Global Inner Cities Global Inner Cities  In Other Media e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   Click here for Global Inner City Archives 2006

  Click HERE for Daily UN Reporting on    s  We welcome readers' comments or critiques.  Contact us

Click for March 1, 2011 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press   2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

March 19, 2018

As Cameroon's Biya Vows Crackdown in NW and SW Regions, ICP Asks UN, Prober of Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, 1st Person, this

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- The deference of the UN system's and many of its member states to Cameroon's corrupt 36-year president Paul Biya, and their complicity in his recent crackdown, continues. The UN has enabled Biya in equating Boko Haram with the restorationist forces, as he did in his cabinet meeting on March 15 with this line: "Thanks to the firm action of our defense and security forces, we have been able to drastically curb the atrocities perpetrated by criminal groups in the Far North, North-West and South-West Regions." The violence in the Far North is entirely different from that in North-West and South-West Regions. But it was the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' envoy Francois Lounceny Fall who equated separatists with extremists; it was Guterres who stopped by Yaounde and took Biya's golden statue back in October. On March 16, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: since it's so rare, I got asked today.  The President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, held his a Cabinet meeting for the first time since 2015, second one in the last six years, and one of the quotes coming out of it is to congratulate his defence and security forces for their… to drastically curb the atrocities perpetrated by criminal groups in the far north, north-west, and south-west regions.  And "the far north" seems to be a reference to Boko Haram, but "north-west" and "south-west" are the Anglophone regions, where there's a dispute about whether that part of the country is… actually is part of Cameroon.  So I wanted to know, given what's been said by François Fall and others about dialogue, if they took note of the speech, if they have any thought on it.  And I had also… and also on the issue that you had been talking about, about investigating leaks, I wanted to ask a very specific question.  If an internal UN memo concerning Cameroon, not submitted by the Government of Cameroon, but simply the UN's own analysis on why it might make sense to not speak out or to speak out, were to be leaked, is that the type of leak that would be investigated, since you said that it's done at the behest of or in order to protect Member States' ability to give information to the UN, if I understood you correctly?

Deputy Spokesman:  And part of what I said is that those are decisions to be taken ultimately by the managers who deal with the various files.  I wouldn't answer on any particular hypothetical circumstance.

Inner City Press: But is there any guidance… I know… Is there any guidance from the top of… are there cases where, from the top, the UN would say this is not an appropriate thing to investigate because it chills whistle-blowers?

Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, you're aware of what the whistle-blower protections are, and all managers are aware of those.  Regarding your question on Cameroon and the behaviour of the security forces, we've also made clear our concerns about any excessive use of force, and we want to make sure both that security forces, wherever they're deployed, avoid excessive use of force, abide by international human rights norms, and in this particular case, of course, we want to make sure that nothing is done to forestall any efforts at dialogue.  Have a good weekend, everyone." Guterres is in Lisbon, again, for the weekend.
March 12, 2018

On North Korea Talks, Location Ideas Range from Pyongyang to Mar-a-Lago, Bolton Urges Geneva in March

By Matthew Russell Lee, Full Exclusive, Video

UNITED NATIONS, March 10 – On the North Korea - Trump talks by May announced on March 8, it's said US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is going to brief the UN Security Council on Monday, March 12, and meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at 3 pm, without even a photo spray at the top. Amid that murk, one view of where (and when) a Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un should take place was voice March 9 by none other than John Bolton: by the end of March, in Geneva. Bolton said it should be in the same "former League of Nations" conference room where James Baker met Tariq Aziz in January 1991 before Operation Desert Storm, the so-called extra mile for peace. Others throw out locations like Pyongyang, New York, Seoul, Tokyo (if Trump wants to throw Abe a bone, see below) or even Mar-a-Lago.  The timing of Trump's meeting with Bolton shortly before the North Korea talks were announced bears more reporting. At the UN by mid-morning on March 9, this was not listed on the Security Council's online Program of Work. Photo here. In Japan, no longer on the Security Council, media like the Sankei Shimbun complained instead about the issue of abductees and about Trump's dissing of Japan on tariffs, while using wire or "joint" copy on the Florida gun bill, UN Women's Day and even on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' canned statement. From Seoul, Kato's successor Norio Sakurai warned of Japan being "peeled off." Similarly, in North Korea itself the ostensibly agreed to talks weren't even yet disclosed to the public. Working at the UN, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for Miroslav Lajcak, President of the UN General Assembly, for comment on the North Korea talks. By evening, this was sent to Inner City Press: "The President supports dialogue as well as efforts to denuclearize the Koran Peninsula." Earlier, Inner City Press asked the Dutch President of the Council for the month, Karel van Oosterom, who told Inner City Press he has been invited to a meeting with McMaster but for more to ask the US. In DC the questions were about McMaster leaving the Administration, with a less than rousing defense by the spokesperson. When the UN Spokesman called his end of day (and week) lid, there was mention of another Security Council meeting for Monday, but nothing on North Korea. Meanwhile, when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres belatedly commented 17 hours after the announcement, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric went on to link to the slated talks the earlier visit to Pyongyang by outgoing UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman. But is the connection? And when Feltman leaves on March 31, who will the US put in, particularly given developments on and in North Korea? Watch this site. Back on March 8, half an hour after South Korean official Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House that US President Trump will meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un by May, Inner City Press after informing the UN's Department of Public Information sought reaction from Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Since, despite Inner City Press' request, all UN Department of Public Information minders had left for the day, Inner City Press retreated to the Conference Building where a Chinese opera, as it happens, was taking place. But when Guterres and his entourage came off the elevator, Inner City Press approached, at the same time as one of Guterres' female Assistant SGs he'd met with. Guterres, chatting with a youth, ignored even her. Video here. Did he know the news? Inner City Press followed up by Twitter: nothing. This is today's UN.  Two cars were at the ready, and two security officers faced Inner City Press. (One said that yet a third officer "wanted to file a complaint against your story," here). There was the sound of opera, and down the hall a painting of Ban Ki-moon, who accomplished nothing on the issue in ten years. It was the UN. The next morning, still nothing from Guterres. FMarch 5, 2018

In Cameroon, Visiting UN's Fall Didn't Witness Biya's Deployment, Didn't Mention Refoulement

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, 1st Person, this

UNITED NATIONS, March 1 -- The deference of the UN system's and many of its member states to Cameroon's corrupt 36-year president Paul Biya, and their complicity in his recent crackdown, continues. The Biya government is destroying historic places like Boa Bakundu, reportedly burning alive another grandmother, this time Frida Ndumu. Meanwhile after illegal refoulement to Yaounde from Nigeria, and ongoing crackdowns. Now the UN's Central Africa representative Francois Lounceny Fall, who on UN Radio equated secessionists and extremists then ran from Press questions in UN Headquarters, has deigned to visit Buea, along with the UN's resident coordinator Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi, more focused on promoting the UN than trying to prevent conflict and the killing of civilians. She has tweeted photos about the visit, nothing on the burned motor bikes and people, much less the illegal refoulement. The same day in Buea, the station manager of CRTV implored the Governor of Buea to put the whole area on red alert as the crackdown, using Fall's secessionists are extremists logic, continues. The UN has poured fuel on this conflict, and refused to answer basic questions about it. Sources in the UN Department of Political Affairs say Guterres arranged for a memo justifying his inaction since receipt of Biya's golden statue. But when Inner City Press on February 28 asked first outgoing DPA chief Jeff Feltman, then UN Spokesman Dujarric, both said they didn't know of Fall's visit. From the UN's February 28 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Cameroon.  I've seen that François Fall has… or at least his office is tweeting that he's in the south-west region in Buea, saying he's having some great meetings.  Given that the Government side there has asked for a… for a… an alert and that young people's motorcycles are being burned, destroying their livelihood, I'm just wondering, are we going to get a readout?  Was that said in advance…? Spokesman:  Let me see what I can get. Inner City Press: It seems like Mr. Feltman didn't actually know it was taking place.  I tried-- Spokesman:  Well, he may not be the only one.  I was not aware of the visit." A full 24 hours later, without sending Inner City Press any update or response to its question, Dujarric at the noon briefing read one out...

February 26, 2018

In Cameroon, UN's Mueller Congratulated Biya Despite Crackdown & Corruption, ICP Asks Why

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, 1st Person, this

The deference of the UN system's and many of its member states to Cameroon's corrupt 35-year president Paul Biya, and their complicity in his recent crackdown, continues. After illegal refoulement to Yaounde from Nigeria, and ongoing crackdowns, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' humanitarian deputy official Ursula Mueller has offered "congratulations" to Biya's foreign minister Mbella Mbella. Photo and UNanswered Press question here. This comes after Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Mueller would stop in the Anglophone zones, and since not, why not? He replied that the overall humanitarian situation would be discussed. So on February 23, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I had asked you before Ursula Mueller's trip, whether the… the situation in the anglophone zones of Cameroon would come up, and I just want to say I saw… I guess she tweeted a picture of herself with the Foreign Minister of Cameroon yesterday, saying… congratulating the Cameroon Government, entirely positive.  And I just wanted to know… you seemed… you seemed to indicate that the overall humanitarian situation would arise.  Given even… even on the issue of refugees, given that there were 47 people sent back seemingly illegally, refouled from Nigeria, is this… is she unaware of that in giving these congratulations? Spokesman:  Her mission focused on the Lake Chad Basin, on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin which, as you know, has led to mass… to a humanitarian situation that's impacted at least 10 million people.  She discussed a wide range of humanitarian concerns with the government of Cameroon, including the Boko Haram crisis in the far north, the situation of refugees from the CAR [Central African Republic] in the east, and the growing food insecurity across the country, as well as the situation in the Anglophone regions."  Really? With congratulations, echoes of the golden statue that Guterres took in October? Meanwhile in Nigeria people are being prosecuted for sheltering refugees from Cameroon, and Guterres and the UN are silent. We'll have more on this. A new report details Biya's long stays outside of the country in Geneva, while his military kills Anglophones and the country declines. Biya has spent four and a half years in Geneva, at a cost of $65 million in hotel fees and $117 million for chartered private plane, sometimes left "on stand-by" for weeks at a time. The report goes one level down: "One of Biya’s closest confidants, Joseph Fouda, a military officer and special advisor, has accompanied him on at least 86 trips, amounting to more than three years of travel since 1993. He prefers a room on a top floor of the Intercontinental. Another close confidant, Martin Belinga Eboutou, 78, has spent nearly three years travelling with the president starting in 1987, when he was Cameroon’s ambassador to Morocco. The president attempted to buy a brand new private jet in 2004, but his staff reportedly cut corners on the deal, buying a defective plane covered by a fresh coat of paint that nearly crashed on its first flight. Since then, the president has chartered at least several private aircraft, including a luxury jet formerly owned by the government of Kazakhstan." Still UN Secretary General, himself a murky first class flyer, smilingly took Biya's golden statue and has done nothing; his advisers Khassim Diagne and the outgoing head of Political Affairs have assured him of Biya's bona fides or the wisdom of doing... nothing. The UN has failed. The UN refugee agency UNHCR in Abuja early on January 30 told Inner City Press that it has as yet no comment on the blatant forced repatriation or refoulement to Cameroon of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 46 others while it seeks "explanations through official channels." (Later UNHCR issued a short statement.) On January 31, Inner City Press again asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here and below. When Inner City Press on February 8 put the refoulement question to Francois Delattre, the UN Ambassador of France which has supported Paul Biya's 36-year rule, Delattre replied that "We always have views but no comment from me at this stage." Video here. That is irresponsible - or another sign of France's responsibility for what is happening in the region. We'll have more on this - and now on Germany. Angela Merkel's "personal representative for Africa" Gunter Nooke showed up in Yaounde on February 15 trying as he does elsewhere to drum up business. With him was Ambassador Hans Dieter Stell; there was according to CRTV "the exchange of gifts symbolic of Cameroon's legendary hospitality." Another golden statue like UNSG Guterres took? At UN headquarters, as Inner City Press alone asked, Germany's Ambassador procured a publicly funded post for his wife by merely emailing Guterres' chief of staff. Inner City Press asked Dujarric and his deputy Haq - no real answer - while the only other question asked about it was how the information about the job had leaked. The media asking that is given full access to the UN by the UN Department of Public Information of British Alison Smale, a major Germanophile who continues to have Inner City Press restricted, its long time work space given to a no-show no-question Egyptian state media. We'll have more on this.

February 19, 2018

On Cameroon, UK Denies Inner City Press FOIA Request After 170 Days, Yemen Too, Appeal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, 1st Person

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 – The United Kingdom's silence about the plight of Anglophone residents of the former British Southern Cameroons persists even in the face of a Freedom of Information Act request from Inner City Press.

More than five months ago on 15 August 2017 Inner City Press asked the UK government for records concerning Cameroon. After repeatedly extending the time to response, now the UK has denied access to all responsive records, letter here, saying that "the release of information relating to the UK’s discussion on UN business could harm our relations and other member states of the United Nations (UN)."

Here on Patreon is the full denial letter, from which Inner City Press is preparing an appeal, on Yemen as well - it has 40 working days.

This is shameful - the UK is also exiting transparency.

On February 6 in front of the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked the United Kingdom's Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen for the UK's comment on Nigeria's forced repatriation of 47 to Cameroon. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Nigeria did a forced repatriation of 47 Cameroonian leaders. The UNHCR said it was illegal. The US has commented on it. Does the UK have any view? Amb Allen: I’m afraid I wasn’t aware of that before. I’ll have to get back to you on the details." Video here. At day's end, a UK Mission spokesperson sent Inner City Press a short comment, here.

As Inner City Press pursues these questions at the UN, it remains restricted to minders by the head of the UN Department of Public Information Alison Smale, who it is noted is British - and functionally a censor. A retaliator, too? Smale has not explained why Inner City Press' long time work space is assigned to no-show, no-question Egyptian state media Akhbar al Youm. February 12, 2018

In UN Bribery Case, Ho Was Denied Bail, Inner City Press Asks 3 Why CEFC Still in ECOSOC

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 6 – UN bribery indictee Patrick Ho was denied bail on February 5, in a lengthy oral order that found the weight of evidence against him substantial. On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against the head of the UN ECOSOC accredited China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) Patrick Ho and former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, accused together of bribing Chad's President Idriss Deby -- as well as, for Ho, of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda, since 2005, allegedly for the benefit of President Yoweri Museveni. On February 5, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman why CEFC is still in "special consultative status" with ECOSOC, transcript here (video here) and below, than ran to the courthouse. There, US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest asked Prosecutor Daniel C. Richenthal to describe the weight of the evidence. "How strong is your case?" she asked, to some laughter. Very strong, he said, adding that Ho has been emailing the "Shanghai-based Energy Company" (that would be CEFC China Energy) from MCC detention, to launch a public relations campaign. It may be backfiring: Judge Forrest in her ruling denying bail noted that if Chinese government press is describing the case as political, it would make fleeing and remaining in China all the easier. Richenthal said that Ho could travel to other places - he listed Chad, Uganda, Iran and Russia. The continued home detention of UN bribery convictee was raised by Richenthal and Judge Forrest, and not favorably. Gadio was alluded to as not yet indicted - he'd said to be talking about a plea - and Judge Forrest emphasized November 5 as the trial date. She said there was leave to re-apply for bail but said such an application should include what Ho's lawyer Mr Kim called the "context" of the payments. Kim said they including country-wide charitable and military aid. From a Chinese energy company? From the UN's February 5 transcript: Inner City Press: Patrick Ho, who is the head of the China Energy Fund Committee, is arguing again for bail today.  And the US, in opposing it, put it in writing that they've executed a search warrant at China Energy Fund Committee, the NGO's (non-governmental organization) offices in Virginia.  It seems the China Energy Fund Committee is still in special consultative status with ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) even as its offices are being raided and… and its head is in jail.  What are the procedures for… for…? Spokesman:  As far as I'm aware… you know, the consultative status of ECOSOC, as opposed to the DPI (Department of Public Information) status, is one that is managed by the Member States.  There is a committee of ECOSOC that is made up of Member States.  They give… they grant or deny consultative status to various NGOs.  I think we'll have to look… you can contact ECOSOC to see what the exact rules are, but my assumption would be that, if Member States grant, only Member States can take away." So, Guterres is doing nothing. On February 6, after another non-response by ECOSOC's chair, Inner City Press asked Guterres' and Dujarric's Deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  yesterday, the… Patrick Ho, the head of the China Energy Fund Committee here, was denied bail.  And in the… in the hearing, basically, the prosecution said and the judge said that she found weight to be given to the evidence that basically the NGO [non-governmental organization] was a front for bribery to Sam Kutesa and others.  So, given that… how this trial is going, I'm wondering, again, Stéphane [Dujarric] had said that the Secretariat plays no role in sort of following through and making sure that China Energy Fund Committee can't continue to say it's a… in special consultative status with ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council].  I've written to the ECOSOC chair now twice, 28 November 2017 and today, but I don't have anything back.  Is there any spokesperson for ECOSOC that can at least say what the process is? Deputy Spokesman:  There is a spokesperson for the President of the Economic and Social [Council], and I can give you that contact afterwards. Inner City Press: Because… because Brenden… oh.  Yeah.  Anyways, I'd written before to that same individual, and there was no response.  I'm just… guess I'm wondering, what is their… what is the… does the Secretary-General… given that trial that's now moving forward and what's coming out in it, does he believe in the same way that he has… asserting himself as to agencies on other issues, that he should maybe get involved to ensure that there's not a… a named briber saying that they're in consultative status with the UN? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, UN bodies themselves have been dealing with the problems created by the China Energy Fund Committee in their own ways, but what you're talking about is consultative status that's granted by Member States through the Economic and Social Council, and that decision would have to be taken by Member States." Then Inner City Press emailed the alluded to spokesman, one Paul Simon. Hours later, nothing.

February 5, 2018

On Cameroon & Nigeria, UN Hides Behind Belated UNHCR Statement to Inner City Press, DSG Avoids Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, en francais, 1st Person

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 – The UN system's deference to Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya, and to the government of neighboring Nigeria, continues. The UN refugee agency UNHCR in Abuja early on January 30 told Inner City Press that it has as yet no comment on the blatant forced repatriation or refoulement to Cameroon of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 46 others while it seeks "explanations through official channels." On January 31, Inner City Press against asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here and below. On February 1, the UN refugee agency UNHCR finally answered Inner City Press' repeated questions, below. But at the UN noon briefing, even when Inner City Press specifically cited Guterres shameless golden statue moment and Amina J. Mohammed's Nigeria links, the UN passed the buck. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: you had said two days ago, on the issue of these… this refoulement from Nigeria to Cameroon, to wait for UNHCR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] to speak.  And they have spoken, and they've said that the law has been broken by Nigeria, sending back, they say, 47; some people involved say it's 51.  But, what I wanted… so, I wanted to know, at the Secretariat level, given its involvement and its call for dialogue in Cameroon, and number two, specifically, given that the Deputy Secretary-General was in Abuja when the abductions took place, according to you, has spoken to the Government about it, has been quoted in a speech she gave in South Africa as calling Mr. [Muhammadu] Buhari her President, what is her statement on Nigeria's refoulement of at least 47 and maybe 51? Spokesman:  I think we'll refer you to UNHCR.  UNHCR is in the lead on the issue of refugees and asylum-seekers and refoulement.  They have spoken.  We fully back what UNHCR has said. Inner City Press: But, how does it impact this… I mean, obviously…? Spokesman:  We continue to engage with the Cameroonian authorities, and our offers of helping them work out some of the issues in the Anglophone areas continues to stand.  I will come back to you." When? Today's UN is corrupt. Here was UNHCR: "Hi dear Matthew, Following up on my email, below is our statement on the issue: UNHCR condemns forced returns of Cameroon asylum-seekers from Nigeria: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has learned with great concern of the forced return by Nigeria of 47 Cameroonians, who were handed over to the Cameroonian authorities on 26 January 2018. Most of the individuals in question had submitted asylum claims. Their forcible return is in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, which constitutes the cornerstone of international refugee law. The returns were carried out despite UNHCR’s efforts and engagement with the authorities. UNHCR reminds Nigeria of its obligations under international and Nigerian law, and urges the Nigerian Government to refrain from forcible returns of Cameroonian asylum-seekers back to their country of origin. We also urge the Government of Cameroon to ensure that the group is treated in accordance with human rights law and standards." Is this why UN Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed has refused and avoided all questions from Inner City Press on this, including by using restrictions on the Press in "her UN, in support of "her" President and country? We'll have more on this.

January 29, 2018

On UN Bribery, Inner City Press Asked Guterres of CEFC, Now Suspended From Global Compact

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 25– On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against the head of the UN ECOSOC accredited China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) Patrick Ho and former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, accused together of bribing Chad's President Idriss Deby (as well as, for Ho, of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda, since 2005).

Inner City Press has covered the case and repeatedly asked the UN Spokesman why Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not even started an audit based on the indictment, including of how CEFC got its UN status and even remains in the UN Global Compact espousing anti-corruption goals. On January 16, Inner City Press put the question directly to Antonio Guterres, video here, UN transcript here, and below. Guterres said "I will look into it... We don't want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles." But a week passed, and nothing. On January 24, Inner City Press asked again. And on January 25, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced, Matthew you've asked once or twice, the Global Compact has suspended China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC China Energy). But, Inner City Press notes, China Energy Fund Committee is *still* in special consultative status with UN ECOSOC. And there has been no audit of the other connections. We'll have more on this. From the UN's January 16 transcript: Q: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for more question and answer in 2018, as you said. In November, there there was an indictment announced in Federal Court downtown of the head of an ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)-accredited NGO for bribing, allegedly bribing, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, to benefit the China Energy Fund Committee. And I wanted to ask you, that remains still in the Global Compact, and there hasn't been even an audit or anything created. Why haven't you started an audit in that case? Why is the beneficiary of what's described as bribery in the UN still in the Global Compact? And how do your reforms preclude or make impossible this type of bribery that's now happened twice under John Ashe, may he rest in peace, and under Sam Kutesa?  SG Guterres: "In relation to other cases, I would like to say that I'm not aware of presence in the Compact or whatever. I will have to look into it. I will look into it. What is clear for me is that we don't want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles that were defined in the constitution of the Compact. There is a code of conduct that is there, and that should be respected. So, I don't know exactly what happened in the compact in that regard. I will look into that."January 22, 2018

At UNSG Guterres Presser, Inner City Press Asks of Cameroon & UN Bribery for CEFC, Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, photos, video

UNITED NATIONS, January 16 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on January 16, it was his first public media question and answer sessions at the UN in months. Inner City Press arrived early and kept its hand raised; as the 14th questioner it was able to ask Guterres about the ongoing UN bribery case and about ten abductions in Nigeria by / for Cameroon, which he visited in October. On the latter, Guterres said that the UN is active and has gotten some people released. This may be a reference to Felix Aghbor Balla and others. But what of those still held in Nigeria, where as Inner City Press pointed out his deputy Amina J. Mohammed has been for the past week? We'll have more on this. On the UN bribery indicted against Cheikh Gadio and Patrick Ho of the China Energy Fund Committee, to benefit CEFC China Energy which is still a member of the UN Global Compact, Guterres focused on this part of the question, saying he would look into the Global Compact membership. It's worth nothing that when Ng Lap Seng was indicted in 2015 for UN bribery, his Sun Kian Ip foundation was dropped by the UN and money returned. Here, UN DESA still used $1 million of CEFC even after the indictment. As Guterres seems not to know, the case and Inner City Press' coverage has been reported all over the world, from China to Uganda and Senegal to the Czech Republic. We'll have more on this as well. Here's the UN's January 16 transcript: Q: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for more question and answer in 2018, as you said.  In November, there was an indictment announced in Federal Court downtown of the head of an ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)-accredited NGO for bribing, allegedly bribing, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, to benefit the China Energy Fund Committee. And I wanted to ask you, that remains still in the Global Compact, and there hasn't been even an audit or anything created. Why haven't you started an audit in that case? Why is the beneficiary of what's described as bribery in the UN still in the Global Compact? And how do your reforms preclude or make impossible this type of bribery that's now happened twice under John Ashe, may he rest in peace, and under Sam Kutesa? And, also, on Cameroon, you visited, I know, in late October. Since then, some Anglophone leaders have been arrested or abducted in Nigeria, where I know your deputy was. I wanted to know what the UN system is doing about this now cross-border problem. Thanks a lot. Secretary-General:  Well, as a matter of fact, in relation to that, we have done several initiatives, and some of them even led to the release of people, and we will go on engaging with all the states involved. In relation to other cases, I would like to say that I'm not aware of presence in the Compact or whatever. I will have to look into it. I will look into it. What is clear for me is that we don't want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles that were defined in the constitution of the Compact. There is a code of conduct that is there, and that should be respected. So, I don't know exactly what happened in the compact in that regard. I will look into that."January 15, 2018

After Nigeria "Disappears" 10 in Abuja, Amina J. Mohammed Tours with Gov't, ICP Asks UN, Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, en francais, 1st Person

UNITED NATIONS, January 12 – After UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accepted a golden statue from Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya in Biya's palace in Yaounde, Guterres again shook hands with Biya in Paris at the One Planet event, photo here; UN told Inner City Press no meeting was scheduled. Now, after Guterres' envoy Francois Lounceny Fall equated secessionists with extremists, Inner City Press is informed that ten officials of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia declared on October 1 including Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe have been grabbed and disappeared -- while in Nigeria. Now with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who is in Abuja still silent, Inner City Press on January 12 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again.  Now, Amnesty International has spoken out about - it turns out it's 10 independence leaders of the anglophone regions of Cameroon as they've put it that were abducted in Nigeria more than a week ago, and they've said… Spokesman:  I don't have anything new on that. Inner City Press:  I guess… because I see pictures of Amina Mohammed with the Government of Nigeria and I'm just wondering has she brought it up to them? Spokesman:  I have nothing new on that at this point." This is the AI statement: "Ten leaders of the independence movement in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon could be at risk of torture and unfair trials if extradited from Nigeria, where they have been arrested and detained in secret for one week, Amnesty International said today. On 5 January, armed men in plain clothes stormed a hotel in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja where the activists, all members of the pro-independence Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), were meeting, and arrested them without presenting a warrant or providing an explanation.  They are being held incommunicado, without any access to a lawyer, in contravention of Nigerian law which demands they must be seen by a judge within 48 hours. Human rights lawyers in Nigeria have said that an extradition request has been made by the Cameroonian government, but no details have been made public. “By holding these activists in secret, without charge, the Nigerian authorities are failing to respect both national and international law. If they are extradited to Cameroon, they risk an unfair trial before a military court and the deeply disturbing possibility of torture,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria." So where is the UN and Amina J. Mohammed? On tour with and praising Nigeria's government, of course. On January 11, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you on Monday about this abduction of nine southern Cameroon leaders in Abuja.  So, it's… they were taken out of a hotel, you know, by armed men.  So, I'm wondering… I was wondering even in Chamb… I was wanting to see if Mr. Chambas, who I know covers Nigeria… what's the UN system… you said that you're aware of it and trying to monitor it. Spokesman:  We have not seen any confirmation or not… we have… we're still looking at the situation, but we've not seen any official or been made aware of any official confirmation since the incident's happened. Inner City Press:  Well, The Guardian has a quote from a Nigerian official saying they did take them into… into custody, and there's a big concern that they'll be extradited to Cameroon but my question… Spokesman:  That's… that's… yeah.  Go ahead.  I… Inner City Press:  Since I've seen that Amina Mohammed's schedule says that she's in Abuja for the entire week, meeting with Government officials, it seems… I guess I'm asking you, did she… has she asked them if they're responsible?  It's a disappearance. Spokesman:  I have nothing else to add." Nothing. With Ayuk Tabe still "disappeared," Inner City Press is re-publishing a few of his responses to its questions back in November. Inner City Press asked him if he thought the "One Nigeria" policy of Antonio Guterres, his (Nigerian) Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and envoy Chambas impacts their view of Southern Cameroons / Ambazonia. Ayuk Tabe noted the lack of transparency for Guterres' meeting with Paul Biya in late October; when Inner City Press asked of Biya's Ambassador to the UN bragging about Amina J. Mohammed's position on Biafra, Ayuk Tabe replied that then she does not have the correct facts. Now in Abuja, she is silent. January 8, 2018

In UN Bribery Case, Ho Again Seeks Bail, Saying CEFC Is With UN Like Salvation Army

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, letter; ICP in HK, here

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 – On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against the head of the UN ECOSOC accredited China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) Patrick Ho and former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, accused together of bribing Chad's President Idriss Deby (as well as, for Ho, of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda). Inner City Press has covered the case and repeatedly asked the UN why Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not even started an audit based on the indictment, including of how CEFC got its UN status and even remains in the UN Global Compact espousing anti-corruption goals. But Guterres has done nothing. Now Ho will be asking to be released on bail on January 8, and his argument includes that he is the head of "UN recognized" NGO similar, Ho's brief argues, to the American Bar Association, the Salvation Army and the World Jewish Congress. So the UN's inaction is now part of UN bribery indictee Ho's argument to be released. The filing, dated January 5, says Ho is "the leader of a non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations....After leaving government service, Dr. Ho became the Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of the China Energy Fund Committee (“CEFC”), a Hong Kong based non governmental organization that has Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Other organizations with Special Consultative Status include the American Bar Association, the Salvation Army, and the World Jewish Congress." The proposal is for Ho to be released on $10 million bond secured by $2 million in cash, into home detention in Manhattan with electronic monitoring. We'll have more on this. January 1, 2018

In 2017 UN's Guterres Failed in Myanmar, Yemen & Cameroon, Amid Corruption, Censors

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 30 – Antonio Guterres' year as UN Secretary General began by telling UN staff how much he respected them, but ended with Guterres on vacation while the UN budget was cut and staff ousted from their work-spaces, demoralized and disrespected.

In between Guterres delayed for months in responding to the slaughter of the Rohingya in Myanmar, out of too much deference to Aung San Suu Kyi. Guterres continued in Yemen with a Saudi-biased envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as ports were closed, children starved and cholera spread. Pressured to respond to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, his response was a brief stop-over in Yaounde where he accepted a golden statue from 35-year president Paul Biya.

 In November alone, Guterres ignored evidence that his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed undermined environmental protection, at a minimum, in signing 4000 certificates for endangered rosewood exported from Nigeria and Cameroon to China, then ignored a UN bribery indictment in the courts of Lower Manhattan. Guterres' UN used $1 million from the China Energy Fund Committee of indicted Patrick Ho even after the Press asked his spokesman about the indictment - and still no audit.

But little coverage either: Guterres eschewed press conference, holding none at the end of the year, but allowed himself to be sold for $1200 a pop at a fundraiser on Wall Street in mid-December. Inner City Press, which covered the event, is launching a series on Guterres' performance as UN Secretary General, even as he and his head of “Global Communications” Alison Smale keep Inner City Press more restricted than no-show no-question state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom, assigned the work-space it long shared along with the alternative Free UN Coalition for Access, pushing for a UN Freedom of Information Act.

A spotlight must be shined on this UN. Here a review of 2017, month by month.

January - February: In Antonio Guterres' first two months as UN Secretary General, the longstanding Cyprus talks began to fall apart, and Guterres stood silent as Burundi, for example, banned access by UN officials. Guterres ignored a protest by whistleblowers against Francis Gurry of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, and that UN agency's work on North Korea's cyanide patents.

He did nothing about a UN waste dump exposed by Inner City Press in the Central African Republic, despite his predecessor Ban Ki-moon's record with waste in Haiti and elsewhere. While he announced that Kenyan troops would head back to South Sudan to join UN Peacekeeping, he appointed the fifth Frenchman in a row to head this DPKO, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

Meanwhile he was rebuffed in his attempt to appoint Fayyad to head the UN's Libya mission, perhaps explaining his refusal later in the year to take a single press question after reading out his canned statement on Jerusalem. In a harbinger of his approach to UN corruption and (non) reform, his UN was named as not providing requested documents in the first UN bribery case, of Ng Lap Seng. (In the second case, of Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio, Guterres has yet to even launch an audit).

February 2017 ended with a seeming second wind, the belated arrival of Guterres deputy Amina J. Mohammed. Inner City Press was throughout constructive; it would later emerge that during the delay Mohammed signed 4000 certificates for endangered Nigerian and Cameroonian rosewood already exported to China, something Guterres has refused to investigate despite a petition with 92,000 requests.  Guterres' first interaction with UN staff was a Town Hall meeting on January 9. Even though it was on the UN's public website, when Inner City Press live-streamed it on Periscope for the impacted public to see it received a threat that this violated unspecified UN's guidelines.

This has been a pattern in Guterres' first year: threats to Press for unspecified violations, such as that of Maher Nasser on October 20, and a total failure to respond or reform by Nasser's boss, Alison Smale. Ultimately, Guterres is responsible.

March - April: The spring thaw in Antonio Guterres' first year as UN Secretary General, in March and April, began to reveal hypocrisy. A small but telling example was when, after Guterres called on people all over the world to turn off their lights for Earth Hour, Inner City Press found the lights on at the UN-owned mansion on Sutton Place where Guterres lives.

At first the UN refused to answer Inner City Press where Guterres was - Lisbon - then accused it of “monitoring the residence.” It's called journalism: with the UN refusing to disclose even what country Guterres is in, checking the residence is the only way. The UN also refuses to disclose how much these Lisbon trips cost the global taxpayers, for example how many UN Security officials are taken, where they stay and for how much.

Likewise Guterres' 2016 financial disclosure differed significantly from what he filed as head of UNHCR in 2013. This has yet to be explained. In April Guterres was petitioned to replace the UN's pro-Saudi Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. But when Inner City Press asked, Guterres' spokespeople refused to even confirm receipt of the letter.

This happened on a petition by staff too, about retaliation by Francis Gurry the head of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, whose assistance to North Korea's cyanide patents Guterres did not act on.

In late April, Guterres did nothing as Tanzania expelled his resident coordinator, a far cry from his knee-jerk defense later in the year - continuing on December 27 - of the 4000 rosewood signatures by his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed. Sustainable development? Try hypocrisy, and censorship and restriction of the Press which covers it - and Cameroon, here. We'll have more on this.

May - June: As Antonio Guterres entered his fifth month as UN Secretary General in May 2017, there were still no reforms, and even his budget and reform speech was withheld when Inner City Press asked for a copy of it.

Rather than propose anything but deck-chair moving changes in UN bureaucracy - new acronyms, new Departments - Guterres seemed to believe his private meetings and canned speeches could do the trick. He met with 11 Congressmembers in May - all Democrats, Inner City Press' inquiry found - and gave a speech in South Carolina. But to what effect?

By year's end the UN budget would be cut by over $200 million with Guterres nowhere in sight, already on vacation in Lisbon, not even a comment for two days. In the real world, in South Sudan for example, leaked documents published by Inner City Press showed inaction as the SPLA moved toward a violent reclaiming of Pagak.

Amid the ongoing crackdown in Burundi, the best Guterres could do was a Burkina Faso based envoy, Michel Kafando, who would be only part-time Inner City Press learned though Guterres didn't tell the Security Council members that. He never had a comment on Morocco's crackdown in the Rif, despite dozens of questions from Inner City Press, perhaps thinking that silence might help on Western Sahara (it didn't).

On nuclear North Korea, Guterres did nothing as the UN Federal Credit Union did business with the mission and UN WIPO helped with cyanide patents.

In continuing Cameroon failure, Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed appeared at the ghoulish “National Day” in a townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side; the Ambassador told Inner City Press due to her position on Biafra in “her” Nigeria, she would never support the Anglophones in his. She has yet to answer questions, initially surprising but after the rosewood scandal was revealed, more problematic. Scandals were coming...

July - August: Antonio Guterres first summer as Secretary General had a 14 day black hole in it, in which not only did he disappear but his spokespeople refused at first to confirm to Inner City Press even were he was: the Dalmatian coast.

He had failed on Cyprus, descending from the 38th floor for a mere three minute stakeout. He delegated the Cameroon conflict, unwisely, to his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, who was said by Paul Biya's Ambassador to be in the bag, firmly against any secession.

She had worked for Ban Ki-moon, whose era at the UN was indicted, and in essence convicted, along with Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng at the end of July. But Guterres doubled down in impunity, claiming that the UN was the victim of the scheme, even as its accomplices continued on the payroll. Guterres' UN was accused of racial discrimination in a Town Hall meeting he closed to the press - but what did he care?

He dodged questions about the crackdowns in Togo and Gabon and left, even at year's end, the UN Special Adviser on Africa position empty. In Kenya he called electoral official Msango's murder an “untimely demise,” alternately deferring to Ban Ki-moon's pro-Kenyatta son in law and then to his opposite, Roslyn Akombe. Apparently, Africa didn't and doesn't interest him.

In Europe, he supposed his group by ignoring Catalonia, even as he let sell-out Catalan Cristina “The Evicter” Gallach stay on too long as a representative to the UN's school. Her replacement Alison Smale was late in coming, and surrounded by the same staff like Guterres, would continue the same abuses and worse. The Fall was approaching...

September - October: Antonio Guterres' first UN General Assembly “high level” week as Secretary General featured a grip and grin with Egypt's Sisi witnessed only by Sisi's state media to whom Inner City Press' office is assigned under Guterres, a praise-fest with Cameroon's Paul Biya even as his forces killed Anglophone civilians and a total refusal to answer questions on UN corruption.

During the week, Haiti called on Guterres to belatedly do something about the 10,000 people the UN killed with cholera; Guterres has raised very little money and his envoy on the topic has yet to take Press questions.

Even when Guterres did, on September 13, he answered only on peacekeeper sexual abuse, entirely evading Inner City Press' question about the six UN bribery guilty verdicts in the case of Ng Lap Seng, for coverage of which Inner City Press was evicted and is still restricted under Guterres. Other corrupt events and bribery cases proceeded; Guterres' Secretariat took on a Junior Professional Officer from Kim Jong-Un's North Korea, while refusing to confirm the name.

By October, with his head of Global Communications vowing to spin the trip, Guterres took off for Central African Republic, refusing to answer why one of the only three officials criticized in the UN report on sexual abuse there, Renner Onana, remained in place, with promotion. On the way back, most tellingly, Guterres stopped in Younde and took a golden statue from Paul “The Killer” Biya, smiling. This is the symbol of Guterre's Secretary Generalship....

November - December 2017: As 2017 drew to a close UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres closed in on himself, like a small star collapsing, speaking only to friendly or paid media, accepting money from an already-indicted NGO then fleeing to Portugal, where he ended the year as the UN budget was cut. Was this what he was elected or selected for?

In early November Inner City Press had already just been threatened for covering his photo ops noticed after one a two-person lunch set-up on the 38th floor with the name plate, Gillian Tett. But Guterres' spokesman - and Ban K-moon's before that, who does that - refused to say what it was about.

It was an interview, with Guterres criticizing even the food at the UN and showing up. It left many UN staff and contractors disgusted. But with the threat of retaliation and many guards, Guterres was unaware.

What did he care, when 98,000 environmentalists asked him to investigate his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed for signing CITES certificates for endangered rosewood from Nigeria and Cameroon already in China? Rather than investigate, Guterres lashed out at a rare on the record Ambassador critic, from Kenya, calling him “unfair.”

This as Guterres and his head of Communications Alison Smale kept the critical Press restricted, refusing even to offer any explanation, using three time loser Maher Nasser to issue new threats. Even when the budget was cut and Inner City Press alone covered it, with one of Smale's minders to 2 am on Christmas Eve, Guterres was gone, in Portugal, an absentee UN slowly collapsing in on itself like a small star, refusing even on the last work day of the year to answer any Press questions, here. To be continued...

December 25, 2017

UN Over $5 Billion Budget Passed by UNGA With No Public Present, Holiday Tree and Carol, Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, draft, photos, Video

UNITED NATIONS, December 24 – The UN's more than five billion dollar budget was supposed to be adopted by the UN's Fifth Committee on December 22 then, the Committee chairman told Inner City Press, noon on Saturday December 23. Ultimately the Committee approval didn't finish until 2 in the morning on Christmas eve, with the ultimate approval postponed until 10 am on Christmas eve. Inner City Press, the only media covering it, was required to get a UN "minder" to access the General Assembly, unlike other no-show non-critical UN resident correspondents. From a booth about the GA it Periscoped the approval, and even an impromptu holiday carol. And holiday was the word. While in previous hears a colorful Christmas tree has been displayed on the GA Hall after the last session, this year it was a generic pine tree with no ornaments. In all other ways, it was routine: opposition to Responsibility to Protect and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to funding the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2231 (Iran) and 1559. Myanmar opposed any UN envoy being funded, but it passed 122 yes, 10 no, 24 abstaining.There was vague praise of reforms, even as absent S-G Guterres hasn't even ordered an audit of the most recent UN bribery indictment, much less his own Deputy's signing of 4000 rosewood certificates. Reform? And end of UN censorship of investigative Press? We will Press on this.
December 18, 2017

On Cameroon, Inner City Press Asks UN If Guterres Has Done Anything on Press Freedom, No, Failing Fall

By Matthew Russell Lee, UN Audio, Video, en francais

UNITED NATIONS, December 15 – After UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accepted a golden statue from Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya in Biya's palace in Yaounde, Guterres again shook hands with Biya in Paris at the One Planet event, photo here; UN told Inner City Press no meeting was scheduled. And as of Deember 15 it seems clear Guterres has not lifted a finger on the case of journalist Patrice Nganang, jailed by Biya for ten days and counting. Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman at the December 15 UN noon briefing, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: wanted to ask you again about… about the journalist clocked up in Cameroon for ten days now, Patrice Nganang, who was, you know… basically had investigated the Anglophone areas and was picked up from the airport in Douala, is in jail, charged with insulting or threatening the president.  Has the UN done anything on that? Spokesman:  I don't have an update on the case in Cameroon." Later on December 15, Guterres was slated to be sold for $1200 a table at a Wall Street fundraiser; we'll have more on this. When Guterres' envoy Francois Lounceny Fall briefed the UN Security Council on December 13, he lumped Boko Haram and "the Anglophone separatist movement" in the same sentence. On UN Radio, Fall has equated secessionists with extremists. On December 13 he said "clashes have continued between radicals and government forces resulting in the death of security officers in the North-West and South-West regions likely to further inflame tensions." Wait, security officers were the only ones, even as implied here the first ones, to be killed? Inner City Press at noon on December 13, after Fall ran past it at the stakeout saying he had another meeting, asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, UN transcript here and below. On December 14, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Haq again about Fall, who is failing on the Lord's Resistance Army (and Gabon) as well, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you yesterday about whether Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall would answer questions, and many… given… after his briefing yesterday, many people, in looking at the paragraph on Cameroon, in particular, have many questions about it.  He referred to clashes between radicals.  And so people want to know, in the same way that he called secessionists extremists, what he meant by radicals.  I guess I'm just wondering, is he still in New York?  I know he was here Monday through Wednesday.  And is there some way to get him to clarify why… for example, the refugee flows into Nigeria are not mentioned in his report and sort of what he's actually doing on this issue? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, it's certainly his call whether he wants to come to the press.  He chose not to do that yesterday, but he did have an open briefing, and we provided the contents of he said.  Hold on.  Hold on. [Cutting Press offDecember 11, 2017

North Korea Said UN Feltman Agrees With Them On Sanctions, Now He Cites Funding Gaps

By Matthew Russell Lee, YouTube

UNITED NATIONS, December 9 – In North Korea accompanying UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman is a former staffer of his who now works directly with Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Katrin Hett. (UN's belated read-out below.) Inner City Press exclusively reported this on December 5, and after Guterres canceled his December 6 noon briefing for a stakeout at which he took no questions, asked for confirmation from UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, who typically refused. See below, with two more names. Now, because of today's UN secrecy, it is the North Korean government which has issued a read-out of the meetings: "the visit of Jeffrey Feltman, the undersecretary general for political affairs at the U.N., helped the communist nation and U.N. understand each other deeply, and the two sides agreed to have regular communications at various levels, according to the Korean Central News Agency. KCNA reported that North Korea told U.N. officials that current situation on the Korean Peninsula is due to the United States' threat and its wish to launch a nuclear attack against North Korea first. The U.N. officials responded that they will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula by following the U.N. Charter, which states the organization's mission of maintaining international peace and security, the KCNA added. According to the KCNA, Feltman recognized international sanctions against North Korea are having a negative influence on humanitarian aid there. He visited a children's food factory and a hospital in Pyongyang on Thursday. Feltman was expected to leave Pyongyang on a North Korean Air Koryo passenger jet to land in Beijing on Saturday." Maybe Feltman will speak there, as he so rarely has in his more than five years at the UN. Hett has yet to speak. While SG Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not initially confirm Inner City Press noting in "his" UN Press Briefing room that Feltman's predecessor and Ban's brain Kim Won-soo visited DPRK in February 2010 and now some surmise why. The month after that visit described by both as this one should be as having been successful, North Korea sunk South Korea's Cheonan ship, killing 46. And this time? Guterres himself, typically, is avoiding the Press. But multiple sources tell Inner City Press Guterres doled out quotes to media from a major UN funder. This before he whispers again on December 15 in a Wall Street event he'll be sold for $1200 a table at. We'll have more on this. For now, Feltman has issued this read-out: "Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from 5 to 8 December 2017. Mr. Feltman had a series of meetings with H.E. Mr. RI Yong Ho, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. PAK Myong Guk, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, of the DPRK. They exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula and agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today. Mr. Feltman emphasized the need for the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions.  He also said there can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of sincere dialogue. Time is of the essence.   Noting the urgent need to prevent miscalculations and open channels to reduce the risks of conflict, Mr. Feltman underlined that the international community, alarmed by escalating tensions, is committed to the achievement of a peaceful solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.  Mr. Feltman also met with the United Nations Country Team and members of the diplomatic corps, and visited UN project sites, including a children’s foodstuff factory, TB prevention institute, breast tumour institute, and paediatric hospital. During the site visits he learned about the UN’s life-saving work on the ground as well as the challenges in procurement and funding gaps." And on this: in advance of a December 11, 11:30 am North Korea human rights event announced by the US, it belatedly emerges that the UN Security Council is set to hold a procedural vote at 10 am for a human rights meeting in the Council. Inner City Press twice asked Japan's Koro Bessho, the Council's president for December, about this. The first time he said it was still being worked on. The second time, he walked away. And it was his deputy, not him, who appeared at the Council stakeout on the afternoon of December 8. Inner City Press asked a question and it was partially answered. But it was not Bessho. More on this - and on Feltman and his team's trip to North Korea. It is customary to at least disclose the identities of such a delegation. And so today Inner City Press names two others accompanying Feltman: unsurprisingly the UN Resident Coordinator in DPRK since 2015, Tapan Mishra formerly of Burma Shell Co, and surprising to some, Department of Political Affairs staffer Samuel Martell of the UK, in his position since October 2014. We'll have more on these, amid Guterres increasingly shrunk UN transparency. He banned the Press from his swearing-in of Global Communications boss Alison Smale; now he says that unlike even Ban Ki-moon, he will hold no end of the year press conference, while arranging to be sold on Wall Street for $1200 a table. This is today's UN. As to Hett, she was suggested to (or some say, planted with) Guterres by Feltman during the former's transition, and since then Hett has nearly always been at Guterres' side. For example she took an August 2017 photograph of Guterres with Palestine Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah published by the UN Department of Public Information. Inner City Press exclusively quoted DPA whistleblowers that Hett reported back to Feltman all of the people Guterres was interviewing to staff up his administration. (Guterres' spokesman called the questioning despicable.) Now Hett is in North Korea, with Feltman - and Guterres excluded the Press from his December 6 swearing-in of DPI's Alison Smale, here. Guterres is sure to hype up his wor on North Korea in connection with his December 13-14 trip to Japan. But what about Hett? To some, the UN is beginning to mirror Feltman and Hett's host.December 4, 2017

On Cameroon, ICP Asked UN of Biya Calling Secessionists Terrorists, Now He Orders "Relocations"

By Matthew Russell Lee, UN Audio

UNITED NATIONS, December 1 – A week after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accepted a golden statue from Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya in Biya's palace in Yaounde, there were threats of prosecution against people who refuse to celebrate Biya's 35 years in power. Photo of letter here. So is this was Guterres celebrates, under the Guterres Doctrine? What is the relation to the illegal lumber exports signed off on by Guterres' Deputy, Amina J. Mohammed in the #RosewoodRacket? There were threats to Inner City Press' accreditation at the UN, here. Now upon Paul Biya's return from the African Union - EU summit in Abidjan he has "declared war" on what he calls secessionist terrorists in Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons. Inner City Press asked the UN about it and UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric only said they are "still looking at" or studying what Biya said. Now orders have been issued for civilians to "relocate" and for business people to stop working. See order here. We'll have more on this. This echoes what the UN's Francois Fall said, on Alison Smale's UN Radio no less, that secessionists are extremists and even Federalism is not on the table. The UN has thrown gasoline on this conflict, far from engaging in the preventative diplomacy that Antonio Guterres, when running for his post, said he was about. In the UN, he and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed have kept up Press restrictions and censorship. On December 1 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Biya's comment. Dujarric said the UN is still trying to study them - it's not hard, they're on YouTube, here - and said the last time Guterres spoke with Biya was in October (that is, over the golden statue). Now what? In Bamenda, local journalist Elvis McCarty (some say Elvis Macarty) was reportedly roughed up by Paul Biya's security forces, the tools of his journalistic trade confiscated and/or broken, with him being accused of being a secessionist - or, as the UN's Francois Fall has put it, an "extremist." And while Guterres and his envoy Failing Fall purport to urge dialogue in CameroUN on "the Anglophone issue," when the issue was raised in Parliament in Yaounde, there was a walk-out. some dialogue. Meanwhile the Swiss government has responded in a November 17 letter obtained and published by Inner City Press to issues raised by Southern Cameroonians there. On November 21, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask a question about Cameroon.  In the south-west region, a video emerged basically of authorities ordering people out of their cars and to walk on their knees, very much to humiliate them, etc.  And so, people… one, they've wondered, like, what's the status of the UN's call for dialogue since they don't see this as dialogue?  And, number two, they've seen that the Swiss ambassador has said publicly that he visited the area and is very concerned.  So, the question, I guess, I had is whether François Fall, in his various visits… has he actually gone to those regions of the country?  Does he have an intention to go?  Has he requested to go but been rebuffed?  How can it be that the ambassador of a country based in Yaoundé has more… has greater access than the UN… UNOCA [United Nations Office in Central Africa] representative? Spokesman:  "Well, Mr. Fall works out his itinerary with the authorities as he can.  Whenever we have further travel for him… by him to announce, we will." Well. Meanwhile another part of the UN system -- independent experts whom the UN Secretariat emphasizes are NOT the UN -- has belatedly spoken out where Guterres, Amina "Rosewood" Mohammed and Francois Fall have not. But then Fall essentially undercut the experts, focusing on attacks on security forces and... territorial integrity. Here's from Failing Fall's UNOCA: "The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) continues to closely monitor the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon... Mr. François Louncény Fall seizes this opportunity to recall the commitment of the United Nations to the territorial integrity and unity of Cameroon." On November 17, Inner City Press asked Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Tweeted video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: this François [Louncény] Fall statement.  And the reason I'm asking is that, as you may know five experts of Geneva-based special rapporteurs, including on freedom of expression, defense of human right defenders and others, issued a statement. The statement is largely focused on abuses by the Government of Anglophones, censorship, turning off social media.  They have a[n artificially low] death figure.  They talk about torture.  I know that they're not part of the UN system.  They do give briefings in this room.  They are appointed by the Human Rights Council.  What's the relationship between human rights experts saying the Government is killing Anglophones and François Fall saying territory is important and gendarmes have been killed? It seems like they're two opposing statements.November 27, 2017

On UN Bribery Case, ICP Asked of Guterres Use of CEFC Funds, Kutesa Travel, UN Half-Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video , ICP in Hong King, here

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 – On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio as well as against the head of the China Energy Fund Committee Patrick Ho, who is accused of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda. Contrary to the indictment which says Kutesa stepped down as Foreign Minister during his year as UN PGA, Inner City Press asked him on September 14, 2015 and Kutesa said, "I am still foreign minister." Scoop here, video here. While the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, even after the indictment and Inner City Press' public questions went forward on November 21 with CEFC's money, see below, in Kampala members of Parliament are calling for Kutesa to resign as foreign minister. On November 24, Inner City Press asked three of Guterres' spokespeople questions, including: "in light of the indictment announced Nov 20 involving Patrick Ho of CEFC, Cheikh Gadio and alleging acts by former UN PGA Sam Kutesa and others, please provide a list of all funds received by the UN or any of its funds, programs or agencies from CEFC or its affiliates, the use of those funds and how much remains, and all information regarding selection processes for disbursement of the funds. Please provide dates and details of CEFC's sponsorship of events in the UN, and interactions with ECOSOC, for the past five years. Also please state the status of Cheikh Gadio's entry into the UN, whether via the OIC or otherwise. Regarding the year in which Sam Kutesa was UN PGA, please provide a list of all UN funds used for his travel, including but not limited to China or Uganda, the composition of his delegation(s) and any and all Special Advisers to the PGA that he named. There will be more questions." There certainly will be. Because this is the entirety of the UN's response to the above: "On the CEFC, we have the following information: The decision to grant consultative status lies with Member States and is exercised through the Economic and Social Council and its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. Under the resolution, consultative status may be established with organizations a) concerned with matters falling within the competence of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies; b) whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and c) that can contribute to the work of the UN in accordance with their own aims and purposes and the nature and scope of their competence and activities. Special consultative status is conferred to organizations that have a special competence in or are concerned with a limited number of fields of activity covered by the Council and its subsidiary bodies. Regarding questions concerning Sam Kutesa, please address those to the Government of Uganda, for which he was working, including during his time as President of the General Assembly." That is, there is no explanation of Guterres' DESA using CEFC's funds after the indictment, no information about UN spending on Kutesa's trip(s) to China. A total cover-up. Meanwhile the UN, implicated, canceled Guterres' photo op involving the CEFC money but went forward and used it, while the event remained on the schedule of Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, embroiled in a scandal involving the signing of 4,000 certificates for rosewood illegal logged in Cameroon and Nigeria and already in China. Ironically, she will be delivering the "Nelson Mandela" address. We'll have more on this.November 20, 2017

UN Spox Runs From DSG Rosewood Qs, Now Guterres Is Petitioned by 62,000 to Probe, Recuse

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I, II, III, IV, V

UNITED NATIONS, November 17 – The export to China of illegally harvested rosewood, reported on by Le Monde on November 3 with reference to UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who signed the certificates, also involves "smuggling from Cameroon." See EIA video, here. On November 14, for the second day in a row, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about what Amina Mohammed knew, and when, and he again refused to answer. Nov 14 video here. But from the UN's resident coordinator in Kenya Sid Chatterjee, given the position by his father in law Ban Ki-moon and now or soon reporting to Amina Mohammed, the spin that the detailed Rosewood Racket report is "fake news." Is this? An environmental group has launched a petition to get Ban's successor Antonio Guterres to investigate Mohammed. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric about the petition, now at 62,000 signatures, and about Mohammed recusing herself, on November 17, Periscope video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Yesterday, I had asked you about… about some questions about this rosewood situation, and I want to say that yesterday, there were 46,000 people petitioning for the Secretary-General.  Now, there's 62,000.  But you had said to me, go and read Le Monde, so I did read Le Monde, and there's no mention of Cameroon in it, but, in fact, in the report by the Environmental Investigation Agency, there is… and in other reports, there are talk that some of these logs don't over come from Nigeria, which would make them outright illegal, signing any certificate for their export.  So, I wanted to… this is the kind of thing I would like to ask Amina Mohammed if she did a press conference, just what did she know about… I'm sure there's answers.  I'm sure there's many things that could be said. Spokesman:  Next time she's in front of the press, she will be… she has engaged with journalists who have written stories on this and has not been hiding from anything.  Quite to the contrary.  We have said what we've had to say.  I think any further questions on how this issue is dealt with should go to the Nigerian Government. Inner City Press: But just so you know, the petitioners are not writing to the Nigerian Government.  They’re saying that there’s inconsistencies… Spokesman:  I've answered the question about the petitioners. Inner City Press: This is kind of a related question that you may or may not like, but there's a lot of interest by… by Greenpeace and other environmental organizations in a… in a… in a move by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to end what's called an embargo on logging, or an embargo on new, you know, industrial logging concessions.  And so people… I could imagine a UN body or the Secretariat itself, since it relates to climate change, might have a position on this.  Sorry to ask you, but given the 62,000 signatures, would Amina Mohammed, otherwise, you know, responsible for sustainable development on many issues, would she be recused from deciding the Secretariat's position on logging matters until this logging matter is cleaned up? Spokesman:  You’re jumping over conclusions that, I think, that have… over facts that have been an Olympic record. Inner City Press: Read the petition. Spokesman:  I'm not talking about the petition.  I'm talking about your… the logic within your question.  I think Amina Mohammed has, in her past capacity, in her current capacity, has been a very strong advocate against illegal logging and has shown that through her actions.  Thank you." Then he ran off the podium.  Inner City Press had asked him on November 16, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I want to ask you about, again, this rosewood situation. Yesterday I'd asked what I think is a simple question, whether the certificates, the thousands of certificates, that the Deputy Secretary-General signed were filed in real time with CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna] as seems to be required.  I don't know if I'm going to get an answer to that, but I have a different, I guess, superseding question, which is that there's now online, launched by a group called Rainforest Rescue, a petition to Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres to investigate the allegations against Amina J. Mohammed.  The international community must prosecute criminals between timber trafficking.  And it has 46,000 signatures so far.  So what's this procedure… can I just finish the question?  What is the procedure in the United Nations for a civil society petition such as this which has garnered 46,000 requests in a very short period of time?  Will the Secretary-General actually compare the report to what's been said publicly by Amina J. Mohammed and consider these environmental people's deep concern about it? Spokesman:  First of all, we receive petitions all the time, and they're looked at and… Inner City Press: Is there a threshold? Spokesman:  We value as a matter of principle our engagement with civil society.  We have spoken and have said what we've had to say on behalf of the Deputy Secretary-General, including the fact that she has… she followed all the rules.  If there are questions about CITES and the workings of the Nigerian Ministry of Environment, I would encourage you to talk to the Nigerian Ministry of Environment.  The Secretary-General has full confidence and continues to have full confidence in the Deputy Secretary-General. Inner City Press: Separate question.  Separate question.  Was she aware… this is not about CITES.  Was she aware… the report says that much of the timber that was actually exported comes from Boko Haram territories, i.e., money would go to Boko Haram.  And some of it was illegally smuggled from Cameroon, so it's a question that's not addressed by any… Spokesman:  I think it is addressed… it's addressed in the statement.  I would also encourage you to read the lengthy Q&A she did with Le Monde." But the petition was launched after that. When will Mohammed answer Press questions? Will Guterres, as petitioned, investigate?

From the petition: "UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed has been implicated in rosewood trafficking. The former Nigerian Minister of Environment is said to have acted to facilitate the sale of 10,000 shipping containers of illegal rosewood to China. Tell the UN to prosecute the criminals behind timber trafficking. To: the UN Member States, the CITES Signatory States and the CITES Secretariat. The UN Deputy Secretary-General has been implicated in the illegal sale of rosewood. The UN must prosecute the criminals behind timber trafficking.... Chinese authorities played an uncharacteristically positive role in the incident by seizing no less than 10,000 shipping containers of illegal rosewood. The timber is valued at more than $300 million. According to the EIA, the Nigerian Ministry of Environment responded by simply issuing the missing documents retroactively. This allowed over 1.4 million illegal logs to be laundered, in violation of both Nigerian laws and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The traffickers allegedly bribed senior Nigerian officials – including ministers and members of parliament – with more than US $1 million. The scandal is an impressive illustration of the power wielded by the timber mafia. The then Minister of Environment, Amina J. Mohammed, appears to have personally signed the fraudulent documents as one of her last actions in office. She is currently serving as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mohammed has since denied the allegations. Please call on UN Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres to investigate the allegations against Amina J. Mohammed. The international community must prosecute the criminals behind timber trafficking." Then again, Guterres and Mohammed have been ignoring a petition to end Press censorship, here. We'll have more on this. On November 15, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Rosewood Racket and the report that was put out by the Environmental Investigation Agency.  And it's a very detailed report.  And one… and I've read what was put out by the Secretary-General [sic] [ICP: it is unclear why the UN inserted "sic" here - Dujarric said the SG supports the DSG.]  I've read what her interview with the… of the Cab… the Pulse, the Cable.  And what I wanted to ask you is, when she signed these 4,000 certificates, CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna] regulations require that they be filed with the Secretariat of CITES if they are, in fact, retroactive.  And so… it's not answered anywhere.  And I'd like you to either maybe get an answer from her or have her have a press conference when she comes back.  If that was committed to, that would seem to be the way to go.  Were these certificates ever filed with CITES, given the various pronouncements that it's made by this Secretariat about commitment to these regulations? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, I believe Stéphane [Dujarric] has already given you the details of where we stand on this.  I don't have anything further to add on this.  If the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, has any actions, we can evaluate it at that time.  But, at this stage, we've said what we've said on terms of her actions.
Inner City Press: My question is, he said… I mean, I'm asking a question.  He said, your question is answered by the statement by the Secretary-General, but it's not answered.  It's a straight, factual question.  Were… she signed the certificates.  Were they, in fact, filed with the CITES Secretariat as required? It's just a yes or no… Deputy Spokesman:  The Deputy Secretary-General has made clear that she followed the procedures that were supposed to be followed in what she was doing. Inner City Press: The reason I'm asking you this is because the Resident Representative of the UN in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee, has today issued an interview saying that the whole report is fake news and she's a great person.  She may be a great person, but what I wanted to know is, is he speaking on behalf Amina Mohammed or the UN system when he says this detailed report of… of seeming violations is CITES regulations is fake news? Deputy Spokesman:  "I don't have to comment for him.  He's offering his personal view.  This is… that's outside of his particular area." Oh. Chatterjee says he too has been the victim - the reference is to nepotism in his promotions, from Iraq with Steffan de Mistura under Ban and forward from there, and IPKF war crimes in Sri Lanka.  Sid says: "having been a target of malicious and fake news myself for close to 10 years, let me just begin by saying that I feel very sorry for Amina Mohammed. It is most unfair. This is yellow journalism and premeditated mendacity." This is the response to detailed questions about retroactive CITES permits for rosewood, illegally smuggled from Cameroon. We'll have more on this. From the November 14 UN transcript: Inner City Press: I want to ask you about this rosewood situation.  I'd asked you yesterday.  You'd said that everything is answered in the statement... So, my question is as follows, and it's not answered by the Secretary-General's statement.  The allegation in the report, and it's documented by a guy holding up a sheet of paper that has bill of lading numbers on it, is that, at the time that Amina Mohammed signed thousands of certificates in January 2017, that this wood was already in China, that the state… that the… that the… the certificates were backdated, which is, under CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna], a major problem.  So, I wanted to know… she says that there's no evidence of that, but the evidence is in the report, and I'm directing you to figure 33… Spokesman:  I've read the report. Inner City Press: Okay.  So what is her response to that? And how could the Secretary-General say “I back her up entirely” in advance of the CITES meeting that's coming up in late November? Given that the CITES is part of the UN system, will he defer to them? If they find wrongdoing, will he take action? Spokesman:  I think the statement that we issued is pretty comprehensive.  The… Ms. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General, said the signing of the legal signing of export permits for rosewood was delayed due to her insistence that stringent due process was followed.  She said she signed the export certificates requested before the ban only after due process was followed and better security watermarked certificates became available.
Inner City Press:  Is it permissible to sign certificates when the wood is already in China? Spokesman:  You're making that assumption.  I think she's answered… she's… she's answered the question. Inner City Press: That's why I think she should do a press conference on it.  It's a major… given that you talk about the environmental SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], here are many people who think that the answer is insufficient Spokesman:  She's answered the question." No, she hasn't. And the UN says she will stay on the road until November 20. On November 13, Inner City Press asked Dujarric to answer basic questions, but he refused. Video hereNovember 13, 2017

Rosewood Racket Signed Off On By UN's Amina J. Mohammed Has Cameroon Smuggling

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, November 10 – The export to China of illegally harvested rosewood, reported on by Le Monde on November 3 with reference to UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who signed the certificates, also involves "smuggling from Cameroon." See EIA video, here. This may put a new light on the UN's inaction on the Cameroonian government's killings and Internet cut off in the Anglophone zones. Cameroon's Ambassador to the UN, while saying he'd call upstairs to ensure Inner City Press couldn't go there any more (the UN's Department of Public Information did threaten Inner City Press' accreditation for Periscope broadcasting in connection with photo ops on the 38th floor), also bragged that the DSG's opposition to separatism in Biafra led to the same position on Cameroon. And just as UN envoy Chambas went and preached One Nigeria, failing UN envoy Francois Fall called Southern Cameroons secessionists "extremists," on DPI's UN Radio no less. They say in journalism, Follow the Money. But in this case it may be, Follow the Rosewood, or Kosso.  In terms of money: Joe Biden appeared at the UN on November 3, and tables were sold for up to $50,000. One might think, after the proved corruption of the UN in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial for events in this same Delegates Dining Room, charging this kind of money for sitting with  a “senior UN official” would be a thing of the past. Or after Antonio Guterres was questioned after taking a golden statue from Paul Biya, the 35-year rules of Cameroon. But no. On November 6, Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed appeared, took an award and gave a speech at an event in Washington for which $25,000 sponsorships were offered, here, by a publication which covers and is promoted by the UN (while following up on November 9 on Le Monde's November 3 story, no mention of Cameroon.) On November 9, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press; as you know or you or Farhan [Haq] had said, she just recently received the Diplomat of the Year Award from Foreign Policy down in DC. Was she aware of this story being in preparation when she accepted the award? Often, to receive the award, you have to be present.  How long were the discussions? Spokesman:  I think some of those questions should be addressed to Foreign Policy.  She was fully aware that the story was going to come out when she received the award." No Cameroon. Ban Ki-moon allowed the corruption of Ng Lap Seng, and Antonio Guterres has done thing to reverse it. In fact, Guterres left through the same door Biden came in, one hour before, using public funds to fly to his home in Lisbon, using a 15 minutes speech there on Monday to justify a three day UN paid junket. And his spokesman refused to answer questions, even about his one on one lunches on the 38th floor, where Inner City Press' use of Periscope during photo ops has allowed Guterres' DPI under Alison Smale to threaten its accreditation. All of this takes place while Guterres covers up mass killing in Cameroon, and is prepared to be sold himself, on Wall Street no less. We'll have more on this. November 6, 2017

ICP Asks UN If Guterres Doctrine Is Quelling Secessionists for Old Rulers, Restricting Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, November 3 – What does today's UN under Antonio Guterres stand for? Denouncing secessionists as extremists, propping up 30-plus year presidents, and threatening and restricting the Press that asks about it? When this question was put to Guterres' spokesman Staphane Dujarric on November 3, video here, Dujarric claimed he had provided an answer to it on November 2 (he hadn't) then quickly left the podium of the UN Press Briefing Room, from which he previously evicted Inner City Press. This is today's UN. After major protests in Togo were cracked down on with authorities shooting and killed two or seven protesters, Inner City Press on August 21 and 22 asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, what the UN's long time West Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas is, in fact, doing. Video here; UN August 22 transcript here, and below. Now, after giving his and Guterres' blessing to the bid by Togo's ruling Gnassingbe family to remain in power past 2030, Chambas has resurfaced in Nigeria, opposing the aspirations of many in Biafra. It is at odds with Guterres' claims about conflict prevention and good faith efforts to address root causes. Mis-identified as "Chambers," Chambas has now been quoted that "The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of UN for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambers, spoke when he led a special delegation of the world body to the leadership of apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu. Guterres said that UN was gratified by the mature role of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in quelling the recent agitations by some secessionist groups, and encouraged them to continue to adopt dialogue and constructive engagement in the resolution of issues. He said that Nigeria, like many other countries, is still battling with weak structures which require constant dialogue and deepening of democracy in overcoming the challenges. 'We indeed came to commend Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the leadership they have demonstrated. A few months ago we were all getting a bit worried with events and developments in South-east of Nigeria but thanks to their leadership and their initiatives they were able to bring together the chiefs and the political leaders and governors and respected persons of South -east and through this intervention we now see that calm is restored and all are working to advance the one Nigeria agenda. The Secretary-General believes in this one Nigeria project because he had always said that a united peaceful Nigeria is not only for the people of Nigeria, but indeed for the people of West Africa and for all of Africa." That's the plan: prop up dynasties like in Togo, portray secessions as extremists thereby justifying government crackdowns and killing as a form of counter-terrorism. It was Chambas, when Inner City Press asking him about Anglophones in Southern Cameroons, who said to focus on the "big ticket" item: Boko Haram. This mirrors the position of Guterres and another of his long time envoys Francois Fall who covers Central Africa and has said that in Cameroon secessionists are "extremists." It is also noteworthy that Cameroon's Ambassador to the UN has said he will work with Guterres' 38th floor to stop Inner City Press' access (Guterres' Department of Public Information under Alison Smale has threatened Inner City Press' accreditation and continues to confine it to minder unlike no-show state media) - and has bragged about Guterres' Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed assuring that the UN will oppose even Federalism in Cameroon in light of the Biafra issue in her native Nigeria. It is impossible to know what her and the 38th floor team's thinking is: she has not had a press availability in quite a while, Guterres is heading to his native Lisbon, and Smale's Kafka-esque accreditation threat after refusing to respond to detailed Press freedom petitions for weeks combine for a trifecta of UNtransparency. We'll have more on this.

October 30, 2017

As UNSG Guterres Stopped in Cameroon, Now UN Read-Out, Here, Destination UNdisclosed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 28 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres left the Central African Republic after four days and stopped over in Yaounde the capital of La Republique du Cameroun, meeting with Paul Biya to assess the situation in the Anglophone areas where Biya has killed hundreds since their last meeting. Even the next day the UN had issued no read-out or photo of the meeting, UNlike Biya's office here, complete with photos of Biya giving Guterres a statuette or award, like the one Ban Ki-moon received from the now discredited South South News, along with Francis Lorenzo who pleaded guilty to UN bribery. After Inner City Press asked for a read-out and where Guterres is, this came back, which we publish in full: "Dear Matthew, In response to your question, the Secretary-General and President Paul Biya discussed the situation in the Central African Republic; refugees in Cameroon; the situation in the Lake Chad Basin; and the situation in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon." So what might Biya have said about this region in which he has killed so many? And why didn't Guterres listen to any of those impacted? The UN still refuses even to say where Guterres was, until Monday, spending public funds in UNdisclosed amounts. In UN headquarters on October 28, where Guterres' Department of Public Information under Alison Smale has threatened Inner City Press' accreditation for reporting what Guterres' officials say, UN excutions expert Agnes Callamard said it would have been better if Guterres had issued a read out of his meeting with the Philippines foreign minister. But Guterres is untransparent, and more. This is today's UN. with his team of UN "storytellers" trying to make him and the UN look good. His spokespeople refused three times to confirm to Inner City Press that he would stop, if only for four hours, in Cameroon where hundreds have been killed by the government, which as repeatedly cut of the Internet to prevent exposure of its crackdown. Then Guterres handed the "news" to Agence France Presse, which never asked him about Cameroon at the UN. So on October 27, Inner City Press again asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about, as I have the last three days in a row, about the Secretary-General's stopover in Yaoundé.  I saw he was quoted by AFP [Agence France-Presse].  Quote, we're going to be able to… we are going to be able to assess the recent evolution of the situation in the Anglophone community.  So some people are wondering how a four-hour stopover in an airport and speaking with Paul Biya, who's actually the one accused of the killings and turning off the internet in the Anglophone areas, is going to make the Secretary-General able to assess the evolution.  Is he going to speak to anyone else on the other side of it?  And also, why was it so… why was it so difficult to confirm this trip, and why did he do it in the way that he did?  Deputy Spokesman:  The Secretary-General is the one who confirms when he will go to certain places.  He did announce it yesterday, and after which, we made it very clear that that's where he was going.  Up until then, it wasn't officially confirmed.  He will go there, and we'll try to get some details from his meeting.  But, of course, this is not the only way that we've been assessing the situation.  There have been efforts by other officials, including his envoy, François Lonseny Fall, to deal with the situation, and we'll continue with those efforts.  Innner City Press: So it was said right after 1 October and all the killings that Mr. Fall was going to go.  Now it's 27 October.  Has Mr. Fall gone? Deputy Spokesman:  He will, I believe, be accompanying the Secretary-General on this visit." But Fall is the one who, on UN Radio, calls secessionists in Southern Cameroons "extremists." We'll have more on this.

Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale, as recounted and documented by Inner City Press, has said that positive stories by her Department during Guterres' trip will "show what we can do." And what's that? Smale's DPI has used public money to produce a vanity two-minute video of Guterres in CAR, complete with adoring crowds reaching out to touch his hand, in the background Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the fifth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row. This amid a scandal of frightened people having to pay contractors to protect them as the UN peacekeepers won't. The previous day Smale was promoting a multimedia story about a poster-child peacekeeper in CAR - from Cameroon.

The story has the peacekeeper, Gladys Ngwepekeum Nkeh, helping a girl who has been raped (not as has often happened by a UN peacekeeper.) The UN for two days has refused to answer Inner City Press if it ever disciplined, and if Guterres is meeting with, Renner Onana who was criticized in the UN's own report on its sexual abuse in CAR, noted even in Smale's New York Times, here. (Renner has been shown in a tweeted photo in December 2016 with Fabrizio Hochschild, one of Guterres' advisers, more on which below.)

While the UN images, by a UN photographer flown from New York to Bangui days before Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric went, are welcome, the written story does not even mention the rapes by UN peacekeepers, much less the human rights record of the Cameroonian security forces.

Meanwhile, Smale's Department of Public Information on October 20 issued a threat to Inner City Press to "review" its accreditation for its reporting, including on Guterres' team on the UN's 38th floor. This is a clear conflict of interest, between the openly stated goal of making Guterres and the UN look good and the power to threaten the accreditation of, and continuing retaliatory restrictions on, the independent, critical Press. Smale herself has not answered repeated petitions to her in the seven weeks she has been on the job; the same is true to the top of the UN. This all is shameful. October 23, 2017

In Cameroon, Opposition March Banned in Douala as UN Parades in Yaounde, UNheard

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio,  Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 21 – Amid the killings by Cameroon's Paul Biya government, Inner City Press on October 18 asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, "there have been hundreds of people killed there. Your envoy, François [Louncény] Fall, has said he was going to go but hasn't gone. People are extremely concerned. And I'm just wondering, are we missing something? Are you preventing conflict in this instance or, or what is the UN doing?" Video here. Guterres did not answer that part of the question. On October 19 UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres told him he had not heard Inner City Press' Cameroon question. Now on October 21, after Guterres' UN threatened Inner City Press' accreditation, the Resident Coordinator in Cameroon Allegra Baiocchi is bragging about marching for UN Day in Yaounde. But in Douala the government had banned an opposition march, and detained two journalists. Today's UN has much more in common with those making the arrests than those seeking the truth.  We'll have more on this. n October 19 when Inner City Press asked another question, Dujarric had a statement ready, below. It welcomed Prime Minister Yang's trip and dialogue, and said Fall's visit is now only possible. On October 20 Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy (Dujarric was apparently in DC with Guterres who intoned about a "strong, reformed and modernized UN") about the failure of the dialogue, and to confirm that Guterres is advised by Khassim Diagne, previously close to the government in Yaounde when with UNHCR, the refugee agency Guterres ran. Video here. Haq called the "dialogue" a first step, and said Guterres gets information for example also from Francois Fall. How? The October 19 statement, video here, praised a visit to the west that is widely mocked, but noted the reporting killings. The UN put stock in Cameroon's self-investigation, again dubious and now referred to a visit by UN envoy Fall as merely "possible." Inner City Press told Dujarric it will have further questions, and it will. Watch this site. Inner City Press on October 11 interviewed the government's ambassador to the UN, Tommo Monthe. He contradicted what UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, that "Mr. [Francois] Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.  The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him.  It's now a matter of finding the dates." Inner City Press two days after Dujarric's quote - which Dujarric has twice refused to expand upon - asked Cameroon's Ambassador Monthe who replied of Fall,"Why he should visit Cameroon?” Audio here. While there is still no date for Fall to visit Cameroon, people are being summoned in to see the police, in a campaign of intimidation. There are new mass graves.October 16, 2017

In Cameroon Anglophones Tortured, ICP Requests UN Action, UNder Restrictions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio on Patreon

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 – Amid the killings by Cameroon's Paul Biya government, Inner City Press on October 11 interviewed the government's ambassador to the UN, Tommo Monthe. He contradicted what UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, that "Mr. [Francois] Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.  The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him.  It's now a matter of finding the dates." Inner City Press two days after Dujarric's quote - which Dujarric has twice refused to expand upon - asked Cameroon's Ambassador Monthe who replied of Fall,"Why he should visit Cameroon?” Audio here. While there is still no date for Fall to visit Cameroon, people are being summoned in to see the police, here, in a campaign of intimidation. Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to inquire into torture in Southern Cameroons, video here, and then submitted to his office a formal request for action. (He said he can act on requests by journalists). Meanwhile Inner City Press' journalism on Cameroon is being hindered in the UN by restrictions continued by the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Small, see here and here and watch this site. October 9, 2017

As Cameroon Kills Civilians, ICP Asks UN & UK, Crackdown Continues, Failing Fall

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, video

UNITED NATIONS, October 7 – When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres on September 22, before he went back to the Hotel Inter-Continental in Geneva, he was accompanied by his state media and... Inner City Press. Biya, still in Geneva, directed his forced to use water cannons and more in Buea, as they shoot to kill from helicopters in North-West and South-West Cameroon. Now on October 7-8, despite belated calls from Geneva and an unapologetic Guterres, restrictions on movement and free association are being extended, for example in Manyu Division, Mamfe Town and elsewhere, see here. Will there be any follow through by the UN on its statements, or just more "welcoming" of Biya? When will the already postponed visit by the UN's Francois Fall occur, to where and with whom, and what will it accomplish? On October 5 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who earlier this year told Inner City Press the UK did not view the situation in Cameroon as a threat to international peace and security but would continue to monitor it, if the threshold has been reached and the UK will ask for a UN Security Council meeting. Periscope video here. He said no one has asked and the UK continues to weigh the pro and con of putting it on the Council's agenda (along with Myanmar, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Colombia and others). Earlier Inner City Press asked Francois Delattre, the UN Ambassador of France and President of the UN Security Council for October, why he has not yet convened a Security Council meeting amid the killings of civilians and cutting off of social networks in Cameroon. Periscope video here. Delattre said the French Foreign Ministry's spokesperson has spoken earlier in the day, again calling for dialogue. We'll have more on this. Guterres' spokespeople have three times refused Inner City Press' request for the UN's estimate of how many people have been killed by Paul Biya's forces since Guterres offered him praise on September 22.October 2, 2017

Angered at UN Praise of Cameroon's Biya, Letter to UN Cites Genocide Threat, UN Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, video

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 – When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres on September 22, before he went back to the Hotel Inter-Continental in Geneva, he was accompanied by his state media and... Inner City Press. According to the UN read-out, the conversation was entirely positive and did not mention Biya's abuse of Anglophones, or human rights in any way. Since then Biya has again undermined the Internet and rights to communicate in Southern Cameroons, to which Inner City Press after asking the UN  four days in a row until exclusion now turns. Here is a letter sent not only to Inner City Press, but to the UN Office of the Spokesperson: "I am writing from Southern Cameroons. I am pleading you should use your high office to stop the genocide that President Biya wants to exercise on the English speaking Cameroonians. a lot of people have lost their lives already and yet the President of Cameroons is seriously planning to shed more blood.  The truth is clear, the people of southern Cameroons (English speaking ) was a country  of its own that legally voted to joint La Republic of Cameroon. But now La Republic of Cameroon are treating these people as if they colonize them or conquered them in a war. sir use your conscience, it could have been your family going through what we are going through. Where is human rights in the 21st Century where people of a particular nation turns to treat their fellow brothers and sisters as slaves and the whole world is reacting as if there is nothing happening Does it mean that if tomorrow if I'm in one top position in the world that has to deal with the society i will give deaf ears to a situation that has to do with millions of lives ? what is wrong with the world today? where is human right? there is no justice at all? is it that human lives no longer matters? Please kindly react to stop the genocide that is about to happen in 48 hours." No response from the UN. Here is another letter: "Dear Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press: Accept my greetings and that of those who can't write to you. I am writing to you from Buea, Southern Cameroons. Am reacting to your articles on September 28 concerning the crisis in Southern Cameroons. The approach of the UN concerning the Southern Cameroons and it people, proves time and again that the UN must be very corrupt, and have turned it back against in commitment to protect human rights freedoms, and states sovereignty. How can the Secretary General be talking of his to consolidate peace and the Territorial integrity of Cameroon, when knows very well that, the UN holds no legal treaty that binds the British Southern Cameroons with LA Republique DU Cameroun? I hereby want to inform you that, I, as well as an overwhelming majority have chosen to separate from la Republique DU Cameroun because of what we have gone through in 56 of forced union. If the government of la République du Cameroun, considered us Southern Cameroonians as a people with the same rights as Francophones, if the government wanted to make peace and resolve this problem from it core, I think the repression taking place now won't have been. While you published on the Cameroon crises yesterday, the government of la Republique DU Cameroun became violently repressive and attacked and beating people their homes, taking seizing money and smart phones, and taking them to jail. As am writing to you now, six people were shot yesterday in the town of Ekona, and a grandmother was killed by the military in her home. 14 years old kids are being arrested and detained in jails under very cruel conditions. Since the beginning of this crises since November last year, 112 people have been killed by the military of la Republique DU Cameroun. The la République du Cameroun's government have been using terrorism blackmail the peaceful protests. I hereby call on the Secretary General to read the the UN charter on human right and freedoms, and the right for self governance." Biya's renewed attacks on the Internet have ranged from Bamenda to Kumbo and Kumba, but are being circumvented by VPNs. Meanwhile Inner City Press is receiving video of protests in front of the Inter-Continental Hotel in Geneva where Biya is staying. Guterres praised Biya, then belatedly called on him to dialogue: while Biya is not even in the country. His landing in Geneva: "VP-CAL used by #PaulBiya, President of Cameroon (Boeing 777) on 2017/09/26 at 08:56:46." We ran this sample letter to Inner City Press: " woke up this morning and discovered Internet Services in Cameroon have somehow been limited. I am suspected the regime of Paul Biya have tampered with the internet service and Facebook, Twitter,  WhatsApp, VPNs, Vcontact  aren't working. I am sure many other social media have been cut off as well.
There have been plans to celebrate the symbolic independence of this region 'the Former British Southern Cameroons' on the 1st of October 2017. That is on Sunday and the region have been heavily militarized by the Biya regime, Homes of people invaded, beaten , some killed, many kidnapped and with this shutdown to major social media to  which it is where most of these crimes are exposed, many have been fearing a total Genocide that can be perpetrated on the people of that region. There were rumors that, the internet will be shutdown come 30th September. The Minister of Communications made a public communique two days ago to say, the internet won't be shutdown but I guess it was just a ploy as through some websites are working, major social medias ( Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter) have been cut off. Please, make the world know what is happening in this region. This is a sly move to blackout to the world what atrocities the Biya's regime is/will be perpetrating in these regions."  In Fiango, Biya's security forces have killed, reportedly Enogene Basile, following their September 28 killings in Ekona. Watch this site. Inner City Press on September 26, 27 and 28 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about these glaring omissions. The first time, Dujarric alluded to "private" diplomacy. Then on September 27 when Inner City Press asked ask, video here, Dujarric said that UN envoy Francois Fall will be going to Cameroon "next week." On September 28, Inner City Press asked Dujarric deputy Farhan Haq if this would be before or after October 1, and Haq said he didn't know. Hours later, Dujarric's office put out a statement of concern below, which many see as too little, too late, with its emphasis on territorial integrity. On September 29, Inner City Press asked Dujarric not only about the UN's surveillance of the Press, on which he refused to answer referring to the question to the UN Department of Public Information whose chief Alison Smale has refused to answer basic questions for a month, but also if Guterres' concern is at threats to those in Anglophone Cameroon to stay indoors or be treated as "terrorists," for citing UN General Assembly Resolution 1608. Video here. Dujarric replied that he doesn't have "granularity" about what's being done and said. But he put this out: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the situation in Cameroon, including with regard to the recent security incidents in Bamenda and in Douala, and mounting tensions in the South-West and North-West regions related to planned events on 1 October. The Secretary-General has encouraged the Cameroonian authorities to continue their efforts to address the grievances of the Anglophone community. He urges the authorities to promote measures of national reconciliation aimed at finding a durable solution to the crisis, including by addressing its root causes. The Secretary-General supports upholding the unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon and urges all parties to refrain from acts that could lead to an escalation of tension and violence. The Secretary-General believes that genuine and inclusive dialogue between the Government and the communities in the South-West and North-West regions is the best way to preserve the unity and stability of the country.  The Secretary-General stands ready to support these efforts, including through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). " We'll see. On September 26, Dujarric replied that Guterres would say there is a time for public diplomacy, and a time for private diplomacy. Video here. Some wonder, how many people have to die, or what kind of people, for it to be time for UN "public" diplomacy? Earlier on September 22 Inner City Press interviewed Southern Cameroonians out on 47th Street, then asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about people killed that very day. UN transcript here and below. The crackdown is also financial: Biya's Minister of Finance has threatened the National Frincne Credit Bank in Bamenda with loss of its license for taking part in the "Ghost Town" expression of desire for independence, or in the first instance a referendum. See letter here. This politicization should trigger action by the "decision making phere" [sic] written about by Biya's state media, the kind of media that the UN and now its new head of Public Information favor over independent press. From the September 22 UN transcript: Inner City Press:  there’s a protest right now of Southern Cameroonians on 47th Street, but more importantly, there’s one in Southern Cameroon where five people have been killed today, as Paul Biya gave his speech, so I’m wondering…  I know the Deputy Secretary-General had some interest in the issue.  There’s Mr. [Francois Lonseny] Fall.  Are they aware of these protests? Spokesman:  "We’ve seen the reports I think we would definitely… we would call on the authorities to show restraint and ensure that people have the right to demonstrate freely." But on the UN's 27th floor, it was all smiles. And much later the UN put this read-out on its website: "The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon. The Secretary-General appreciated Cameroon’s hospitality towards the refugees.
They discussed the latest political developments in the country, as well as regional issues, including Boko Haram and the situation in the Central African Republic. The Secretary commended Cameroon for its efforts to combat Boko Haram, and reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to support the Government in all areas." No mention of the Anglophone areas, much less the day's killings. This is a new low, even for today's UN. UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman had left the floor with the Australian delegation; it was unclear if any UN Human Rights official was present. One of Biya's handlers even signed the UN visitors book in advance for him. When Guterres greeted his next visitor he did so in French then apologized, the last meeting was in French.

North Korea's Ri Yong Ho Meets UNSG Guterres, Asks For Impartiality, Conference

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos, speech

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 – Days after the UN Security Council banned textile exports from North Korea, the country fired another missile over Japan's Hokkeido. On September 23, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho delivered this speech in the UN General Assembly hall, then came to meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, USg Jeffrey Feltman and others. There was a photo op, well attended by wire services and largely Japanese and some South Korean photographers - and Inner City Press. Periscope video here. Inner City Press asked the North Korea Mission to the UN if the international legal conference they have been asking for was discussed; the North Korean Mission to the UN told Inner City Press its “Foreign Minister raised that issue during the meeting. He also told UNSG to be most impartial, not to take one-sided.” We'll see.September 18, 2017

On Myanmar, UNSG Guterres Resisted Calls To Act, Officials Tell ICP, Deference to "The Lady"

By Matthew Russell Lee, exclusive; video here

UNITED NATIONS, September 16 – Myanmar's abuse of the Rohingya has suddenly become a major topic for the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But senior UN officials exclusively tell Inner City Press that in the prior months, Guterres repeatedly rejected detailed recommendations made directly to him by some of his officials to become more active on the crisis. The officials tell Inner City Press that Guterres responded that for the UN to become more active might create problems for "The Lady," Aung San Suu Kyi, and the military. So the UN stood by, as it did in Sri Lanka in 2008-2009 and in Rwanda before that, always with an excuse. There was even a ten point plan presented early on to Guterres, on which he never acted. On September 15 Guterres spokesman arranged a background briefing for his favored correspondents, with senior UN officials we will leave UNnamed - but did not inform or invite Inner City Press, who asks him many questions, including about Myanmar. To this has the UN descended. The UN Security Council's September 13 meeting on Myanmar was a closed affair, after which the President of the Council, Ethiopia, read a statement that "acknowledg[ed] the attack on the Myanmar security forces on August 25," as if the problem began then. It goes back decades. And even in April of this year, this memo was sent to Secretary General Guterres: "The United Nations in-country presence in Myanmar continues to be glaringly dysfunctional. Strong tensions exist within the UN country team, the humanitarian parts of the UN system find itself having to confront the hostility of the development arm, while the human rights pillar is seen as complicating both. The impact of this dysfunctionality is a growing irrelevance of the UN in guiding and defining the international community’s efforts to address the challenges confronting Myanmar." After that, the UN in June 2017 said that Resident Coordinator Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised. But this week Inner City Press asked and found that she is still there; on September 14 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why didn't happen and he said she it does, he'll say. The UN's hands are not clean, either, some say. To the Ethiopian ambassador on September 13, Inner City Press asked if there was talk of UN envoy, without answer. Periscope video here. In terms of the UN Secretariat, while it said in June that dubious UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised, when Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 12 who the Resident Coordinator in Myanmar is, he first said he didn't know, then after the briefing his Office e-mailed this: "Regarding your question on Myanmar at today's noon briefing, the Resident Coordinator is Renata Lok-Dessalien." So despite saying she was being rotated out and the post advertised, and despite Guterres saying how concerned he is about Myanmar and the Rohingya, three months and thousands of dead later, she's still in. And the Spokesman, Dujarric, didn't even insert this answer into "his" transcript. On September 13 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about criticism of Lok-Dessallein and the country team. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: There is talk of the country team at the UN being too close to the Government over time. There was criticism of the resident co-ordinator. Does the UK feel comfortable that the country team has been on top of this issue, even prior to this August “terrorist attack” that was referenced in press elements? Amb Rycroft: Well one of the points I made was that several of us around the table, including the UN, have very good and close relationships with various parts of the establishment in Myanmar. Some of us with Aung San Suu Kyi, others with the military, and my point is that it’s time now to be using those relationships to get action and to get an end to this deterioration, rather than allowing those relationships to become an end in themselves and to prevent us from taking action. Periscope video here. We'll have more on this.September 11, 2017

For UN General Assembly Week, List Here, UN Both UNprepared and UNfair

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 9 – The UN is both unprepared and unfair in the run-up to the 72nd General Assembly high level week, which the UN brags will include 90 heads of state, five vice presidents, 36 heads of government, 3 deputy prime ministers and 55 ministers. 

At a background briefing on September 8, a UN Department of Public Information official told Inner City Press that the current nearly-useless wifi Internet “should” be fixed in time, and that “there will be a secondary pass for RC to go to basement area, 1B, limited to resident correspondents” - a group of less than 200 of the several thousand journalist the UN says are coming. 

Inner City Press asked, Why are these passes limited in that way? The UN official said, “That's the arrangement with Security and with the UNCA [UN Correspondents Association] because we have to find some distinction.” 

So the UN let a group of at most 200 insiders limit the access of thousands of other journalists, with no transparency. This Department of Public Information has been headless since April 1; New York Times journalist Alison Smale was named by Secretary General Antonio Guterres as replacement but has apparently not arrived: she has not answered e-mailed questions about these elitist “distinctions.” Actually, the 200 UNCA insiders include numerous rarely seen state media, for example Akhbar al Yom from Sisi's Egypt, making the “distinction” all the more telling. 

Similarly, when Inner City Press was for assurance that at least the UN Press Briefing Room would be open to all journalists, the UN official said while missions are told that, there is no guarantee, the Media Accreditation office does not make the bookings. Those are done by the UN Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who has a history as noted by the Free UN Coalition for Access of "lending" the UN Press Briefing Room to the president of his native France, and to UNCA, evicting the Press which tried to cover the event with Periscope. 

The UN is closing in on itself, while bragging about all the important people coming to see it. The reformed needed at the UN go well beyond those alluded to in the pre-signed outcome document of the September 18 event. That reform event, tellingly, is not even mentioned on the UN's list so far of UNGA72 events: 

12 September: Opening of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly (Preliminary list of items in the provisional agenda); 

18 September: High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse; 

19-25 September: General Debate of the General Assembly 72nd Session; 

20 September: Signing Ceremony of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; 

20 September: Security Council High Level Meeting: Reform of UN peacekeeping, implementation and follow-up; 

26 September: High-level plenary meeting to promote and commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; 

27-28 September: High -level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (resolution 71/287). 

Watch this site.

September 4, 2017

As ICP Pursues N Korea Story, UN Security Orders It To Stop, UNlike Others, Censorship for Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 – More than nineteen months ago, acting against Press coverage of Ban Ki-moon's links to UN corruption cases, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) had Inner City Press physically ousted from the UN.  Audio here.

 Since then an UNrelenting campaign of harassment by UN Security (DSS) and the requirement that Inner City Press unlike other media have minders to stake-out public events in the UN has continued.  On August 29 as Inner City Press covered the UN Security Council debate in the run-up to an emergency meeting on North Korea, an Ambassador walked down the second floor. A slew of correspondents took off in pursuit, including "non resident correspondents" who only come in for North Korea meetings. While awaiting the end of the double standard between it and other UN-favored correspondents, it seemed obvious to Inner City Press it must be treated like other non-resident correspondents. But no - a UN Security officer in front of the ECOSOC chamber, after letting other non-resident correspondents by, stepped out and stopped Inner City Press. This is pur censorship, for covering the UN's (expanding) corruption. On August 28, as Inner City Press with its still required DPI minder / escort covering the UN General Assembly meeting on South South Cooperation, a UN Security supervisor had the DPI minder order Inner City Press to stop filming and covering - from a roped-in stakeout. When Inner City Press asked the UN Security officer for his name, he refused (so, this Vine video), finally saying "You talking to me?" then walking off. Further requests for the UN officer's / censor's name were not responded to when raised to DPI, including Darrin Farrant who's been at the right hand of three DPI Under Secretaries General in a row. Incoming USG Alison Smale is going to have to deal with this censorship, these double standards. August 28, 2017

After UN Sold Itself to Ng, Stonewall on Event By Guo Xiangang, Censors Demand, Canceled

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23– After the UN was exposed as having been bought and corrupted by Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, convicted less than a month ago on six counts of UN bribery, money laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, what has changed?

While the spokesmen for new Secretary General Antonio Guterres evade the questions asked by Inner City Press, for example about the UN rewarding Ng for his South South News' coverage of Ban Ki-moon's Central America trip in 2015, murky uses of the UN and its building, movement inside which Inner City Press is still restricted for its anti-corruption coverage, continue.

 For example, on August 23-24 the UN General Assembly Hall is still scheduled be taken over by an NGO named “World Development Foundation” headed by Guo Xiangang. Attended list and junket offer below; voice mail after UN refused to answer, here, UN Spokesman's one-quarter answer, below; second voicemail here. In a third voicemail, an interview of with the Ambassador of Suriname, just as he was interviewed by South South News in Macau, was offered here. But Inner City Press' questions were and are to the UN, how it vetted the NGOs - UNanswered. Now a fourth voicemail, here, asking that Inner City Press take down article(s) - and, on August 23, the event was not taking place in either the General Assembly Hall, nor Conference Room 4. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press first reported on this group in May 2016, noting that the UN Department of Public Information was partnering with a group that at that time did not even have a website. This came after DPI's then-chief Cristina Gallach did no due diligence of Ng Lap Seng's purchase of events in the UN lobby and even its slavery memorial, then evicted Inner City Press after it asked her about her links to Ng's South South Awards. The UN's holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has been involved, including in both the eviction and continuing restrictions. On August 22, Inner City Press asked and e-mailed Dujarric about the August 22-24 event. Video here; UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there's an event this week in the General Assembly, and some of the sponsors are those who attended the Macau event sponsored and paid for by Ng Lap Seng in August 2015 just before he was indicted and arrested.  So, I wanted to know — maybe you can find this out today — it's said that it's going to be webcast.

Spokesman:  What's the event?  I don't, what's the event?

Inner City Press:  The event has to do with sustainable tourism.  It's sponsored by an NGO and two Member States, both of whom went to Macau.  So, my question to you is, you've said the things have radically cleaned up…What's the UN's role in the event…  Who's paying for the-

Spokesman:  I need… drop me off a piece of paper with information about the event and I will…

Inner City Press: I'm going to give you the email as well, the one about…

Spokesman:  Perfect.

Inner City Press: …Yiping Zhou and the one that you said you hadn't seen.

Spokesman:  Okay, thank you.

  Inner City Press immediately sent Dujarric as well as his top two deputies the Yiping Zhou email and some questions. Five hours later when he left, Dujarric had not answered nor even, as requested, confirmed receipt. After 8 pm one of the sponsors called Inner City Press, audio here. But the answer should come from the UN Secretariat, which had been asked eight hours previously. Inner City Press called the caller how to ask Dujarric, and Dujarric did respond to this NGO, emailing Inner City Press: "Dear Matthew, The event is sponsored that the Mission of Suriname. They are responsible for the content of the event and we have been assured that no one is being charged for this event. Sincerely, Steph." But this didn't answer the questions that Inner City Press had asked (while showing that Dujarric had received them - we'll have more on this, and this). Inner City Press had sent Dujarric the information about the event: "Sustainable Tourism development projects from other Member States will also be introduced. Special Guests Include: Mr. Carlos Vogeler, UN World Tourism Organization, Executive Director and Regional Director for the Americas; Ms. Shavani Vora, NY Times Travel Columnist, Invited' Ms. Alexandrine Wan, Sustainable Tourism Advocate, Entrepreneur
H.E. Ambassador Loreen Bannis-Roberts, Permanent Representative, Dominica Mission to the United Nations; Peter Claesson, Indigo Travel, Sweden; Neelam Melanie, Second Secretary, Kingdom of Netherlands Mission to the United Nations; Robert Watson, Noted Author and Tourism Strategist; Amir Dossal, President and Founder, Global Partnerships Forum; Peter Tichnsky, President and CEO, Business Council for International; Understanding; Laura Choi, Resort-wear Sustainable Fashion Designer, Invited
Vincent Fuentes, Director, WFUNA Tours
Dr. Joshua Weiss, Harvard faculty, Abraham Path Initiative; Suzanne Carlson, President, Carlson Maritime Travel; Anderson Pilgrim, Caribbean Travel Initiatives (CTO and CARICOM Report); Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT Report on Responsible Tourism; Edward H Hall III, Bureau of Indian Affairs Tourism Specialist Plus a SPECIAL FAMILIARIZATION TOUR TO GUYANA AND SURINAME will be announced for travel media, travel professionals and others.  October date... under the auspices of His Excellency Ambassador Henry MacDonald, Permanent Mission of Suriname to the United Nations and His Excellency Michael Ten-Pow, Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations. The program is produced and developed by the World Development Foundation, Dr. Guo Xiangang, President. Patrick Sciarratta is the Conference Manager for the two-day proceedings; Conference Coordinator is Dominique Schwenner; Ms. Zephanii Smith is Public Relations Liaison. Cristina Fan is the Conference Administrator." Ng paid for the trip to Macau, which at least two sponsors and the vice president of the UN Correspondents Association attended. There are photos of DPI officials with Guo Xiangang. The cover, just as Ng Lap Seng used the Dominican Republic's Francis Lorenzo and a number of other states, in this case are Suriname and Guyana, both of whose Permanent Representatives attended Ng Lap Seng's Macau event in August 2015 and were interviewed by South South News, here and here. This week in attendance will be the Permanent Representative of Dominca, whose Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was the only head of state who went to Ng Lap Seng's Macau event, along with the vice president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.

As Inner City Press reported and pursued, the UN Correspondents Association took payment from Ng' South South News for full page ads, then provided the venue for Ng's and Vivian Wang's photo op with Ban Ki-moon. It was for seeking to cover the UNCA event in the UN Press Briefing Room, “lent” without paperwork by Ban's and Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, that Inner City Press was evicted and is still restricted.

New DPI chief Alison Smale will have to deal with all this - and clean it up. For now, this is how the UN under Guterres remains. Watch this site.

August 21, 2017

On Kenya, ICP Asked UN of Monica Juma Job, Blogger Alai Locked Up, UN Censors

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive on Juma

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 – After the murder of Kenyan electoral official Chris Msando, Inner City Press on August 1 put the question at the UN to Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here and below.  After Kenya moved to de-register a second human rights group, Inner City Press asked lead UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on August 15, UN transcript here and below. Inner City Press has learned, and exclusively reports, that Kenya(tta) foreign ministry official Monica Juma has been offered a top job in Jeffrey Feltman's UN Department of Political Affairs, to replace Taye-Brook Zerihoun. She was granted six months to "sit" on the job, to help Kenya(tta), as one source put it to Inner City Press. Now the dismissive or vague position of today's UN to press freedom is further exemplified by silence on the reported detention at gunpoint of blogger Robert Alai, here. The UN's resident coordinator in Kenya has for example blocked the critical Press on Twitter; UN Spokesman Farhan Haq on August 19 had no specific comment when Inner City Press asked about detentions by Morocco of citizen journalists reporting on the crackdown in Rif. (Lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric evicted Inner City Press and still restricts it, for its coverage in the Press Briefing Room of the UN bribery case against now-conficted Ng Lap Seng.) The UN is losing its way, including in Kenya. On August 18, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  In Kenya, now the EU has called for the making public of the local results.  There seems to be more and more question about the way they were conveyed, and a lot of international actors that don't have as big a presence in Nairobi as the UN does have called for this type of data to be produced.  I wanted to know what is the UN's… he's already… the Secretary-General's already, you know, congratulated and apparently, called the results final, President Kenyatta, but what is the UN's… does the UN join these calls for the release of those data, or what's their position?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, our position has been that any complaints need to be worked out through the established system.  Apparently, there are signs from the various parties that that is what's going on and we will monitor that process as it continues.

Inner City Press: And I wanted to ask.  I became aware yesterday that… that… and I would like you to confirm that the DPA position currently held by Tayé-Brook Zerihoun has been offered to a Monica Juma, who is a Kenyan Government official in the Foreign Ministry, and I would like to know… apparently, the position was given to her, and she was given six months to take it or not so that this process would take place.

What is the, what is the status of that second highest position in DPA currently, and why wasn't it advertised?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this, at this point, as you know, Mr. Zerihoun has the post.  When there's another appointment to be made, we'll announce that, but we have not made another announcement.

Inner City Press: But why wouldn't a position of that height be, be advertised for people to apply?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have processes that, that apply to all of the various high positions.  I believe we have competitive processes, including interview processes, for, for all of the senior position, and we'll make the announcement when it happens.  I wouldn't have any confirmation of how this process was carried about, but, and at this stage, like I said, I don't have an announcement for Mr. Zerihoun, even for any departure.  Once we have that announcement, we'll, we'll make that.

  On August 17, amid lack of transparency about the detention and itinerary of a UN official on leave, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: as you may know in Kenya, the former or future DPA (Department of Political Affairs) employee Roselyn Akombe, who has given a leave of absence to work on the Electoral Commission there, attempted to leave the country and was detained at the airport. It’s now said that she’s come to New York for meetings.  So, I wanted to know two things.  Number one, is she having any meeting with the UN, since you said she’s coming to New York on official business?  Number two, when she was given this leave of absence — it’s become quite controversial.  As you know, the commission is getting sued for being not less than impartial — did the Ethics Office look at this granting of a leave of absence?  What’s her current status with the UN?  And, also, it’s come up because she appealed to the US embassy there.  For purposes of UN, is she from Kenya or from the United States?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t have any comment on her nationality.  I don’t comment on the nationality of staff members. But… [inaudible]

Question:  Given that the person was detained and… okay.

Deputy Spokesman:  But I am aware that she was on a leave of absence.  At some point, I believe, fairly soon, it will be expiring and then she will return to her duties in the Department of Political Affairs.

Question:  So she has no contacts in the UN during this week?  Because it’s a big story in Kenya that she’s come to New York and she says she coming to New York for work related to the election.  So, I guess my question to you is, does this New York visit have any UN connection?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t comment on her work until she’s re-joined the United Nations.  She’s not… at the time that she’s on leave, she is a separate individual.  Ms. Akombe, at some point, will re-join the Department of Political Affairs, and then she’ll be a UN staffer.

  We'll have more on this - and on Juma.
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 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 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 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 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 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 email address, where the complete list is available so that the public is not defrauded, and how the Office of the PGA distributes 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