, withdrew my media accreditation.

  But it's gone further than that. For example, on October 11 I showed up for a film screening about sex trafficking, “Love Sonia,” to which I had been invited by the UN Office of Drugs and Crimes. UNODC's New York director personally put me on the list for a post screening reception and came and met me and took me to the UN gate to sign me in, since my ticket - which she said she'd seen - mysteriously disappeared.

  UN Security refused to allow the NY director of UNODC to sign me in. “Even if he had a ticket we'd have to check,” one officer said. I was told that a supervisor would come out, and that UNODC would speak to them. But after one hour it never happened. Guterres' chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti left the building and I audibly told her, I'm invited but I'm being blocked. She did not even break stride.

  The UN has given me nothing in writing that I am banned. Guterres' spokesman has stated it as a fact, without explanation or rationale, on October 9 and 11, while refusing to answer my e-mailed questions despite Smale's promise they would be answered to supposedly respect my "journalistic endeavours."

   Another UN Security officer told me, No one is going to help you. You are on the list. I asked him, who else is on the list? He mentioned “demonstrators” and "political activists" and others. Audio here.

  Tellingly, NOT on Guterres' banned list are those who pleaded guilty to UN bribery for example in the Ng Lap Seng - John Ashe case. They are not banned by Guterres, UNlike the journalist who most closely covered those convictions, and the current UN bribery case of Patrick Ho and the China Energy Fund Committee. Guterres is fine with bribery, but bans those who investigate and expose it.

UNSG Guterres thinks he can ban people without no notice, no due process, no review? And that it won't be noticed or reviewed? Watch this site.

October 8, 2018

Here was an event that became too full for the public, and for which a request to cover did not garner a response:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be hosting another listening tour event as part of her campaign's commitment to cultivating a dialogue in the Bronx and Queens. Space is very limited at these events and press will need to apply for campaign credentials. To apply, please send an email to press@ocasio2018.com

Decarceration in NYC: Restoring Dignity, Uplifting Communities
What: Criminal justice reform activists will speak on their work and ways to affect change in our communities, followed by a Q&A session.
Who: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Shanequa Charles, Akeem Browder, and Michael Beltzer
Where: Parkside Senior Center, 644 Adee Ave, Bronx, NY 10467
When: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM ET
Justice Democrats, 714 South Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902, USA

October 1, 2018

Gadio Cooperates Against UN Briber CEFC Patrick Ho Says $2M Donation to Deby Guterres Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Q&A, HK here

UNITED NATIONS, September 29 – Four months after the arrest for UN bribery of former Senegalese foreign minister Cheik Gadio and Patrick Ho, the head of China Energy Fund Committee full funded by CEFC China Energy, his ultimate boss at CEFC Ye Jianming was brought in for questioning in China. On July 19, the lawyers for Patrick Ho, led by Benjamin Rosenberg of Dechert LLP, argued before U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska that count after count of the indicts should be dismissed. Edward Kim of Krieger Kim & Lewin LLP tried to get Ho's emails and text messages suppressed, without success. On August 9, Ho's appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to get out on bail was again denied. Now the prosecution, opposing yet another Ho bail application, has written: "Gadio has been meeting with the Government for some time and he is expected to testify at trial pursuant to a recently executed non-prosecution agreement.  And far from weakening the case, Gadio’s testimony will provide substantial evidence of the defendant’s guilt. As the defendant is well-aware from a written disclosure made by the Government more than four months ago, Gadio is expected to testify, in sum and among other things, that (i) the defendant provided $2 million in cash, concealed within a gift box, to the President of Chad in connection with a business meeting in Chad in or about December 2014, (ii) the President refused to accept this obvious bribe, which Gadio understood was connected to the defendant’s interest in business opportunities in Chad, and (iii) the defendant thereafter drafted a letter to the President, purporting to pledge this $2 million to charitable causes, but the defendant appeared to have no interest in doing charitable works in Chad, and indeed, the defendant never asked Gadio about the status of the purported “donation” or made any other reference to the subject. (See Def. Ltr. Ex. A.) This expected testimony considerably strengthens the Government’s proof beyond the
already-strong case reflected in the detailed Complaint. The Complaint explained that, following a December 2014 business meeting in Chad, the defendant drafted a letter pledging a $2 million so-called “donation” to “the people of Chad at [the President of Chad’s] personal disposal to support [his] social and other programs as [he] see[s] fit.” (Compl. ¶ 28(a).) The Complaint did not, however, explain whether—and at what point—any money was actually paid. Gadio’s expected testimony makes clear that, in fact, the defendant provided $2 million in cash directly to the President, concealed within a gift box, and that the pledge letter was drafted after the bribe had already been offered. Thus, the evidence of the defendant’s intent to bribe the President of Chad is, on the whole, much more robust in light of Gadio’s expected testimony."
On September 24, a letter from May was disclosed: UN accredited executive of an NGO still in ECOSOC handed Deby of Chad $2 million in a box, for oil. This is the UN, which won't even audit this scandal. Guterres is corruption - and on September 26 even banned Inner City Press which reports on this from a human rights event. We'll have more on this.

September 24, 2018

UN Guterres Said Inner City Press Made Hostile Environment For Diplomats Now Says No Input from Diplomats

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 17 – How arrogant and counter-factual a self-styled world leader is has been revealed in the Leader's contemptuous approach to freedom of the press and whose who even gently chide him on it, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No, this is not a reference to Donald Trump, but to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. On August 27 Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric answered a question on camera about Guterres banning of Inner City Press by saying that "the revocation of Mr. Lee's credential has to do with creating a hostile environment for diplomats." Vine video with over 1270 views here. But on September 17 Dujarric after trying to avoid or intimidate a question on the same topic said that the decision was by Guterres' Secretariat "without any input from any member state." Video here. So how did Guterres and Smale "know" that diplomats felt a hostile environment? Or was it Guterres who didn't like questions and coverage about his mis use of public funds for junkets to Lisbon, his silence on the slaughter in Cameroon and his son's now exposed business links in Africa? Someone is lying. We'll have more on this. The Nobel Peace Prize winner who has sought the reversal of Guterres' outrageous 56 day and counting ban on Inner City Press even entering the UN is Jose Ramos Horta of Timor Leste, still serving Guterres' UN, who told Inner City Press on August 27, "Dear Matthew I did reach the very inner sanctum of the UN system reporting on your case to no avail. Apologies but I don't know what else I can do." Later on August 27 an independent journalist asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why things are not fixed with Inner City Press' access, since it "looks bad" given other attacks on press freedom. Video here. Dujarric tried to cut the journlist off, insisting to say this is about freedom of the press would be wrong. (Then why is it in the Press Freedom Tracker, here, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among others for example in the UK, Japan, Italy and Cameroon?) Dujarric changed the earlier reference to Inner City Press being in a "garage ramp" - something Guterres' Grand Inquisitor Alison Smale never asked Inner City Press about - to being in the "parking lot." (Inner City Press' pass worked to get there, many use it as a way to exit, and several senior UN official, anti-Guterres sources of Inner City Press ask to meet it and give it documents there. Maybe that's the reason.) Dujarric then said that Inner City Press creates a "hostile environment" for the diplomats, some times correspondents and always UN officials it covers. Seems clear the ban is entirely about freedom of the Press, freedom to question, and a Secretary General and vindictive team of holdovers who seek to retaliate against questions and coverage, including live streamed covering, with a lifetime ban with no appeal. Here is an example of Inner City Press' August 28 questioning at the Delegates Entrance, since Guterres and Alison Smale have banned it from the Security Council stakeout. Is this hostile?  Would Guterres, former NYT bureau chief Smale and former former Dujarric like to write Inner City Press' questions? Its articles? Perhaps to omit all refernce to Cameroon and what Guterres did and didn't do?September 17, 2018

In The Bronx Alessandra Biaggi Beats Klein Amid Bad Review of UN and US Mission Good for Tacos El Bronco II

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFTracker Scope

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 – In US politics, the upset in June by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Joe Crowley for a House of Representatives seat in The Bronx and bits of Queens sent many to Wikipedia or Google to look up “Democratic Socialism.” On September 13 Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in The Bronx at least in some places for and with Alessandra Biaggi, taking on Jeff Klein for a State Senate.A flier supporting her said "Klein Vendio a los Neoyorquinos" on the "Ley de Votcion Temprana." Inner City Press, banned by the UN for the 72d day in a row, went to the Bronx intersection of Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road to cover Biaggi's campaigning, video here. And hours later Biaggi declared victory, 55-45, at the Bronx Ale House. She said, “This is because of every single one of you who were courageous, who saw a vision as well, who knew that we could not tolerate Democrats who would be empowering Republicans, that that was intolerable,” she said. “And we have now cut the head off the IDC snake.” Klein spent over $2 million in the race, while Biaggi had spent only $244,000 through the end of August, pursuant to state Board of Elections campaign finance disclosures.

Earlier, Ocasio-Cortez' press list was told to expect her at Pelham Parkway between 4:30 and 5 pm. Inner City Press went, banned from the UN now for the 72d day in a row for covering the corruption on Cameroon and elsewhere of Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Up on under the El train on White Plains Road the reviews of the UN and also the US Mission to the UN weren't very positive. But where was Ocasio-Cortez?

   Biaggi's volunteers handed out her laminated flier at the stairs up to the 2 and 5 train tracks. A couple arrived in a car with a small sound system. But still no Ocasio-Cortez. Finally Biaggi appears, speaking with people on the sidewalk and heading south toward Lydig Avenue.

Inner City Press did too, launching the Periscope live-stream which the UN cited in banning it for life, and on which the US Mission's Nikki Haley, a one time governor of South Carolina and seeming to want more, refuses to answer. One hopes those who now represent not only this district but areas like it can push to get from the UN less corruption, or at least an end to censorship. Politics retail and wholesale, immunity by the pound. At Tacos El Bronco II they serve them for two dollars, with big green onions. They get this reporter's vote. Watch this site

This was Ocasio-Cortez' schedule:

10:00 AM - Parkchester South Condominium, 2059 McGraw Ave, Bronx, NY 10462 (Ocasio-Cortez will cast her ballot)
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM - PS 019 Marino Jeantet, 98-02 Roosevelt Ave, Corona, NY 11368 (Ocasio-Cortez will be joined by Zephyr Teachout and Jumaane Williams)
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM - Westchester Square
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM - Pelham Parkway
5:15 PM - 5:30 PM - PS 069, 560 Thieriot Ave, Bronx, NY 10473
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM - 46th Street/Bliss Street Station on the 7 Subway Line
7:15 PM - 8:15 PM - PS 122, 21-21 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 1110
September 10, 2018

UN of Guterres Says Trump's USUN and UK Request Ban of Inner City Press So FOIAs Filed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Letter PFT Q&A Haley

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 6 – How arrogant or out of touch a self-styled world leader is has been revealed in the Leader's contemptuous approach to freedom of the press and whose who even gently chide him on it, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No, this is not a reference to Donald Trump, but to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, including as represented by his Franco-American spokesman Stephane Dujarric. And now Inner City Press is told that Guterres is cynically trying to recast his 65 days of censorship as being based on a request FROM the Trump Administration, or at least Trump's UN Mission to the UN and its ally, the UK. A UN Correspondent who sought as many have to get the ban on Inner City Press lifted at least from the upcoming General Assembly week has said, in writing: "I spoke with Stephane the other day and unfortunately your situation remains unchanged. The case against you is based on complaints from the US & UK Missions... I have tried to get you a waiver for the UNGA week but Security remains firm in their refusal." So, the answer is that Guterres ban on Inner City Press -- which began on July 3 right after I spoke with Cameroon's Ambassador -- is now based on questions I have asked the US Mission's Deputy Ambassadors including Jonathan Cohen and UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen at the Delegates' Entrance AFTER I was already banned. There was also serial questioning of Guterres and UK Permanent Representative Karen Pierce in front of IPI on July 20, Periscope video here. In fact, all of my questioning of the US and UK Missions, and all other Mission, is online on Periscope, full archive here. It is no different that the questions hurled at Trump. But there, the First Amendment applies. At the UN, it seems, an already censoring Secretary General can claim to get subsequent support from... Trump and his Mission. See 6 September 2018 question put to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, here. Inner City Press had already submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the UK government, after statements by UN (British) Under Secretary General Alison Smale. Now today a US FOIA request has been filed to the US State Department in Washington:

"On behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity as its United Nations bureau chief, Matthew Russell Lee, pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 for the following information: 1) Most pressingly, any and all record reflecting communications by the US Mission to the UN or its personnel to the UN concerning Inner City Press or me, including but not limited to my questioning and broadcasting on Periscope of and concerning such personnel; and 2) any and all record reflecting communications by the US Mission to the UN or its personnel to the UN concerning Inner City Press or me from January 1, 2017 to the date of your response.    This request, particularly (1) above which can and should be treated separately, should be afforded expedited treatment. I have today been informed that my banning from the UN, including prospectively from covering the UN General Assembly High Level week as I have for 11 years and for which I submitted a timely application on Sept 3, is based on complaints by the US Mission to the UN, who officials I have questioned in a journalistic capacity since July 5. Such a complaint would impinge on my First Amendment rights, and threatens imminent irreparable harm. Expedited treatment must be accorded.  If this request is denied in whole or part, please provide the basis for each such denial or deletion by reference to the specific exemption of the Act which you assert is applicable. Request for All Portions of Material for Which No Exemption to Production is Claimed Please provide all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. We reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information... I am requested expedited treatment of the request for all USUN communications to the UN about Inner City Press or me since July 3, 2018 due to such communications being cited as a basis to ban me from covering the UNGA High Level week beginning September 24 - the US Mission is being called responsible for the ban and it is imperative to prove or disprove that before then, asap, before irreparable harm including to First Amendment interests takes place." ["Your request has successfully been submitted."] Watch this site.September 3, 2018

UN Guterres Justifies Censorship With Lies Like That Inner City Press Shouted at Smale's Building But Has Never Been There

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR Letter PFT, Video

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 31 – Before Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Security on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and under a ban on entry since then, made "permanent" by Guterres head of Global Communications or censorship Alison Smale on August 17, it insistently asked about Guterres' conflicts of interest, for example with murderous Cameroon chairing the UN Budget Committee where Guterres sought support or with the business interests of his family, as for disclosure of how many of Guterres' publicly funded trip took him through his real home, Lisbon. (The answer, with no UN help, is at least 14.) Now on August 31 Inner City Press has been informed of some of the intentional mis-information Guterres and Smale are trying to use to justify their censorship of the critical Press. Two senior UN officials who are privately outraged at what Guterres is doing, one calling Guterres "arrogant" and the other "abusive," both recount hat  supporters of Guterres are spreading the rumor that Inner City Press "went to the apartment of Alison Smale and shouted at her." We've heard that from others as well. It is an outright lie, not nearly the first by the team of Guterres, Smale and Dujaric. First, Inner City Press doesn't even know, or want to know, where Smale lives. Second, while Inner City Press several times tried to explain to Smale that her total failure to implement content neutral accreditation and access rules (and rather hob-nobbing with now retired correspondents of or before her era) would lead and has led to shameful censorship, Inner City Press never raised its voice, even when at the Russian Mission to the UN Smale's pianist husband Sergei Dreznin told Inner City Press it would always be targeted until it wore a suit. (For now, he will presumably have access during GA week to the UN, where he played back up piano, while Guterres through Smale bans Inner City Press which actually covers the UN, Yemen, Myanmar and (Guterres wishes it wasn't so) Cameroon.. So the UN of Smale and Guterres, now on his way to China after refusing to answer why Inner City Press is banned, is powered by lies - is it any wonder that no conflicts have been prevented? In fact, Guterres poured gas on Biya's killings in Cameroon, staying quiet for his reasons(s) and sending the envoy Francois Lounceny Fall who equated separatists with extremists? We'll have more on this. Despite Smale's assuarces, Inner City Press' questions are not being answered by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and Guterres has had Inner City Press banned from the UN for life, by his Global Communicator Alison Smale who has failed to make even the minimal public financial disclosure called for under Guterres' predecessor Ban Ki-moon. Guterres' forms do not include the business interests of his direct children - but they should, see below.

On August 31, the 59th day Inner City Press has been banned from the UN by Guterres, there was nothing listed on Guterres' schedule until 4:30 pm: grip and grin photo op with the new Ambassadors on Armenia, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sidhartha Francisco Marin Aráuz of Nicaragua. But at 1:10 pm some of Guterres many guards -- one, Lt Ronald E Dobbins, twice roughed up Inner City Press on June 22 (which Inner City Press wrote to Guterres about on June 25) and more so on July 3 - showed up telling other cars including diplomats' cars where they could and couldn't park on 46th Street. Soon fully three black 4x4s pulled up in front of the restaurant Aretsky's Patroon, which recently hosted Hillary Clinton. Out stepped Guterres and UN President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak, who disclosed a 1:15 pm appointment with Guterres. First (silent) video here.  An hour and a half later, Guterres emerged with his chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti and with Miguel Graca. Inner City Press asked, calmly but audibly, why Guterres is banning it from entering to cover the General Assembly Week, which is has covered for 11 years, about what he has (not) done on Cameroon and on conflicts of interest related to his son's business links, first reported by Inner City Press. As is the Guterres way, he got into his limosine. Video here. By contrast the President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak listened when Inner City Press asked about access to the GA and seemed... well, we'll see and report.

Guterres, as is typically including on the business dealings of his son, did not even disclose his meeting with Lajcak. Guterres has shown such bias in having Inner City Prss roughed up and banned that Inner City Press has asked Lajcak, and will ask him and hereby his successor again, to take over the case and ensure Inner City Press can cover the upcoming UN General Assembly week. Lajcak's chief of staff says Lajcak is trying; his spokesman says "I discussed your letter with the PGA. Please know that he is personally sympathetic to your situation. He also continues to strongly believe that the UN should be as transparent as possible and that journalists should be able to do their work without hindrance.
At the same time, our practice here at the UN is for the Secretariat – not the Office of the PGA – to handle matters related to media accreditation and security. In that regard, we will continue to defer to the Secretariat in such areas. The PGA appreciates your interest in and coverage of the General Assembly. In that regard, from our side, we will continue to respond to your journalistic questions – whether you are inside or outside UNHQ. I look forward to our continued collaboration during the rest of the 72nd session." We'll have more on this As Inner City Press has now exclusively reported, Guterres' son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres has been Manager of Planning and Control at PT Portugal since 2009, see here. And "PT Portugal has significant interests in telecommunications companies in Angola, Cape Verde, Namibia and São Tomé and Principe in Africa and in Timor-Leste in Asia," see US SEC filing here. (Guterres recently rebuffed, in an entreaty to stop banning Inner City Press, Time Leste's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta, here). Given that his father, as a UN Secretary General who has shown himself willing to stay quiet of the deaths of Anglophone Cameroonians to gain the support of Cameroon's Ambassador as chair of the UN Budget Committee, has and can impact on each of these countries, where are the clearly needed controls against conflict of interest? Inner City Press Periscop stand-up, here. As Guterres flies off for a business confab about Africa and China from September 1 to 4, complete with 100 businesses from Cameroon where Guterres is complicit in the crackdown, how is he recusing himself there and in New York (and Lisbon) from involvement in things impacting where his son's company does business and makes money? We'll have more on this
August 27, 2018

UN Guterres' Ban of Press Spun to IPS By Ex-IPS Haq Eviction Was to Change Reporting, UN Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 24 – After having covered the UN since 2005 for Inner City Press, and pursued stories of UN under-performance from Sri Lanka to Darfur and Haiti to Yemen and most recently Secretary General Antonio Guterres' failure and conflict of interest on Cameroon, at 4 pm on Friday August 17 I got a four page letter from Under Secretary General Alison Smale, formerly the New York Times' Berlin bureau chief. We've put the letter on Scribd here, Patreon download here

The letter informed me, without a single opportunity to be heard and offer rebuttal, that “your accreditation is hereby withdrawn pursuant to the Guidelines.” It cited what it called three previous warnings. But on further inspection there is no there, there. See below. It also claimed that Guterres' spokesmen would answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. But this it false. Of the fourteen question Inner City Press e-mailed to them, and Smale, and Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and others on August 23 and 24, not one was answered. Not one. Including: "August 24-3: Given that Deputy Spokesman Haq told IPS “we respect his press rights, but we also want to respect other’s press rights. And some journalists feel their press rights have been impeded by his actions” - state, since this is the basis of me being banned, who these are, and how they feel their press rights have been impeded by my actions. Also all video and other evidence that Haq alluded to to IPS should be produced, today, since it is the basis of my being banned." Nothing has been provided, eight hours later, by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric who was drawing pay all day after having essentially ordered or passed on from his boss the order to rough up Inner City Press. From the IPS article: "Lee has been known for asking thought-provoking questions during daily briefings and at press stakeouts. He has reported on global conflicts such as those in Sri Lanka, Congo, Somalia, and others... However, the incidents with Lee started back in 2012, when he was warned by the DPI to treat his fellow journalists with respect." That's not the case. In 2012, the President of the UN Correspondents Association Giampaolo Pioli, who had rented one of him Manhattan apartments to one Palitha Kahona then unilaterally granted his request or demand for an UNCA screening of the war crimes denial film of the Sri Lanka government he represented at the UN, ordered Inner City Press to remove from the Internet its article about the conflict of interest. Inner City Press declined but offered to publish any response, at any length. Pioli and the UNCA board demanded removal of the article, and ultimately Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-founded FUNCA, the Free UN Coalition for Access. The UN claimed it was uninvolved - instead, then head of Accreditation Stephane Dujarric tried to condition Inner City Press' re-accreditation as a resident correspondent on more positive coverage of the Secretariat, specifically his fellow Frenchman Herve Ladsous, the head of Peacekeeping who famously said peacekeepers would rape less if they had more "R&R." So from 2012 it was the UN trying to strong arm positive coverage of its officials, and using the aura of "other correspondents" in UNCA as the leverage - making UN the UN Censorship Alliance.
  The article continues: "wo years ago, things changed: he was in an interpreter’s booth recording a closed-door meeting of UN correspondents, without their consent. Then, DPI’s Media and Liaison Unit (MALU) made the decision to downgrade his accreditation from “resident correspondent” to “non-resident correspondent”, which means he was deprived of his own office space, barred from going to the UN on weekends and prevented from staying late hours and restricted from some areas in the building. Although Lee believes this was “bogus reason” for the treatment he received, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General, told IPS: 'Matthew has come up with his own version on his website. But in that case I know to be true what I saw with my eyes.'"
  What the IPS article - which we are appreciative of, including for getting these quotes - omits is that this supposedly closed meeting was in the UN Press Briefing Room, open to all journalists. And Haq, when he followed Dujarric in, reflexively took the side of the UN Censorship Alliance, saying of Inner City Press, "He lies a lot." Video hereIs that appropriate, under Smale's rules of procedure?
  IPS continues, " It seemed that the change in his accreditation pass had no effect. “After that, the problems with his behavior did not subside”, said Haq.

[That is, the goal is taking Inner City Press' work space and giving it to no-show, no question Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Yousseff was to make Inner City Press behavior or reporting "subside." Note as the article didn't and perhaps didn't have to that Farhan Haq previously worked for IPS - that and his father are how he got his UN job - and presumably was a member of UNCA. We'd asked but wouldn't get an answer, if the past is any guide.]

IPS: "On June 22nd, Lee had to be removed from the UN premises as he stayed long after his accreditation permitted him, and on July 3rd, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted."

 As Inner City Press has told IPS, "noted for the record

I'm appreciative of the detailed article, but for the record: "On June 22nd, Lee had to be removed from the UN premises as he stayed long after his accreditation permitted him." It was 7:15 pm, Antonio Guterres had just given a speech, video here;

and

... "on July 3, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted." There is video, and an NYPD criminal report (UN hasn't waived immunity), " video here;

and finally (for now)

... "on July 3, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted." There is video, and an NYPD criminal report (UN hasn't waived immunity).

 And so it goes at the UN - there's more but that's it for now. On August 20, when the PressFreedomTracker.us belatedly listed Guterres' and Smale's roughing up and banning of Inner City Press, here, Guterres' spokesman Dujarric made it clear it is all about content. While insisting it is not about Inner City Press' "writing," he specifically cited Periscope broadcasts as a basis for the lifetime ban. That is censorship.  UN transcript here and below.

  But on closely inspection Smale's letter is even more ghoulish. After she for Guterres banned Inner City Press from entry from July 3 onward, in order to report on the UN Inner City Press had to seek answers other than at the UN Noon Briefing and UN Security Council stakeout position, from which Guterres and Smale also banned it. Inner City Press asks question in front of the UN Delegates Entrance, and has gotten about put online responses from, among others, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid, Burundi's Ambassador, and on August 20, for example, a diplomat on the North Korea sanctions committee (whose chair Karel van Oosterom refused to comment) and UK Mission political coordinator Stephen Hickey (whose Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen also recently refused to comment.)

 This stakeout is where Inner City Press asks questions only because Guterres and Smale have banned it since July 3. But in her August 17 letter, Smale justifies the ban imposed July 3 with this post-July 3 interviews, and says that UNnamed member states - and somehow correspondents - have complained.

 Is that Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom? UK Deputy Jonathan Allen? (We will FOIA.) Morocco, as with the retaliatory complaint Smale's MALU "passed on" to Inner City Press while admitting verbally it was frivolous but then using it to ban Inner City Press for life. This is Kafkaesque, and must be reversed. Smale in her August 17 banning letter writes, "We would also note your conduct at the entrances of the United Nations premises and nearby, including the use of profanities and derogatory assertions and language toward individuals accessing the United Nations, in close proximity to them. Video / live broadcasts of this are frequently published on the Inner City Press' website and other media platforms. This conduct gives rise to potential safety concerns for Member State diplomats, United Nations staff, and other individuals accessing United Nations premises, and are a matter of serious concern given the United Nations responsibility for the well-being of such individuals.
The conduct described above has generated multiple complaints to the United Nations from Member States, United Nations correspondents, as well as United Nations staff.”  We'll have more on this - requests under FOIA and otherwise have begun. Watch this site.
August 20, 2018

UN Says Inner City Press' Accreditation Is Withdrawn In Kafkaesque Letter By Ex-NYT Smale

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter The Hill

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 17 -- After having covered the UN since 2005 for Inner City Press, and pursued stories of UN under-performance from Sri Lanka to Darfur and Haiti to Yemen and Cameroon, at 4 pm on Friday August 17 I got a four page letter from Under Secretary General Alison Smale, formerly the New York Times' Berlin bureau chief. We've put the letter on Scribd here, Patreon download here

The letter informed me, without a single opportunity to be heard and offer rebuttal, that “your accreditation is hereby withdrawn pursuant to the Guidelines.” Inner City Press had informed Smale, and Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is ultimately responsible for this, that Smale must recuse herself.

As part of its coverage of the UN in the past year I have heard from whistleblowers in Smale's Department of Public Information that she diverted funds intended for Swahili programming to her avowed focused, getting better coverage for Guterres particularly on social media.

But Smale did not recuse herself, and Guterres who refused my polite question to him on July 20 why this censorship was taking place and why he had been so silent as Cameroon killed Anglophones in the North-West and South-West regions of the country, did not make her recuse. Nor did he recuse himself, despite my timely request that the President of the General Assembly, and not the obviously conflicted Guterres and Smale, take charge of any review deemed necessary.

What is most troubling about the UN's August 17 dis-accreditation letter is how vague it is, and inaccurate the few times it gets specific.

The UN claims that on 3 July 2018 I “attempted to gain unauthorized access to a locked area of the UN.” But as I reported at the the time, and my Periscope video subsequently used by Fox News and The UK Independent shows, I was in the UN's much traveled Vienna Cafe. (Guterres' Assistant Secretary General Christian Saunders, whose involvement in a UN procurement scandal I previously reported, was also there: he oversaw the assault and the next day told me he doesn't like my articles.)

  On July 3 I was staking out -- that is, standing outside of - the UN Budget Committee meetings. In fact, I had been informed of the meetings by UN personnel and diplomats had invited me down in order to tell me, as a reported, what was going on.

Ironically it was with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe that I had just spoken when UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins and another officer who had still been identified by the UN approached me from behind, grabbed and twisted my arm, grabbed and damaged my laptop computer and tore my shirt. I recoiled and said, loudly, “I am a journalist, covering a meeting!” To Smale, this is incivility, enough to be permanently banned from the UN for.

Next, at the top of page 3 of the letter, Smale runs through a litany of supposed violations without providing any details, nor acknowledging that other correspondents more friendly to Guterres and her are allowed to do these things routinely. Smale pillories my “presence on UN premises outside authorized time periods as stipulated in the Guidelines.”

But those Guidelines, even as selectively quoted by Smale at the top of page 2 of her letter, make clear that I was permitted past 7 pm to cover an advised meeting - such as the July 3 UN Budget Committee meeting considering a $6.7 billion expenditure of public funds or the June 22 event in the UN General Assembly lobby featuring a speech in which Guterres bragged about fasting in Mali.

On June 22, not mentioned in Smale's August 17 letter but alleged as a “repeat violation” by Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq in a July 5 article, the same Lieutenant Dobbins and four Emergency Response Unit officers he summoned and then told not to give their names, pushed me out of the UN even as other non resident correspondents were allowed to remain in. There is video, here.

Days before that first roughing up of Inner City Press by UN Security but clearly green-lighted from higher up, Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a person who tried to speak with him on my behalf to get the UN to stop requiring me to have a minder or escort as they have since February 2016 that things would be getting worse for me. It seems clear Dujarric knew about or had already ordered the physical targeting of Inner City Press any time after 7 pm, even if an advised meeting or Guterres speech was taking place.


August 13, 2018

As UN Shifts Review Of  Inner City Press Guterres Spokesman Takes Anonymous Charges As True But Stonewalled on Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR, 7/3 Video, Filing I II III

UNITED NATIONS, August 11 – Inner City Press on July 5 was told at the UN gate that it was banned from entering any UN premises, the day after it filed a criminal complaint against UN Security Lieutenant Ronald Dobbins and another for physically removing it from covering the July 3 meeting about the UN's $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget, as witnessed and essentially cheered on by Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Assistant SG Christian Saunders, tearing its reporter's shirt, painfully and intentionally twisting his arm and slamming shut and damaging his laptop. Video here. Columbia Journalism Review here.

Now on August 11, amid a 39 day ongoing “review” of Inner City Press that has shifted from the initial charge of being in the building too long on July 3 covering the Budget Committee meeting to undefined “harassment” of unnamed off the record correspondents, Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq has told Fox News: “there have been a number of allegations from fellow journalists that Lee has harassed them over the years. 'A lot of journalists have not just been harassed but threatened by him and that’s a problem,' Haq said.”

   That last line is extraordinary. Without identifying a single one of these "lot of journalists," Haq declares their anonymous allegations to be true: "HAVE not just been harassed but threatened me him." This stands in contrast to the UN not accepting - in the case of Alison Smale and Stephane Dujarric, trying to not even acknowledge receiving - Inner City Press' written, on the record allegations complete with exhibits. It's called favoritism, and censorship.

  This same Farhan Haq recently answered one of Inner City Press' written questions, about why Guterres had taken no action on its documented exclusive May 24 report for which it received threats (and subsequent letter to Guterres and Smale) that through presumptive nepotism, management of the UN Security Council's website had been given to John van Rosendaal, the photographer husband of Kyoko Shiotani, the chief of staff of Guterres' Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, previously US Deputy Ambassador to the UN under Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Haq responded, "If there are allegations of misconduct they should be taken to the internal oversight offices and mechanisms. Unfounded allegations do not constitute a formal complaint." So how does Haq for the UN now deem anonymous allegations against Inner City Press not only as formal complaints, and as true?

    This is Kafkaesque. Inner City Press quit the UN Correspondents Association after finding it to be corrupt. Its president after having rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, who as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN accused of a role in the White Flag Killings, unilaterally granted Kohona's request to him to screen a Sri Lanka government war crimes denial film as an UNCA event, in the Dag Hammarskjold Library auditorium. This was done without approval of or even notice to all Executive Committee members of which Inner City Press was one. When Inner City Press reported on it, not only the UNCA president but only Committee members from Reuters, AFP and other outlets demanded that it take the article offline. Inner City Press offered the UNCA president as much space on Inner City Press as he'd want to reply, but he and UNCA wanted censorship, then as now.

   After Inner City Press quit UNCA, and faced counterfeit troll Twitter accounts and anonymous (but leaked) complaints to Guterres' now lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric from Lou Charbonneau of Reuters (now Human Rights Watch) here and censored from Google with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act here and Voice of America, here as obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it has not spoken to these individuals since.

   Whatever claimed harassment or threatens they are claiming to or for the UN is not based on any actual interaction, only Inner City Press' articles and, it seems, equally First Amendment protected Periscope broadcasts, even one that was inadvertent and deleted but ghoulishly monitored and captured by or for the UN. (More on this soon).

  The simple point: it is illegitimate to rough up a journalist for covering a Budget Committee meeting then ban him from his beat pending a review of the incident - then invent new charges, with unnamed accusers and not opportunity to respond with an eye toward continuing the ban. So what's next? Watch this site.