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July 25, 2016

On Next SG Straw Poll, Results & Questions of Dual Nationalities, Exclusive

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 21 -- As the UN Security Council held its first closed-door straw poll on the 12 current candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General on July 21, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if it was too late for Australia's Kevin Rudd or others to get into the race. Video here. Rycroft replied that it is not too late, candidates can enter after the first straw poll pursuant to the Council's earlier letter.

Here from multiple sources are the results of the first straw poll; Inner City Press can also exclusively report that questions have arisen about dual nationality of some candidates, including Christiana Figueres, Vuk Jeremic and Susana Malcorra (Italy / Spain),  beyond their listed countries which nominated them. It should be noted that the UN's “PHP” forms require such disclosures.

From multiple sources, results of the first straw poll, in the format of Encourage - Discourage - No Opinion:

Antonio Guterres: 12-0-3
Danilo Turk: 11-2-2
Irina Bokova: 9-4-2
Srgjan Kerim 9-5-1
Vuk Jeremic: 9-5-1;
Helen Clark: 8-5-2
Miroslav Lajcak: 7-3-5
Susanna Malcorra: 7-4-4
Christiana Figueres: 5-5-5
Natalia Gherman: 4-4-7
Igor Luksic: 3-7-5
Vesna Pusic: 2-11-2

After the straw polling, Ambassadors said no comment and it went well; Council President Koro Bessho said much the same on UNTV. Inner City Press asked him if the actual results had been given to the President of the General Assembly. Bessho began to say yes, then clarified, no.

At least he took Press questions. The candiates most recently appeared in an event for which the UN did not even provide a UNTV camera at the stakeout so these qustions culd be asked. Inner City Press was Banned from streaming Periscope from the exit of the General Assembly hall after the event.

The "frontrunner" Antonio Gutteres is the one without a Twitter account; the runner-up Danilo Turk to his credit wants whistleblower Kompass back in the UN.

It's worth remembering that Gutteres was dissed by Ban Ki-moon when he asked for one more year atop UNHCR. Sources say Malcorra and Andrew Gilmour, recently promoted without proper process, were involved in the decision on Gutteres.  Revenge? Or just more of Ban's bad judgment, like he and his head of "Public Information" Cristina Gallach evicting Inner City Press as it covers the UN?

July 18, 2016

ICP Asks Ban's Spox Why 6 UN Guards Hindered It, Spox Replies He Was Stalked While NHK

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 -- When Inner City Press went to cover UN Security General Ban Ki-moon's speech on human rights on July 12, it was required to be escorted by one of Ban's minders, due to its eviction earlier this year by Ban and his Under Secretary General for Public Information, Cristina Gallach.

  But even after escort by a minder, just before Ban Ki-moon's speech Inner City Press was surrounded by six UN Security officers who demanded that it leave.

When Inner City Press pointed out that the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit does not have enough staff, the officer in charge said Inner City Press would be confined to “covering” the meeting from the third floor - that is, unable to speak with any diplomats (several of whom, even on July 12, approached to speak with Inner City Press, at least until Ban's guards targeted Inner City Press for censorship.)

   The UN officers claimed Inner City Press misspoke, so since Inner City Press was, as it told MALU and as other correspondent can do but didn't on July 12, stakeout out the meeting, here is the audio.

When the same thing happened on July 14 while Inner City Press, escorted by MALU, staked out and covered the General Assembly's Next SG session with Christiana Figueres, Inner City Press went -- delayed by the harassment -- to the day's noon briefing and after questions on Yemen, Kosovo, Burundi, South Sudan and Thailand asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the rules are on not being hindering from covering such meetings once escorted by MALU.

    Rather than provide any UN rule, Dujarric said as his response that Inner City Press had “stalked” him on the sidewalk, a reference to Inner City Press, being informed that Dujarric had arranged to be filmed by NHK for a profile of himself, and streaming a Periscope of Dujarric's already-agreed to session with a media he likes. July 14 audio here, video here.

   In essence, Dujarric called critical coverage “stalking,” despite being a spokesperson. And he uses the UN podium response to the Press' question about media access rules to try to discourage critical coverage and questions, and to send a message to UN Security that it is fine to target Inner City Press. Previously, Dujarric while withholding Inner City Press' accreditation, said he didn't like its coverage of Ban Ki-moon or Herve Ladsous. This is censorship, by a supposed spokesperson for the UN. We'll have more on this.

July 11, 2016

In S Sudan Leaked UN Memo Says 150 Soldiers Dead As Some Joined Kiir's Tiger Force

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.  So Inner City Press has published below multiple leaked documents from inside UNMISS and from non-governmental organizations - and compares them to contradictory official statements by the UN.

The UN has responded by evicting Inner City Press from its long-time shared office in the UN on April 16, video here and here (Periscope). Still, here exclusively from inside UNMISS is a UN memo on the most recent violence, even as the UN Security Council held no meeting on July 7, see below:

“JUBA Nearly 150 soldiers are reported dead from Friday's clash between South Sudan's rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to  the First Vice President Riek Machar.
 
The heavy fighting occurred on Friday near J1, the Presidential Palace, between troops of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and protection unit of the First Vice President, Machar, of the SPLA in Opposition.
 
35 of the SPLA-IO soldiers lying dead and over 80 died from the SPLA’s side.
 
All the bodyguards of the First Vice President who were deployed on the street outside J1 were killed, said a senior SPLA officer.
 
A huge force came from nowhere and joined up with President Kiir’s tiger force and opened fire on Machar’s bodyguards deployed outside the Palace for protection."

On July 8 amid the surge in violence in South Sudan, the UN Ambassador of Lithuania, until recently on the UN Security Council, tweeted on Friday that the Council would meet that afternoon about the crisis. But when ICP asked the month's President of the Council, Koro Bessho of Japan, he said there would be no Security Council meeting that afternoon. The Lithuania ambassador deleted the tweet; the UNTV crew took down their camera. This as, for example, World Vision went on lock-down in Juba. Ban Ki-moon, in China, issued a canned statement - this as his spokesman refuses Press questions about South Sudan, calling them "too granular."July 4, 2016

As UN Bribery Ng Case Expands, Ban Ki-moon in Para 12, His Spox Covers Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- As the UN bribery scandal gathered force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Global Sustainability Foundation (GSF), David Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Group and its affiliates including the "World Harmony Foundation" and South South News, among others. The UN Development Program began its own audit, which Inner City Press published here, and asked Ban's spokesman for a press conference about.

On July 1, Inner City Press asked this Ban Ki-moon spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, about the superseding indictment of Ng Lap Seng to include UNDP and all acts through September 2015. Paragraph 12 names the Secretary General. Video here;
UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: the UN bribery case of Ng Lap Seng has now had a superseding indictment that accuses Mr. Ng of buying benefits from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and expands the time limit of the case up to September 2015.  So, one, I'm wondering if you have any comment on this, as it seems to be an expanding case.  And, two, I want to reiterate the request now for several months that UNDP hold a press conference, at least on the audit that it released, and… and state where… why the money that was given…

Spokesman:  I think on your… on your second part, you can address that request to UNDP.

Inner City Press:  I have.

Spokesman:  I have not seen the new indictment, so I cannot comment on it.

Inner CityPress:  You had said from here that they would do it.  I've spoken to the head of the office, and he hasn't done it.  I'm wondering, has the Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, head of the system…

Spokesman:  I know where we are.

Inner City Press:  Cover up.

Spokesman:  You're always free and have always been free to express your opinions. 

Dujarric said Inner City Press is free to say what it wants . Yes: from the street, to which Ban and his Head of Communications, with an assist from Dujarric, first threw Inner City Press on February 19 (audio here) then evicted its files (Video here.) On July 1, Dujarric at noon said he hadn't read the superseding indictment. Then he left the UN just after 3 pm, with no briefing for six days. This IS a cover up, on which we're have more.
June 27, 2016

Brexit's UN Fall-Out, UK Less Likely to Veto Malcorra, Scottish P5 Q? 

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- With the world awash in Brexit punditry, how will the UK vote to leave the EU impact the UN? Ban Ki-moon came out with a wishy-washy statement from his meeting with six ad agencies in Cannes, linking the EU with humanitarian and the UK with development.

   The UK's Stephen O'Brien, said by other senior UN humanitarian officials to be trying to stay on atop OCHA under a Next SG, may find it more difficult.

   And speaking of Next SG, how might this impact the chance of Susana Malcorra, campaigning for Malvinas only this week as Argentina's foreign minister? A trusted Inner City Press British observer opines Brexit helps Malcorra, moaking the UK more reluctant to veto or openly oppose her, amid questions of its Permanent Security Council seat if Scotland breaks away.


Malcorra this week chaired a meeting about sexual violence in conflict, which some found ironic. We'll have more on this. For now, Inner City Press entrance Periscope here. In the UN system, UNHCR and IOM rushed this video out, and UNTV broke out the reading of Ban's statement, here.
June 20, 2016

UN Rapporteurs Mistold by Ban's Gallach Of "Altercation," Press Eviction Pretext

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 -- How does the UN under Ban Ki-moon and his "Public Information" chief Cristina Gallach pretextually evict the critical Press from its long time office and confine it to minders, hindering further reporting on their corruption?

This UN "Aide Memoire," which Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric called "leaked" and refused to answer questions on, shows how - as does this Gallach's letter of May 25, 2016. On June 16, Inner City Press was belatedly provided with a copy of the questions UN Special Rapporteurs Kaye and Forst sent to Gallach on February 25, put it online here:

So Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the letter(s), Video here, Vine here, UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: I've become aware today of a letter that was sent by Special Rapporteur David Kaye and Special Rapporteur Michel Forst to Ms. [Cristina] Gallach of DPI [Department of Public Information] on 25 February, asking about ouster and eviction of Inner City Press.  And her response was two months later, and she referred to an altercation in this room that required… so I'm asking you.  You were here.  Other than you turning off my phone, was it an altercation?  Is that an accurate statement?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Matthew, Matthew… I have not… I will not comment on your personal issues.

Inner City Press:  You're saying it's a personal issue.  This was a letter sent to the Special Rapporteur.

Spokesman:  And the letter, if you want to ask for the letter, you could ask the Special Rapporteur.

Inner City Press:  No, I've seen the letter. 

And below is Gallach's letter, here, which itself calls for action.

UN's Gallach Claims Evicted ICP Because Of “Altercation” When Video Shows None, Except Ban Spox Trying To T... by Matthew Russell Lee

It was provided to Inner City Press only on June 16, by a UN / Kaye staffer, under this cover letter:
And herebelow is Gallach's letter, which itself calls for action. It was provided to Inner City Press only on June 16, by a UN / Kaye staffer, under this cover letter:

"Two UN Special Rapporteurs communicated to ask for clarification on your case last February. The letter was made public just recently in the report of all communications sent by rapporteurs in the period accessible here (communications of this type remain confidential initially and are made pubic every HRC session):


UNDPI responded to your letter only in May (and this is why the response is not made public online - it will come only in September). In any case, the SR encloses here the response received. Again, sorry for the slow communication. With thanks and regards,
Marcelo Daher, Human Rights Officer, Special Procedures Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

And here is from Gallach's highly problematic letter:

“The privilege of the use of such office space was withdrawn after an incident in which Mr Lee trespassed in a closed meeting of the United Nations Correspondence [sic] Association. The disturbance and altercation that his behavior caused required the presence of United Nations Safety and Security Officers to defuse. Thus, as was made clear in my letter of 19 February 2016 to Mr. Lee his behavior did not comport with the express requirements of the United Nations Media Accreditation Guidelines, which are applicable to all journalists to the United Nations. These circumstances, consequently, occasioned the withdrawal of Mr. Lee's resident correspondent accreditation.”

  This paragraph is full of lies. There was no altercation - the only physical contact was Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric stabbing at Inner City Press' cell phone to try to turn off the Periscope live stream.

  It was Inner City Press which asked for a UN Security guard to come, to rule if it was a closed meeting or not. The UN has separately told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it has no written record that it was a closed meeting -- so how did Inner City Press “trespass,” as Gallach alleges and misstates to the Special Rapporteurs?

June 13, 2016

UN Told Nobel Winner Ramos-Horta ICP "Openly" Broke UNpublished Rule, Geneva Next

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- For ten years as Inner City Press covered the UN in ever greater detail, showing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Herve Ladsous' inept overseeing and cover up of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers, disparate treatment in Mali, dalliance with genocide in Sri Lanka and prospectively Burundi, impunity for cholera deaths in Haiti and until now for UN lead poisoning in Kosovo and cravenly pro-Saudi position on Yemen amid the airstrikes (BBC this week here from Min 6:18), it was never thrown out of the UN.

Now in 2016, Ban Ki-moon's last year at the UN, it has been. New York Times of May 14 here. 

The issue is to be raised at the UN Human Rights Council this coming week. Here is what UN Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach told Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, that Inner City Press has "open" violated a rule - when the Aide Memoire, here, shows the UN says it has no written record the meeting was closed and the Handbook allegedly violated is not public:

"Dear mr Ramos-Horta,

Many thanks for your message which allows me to inform you about the
decision I have taken on the type of accreditation that Mr Lee has and will have in the future.

Recently mr Lee openly broke the rules that guide all the resident correspondents. After careful consideration of the internal report elevated to me, I decided to continue providing him with a press pass that allows him to work without any impediment at the UN, as the vast majority of
journalists. What the UN cannot do is to let him use an space exclusively for  him, after the mentioned events.

As you can see, mr Lee will have a valid press card as soon as he presents himself to the accreditation premises.

Rest assured that I am the first person to be interested in ensuring totally free and safe reporting from the UN HQ and about the UN. This is what mr. Lee will be able to do.

I remain at your disposal for any further clarification that you might need and want. My warmest regard, Cristina"

But the UN says it has no written record the meeting was closed; the Handbook allegedly violated is not public. And "without impediment" has turned out to mean "with minders," and even not permitted to cover a Western Sahara briefing Inner City Press was invited to, only on June 10.

 The UN is trying to give Inner City Press' long time shared office to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar Elyom, whose correspondent hasn't come close to meeting the three day a week requirement and never asks any questions. It rewards others like this, while retaliating against and trying to censor the critical Press.

This will be raised this week at the UN Human Rights Council; the UN in continued attempt to censorship has not responded to Inner City Press' formal requests submitted more than two week ago. Watch this site. 

On June 8 Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric outright refused to provide a copy of, or any answer questions about, the "Handbook" the alleged violation of which the UN told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was the basis for evicting Inner City Press. Aide Memoire to SFRC here.

Before Inner City Press was even able to ask the question, Dujarric cut it off, and later disallowed an unrelated Press question about other UN corruption. Video here, transcript here and below, with quotes from Ban Ki-moon later on June 8.

Ban later on June 8 said: "I will continue to defend the rights of journalists and to do everything possible, publicly and privately, to ensure that journalists have the freedom to work...I will also continue to stand up for the rights of journalists and their defenders to be represented here at the United Nations.

"I am extremely disturbed by recent remarks by the President-elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. [Inner City Press had asked, here.] I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.  Such comments are of particular concern in light of on-going impunity for serious cases of violence against journalists in the Philippines. I have expressed my disappointment that the Non-Governmental Organization Committee voted to deny the Committee to Protect Journalists consultative status with the Economic and Social Council...I have presents for each of you [segue to presentation]. "

e This is what it has come to: censorship while Ban exchanges gifts and drinks champagne with his friends and sells out the UN human rights lists to the highest bidder (for now, Saudi Arabia.) From the June 8 transcript:

Inner City Press:  I've asked you about this aide-mémoire that was sent by the UN to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  So I want to ask you about it again.  What I want to ask you about…

Spokesman:  My answer's not going to change.

Inner City Press:  No, here's what I want to ask you about specifically.  You call it a leaked document.  It's hard to understand if it's sent from the UN to a committee.  It's leaked.  But this is my question.  And it's sort of a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) like question.  The document says that what was violated is something called the UN Handbook for Safety and Security Personnel.

Spokesman:  Matthew, Matthew, your personal issues will not be discussed here.

Inner City Press:  You're calling it personal…

Spokesman:  Thank you.  Masood?

Inner City Press:  But if you can punish journalists, where is the document?  I'm requesting the handbook.

Spokesman:  Talk to DPI (Department of Public Information).

Inner City Press:  I did, and they don't have it.

Spokesman:  Talk to them again.

Even as groups like the Government Accountability Project tell Ban to reverse the eviction and give Inner City Press back its long time office and Resident Correspondent pass, Ban's UN tellingly moved to award Inner City Press' office to Egypt state media Al-Akhbar / Akhbar Elyoum. 

While Ban told Inner City Press "That is not my decision," and his Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach has yet to explain anything to Inner City Press, on June 5 we published the UN's "Aide Memoire" which claims that the "rule" against being in an interpreters booth is in a UN Security handbook that is not available to the public - it is not on the Internet, not on the UN's in-house iSeek and on June 6, UN MALU did not have it -- and states there is no paper work for the underlying meeting being closed. 

On UN Eviction of ICP, UN Aide Memoire to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Admits No Written Record, Oral... by Matthew Russell Lee

June 6, 2016

ICP Asks Ban's Spox of Ng & Corruption, Request for Q&A, "All the Time You Need"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 31 -- When Ban Ki-moon wrapped up his five day campaign trip in South Korea with a three-question "press conference" at the UN's DPI-NGO conference, without irony he cited media freedom.

Then Ban criticized "coverage of what was supposed to be off-the-record meeting with the Kwanhoon Club" of political correspondents. Even during Ban's long visit to South Korea, Inner City Press in New York where it has been evicted from its long time shared UN office and confined to minders, told not to question diplomats asked the UN why no transcript was provided of Ban's session with the Kwanhoon Club.

On June 2 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about indicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng, if the Department of Public Information has followed up on the failures identified in the UN' s audit, and for Q&A with Ban. Video here, from the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: Two related questions.  One is actually about New York.  There's a front-page story in the Times today about the pattern of extremely affluent defendants being allowed to build themselves, quote, gilded cages.  One of the three examples is Ng Lap Seng, who's charged with bribery at the UN, $50 million bond living in his apartment quite near here, GPS.  So I wanted to know, as a matter of sort of rule of law, does the UN system or the Secretary-General have any view of the justice of the most affluent defendants being able to essentially hire their own guards and live in their own apartment?

Spokesman: I have no specific comment at this point on this very interesting story on the front page of the New York Times.

Inner City Press: Maybe you'll have this or can get this.  The OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] audit of the Ng Lap Seng or, alternately, John Ashe scandal set a deadline of May 31st for… for the Secretary-General to ensure that DPI [Department of Public Information] improved its procedures for uses of the lobby and of due diligence.  So I wanted to know, can you state that it's been done, and can the letter that went out to the departments be released in the spirit of transparency?

Spokesman:  I'm sure all our colleagues in the departments and DPI are in contact with OIOS to full implementation of the audit.  If I can share more with you, I will. Then a welcome follow up, video here: "as Matthew just mentioned, the ongoing corruption story.  There are questions at this time, so it would be really nice to hear the Secretary-General respond on topics that we have… don't have him on the record at all on camera or audio."

Finally, after Dujarric cut off the question, this:

Inner City Press: follow-up in the form of request of a question.  How long… even though some of it was off the record, how long was the Secretary-General's press conference or press encounter with the Kwanhun Club in Jeju island?  And can we get that amount of time sometime between now and the end of the term…?

Spokesman:  You will get… you will get all the time that you need."

   Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq - his lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric accompanied him for the whole Korea trip -- replied that sometimes Ban gives “exclusives” even to small groups of journalists. But the photo with the Kwanhun Club shows more than a dozen journalists.

So on May 31 Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: the Secretary-General, I saw that when he left South Korea, he said that he’d been misunderstood; there had been too much coverage of his… what was widely, widely reported as his seeming intention to run for President.  And so he said, “I would add that the coverage of what was supposed to be an off-the-record meeting with the Kwanhun Club has led to over-reaction, over-interpretation.”  I forget…  Apparently, you were there.  Was it off the record?  Because I’d asked about it here whether a transcript would be released.  It was said that it would be exclusive sometimes with groups of journalists.  I saw a photo.  It’s like a lot of journalists, like more than a dozen.  If, in fact, it was misunderstood… many people reported it.  They were there.  Was it off the record?  Was it an exclusive?  What did he say?

Spokesman:  There was a meeting that he organized with a group of senior Korean journalists.  Part of it was on the record.  Part of it was off the record.  Whether it’s a one-on-one interview or a group interview, we would not release a transcript.  I mean, we release transcripts of his press conferences.  The basic message from the Secretary-General is that, up until the very last day of the mandate that’s been given to him by Member States, he will focus on being Secretary-General and fulfilling that mandate.  Once that mandate is over, he will then decide how best to be a productive global citizen, but his… that decision will come after he leaves office.

Inner City Press:  But since he’s the Secretary-General now, I wanted to ask you about that 1946 General Assembly resolution.  There seems to be a resolution that’s still on the books that says that, even… particularly right after retirement, a Secretary-General should not have a position in a Government, given confidences he’s received from Governments.  So that’s on the books now.  Does it apply?

Spokesman:  Obviously, he’s aware of the resolution, and the rest is just speculation, because he will make up his mind as to what he will do after his term as Secretary-General ends.  Photo here.

   To read a canned statement purporting to defend press freedom while not only evicting the Press but trying to manipulate the media with different private and public messages is noteworthy. To talk about “authoritarian impulses” while having the investigative Press ousted and its files dumped onto First Avenue is doubly so. Background here.

This while at the UN in New York, the investigative Press has been oust and then evicted, with its long time office being given to Egyptian state media Akhbar Elyom, which never comes in, much less asks any questions. Click here for background.

   Ban spoke about freedom of movement, while Inner City Press is now required to have minders in order to cover meetings on the second floor of the UN Conference building, in the ECOSOC and Trusteeship Council Chambers, and has been told not to ask questions of diplomats.

  Ban went out of his way to praise the current African trip of South Korean President Park - he did not mention her Iran trip - and directly addressed South Korean youth, some of whom may be old enough to vote in 2017. Opening speeches, particularly by the national organizer(s), were largely about Ban Ki-moon.

  Those present marveled at how actual NGOs were pushed to the back of the room, with the front rows devoted to South Korean official (including some from the UN). Tweeted photo here, reply here. Will Ban Ki-moon endeavor to live up in New York, in his remaining time at the UN, to what he said at the DPI-NGO conference? Watch this site.
May 30, 2016

As Ban Politics in S. Korea, Hankyoreh Notes ICP's Qs About Kim

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 -- Soon to be ex-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in his native South Korea, where there is a Presidential election in 2017. On May 19, only to South Korean correspondents, Ban Ki-moon's senior adviser Kim Won-soo said and was quoted that Ban's is NOT a political trip. Clearly it is. Ban's "exclusive" comments to more than a dozen journalists in South Korea, photo here, were not transcribed despite the request of the Free UN Coalition for Access.

But there's a problem: not only Inner City Press -- see article in the Kyunghyang Daily News, robo-translated -- but now The Economist calls Ban Ki-moon the worst and weakest Secretary General ever.

 And as Inner City Press has asked basic questions about Ban's use of UN resources and had them dodged, now the media in South Korea is taking notice. The Hankyoreh of May 28, here, reports on Inner City Press asking "whether Ban was aware of UN Resolution II (I), which was adopted at the first General Assembly in 1946 and restricts secretaries-general from taking government positions soon after their term ends... But Haq’s response appeared to be to a completely different question - neither communicating Ban’s response nor mentioning the resolution." Slippery or greasy eel.

(Hankyoreh also says "The unusual spectacle of the Secretary-General’s actions becoming the major issue in a UN briefing - which is typically reserved for major worldwide issues - hints that the controversy over Ban’s political plans could be shaping into an international diplomatic issue." A simple review of recent UN noon briefing transcripts or videos would call this into question - but it has become the party line, as in the New York Times of May 14.)

Meanwhile on May 28 Ban continued his politics, meeting with retired politicians, such as former Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil. On May 29 he'll speak at " Rotary International Convention in Goyang, just outside of Seoul, and visit the ruling party stronghold of Gyeongsang to tour a UNESCO-listed folk village on Sunday." Since these are NOT on his public UN schedule, does it mean they are personal / political? And then the UN DPI NGO conference, on which we'll have more. Watch this site.

Ban can and has evicted Inner City Press from its long time office at the UN -- but he can't change the track record, from his victory lap in Sri Lanka in 2009, which Inner City Press reported on, to further damaging the UN's reputation in Haiti by insisting on impunity for cholera, to his negligent overseeing of rapes in the Central African Republic. For the record, what Inner City Press told the Kyunghyang Shinmun, when asked about the eviction and ouster, was not entirely negative. But more on that to follow.  May 23, 2016

UN Censors Q About Ban & Freedom of the Press from Transcript, New Low

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 20 -- For ten years as Inner City Press covered the UN in ever greater detail, showing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Herve Ladsous' inept overseeing and cover up of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers, disparate treatment in Mali, dalliance with genocide in Sri Lanka and prospectively Burundi, impunity for cholera deaths in Haiti and until now for UN lead poisoning in Kosovo and cravenly pro-Saudi position on Yemen amid the airstrikes, it was never thrown out of the UN.

Now it has been. New York Times of May 14 here.  And even as groups like the Government Accountability Project tell Ban to reverse the eviction and give Inner City Press back its long time office and Resident Correspondent pass, Ban's UN tellingly moved to award Inner City Press' office to Egypt state media Al-Akhbar / Akhbar Elyoum.  Tweeted photograph here.

On May 19, a sign for "Al Akhbar Yom" went up on Inner City Press' office - Inner City Press has STILL never seen the correspondent being given the stolen office.

So on May 20 Inner City Press went to get an on the record explanation from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Duajrric, before Ban sets out on a campaign trip to South Korea (denied by his senior adviser Kim Won-soo). But not only did Dujarric refuse to answer the question - Gallach's DPI intentionally omitted from the transcript Inner City Press' entirely audible question about Ban Ki-moon's commitment to freedom of the press. The question then, answer itself.

Since the spin to the NYT is that Inner City Press' questions on corruption and censorship somehow block questions other correspondents want to ask, Inner City Press twice told Dujarric it would hold one question to the end. But Dujarric, showing that the spin is a scam, insisted: go ahead. Video here. From the UN Transcript:

Inner City Press: I have another question, but I don't want to…

Spokesman:  Well, just ask it.

Inner City Press:  No, no, I'll wait.

Spokesman:  I'd like you to ask it now.

Question:  Okay.  Stay where you are and I’ll do it as fast as I can.  I wanted to ask you, you sometimes say you don’t have a long memory, but you’ve been a Spokesman for a while.  When is the last time, to your knowledge, that the publication Akhbar al Youm has been in this room and asked a question?  And the reason I asked… you said I could ask.  I’ll do it quickly.  The office that was formerly "Inner City Press", has been given to this organization.  I've never seen them here.  I'm aware there's a rule of being three days a week here.  So, I’m wondering… and you used to implement that rule.  And the reason I’m asking you, and you’re going to say, ask MALU [Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit], I want an on the record quote.  This is a media organization that CPJ [Committee to Protect Journalists] says targets other medias for arrest for not agreeing with the Government.

Spokesman:  I will tell you that I do not have in my head the attendance records of journalists here.  Some of you are here every day.  But, for the rest of you, I don't keep tabs in my head.  And again, that’s a question for you to ask MALU.

Inner City Pres:  But, I'm asking for an on-the-record comment.  What does it say about freedom of the press…

Spokesman:  I’ve given you… Nabil?

Inner City Press' last line, "What does it say about freedom of the press," was intentionally mistranscribed and censored: it said, What does it say about Ban Ki-moon's commitment to freedom of the press."


This is today's UN: ham-handed censorship. 

The UN says Resident Correspondents must be at the UN three days a week, but Inner City Press has never seen this person, former UN Correspondents Association president Sanaa Youssef, much less asking a question in the UN noon briefing. 

The point, of course, which Dujarric did everything he could to cut off, including walking out of the brieifng room and not returning, is what does it say about Ban Ki-moon's supposed commitment to free press to evict the investigative Press here every day for a state media never here, never with questions, which targets other journalists for arrest?

The question is answering itself, but we will continue. Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq after the briefing was heard telling DPI staff under Gallach that he had predicted Inner City Press would "go after" Akhbar Elyom.

This is today's UN: here's Haq on Jan 29, video here, and before. Haq claimed incorrectly that "non resident correspondent" passes get one through to the second floor: either years out of date or intentional inaccurate. This too is today's UN.

Scribes speaking off the record according to the New York Times of May 14 "accused [ICP] of printing gossip, rumors." That UNCA's president rented an apartment to Palitha Kohona then granted his request to screenin the UN his government's war crimes denial film is no rumor or gossip.

But Akhbar Elyom, to which Gallach's and Ban's MALU and UNCA have given Inner City Press' office, not only gets journalists in Egypt attested - it targets, with a "Muslim Brotherhood" smear, a journalist who works right in the UN. Arabic article here.

This is the journalism that Ban Ki-moon and his Cristina Gallach want and reward. By taking away Inner City Press' office, it is now required to have a minder and is told to not ask diplomats questions. This is censorship.

Akhbar Elyom has been used to finger for imprisonment non-state journalists in Egypt. For example, in July 2015 Aboubakr Khallaf, the founder and head of the independent Electronic Media Syndicate (EMS), “was arrested after a news article was published by the government-owned daily Akhbar Elyoum.”
May 16, 2016

Press on UN Rape & Genocide Accepted, But Ban's Corruption Triggered Eviction

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 -- For ten years as Inner City Press covered the UN in ever greater detail, showing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's dalliance with genocide in Sri Lanka, impunity for cholera deaths in Haiti and inept overseeing of peacekeeper rapes, it was never thrown out of the UN.

Only when it questioned Ban's and its PR official Cristina Gallach's role in the John Ashe, Ng Lap Seng and Francis Lorenzo UN bribery scandal did Gallach order Inner City Press ousted then evicted, and now try to give its office to an Egyptian media which rarely or never asked questions. Ban Ki-moon claimed “That is not my decision,” but that is not true.

  The New York Times has now covered the story, and Inner City Press is not one to nit-pick such coverage. At least Ban's Spokesman Stephane Dujarric went on the record, admitting Inner City Press' access has been cut.

    UN Correspondents Association boss Giampaolo Pioli lied, but at least on the record. (He rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona then granted Kohona's request, as Sri Lanka's Ambassador, to screen his government's war crimes denial film in the UN. Then Pioli told Inner City Press to take its story about it off the Internet or be thrown out of the UN, which Gallach and Ban did: UN Censorship Alliance.)

  But what's next? Is it acceptable for the UN to throw out a critical journalist writing four to eight stories a day, while leaving in people who write little, and ask nothing? Is Ban Ki-moon killing the UN? Watch this site.

The UN is now both corrupt -- a half a dozen indictments and counting, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cavorting with the indicted and his team covering it up -- retaliatory and badly run.

Now the UN is moving to give away Inner City Press' long time office as retaliation for its seeking to cover the bribery and corruption scandal, including  trying to cover a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), a group which took money from the indicteds' company, Ban Ki-moon's “Communications” chief Cristina Gallach threw Inner City Press out of the UN on February 19.

So to whom does the UN seek to give Inner City Press' office away? A former UNCA President, who it seems has not asked any question, much less a critical question, in the UN Press Briefing Room or stakeout in quite some time.

Inner City Press has in the past defended correspondents when the UN sought late in their careers to move them along, and is treading lightly for now: perhaps this former UNCA President didn't know the history here.

(The current UNCA website doesn't even list its past Presidents, perhaps wisely: it seems to be a Year Zero operation.)

But what is the UN's rationale of giving away the office of a working, critical journalist to a former UNCA president who asks even fewer questions than the current UNCA president?

It's called retaliation, or some say, human shields. Who is responsible?

Audio hereBan, when asked, said “that is not my decision.” But he heard about the ouster and eviction in advance and ok-ed it.

On April 16, the acting chief of Gallach's “Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit Tal Mekel oversaw the eviction of Inner City Press' office, leaving five boxes of its files out on First Avenue. Video here.

Some in Ban's team indicated to Inner City Press its office would be left empty until its four month “purgatory” or punishment-for-reporting period was over.

That was a lie: on May 13, after Inner City Press asked more questions about Ban's engagements with John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo - president of South South News which paid UNCA and still has a UN office - Inner City Press was informed that its long time office is being given out

May 9, 2016

ICP Asks UN About Lack of Whistleblower Protections, Miranda Brown, Retaliation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- While many try to insulate today's UN from the open corruption of the recent past of President of the General Assembly John Ashe, there is continuity to this UN scandal - and to the UN's failure to protect whistleblowers.

   As UN officials including Cristina Gallach, whose involvement in the scandal is detailed in the UN's own Office of Internal Oversight Services audit at Paragraphs 37 to 40 and 20(b) have moved to evict Inner City Press  from the UN premises (video here) and restrict its access, Inner City Press on May 4 asked UN Under Secretary-General for Management Yukio Takasu about two portions of the OIOS audit. Video here, see below.
The UN Controller, with Takasu, said she is working on whistleblower protections, in light of a US Law making 15% contingent on improvements in whistleblower protection.

So on May 5, Inner City Press returned and asked Ban's spokesman about it, video here  UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: Yesterday, the comptroller in the… said that the UN is continuing to work on whistle-blower protections, and she cited the US law that would require a cut of funding if whistle-blowers aren't protected.  So, I wanted to ask you, today the Government Accountability Project has… has highlighted the case of Miranda Brown, who was fired from the Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) as part of the Anders Kompass case.  She's asked to be reinstated.  And they have a very long analysis, but they say one line I want to ask you to respond directly to.  They say:  "In a setting such as the UN where public access to information does not exist and where virtually all operations are governed only by the opaque internal legal process of the institution itself, whistle-blowers have an absolutely crucial function."  Can you say, number one, do you… are you aware of the Miranda Brown case?  And what do you think of her firing at the time?  Two, what's the work on whistle-blower protections that the comptroller was referring to?  And do you disagree that there is, in fact, not a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] at the UN to receive information and that the internal process…

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  I think the… on Miranda Brown, I have nothing to add to what we've already said on that case.  Obviously, the… you know, whistle-blower protect… the work of whistle-blowers is very important.  I know there are efforts to improve the current policies.  When we have something to announce, I'm sure we will.  And I think the UN is… there's a lot of information that is freely available.  Now, I know there is no equivalent of the FOIA, and again, I think to… I answered that the other day, which is that it's in the hands of the Member States.

rrovements in whistleblower protection

   How was indicted Ng Lap Seng's Global Sustainability Foundation's “sponsorship” of the UN slavery memorial opening event, featuring Ban Ki-moon, accounted for in the UN budget?

  Takasu gamely said that “in-kind” contributions are not quantified or listed. If so, how many other events did Ng Lap Seng entities sponsor? Inner City Press asked how Takasu's Assistant Secretary General of the Office of Central Support Services allowed Ng Lap Seng's June 30, 2015 event in the UN Vistitors Lobby, also with no due diligence by Gallach's DPI, to go forward. Things slip between the cracks, Takasu said, indicating that he would like to tighten things up.

 So how much more slipped through the cracks? And how was Gallach allowed -- or encouraged -- to retaliate against the Press which is pursuing and asking about this story? Given that Gallach clearly should have recused itself, when will Inner City Press be restored to its shared office and Resident Correspondent accreditation status?

Inner City Press On May 2 asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if any of the OIOS recommendations due April 30 had been implemented. No information has been provided.

May 2, 2016

ICP Asks UN of US Bill on Peacekeeper Rapes, UN Doesn't Keep Records

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 20-- How low has the UN fallen, in terms of corruption, not stopping rapes, and retaliating against the Press that asks the questions? April 16 eviction here and here.

  Now that a bill on UN peacekeepers' sexual abuse and exploitation has passed the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Inner City Press on April 29 asked the spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon what he thought of the bill, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press:  I want to ask you about a bill that was passed out of committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding, among other things, sexual abuse in UN peacekeeping.  Senators [Bob] Corker and [Ben] Cardin had said that the bill reminds that prohibitions on funding for gross human rights abuses also applies to UN peacekeeping operations.  I wanted to know, given that this may have an impact on UN funding and given the hearings that were held and the statement that the Secretary-General was inept on this issue, what is your response to the bill passing committee?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Well, I think, you know, many bills go through many legal procedures in 193 Member States.  We're not going to start commenting on each bill as it passes various hurdles in each country's legislative process.  I think the Secretary-General very much shares the concerns of all Member States on issues of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers and other international forces.  I think the Secretary-General has been very much focused on ensuring that Member States do their part and ensuring that the UN system does their part and ensuring that we put the victims at the centre of everything that we do in order to combat this issue.

Inner City Press:  But I guess what I wanted to know is, since the bill does sort of link or say that it's possible that UN peacekeeping is involved in, quote, gross human rights abuses, I wanted to know: do you have a response to that?  And do you have an answer to yesterday I'd asked you about a 61-year-old truck driver in Bangui?

Spokesman Dujarric:  No.  I was expecting something.  I don't have anything on that.

Inner City Press:  Do you have any records of who was killed? [Inner City Press actually said, does the UN even keep records on who it kills?]

Spokesman:  Matthew, as I said, I'm trying to get some information on it.  I will get it to you as soon as I can.  No one more than the Secretary-General is concerned anytime anyone, whether it's an international peacekeeper or UN peacekeeper or UN civilian, violates human rights or commits criminal conduct.  And he's extremely focused on ensuring that there's accountability and that there is no impunity.

  Extremely focused. That's why he and his Under Secretary General for "Public Information" Christina Gallach threw out the critical Press which is asking about these issues, and Gallach's "2016 Communications Guidelines" barely mention sexual abuse, and are silent on the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case which broke in 2015 and in which Gallach is implicated, see UN OIOS audit at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20(b).
April 25, 2016

After UN Evicts ICP, Ban's Spox Says "You've Been Afforded A Lot of Courtesies"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 -- Contrary to what the UN says about freedom of the press, and despite a petition signed by 1400 people and opposition from the Government Accountability Project and several Permanent Representatives at the UN and members of Congress in DC, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 16 threw five boxes of Inner City Press' journalistic files out onto First Avenue. Photo herevideo here and here (Periscope).

  This followed eight of Ban's guards, at the direction of his "Public Information" chief Cristina Gallach, physically throwing Inner City Press onto First Avenue, and its laptop on the sidewalk, on February 19. Audio here.

On April 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I’m going to again try to do this politely, but I want to ask this question.  In the audit, of the OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) audit, one of the longest sections in terms of Ng Lap Seng affiliates concern South-South News.  They described five separate engagements with the UN, and each party is saying we didn’t really know or we… we’re… you know, and the recommendation that you’re aware of to… to take a closer look at this relationship.  So I wanted to know, yesterday, or… or some… earlier this week, South-South News put out a press release, sent to many people, and they said, “It is disgraceful that a few independent journalists are exhibiting a lack of professionalism and irresponsibility,” essentially by questioning this.  So my question to you is… you may or may not have seen this.  Reuters wrote a story about it.

Spokesman:  Yeah.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  You’ve seen it.  Here’s my question.  Given all this, given that the indictment came out in October, six months ago, I went upstairs yesterday, and I see that South-South News still has a UN office.  And apparently, you said it’s under review.  There seems to be some due process rights.  What I want to ask you directly is:  How can there be a due process right with an institution that’s charged with bribery when a smaller institution, Inner City Press, was physically thrown out of its office with no due process?  And my question to you is, given that, yesterday, they tore a sign of the Free UN Coalition for Access (FUNCA) off the door without the consent of the office’s still occupant, who’s a member of FUNCA, what is the intention?  And what would you say to those who say, basically, if you have money, you get due process at the UN, up to six months, and if you don’t, you get two hours?  What would you say?

Spokesman:  I would say that you’re wrong, and I think you’ve been afforded quite a lot of courtesies.  Thank you.

Inner City Press:  Really?  Oh, really?  Files on the street?

 On April 20, when Inner City Press arrived at the UN's Visitors' Entrance well in time to cover 10 am meetings, a UN Security guard blocked its way in to the metal detectors.

  "I know who you are," the guard said, telling Inner City Press to go to the back of a long line of visitors.

   Since on all previously days non-resident correspondents, like the "affiliates" who staff the UN's food venues and even its UNTV, are sent into the glass building with the metal detectors, this new "rule" was noteworthy.

 So on April 20, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here

April 18, 2016

Ban Ki-moon Has ICP's Files Thrown Onto 1st Av, Bribery Audit Names His Gallach

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- Contrary to what the UN says about freedom of the press, and despite a petition signed by 1300 people and opposition from the Government Accountability Project and several Permanent Representatives at the UN and members of Congress in DC, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 16 threw five boxes of Inner City Press' journalistic files out onto First Avenue. Photo herevideo here.

  This followed eight of Ban's guards, at the direction of his "Public Information" chief Cristina Gallach, physically throwing Inner City Press onto First Avenue, and its laptop on the sidewalk, on February 19. Audio here.

  In the case of Gallach and ultimately Ban Ki-moon, this is retaliation for Inner City Press' critical coverage of the UN including each's involvement in the bribery scandal which so far was resulted in four guilty pleas.

  As the UN bribery scandal gathered force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Global Sustainability Foundation (GSF), David Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Group and its affiliates including the "World Harmony Foundation" and South South News, among others.

  The audit, completed early this year but first put online by Inner City Press, directly criticizes Cristina Gallach, the Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, for example in Paragraphs 20(b) and 37-40. She should have recused herself.

  Instead Gallach has ordered the search and eviction of Inner City Press' files, on April 16. She has misrepresented it to UN Ambassadors of major countries including South Africa and to Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta.

She and / or Ban Ki-moon above her are so intent on permanently restriction Inner City Press' ability to cover corruption at the UN that they had there functionary head of MALU write to Inner City Press at 1:30 AM on the morning of the eviction, limiting the Press' ability to document the seizure of its files:

From: Tal Mekel at UN.org
Date: Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 1:30 AM
Subject: Saturday access
To: matthew.lee@innercitypress.com

Dear Matthew,

Access on Saturday is 'exceptional' in nature (as Green Ps do not have access to UNHQ on weekends save for an official event being convened e/g. emergency SC meeting) and is solely for the purpose of over sighting the removal of your belongings.

You may bring with you one (1) individual, again on a  exceptional basis.

Best, Tal

------------------------------------------------
Tal Mekel
Acting Chief
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-250
New York, NY 10017


   Earlier on April 15, Mekel had told Inner City Press that a two-person film crew was approved. This was revoked at 1:30 am, precluding the crew. And yet...


 This inordinate focus on ousting Inner City Press, while UN Correspondents Association board members have private offices and many write no articles, is all the more contrary to freedom of the press as Inner City Press on April 15 exclusively published documents of UN and Morocco fraud in Western Sahara, credited by 360, here.

Gallach, the highest UN official of Spain, has by her no due process orders BANned Inner City Press from covering even UNSC meetings on Western Sahara. This is retaliation and censorship.

On the afternoon of April 15 Inner City Press was told that it will be UN staff going through the files but that then they will be given to, and impounded for some time by, a third party or parties whom the UN won't even name to Inner City Press.

As one wag put it, maybe they'll just keep passing them along.

  Gallach's Team heard on April 15 from Capitol Hill to maintain the status quo. Did they even tell Ban Ki-moon, his chief of staff or deputy? Is this what allows Ban Ki-moon to (try to) say, "That is not my decision"? We'll have more on this.
April 11, 2016

ICP Asks UN of Audit Criticism of DPI's Gallach, Lax on Slavery, Impunity?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 -- As the UN bribery scandal gathered force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services.

While Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said it will not be made public until April 22, on April 6 as a full text exclusive Inner City Press published the audit while noting affiliates the UN audit omitted, and portions of the audit that some involved seem to be trying to cover up.

  Beyond the Under Secretary General of the Department of Public Information's responsibility for exhibits in the Visitor's Lobby such as the one indicted Sheri Yan's Global Sustainability Foundation held on June 30, 2015, she was also in charge when GSF was allowed, without any due diligence, to on March 25, 2015 sponsor an event entitled "Unveiling of the 'Ark of Return' Permanent Memorial." Audit at Paragraph 20 (b).

  Inner City Press asked the UN about DPI's engagement with the Global Sustainability Foundation around the Ark of Return in October 2015. To be diplomatic, this should have led to / required a recusal. But again to be diplomatic, on April 8 this is what Inner City Press asked Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: this OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] audit, I obtained it, published it and I want to ask just for today, two specific questions about it.  One is, it talks about funds going to this thing called UNPAN, which I've heard of, but it seems to be pretty obscure.  And in looking at its website, it claims to be publishing articles they say were published in December 2016, which hasn't actually occurred yet.  So, there's something a little… What's been done on the recommendations as to… to UNPAN and the use of its name by the entities that were audited....

Spokesman:  The recommend… the audit, I think, as all of you have seen now, includes recommendations and includes the status of those recommendations, and we're following through with them.

Inner City Press: I'd asked Farhan [Haq] yesterday about the 30 June 2015 event in the Visitor's Lobby, which has a section of the whole audit about DPI [Department of Public Information] being in charge of it, not doing it.  I want to ask you about another event, which was 25 March, this unveiling of the Ark of Return permit memorial, which they said was no due diligence done of the Global Sustainability Foundation.  It seems like, in this audit, they make these two findings about DPI, these two events, but it's only looking at it, I guess, institutionally.  As I've asked you, when Global Sustainability Foundation was founded in this building, a senior adviser of the Secretary-General and his spouse were present…

Spokesman:  I mean, I think…

Inner City Press:  Does this audit look at individuals or only entities…?

Spokesman:  The audit looks at… looked at the systems.  When there are issues related to individuals, further investigations are being done.

Inner City Press:  Right.  But, it seems like they only mention the individuals that were in the criminal complaint.  There was nothing…

Spokesman:  You know, the audit… I think the audit speaks for itself and outlines how we're following up with it.

 There is a need for follow up.
April 4, 2016

UN's Gallach Says ICP Covers Wrong Things After Orders Eviction by April 6

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- On February 19 without once speaking to Inner City Press, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Under Secretary General for Public Information, Spain's Cristina Gallach, ordered the Press to leave the UN, which it has covered for ten years, in two hours. February 19 letter here.

On March 30, despite having been petitioned to stop her censorship and hindering of the Press' reporting by, among others, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jose Ramos Horta, Tamils of Sri Lanka and elsewhere including a Northern Provincial Councilor, over one thousand petition signers and commenters, Ambassadors and UN officials and, it seems, Jeffrey Sachs, Gallach nevertheless had delivered to Inner City Press a final eviction letter, below.

 Then after having the eviction order delivered to Inner City Press by the acting head of her Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit -- which rebuffed a request to come into the UN from the outside and actually film what Gallach is misrepresenting, from the ludicrous claim Inner City Press “hid” in a glassed-in, entirely visible interpreters' booth to the non-functioning of its cut non-Resident Correspondent pass at the turnstile to the second floor of the UN Conference Building -- Gallach on the afternoon of March 30 approach Inner City Press as it openly Periscope filmed at the Security Council stakeout.

  That Inner City Press was openly filming is clear from the video itself: a UN Security guard tells it it cannot step a single foot beyond the Security Council stakeout without a MALU escort or minder (censorship), then critiques its Periscope voice-over about censorship, saying You know you can't do that.

  But Inner City Press, while to accommodate the censorship guard suspending its voice-over, continued openly filming with its phone held high, as a UN tour guide told a group including Cristina Gallach and her assistant Darrin Farrant that the replica of Picasso's Guernica was lent to the UN by the Rockefellers. As the group, at another of Gallach's deputy's suggestions, went in to tour the Security Council chamber itself, Gallach came over to where Inner City Press stood openly filming.

   Viewers can reach their own conclusion about what Gallach said; in fairness to her we have uploaded the entire file, here, despite some sound quality issues (to put it mildly).

  To Inner City Press it is outrageous that the UN's Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, while insisting it is fair to strip Inner City Press of its long time office and ability to cover events on the UN's second floor, including the Office of the President of the General Assembly on which even Ban and his lawyer issued a report on March 29, excuses and does nothing about the head of the UN Correspondents Association having come to the stakeout on March 24 and four times loudly called Inner City Press an “a*hole.”

   Gallach's excuse for UNCA's Giampaolo Pioli, whose bidding (along with the bidding of other very senior personalities at and in the UN) she is doing, is that Inner City Press is said to photograph or cover the wrong things while at the stakeout, things that Gallach thinks are not news worthy.

  Is UNCA giving indicted Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban Ki-moon not newsworthy? Is a member of the UN Secretariat giving advance information to privileged corporate media not newsworthy? Who is Cristina Gallach to decide what the Press can or cannot photograph or cover when it is at the UN Security Council stakeout?

  Does Cristina Gallach, with the power to evict the Press, even watch the UN's daily noon briefing? Does she know that those she is working for don't even go, don't ask any questions, in some cases don't write any articles and do unrelated commercial business in the office space she leaves them with, while evicting Inner City Press for retaliation?

   Inner City Press has tried to discuss all this with Cristina Gallach; her retaliatory mantra, with no respect from freedom of the press, remains the same. There is a week: watch this site.



Here is the letter that Gallach had delivered to Inner City Press at 3 pm on March 30, before she approached Inner City Press Periscoping later than afternoon:

“Dear Mr. Lee, I write further to my letter of 19 February 2016. As I made clear in that letter, your accreditation privileges to access the premises of the United Nations to conduct your journalistic activities have been changed to that of non-Resident Correspondent. In this regard, I note that you have applied for and received your non-Resident Correspondent accreditation on 25 February 2016. Such accreditation allows you access to the premises of the United Nations in that capacity in order to carry out your full journalistic activities in the same manner as any other journalist with such accreditation privileges.

“At the same time, I also note that as of today, and after several reminders, you have not yet emptied the office of your belongings, which remain untouched, nor have you returned the key to that office.

“In light of the above, I request that you remove your belongings from the office and return its key to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit by no later than 5:00 p.m. on 6 April 2016. If you do not collect your belongings from the office by that deadline, I would request your presence for the packaging and forwarding of your belongings to the address listed in your accreditation application. Yours sincerely, Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information”

  To many who petitioned her, from Washington to Jaffna in Sri Lanka, Gallach had repeatedly claimed that despite seizing Inner City Press' long time shared office and investigative files, Inner City Press would have the same access AS IT HAD BEFORE, or the same access as OTHER REPORTERS AT THE UN.

  This has proved to be false. Since the non-Resident Correspondent pass does not open the turnstile on the second floor of the UN's Conference Building, Inner City Press has been Banned from covering meetings in the ECOSOC and Trusteeship Council chambers, on such topics as UN Security Council reform, counter-terrorism and Sri Lanka, the selection of the next Secretary General, and more.

   Even Security Council meetings, such as the March 21 session on Western Sahara, Inner City Press was Banned from by Gallach's order. Now, after make claims, she says Inner City Press will have not the same access that it had, or even access to all Security Council meetings -- rather, the same access as other with the restricted non-Resident Correspondent pass: a tautology.  We'll have more on this.
March 28, 2016

On W. Sahara, Spain's Gallach Bans ICP From UNSC Stakeout March 21, Minders March 24

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 26 -- When to respond to Morocco's ouster of the MINURSO mission from Western Sahara the UN Security Council met at 8:30 am on March 21, Inner City Press arrived to cover the meeting, as it has Council meetings on the topic each April and October.

 But this time, it was unable to access the Security Council stakeout in order to speak with diplomats for its reporting. Video here. Any reporter with a Resident Correspondent pass, as Inner City Press had for eight years, could go to the stakeout. But not Inner City Press, not anymore.

   The reason Inner City Press was Banned from stakeout out the Western Sahara meeting was UN Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach's February 19 letter telling it, on two hours notice, to leave the UN after ten years of coverage. Letter here. Gallach never once spoke to Inner City Press before issuing the order.

   The results of Gallach's order, which remains in place as of March 26, is systemic exclusion from covering and staking out events ranging from Sri Lanka counter-terrorism to the process for selecting Ban Ki-moon's successor, from UN Security Council reform to an event about slavery, the UN's memorial to which has funded since indicted and pleaded guilty to bribery at the UN.

   After the March 24 UN Security Council consultations on Western Sahara, just after the reading out o the Council's “Press Elements,” things hit a new low. UN Department of Public Information staff, working for Gallach, told Inner City Press it had to leave the Security Council stakeout even as other pro-Morocco journalists were conducting interviews with diplomats.

   After Inner City Press stated this was censorship attributable to Gallach, her staff's “solution” was even more Kafka-esque: Inner City Press would require an escort, or minder, as it conducted interviews. Obviously, diplomats desiring to speak on background about Ban's performance on Western Sahara would not do so in the presence of a minder working for Ban's Secretariat.

   What has led to this censorship or Banning of the Press at the UN, on Western Sahara, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Burundi and other topics?

  While Gallach's February 19 letter is vague, in the “incident” she alludes to Inner City Press sought to report on an event, nowhere listed as closed, held in the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29.

It was a meeting of the UN Correspondents Association, and Inner City Press wanted to cover it to see if the group's having under Giampaolo Pioli taken money from thhe South South News of now indicted Ng Lap Seng's and Vivian Wang's (and Frank Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty) would be discussed. UNCA's Pioli demanded that UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric ask Inner City Press to leave.

 When despite no showing that it was a “Closed Meeting” a single UN Security officer told Inner City Press that Dujarric wanted Inner City Press to leave, it did.

   But the disagreement about the right to exclude the press from the UN Press Briefing Room was used by Gallach -- and it seems UNCA “leaders” including Giampaolo Pioli and at least two news services which now operate anonymous troll social media accounts -- to three weeks later, on two hours notice and with no due process, order Inner City Press out.

March 21, 2016

ICP Asked About Lorenzo's Bribery, US Cites UN Audit, Not South South News

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- For more than six months Inner City Press has asked the UN about its dealings with Frank Lorenzo, former Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic and head of South South News, who has now formally pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery at the UN.

 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who had accepted a prize from Lorenzo, has yet to comment; Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric on February 9 told Inner City Press, “I'm done answering questions.” Vine here.

Inner City Press on March 15 asked US State Department spokesperson John Kirby, transcript here, Vine here, full video here, from Minute 21:02:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, there was – today – it was announced today that the deputy ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Frank Lorenzo, is set to plead guilty to bribery charges at the UN. So I wanted to ask, what’s the State Department’s view of that case? Do you view it as just a slip-up in the president of the General Assembly’s office, or is it a reflection of a wider corruption or sale of access at the UN and what the Government Accountability Project also calls retaliation against the press reporting on the case? Do you – what do you make of this case that began in October and is ongoing, the wheels are turning?

MR KIRBY: I’m going to have to take that question. I do not believe I have anything for you on that. So you’re going to have to let me get back to you.

  On the afternoon of March 16, when Inner City Press asked Kirby's deputy Mark Toner the above questions, along with questions on Yemen, Sudan and genocide, a State Department official on background answered Inner City Press:

"Rooting out fraud and corruption, and advancing accountability is a priority for the United States, and has been for many years. In addition to ongoing legal action in the Southern District of New York, we support the Secretary General’s request for an Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) audit of the interaction between the UN and the Global Sustainability Foundation and the Sun Kian Ip Group, and the use of any funds received from these entities. As this matter is under ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office, as well as by the UN and OIOS, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

  We'll have more on this - for example on what the indictment calls "NGO-1," which is South South News, and about the US and the GAP letter. Watch this site.

  On February 19 Inner City Press was ordered out of the UN, which it has covered for ten years as a Resident Correspondent with a shared office full of files, by a letter signed that day with two hours notice by Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach - who attended the September 2015 South South Awards with Lorenzo, photo here.

  On Gallach's order, and with the participation of Ban's spokesman Dujarric, Inner City Press was thrown out onto First Avenue along with its laptop, but without its passport still in its shared office, by eight UN Security guards. Audio here. On February 22, UN Security told Inner City Press it was Banned from all UN premises.

  After stories in BuzzFeed and Business Insider, Inner City Press re-entered the UN on a much reduced “non-resident correspondent” pass, Banned from covering such events as UN Security Council reform, Sri Lanka and terrorism, and the Office of the President of the General Assembly. (Inner City Press has continued, with sources, to report, for example here.)

  The harassment continued: hours after Inner City Press raised its case orally to Ban Ki-moon and his deputy, UN Security against physically ordered Inner City Press to leave the UN, at 8 pm.  Video here.

Dujarric said it is not his job to find Inner City Press a place to work. Q&A here. More and seemingly final threats were made on March 14 -- just before it emerged that Lorenzo is pleading guilty to bribery charges. Now what?
March 14, 2016

UN's Jan 29 "Incident" Featured UNCA Hiding Ng Lap Seng Info, UN Staff at Pioli's Open Bar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 12 -- The UN's ouster of Inner City Press on February 19, on a mere two hours notice, was said by UN official Cristina Gallach's letter to be based on “the incident” of January 29. In the three weeks of struggle -- and UN harassment -- since, more has become clear about that incident.

   The UN Press Briefing Room, which is supposed to be for all journalists, was “lent” to the UN Correspondents Association to hold their annual meeting. Inner City Press quit UNCA in 2012, finding it to be corrupt. 

   UNCA's then and now president Giampaolo Pioli unilaterally granted a UN screening for the Sri Lankan government's war crimes denial film “Lies Agreed To” after having taken rent money from Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador. When Inner City Press reported that, Pioli demanded removal of the article from the Internet or he would “get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN” (which later took place.)

  So on January 27, Inner City Press published a story about the coming  misuse of the UN Press Briefing Room, and on January 29 went to cover the meeting as a news event. To not participate in the meeting - and be heckled by Pioli's UNCA thugs, as later nevertheless happened - Inner City Press covered it from the glassed in interpreters booth, fully visible, waving at attendees, live-tweeting and streaming Periscope.

  Pioli at the podium in the front of the room grew angry and ordered Inner City Press to leave. Inner City Press said no, the room is for all journalists (It took the same position when UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric tried to “lend” the UN Press Briefing Room to France's and his President, Francois Hollande; Inner City Press won that standoff, the private briefing was opened to all.)

  This time at Pioli's request Dujarric came in and asked Inner City Press to leave so he could go see his “f*cking kids.” Inner City Press said it was a point of principle, of equal treatment of all journalists in the UN Press Briefing Room, but that it would leave if UN Security requested it.

  Finally a single guard came and told Inner City Press that the Spokesman wanted it to leave. Inner City Press immediately left anduploaded a story and the video from the “incident.” 

  In the weeks that followed, Inner City Press repeated asked Dujarric and his Deputy Farhan Haq why they had “lent” the UN Press Briefing Room to UNCA, to whom else they had lent it -- no list was provided -- and why, for example, indicted Frank Lorenzo had appeared in the UN Press Briefing Room but not in that day's UN Media Alert. Was it lent to him, too? By whom?

  Seemingly based on this questioning, linking the privatization of the UN Press Briefing Room to the widening corruption scandal, UN official Cristina Gallach issued a letter throwing Inner City Press out of its long time office and deactivating its Resident Correspondent's accreditation.

This was enforced by eight UN Security guards who threw Inner City Press in the street and its laptop on the ground as two UNCA insiders -- Margaret Besheer of Voice of America, a correspondent to Dujarric, and Sherwin Brice of SABC -- stood and filmed and laughed.

   Gallach, as Inner City Press has reported before January 29, has attended the South South Awards of indictee Ng Lap Seng, with indictee Frank Lorenzo. Not only should she have provided due process but didn't - she should have recused herself from any decision-making. 

   UNCA under Pioli, as Inner City Press also reported, took tens of thousands of dollars from Ng Lap Seng's South South News, then gave Ng a photo op with Ban Ki-moon; after this, UNCA under Pioli openly sold seats with Ban at Cipriani Wall Street for $12,000.

  But there's more. Why was the UNCA meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room in the first place, when the UN gives UNCA a large clubhouse on the UN's third floor?

  Well, on the evening of January 29 UNCA / Pioli was to hold a party in the UNCA clubhouse, with waiters (who and how paid was unclear.) At the event, the advertised open bar was open to members of Dujarric's Office of the Spokesperson and Gallach's DPI. Is that ethical?

   In the UNCA meeting after Pioli got Dujarric to get UN Security to tell Inner City Press to leave, an UNCA member asked to at least get a hard-copy of the UNCA budget information. Pioli told that member to just vote against the budget, then.  

Where did the Ng Lap Seng money go? The money for the seats sold next to Ban Ki-moon? Who paid for the January 29 party? Why is the UN taking and giving these freebies? This is a corrupt UN -- and for seeking to cover it, Inner City Press has been thrown out, and is still being harassed (thrown out again on March 10). It is UNacceptable. Watch this site.

After Inner City Press was summarily ejected from the UN, which it has covered for 10 years, on February 19 (audio here), the ostensibly deciding official Cristina Gallach told Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta, who contacted her to oppose her arbitrary decision, that Inner City Press would still be able to cover the UN.

  Now Gallach, even having been informed that Inner City Press can no longer for example go to the second floor of the UN Conference Building and speak with diplomats entering and exiting meetings like March 9 on UN Security Council reform, and March 10 on Counter-Terrorism including in Sri Lanka, repeats the same position to others - as does Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson, under Stepane Dujarric, see below.

But Inner City Press had been told that while the pass would not allow it to enter the UN after 7 pm, if it was already inside working, it could finish.

  On March 10 at 8 pm, as Inner City Press sat in the UN Lobby cafe area editing a video of the day's noon briefing, see below, UN Security officers approached and told it to leave. Immediately. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked if this rule applied to all non-resident correspondents, many of whom stayed much later than 8 pm, or only to it.

  "I"m just doing what I'm told," UN DSS Officer Clyde said, telling Inner City Press to take it up with his supervisor Chief (Michael or Mick) Brown.

 This is harassment; it flows from the February 19 no due process order of Under Secretary General of DPI Cristina Gallach but has been enabled by inaction by the highest UN officials and some diplomats.

On March 11, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about having been ousted from the UN again, video here, UN transcript here:
March 7, 2016

Exclusive: UN Yemen Envoy Told Feltman Houthis Ready to Meet in Jordan, Saudi Low-ball

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.

  Now Inner City Press has another exclusive: UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's email to UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, which contradicts what enovy Ould Cheikh Ahmed most recently told the Security Council. The email exclusively published by Inner City Press shows flexibility on the Houthi said, with the prospects of meeting in Jordan or Morocco, while the Saudis insist on sending low level representation. Here is the email:

"Dear Jeff, I just completed a 2-day visit in Riyadh and wanted to give you a quick update on how things have developed since my discussions with H/Mohamed AbdelSalam last week in Muscat.

I had a private discussion with both State Minister Mussaeed Al Ayban and Abu Ali where I briefed them on the readiness of th Houthis to resume discrete face-to-face meetings with KSA representatives. While they welcomed the progress made and expressed their commitment to go ahead with this track, they also emphasized that:

i) in light of the progress the Coalition has been making on the ground and their advance toward Sanaa, the Houthis should seize this opportunity and discuss in good faith as they are in a weaker position on the ground and their options are narrowing;

ii) KSA will not consider elevating the level of their representation in the KSA-H talks, as Mohamed AbdelSalam had requested. KSA considers that the 2 representatives they are sending are at the level of Mohammed AbdelSalam and the Houthis should not expect a higher representation at this point;

iii) KSA accepted the proposal of Mohamed AbdelSalam to meet in a third country (Jordan). Mohamed Abe Assalem has suggested to me either Morocco or Jordan as the venue.

 I immediately called Mohemad AbdelSalam from Riyadh to share the outcomes of the meeting. He was going to talk to his leadership and revert to me with a confirmation. If the Houthis accept, the Houthi - KSA meeting could go ahead as early as next week, in Jordan. We of course would not participate nor be present. I have however already started coordination with the Jordan Ambassador to Yemen, as needed.

Although we still do not have an agreement for a new cessation of hostilities, we have continued to press for commitment to the De-Escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC), and a range of economic initiatives (especially in relation to the Central Bank's independence and the reactivation of the Social Welfare Fund).

In my meeting with the GoY delegation, I continued to impress upon them the importance of participation of the GoY in the DCC, and to training which we are planning to organize in Amman during the coming weeks. The UK Ambassador informed me that Foreign Minister and Head of GoY delegation AbdelMalik El Mikhalfi today had responded positively to his suggestion.

There are been positive developments on economic initiatives which I have supported as well. Foreign Minister Mikhalfi participated in the Central Bank board meeting last week in Amman together with the Minister for Finance and the CB Governor. DPM/MoFA Mikhalfi acknowledged that significance of the Governor's attendance from Sanaa and was very grateful for my personal efforts to secure his participation with the Houthis, which was seen by the GoY as an important confidence building measure. Mikhalfi agreed on the necessity of developing further economic initiatives including the support for the SWF and SFD. My office is working with the UNCT, World Bank and IMF in order to ensure a sufficient level of technical support for these proposals.

 I am now in Nouakchott for 4 days where I need to renew my G4 visa and will proceed to New York on 16 February ahead of the SC briefing. I intend to remain in NYC until 22 February in order to meet with key Member States and HQ officials. I plan to also travel to Washington DC 19 February and hold meetings there. I look forward to seeing you in New York in a few days.
Best regards, Ismail."

  The above email was sent on February 11 and contradicts what Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Security Council; meanwhile Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the UN told the press on March 4 that envoy IOCA does NOT want a humanitarian access resolution.

 In the UN Security Council on the Yemen sanctions resolution adopted on February 24, language was added to try to discourage the Panel of Experts from looking into the act of the Saudi-led Coalition. Concessions were made, of a kind not made for or about other countries under sanctions.

  (Inner City Press had to follow the process from outside the UN, literally, the park on 43rd Street across First Avenue, because only days after Inner City Press asked why the UN was so quiet about false claims of Iranian military equipment in a UN WFP aid ship, Inner City Press was summarily thrown out of the UN for seeking three weeks earlier to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room, and Banned, without due process. Petition here.)February 29, 2016

UN's Ouster of ICP Opposed from Yemen, Burundi, NY, Nigeria, Dominica, Geneva

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- After Inner City Press was summarily ejected from the UN, which it has covered for ten years, on February 19, the ostensibly deciding official Cristina Gallach told no less than Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta that Inner City Press would still be able to cover the UN.

What she didn't say was that Inner City Press' ability to cover the unfolding UN corruption scandal in which she has played a role would be curtailed under the proposed arrangement - by design. Inner City Press is opposing this.

  And so now are a range of people from around the world, who have signed a petition to immediately restore Inner City Press to the UN Resident Correspondent accreditation it had for nine years until, without any due process, the UN pass was physically torn from its chest as UN Security throw its laptop onto the sidewalk in front of the UN (also owned by the UN and immunity from US law including the First Amendment).

Here are just some of the comments of those signing the petition directed to Ban Ki-moon:

UN cover-up artists are taking advantage of the dying months of Ban Ki-moon's tenure to remove a thorn in their side, because they are worried the new SG won't want to start out with a fight. -James Bone, Shelter Island Heights, NY

ICP has been the only voice for the oppressed in #Burundi, #Haiti & #Yemen at #UN. -Eloge Tinya, Lagos, Nigeria

Innercitypress is the voice of many oppressed Burundians and many Africans under dictatorship. I have decided to stand with the oppressed and not the oppressor, UN needs to practice what it preaches by setting free innercitypress to do his work! -Lievin Manisha, Pineville, LA

ICP asked questions that will bring clarity on the agreement the Prime Minister of Dominica signed in Macau on August 25, 2015 together with Ng Lap Seng and a UN official. -Hon. Hector John, Salisbury, Dominica

I am signing for UN to restore Matthew Lee Inner City Press right to access to the UN as a Resident Correspondent to question authorities because it is the fundamental of free speech as the UN preaches to other countries it must first practice itself to set example. -Smret Kibrom, San Gallo, Switzerland

Freedom of press. -Prem Kumar, India

innercitypress defends the human rights of Burundians and help to avoid genocide, please free innercitypress! - MICHAEL Tim, London, United Kingdom

I'm signing because the barring of access to Mr. Lee appears to be at worst motivated by a reluctance to engage with and continue to receive the probing questions he asks, and at best the result of a petty personal vendetta based on unprofessional antipathy towards Mr. Lee by the 'respectable' wing of the United Nations press corps. -Marlon Ettinger, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

I am signing this petition for Matthew Russell Lee and Inner City Press be restored to the shared UN office and Resident Correspondent accreditation they have had for eight years prior to this pretextual incident. It also requests, as does the Free UN Coalition for Access that Matthew co-founded, that an investigation be launched into how all of this occurred. Moreover to call for aggressive investigative journalism at the UN and to tell the leaders of the UN that the UN, too, must live up to the principles of due process and freedom of the press. -Martha Fassil, New York, NY

Comment l'onu peut agir de sorte alors qu'ils sont comme meilleur modèle de la démocratie, je garde espoir qu'on aura un jour un vrai dirigeants de l'onu pour tous. -Steve Ndacasaba, Montréal, Canada

I'm signing cause, want a real journalist who tells it like it is. No agenda but the truth. I am supporting him for standing up for UN bully. -Paulos Welday, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Han er en journalist som forteller sannheten til verden.
Mussie Tesfay, Oslo, Norway

UN should walk the talk. Practice what you preach - rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression, of press. Reinstate ICP Mathew Russell Lee to full resident reporter. -Seble Ephrem, London, United Kingdom

we need a voice for africa
redae medhane, Kitchener, Canada

Incredible. This banning is the exact opposite of the transparency and accountability that the UN should be defending for all institutions. This must be reversed.
Denis Rancourt, Ottawa, Canada

ICP is the most reliable source of information at the UN. The other corporate media are controlled by the special interest groups. Thus their journalistic integrity is always suspect. ICP is voice of the voiceless - of course unlike the UN and its sponsors and financiers. -tsehaie mahary, edmonton, Canada

I express my solidarity with Mathew, God bless you friend
Mohamed MAYARA, El Aaiun, Western Sahara

Matthew Lee has been a lone voice asking the difficult questions in the UN press gallery. -Martin Field, Geneva, Switzerland

I have seen Matthew only defending the truth. He is a journalist with a genuine journalist ethics. He is also the one of the most intelligent and courageous journalist. He is a model how other journalist should be. He should be given a noble prize for what he does not get banned from the UN. -Yacob Woldehiwot, London, United Kingdom

The UN cannot be dismissive of new media as people get their news from new media.The UN cannot pick and choose media persons according to their whims and fancies. -soraya patel, India

Shame on UN. -ibrahim alhaifi, Sanaa, Yemen

I believe this is censorship of the press. Shameful. -Douglas Smith, New York, NY

I believe this is censorship of the press. Shameful. -Douglas Smith, New York, NY
I'm signing because I believe in ICP to bring balance to the reporting of UN activities around the globe. I also believe in the ability of Lee to investigate, without fear or favour, to keep the UN reputation intact. -Saare Tsehaye, London, United Kingdom

Because this is censorship on free press. Inner City stands for Truth, Justice & Peace !!! -Aman Kubrom, Frankfurt, Germany

How can the UN be so ridiculous?
Feridun Akpinar, Turku, Finland

For Truth & Transparency, there must always be those who Question more. -Auet Melache, Bolton, United Kingdom

I am signing because UN is being unfair and need to take some responsibility. -Lynda Charles, Boynton Beach, FL

He's credible and follows the ethics of journalism to the fullest. -Amanuel Tseggai, Stone Mountain, GA

We need the alternative,independent and investigative media to be present everywhere. -Marja Konttila, Solna, Sweden

I demand the U.N. unconditionaly and ASAP to restore access to Inner City Press`Matthew Russell Lee to the U.N. as a Resident Correspondent. -johannes abraham, Germany

I believe in press giving independant views on ignored issues
Cyrilla Bwakira, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ban is a tool. -Michael Klett, San Francisco, CA

InnerCity Press has been very professional and a life saver. His reports on different issues around the world helped uncover certain hidden truths. If Ban was in #Burundi 2 days ago, I can say it is mainly because of his persistence of bringing Burundi to light from the repression of de facto president
Manirambona Juma, Kirundo, Burundi

Matt spells out the truth and exposes the games protecting the outdated system for what it currently is.Matt actually supports the principle of the UN, those within it, support themselves. -Andy Wren, Littlestone, United Kingdom

Weil ich sihe das innercity einsige unabhengige median vetretete vor
Stimmenloss. -Iassu nugusse, Germany

Matthew Russell Lee, founder of the Inner City Press, is a veteran investigative journalist I have relied upon on UN news for the past six years. He is truthful, and pursues truth in reporting tenaciously and with integrity. We need more journalists like him at the UN to keep us informed. He and his Inner City Press must be reinstated as a fully accredited resident journalist to the UN. -Elias Amare, San Rafael, CA

We need unbiased and impartial reporting from the UN. -David Macilwain, Australia

Does the UN have something to hide? The UN is also obligated by the same principles and norms it preaches. I demand the UN to reinstate Matthew Russell Lee to his desk so he can do what he does best- pure journalism. He is the only honest journalist at the UN compound and being the voice of the voiceless. -Daniel Berhe, Seattle, WA

I am signed because ICP thrown out on the street by the decorator of UN media Personnel with out his belongings Shame UN. -Yakob Tesfaye, Edmonton, Canada

I am signing this because I want to learn about the corrupt UN security council.
TEKLU BAHTA, NORTH CHICAGO,

I respectively ask UNSG and Mr Ban ki-moon to reture Matt to his post us a dedicated reporter in the UN. I have a huge respect for the guy. It would be a travesty of justice if a reporter like matt is out the office of the biggest office in the world when we need a reporter of such kind. -Kibrom tekeste, berkeley, CA

I'am signing because I believe in freedom of speach and Free Press Reporters/Journalists. -Ndayizeye APOLLINAIRE, Gatineau (Hull), Canada

The UN repeatedly acts like human rights protections apply to everyone but themselves. -Betsey Chace, Cambridge, MA

Matthew is the only bona fide journalist reporting on UN. He alone is rectifying the defects created by system of diplomatic immunity. Why makes his job harder? Do you have something to hide from him? He makes UN a more acceptable organization and indeed, by genuinely reporting he makes this world a better place. -T Chan, London, United Kingdom

I am signing for UN to restore Matthew Lee Inner City Press right to access to the UN as a Resident Correspondent to question authorities because it is the fundamental of free speech as the UN preaches to other countries it must first practice itself to set example.
Sara Haile, Alexandria, VA

Matthew Lee is, far and away, the hardest-working and most dogged of any journalist at the United Nations. His arbitrary expulsion is both outrageous and a reflection of the fact that things are not as they should be at the United Nations, and certainly not what YOU would expect. - alberto martin, New York, NY

He is the best one, for the world in the UN which tells us the truth. So if he is out of his work then the UN only remains with out the truth.
ghebreyohanis michiel, bachenbülach, Switzerland

Burundi medias burned by violent/genocidaire regime;our genuine source of information from UN was ICP:fair,not sided.Pls,Reestablish ICP in its rights!
Ange Nganji, Bujumbura, Burundi

I'm signing because I believe in the freedom of the press. I often reads Matthew Lee's work which reports on difficult topics and events that need covering and exposure. He should be reinstated at your earliest convenience.
Rebecca Myles, New York, NY

I'm signing because I'm an advocate for real, independent journalism and condemn the UN's decision to remove Inner City Press's access based on a nonsensical pretext! -Hermon Gebrai, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

I appreciate Inner City Press' persistent and prepared journalism at the United Nations. -Brian Concannon Jr., Marshfield, MA

Freedom of the press. -Luiz Rampelotto, New York, NY
18 hours ago

The UN needs to be held to standards of openess, transparency and freedom of the press. -Samuel Horton, Silsden, United Kingdom

Lee should not have been expelled, it's a disgrace to the UN. -Richard Johnson, Potomac, MD

It's unfair to throw someone out like that with out hearing from his side of history. -Hermon Tsegay, Slough, United Kingdom

Such a crck down on media in an organization promoting freedom of speech and information is really awkward and clearly disgraceful and unacceptable. -Florent Nduwayo, Kibungo, Rwanda

This is another in a long line of incidents conclusively evidencing the UN's complete and utter disrespect for the laws of its HOST country, the US, in particular the 1st amendment!! UN IMMUNITY = IMPUNITY--END IT NOW!! Journalists are the ultimate whistleblowers, and I am well aware of how UN whistleblowers like Mr Lee are persecuted and suffer grievous harm at the hands of rogue UN officials. The treatment of Mr. Lee is an outrage.

How ironic this has happened just as the US House Committe on Foreign Relations is today, on 24 Feb, holding a hearing about the gross mistreatment of whistleblowers at the UN and WIPO. Congress must act now to cut off 15% of US appropriations to the UN this year on account of its failure to protect and encourage UN whistleblowers like Mr Lee, as provided for in US law, as it already did to WIPO!! -ted beacher, Geneva, Switzerland

ICP is doing a great job. UN should support,respect and promote free speech. -Kalu Thapa, Kathmandu, Nepal

There are more...
February 22, 2016

UN Security Ejecting ICP Wouldn't Give Name, Grabbed ID Badge, Pushed Out Gate

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 21 -- The UN on February 19, after Inner City Press asked about UN inaction in South Sudan and Burundi and financial irregularities, handed Inner City Press a letter to leave the UN by 5 pm. Letter here.

  While Inner City Press was writing up a UN Security Council meeting on Syria that went into the evening, and Periscope broadcasting, UN Security guards walked up. They told Inner City Press it could not transcribe and report on answers to its (final?) questions at the Security Council stakeout.

  Inner City Press asked the Security officer making this order to provide his name, but he refused. Audio here.

  Inner City Press asked how this could be UN protocol, since police department in many jurisdiction require officers to give their names, and have names on their badges or shields.

  The officer -- who would late shove Inner City Press out into First Avenue without coat or files -- said, "You are acting in a very..."

 A very what? Uppity manner, asking for the name of a security supervisor ordering a journalist to leave, and ultimately grabbing the journalist's laptop?

  Finally the name was provided: Deputy Security Chief Michael McNulty. Previously bragging of serving Ban Ki-moon in Iraq. We'll have more on this.

For now we note this is why a reduced accreditation status that allows for UN Security actions like this while reporting from the Security Council stakeout is UNacceptable.

  Later UN Security grabbed Inner City Press' laptop, blocked its Periscope camera and turned off the livestream. Video here.

  Then eight UN Security officers led by Deputy Chief McNulty tore off Inner City Press' UN ID badge and carted off Inner City Press' laptop and camera, returning these by throwing them on the sidewalk of First Avenue. Audio here.

 They did not allow Inner City Press to get coat or sweater, or the files in its office. No provision was made for this.

  The ejection letter was signed by the Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Galach of Spain but ultimately Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in charge. Ban and his chief of staff Edmond Mulet and Deputy SG Jan Eliasson were all written to with details as this took place.

  USG Gallach's office, Darrin Farrant in charge, merely "took note" of questions about and criticism of the lack of due process. Gallach did not respond to email, even from Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, here.

  When Inner City Press was thrown out onto First Avenue, standing waiting, laughing and filming, was Voice of America's Margaret Besheer and another board member of the UN Correspondents Association, whose president Giampaoli Pioli told Inner City Press if it didn't remove a (truthful) article about his screening of a war crimes denial film for a tenant of his, Sri Lanka's then ambassador Palitha Kohona, he would get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  But who is running this asylum? Ban Ki-moon, his spokesman also involved Stephane Dujarric (who threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29, also trying to turn off ICP's Periscoping phone), and, some surmise, some who don't like Inner City Press' questions. We'll have more on this.

  The pretext was Inner City Press three weeks earlier seeking to cover a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room by an organization which has taken money from now indicted Ng Lap Seng and Frank Lorenzo's South SOuth News, then gave Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban.

(As Inner City Press reported, Gallach attended the South South Awards with Frank Lorenzo, photo here, just before his indictment.  She should have been recused from any decision-making on this.)

  UN Security demanded ICP's pass - and later tore it off.
February 15, 2016

As New UN Rapes In CAR Revealed in Feb 11 Emails, UN Says DRC Troops Still In Place

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Must Credit

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 -- Amid a litany of rape charges against UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press exclusively obtained and on February 12 published UN emails showing another round of sexual abuse of minors in Ouaka prefecture in the Central African Republic by UN Peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Click here to view.

 The emails, dated February 11, 2016, describe at least four underage victims, two of whom were impregnated by the rapist UN peacekeepers.

  Middle management at the UN, further up the email chain, notes that the majority of sexual abuse in CAR has been committed by the battalions from the DRC and the Republic of Congo. And so Inner City Press posed these questions to UN spokespeople in both New York and the CAR:

"This is a request for your comment on, and any update on, the sexual abuse and exploitation cases in the Feb 11, 2016 emails now here

Also, what will be done with the Republic of Congo and DR Congo contingents? We are interested in if the UN and DPKO can, as currently be configured, be reformed.What is the status of the sexual abuse and exploitation cases that have been listed, including in the UN Press Briefing Room?"

  The response received by Inner City Press on Saturday afternoon in New York was from Bangui-based MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro:

"Regarding your questions on DRC and Congo, here is Minusca's position:

"On DRC contingent, a decision to repatriate them has already been taken. It will be completed without delay by the end of the month. It is just a matter of planning it properly.

"On the 120 troops from Congo, they have been cantoned in Berberati to permit investigations by national investigators before their repatriation to their country  which will occur on 20 February 2016. For further details on this matter please contact HQ."

  But of course Inner City Press has already contacted "HQ" or UN Headquarters, including for example Ismini Palla of Ladsous' DPKO, who gave Agence France Presse the response to questions Inner City Press has publicly posed to UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, to the DPKO spokesman Nick Birnback, also cc-ed.

  So where ARE the updates on the cases the UN's Diane Corner listed in the UN Briefing Room? Why was it reported in early January that the DRC contingent had "been dismissed" when, in mid February, they are still in place? What is the status of the Burundian contingent in CAR? Follow up questions have been submitted to UN officials and spokespeople in CAR and headquarters in New York.

  Well placed sources tell Inner City Press these two countries' soldiers have been in the UN MINUSCA mission nearly entirely due to Ladsous and, more outrageously, the / his French government due to its political relations with the Republic of Congo and DRC.

  Ladsous, as Inner City Press has reported, told Burundi's Vice President that he is "pragmatic" about human rights; even on camera, Ladsous linked the rapes to "R&R," click here for video.

  While Ladsous' DPKO and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson announced that the DRC contingent would be pulled out of Bambari and CAR in late Janaury, Inner City Press is informed this never happened: they are still there.

  Ladsous' DPKO, and now the UN Spokesperson's Office, are engaged in misleading the press and public, and doling out what information they provide to only the friendliest media.

 For recent example, Inner City Press for weekly has reported on and asked about the repatriation from CAR of Burundian troops charged with abuse during the crackdown on opponents of Pierre Nkurunziza's third term. Even after Inner City Press obtained and published on February 9 proof of three repatriations, all UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press is that he would seek an update.

  Simarily, Ladsous' lead spokesman Nick Birnback told Inner City Press DPKO would have something to say about the particular Burundian officers in CAR Inner City Press asked him about.

  Then Ladsous' spokespeople including Ismini Palla gave their limited confirmations to Reuters and Agence France Presse, who published it without credit or context. (Neither media reported on Ladsous linking rape to R&R).

 In a February email by UN official Anthony Banbury, soon to leave the UN after some heartfelt tears of outrage at peacekeepers' rapes, it is said:

"We have a pack of predatory criminals and rapists, preying on young girls,
under the banner of the United Nations. How can we stand by? In my view that battalion should be ordered to cease operations today, same with the RoC battalion, and be confined to camp and guarded full time so they cannot continue to abuse children. While we would pay a short-term price in terms of operations, we would gain so much in terms of the integrity and reputation of the UN, in the CAR and internationally, and we would almost certainly prevent more rapes of minor girls. We simply cannot sustain the argument that the benefit these troops are bringing to the UN and PoC is greater than the harm they are doing."

  What will the UN do? What will France, with new foreign minister Jean Marc Ayrault, do? How long can Ladsous - and the Congolese contingents - remain in place?

Exclusive: UN Emails Show New Rapes in CAR, Ladsous' Contingents by Matthew Russell Lee


  Back on January 27 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Spokesman to confirm new allegations in the Central African Republic by Republic of Congo and DR Congo troops.
February 8, 2016

SG Ban Claims He's a Scapegoat, Press Qs on CAR Rapes, Corruption Ignored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 5 -- In the run up to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's appearance today in London, people were asked to submit questions using the hashtag #AskBan.

  Inner City Press submitted questions about Ban's UN preaching accountability while claiming immunity for bringing cholera to Haiti, rapes in Central African Republic, back-down on protection in Burundi, silence on Oromo Protests in Ethiopia, Yemen, UN corruption.

  Clearly, not all of these issues would be addressed in Ban's appearance with UNA-UK and Jeremy Greenstock in Central Hall. But none of them?

  Instead, Ban took pre-screened softball questions -- like his spokespeople do it at UNHQ in New York -- and closed with the claim that he is just a scapegoat. (SG, get it?).

  Was Ban's UN a “scapegoat” for negligently bringing cholera to Haiti, killing 10,000 people and paying not a penny to the families of those killed, many left without their breadwinner or housing?

  Was Ban a scapegoat when he went on a “victory tour” with Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka in 2009?

  Are UN peacekeepers under DPKO's Herve Ladsous “scapegoats” when they sexually abuse children in CAR, have it covered up and Ladsous still in his job, after Ladsous linked the rapes to “R&R”?

  Ban made claims about promoting women - when as simply one example when he sat, UN Photo-ed, wiht his "senior advisers" on North Korea on January 6, 2016, is was decidedly male, here.

   People clap because they like the UN, or the idea of the UN, or what they think the UN is. Up close, it's a different story. Below are just some recent (February 4, 3, 2, 1) examples.

The  UN won't provide a simple list of when and to whom it “lent” the UN Press Briefing Room, from the “reservation” Spokesman Dujarric gave to the entourage of French President Hollande on September 23, 2014 until his murky “lending” of the UN Press Briefing Room to UNCA on January 29, 2016 and subsequent ejection of Inner City Press.

  UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq on February 4  instead of even purporting to answer Inner City Press' questions openly guessed at the motivation of the questions. Vine here, full video here. The question concerned Ng Lap seng, indicted for bribery at the UN; Haq said if you can look into corruption at the UN Correspondents Association (a Ng fundee who was lent the room on January 29), go do so.

  But the UN has said it is auditing Ng's and Sheri Yan's dealings with and at the UN, which must include UNCA, which is given a large UN room, and the Press Briefing Room too, off the record sit-downs with Ban Ki-moon (two of whose closest associates were at the founding of Yan's Global Sustainability Foundation), and sells seats with Ban for $6,000.

  Haq refused to answer. Inner City Press aksed, When does Stephane [Dujarric, the lead spokesman who said who gets to use the Press Briefing Room is really his decision] get back? "Whenever he wants," Haq said. This is today's UN. We'll have more on this.

 On February 3, Inner City Press for the second day in a row asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq to provide a list of to whom his office, or simply lead UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, “lent” the UN Press Briefing Room. Haq on February 3 now said there is no list, but they have the information.

  So Inner City Press asked a question about the information: has the UN Press Briefing Room been “lent” to any affiliate or fundee of Ng Lap Seng or the Global Sustainability Foundation, named in the US Attorney's corruption indictment.
February 1, 2016

After Vote, ICP Asks Colombia's Holguín About Urabeños, She Calls Them a Gang

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 25 -- After the UN Security Council quickly passed a resolution on Colombia for unarmed international observers responsible for the monitoring and verification of the laying down of arms on January 25, Inner City Press asked Colombia's foreign minister María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar two questions.

   Are there any names yet for the UN envoy post, should he or she like the observers come from CELAC? And what about the Urabeños, which some call paramilitaries and some call merely a gang?

    Holguín said it will be up to Ban Ki-moon to propose names -- and derived the Urabeños as narco-traffickers, to be frontally opposed.  Video here.

January 25, 2016

In Burundi, Shingiro Spoke for US Power, Censorship Not Mentioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 23 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on New Year's Eve issued a statement praising the Burundi “talks” held in Entebbe, Uganda, multiple sources told Inner City Press these not really talks but rather a photo op. The January 6 session announced for Arusha did not happen.  Inner City Press requested to cover the UNSC's trip to Burundi, but was UNtransparently rejected.

Inner City Press asked the UN about the trip on January 20, 21 and 22. The UN spokespeople refused to say, but beyond the pro-government "religious leaders" that they cited, the Council also met with at least some of the concerned members of civil society, and some journalists who inevitably raised the issue of attacks and censorship. This was not mentioned by the UN.

  The UN Country Team in Burundi is now led by Paolo Lembo, who also served in Yemen where Special Adviser Jamal Benomar did. Neither Lembo nor the shadowy "UNIC Bujumbura," however, arranged for a video or even audio steam of the Council's and Burundian government's press statements. We're told that Ambassador Albert Shingiro, who blocks the Press on Twitter, told the scribes that US Power said she would send “a strong message to the government of Rwanda." Again, Shingiro blocks the Press on Twitter: some diplomat.

  One of the four handpicked pass-throughs opined that "the fact that Council members presented Nkurunziza with a largely unified message on the different issues was seen as a positive sign that they had come closer to a common position." So they traveled to Burundi to work on their own issues? We'll have more on this - and on the Council's junket-ending meetings in Addis, if not on Oromo protests, than this we've asked about.
January 18, 2016

To Burundi, UN Cites Small Plane From Addis to Ban Press, No Deployment Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 15 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's mere a one-line mention of Burundi in his long Priorities for 2016 speech on January 14, when Ban took questions in front of the General Assembly Inner City Press five times began, "On Burundi." Inner City Press similarly requested to cover the UNSC's trip to Burundi.

  But of the five questions picked, fully four were on Syria; none on Yemen much less Burundi. So as Ban began walking away from his personal rostrum, Inner City Press asked him how his Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous could have written, here, that UN Peacekeeping is limited in its ability to address significant violence against civilians, even violence that amounts to genocide.

  The question was clearly audible, but Ban did not answer it, typically. Vine here. Moments later, Inner City Press got an answer about Ladsous' memo from an Ambassador of a Permanent Five member of the Security Council. Video here. UK Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson said the goal of the UNSC trip to to have a proper talk with Nkurunziza, for a proper dialogue and change of course. New Zealand's lead ambassador is also going -- but Inner City Press is not.

 Earlier in the week when the decision was made for a Security Council trip, Inner City Press immediately replied to Ban's spokesperson's office that it was very interesting in going, as it previously covered Ban's trip to Sri Lanka and Council trips to Sudan, DR Congo and Cote d'Ivoire.

  Even Nkurunziza's adviser, facetiously or not, told Inner City Press on Twitter that he hoped Inner City Press would be on the trip. At 3 pm on January 14, Reuters' correspondent bragged at the UNSC stakeout they are going. And at 4:30 pm, Inner City Press got this, from Ban's spokesman:

"Due to space limitation in the UN flight accompanying the Security Council mission to Burundi, we regret to inform you that we will not be able to accommodate your request to travel. "

  So how / by whom is it decided which media can go? Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman, Stephane Dujarrice, and another, this:

"Please describe how / by whom the decision on which media can accompany this trip was made, and which media have been allowed to go. Also, please explain why not one of the six questions Inner City Press submitted on January 12 and 13, including about Burundi, were answered, or even acknowledged."

 And these are not answered. Dujarric's office called "lid" to end the day. So on January 15, Inner City Press asked Dujarric in person, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: ...Zeid's findings.  How does this impact on the deployment of Burundian troops to UN peacekeeping in CAR?  And I wanted to ask you about the trip the Council is taking next week.  Can you describe how, by who… who and how the decision was made of which media can cover the trip?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Sure.  The numbers of seats attributed to media was very limited.  A discussion was had with us, and a number… Security Council members, and a list was drawn up.  Not every journalist can go on every trip.  I think if you're talking about yourself, you have traveled with the Secretary-General before.  As I said, not everyone can go on every trip.

Inner City Press:  Journalists were supposed to cover their own costs.  So what does the UN plane… is from where to where when you say there's a limited seats?

Spokesman:  There's a UN plane from Addis Ababa to, from Addis Ababa to Bujumbura and back to Addis with very limited numbers, which is also limiting the numbers of staff members who can accompany.  We wanted to send somebody to help mind the press.  We were not able to — we were not able to either.  [cross talk] If you make your own way to Bujumbura, we would be happy to assist you on the ground.

 We'll have more on this.

  Note that Ban's Office of the Spokesperson refused to answer any of Inner City Press' questions in the past two days, including two on Burundi, another on Ethiopia / Oromo, etc. What is WRONG with Ban's UN? Watch this site.
January 11, 2016

Online Censorship Opposed by ICP, Under EU "Privacy" & DMCA in US

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 9 -- What is censorship? Late on January 8, 2016, Inner City Press received a notice from Google that a page on its website, an article concerned Kosovo, would henceforth be blocked from Search from Europe. The notice is published below, along with Inner City Press' response.

  While still seeing this as censorship, at least in this case Google provided notice of what it had done, and a form to petition for the page's reinstatement. By contrast, when Reuters' UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau ex parte claimed to Google that his email to the UN, seeking to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, was somehow copyrighted, Google did not provide any notice, but simply blocked access to the leaked document, from everywhere.

  Inner City Press only learned of this censorship by a fluke, and by the notice put up by the Chilling Effects project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF, hat-tip).

   That experience has led Inner City Press, alongside its reporting on the UN and IMF and on predatory lending by banks, under-regulation by the Federal Reserve and others, to dig into the ways in which the Trans Pacific Partnership could globalize the type of censorship the Reuters bureau chief got Google to do, using the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA. This has become a project of the new Free UN Coalition for Access.



  In this January 2016 case, here is what Google sent to Inner City Press:

"Notice of European data protection removal from Google Search

To: Webmaster of http://www.innercitypress.com/,

Due to a request under data protection law in Europe, Google can no longer show one or more pages from your site in Google Search results. This only affects responses to some search queries for names or other personal identifiers that might appear on your pages. Only results on European versions of Google are affected. No action is required from you.

What we’d like you to know: These pages haven’t been blocked entirely from our search results

They’ve only been blocked on certain searches for names on European versions of Google Search. These pages will continue to appear for other searches.

We aren’t disclosing which queries have been affected.
In many cases, affected queries don’t relate to the name of any person mentioned prominently on the page.

For example, the name might only appear in a comment section.
You can notify us of concerns

If you have additional information regarding the content of a page that you believe warrants a reversal, you can notify Google. Please note that while we read all requests, we do not always respond. Only the registered siteowner can access this form.
Here are the affected URL(s):

http://www.innercitypress.com/kosovo010307.html

  And here is what Inner City Press, confined to 250 characters per box, has sent to Google:

This article concerns Kovoso. Most individuals it it are public figures. Perhaps 1 individual in it filed a spurious request to censor. But see, for example, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-serbia-kosovo-corruption-idUKL0314562220070103, online.

  Then

"Reporting on contested areas such as Kosovo is in the public interest and should not be censored, particularly not based on an anonymous complaint. This is a request for Google's response to  what we see as a form of censorship.

Inner City Press reports on the UN, and here, Kosovo. We note previously unexplained censorship and false invocation of copyright: http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=1117933 We request reversal of both, and an explanation."


  Watch this site.

January 4, 2016

UN Won't Name Staffer Who Was Told of CAR Rapes, Won't Answer on Ban's Travel

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 31 -- Ban Ki-moon's tenure as UN Secretary General became embroiled in one scandal after another in 2015 -- but at his “year-end” press conference he refused to answer a Press question directly on it. Video here and embedded below. Vine here.

 Beyond the indictments of the former President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, Ng Lap Seng, Sherri Yang and others, on December 31 Inner City Press asked four of Ban's spokespeople questions including:

"Regarding the report on the sexual abuse in CAR and how the UN handled it, please state the identity of the senior officer in the Executive Office of the Secretary General do which a section of the report is devoted, or explain why your Office will not provide the name, in terms of accountability.

"Please confirm or deny that Andrew Gilmour is seeking employment outside of the EOSG, and provide the SG's view of its senior official leaving or seeking to leave before he does."

  Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, while leaving Inner City Press questions on Burundi and South Sudan entirely UNaddressed, sent this:

From: Farhan Haq [at] un.org
Date: Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 12:11 PM
Subject: Press Qs in lieu of a UN noon briefing: Burundi, S. Sudan, Haiti, EOSG, still SG travel, UNOG, Ohio, Ethiopia / free press; still Jordan, UNHQ, UN scandals / reforms, Yemen; thanks in advance
To: Matthew Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at] un.org, FUNCA [at] funca.org

"Regarding accountability and the CAR report, the panel put out the information it chose to provide and we have made available the entire report, without any redactions. Follow-up action is being studied at present.

"We have no comment on staff movements. Staff are free to seek employment opportunities."

  This last would appear to apply to yet another UN scandal in 2015: envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon negotiating a cushy job with the United Arab Emirates while purporting to represent the UN on Libya.

  With Ban off on a "private" visit to Vienna, tweeted by the UN Office there, the UN has yet to answer Inner City Press' simple question about the cost(s):

"With regard to the Secretary General's current trip to Vienna, tweeted by the UN there, for purposes of transparency including in light of the indictment of ex-UNPGA John Ashe and the new PGA's disclosures, what are the costs to the UN budget, and what are the other costs and who is paying them?"

  Hours later, on a UN work day, no answer.

The former President of the General Assembly John Ashe and four others have been indicted, Ashe for buying documents from Ban's UN Secretariat.

Ban's envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon was exposed by leaks as having taken instructions and then a job from the United Arab Emirates.

And Ban's head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, is listed in UN Dispute Tribunal documents as having tried to cover up child rapes in Central African Republic by peacekeepers from his native France.

  Inner City Press, which Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not call on despite calling two separate times on the same UN Correspondents Association scribe, asked audibly, “Do you have any update on the John Ashe indictment? Bernardino Leon? These were major developments this year.” Vine here.

  But Ban refused to answer the question. He walked out of the briefing room, shaking hands scribes. The press conference began with Dujarric setting aside the first question for the head of UNCA, who thanked Ban for attending an event on Wall Street for which UNCA charged $6,000 to sit with Ban. This is the UN Corruption Association.

December 28, 2015

On Burundi, As Imbonerakure Rally, PR at UN Mocks Countrymen, Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 24 -- Amid killings by the security forces in Burundi, the Pierre Nkurunziza government with the agreement of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has undertaken to deploy officers allegedly involved in human rights abuses into Ladsous' Central African Republic mission, MINUSCA, see below.

  Now Nkurunziza's Imbonerakure militia members are quoted by AP that "We would like to warn African Union troops that the majority of Burundians don't want them and they should not impose themselves on the people of Burundi." Here is a video of the ruling party demonstrations, on Facebook.

  Also on Facebook, Burundi's Permanent Representative to the UN Albert Shingiro -- who blocks Inner City Press from his Twitter feed -- tried to mock a protest by follow Burundians which Inner City Press covered on December 23, here. Some diplomacy: banning the Press from his statements, mocking rather than seeking to dialogue with his countrymen. To this has Burundi sunk.

 On December 24, Inner City Press asked for the second time, video here:

Inner City Press: whether you have any... first, any readout of Mr. Benomar's travels and attempts to speak with the Government in the region.  I'm asking you... yesterday there was… you may have seen it; you may not have seen it… there was a protest outside the building by Burundians, and in speaking with them, they judge the performance of the Secretariat as weak.

And I wanted to know, just to get, I guess, your response to that, and if there's any update on the deployment of these two, Pierre Niyonzima and Jimmy Rusheshe, both of whom have been linked to the hospital killings in May…

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  On your second part, no, I have no update than what was given.  I know there are discussions going on.  I don't have an update to share with you.  On your first part, I think we can all agree on the frustration of the Burundian people as they see the violence increase in their country.  The Secretary-General, through the work of his Special Envoy, is very much focused on finding ways to move the political dialogue forward and to obviously see an end to the current violence that we're seeing.  He is currently in Kampala in Uganda meeting with local officials, and I believe there will be talks there early next week.

Inner City Press:  Will your office be sending stuff out during this break?

Spokesman:  Obviously, as I said, we'll be fully staffed.  If there are updates to share, we will share them with you.

   Back on December 17 Inner City Press was told, the third time it asked, that the Burundi's Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza's deployment to the UN mission in CAR had been suspended, and Baratuza was being repatriated. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who has shielded Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from such Press questions, said "it's an example of the [vetting] policy working."

 But Inner City Press has obtained the Burundi government document for the deployment not only of Baratuza but other officers in Ladsous' MINUSCA. Today we focus and ask about Major Pierre Niyonzima.

According to Inner City Press' sources, Niyonzima not only defended extrajudicial executions, he participated in them.  On May 14, they say, Major Niyonzima was the Senior army officer who led the attack on the hospital where those accused of involvement in the attempted coup were slaughtered.  They say Niyonzima reports to Guillaume Bunyoni and has been involved in killings in Musaga, Nyakabiga and Mutakura. We'll have more on this, and on other deployees to Ladsous' MINUSCA, including  Jimmy Rusheshe.
December 21, 2015

ICP Asks UN & CAR Panel of Ladsous Failing to Respond on Rights, Ban's UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 -- The UN report on rapes in the Central African Republic, released today, finds that UN Peacekeeping's Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous “illustrate[s] the UN's failure to respond to allegations of serious human rights violations in the meaningful way.”

Once the report came out from under embargo at the noon briefing Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric what Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will do about the findings against Ladsous, and that he escaped the “abuse of authority” moniker only because “the mandate of the Panel is to assess whether an abuse of authority has occurred in connection with the Allegations.”

 Since the abusers Ladsous let into MINUSCA were not the French troops who are accused of rape -- these troops are not in MINUSCA -- Ladsous' malfeasance is not “in connection” with the Allegations. But is it acceptable?

  Dujarric seems unfamiliar with the report; he implied that the third person found to have abused authority was the Ethics Officer, when it was a lower level official in CAR. Inner City Press asked what this all says about Ban Ki-moon's management, along with the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng and Bernardino Leon scandal, a question Dujarric did not allow Inner City Press to asked Ban himself on December 16. “Those are your words,” Dujarric replied. Yes, they are.

  When the Panel's three members held their press conference, Inner City Press asked about Ladsous' failure to vet and his linking of rapes to “R&R.” Video here.  Marie Deschamps said pointedly she wouldn't comment on Ladsous' remarks; Yasmin Sooka said these are crimes for punishment, not recreation.

  As the last question, Inner City Press asked what it had wanted to ask Ban, and tried to ask Dujarric: what does this say about Ban's management? Video of Q&A here.
December 14, 2015

UN Corruption Association Sells Seats with Ban, Paparazzi Pioli

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- With the UN embroiled in scandals including the indictments of former President of the General Assembly and Macau businessman Ng Lap Seng and Frank Lorenzo and their South South News, one would expect the UN press corps, even the entity the UN itself chooses to set aside first questions for, to be pursuing rather than be involved in the scandals.

  But with the UN Correspondents Association, this year more than ever, that is not the case. The group or its leadership, headed by Italian paparazzi scribe Giampaolo Pioli who after trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN now covers actors like Morgan Freeman while others at his paper cover the UN, is selling seats with Ban Ki-moon for $6,000. See below.

  On December 10, days after Pioli used the large room the UN gives to UNCA, its UN Censorship Alliance, to campaign for a Security Council seat for his native Italy by giving out free meats, the view into the Club was blocked. So much for transparency.

December 7, 2015

IMF Answers ICP on Burundi, Program Off Track, & Zambia, No Request

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 3 -- When the International Monetary Fund held is biweekly briefing on December 3, Inner City Press submitted a number of questions, leading with Burundi and how much the IMF projects the economy will contract, given the crisis triggered by Pierre Nkurunziza's third term.

   IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice read out Inner City Press's Burundi question (and its question on Zambia, below), then said the following as to Burundi, audio here:

“In terms of the outlook in Burundi, it's effected by the decline in economic activity there and the . withdrawal of donor support. Confidence in the economy has been weakened by the political climate and adverse security developments. The growth rate in Burundi, which we had initially projected 5% in 2015, is now estimated at minus 4.1% in real terms.... In the current environment, completion of the 7th and the 8th review under our program there is not possible and as such, Burundi's program with the IMF, which is an ECF arrangement, is now off track.”

  Inner City Press had also asked, on Zambia, it is reported that the IMF “proposed a $1 billion facility which the president had turned down. A sticking point for the president was the insistence by the IMF that government commit to drastic reductions in expenditure, particularly on road construction.” What is the IMF's response?

   Rice said that no program has been “formally” requested, but that the Zambian authorities committed to “internal consultations.” Inner City Press had asked about Sri Lanka, and the same “no formal request yet” answer was given.Audio here.
 Inner City Press also asked about Malawi and, lastly, Ghana; more on this to follow.

November 30, 2015

With Saudi Set to Stone Sri Lankan Maid to Death, Threats to Sue for ISIS Comparisons

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 27 -- Last week the media in Sri Lanka reported on the case of a Sri Lankan maid sentenced to death by stoning in Saudi Arabia for adultery. (The man she is accused of having an affair with, also Sri Lanka, was sentenced to 100 lashes).

   This comes as Saudi Arabia threatens to sue those who say it is similar to ISIS, including on Twitter -- and while airstrikes on Yemen continue. Inner City Press has previously asked the UN about Saudi Arabia's still-theatened flogging of blogger Raif Badawi; last month it asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Christof Heyns about such executions in Saudi Arabia, specifically of Sri Lankans.  Video here.

 On January 23, 2015, Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked the UN Spokesman, video here:

Inner City Press: at the risk of being politically incorrect, on the King of Saudi Arabia, I saw the Secretary-General's statement, I'm trying to square it with what was said from this podium and from Geneva about the flogging of blogger Raif Badawi; is this something, without tying it necessarily to the condolence period, the incoming king, King Salman, can we say that the UN would be calling on him not to just postpone, but cancel this flogging of the blogger?

Spokesman Dujarric: I think our position on cruel and inhuman punishment, wherever it occurs, is unwavering. It doesn't change, no matter who the Head of State of any particular country is. So, I don't see our position on that and our opposition to that changing, whether it's here or the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Inner City Press / FUNCA: But it's sort of an opportunity--

Spokesman Dujarric: I think I've answered.

We'll have more on both of these cases.

November 23, 2015

In UN Rights Com'te, Syria, Iran and N. Korea Resolutions Pass Amid Complaints & Quibbles, On Syria Burundi Votes No, Sudan Abstains

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- When the annual Syria human rights resolution was taken up in the UN General Assembly's Third Committee on November 19, Saudi Arabia's new draft had some wrinkles, including citing Iran's IRG and Al Quds Force. Several countries, even some which voted “yes” on the resolution, said they were uncomfortable with this, that it is a bad precedent, and is more politics than human rights. This last was Switzerland; Japan said it was not comfortable with the reference to the IRG and Quds Force, but voted yes.

  Lebanon's Nawaf Salam said he had abstained, and pointed out that Hezbollah is in the parliament, and has a role with regard to Israel. Canada spoke up to say the resolution should have condemn all uses of chlorine gas, not only “indiscriminate” use.

  The final vote was 115 yes, 15 no and 51 abstaining. To Inner City Press, surprises included Burundi joining the 14 other "no's" -- and Sudan not voting no but rather abstaining - because because it works in the Saudi coalition on Yemen, in exchange...


November 16, 2015

On Libya, ICP Asks For Whom Leon Queries UAE (Himself), No Answer on Feltman

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 13, more here -- When Bernardino Leon, set for a $1500 a day job with the United Arab Emirates, came to the UN Security Council for the final time on November 5, Inner City Press asked  him about the UAE. He did not answer; Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access said; louder, that he should do a question and answer stakeout on UNTV.

 Leon did emerge and take questions; Inner City Press went first and asked him if he had sought approval from the UN Ethics Office before pursuing the UAE job, if he acknowledged the conflict of interest and thought it will impact intra-Libya talks. Video here.Leon did not answer about the UN Ethics office, but conceded that the “optics” were bad. Video here.

 The day after Leon said "I have decided to request a full clarification of the issue, including from the United Arab Emirates," Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq to WHOM Leon is seeking the clarification: the UN? The UN Security Council Libya Sanctions Committee? Video here.

 Haq replied that the sentence should be viewed as comprising the view of the Special Representative: Leon. So the UN, contrary to Reuters' headline, has not asked the UAE for anything.