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August 14, 2017

On Yemen, UN Envoy IOCA Tweets of Churros Amid Airstrikes on Taizz & Sa'ada, Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 11 – When the UN Security Council belatedly met about Yemen on July 12, only three of the Council members spoke in the open meeting: Uruguay, Bolivia and Sweden. Uruguay cited an airstrike on a market and noted that the rebels don't have air support. Now on August 11 the UN's often invisible envoy on Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has gone public on Twitter with his love of churros, tweeting an article in Cosmopolitan magazine urging readers to book a trip to California immediately. Inner City Press preserved the ice cream shot in a photograph, here, in part because IOCA has a pattern of blocking journalists on Twitter, which the Free UN Coalition for Access has questioned along with other UN censorship. On August 8, Inner City Press asked about the bombings, and the UN's envoy, to the UN Spokesman. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  You may have seen the International Committee of the Red Cross has issued deep concern about airstrikes on Sa’ada and Taizz in great detail.  They issued this today.  And so, inevitably people wonder, given that the UN has a Special Envoy on Yemen, is he equally as concerned, either well documented…?

Spokesman:  I think we have… The UN system, through its Resident Coordinator, expressed its concern at the airstrikes and the death of children and civilians over the weekend.  Anyone who works for the UN is obviously troubled and concerned about the continuing suffering of the civilians, and that's why the Special Envoy is continuing his work and trying… and keep… and not giving up on trying to get the parties around a political settlement.  And I think, if you… as I'm sure you do pay attention to the various Security Council briefings, I think our outrage at the continuing deaths and suffering of civilians is clear. 

And then: Inner City Press: this came up on a few other officials, but I've been informed or… that the UN envoy on Yemen, Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, blocks journalists, including a guy, Mr. Shwaib al Musawa [sic], who's like a… the stringer for The New York Times who covers Yemen.  So, I'm just wondering, is there some policy from the top?  I haven't seen Mr. Shwaib [sic] really, you know, be as critical as some others are of Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, but is there some guidance from the Secretary-General that people that are envoys on a country shouldn't block journalists that are covering that country?

Spokesman:  No, I'm not aware of any particular guidance.  I don't monitor people's Twitter accounts, who they block, who they don't block.  So, no.
August 7, 2017

After Ng Bribery Conviction, ICP Asks UN of Carlos Garcia, Helped Bribes, Still In UN

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video and audio

UNITED NATIONS, August 4 – After the UN bribery verdict of six guilty counts against Ng Lap Seng was delivered by the jury on July 27, Inner City Press began asking the UN about the people still at the UN who were shown to have worked for or taking money from Ng, or both. So far the UN has done nothing. For example, the trial exposed the role of Carlos Garcia, former Salvadoran Ambassador and since then a bridge for NGOs, in helping "free" Lorenzo's bribe money from Ng. On August 4, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: has to do with the Ng Lap Seng case, believe it or not.  In the case, among the evidence that… that came out leading to the guilty verdict was evidence of former Permanent Representative of El Salvador, Carlos Garcia, assisting Francis Lorenzo in getting ill-gotten gains released from the Dominican Republic.  I've asked you about him before because, since serving as a permanent representative, he seems to be a kind of bridge to NGOs [non-governmental organizations].  He had an NGO called Global Governance for the UNSDGs.  I still see him around 1B squiring people around.  So, my request to you is, given… and, again I don't know if OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] tracked the case or not.  Given what was shown on the screen and put into evidence regarding his assistance in Mr. Francis Lorenzo getting bribe money released, does he have some, he has some kind of a pass.  Is there some kind of emeritus status for diplomats, or how it does it work?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of any em… emeritus, yeah, emeritus status except for journalists, so I will look into it.  Thank you.

  We'll see - and we'll follow up. For further example, during the trial an email was shown that current UN official Meena Sur emailed back and forth helping on the brochure for Ng's fraudulent UN conference center.  But even today, in the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management organogram, Meena Sur is the chief of the "Documents Management Section." Documents for Ng Lap Seng. There is a history here: for the Dominican Republic mission, that is Francis Lorenzo, Meena Sur was also involved with a shadowy IGO "World Sports Alliance," heavily involved in mining but not sports. See for example this: "The World Sports Alliance (WSA) team briefed President Leonel Fernandez on his 19th September visit to Baruch College of the City University of New York during Hispanic Heritage Month. The World Sports Alliance is a multi-stakeholder partnership launched by XL Generation Foundation, Give Them a Hand Foundation, and the Informal Regional Network of the NGO Section/DESA that uses sports to create local economic development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Ambassador Francis Lorenzo of the Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN facilitated the meeting. Ms. Meena Sur, Programme Officer of the NGO Section/DESA, Mr. Gordon Tapper,
President of Give them a Hand Foundation, as well as Mr. Alain Lemieux, President of
the WSA, attended the President’s speech at the college as Special Guests of thePermanent Mission of the Dominican Republic." More on this soon - who in the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services followed up on any of this? The UN is corrupt - and incompetent. DGACM's UN Journal for August 3 calls that day, a Thursday, "Tuesday." Photo here. We will continue on this.
July 31, 2017

After Bribery Conviction, UN Told Reuters It Wants to Get Paid, ICP Asks Why, Video Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, July 28 – After the UN bribery verdict of six guilty counts against Ng Lap Seng was delivered by the jury late on July 27, UN Spokesman Farhan Haq who has repeatedly dodged questions about the case from Inner City Press was quoted by Reuters that the UN was "a victim of these crimes" and later that "We are exploring the possibility of requesting restitution as a victim to these crimes, including recovering expenses incurred to provide the requested cooperation." Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Haq on July 28 to explain how the UN is the victim, and how it dares say it should be get for corruption. Video 8 from Minute 8:40. Haq said, This is the position of our Legal Council. Now Inner City Press has asked above. Watch this site. The UN even refused to tell the prosecution whom it spoke to for its Task Force Report, which said it has no ethical standards. The UN will ask for money, while paying nothing to the 10,000 people it killed in Haiti? Reuters doesn't even raise that - it has a conflict of interest.  UN official Ion Butnaru put the name of Ng's company Sun Kian Ip Group into a General Assembly resolution long after it was voted on, took a free trip to Macau and an iPad there. Victim? Ng's company South South News bought full page ads in the ball program of the UN Correspondents Association, then went to their ball at Cipriani and got photos with then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Reuters then as now had a seat on UNCA's board, something not disclosed in its coverage of Ng and the UN). A current UN official Meena Sur was shown in the trial to have held on Ng's brochure for his planned Macau conference Center. The UN remains UNreformed. Inner City Press, which has covered the scandal from the beginning and remains restricted by the UN for its coverage, rushed down to the courthouse and asked Ng Lap Seng, as he left by the side door to Worth Street, what he thinks of the UN and those there who took his money and favors, a list well beyond John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo. Periscope video here. He did not answer, understandable. He will be back in court on August 7 for arguments on if his house arrest can continue. Before Ng left, Inner City Press witnessed his lawyers leaving. They told the judge they will appeal. But now that Ng is guilty, will the UN act on those exposed as corrupt, and reverse its censorship?

 Ng Lap Seng's $3 billion UN convention center plan had been assisted by Meena Sur, still working for the UN Department of General Assembly and Conference Management. Inner City Press asked the UN spokesman Farhan Haq, who dodged by saying the UN was waiting for the verdict. But the UN is not on trial, because it has and cited immunity.

Likewise, high UN official Navid Hanif attended Ng Lap Seng's murky event in Macau in August 2015, and remains at at the UN. Spokesman Haq refused to answer about him, while telling Inner City Press that lower UN staff member Frances Fuller “separated from service” in September 2016, just after Inner City Press asked about her.

Francis Lorenzo, who took more money from Ng than the now deceased John Ashe, was given a UN.org email address by DGACM despite never being pictured among Ashe's Special Advisers, and never giving up his day job as the Dominican Republic's Deputy Permanent Representative.

Even on July 26, DGACM's Executive Officer told Inner City Press that the UN still hands such UN credential to anyone whom a President of the General Assembly tells them too. So nothing has been reformed.

The Department of Public Information under Cristina Gallach took Ng Lap Seng's money for its slavery memorial, and allowed fraudulent events in the UN lobby. But UN lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who allowed the content of Ng's South South News to be included in UNTV archives under his watch, said this was just an issue of “judgment,” not malfeasance.

The UN Correspondents Association, to whom Dujarric “lent” the UN Press Briefing Room then evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for seeking to cover the event to see if they discussed taking South South News' money and providing a venue for Ng's photo op with Ban Ki-moon, did not have a single member correspondent covering the month-long UN bribery case. Other dubious events were being hosted.

And so, while awaiting the jury's verdict on Ng Lap Seng - which may be not guilty given how corrupt the UN and the star witness against him Francis Lorenzo have been shown to be - it is clear that the UN has not reformed and remains corruption and a censor, seven months into the reign of “new” Secretary General Antonio Guterres. It is the UN that should be prosecuted, or invited to leave. Watch this site.

Legal footnotes: counsel to Ng Lap Seng, Park Jensen Bennett, Partners Tai H Park and Douglas Jensen in New York; and Alexandra Shapiro in New York; Assistant US attorneys Douglas Zolkind, Janis Echenberg and Daniel Richenthal of the US Attorney’s Office, David Last, on detail with the criminal division fraud section's FCPA unit.July 24, 2017

In UN Bribery Case of Ng Lap Seng, South South News Paid Ashe Wife, UN Staff & Contractors

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo

UNITED NATIONS, July 21 –In the ongoing UN bribery trial of Ng Lap Seng, on July 21 the bookkeeper of Ng's South South News Ms Jianqing Zhu testified that former President of the General Assembly John Ashe's wife was paid $6,000 a month; the memo on the check as "Antigua - wife." The records shown in court showed South South News payment to UN staff members and UN contractors - the UN is covering this up, with its usually collaborators. We'll have more on this. On July 20 Ms. Zhu testified how she transferred Ng's funds to pay for salary, clothes, luggage and rent for Vivian Wang and Francis Lorenzo, who had a UN.org email address. When she testified that South South News got a "good deal" by buying two Mercedes rather that just one, jury members burst out laughing. The day ended with the prosecution walking her through spread sheets of payment for "UN events," on which we'll have more. After the jury was excused for the day, there was discussion of a jury charge that it is not uncommon for witnesses to be spoken with by the parties, that they can be weight but doesn't have to be by the jury. Inner City Press' Periscope videos here and here and here; Inner City Press had to run back to the UN to get its computer before 7 pm under the censorship order imposed by the UN Department of Public Information after Inner City Press sought to cover a meeting, in the UN Press Briefing Room, of the UN Correspondents Association which took Ng's South South News' money for full page ads then provided the venue for Ng's photos with Ban Ki-moon. On July 19 the FBI agent who arrested Ng and his accountant Jeffrey Yin began to testify. He brought into evidence before an increasingly bemused jury long videos of Ng's proposed development in Macau, which had a larger residential component than the "Geneva of Asia" conference center which served as its rationale. It was described as a shopping center on reclaimed land, with "gaming" - which should have disqualified it under UN system rules, but didn't. The UN is corrupt and for sale, this trial is making clear. In Ng's black Samsonite suitcase were the promotional materials, a series of DVDs screened by "Ms. Rao" (phonetic) as translations were handed out to the jury. South South News payroll information came into evidence, with John Ashe's wife (widow) now listed, along with Juan Paulino and others. Also on July 19 the prosecution showed the jury wire transfers of $200,000 labeled "Lorenzo Wires" for government witness Francis Lorenzo, via one Luis Guerra of "Terra Trading in the Dominican Republic, as well as one of Lorenzo's UN.org business cards, found in the possession of Ng's accountant Jeffrey Yin, who like Lorenzo has pleaded guilty. On July 20 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about Francis Lorenzo having a un.org email address while serving as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic (and head of South South News). Haq refused to answer, transcript here, telling Inner City Press to ask the office of the President of the General Assembly. So Inner City Press has, cc-ing Haq: "First, please confirm or deny that Lorenzo had a un.org email address as a “Special Adviser to the PGA” as reflected on the business card confiscated by the FBI. Second, please state what the rules are for getting a UN.org email address, where the complete list is available so that the public is not defrauded, and how the Office of the PGA distributes un.org email addresses to non UN staff. There may be more questions but these are on deadline." Of course, Haq evading the question by saying to ask it to the Office of the current President of the General Assembly was an evasion: that office's Daniel Thomas has for now responded that "each Presidency is very different in nature. We have no one on our team who was present for OPGA 68." Watch this site. The UN's repeated attempts to distance itself from the corruption being documented in the Federal courthouse in lower Manhattan are, it is becoming clear, merely evasions. Also entered into evidence were videos and photographs of then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with Lorenzo and others, similar to those arranged at the Cipriani's ball of the UN Correspondents Association, which accepted payment for full page ads from Ng's and Lorenzo's South South News. Here is Inner City Press' Periscope video after leaving the courthouse (which does not allow cameras or phones to come in), here the rushed re-entry into the UN, with UN Security in view. We'll have more on this. On July 17 the defense argued to get into evidence videos including one of a visit to South South News and a number of UN Ambassadors by the Dominican Republic's then-President Leonel Fernandez Reyna. Video here. July 17, 2017

On UN Bribery Case of Ng Lap Seng, UN Won't Answer on DGACM, Says DPI "Issue of Judgment"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 –In the ongoing UN bribery trial of Ng Lap Seng, on July 13 a UN witness, for which the UN only partially waived its claimed immunity, testified that Ng Lap Seng as a gambling casino magnate should have been excluded from any business with the UN Development Program, or all review of dealing with him "escalated" to then Administrator Helen Clark. The witness, Simon Hannaford of UNDP, was walked through UNDP documents about due diligence and yes, the UN Global Compact. But Ng Lap Seng gave money to UNDP's Office of South South Cooperation, for the Macau event that had UN Secretariat (and UN Correspondents Association) attendance. So who has been held accountable? Inner City Press rushed from the courthouse and to the UN noon briefing, through the tourist entrance since the UN Department of Public Information and the Spokesman Stephane Dujarric had it evicted and still restricted. But when Inner City Press asked Dujarric simple questions, such as about the scope of the waiver the UN gave for Hannaford's testimony and who has been held accountable for taking Ng's money, Dujarric refused to answer a single question. Dujarric claimed that OSSC, which has not held any press conference, is accessible and transparent. False. So on July 14, Inner City Press asked again, specifically about accountability at the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, where a GA resolution was changed to include Ng Lap Seng's company's name, and the Department of Public Information. Video here. This time Dujarric said that "the audit" shows that there was an "issue of judgment," not malfeasance at DPI. Well, here is the audit. And, while at DPI Dujarric was in charge of UNTV when, mysteriously, video of Ng' South South News got incorporated into UNTV archives. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.July 10, 2017

On Burundi, After ICP Asked UN Repatriated Mayuyu, Now to Somalia, DSG to Act or Not?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- The UN's lack of vetting of peacekeepers, exposed by Inner City Press then as credited by the Washington Post as to Burundi, has continued under Secretary General Antonio Guterres and, at least until now, his deputy Amina J. Mohammed. On July 7 Mohammed told the UN's Chiefs of Defense to only "send us personnel with spotless backgrounds." Video here. But will she accept the UN allowing Burundi's Colonel Mayuyu, which the UN itself repatriated for abuse, to be sent out to act on civilians in Somalia, in the UN supported AMISOM? It will be a test - one failed so far on ongoing censorship of the Press. Ten days after Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UN "pre-deployment" training for Major Gahomera, linked to the 12/12 massacre in Burundi, there has been no answer. Now it emerges that one of the Burundian officers that after Inner City Press inquiries in 2016 was repatriated from the UN mission in the Central African Republic, Colonel Mayuyu, is being sent back out again by Burundi, to the UN-supported mission in Somalia. Photographs here; September 16, 2016 Vine video still here. On July 6, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about it, video here, UN transcript hereJuly 3, 2017

On Haiti, ICP Asks Guterres Spox If New Cholera Envoy Against Reparations, No Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 – Days after UN cholera victims told Inner City Press in Haiti that the "community projects" UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described to the Press would be useless to them, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric dodged questions about what the victims said, from Inner City Press. This while Guterres is recruiting a "victims' advocate" - on every issue except those the UN killed? Video here. On June 30 Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in the Council, there was the report on  the Council's visit to Haiti. [Periscope here.]  And the issue of cholera came up.  The re-investor reported, I guess, what was heard inside the meeting.  Outside the meeting was… things were… were spicier still in terms of the UN, you know, not living up to what people believe was said.  I've seen a picture of Josette Sheeran briefing, I guess, at the Canadian Mission.  Is it possible in early July to get her here to describe what her work's going to be and…

Spokesman:  We can see what we can do.

Inner City Press: to your knowledge, has anything been raised or does she have a position on individual reparations? [@InnerCityPress also asked on Twitter, here.]

Spokesman:  We'll see what we can do.

  Past 4 pm, nothing, even as approved peacekeeping mission budgets were still being withheld. On June 28 Inner City Press asked Dujarric if Guterres' supposedly "new" approach to the cholera the UN brought to Haiti meant he will continue to seek impunity. From the UN transcript: at least two federal court cases about the UN having introduced cholera to Haiti.  In this case that's in Brooklyn, where they're arguing that… that the UN essentially waived the immunities that it's claiming by having a mechanism to deal with negligence, which I think most people would say this was, as opposed to intentional, is there anything in the new Secretary-General's new approach to cholera that will be reflected in a response, or is it the UN's continuing response that it bears no legal responsibility at all?

Spokesman:  Our legal position is unchanged.  The UN's effort as outlined by the Secretary-General is focusing on preventing the spread or resurgence of cholera in Haiti and helping communities in a first instance.

Inner City Press: And what's the status of his discussions with countries about the $40 million that…?

Spokesman:  I've nothing more to say than what the Secretary-General himself announced.

 From the UN's June 27 transcript: Inner City Press: in Haiti, as the Security Council made its trip, various people approached the… the Press that was part of the trip and said very clearly that they interpreted what Amina Mohammed and Mr. [António] Guterres had said as a retrenchment, as a stepping back from the idea of possible individual reparations that was in the November 2016 report by then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  And one gentleman, 57 years old, who has had cholera and his spouse died, said: "Community projects are useless to me, do nothing for me."  And I wanted to understand more clearly,  Farhan [Haq] ended up saying that there's still some consideration of  individual reparations.  That's not really the way that I read what the Secretary General said.  What is the current thinking of the Secretary-General on attempting to make at least some type of reparatory payment to people whose relatives got cholera and died and have to educate their children?

Spokesman:  First of all, our hearts go out to all the people who suffered from the cholera epidemic, either personally or through the loss of loved ones.  I think the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General were very clear in outlining the way forward.  The focus will be initially on community-based projects, and we're taking things one step at a time.  But, I can't really go any further than what the Secretary-General himself said.

Inner City Press: But, he seemed to say that individual was not being considered.

Spokesman:  Things are progressing.  We're taking things one step at a time. 

  So what has been the United Nations' real impact on Haiti? There will be longer answers to that questions - watch this site - but for now a vignette. After two days of speed meetings with the President, parliamentarians, police trainers, proud peacekeepers from India and Brazil, some civil society reps followed by businessmen with flash drives, a UN bus raced over ragged streets on June 24.

Inside, European staffers of the UN's MINUSTAH mission fretted about the addition of a vague paragraph about the cholera the UN brought in a statement soon to read out at the MINUSTAH Logistics Base. Outside the bus, Haitians pushing heavy cartloads of fruit, riding in in backs of pickup trucks pushed ot the side by the UN convoy, stared out, some in anger. The Press, along for the ride, heard the day before from residents of Cite Soleil who lost relatives to the cholera the UN brought, with criminally negligent inattention to sanitation for troops brought in from a cholera hot-spot in Nepal, who got cholera themselves. “The UN has to pay for this,” one said. “What good would a community plaza be fore me?” But it is community projects that new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is offering, as he told Inner City Press back in UN headquarters. The Security Council delegation that visited Haiti June 22-24 repeated over and over they support the Secretary General's “new” approach. But what is new about it? We'll have more on this.  When the UN Security Council visited Haiti's Presidential Palace on Thursday, they heard about the cholera the UN brought, specifically that the $40 million remaining in the MINUSTAH mission's budget should remain behind. On Saturday morning, the Security Council's president for June Sasha Sergia Llorentty Soliz held a press conference at the MINUSTAH mission's "Log-Base." Periscope video here. Inner City Press asked him about the UN cholera victims it has spoken with the day before, who said that the UN must pay individual reparations, not community project that are of no use to them. He said that messages had been heard. We will follow up on this in New York - and in Haiti on the intimidation and under-payment of judges. June 26, 2017

In Haiti, UN Sweats How To Phrase Evasion on Cholera It Brought, Its Victims UNheard

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

NEW YORK, June 25 – What has been the United Nations' impact on Haiti? There will be longer answers to that questions - watch this site - but for now a vignette. After two days of speed meetings with the President, parliamentarians, police trainers, proud peacekeepers from India and Brazil, some civil society reps followed by businessmen with flash drives, a UN bus raced over ragged streets on June 24.

Inside, European staffers of the UN's MINUSTAH mission fretted about the addition of a vague paragraph about the cholera the UN brought in a statement soon to read out at the MINUSTAH Logistics Base. Outside the bus, Haitians pushing heavy cartloads of fruit, riding in in backs of pickup trucks pushed ot the side by the UN convoy, stared out, some in anger. The Press, along for the ride, heard the day before from residents of Cite Soleil who lost relatives to the cholera the UN brought, with criminally negligent inattention to sanitation for troops brought in from a cholera hot-spot in Nepal, who got cholera themselves. “The UN has to pay for this,” one said. “What good would a community plaza be fore me?” But it is community projects that new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is offering, as he told Inner City Press back in UN headquarters. The Security Council delegation that visited Haiti June 22-24 repeated over and over they support the Secretary General's “new” approach. But what is new about it? We'll have more on this.  When the UN Security Council visited Haiti's Presidential Palace on Thursday, they heard about the cholera the UN brought, specifically that the $40 million remaining in the MINUSTAH mission's budget should remain behind. On Saturday morning, the Security Council's president for June Sasha Sergia Llorentty Soliz held a press conference at the MINUSTAH mission's "Log-Base." Periscope video here. Inner City Press asked him about the UN cholera victims it has spoken with the day before, who said that the UN must pay individual reparations, not community project that are of no use to them. He said that messages had been heard. We will follow up on this in New York - and in Haiti on the intimidation and under-payment of judges. The Security Council got a briefing from India's Assam Rifles, complete with a slide about the unit's history in Sri Lanka. (More on that to follow). Outside, rifles and riot suppression equipment was displayed. A short bus ride led to the Brazilian camp, fruit juices and what felt like the wrap up of the visit. Should UN peacekeeping contingents buy more of what they use from the countries they deploy to? More on this to follow, too. Back on Friday when the Security Council met at the country's Cour de Cassation, invitee Massillon told them and then the Press that some judges in Haiti can't even afford any law books, work surrounded by garbage and are subject to intimidation and corruption. Another invitee told Inner City Press that while Massillon "said what had to be said," he had offended UN Envoy Sandra Honore with his criticism of MINUSTAH's performance. Who will head MINUJUSTH? (In a bad joke, some call it Mini-Jupe or mini-skirt, as some in the Congo have ajudge MONUSCO to be MONUSELESS.) We are putting Massillon's and a colleague's later audio up on sound-cloud; Inner City Press asked again about Haitian judges' paltry salaries. Earlier on Friday there was a protest while the Security Council met with the "private sector." A bus full of UN cholera victims was pressured to leave - but then returned, along with advocate Mario Joseph, and spoke with the Press. Long Periscope with Mario Joseph near the end here; second Periscope turned into YouTube here. Uniformly, the call was for individual reparations. Of a 57 year old victim who can now barely walk it was asked, what good would a community plaza do for him? But that is what the UN, when Inner City Press last asked, is offering. Done with the private sector, the Security Council drove a short way to the Cour de Cassation. The UN stands for justice? Cholera was less pointedly raised after the meeting with President Moise by his acting (for a day?) foreign minister, and was the subject of the sole questioner allowed. Video here. Friday when after a closed door meeting with Parliamentarians - the Army came up, wit the US - the Security Council had lunch with invited civil society members, there was a place set for cholera advocate Mario Joseph, next to Camille Chalmers. At first he wasn't there, and those who'd specifically invited him wondered why. Then he rolled in. But the Press was already told to wait outside, under a beautiful red flowering tree, and wait for the "private sector" to arrive. Earlier on Friday, the Security Council drove uphill to the Parc de Martissant and each placed a white rose at the earthquake memorial. FOKAL President Ms Duvivier brought up the UN's cholera and how little money the UN has raised; the artist Ms. Monnin explained her hanging heads of concrete and metal, with shattered mirrors on top. It spoke for itself. A small drone buzzed overhead. At the Council's next meeting, the Press was not even left in for five minutes. Earlier the delegation was escorted (run-up Periscope here) to the Haitian National Police School, where just as a meeting including the Prime Minister began, the Press was ushered out. For now, tweeted photo here. In the School courtyard, roosters could be heard crowing, and cadets singing during training. "Vous est journaliste?" a man asked, hand on his sidearm. Oui, je suis journaliste. Nothing yet on cholera, except finally some talk of new UN (part-time) envoy Josette Sheeran and her past. We'll have more on this.  On this too: in the MINUSTAH mission the talk is of re-applying for posts in the new, smaller MINUJUSTH replacement set to start October 16, 2017. The UN's presence become routinized. There is a former star of the UN Budget Committee, now working on political affairs; there's Security from other Security Council trips - one in which a UN Security officer fired a bullet inside the UN plane, leaving Ambassadors and the press on a bus ride from Goma to Kigali in Rwanda. There are long-time UN communications people and ex-pat journalists. There is a dismissive or perhaps fatalistic view of those Haitians protesting the UN's presence and impact. Then there are Haitians striving, setting up small businesses in nooks and crannies by the side of the road, while French business people fly in for contracts, assisted by their country's ambassador Elisabeth Beton, who spoke June 22 on TV Metropole about Bollore, Total and Suez. What is the UN's role in this? After the June 22 meeting, Haiti's acting foreign minister spoke on cholera, that the $40 million unspent by MINUSTAH should remain in-country. But will it? In the UN Budget Committee there's talk against it, as a bad precedent. Wasn't bringing cholera, and then denying it for six years, a worse precedent? Sui generis. Earlier on Thursday morning, the country's booming voiced Ambassador to the UN was at the airport to greet the Council members. Protests, too, awaited - although MINUSTAH staff, and a Haiti-based European journalist, mocked the protest as small.  In the minibus that took the Council members up into the hills to the Royal Oasis Hotel, the talk was of the wind-down of the MINUSTAH mission, begun after the ouster of President Aristide in 2004, of access for interpreters but barely - five minutes at each meeting? - for the press. a meeting was held with the UN Country Team.  The Press was ushered about amid generic statistics from the Deputy SRSG. Civil society, however, has been chiming in with the Press. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23, accompanying the UN Security Council mission which took off from JFK airport early on June 22. Photo here, Periscope video here. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. June 19, 2017

UN Killed 10,000 in Haiti, Spox Claims UN Listens, ICP Asks of UNSC Visit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 – While in some places the UN system may be doing good work, its killing of more and 10,000 Haitians with cholera, and its years of denial, have been a low point. On June 14 the new (well, 162 day old) UN presented what it called a new approach on cholera - not long after Secretary General Antonio Guterres' delayed approach to the UN's lead poisoning victims in Kosovo was criticized. Inner City Press asked the UN about it on June 16, in the run-up to the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti next week (we will cover that). From the UN's June 16 noon briefing, video heretranscript: Inner City Press: on Haiti, I went back and looked at what Amina Mohammed said, that 'there are no funds for Track 2, and we propose to take a community approach. ' And I'm sure you've seen a number of advocates — Mario Joseph, other well-known, long-time Haiti cholera activists — have said this is an outrage, that basically what the Secretary-General announced, Ban Ki-moon at the end of his tenure, is being totally rejected, and any consultation with the affected communities will take place after this speech by Amina Mohammed.

Spokesman:  I don't think it's being rejected.  I think I was asked this question yesterday.  We, obviously, are eagerly awaiting funds.  But, I think… I don't think there's been a change.  The challenge for us is the lack of funding.

Inner City Press: But the sentence "we propose to take a community approach", that seems pretty definitive.  That seems like, this is the approach that we're taking.  Before there were two.  Now there's one.

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

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

Spokesman:  Well, I think, first of all, through our staff on the ground.  And, as we've said, we would be appointing an envoy soon.

  We'll see.

June 12, 2017

On Cameroon, Failing Fall's UNOCA Site Out of Date and Broken, Inaccurate Report Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

UNITED NATIONS, June 10 – After Inner City Press repeatedly asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesman about Cameroon's Internet cut-off and abuses, the UN's answer after its Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi was shown to block the Press and then left for the Central African Republic was that the UN Office on Central Africa (UNOCA) envoy Francois Lonseny Fall would be visiting in May. This turned out to be misleading like so much with today's UN, including the UN's celebration of World Environment, see below. A review of UNOCA's website finds its most recent magazine is from 2014, photo here, and the link to its May 31, 2017 report (excerpted below) doesn't work. So Inner City Press has put the full report online, here. June 5, 2017

Cameroon Visit of UN's Fall Cites Human Rights Concerns, UN Tells ICP, After 4 Days' Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

UNITED NATIONS, June 2 – After Inner City Press repeatedly asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesman about Cameroon's Internet cut-off and abuses, the UN's answer was that its Central Africa envoy Francois Lonseny Fall would be visiting in May. It turns out it would be in (early) June, and it would mostly be about Boko Haram.

On June 1, Inner City Press asked again - still nothing - and then on June 2, transcript here:

Inner City Press: to ask again about this Cameroon thing, but I wanted to ask because it was said that [Francois] Loncény Fall would be there in late May.  Many people were kind of waiting to hear what he had to say.  Yesterday, his whereabouts, I guess, according to Stéphane, were not known.  What is his comment now that he's returned to the country?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, we're checking with our DPA colleagues what we can say about Mr. Loncény Fall's travels.  Once we have an update, we'll share it.

  And hours later, this: "To Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press Re Your Question on Cameroon: As mentioned previously, the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the UN Country Team in Cameroon continue to follow events in the country closely. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, François Louncény Fall, was in Yaoundé, Cameroon, this week, for the 44th Ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), during which Cameroon took over the chairmanship of the Committee.  This is SRSG Fall’s fifth visit to the country since November 2016. He took this opportunity to meet with a wide range of Cameroonian interlocutors to address the persisting tensions and human rights concerns.  SRSG Fall will continue efforts to engage with all relevant parties and to monitor the situation in close cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). "

  We'll see. Representative of the UN system as a whole, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child when it met about Cameroon's report on May 30 did not ask a single recorded question about the Anglophone areas, the Internet cut-off or the GCE scam. It seems it is today's UN that is a scam. Marie-Therese Abena Ondoa, Minister for the Promotion of the Woman and the Family of Cameroon, sung the praises of the 34-year Paul Biya government. The UN's Rapporteur on Cameroon, the former Minister of Health from Togo, Suzanne Aho Assouma, joined in the praise, as if like France's Ambassador to the UN told Inner City Press the Internet cut off was never heard of. Call it FrancAfrique, reaching all the way into today's UN Headquarters. Also on May 30 Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Cameroon, you'd said that in May Mr. Francois Loncény Fall would be going to the country.  I don't know if that's true.  I know that he's going in early June.  And I just wanted to make sure that you were referring to this meeting of regional security that seems to be almost entirely about Boko Haram and [Central African Republic].  Is there anything… can you say what his agenda is there and if he's going to raise the Anglophone issue?

Spokesman:  I will check.

  Eight hours later, typically, nothing. Cameroon's UN Ambassador Tommo Monthe, who told Inner City Press that Paul Biya stands ready to cut the Internet again, and partied with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Deputy SG and chief of staff while singing songs for Chantal Biya, is already at the meeting Fall will attend. Tommo Monthe is quoted, "We need to exchange views on all these insecurity situations before we bring it back to the UN during its forthcoming general assembly session." On May 29 Fall issued this canned quote: "We will continue to support efforts of the subregion in its determination to prevent, to combat and to bring an end to the uncontrolled flow of arms in Central Africa. This would strengthen confidence among states and reassure the population, the main victims of this phenomenon, which is also a hindrance to the sustainable development of Central Africa." This is the focus on Lonseny Fall's much-hyped visit to Yaounde, while Guterres' Deputy SG and chief of staff party with Paul Biya's representative amid songs for Chantal Biya and French champagne. We'll have more on this. Well over a week ago, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Cameroon administering in areas to which it cut off the Internet for 94 days a General Certificate of Education test, specifically citing UNESCO. Dujarric said he would look into it. Having received no answer even as Guterres' Deputy and Chief of Staff appeared at Cameroon's (boycotted) national day, on May 23 Inner City Press asked again about this, and Amnesty International's press conference on 10 year sentences to students (whose jokes included the GCEs) being shut down. After Dujarric on May 25 had no answer on this, on May 26 Inner City Press asked his deputy, Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Do you have anything on Cameroon and Amnesty, the closing down of the Amnesty press conference about 10-year jail sentences for students that I asked Stéphane about two days ago?

Deputy Spokesman:  What we can say is simply that we hope that the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly will be respected in Cameroon.  Have a good weekend, everyone.

  That's it? On May 24 Dujarric said he had an answer from UNESCO - that he never provided to Inner City Press, and apparently would never have, if not asked again. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: today in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Amnesty International had scheduled a press conference about three teenager students sentenced to ten-year prison sentences for joking in text messages about Boko Haram.  So, I wanted to know, they… basically, this was closed down. The press conference was disallowed.  Many human rights groups have said it's an outrage. And I noticed yesterday evening, the Deputy Secretary-General and the Chef de Cabinet were both at the National Day of Cameroon on 73rd Street in New York.  So, I wanted to know, what does the UN think of… of this country that just recently celebrated its National Day with these two officials shutting out Amnesty International, sentencing students to ten-year prison sentences…

Spokesman:  I'll look into the case.  I have not…

Inner City Press:  Did you ever look into the testing thing?  I'd asked you about administering a test…

Spokesman:  Yes, I think… we were given some guidance by UNESCO...

Now here it is: "Your question on the Cameroon tests: Regarding a previous query on a test being administered in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon despite the regions being affected by school closures and a internet blackout, while this is not an issue covered by UNOCA, but rather UNESCO, UNOCA has informed that there have been reports of abstentions from the examinations in the North West and South-West regions of the country. We are not aware of any reports of these tests being taken at gunpoint.  Nonetheless it is of concern that these examinations [General Certificate of Education] were held, despite school closures and the internet blackout for over three months, which disrupted normal activities. However that is an issue for the relevant national authorities to respond to. UNOCA, in close cooperation with the Acting Resident Coordinator, is monitoring the situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon and will continue to liaise with the authorities to promote a peaceful resolution to the grievances of the Anglophone population."

While the UN Security Council visited Cameroon during the 94 day Internet cut off and said nothing publicly about it (but see below), Inner City Press has obtained and has exclusively published on Patreon and now Scribd, here Cameroon's "Urgent and Confidential" letter to the UN Security Council, about weapons. On May 23, Inner City Press went to the New York event for Cameroon's "National" Day, which was boycotted in the Anglophone regions of the country. In New York, however, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammad and Antonio Guterres' Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti attended, along with French Permanent Representative to the UN Francois Delattre, Burundi's Albert Shingiro and others. Video here.May 29, 2017

ICP Asked UNSG Guterres for Speech, Haiti Read-out, None Provided, Now S Korea - Japan, Money Talks?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 – Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres why he hasn't released his budget speech, or reform plans on May 25, the day after Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to provide the speech to Inner City Press when it asked. Guterres paused then said it should be public, seeming to believe that Dujarric had, in fact, released it. Video here. But he had not and has not, after three days later. Instead, Dujarric's office has selectively provided read-outs of some few of Guterres' meeting, to some on the basis of the money or power of the countries requesting transparency. Previously, Inner City Press asked Dujarric three times for any read-out of Guterres' meeting with the Dominican Republic' foreign minister, who afterward said the issue of the UN's dubious impact on Haiti was discussed. No read-out was provided, Now, Dujarric issues the below, what's the difference? "n response to questions received on the meeting between the Secretary-General and Prime Minister Abe of Japan, the Spokesman had the following to say: During their meeting in Sicily, the Secretary-General and Prime Minister Abe did discuss the issue of so-called “comfort women”. The Secretary-General agreed that this is a matter to be solved by an agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea. The Secretary-General did not pronounce himself on the content of a specific agreement but on the principle that it is up to the two countries to define the nature and the content of the solution for this issue. Regarding the report of Special Rapporteurs, the Secretary-General told the Prime Minister that Special Rapporteurs are experts that are independent and report directly to the Human Rights Council." Again, what's the difference? On May 26 Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq again refused, video here, saying that the UN responds to member states (not We the Peoples). It was Dujarric who evicted Inner City Press, and has kept it restricted in its movements in the UN for the 144 days so far of Guterres' tenure. On May 25, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again, video here


On May 26, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Jeffrey Feltman said that the proposal for the new office has been, I guess, approved by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.  And since yesterday in this room, the idea was that's all confidential, I wanted to just know, first, is it true, did Mr. Feltman say that?  Is it true that ACABQ has signed off on it?  And if it's true that the UN can speak about ACABQ, can we get a copy of the Secretary-General's speech to ACABQ given earlier this week?

Deputy Spokesman:  No.  The, the speech was basically about the budget proposals which are available as a document, as Stéphane pointed out earlier this week.

Inner City Press: I, I searched it, and it said document not available on the UN document site.  I’d like the speech.

Deputy Spokesman:  You know, you can deal with my colleagues with the document, but there's no remarks to share for the public.  Regarding the particular proposal, there's a proposal that's going to go before the General Assembly, and you'll be able to see what happens once they consider it.

Inner City Press: Right, but I guess it goes back to [inaudible] question.  In most Governments in the world, an executive like the Secretary-General, the executive branch, will announce publicly what its proposals are.  Just the fact that to only announce it after it's been approved by the Member States doesn't seem to make sense if you're pronouncing reforms and if there's public interest in how the UN works.  What's the problem with releasing the speech?

Deputy Spokesman:  This is not a Government.  This is an organization bringing together Governments.  And what we try to do is engage in dialogue with governments in order to flesh out these proposals.  Ultimately, it's not finalized until the various governments agree on this.  You simply can't argue that something's not transparent if it goes to 193 Governments.  That's a lot of people.  It's not a secret process by any means.  All of them are involved in this discussion.

Inner City Press: But, I've heard the Secretary-General say he wants to open up the UN to civil society and the public and we the people, so I guess I'm just wondering, is there something in that ACABQ speech that's so confidential that it can't, as I took him to understand on the steps, just be released and made public?

Deputy Spokesman:  No.  It's not confidential, but it's part of a dialogue with Member States.  And we try to engage the Member States directly in that dialogue. 

 So, public be damned? UN May 25 transcript here: Inner City Press:  I just now asked the Secretary-General about what I had asked you yesterday, about whether his speech at ACABQ can be released and whether his reform proposals will be released.  He seemed to, maybe I misunderstood and you can look at the video, but he seemed to think that it had been released so I wanted to ask you, can it be released?  Also…  Go ahead.

Spokesman:  The budget documents for the proposed reform are public documents and those are available and that is basically what he presented, the outline of which he presented to the ACABQ yesterday.

Inner City Press: Two questions: Is there a problem with releasing, I'm sure there was a written and about it was off-the-cuff what he said to ACABQ; and, secondly, I've seen and published a document called safety and security pillar model A regarding three ASGs, a mixture of political affairs and peacebuilding, a variety of delegations, and maybe there wasn't time to explain the whole thing, basically the idea is if he is proposing reforms, why aren't these proposals public as they are in most countries…?

Spokesman:  Well, I think, first of all, these reforms, especially ones that have to involve, that involve budgetary issues, first have to be approved by the Member States

May 22, 2017

After ICP Asked of WIPO's N Korea Work, Nikki Haley Calls WIPO UNtransparent and Dangerous, Cyanide

By Matthew Russell Lee, follow up

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 – While the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization helps North Korea with a patent application for social cyanide (WIPO site here), Inner City Press on May 16 began to ask US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about it (video here).

On May 17, Nikki Haley replied to Inner City Press' question: "All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Sodium cyanide is banned for export to North Korea by the Security Council. A common sense reaction would be for WIPO to inform the Council of such patent applications. Its failure to do so may have dangerous consequences.”

The UN through spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press it supports WIPO, video here. On May 19, Inner City Press asked North Korea's Ambassador Kim In Ryong about it, without answer. Video here. Now the US Mission to the UN has issued a longer press release:

"The United States continues to be concerned about the way the World Intellectual Property Organization has handled North Korea’s patent application for the production of sodium cyanide. 'The thought of placing cyanide in the hands of the North Koreans, considering their record on human rights, political prisoners, and assassinations is not only dangerous but defies common sense. We urge all UN agencies to be transparent and apply the utmost scrutiny when dealing with these types of requests from North Korea and other rogue nations,' said Ambassador Haley.
The United States has long encouraged UN specialized agencies to be in close contact with Security Council sanctions committees regarding any activity related to the implementation of Security Council resolutions. All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs."

 Inner City Press adds: this should (even) include the UN Federal Credit Union, which is soliciting the funds of the North Korean mission and its employees, as well as UNA-USA members. May 15, 2017

ICP Asks UN Of WIPO Using Criminal Defamation Law, Spox Says “Not A Responsive Choice”

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 – The UN of “new” Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to put it as diplomatically as possible, allows UN system agencies to censor, and has allowed the continuation of Ban Ki-moon's censorship of the Press inside UN headquarters to continue. On May 10 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman again about the World Intellectual Property Organization using criminal defamation law against a Swiss radio station which reported on WIPO corruption, despite a statement against such use by the UN Chief Executives Board. Video here. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I’d asked you before about Francis Gurry bringing criminal defamation charges against a radio station in Geneva.  Now the Government Accountability Project has put out a white paper on it, basically pointing out that the CEB (Chief Executives Board), of which he’s a part and the Secretary-General’s a part, have talked about… against this idea of using criminal defamation or even high civil penalties for journalistic work.  Given that it was the… the… the general counsel or legal counsel of WIPO that made the criminal complaint, it seems like basically you have a member of the CEB operating totally against what the CEB says the UN should do.  So what… at what point does the Secretary-General… what’s the purpose of the CEB, if they’re not complied with…?  [inaudible]

Spokesman:  The purpose of the CEB is for coordinating the programmes, the implementations of programmes across the board to ensure that funds and resources are used in a coordinated manner.  As you know, [WIPO] is an independent, specialized agency with its own governing board.  The head of the CEB [sic]… of WIPO reports to that Governing Council.  On the methods used, I think I’ve answered it, and it’s not… it was not something… it’s not a responsive choice.

 But what does that mean? What has Guterres, who recently visited and praised WIPO, done? To say he “allows censorship” may be too diplomatic. Watch this site. May 8, 2017

From Cameroon to UNSC, "Urgent & Confidential" Memo About Weapons, Copter, Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 – While the UN Security Council visited Cameroon during the 94 day Internet cut off and said nothing publicly about it, Inner City Press has obtained and has exclusively published on Patreon and now Scribd, here Cameroon's "Urgent and Confidential" letter to the UN Security Council, about weapons. It lists Chinese weapons, helicopters and more, to be repatriated to CAR.

Exclusive: From Cameroon to UNSC, "Urgent & Confidential" Memo About Weapons, Copter, Here by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd


This comes amid reports that armaments Cameroon got ostensibly to fight Boko Haram have been spotted in the Anglophone regions. On May 2 when Inner City Press told the UN's spokesman Stephane Dujarric that it had a question on Cameroon, he walked off the podium, as he has done before. He and the UN Department of Public Information, whose Cameroon mis-information is profiled below, worked together to evict and still restrict Inner City Press. The spin of the Francophone Cameroon government of Paul Biya has now reached the UN Security Council, or at least its media stakeout area. As Inner City Press asked questions at the stakeout on April 28, and telling Morocco's hatchet-man Ambassador that on decolonization Inner City Press errs on the side of the underdogs, video here, Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe approached. He handed two documents to Inner City Press: a chart of "actions taken by the Government following concerns raised by Cameroon Anglophone teaches and lawyers," and a press release mis-spelled "Realease." Inner City Press has put both online on Patreon, here. But here's how out of touch or worse the UN Department of Public Information, which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press with minders, is: its UNIC ("Information" Center) in Cameroon held a training and wrote it up with a single reference to "social upheaval in English speaking regions," nothing on the Internet cut-off.
May 1, 2017

Google Hinders Publication of ICP Video of UN Defending Abuse by Peacekeepers, DPI Deal So Patreon

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 – With the large social media platforms like Google and Facebook vowing to use algorithms to prevent terrorist recruitment and for other purposes, the crudeness of results, intended or not, has come to the fore. Now Google's YouTube is engaged in systematic financial censoring of independent videos about censorship. Like many independent media, Inner City Press publishes its coverage and associatedcommentary not only on its website but on a number of third party platforms like YouTube,Twitter, Facebook, Scribd and SoundCloud. YouTube is owned by Google, and like its parent allows publishes to monetize their material with advertisements. 

But do YouTube and Google behind it engage in censorship? As Inner City Press ramps up its fight against the eviction of its shared office in the United Nations while asking questions about UN corruption, it has received a series of e-mails from YouTube that its videos on these topics "cannot be monetized" with ads. On April 29, Google went back and denied monetization to Inner City Press' video showing Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to control UN Peacekeeping, linking rapes by (French) peacekeepers to "R&R," saying that if the peacekeepers got more rest and recreation they might not rape so much. It was a statement for which, in many real militaries, Ladsous would have been fired. Not only did the UN not fire him: now the video is denied monetization, while UN Department of Public Information acting Officer in Charge Maher Nasser brags about DPI's "partnerships" with Google. Partnerships indeed. This comes the day after Morocco's Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale used the UNTV stakeout tocomplain Inner City Press has asked "225 questions;" DPI then declined to give Inner City Press the mp4 of the stakeout, telling it to just film it off a computer screen with its cell phone. (We put the raw camera video on Twitter, here, and now on Patreon, here.) Google's email said: "Hi Inner City Press,After reviewing your video, we’ve confirmed that the content in your video or video details aren’t advertiser-friendly. As a result, your video can’t be monetized. 'After UN's Ladsous Links Peacekeepers Rape To Lack of “Comfort," UN Says Lack of R&R Leads to Abuse.' YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision about video monetization."

On April 23 YouTube similarly went back to deny monetization to Inner City Press videos about Yemen, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Darfur, the Golan Heights, DRC, Gaza, Ukraine, Qatar, UN censorship

April 24, 2017

On Burundi and ICP's Scoop of Kafando as UN Envoy, Shingiro Tells ICP Gov Comfortable With

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- On Burundi, France which as UN Security Council penholder has accomplished little on the issue has a new proposal, sources exclusively told Inner City Press, which it exclusively published on April 20: to nominate the former transitional president of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando as a UN envoy specifically on Burundi. And now Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro has answered Inner City Press that "Burundi is very comfortable with the intention of the UNSG to appoint H.E Michel Kafando as his special Envoy." See reply tweet, here. After publishing the exclusive, on April 21 Inner City Press asked French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre about it. He smiled and said "bonne question." Then Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who refused to comment. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you on Burundi.  Inner City Press has reported and I believe has some confirmation from the French Mission that there is a proposal by France and possibly the EU for an UN envoy to Burundi, specifically Burundi only, not conflict prevention:  Michel Kafando, the former transitional President of Burkina Faso, and I wanted to know from you whether the Secretary-General has discussed this proposal with the proponents and if he thinks given the urgency of the situation if it’s a good idea and what the next steps would be?

Spokesman:  I have no comments on that.

  But later on April 21 a UN official told Inner City Press that Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza has approved it. Another diplomat told Inner City Press that Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro was summoned to the UN Department of Political Affairs. We'll have more on this. The UN has sunk so low that the lead spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres Stephane Dujarric on April 10 refused to even take a Press question about Burundi, where the UN itself says there is a risk of genocide. When Inner City Press said "Can I ask a question about Burundi," where there increased hate speech amid a warning from other parts of the UN of a threat of genocide," Dujarric replied, "No, we're done." Video here, contrasted.  Then consider UNICEF, whose logo and shirt is portrayed here on the governor of Makamba province Gad Niyukuri who last week reportedly called on residents to "eliminate" rebels so fuel "won't be wasted by having them transferred to the police." It's a joint shirt with Burundian flag and UNICEF logo. Did UNICEF give it to the governor? Is it an authorized use? If not, what will UNICEF - recently outed for abandoning the victims of peacekeepers' abuse in the Central African Republic, and yet to respond on that - do? Watch this site.April 17, 2017

UN Praised Cameroon Half-Net Pledge as Clergy Prosecuted, Says ICP "Harassed" RC Rajat

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 15 – While Cameroon has cut off the Internet to the Anglophone regions for over 80 days, the UN has characterized criticism of its officials' cover ups to be "harassment" and has repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about it, see below, after the UN Department of Public Information evicted and continues to restrict Inner City Press, petition here, update here. In early April the UN Office of the Spokesperson run by holdover Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, we've heard you questions, if we have anything to add we'll let you know. Video here. Even that was a lie: UN envoy Lonseny Fall went again to the country, with this purporting to be his statement, and read-out here. But what has it come to? Consider this court prosecution of clergy, to try to put an end to legitimate protest. The UN so far has issued a weak, late statement then tried to move on, calling any criticism harassment and continuing to hinder coverage of the UN's deeds and misdeeds. We'll have more on this.

 On April 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: can you confirm that the Secretary-General sought to speak with Paul Biya while he was on an extended stay in Geneva, as has been reported?  

Spokesman:  No, I have no confirmation of a call having taken place.

Inner City Press:   I mean, I'm not asking [inaudible]…

Spokesman:  I have no information.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  And I wanted to know, people there saying, even in the wake of the visit of Louncény Fall, that, for example, a Supreme Court Justice, Paul Ayah remains, was only today, you know, remanded to remain in prison.  So they're not seeing much changes.  And I'm wondering, is this something that… that Mr. Louncény Fall looked into while he was there, the continued detention of barristers and those who have advocated for fair treatment of [inaudible]?

Spokesman:  What I just said is, in fact, that, in his contacts with the Government, Mr Louncény Fall advocated for the release of a number of Anglophone leaders and others.  So I think that's clear that's one of the things he was advocating for.

Inner City Press:  And, finally, I wanted to ask you about the Resident Coordinator position.  Given that the previous Resident Coordinator didn't raise any of the issues that you've just mentioned while she was there, is there any progress on naming a new one…

Spokesman:  I don't know that, and I don't know if you know that, but okay.  Anyway, next… what's your question?

Inner City Press:  The people that are there say it, and she also blocked the press…

Spokesman:  I think she blocks you, but…

Question:  Yeah, she does.

Spokesman:  …that's her right.

Inner City Press:   In what capacity does she block it?

Spokesman:  Well, I think anyone who has seen your tweets, I think, sometimes they do cross the line, I think, into harassment, and people block you from time to time.

Inner City Press:  Interesting.

Spokesman:  Indeed.

 How trustworthy is today's UN if they stonewall then withhold information, while continuing to block - a la Najat Rochdi - and restrict the Press which asks about Cameroon and denial of the right to information?

April 10, 2017

On Syria, After US Airstrikes ICP Asks UN What de Mistura's "Operationally Focused" Means

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 7 – In the UN Security Council's open meeting on April 7 after the US airstrikes on Syria, when Syria spoke last, French Ambassador Francois Delattre walked out of the chamber and left. Before that, US Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke, as fast transcribed below by Inner City Press. At the UN noon briefing on April 7, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UN envoy Staffan de Mistura saying he is "operational focused" - what does it mean? From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: Staffan de Mistura has this quote where he says he's fully and operationally focused on the situation.  Can you unpack that a little bit?  Like, does it, was he informed of this?  Was he… has he had a dialogue with either the United States or anyone else…?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware…

Inner City Press:  What does it mean to be operationally focused?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware, I'm not aware that he was, that he was informed.  I don't believe anybody in the UN was informed.  But I, as I said, I'm just not aware that he was informed. Obviously, I think the events of the last few days are likely to have an impact on, on his efforts.  And so, I think, like all of us, with the Secretary-General or his envoy, we are focused and refocused on trying to get the, make sure the political process and the Geneva talks stay on, on track.  And, you know, the Secretary-General's belief that there is no other option but a political option remains, and he's asking everybody to recommit to the Geneva talks.

  Here's Inner City Press' fast transcript of NIkki Haley: "For six years the world has watched as the Syrian government has terrorized its own people…it has broken international law, committed criminal acts that shocked the conscience of all humanity. The JIM has found beyond a doubt that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people multiple times. On Tuesday the Syrian government launched another attack.
 
Assad thought he could get away with this.
...

April 3, 2017

Amid Cameroon's 74-Day Internet Cut-Off, UN Refers ICP to UNICEF, Website Out of Date

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 – While Cameroon has cut off the Internet to the Anglophone regions for more than 70 days, the UN throughout the week of March 27-31 repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about it, see below, even the simple question of who the UN Resident Coordinator is. So on March 31, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I’d sent you a number of questions about Cameroon.  Now I have those and something else.  First of all, I wanted to know, what’s the… what is the status of having a resident coordinator in the country, given that the internet has been turned off to two regions in the country for 76 days?

Deputy Spokesman:  Right now, there is an officer-in-charge.  There’s no new full-time resident coordinator, but there’s an officer-in-charge there.

Question:  Can you say who that is or which agency it is?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe it’s the officer for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) right now.

  But when Inner City Press later on March 31 visited UNICEF's Cameroon website to follow up, the most recent report was from 2012, and the top two press releases were about Nigeria, here. We'll have more on this, and on the UN's failing "Resident Coordinator system." On the afternoon of Friday, March 31 the UN sent Inner City Press this, stating that its UNOCA envoy Francois Lonseny Fall intends to visit Cameroon in early April, and other responses which we immediately publish in full: "Your questions on Cameroon: The United Nations Secretariat continues to follow closely the situation in the Republic of Cameroon through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been monitoring the court proceedings and allegations of human rights violations. We are concerned about the trial of civilians by a military court. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has raised these concerns with the Government of Cameroon in a letter dated 24 February 2017.  In our various contacts, we have called on the authorities to address the situation in a measured and peaceful manner, while abiding by their international human rights commitments. SRSG Fall has visited Cameroon several times to address these issues and plans to visit Cameroon in early April, subject to confirmation of meetings, to engage with the Government and reiterate the availability of the United Nations to support national efforts to promote an inclusive dialogue in order to address the root causes of the crisis, while respecting the territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cameroon.  With regard to the two specific cases cited, we have confirmed that Robert Fon was indeed released on bail on 27 March. We understand that Mr. Felix Agbor Nkongho, as his two co-accused (Fontem Afoteka Neba and Mancho Bibixy), is facing trial for various alleged offences in connection with the situation in the Anglophone regions. Their lawyers requested they be freed on bail. The court is reportedly set to examine the request when the case is taken up again on 7 April.  Concerning reports of the closure by the Government of a TV station in Western region of Cameroon, we are continuing our efforts to verify the allegation."

  As reported on March 30 by Inner City Press, Cameroon says it is poised to ratify the UN's Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, adopted on November 23, 2005 in New York. How could the UN accept and deposit such a ratification? Cameroonian Minister of Trade, Lucile Magloire Mbarga Atangana cited the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or UNCITRAL, one of the entities routinely meeting in UN conference rooms with little notice by the UN-facilitated media. This must change. When Cameroon forced refugees back into Nigeria, the UN rightly complained. Why not, then, of Cameroon's now more than 70-day Internet cut-off in its Anglophone areas, leading to the creation of an "Internet refugee camp" in Bonako?
March 27, 2017

ICP Asked UNSG Guterres Of "Power Grab" on Resident Coordinators, His Spox Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 – The UN Secretariat of Antonio Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed are moving to take over the UN Development Program's "Resident Coordinator" system and the funding that goes with it, multiple sources have told Inner City Press. But Guterres' spokespeople refuse to confirm, deny or explain it, in continued lack of transparency. Whereas for now outgoing UNDP Administrator Helen Clark chairs the UN Development Group, Amina Mohammed would take it over before a new Administrator, perhaps outgoing Dutch foreign minister Burt Koenders, is installed. He met Guterres on March 24. Earlier on March 24, Inner City Press again asked Guterres' holdover deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: two things about UNDP [United Nations Development Programme].  One is Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Environment, has now said publicly that she is a candidate to head UNDP.  So I wanted to know, is there going to be any kind of, like, short list announced?  I know, under some previous Administrations, there were for such top jobs.  Do you anticipate announcing… given that one candidate has said publicly… there are other names I would like you to confirm.  Mr. [Bert] Koenders is running, Mr. [David] Miliband, Ms. [Sigrid] Kaag.  Do you anticipate there being a public process so that people know who the candidates are?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don't anticipate us providing a short list.

March 20, 2017

On Cameroon Internet Cut-Off, ICP Asked UN Which Says "Important That People Have Access"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 17 – On Cameroon, where the Internet has been cut off by the government in the Northwest and Southwest (Anglophone) regions for 60 days and counting, Inner City Press has asked UN spokespeople for the UN position and what the UN has done for two weeks now. On March 17, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric returned with an answer: "in response to the situation in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Mr. François Louncény Fall, carried out a number of visits to the country to discuss with the concerned parties the situation on the ground.  His office has also carried out a number of working-level visits.  Mr. Fall will continue efforts to engage with all relevant parties and to monitor the situation in close cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).We firmly believe that the grievances expressed by the Anglophone regions can only be addressed through an inclusive dialogue.  In that regard, we note that, on 15 March, the President of Cameroon appointed the president and 13 representatives to the National Commission for the promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the body tasked to engage in dialogue with the Anglophone community of Cameroon."

  But "all relevant parties" does not appear to include France, whose UN Ambassador Francois Delattre told Inner City Press earlier on March 17 he was unaware of the issue. Inner City Press asked Dujarric, straight up, if the UN thinks the Internet should be brought back. Video here. UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: thanks for the statement.  Inevitably, there's at least one follow-up.  You said that Mr. Loncény Fall had spoken to all relevant parties.  And I wanted to know if this included France.  And I say it… I ask it just because the Permanent Representative just now on camera said that he'd never heard of the issue of the internet being cut off for 60 days.

Spokesman:  Well, I can’t answer that…

Inner City Press:  Because I don't get answers from DPA or Mr. Loncény Fall's office can you ask whether they spoke to [inaudible]…? [that was FRANCE]

Spokesman:  Yeah, I don’t… the way I read it is that he spoke to people in Cameroon.  So, if I can find out more, I…

Inner City Press:  Did he call for the internet to be, in fact, turned back on?

Spokesman:  I think it's obviously important that people have access to the internet. 

  In front of the UN Security Council on March 17 Inner City Press asked France's Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre about his counterpart in Yaounde, Gilles Thibault, earlier this month congratulating 32-year President Paul Biya for how he's dealing with the areas. Delattre replied that he was unaware but would look into it. Video here.

  Back on March 14 Inner City Press asked the US State Department: "Back on November 28, 2016, the Department issued a statement of 'concern[] over recent Cameroonian government actions to restrict free expression.' Since then, the government has cut off the Internet in the two regions, also known as the Anglophone areas, has arrested journalists and most schools remain closed. Is the US State Department concerned about these developments and if so, what if anything has it done about them?"

  On March 15, a US State Department official answered Inner City Press: "We have discussed this issue with the Government of Cameroon both before and after our statement of concern.  We don’t go into the details of our diplomatic conversations, but we engage regularly with the government on this and other issues as part of our normal bilateral relations." We hope to have more on this.

  On March 9, Inner City Press asked both the International Monetary Fund and the UN Security Council's president about the crisis in Cameroon's Anglophone areas and heard that while the IMF acknowledges the financial risk, the Security Council does not see it as a threat to international peace and security. But the UN's Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi has said nothing about the crisis, and blocks on Twitter the Press which asks about it. Is the UN system failing, in its new Secretary General's promise of increased preventative diplomacy?

 When the IMF's spokesperson Gerry Rice took questions on March 9, Inner City Press asked about Cameroon, specifically the crackdown in the northwest and southwest of the country. Inner City Press asked, "On Cameroon, after the mission led by Corinne Delechat, what is the status of talks for a program, and since the IMF cited “civil unrest in the neighboring Central African Republic,” please state the IMF's awareness of civil unrest and arrests in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon, also known as the Anglophone areas, and their impact." Rice read out the question and then said, among other things, that the risk factors for 2017 include a continuation of the "social and political events" in the "so-called Anglophone" areas of Cameroon. Interim video here.  On IMF site, here, from 34:56. IMF transcript

March 13, 2017

UN's Cameroon Troops in CAR Accused of Abuse, ICP Asks UN's Haq, No Answers, Failing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 10 – Not only has the UN  been silent on the crackdown in Cameroon's Anglophone areas - UN Peacekeeping has failed to vet the Cameroon security forces it sends into other countries and has failed to follow up on allegations against them for example in the Central African Republic. In CAR last year, "a Member of Parliament representing the Nana-Bakassa District in the Ouham Prefecture, Roland Achille Bangué-Betangaye, accused Cameroonian forces serving in his country under the banner of the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) of trafficking in minerals, including gold and diamond. Speaking over CAR national radio, the MP said Cameroonian soldiers serving in the country have transformed themselves into business men through the smuggle of food items, gasoil and beer. In turn, he said, they make away with minerals especially gold and diamond.  The Cameroonian military serving in the Nana-Bakassa District, the law maker said, have even opened a drinking spot where people come and refresh themselves." So what has the UN done about it?

  On March 10 at noon, after publishing the above, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it - and by day's end he had provided no answer at all. UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  a follow-up on peacekeeping accountability.  In the… in the Central African Republic, there were allegations by an elected member of parliament there, of the Ouham prefecture, Roland Bangué-Betangaye.  This goes back to June 2016.  He publicly said that the Cameroonian contingent in the area that he represents were engaged in business, including gold… gold, conflict diamonds, opening of businesses.  This was widely… you know, you can find a number of articles about it from that time.  And what I’m wondering, is, what was ever done… there was a statement that there’s an investigation being opened.  That was by, I guess, Mr. Montero at the time.  But there’s been nothing publicly said since.  What… were all of these allegations made by an elected official and on national radio in Central African Republic false?  Or was there actually something done by MINUSCA  (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) and UN peacekeeping about these allegations?

Deputy Spokesman:  Oh, I’ll check with MINUSCA to see what happened with that.  Have a good weekend, everyone.

 There are also sexual abuse allegations, at a time the UN is saying it is getting tough, on which we'll have more. On March 10, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Farhan Haq about this:

Inner City Press: There was an Amnesty International report about… about sexual abuse in the Central African Republic in which they said a Cameroonian peacekeeper was killed, and the next day the contingent returned to the area.  And many people thereafter testified about sexual abuse, including of minors.  So, in the report, it says that there is, one, a sole allegation of sexual abuse against the Cameroonian contingent in [the Central African Republic].  This was some time ago as you remember in the… and there’s also another one in MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti).  Is it possible, in the spirit of the transparency you’re discussing, to say, what’s the status of this?  Why has it taken so long?  Why was there only one charge written in this report when, according to the Amnesty International one, they’re the contingent that went back and… and at the time frame?  And, of course, they’re not all criminals, but I’m asking you, can you get an update later today about this case reported on by Amnesty International?

Deputy Spokesman:  Ultimately, for us to get an update, we need to have progress in the investigation.  Once we have the results to deliver, we can provide that, but until that point, we’re allowing that process to continue.

Inner City Press: Right, but it was said yesterday that things were going to move faster.  In the time frame given, given when these incidents took place, how is it still… what is… I guess, even a statement of what’s the status within the Cameroonian justice system?

Deputy Spokesman:  At this stage, there’s no update to provide.  Once we have an update, we’ll certainly provide it, but every process has its own momentum, has its own rate.

The UN says it's fine that its Resident Coordinator from her official Twitter account blocks the Press which asks about it. Amid the ongoing abuse of Anglophones in Cameroon, the Internet being turned off for 51 day in their regions, Inner City Press on March 8 discovered that the UN's Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi of Morocco, blocks it on Twitter, see here. So Inner City Press asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' holdover Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it on March 9, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: the answer you sent about Mr. [Francois] Louncény Fall saying that he would raise issues to the authorities.  Can you say whether the issue of the internet being off in two provinces for 52 days has been raised?  And, secondarily, I wanted to ask you this.  You announced from this podium that Najat Rochdi is going to Central African Republic as Resident Coordinator.  What's the process to appoint a new Resident Coordinator for the UN system in Cameroon?  And is it… is it… is it… can it be public in any way?  It seems many people have complained that, while she was there, she never raised the Anglophone issue.  And, in fact, I found that she blocks Inner City Press on Twitter, so I'm unable to ask her why this issue has not been raised.  But what's the process to replace… and you can smirk, but should a UN official in their official account…?

Spokesman:  That's an unrelated thing.  I mean, obviously, all people… all individuals, not even just all UN officials, are free to block whoever they want on Twitter.  That's within their rights.

Inner City Press:  Including missions?  So you think a peacekeeping mission should pick and choose which media can follow it?

Spokesman:  Organizations will respond… are supposed to respond to press requests.  Individuals can do whatever they like with their Twitter accounts.

Inner City Press:  What's the process of replacing the Resident Coordinator in Cameroon?

Spokesman:  It's the same as in any other place.  There's a process that goes… that you go through, and the Resident Coordinator's selection process is supervised by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

  This is at odds with the UN's claims to be transparent in its use of public money, and to be open to the press and impacted public, and will be pursued at Rochdi's next assignment at the UN in Central African Republic. But it raises the question: how are UN Resident Coordinators selected? Inner City Press reported on Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee getting multiple promotion under Ban, including being named UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya by Ban himself. (Inner City Press was evicted by Ban's UN, and remains restricted under Ban's successor). But shouldn't Anglophone Cameroonians have some input into the UN's next Resident Coordinator in their country? This is a project for the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info. Watch these sites and feeds.
March 6, 2017

As UNSC in Cameroon, Nothing on Anglophones from UN When ICP Asks, Ebute's Letter

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 – As UN Security Council members portrayed themselves meeting with Cameroon's Paul Biya, apparently without a word about the protests by and incarceration of Anglophones in the country, Inner City Press asked the UN about the problem, video here, UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: yesterday, I'd asked you about this letter from the former Senate President of Nigeria.  The press in Nigeria picked up on your answer and said that no letter has been received at all.  So, you said you hadn't seen it.  Does that just mean that you personally hadn't seen it, or have you checked to see whether the letter…?

Spokesman:  We have not… I have the not received any confirmation that a letter has been received.  I can't speak to whether or not a letter was sent since we were, apparently, if this letter exists, the recipients.  As far as the recipients, as of today, nothing has been received.

Inner City Press: Since the Security Council is in Cameroon, I wanted to know whether DPA [the Department of Political Affairs] has taken any notice of this protest in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon?  Many people have been arrested.  Eight journalists have been detained in Cameroon.  It seems like the Security Council's focus is entirely on the Boko Haram aspect, but is anyone in the UN system concerned and trying to get some answers?

Spokesman:  We're obviously following it, and I'll see if I can get you something further.

  Eight hours later, nothing. Nothing at all. The UN's reflexive evasion of Press question reverberated on the Council's next stop.

  Nigeria's former Senate President Ameh Ebute wrote to the UN to urge sanctions against Cameroon and Chad. Inner City Press at the March 2 UN noon briefing asked the UN's holdover spokeman Stephane Dujarric to comment on Ebute's letter. Dujarric said he hadn't seen it.

  Now The Guardian in Nigeria picks up on Dujarric's knee-jerk denial to Inner City Press: "Mr Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the letter... 'I have not seen the letter.'"

  For eight billion U.S. dollars a year, you'd think they could at least read their mail. Watch this site.

  During the Paris stopover, Council members met with France's replacement for Herve Ladsous atop UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Will Lacroix addressed the disparities in protection for European and African peacekeepers serving ostensibly together in the UN's Mali mission?

  And in Cameroon, will the dispute between the French and English speaking communities, and harsh prison conditions for the latter, be noted by the Council? Watch this site.February 27, 2017

After Guterres' Press Freedom Meeting, Spox Tells Press "It's Not Your Living Room," Runs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 – 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. Tweeted video here.

 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. So was the UN's lack of due process for the Press, noted for example by Special Rapporteurs Kaye and Forst, here, raised or addressed?

  At the February 24 UN noon briefing after UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric made claims about the UN's commitment to freedom of the press, Inner City Press asked him for a read-out of Guterres' meeting with CPJ et al. Dujarric did not provide one; he refused to answer the question about due process, telling Inner City Press "This is not your living room." Video here, Vine Camera here.

 Moments later, as Inner City Press asked Dujarric about a leaked UN Peacekeeping letter it exclusively published earlier in the day and which contradicts what Dujarric had said on the record on February 23, Dujarric simply ran off the podium and out of the briefing room. And the UNTV clip, as "produced" by Cristina Gallach's DPI, cuts the audio mid question, here at end. This is the UN's commitment to responsiveness, due process and freedom of the press.

February 20, 2017

Ban Ki-moon Uses UN in Kenya, Kim Won-soo in NY, Spox Calls Press Obsessive A*hole

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Series, Video

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 – Ban Ki-moon, exposed as corrupt in three short weeks in South Korea, now wants to return to the United States after stopping in Kenya to visit the son in law he promoted to the job UN job there. When Inner City Press asked the UN about it on February, Ban's long-time deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called Inner City Press an obsessive a*hole. This is the UN Ban's made.

  On February 13, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about Ban's UN-Kenya stop, and any public costs. Haq, who dodged for years on irregularities from Ban promoting his son in law in the UN without recusal to Ban's nephew working at the UN's landlord Colliers, said "get over it." Video here.

  So after learning more - including about the role in promoting Ban of his Kim Won-soo, still paid by the UN, that is the public, Inner City Press asked Haq again, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: Yesterday, I asked you… and I understand that, when you hear the word "Ban Ki-moon," you're tempted to say "get over it."

Deputy Spokesman:  Indeed I am.

Inner City Press: But I wanted to ask you, the question was and remains… it remains, number one, is any UN system funds being used for his visit to headquarters?  And, number two, since yesterday your "get over it" comment, I learned that Mr. Kim Won-soo, who I understand is still a UN official, has been speaking to the media about Mr. Ban's possible job offer from a university in Massachusetts.  And so I wanted to ask you, in what capacity is Mr. Kim Won-soo speaking for Ban Ki-moon?  And how is it consistent with your position here of "get over it" while there are, in fact, cases in the Southern District and other issues that remain unresolved?

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew, your inability to get over it speaks for itself.

Inner City Press: There are cases… I'm going to ask you…

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew.

Inner City Press:  So the nephew case.  I'm just saying, it's un… because it's a question about UN money.

Deputy Spokesman:  I understand… I understand…

Inner City Press: You defended him for ten years to say "get over it"…

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew, I've known you for a decade, so I know your fundamentally obsessive nature, but here's the point.  Ban Ki-moon is not the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  I do not speak for him.  I do not represent him.  When he travels, he travels as a private individual.  He has to do so on his own budget as a private individual.  He is not a UN official.

Inner City Press: That wasn't my question.  My question was, he said as he left South Korea that he was going to the UN to speak to UN staff.  That's why I think you said "get over it" a little too quickly, because my question is not who paid for his flight.  My question is, in what capacity did he enter UNON [United Nations Office in] Nairobi?  Did he speak to UN staff as he said that he would?  Does Mr. Kim Won-soo still speak for him on the UN dime?

Deputy Spokesman:  He can speak to the UN office in Nairobi as much as he wants as a former Secretary-General of the United Nations.  That is within his rights.

Inner City Press: It's not… I'm not saying it's not within his rights.  I'm saying, don't you answer for UN… the use of UN funds rather than say "get over it"?  Aren't you speaking for the UN?  So Kim Won-soo, when does his contract expire?

Deputy Spokesman:  His contract… we'll let you know once his time is done.  He is the head of the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  He is also capable of speaking about the topics that he wants to talk about.  The job that he does here is about Disarmament Affairs and is not about Ban Ki-moon.

Inner City Press: So he's off the clock when he speaks for Ban Ki-moon?  I'm asking you.

Deputy Spokesman:  Matthew. Matthew, words fail me, your inability to get around things.

Inner City Press: You know there are two corruption cases.  Right?  So it's going to be an ongoing… I just want to put you on notice; there are going to be questions that are going to arise, and saying "get over it" is not cutting it.

Deputy Spokesman:  If there are things about cases that are ongoing, that's fine.  If you want a daily update about what Ban Ki-moon is doing, ask someone else.  It's not my job.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

  And as Haq walked about, he said "A*hole." This is the UN Ban's made. It must be cleaned up.
February 13, 2017

After PA's Fayyad Blocked, UN Selectively Spins US Green Light, UK Not Mentioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – The US blocked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' nomination of the Palestinian Authority's Salam Fayyad to be UN envoy to Libya.

  Now Guterres' holdover UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric selectively spins that Guterres had somehow received a "green light" from the US - like when Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to the Syria talks in Montreux, then disinvited them on Monday.

  This time, Dujarric "told" at least three favored media the exact same thing: "Based on the information available to him at the time, the secretary-general had the perception, now proven wrong, that the proposal would be acceptable to Security Council members." Why not send this out more widely? To Inner City Press, Dujarric answered a mere two and a half of twenty-two questions. These holdovers have no credibility.

  One of the two to which Dujarric dole out his quote went on to quote French Ambassador Francois Delattre as having "full confidence" in the UN chief's personnel appointments. But of course: France stands poised to get the top UN Peacekeeping job for the fifth time in a row.

  The stories did not mention that the UK had - and now maybe still has - its own candidate for the UN Libya envoy post, Nicholas Kay. Clearly the UK didn't think Fayyad was best for the post. We'll have more on this.

  Inner City Press on-camera asked the UN about the nomination earlier on February 10, noting that its sources told it the nomination was really by Jeffrey Feltman, the Obama administration's appointee to head the UN Department of Political Affairs. Can Feltman stay on, given the new Administration in Washington?

  While Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman dodged Inner City Press' question at noon on February 10, and his lead holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric waited more than 10 hours to respond to Inner City Press' question tweeted at him that evening, an arch and in context laughable response was mass-emailed 11 hours later. Dujarric wrote, in pertinent part:

"The proposal for Salam Fayyad to serve as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya was solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position.

The Secretary-General... notes that, among others no Israeli and no Palestinian have served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations. This is a situation that the Secretary-General feels should be corrected, always based on personal merit and competencies of potential candidates for specific posts."

  It sounds reasonable - but why then for example is Guterres restricting his "search" for a head of UN Peacekeeping to a single country, France? As Inner City Press has exclusively reported, the three candidates are all French: Jean Maurice Ripert (who previously stood up the UN in Pakistan), Jean Pierre Lacroix and probably winner Sylvie Bermann. There are other examples - watch this site.

  Some cynics wonder if this wasn't done as theater, just before Guterres' 12-day trip to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, where the UN's previous Libya sell-out Bernardino Leon is getting paid. Meritocracy, indeed.February 6, 2017

UN Waste In Dump Caused Malaria in Central African Republic Under Ladsous, Bermann Next?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 – Despite having killed more than 10,000 people in Haiti with lax sanitation practices, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Central African Republic, under its fourth consecutive French director in a row Herve Ladsous, is dumping waste negligently, a UN memo leaked to Inner City Press shows.

  The memo states that "following complaints by the local population living in the vicinity of the dumpsite" a UN investigation found that the dumpsite sludge dams breed insects which result in sickness. Eighty-one percent of the UN's victims are children, the memo says.

  The report, under "Community Discontent," cites malaria. It notes that when concerns were raised, "police force was used to quell the dissent."

  Inner City Press has long questioned Ladsous, for example about his linking of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers to "R&R" or rest and recreation, here. Ladsous replies, "I don't answer your questions, Mister."

  Now under new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, many are interested who will replace Ladsous. While other Under Secretary General posts like Cristina Gallach's atop the Department of Public Information are now subject to public vacancy notices, DPKO has not. Why not? Inner City Press asked, but UN holdeover spokesman Stephane Dujarric didn't answer.

  Sources will Inner City Press France is trying to hold onto DPKO for the fifth time in a row, albeit with a women, on information and belief Sylvie Bermann, since 2014 France's ambassador in London. Five times in a row? Given this kind of mismanagement, in a former French colony?

Exclusive: UN Waste In Dump Caused Malaria in Central African Republic, Report Leaked to Inner City Press S... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

January 30, 2017

UN Wastes Funds Keeping Clinton-Aligned Feltman So His Pension Vests, Draft EO Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 – The United States has controlled the UN Department of Political Affairs under former Clinton State Department official Jeffrey Feltman, and Inner City Press is informed by whistleblowers that Feltman is trying to stay on at the UN until July 4, 2017.

  The reasons, the whistleblowers tell Inner City Press, is so that Feltman's UN pension can "vest."

 But is it wise for the UN to spend taxpayer money in this way, keeping on an official so closely aligned with Hilary Clinton?

  This takes place after reporting on, but not publication of, a draft Executive Order to cut UN funding. Now Inner City Press publishes the draft, here.

Here's UN Budget Cut Draft Executive Order, On Hold Jan 27 as Inner City Press Exposes Clinton-Aligned Felt... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd


Even as it's said it won't be signed imminently, there are scams at the UN, including Feltman, Cristina Gallach and Herve Ladsous, which can and should be stopped immediately.

 Inner City Press put the questions directly to Feltman:

"Dear Mr. Feltman - These are Press questions very much on deadline, very straight forward:

1) When does your contract with the UN end?

2) Separately, please confirm or deny that your contract got extended.

3) Separately, that your contract was extended through June.

4) Separately, that this was related to your UN pension vesting.

5) Entirely separately, whether Katrin Hett is taking up a position in the Secretary General's office.

6) Separately, does this involves a jump from P4 to P5?

As noted, very much on deadline. Thanks in advance for your answers, asap."

  Current UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, also a holdover, does not answer Inner City Press' management and reform questions, most recently about a UN "Hospitality Log" of wining and dining, click here for that. In fact, Dujarric and the UN threw Inner City Press out of the UN without a hearing, and restrict it still.

  After publication of the above, and this, Inner City Press at the January 27 noon briefing asked spokesman Dujarric, who called the questioning "despicable." Video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I’ve asked Mr. [Jeffrey] Feltman and now I’m asking you, that his contract was extended from March through June so that his UN pension can vest.  And I wanted to know, just… you said something like it’s early days, but just, did that occur?  And was Katrin Hett from his office, placed in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, moved from P4 to P5?  I’m told by people in DPA (Department of Political Affairs), essentially, to kind of keep an eye on things.  But the most important thing I want to know is… and I’m asking not to be personal, but because it is public money.  That’s why I expected a yes-or-no answer… a yes-or-no answer.

Spokesman:  I think two things.  As I said, we’re in a period of transition.  The Secretary-General is looking at his senior leadership.  He’s taking decisions that will need… that will ensure the continuing smooth transition that is already ongoing.  That’s for Mr. Feltman.  I have… I don’t have the exact dates of his contract.  We’re in a period of transition.  As for… as for the other person you mentioned, you know, I… you’re free to ask.  I find it somewhat despicable that people use you or others to drag people’s names through the mud and insinuate things.  The… we’re in a transition period.  The Secretary-General’s Office is in the midst of changes.  New staff’s coming in.  All rules are being observed and… all rules and regulations are being observed.  And I’ll leave it at that.

Inner City Press:  I guess my… my… you can use the word “despicable” if you want.  What I wanted to know about the Mr. Feltman thing is, if… and you can easily ask… I guess he contacted you when I e-mailed him, but if, in fact, his contract was extended and if you know that he was appointed by the previous administration and you know that the new administration came in and said… I guess they believe they deserve a USG (Under-Secretary-General) post, what was the thinking behind extending and is it related… [inaudible]

Spokesman:  The only thing that matters is to have as smooth of a transition continue, as we’ve had.  Yeah, go ahead.

Inner City Press:  But you understand, other organizations actually transition. [end]

 As the UN remains unreformed after Ban Ki-moon's ten years ended with corruption, long asked about by the Press, exposed, budget cuts are coming.

 In Washington executive orders are being prepared to cut up to 40% of the US' contributions to the UN, and to fully cut funding to entities blamed for violation of human rights.

  One obvious question is whether the total denial of due process for whistleblowers - already part of US law - and investigative press which covers UN corruption constitutes such a violation.

  For example, the UN Department of Public Information under Cristina Gallach in early 2016 threw Inner City Press out of the UN, dumping its investigative files onto First Avenue, without a single hearing or opportunity to be heard, and no appeal since.

All this for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room which was nowhere listed as closed, and leaving as soon as a single UN Security officer said the Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, wanted Inner City Press out.

Gallach had a conflict of interest, having been asked by Inner City Press about her own links with Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, facing trial (like Ban Ki-moon's nephew and brother) on bribery charges.

There are no rules, only the one-person fiat rule of an official dumped on Ban's UN by Spain, where she had previously managed, at most, seven people as spokesperson to Javier Solana. Nothing has been done; eleven months later Gallach still requires Inner City Press to have "minders" to cover the UN Security Council.

January 23, 2017

US Has Asked For Ban Ki-moon Brother To Be Extradited, Hearing Reveals As Obama, Power Leave

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 20 – Ban Ki-moon left the UN on January 1 and tellingly his first move was to take legal action against the press. Before he left, he named his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee to the top UN top in Kenya.

  Now the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has asked South Korea to arrest and extradite Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki Sang.

  The statement came from prosecutor Daniel Noble in the previously scheduled hearing on the afternoon January 20, inauguration day.

 The indictment makes clear the scheme used the "family" -- Ban Ki-moon -- connections to the Qatar royal family to try to sell Landmark 72 in Vietnam. Now-gone US Ambassador Power's claim to Inner City Press that the indictments have nothing to do with the UN was false.

The cover up by censorship is crumbling.

   Just as Ban left his brother Ban Ki Sang and his nephew Dennis Bahn, of whom Inner City Press has asked Ban's UN spokespeople since at latest May 2015, were indicted for bribery. Bahn was described using his family connections - Ban Ki-moon - to try to sell real estate in Vietnam.

  Inner City Press' questions to Ban's longtime spokesman Stephane Dujarric were referred to a Ban supporter in Seoul, Lee Do-woon, at a number which was never answered. On January 17, after Inner City Press appeared on TBS radio in South Korea about Ban's corruption and censorship, Dujarric provided a number for a second spokesman: Yoon Won-joong.

  After speaking with him, Inner City Press on January 18 asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I guess it was Stéphane Dujarric that sent the phone number of a second Ban Ki-moon Spokesman.  I did speak to him, but in fact, the coverage there is giving rise to a question I have to ask you as the UN.  There’s a story in today’s Korea Times, the title of which is “Prosecutors say Ban Ki-moon was ‘indeed on bribery list.’”  And it describes a list that was provided by Mr Park of Taekwang Industry, saying he had given money to Ban Ki-moon during the time frame that he was Secretary-General.  So the question becomes… there are… obviously, there are questions to Ban Ki-moon there.  The question becomes, when did South Korean prosecutors -- because this article says that what would have held them up was… was immunity, that, as Secretary-General, they would be unclear whether they could even question him or go… or look into this matter.  Was the UN contacted by the prosecutors about this Park list?  And, if so, what did they do?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I don’t have any comment on that.

Inner City Press:  It’s a UN question.  I mean, do you acknowledge… because I talked to the guy for about five minutes yesterday, but he said those are UN questions.

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t actually have any comment on this.

  Well, the UN will have to. We'll have more on this.January 16, 2017

UN Referred ICP's Corruption Qs to Ban Ki-moon Seoul Spox, Whom They Have Never Called

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 13 – January 10 saw the belated bribery indictment in New York of Ban Ki-moon's nephew Dennis Bahn, about whom Inner City Press has been asking the UN since at least May 2015, video here.

  Inner City Press obtained the 39-page indictment from multiple sources and is putting it online here in Scribd, now also here in pdf.

   It shows Ban's nephew using the influence and access of his family - that is, Ban Ki-moon -- to Qatar as part of his Vietnam building selling fraud. But on January 11, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, still at the UN for at least six months, referred all of Inner City Press' questions to Ban's Seoul spokesman Lee Do-woon.

   After Dujarric's office gave Inner City Press not an email address but what they said was Lee Do-woon's cell phone number, Inner City Press waited and called it. But during working hours in Seoul, it had only a telephone menu tree, only in Korea. Vine here. This is a run-around.

 On January 13, Inner City Press asked UN Associate Spokesperson Eri Kaneko, as politely as possible, how to get answers. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  Yesterday, I was told to call Mr. Lee Do-woon in Seoul, and I was told it was a mobile number.  I've called it five times.  It's nothing but a telephone tree that's entirely in Korean.  I sent it a text message, which wasn't received.  So, I'm going to ask you again, if the idea is all of the questions raised by the indictment should be given to the new Associate Spokesperson, can I have an e-mail address or some way that actually I can reach somebody?

Associate Spokesperson:  We'll check.  I mean, that's the only number we have, as well, so, you know, you know as much as we do.

Inner City Press:  Did you get a telephone tree?

Associate Spokesperson:  We haven't tried calling it.

   They just gave this number to Inner City Press saying to ask it all UN corruption questions.

On January 12, Inner City Press asked Ban's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Video here, UN Transcript hereJanuary 9, 2017

As Budget Scrutiny Looms, UN Must Do Better on Press Freedom, Due Process & FOIA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 7 – The United Nations at the beginning of 2017 still has no Freedom of Information Act, no content neutral standards for media accreditation and no right to due process or appeal for journalists. This is UNacceptable.

New UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres should be expected to address these issues, and to hold at least monthly sit-down press conferences. On January 6 holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric indicated he would wait for something to announce. But Q&A should not be tied to a particular UN announcement.

   Downgrading to non-resident correspondent status, and eviction from UN work-space, is not a legitimate way to respond to coverage of UN irregularities and corruption such as that alleged in the ongoing Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery case. It must be reversed, but also non-resident correspondents should not be restricted to minders or escorts to cover events on the Conference Building's second floor.

On January 6, Dujarric and DPI's Cristina Gallach led Guterres on a tour that implied that only those who pay money to a group which last month gave an award to anti-press Ban Ki-moon, and who are granted (and not evicted in retaliation from) UN office space are part of the UN press corps. Click here for Inner City Press' story, and YouTube video. This will ill-serve Guterres, and the UN.


New SG Guterres is toured around by Gallach & Dujarric, Jan 6, 2017, photo by M.R. Lee

  Beyond headquarters, the UN in the field must become more responsive to local journalists. A Free UN Coalition for Access member in Hargeisa, Somaliland complains that the UN in Mogadishu refuses to answer simple journalistic questions. The same has occurred in Colombia, while the UN's leadership in Kenya has informed staff not to speak to particular media. This is UNacceptable.

  That former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, among his very first acts upon leaving the UN, took legal action against reports of possible corruption during his tenure reflects badly on the UN.

FUNCA hopes for a better 2017, but hope is not enough. The UN needs a FOIA, a reversal of recent anti-press decisions and due process and content neutral standards, and at least monthly Secretary General press conferences, going forward. We will have more on this; watch this site.

January 2, 2017

New UNSG Guterres Calls for Peace, Yemen, Myanmar & Burundi Early Tests

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS, January 1 -- When new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres came to take questions outside the General Assembly hall on October 13, he was first asked about Syria and cited his past as head of the UN refugee agency.

Inner City Press asked, “And Yemeni people?” - referring most recently to the double-tap airstrike on the funeral in Sana'a.

  Guterres took the question, adding in South Sudan as well, and said he will try to be an honest broker. That would be a welcome change, and one that we will closely cover as censorship restrictions are lifted. Recent Swiss Radio & TV here, translated.

 Now just after midnight on January 1, Guterres has made this statement: "On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.
On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:

Let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…

Peace must be our goal and our guide.

All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.
But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

Thank you."

  It's a good statement. One simple step that comes to mind is to put Saudi Arabia, which has used cluster bombs to kill kids in Yemen, back on the UN's Children and Armed Conflict annex.

  To pay more attention to Burundi, to whose Pierre Nkurunziza Guterres has already written.

  To take some immediate action on the killing - and closing of the border on -- the Rohingya in Myanmar. There's more, but we'll begin pursuing this, including January 3 when Guterres speaks to UN staff on 9:10 am. Watch this site.

December 26, 2016

US Power Abstains on UNSC Settlements Resolution, As UN Talk Turns To Trump

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 23 -- In a final showdown before Barack Obama leaves office, the UN Security Council voted on December 22 at 2 pm on an anti-settlements resolution, below. The US abstained. Explanatory video here.

Amid applause in the chamber, Israel's Ambassador Danny Danon issued a statement that "It was to be expected that Israel's greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN's relationship with Israel."

Donald Trump, much mentioned at the Security Council stakeout, tweeted: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.” Voice of America at the UN quickly re-tweeted it, without commentary.

Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry, headed to the private sector, issued this (InnerCityPro.com published it immediately, here).

As obtained by Inner City Press, submitted to the UN Security Council president for December, Spain:

"I wish to inform that the co-sponsors who seconded the draft namely Malaysia,  New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela have agreed that given the interest, urgency and importance of the issue, it is imperative for Council to act on this draft.
 
2.           Consequently and in accordance with applicable Council rules of procedure, our delegations request the Secretariat to recirculate the same draft in blue (S/2016/1095) with Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela as co-sponsors.
 
3.           Our delegations further request the Presidency schedule the vote for the text ASAP today, please."

US Ambassador Samantha Power refused question on how the US would or will vote (and refused Inner City Press' question on the UN arming a South Sudan warlord); Russia's Vitaly Churkin said Russia would prefer an “orderly process.” 

Call it the ultimate lame duck session, along with Obama.  Watch this site.

  A diplomat who spoke with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power on the afternoon of December 22 told Inner City Press Power said she for now had no instructions on how to vote. Whether the decision had not been made by Barack Obama, or there was a concern about the leaks, is not known. But there were no instructions. A diplomat said, We could vote tonight. Or never.

This came a day after Israel pointedly did not participate in the UN General Assembly vote on a Syria investigative mechanism, and a month before Donald Trump takes over from Obama.


December 19, 2016

On South Sudan, Watered Down Draft Passes 15-0, ICP Asked US Power of UNMISS Arming Warlord

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- When the UN Security Council members met about South Sudan on December 15, the best they could do was extend the mandate of the UNMISS mission for a single day. Even then, there was already news of UNMISS having given arms to warlord, or “rebel general,” James Koang.

This was in a Small Arms Survey report, picked up in the Washington Post. Inner City Press tweeted it at UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, requesting a comment. Nothing.

  On the morning of December 16, Inner City Press asked the Ambassadors of the UK and New Zealand about it, and both had heard of it and said it needed to be investigated. The Ambassador of France, the country that has run UN Peacekeeping for 20 years, did not comment. Video here.

  The US holds the pen, and more, on South Sudan. In the early afternoon of December 16, when US Ambassador Samantha Power held a stakeout about Syria, Inner City Press asked about the US South Sudan draft, and the Washington Post report. Power said she hadn't seen the Washington Post report, but that she thought the draft will pass. Video here.

At 4 pm the resolution, changed, was adopted 15-0. Afterward Egypt, for example, criticized the US for not consulting enough, and showing its draft(s) too late. Final adopted draft here.

Speaking for the US was deputy Isobel Coleman, who did not in her speech mention UNMISS arming Koang. (In full disclosure, she is also the USUN ambassador to whom the Government Accountability Project directed its request that the Mission opposed the UN's eviction and restriction of Inner City Press - and apparently did nothing.)

  There were already over 9,000 viewers of Inner City Press' Periscope of this South Sudan Q&A, but even after Inner City Press tweeted the Washington Post story to Power, her spokesman and the US Mission generally, there was no response.

None of these did ANYTHING when Inner City Press was evicted, and is still restricting, by the UN of Ban Ki-moon and Cristina Gallach this year, despite a request from the DC-based Government Accountability Project. We'll have more on this.
December 12, 2016

UN's Gallach Pays Public Funds To Call Detroit a 3d Rate Flyover City, Evicted & Restricts Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 9 -- This sample spectacle: UN Under Secretary General for Communication Cristina Gallach pontificating to a Gulf media to which she gives a large office in the UN about how “difficult” it will be under Trump, and blaming not only “fake news” but also “social media” for the “difficult” and “very controversial” roles they played in the US election. Video here, from Minute 10.

   This is an attempt by Gallach -- surrounded by corruption and mismanagement scandals -- to keep her UN position under incoming Secretary General Guterres. She should be fired.

Exhibit 2: on December 6, Inner City Press asked Gallach about the superseding indictment in the UN bribery case against Macau-based Ng Lap Seng, on whom Gallach did no due diligence - and she had no update, then on since.

Third strike: on December 8, Gallach used public money to pay a speaker to tell DPI-affiliated NGOs, in UN Conference Room 4, that Detroit, Michigan is a “third-rate” city, a “fly-over” city, baffled by how Trump won the election. Tweeted video here.

This with public money - questions on her use of which Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople have refused to answer for two weeks, on December 8 using a questions about Gallach's lawless eviction of Inner City Press as the justification for not answer the Gallach funding questions. See here. It is time to drain all of this from Turtle Bay.

 Tellingly, while outgoing Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople have told Inner City Press it is the practice for USGs like Gallach to tender their resignations at the end of their appointer's term, Gallach says only that she has given a “report” to Guterres and taken instruction on how he'd like the job down. Pro-tip to Guterres: end UN censorship, and Gallach's tenure.
Busca una otra.
December 5, 2016

Ban Ki-moon To Fly For Anti-Corruption Award from Qatar After Promoting Son in Law to Top UN Post

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- Two weeks after Inner City Press formally gave UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric a link to an Internet page about Ban's brother Ki-ho engaged in mining in Myanmar's Shan state through South Korean firm KD Power -- as well as Bosung -- the response has been to have the page removed from the Internet.

This comes after Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, promoted by Ban without recusal to the highest UN position in Kenya, ordered an article about nepotism removed from the website.

On December 2, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric blythely announced that Ban will travel from December 7 to 9 to receive an anti-corruption award presented by the Emir of Qatar.

Anti-corruption? Meanwhile Ban's spokespeople have refused to disclose the carbon off-sets Ban bragged about in a speech to Colombia's SIPA, and refused for a week to answer if Ban's chief of communications (actually, censorship) Cristina Gallach used UN funds to go get her own award in Barcelona. Nor has a requested list of Gallach trips on public funds been provided.

Is that anti-corruption? Or pro-corruption?

On November 28 Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, without any proof, that he understands Ban Ki-ho no longer works for KD Power. But when Inner City Press asked when was the last time Ban Ki-moon spoke with his brother Ki-ho, Spokesman Dujarric said glibly that he has no clue, and hasn't returned with any answer.

  While Team Ban, including the South Korean Mission to the UN which on November 10 asked Inner City Press for the since-disappeared KD Power link, and the Bosung links, think they have ended this particular inquiry into nepotism by asserting Ban Ki-ho is no longer with KD Power, they have not answered even once on Bosung.

  Bloomberg lists Bosung as Ban Ki-ho's current employer, and Bosung also does business in Myanmar, in connection with a "UN delegation."

Inner City Press has submitted questions to Ban Ki-ho at Bosung but they have not been responded to.

November 28, 2016

Ban Ki-moon's Brother Ki-ho Thrown Out of UN Global Compact, Mines in Myanmar

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 25 -- Two weeks after Inner City Press formally gave UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric a link to an Internet page about Ban's brother Ki-ho engaged in mining in Myanmar's Shan state through South Korean firm KD Power (as well as Bosung), the response has been to have the page removed from the Internet.

Now Inner City Press has discovered that Ban Ki-moon's brother Ki-Ho's firm KD Power was thrown out of the UN Global Compact, the UN's easy-to-stay-in blue-washing mechanism for corporations. See here.

  What does it say about Ban Ki-moon's actual commitment to human rights if he can't even get his own brother to meet the minimal requirements of the UN Global Compact?

KP Power's since-violated “Letter of Commitment” to Ban Ki-moon was signed by his brother Ban Ki-Ho, put on Scribd here by Inner City Press, without any disclosure of the direct family relationship, just as Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, whom Ban promoted to the top UN job in Kenya, never discloses this relationship in his self-serving, human rights up front-free pieces which are run by Thomson Reuters and some others as a way to curry favor with Ban Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-moon can't or won't even get his son in law Siddhart Chatterjee, whom he promoted to the UN Resident Coordinator position in Kenya, to comply with his post-Sri Lanka failure "Rights Up Front" scheme. Sidd stayed silent amid targeting of South Sudanese in Kenya, and killings by police. In fact, the UN and Sidd have refused to divulge his role in killings in Sri Lanka.

 Back on November 9 Inner City Press sent Dujarric and others this, of which Dujarric in the hallway confirmed receipt - note that the first link was then disabled, so that it leads nowhere:

"I am sending three links regarding Ban Ki-moon's brother Ki-ho (through Bosung and KD Power) doing mining in Myanmar and touring with a UN delegation.

1) http://www.brighttime.com.mm/bright-time-resources/2-uncategorised.html

"Memorandum of Understanding with KD Power of South Korea, which is managed by Mr. Ban Ki-Ho, brother of UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, for the exploration of Magnesium as well as cooperation in power sector in the eastern Shan State of Myanmar.  "

  Now the page is gone: "The server can not find the requested page." So how did that happen, now? But here it is in archive (search for Ban Ki-Ho). And there are photographs...

This is Ban Ki-moon censorship, this time to try to conceal nepotism and exploitation of resources in a war zone, using the UN's name.

November 21, 2016

On Myanmar, Where Ban's Brother Mines, US Accepts Outcome-Less Briefing By Nambiar, Who Says Give Them Time

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 17 -- Myanmar was the quiet topic of the UN Security Council on the evening of November 17, between meetings on South Sudan and Syria chemical weapons.

 Inner City Press is informed that while the US requested the closed door briefing, the US agreed as a condition that there would be no outcome to the meeting.

The briefer was Vijay Nambiar, Ban Ki-moon's envoy on Myanmar as he was, disasterously, on Sri Lanka. And sources tell Inner City Press that amid the burning of Rohingyas' homes and rapes and killings in Rakhine State, Nambiar advised the Council to go easy on Myanmar and give them time. This is is disgusting, all around.  As is this:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in late August awarded the top UN job in Kenya to his own son in law, Siddharth Chatterjee, and did not even recuse himself.

  On September 27, Inner City Press directly asked Chatterjee about it, on Periscope. here. Vine here. Chatterjee hardly answered the long-standing questions; nor did Ban's spokesman. Neither set up the requested interview.

Likewise, Inner City Press' requests for a copy of Ban Ki-moon's October 14, 2016 speech to the Council on Korean Americans, for which $100,000 sponsorships were sought, and its questions about a UN Ethics Office opinion on that and on Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo being a UN official and on the boards of directors of Standard Chartered Bank and South Korea's Doosan have gone unanswered, even as reiterated at the November 4 UN noon briefing. Video here.

November 14, 2016

After UN Ban Ki-moon Censors Press, Expresses to Trump Confidence in Cooperation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 11 -- Hours after Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump past 2 am on November 9, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon about his inaction on UN Peacekeeping's failures and rapes in the Central African Republic, and his dismissive response to Senate Foreign Relations Committee inquiries, including on UN censorship of the Press.

   Ban Ki-moon did not answer.

  Now on November 11, the UN says Ban spoke with Trump and "expressed confidence that the United States and the United Nations would maintain their traditional strong ties of cooperation." In censorship?

  On election night itself, Inner City Press reported what it heard regard former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, his spokesman Richard Grenell, and SFRC chairman Bob Corker. Some in UN-World are circling the wagons; Ban is doling out interviews, just as he did for his now waning hopes to be South Korea's next president.

 How did the current US Mission taken not action on censorship by Ban and his Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, even when asked to do so by the Government Accountability Project?  Why has the current US Ambassador wasted resources with no fewer than three bodyguards even when inside the UN?  We'll have more on this - watch this site.

when Inner City Press got to the United Nations later in the morning, it asked Yemen's Ambassador Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany if he thinks under Trump the US will continue to fuel up Saudi warplanes for their bombing runs. Video here.

He said it's not for him to judge other countries and what happens in them.


   Inner City Press asked Iraq's Ambassador to the UN M A Alhakim about the idea outgoing President Obama will try to speed up action on Mosul and Raqqa before Trump takes over. He said a sped-up process would be good. Vine video here.

   Outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to read a statement; his outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban would not take questions. But one was yelled out on climate change; Inner City Press then asked about the criticism of Ban by Senator Bob Corker, a possible Secretary of State, over Ban's weak response to UN peacekeepers' engaged in sexual abuse. Video here; Vine here.

   When Inner City Press had asked Dujarric for Ban's reaction, Dujarric said dismissively that was just the opinion of one person. Impunity is impunity. Dujarric himself helped get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN Press briefing room, its UN office and the UN as a whole, see Paragraphs 9 and 10 of this UN memo to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We'll have more on this.
November 7, 2016

Ban Ki-moon's Brother Ki-ho Involved in Myanmar Greenwashing, Like At COP 22 in Morocco

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in late August awarded the top UN job in Kenya to his own son in law, Siddharth Chatterjee, and did not even recuse himself.

  On September 27, Inner City Press directly asked Chatterjee about it, on Periscope. here. Vine here. Chatterjee hardly answered the long-standing questions; nor did Ban's spokesman. Neither set up the requested interview.

Likewise, Inner City Press' requests for a copy of Ban Ki-moon's October 14, 2016 speech to the Council on Korean Americans, for which $100,000 sponsorships were sought, and its questions about a UN Ethics Office opinion on that and on Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo being a UN official and on the boards of directors of Standard Chartered Bank and South Korea's Doosan have gone unanswered, even as reiterated at the November 4 UN noon briefing. Video here.

On September 24, Inner City Press put these conflict of interest questions to Han Seung-soo, who left after the briefest of answers, here.

Now this: Ban's brother Ban Ki-ho is involved with KD Power in mining projects in Myanmar's eastern Shan State, see below -- and in greenwashing "renewal energy" projects in Myanmar, here, consonant with Ban and his spokesman's silence on Morocco using corporate wind power projects to greenwash a land- (and map-) grab of Western Sahara for COP 22, here.

Ban's brother Ki-ho is vice president of electric equipment firm Bosung (a/k/a Bo Sung), which has been on Myanmar tours with (unnamed) UN officials. See (and translate) this government web page, here:

"Industry, Republic of Korea Minister U Maung Myint Bo Sung Powertec Co., Ltd, BUYANG INDUSTRIAL Co., Ltd, Germany Recycle Engineering Co., Ltd and visiting delegations from the United Nations"

Ban's former chief of staff and vanity press book editor Vijay Nambiar is Ban's envoy on Myanmar. Did he go on this trip?

In terms of mining, see this: "Bright Time has signed an Memorandum of Understanding with KD Power of South Korea, which is managed by Mr. Ban Ki-Ho, brother of UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, for the exploration of Magnesium as well as cooperation in power sector in the eastern Shan State of Myanmar."

 Is the UN's Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee aware of this mining project in east Shan State, with the brother of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon? Is the UN Ethics Office?


As noted, Ban's brother Ban Ki-ho is VP of a Korean electric equipment company, Bosung.  The CEO of Bosung, Lim Jae-Hwang, is a former executive with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).   Bosung Power Technology supplies its products primarily to KEPCO, which recently signed a deal with the UAE to build a nuclear plant. 

Doosan is providing the nuclear reactor. Ban's friend and mentor Han Seung-soo, whom Ban appointed to a senior UN position (which conveys diplomatic immunity) is on the board of directors of Doosan and has engaged closely with UAE on issues of Korean trade promotion and business.  Han has most recently served on the jury of the UAE Energy Prize.  Meanwhile, Ban's other brother Ban ki-sang served as an advisor to Keangnam, which developed properties in UAE for South Korean expatriates and businesses.

We'll have more on this.October 31, 2016

Under New SG Guterres, Who Will Head UN Peacekeeping, Public Information?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 28 -- When new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres came to take questions outside the General Assembly hall on October 13, he was first asked about Syria and cited his past as head of the UN refugee agency.

Inner City Press asked, “And Yemeni people?” - referring most recently to the double-tap airstrike on the funeral in Sana'a.

  Guterres took the question, adding in South Sudan as well, and said he will try to be an honest broker. That would be a welcome change, and one that we will closely cover as censorship restrictions are lifted.

Beyond the UN Peacekeeping issues explored below, as to ending UN censorship who becomes Spokesperson, and who heads the Department of Public Information, will have an impact. On October 28 the UN told correspondents that Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for Guterres, should now be contacted through a UN.org and not UNHCR.org email address. Does this mean she'll be UN Spokesperson? Head of DPI?

The Free UN Coalition for Access has asked. One thing should be clear: Cristina Gallach must go. Beyond her no due process eviction of the Press, and the recent Wonder Woman as Ambassador debacle, she is named in the Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng scandal, as having done no due diligence. There must be accountability, even belatedly.

   (Later on October 28, the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon who not only threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room but who has also for two weeks resisted making publish a speech Ban gave on October 14 to a group, the Council of Korean Americans, which sought $100,000 sponsorships for the event, was glad-handing at an Upper East Side event. A lot of people are dusting off their c.v. or resume.)

  UN Peacekeeping has been controlled by France for 20 years, and many believe that it is and will be time to relinquish it. But when Inner City Press asked, if for example France will shift to DESA or even across First Avenue to UNDP, it was told “don't believe everything you hear.”

   Now the person who gave that answer or quip is reported as a possible replacement for Herve Ladsous, who has run DPKO into the ground.

Other names floated are Sylvie Bermann -- if France keeps it, a woman USG might be designed to address the sexual abuse issues that expanded and were justified under Ladous - or Jean-Maurice Ripert, without any mention of his issue when he was assigned to Pakistan humanitarian issues and remained on vacation. (In full disclosure, Ripert also confronted Inner City Press on a UN Security Council trip involving Chad and, by accident, Rwanda - but that's another story.) October 24, 2016

As Ban Ki-moon Conceals DC Speech & Is Protested at UN, Tells Reuters Of His South Korea Ambitions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 21  -- What has Ban Ki-moon turned the UN into, as he seeks to run for President of South Korea?

For a week, Ban Ki-moon has refused to make public the speech he gave on October 14 before the Council of Korean Americans, which sought $100,000 sponsorships to hear Ban speak. On October 21, even as UN staff protested Ban's lack of judgment in naming a cartoon character, Wonder Woman, a UN ambassador, Ban made public to Reuters not this speech but his ambition to be president of South Korea. Reuters did not ask about the day's protest, much less the “private” speech.

  At the October 21 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric again for a copy of the speech - next question, Dujarric said - and about the Wonder Woman fiasco.

   What will Ban's platform be? At the UN, he he give the top job in Kenya to his own son in law, without recusing himself. He has allowed his mentor Han Seung-soo to be a UN official while on the boards of directors of Doosan and of Standard Chartered bank, which has UN contracts. He has evicted the Press which has asked about his nepotism throughout his tenure. See here. So: corruption, nepotism and censorship? We'll have more on this.

On October 17, Inner City Press asked Ban's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric why his office had not made available Ban's speech in Washington DC on October 14 to the Council of Korean-Americans but had widely emailed out Ban's speech the same day while getting another honorary degree in Maryland.

    Dujarric replied, with characteristic defensiveness, that Ban's Friday evening speech at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in DC was private. Vine video here. On October 18 when Inner City Press followed up and asked how much was charged or sought to hear Ban, Dujarric said to ask the organizers.

  Well, the Council of Korean Americans began promoting Ban's attendance, as UN Secretary General, as early as August - and sought $100,000 “platinum” sponsorships. Here's a tweet from September.

Here is the $100,000 pitch.

  Is this ethical?

October 17, 2016

ICP Asked New SG Guterres About Yemen, His Transition Team Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- When new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres came to take questions outside the General Assembly hall on October 13, he was first asked about Syria and cited his past as head of the UN refugee agency.

Inner City Press asked, “And Yemeni people?” - referring most recently to the double-tap airstrike on the funeral in Sana'a.

  Guterres took the question, adding in South Sudan as well, and said he will try to be an honest broker. That would be a welcome change, and one that we will closely cover as censorship restrictions are lifted. Now on October 14, Guterres announces this team:

"Following his appointment yesterday by the General Assembly of the United Nations as Secretary-General-designate, António Guterres announced the composition of a transition team that will help him prepare for the assumption of his duties on 1 January 2017. Here's some of the absurdities they should fix, on Haiti cholera and media restrictions.
 
The members of the team are:
 
Transition Team Chief: Ms. Kyung-wha Kang (Republic of Korea). She previously served as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and Director General of International Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea. She is currently Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

Senior Advisor/ Spokesperson: Ms. Melissa Fleming (USA). She has held leading international communications positions at the OSCE, with a focus on human rights, conflict prevention and reconciliation and at the IAEA on nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security. She is currently Head of Communications and Spokesperson for the High Commissioner at UNHCR.

Senior Adviser: Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough (Jamaica). She has practiced privately as a lawyer, served as advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States and has deep development experience within UNDP, including as UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. She’s currently Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director Designate for Asia and the Pacific.

Senior Adviser: Mr. João Madureira (Portugal). He has a distinguished career in his country’s Diplomatic Service. He is currently Minister Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the UN.

Senior Adviser: Mr. Radhouane Nouicer (Tunisia). He served at UNHCR for over 18 years in the field and as Director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau. He was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Tunisian Transitional Government in 2011. He is currently Regional Advisor for the Yemen Humanitarian Crisis.  

The Transition Team will interact with UN officials, Member States and civil society to ensure an informed and smooth transition. "

  On October 14 inside the GA hall, speakers included Chile's Ambassador Christian Barros and the UK's Matthew Rycroft, who spoke of the process by which Guterres was selected (but not, perhaps understandably, about Yemen). US Ambassador Samantha Power joked that she had set aside time around Christmas in case more straw polls were needed.

   In the days and weeks ahead, Inner City Press will be running its “New UN” series, which today covered the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The need for change at UN Peacekeeping and the Department of Public Information is clear. But how will the UN become anything near to an honest broker? We are hoping for it. Watch this site.

October 10, 2016

On Yemen, ICP Asks UK, France, NZ & Saudi After Airstrike on Funeral, No Draft Yet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS,  October 8 -- The Saudi led coalition bombed a funeral in Sana'a, Yemen, on the same day the UN Security Council met about airstrikes in Syria.

Inner City Press asked Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi to confirm it was an Saudi strike and explain it. He said, "I am not aware of it." Vine video here.

After the French resolution failed in the Security Council, its foreign minister Jean Marc Ayrault came to the stakeout. Inner City Press asked him, loudly, if he thinks the Saudi bombardment of Yemen should also be taken up by the Security Council, after an airstrike on a funeral most recently. He did not answer, despite the question being repeated. Vine here. He left.

   While Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, which holds the Council's “pen” on Yemen, also did not answer, Vine here, New Zealand's ambassador when Inner City Press asked if his country also thinks the Saudi-led coalition should stop bombing Yemen said, “I do.” Vine here.

But by the end of the meting, following a walk-out by the UK, US and others, the UK as "penholder" on Yemen in the Security Council had not, according to the president, circulated any draft Press Statement. Watch this site.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has let the Saudi led coalition off the Children and Armed Conflict annex on Yemen, while Saudi Arabia runs for a Human Rights Council seat. How much lower can the UN get?

After a UAE warship was hit - and sunk - off the Yemeni coast near Mocha, Inner City Press on October 3 asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq for a comment, and if the UN knows if it was a warship or as claimed an aid ship.  See October 6 US travel warning, below.

On October 4 Haq returned with, "it doesn't sound as if it was on a humanitarian mission." Vine video here.October 3, 2016