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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 UN.org email address by DGACM despite never being pictured among Ashe's Special Advisers, and never giving up his day job as the Dominican Republic's Deputy Permanent Representative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

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

Spokesman:  We can see what we can do.

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

Spokesman:  We'll see what we can do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

  We'll see.

June 12, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spokesman:  I will check.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 22, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, follow up

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

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

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


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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, New Platform

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

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

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

April 24, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

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

Spokesman:  I have no comments on that.

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

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

Spokesman:  I have no information.

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

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

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

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

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

Spokesman:  I think she blocks you, but…

Question:  Yeah, she does.

Spokesman:  …that's her right.

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

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

Inner City Press:  Interesting.

Spokesman:  Indeed.

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

April 10, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

Spokesman:  I'm not aware…

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

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

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

April 3, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

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

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

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

March 20, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

Spokesman:  Well, I can’t answer that…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 13, 2017

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matthew Russell Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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