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August 13, 2018

On Cameroon Dutch and HRW Overplay UK Pres Vague Line on Violence As Guterres Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, 30/7 CJR, 19/6 Video, Filing

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 10 – As the Cameroon government of 36 year President Paul Biya slaughters civilians in the Anglophone regions as well as in the North, it has re-engaged Washington lobbying firm Patton Boggs, on a retainer of $100,000 per quarter plus expenses, documents show. Now on August 10, with Inner City Press banned from entering the UN for the 38th day by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Dutch Mission to the UN and HRW started bragging about a UN Security Council Presidential Statement which they said embodied deep concern. At first banned Inner City Press, thanks to Guterres who took Biya's golden statue in October 2017, couldn't even see the Statement: it was not on the Security Council's website now run by the (Dutch) husband of the chief of staff of the UN Department of Political Affairs' Rosemary DiCarlo, and was not emailed out to those not (allowed) in the UN. But by mid afternoon it came out: and it was just a single line, about the "worrying increase in violence in the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon." Why did Human Rights Watch make so much of this, after earlier this year telling Inner City Press - before Antonio "Golden Statue" Guterres banned it from the UN - that HRW omitted Cameroon from its 2018 World Report because it didn't view it as a top-90 problem? That's here. As Guterres and his Alison Smale and their stooges try to keep Inner City Press out even longer, we'll have more on this. After twice asking the Spokespeople for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (from the bus stop outside the UN Delegates' Entrance since Guterres has banned Inner City Press since July 3), UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq on August 8 belatedly told Inner City Press, "On your first question, we can confirm that, on 11 July, a high-level Cameroonian delegation was dispatched to UNHQ to brief the Secretary-General on the efforts carried out by the Government to address the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions. The Secretary-General stressed the importance of finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis through an inclusive dialogue and reiterated the UN’s readiness to support such efforts, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected regions." But Inner City Press' question was, "On Cameroon beyond the questions you have left unanswered from August 3 and August 6-1, please state if anyone in the UN Secretariat met with a Cameroonian government delegation in the US from July 11 (whcn they met UK Ambassador Pierce) to July 20 and if the UN was aware that this Biya delegation's lobbying trip was stage managed by the DC-based lobbying firm Patton Boggs." No answer on this, nor on August 10, when Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Haq answered a past question from August 6, on using and paying for Biya's troops: "Regarding your earlier Cameroon question, here’s what we have for you: "August 6-1: On Cameroon, important and not answered - please immediately confirm and explain: “A 295-strong Cameroonian contingent including four doctors, will be deployed in the intervening weeks to the Central African Republic (CAR).They will be part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Mission for the Stabilization of CAR (MINUSCA), ministry of Defense sources in Cameroon disclosed on Thursday.” Given not only this military's torching of villages in the Anglophone areas but summary executions, why is the UN accepting this deployment at this time? How much of the money goes to / stays with the Biya government? What vetting has been done? Does the UN know the identity of the Cameroon soldiers recently shown killing women and children? What assurance does the UN have these soldiers will not “serve” the UN in CAR?"

The 295-strong Cameroonian contingent referred into in the article is not a new deployment. It is in fact a rotation of two Cameroonian Formed Police Units (FPUs) already deployed in MINUSCA.

In this specific case, the two Cameroonian FPUs will finish their tour of duty by mid-September, will substitute them. As per established procedures, all FPU personnel undergo extensive pre-deployment training to ensure they understand the rules, regulations and, standards and values expected of personnel deployed to UN operations, including respect for human rights.

With regard to the vetting process, the Policy on Human Rights Screening of United Nations Personnel places primary responsibility on Member States to ensure that the personnel they appoint for deployment have not been involved in violations. All countries contributing uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations have primary responsibility for screening individuals and for ensuring that personnel they nominate for service have not been involved, by act or omission, in violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law, and have not been repatriated on disciplinary grounds from a UN operation. Contributing countries have to provide a certification to that effect when they nominate personnel for deployment.

The Policy thus sets forth procedures to strengthen the ability of the United Nations to ensure that its personnel meet the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and to promote and encourage respect for human rights, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. These procedures have notably led to strengthen pre-deployment screening and certification by contributing countries.

On your question regarding payment, countries contributing uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of US$1,428 per person per month."

After Guterres remained disturbingly quiet about Biya's killing for a full year, when Cameroon was the chair of the Budget Committee whose support Guterres wanted for his proposal like moving jobs from Geneva to Budapest, New York to Mexico City, Entebbe to Kenya? We'll have more on this.


August 6, 2018

To Replace Zeid UN Guterres Who Bans Press Eyes 4 Latins from Mexico Colombia Argentina and Guatemala

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 3 – In choosing a replacement for Prince Zeid as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary General Antonio Guterres has typically under-performed, being so slow that who ever is chosen will have a nearly unprecedentedly short time to prepare. Now on August 3 Inner City Press' sources tell it of a short list of four: Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, Jorge Castañeda of Mexico, Claudia Paz y Paz of Guatemala and Argentinian judge Silvia Fernandez. If the decision is not made soon by Guterres, who has been on vacation location UNdisclosed since July 20 when he refused to answer Inner City Press why he had banned it (and had its reporter roughed up), then Guterres may name as Acting High Commissioner the current Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore, from Australia like Guterres head of Security Peter Drennan. Gilmore has not been supportive of whistleblowers. She apparently continues to defend Rupert Colville and his egregious statements about Anders Kompass and others, with complete impunity (as, so far, Guterres Drennan and Alison Smale have enjoyed for having Inner City Press roughed up, ousted and now banned for 31 days and counting with no end in sight, Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II, Independent here - on August 3 while Inner City Press was reporting-out this story on Human Rights Commish short list, it was told by a free press group (not CPJ) that Guterres Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told it Inner City Press will be told “in the coming days” if it's banned forever from UN for being roughed up covering UN Budget). How can a man who has ousted and banned a critical journalist for a Kafkaesque investigation by the one choosing a High Commissioner for Human Rights? Or deciding on bans for journalists who scrutinize and question him? Overall, the sources say, Bachelet and they say Bokova are out of the running. Traditionally the P5 UK, US and France play an important role in the selection of High Commissioner for Human Rights. But the UK is entirely focused on Brexit and the US is apparently disengaged, in part because of its withdrawal from the HRC and mooted funding cuts to OHCHR. The sources ay neither France nor the EU has a candidate. Nor have they done anything about Guterres' censorship of the Press at the UN. Today's UN system's attacks on whistleblowers extend from New York where Secretary General Antonio Guterres' armed Security officials ousted the Press on June 22 (video, new petition, Q&A) to Geneva where outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Zeid's Deputy Kate Gilmore and spokesman Rupert Colville deploy "hard talk" (and worse) against whistleblowers.

   Today in Geneva Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore - in typical UN fashion, a good friend of Zeid's wife princess Sarah - who Amnesty International decided it was worth paying to leave a few years back because she was so toxic to the organization) had what she terms a “hard talk.” Whistleblower Emma Reilly, of whose case Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN, posed the first question. Reilly noted that the UN's Central African Republic panel  found that Zeid went after whistleblowers with a “single minded determination,” and said that her own experience confirmed this. She referred to emails sent by the OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville to journalists that referred to  CAR whistleblowers Anders Kompass and Miranda Brown as “dishonest... disgusting... underhanded” and the “sh*ttiest” individuals he had encountered in a 30-year career, and even accused Anders Kompass - Sweden’s ambassador to Guatemala - as being “in the pay of the French.” Reilly noted that journalists reported to her that Colville regularly resorted to personal insults and questioned her sanity when “asked about OHCHR handing over names to the Chinese.”

  Reilly then asked if Gilmore agreed with the UN position that these emails, sent from a UN spokesman’s account during UN working hours in response to a request for comment from the UN, were personal. If so, she asked if the UN would lift immunity to allow her to sue the spokesperson in national courts.

   Gilmore avoided the question. We'll have more on this - and on Guterres' lead spokesman, who has moved beyond insults and exclusion of Inner City Press to bringing about physical ouster by armed UN Security officers who refused to give their names, and running off the podium as Inner City Press asks about it.  On June 29 after publishing the above, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I have a Human Rights Commissioner question.

Spokesman:  Go ahead.

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you.  There was a Q and A by Kate Gilmore, the Deputy High Commissioner of Human Rights, today in Geneva, and an issue arose in which… several whistle-blowers raised the fact that they have evidence, they say, that the spokesperson for, for Prince Zeid, Rupert Colville, has, from, on his UN computer during UN time, said that the whistle-blowers are the worst people he’s ever known, used a profanity.  And so they wanted to know, since it’s, it’s their understanding that this was then said in a personal capacity by the spokesman, not as a UN statement, whether the UN will, in fact, waive immunity so that they can take some kind of a legal action?  They’re very troubled that the spokesperson…

Spokesman:  I… I didn’t see the Q and A.  What I do know is that Mr. Colville does an outstanding, an outstanding job in promoting and defending human rights.

Inner City Press: Would you say it’s consistent with the whistle-blower protections…?

Spokesman:  I’m not going to, I’m not going to talk about things that I don’t know, most of the time." Really. The UN took most of its counter-terrorism money from Saudi Arabia, just as Secretary General Antonio Guterres smiled and took a $930 million check from Saudi's Crown Prince and said nothing about Saudi bombing of Yemen, and now assault on the port of Hodeidah there. On June 18 the UN in New York held a so-called background briefing for only some of the media which cover the UN day to day.  On June 19 Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson, the briefer and the UN's Global Communicator why, with no answer yet in 48 hours. Instead the response has been frivolous complaints about Inner City Press non- or anti-spoonfed coverage. And on June 22, Guterres' UN Security ousted Inner City Press from the UN without even its laptop, during an event at which Guterres gave a bragging speech.
Video here, story here, new petition here.July 30, 2018

On Cameroon Inner City Press Asked UN's Zeid Before Being Banned Now A Belated Statement With Guterres Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video Petition 7/11 Status, 7/20

UNITED NATIONS, July 25 – After the abuses by Cameroon's security forces have been ignored by the UN, as Inner City Press has repeatedly asked about them until being banned from the UN on July 3 and since, new leaked videos show summary executions and manhandling of prisoners. On July 23 Inner City Press raised the issue, and that of the UN's censorship
 to the Italian Mission to the UN, which split its UN Security Council term with the Netherlands and last year told Inner City Press that Paul Biya's abuses in the  Anglophone areas hadn't come up on the Council trip to Cameroon that it accompanied. Nothing, from Italy and from the Security Council as a whole, not even an "Any Other Business" briefing (Inner City Press has, even while banned from the UN by Secretary General Antonio Guterres who took Biya's golden statue, asked a number of non-Security Council UN member states for their position on convening a meeting in the General Assembly as has been done regarding other countries; watch this space). Now on July 25 from Geneva outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Prince Zeid, who like his spokesman has said almost nothing about Biya's killings for the past year despite written and in person questions from Inner City Press before the ban, has issued this: "UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday expressed deep alarm at persistent reports of human rights violations and abuses in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, as well as in the Extreme North. The High Commissioner said it was regrettable that the Government of Cameroon had failed to grant the UN Human Rights Office access to the Northwest and Southwest despite repeated requests. “Given the seriousness of the reports of violence against Cameroonians in the western part of the country, we have asked for access to be able to verify allegations made against both security forces and armed elements,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “We will now need to explore other options, including remote monitoring.” What began as protests in October 2016 in the Northwest and Southwest regions against structural discrimination escalated into violence in 2017, and the situation has worsened considerably since then. There are reports that armed elements have carried out kidnappings, targeted killings of police and local authorities, extortion and have torched schools. There are also reports that Government forces are responsible for killings, the excessive use of force, burning down of houses, arbitrary detentions and torture. UN figures indicate that more than 21,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, while 160,000 have been internally displaced by the violence, many reportedly hiding in forests. “To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, I urge the Government to launch independent investigations into the reports of human rights violations by State security forces as well as abuses by armed elements,” Zeid said. “I condemn the attacks by Cameroonian armed elements, including the ambush on 13 July near the town of Kumba in the Southwest region on a Minister of Defence convoy. But the heavy-handed security response that the Government appears to have employed since October last year will only make matters worse for the women, children and men caught in the middle.” The High Commissioner also said he was “utterly appalled” by a horrific video reportedly showing members of the armed forces executing a woman, a child and a baby accused of being members of Boko Haram. “The Government of Cameroon has an obligation to investigate this atrocious crime urgently. I am deeply worried that these killings captured on camera may not be isolated cases,” he said." We'll have more on this, and Guterres' negligent delay in and moral disqualification from belatedly choosing Zeid's successor. As to Italy Inner City Press sent a formal request to the Italian spokesperson who told it that, Giovanni Davoli, and elsewhere including the Mission's official email address in UN Protocol's Blue Book, info.italyun [at] ester.it, as well as press.italyun [at] esteri.it: "Hello - This is a request for your Italian Mission's and Ambassador comment on the human rights abuses by the Cameroon army and security forces, not only in the Anglophone areas (which I have been asking about in the UN since early 2017) but now also in the north, video linked to in Inner City Press here, as verified by Amnesty International, here. Since the UN Security Council has not even taken up the issue in an Any Other Business briefing, with blockage by former colonial powers France and the UK, which recently bragged of a UK firm's natural gas deal with the Cameroonian government, this is also to know whether your Mission - which is still technically on the Security Council but not much seen, even before Inner City Press was banned since July 3 for covering the UN Budget -- would support General Assembly action on these Cameroon and regional issues, under Uniting for Peace or otherwise.

I am asking these questions in writing now because I have been banned since July 3 from entering the UN and could not ask them inside the UN building.

This notifies your Mission that I have been banned from the UN since at latest July 5, with no due process. See, The Independent (UK), July 12, 2018, “UN 'roughs up and bans' investigative reporter long considered thorn in side of world body officials, Mr Lee has written about UN in connection to Haiti, Burundi, Sri Lanka and other nations."
July 23, 2018

Cameroon Not Seen By Human Rights Watch As Top 90 Problem But Now Spun For Money with UN Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 – As the crackdown in Cameroon by 36-year government of Paul Biya has grown worse and worse in 2017 and 2018 and Inner City Press has repeatedly asked why UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres only took a golden statue from Biya in October 2017, Guterres' UN itself has cracked down, now having banned Inner City Press from entering the UN for 15 days and counting. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II. Back on 6 March 2018 before Guterres' UN Security had roughed it up and banned it, Inner City Press asked Human Rights Watch official Jo Becker why the slaugher in Cameroon was not even listed at a Top-90 problem in HRW's  2018 "World" report.

Becker told Inner City Press that HRW has to decide where to spend the resources it receives, and apparently didn't see Cameroon as among the 90 countries meriting a look in their "World" report, nor Gabon or Togo. Video here.  On July 19, with the UN Censorship Alliance, HRW belatedly and apparently to try to raise funds off a crisis it had ignored and enabled held a briefing that was truly disgusting. The first question was given to a Reuters reporter who has repeatedly cut off Press questions about Cameroon. Next was UN Censorship Alliance figure head saying why not defer to the AU, which took a golden statue. Then a Reuters retiree; then a UN staffer doubling as a UN resident correspondent. It was truly disgusting. We'll have more on this.


  Now on July 19, with Inner City Press banned from the UN and, UNlike for example the Government Accountability Project, HRW at best doing nothing about this banning of the Press despite a series of e-mails to its Ken Roth, Sarah Whitsos and Akshaya Kumar, HRW has told some it will present with the UN Censorship Alliance the following, complete with moral equivalence:

"Human Rights Watch will release “‘These Killings Can Be Stopped’: Abuses by Government and Separatist Groups in Cameroon’s Anglophone Regions,” a report based on an April 2018 mission to the country. Researchers conducted 82 interviews with victims and witnesses of abuses and key informants. Human Rights Watch analyzed satellite images showing recent
burning in 20 villages and verified half a dozen videos showing abuses or their aftermath.
Since late 2016, activists from Cameroon’s Anglophone minority have been calling for their region’s independence. Violent repression of mostly peaceful demonstrations by government forces in 2016 and 2017 has led to an escalation of the conflict. Anglophone separatists have extorted, kidnapped, and killed civilians, and prevented children from going to school." The briefers are listed as Jonathan Pedneault, Mausi Segun, and the aforementioned Akshaya Kumar, Deputy UN Director, Human Rights Watch. We'll have more on this - and on the role of another HRW official Louis Charbonneau in having lobbied Guterres' spokesman to get Inner City Press ousted from the UN, using his link with this UN Censorship Alliance, then getting Google to remove his leaked lobbying from Search as allegedly copyrighted under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. See Lou Charbonneau's DMCA filing, here. This is shameful.

 Back on March 6, to make sure its question was not misunderstood, given the answer, Inner City Press waited as others from who had skipped the press conference came in to ask questions, then showed Ms. Becker the report. She said she had understood the question. (She did not explain why "Ashley" who answered for HRW Press never returned with this answer, nor put Inner City Press back on HRW's mailing lists). So who makes these decisions for Human Rights Watch?

HRW has refused to provide any read-outs of the issues it raises to Guterres. Guterres is himself far from transparent.
July 16, 2018

On Cameroon Inner City Press Asks UNSC Members About Videos of Abuses and UN Ban, Sweden 1st Reply

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Petition, 7/11 Status

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 – After the abuses by Cameroon's security forces have been ignored by the UN, as Inner City Press has repeatedly asked about them until being banned from the UN on July 3 and since, new leaked videos show summary executions and manhandling of prisoners. Inner City Press has asked a number of UN Security Council about these abuses and will be reporting on responses. On Saturday July 14, after Inner City Press' e-mail inquiry to Swedish Mission personnel including Permanent Representativee Olof B. Skoog and his deputy Carlo Skau, the Mission's spokesperson Lisa Laskaridis proactively replied, "Thank you for your email and concern. We continue to follow the situation in Cameroon very closely, and we are in touch with the U.N. and other partners. We have stressed the importance of national dialogue and the need for the U.N. to have access. I will also contact Ms. Smale" - Alison Smale, the Under Secretary General for Global Communications who has declined to answer Inner City Press' seven e-mails since September 2017 and 5000+ signature petition. We'll have more on this.  As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres prepared to hold on July 12 his first press conference in UN Headquarters since January, he so much wanted to avoid questions on his failings like that in Cameroon that he had his UN Security rough up and oust Inner City Press and his bureaucracy ban it from the building.  There was, as picked by Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric (who told The Independent the idea that Inner City Press has been targeted is "ridiculous"), no question about Cameroon. And still no answer to Inner City Press' written question - on the morning of July 11, Inner City Press asked three Guterres spokespeople, his deputy, his chief of staff and his British head of Communications Alison Smale questions including "There is a widely shared video of Cameroonian troops summarily executing civilians, including women and infants. What is Antonio Guterres' response to this?" While providing a cursory answer to a question Inner City Press submitted about the killing of civilians in Haiti - essentially a reference to another organization's position - these six UN officials did not even acknowledge the Cameroon question. And that remains true two days later, so Inner City Press on July 13 asked again: "Two full days ago I asked your Office about the video of Cameroon soldiers executing women and infants. You have still not answered. Now that Amnesty International has verified the video, what has the UN done about it? What will the UN do? Relatedly, what is the UN's comment on “Cameroon's President Paul Biya has announced that he will be a candidate in the 7 October presidential election that would, if he wins, extend his 35-year-rule. Biya tweeted 'I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as your candidate in the upcoming presidential election'" Inner City Press asked other questions, including about its being banned, that Haq has still not answered. On Cameroon, he returned with this pablum: "On Cameroon, we can say the following now: We are aware of the video circulating on social media and welcome the announcement by the Government of Cameroon to open an investigation into the matter. We urge the Government to swiftly and transparently conduct the announced investigation." Wait - UN Security's self-investigation of physically assaulting and ousting Inner City Press from covering the UN Budget Committee meeting on Guterres' proposals is neither swift - it's been ten days, a single sham interview - nor transparent. Inner City Press asked, without answer: "who is responsible for deciding, between 10 pm July 3 when I was assaulted by UN DSS Lt Dobbins and another UNnamed, and 10 am on July 5, that I was and am banned from entering the UN? Who participated in this decision? Your office yesterday told The Independent (UK) that “a review ha[s] been launched into the manner in which Mr Lee had been removed and his future accreditation.” How my accreditation should suffer for having been assaulted by Lt Dobbins and unnamed colleagues, for the second time in 11 days, is a mystery or worse. But please state how it is possible for DSS to investigate itself in this matter. What provisions does the UN have when abuse BY UN Security officers is alleged, and how does it impact for example their New York and other gun permits?" We'll have more on all of this. Guterres lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who will again be hand picking the questions and questioners present at noon on July 12, told another reporter on July 11 that Inner City Press' “status is being reviewed.  My understanding is that he will be having discussions with various parts of this administration, and then we'll keep you updated, and I'm sure he will keep you updated. His credentials and pass have been suspended, pending review." Video here. This is all based on Inner City Press having been unjustly, and increasingly violently, ousted from the UN on June 22 (during a Guterres speech bragging about Mali) and July 3, during consideration of Guterres' budget and reforms, with mixed results. Amnesty International (which recently under counted Anglophone deaths in Cameroon, blocked the Press which asked and has done nothing, despite requests, about the ban) has verified the videoJuly 9, 2018

UN Guterres Snubbed #MeToo Club in Vienna and Beagle and Haq Ignore Since While Banning Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on May 14 in Vienna told UN staff that sexual exploitation and abuse is not relevant, only sexual harassment is. This was in a closed-door Town Hall meeting on which Inner City Press exclusively reported, including Guterres refusal then and since to answer to request by staff member Monica Garcia Montes to establish a #MeToo club at the UN in Vienna. Since then, under Guterres Inner City Press has been ousted and now banned from the UN, for covering his budget and reform / job moving proposals. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II.

Now, while covering the UN from the park in front of it, Inner City Press has obtained a series of e-mails regarding the #MeToo club proposal Guterres has blocked, some copied to Guterres' spokespeople including Farhan Haq. Sample e-mails exclusively put online via Patreon here. They include such outrageous reasons for opposing as "Mr Zabaar said the Metoo Movement is in conflict with the UN code of conduct" and "Ms Kuleshnyk compared the name of the Club with an hypothetical Club named Osama Bin Laden." A cover letter recites that " Mr Guterres had a staff meeting in the VIC on May 14, 2018, and Monica publicly asked him for his support in a question. Mr Guterres reserved his reply. This was documented here. Immediately after the meeting Monica contacted Mr Bridi's team and Mrs Menendez replied to her and subsequently called her and had a long conversation with her. The conclusion of this conversation is that Monica should contact Mrs Beagle. Monica contacted Mrs Beagle, but Mrs Beagle didn't contact Monica (her secretary called but nothing else happened). On June 25 Monica sent an e-mail to Mrs Menendez urging her to provide her with the reply of Mr Guterres on her initial question about him supporting the creation of the club. She has received no reply to this date. As a matter of fact, apart from the phone call from Mrs Menendez in May, and as you can see in the e-mails copied below, highly placed persons in the office of Mr Guterres have been systematically copied, so that they are informed of the progress. However never once did Monica receive any kind of reply or contact from any of them ever since." This is Guterres' UN. We'll have more on this - and on censorship which has been raised to Guterres, his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, his chief of staff Viotti and Communicator Alison Smale, here. Earlier Inner City Press asked the UN to explain Guterres' statement, below - and then was informed by sources in Vienna that the #MeTooUN problem there is wider than heretofor reported. An abrupt resignation at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, of Tero Varjoranta, was by some like Reuters linked to Trump's pull out from the Iran JPCOA deal. But Inner City Press is exclusively informed it is more tied to an incident witnessed by many, and inquired into by press pursuing the impunity in the UN system for sexual harassament and abuse.July 2, 2018

In Cameroon Macron Envoy Lemoyne Unfurls French Banner in Anglophone Buea With Soldiers

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, II, Q&A, 25/6

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 – Amid the worsening crackdown by the army of 36-year Cameroon president Paul Biya in the country's Anglophone areas (June 12 UK comment below), in April a video circulated depicting soldiers burning down homes. Click here for one upload of it. Noted by many residents and activists: blue helmet of the type used by UN peacekeepers. Back on April 30 Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the video, the day after publishing a story about it, in Google News. April 30 Q&A video here; transcript below. When French Minister Jean Baptiste Lemoyne visited Anglophone South-West Cameroon this week, amazingly he appeared in front of a banner welcoming him... entirely in French, here. His visit was opposed, and there was a heavy military presence. Some claimed Macron meant the end of FrancAfrique but this is a new low. Lemoyne took a golden statue, just like UNSG Antonio Guterres. We'll have more on this. On June 27, Inner City Press asked Guterres' Children and Armed Conflict envoy Virginia Gamba why Cameroon is not listed in her new report. Video here. She said her Office has no presence on the ground in Cameroon, try of so many of the UN's observational bodies. Why not? On June 25, the business day after Guterres' Security ousted Inner City Press using Emergency Response Unit guards equipped with automatic weapons, video here, story here, new petition here) Inner City Press managed to ask Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about BBC authenticating the blue helmet and other images, here.June 25, 2018

At UN 5 Guards Eject Inner City Press As It Covers Guterres Talk, Noting His Inaction on Corruption and Cameroon

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope video

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 – Five UN Security officers, most with automatic weapons, pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN on June 22 as it was filming and preparing to write about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' claims about his visit to Mali, where he didn't even inquire into a recent case child rape by a UN Peacekeeper. With the event still ongoing, Inner City Press was approached by UN Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building.

 That is not the rule, nor the practice; in any event, the Guterres Eid al -Fitr event listed in the UN Department of Public Information was still ongoing, making it unquestionable that Inner City Press had a right to be in the UN and cover it.

   But even as Inner City Press dialed DPI's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, getting only voice mail, Dobbins made a call and UN “Emergency Response Unit” officers arrived, with barely concealed automatic weapons. One of them repeatedly pushed Inner City Press' reporter in the back, forcing him through the General Assembly lobby toward the exit. Periscope video here.

   UN Under Secretary General Catherine Pollard was told the ouster and did nothing, as was a Moroccan diplomat. The heavily armed UN Security officers refused to give their names when asked. Lieutenant Dobbins, with no name plate on his uniform, refused to spell his name. He said, I have my orders. From who - Guterres? His Deputy SG or chief of staff, both of whom were at the event? DSS chief Drennan? DPI chief Alison Smale?

    Inner City Press repeatedly asked to be able to get its laptop computer, which was upstairs - there was no way to have known it would be ousted during Guterres' event.

  But Dobbins and the others refused, as did the UN Security officers at the gate. Inner City Press remained there, with dwindling cell phone battery, raising the issue online to Smale, under whose watch Inner City Press has remained in the non-resident correspondent status it was reduced to for pursuing the Ng Lp Seng UN bribery case into the UN press briefing room where Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric ordered it out, then had it evicted. A DPI representative, whom Inner City Press asked to call Smale, was unable or unwilling to even let Inner City Press go in escorted to get its laptop.

   Just in the past week, when Inner City Press complained of Dujarric providing only to Al Jazeera the response of Antonio Guterres to the US leaving the UN Human Rights Council, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio claimed to MALU that the coverage was “too aggressive.” Journalism is not a crime? Next week, Antonio Guterres is set to give remarks, to which Inner City Press has requested the right to cover response, to the UN Correspondents Association, which not only has not acted on this censorship, but has fueled it.

  Inside the UN the Eid event continued, alongside a liquor fueled barbeque thrown by UN Security. This DSS sold tickets to non resident correspondents, and allowed in people who had nothing to do with the UN, including some seeming underage. When Inner City Press audibly raised the issue to UN Safety and Security Service chief Mick Brown, he did nothing.

   The Moroccan diplomat emerged and chided Inner City Press for even telling him of the ouster, claiming that “25% of what you write is about Morocco.” Pakistan's Permanent Representative, who hosted the Eid event, said she would look into it. Sweden's spokesperson asked whom to call in DPI and when Inner City Press said, Alison Smale, responded, Who is Alison Smale? Indeed.

  Smale has refused to respond in any way, in the eight months she has been Guterres' “Global Communications” chief, to a 5000 signature petition to restore Inner City Press to its unused office S-303 and to adopt content neutral media access rules going forward. That, and appropriate action on Lt. Dobbins and the others, must be among the next steps. Watch this site.

June 18, 2018

On Cameroon Inner City Press Asked of UN DSS Staff in Buea and UN Says UNaware of Reports

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, II, Q&A

UNITED NATIONS, June 14 – Amid the worsening crackdown by the army of 36-year Cameroon president Paul Biya in the country's Anglophone areas (June 12 UK comment below), in April a video circulated depicting soldiers burning down homes. Click here for one upload of it. Noted by many residents and activists: blue helmet of the type used by UN peacekeepers. On April 30 Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the video, the day after publishing a story about it, in Google News. April 30 Q&A video here; transcript below. On June 13, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, Video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about Cameroon.  I was just listening to what Mr. Fall said and I just wonder, it seemed... on Monday, a report was put out by Amnesty International detailing in some detail first-hand accounts of torture, burning of villages, murder of suspects.  So, I just… one, can he do a stakeout?  Is he… if he's the Secretary-General's envoy on the region…?  Number two… and I say it because…

Spokesman:  We can ask.  As you know, he hasn't been to… in Cameroon in some time, but we'll ask.

Inner City Press:  Right.  Other Council members praised his engagement.  I wanted to ask you that.  There's no engagement that you haven't announced from here?

Spokesman:  Not that I'm aware of.  I'm not hiding any engagement.

Inner City Press:  Right.  So, I mean, is the Secretary-General satisfied with not necessarily the performance of Mr. Fall, but with the engagement of the Government, given an Amnesty International report detailing the torching of villages…?

Spokesman:  I think we have expressed and we'll continue to express our concern about the developments in the area.

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask… you may not know, but photos have come out of UNDSS [United Nations Department of Safety and Security] personnel in Buea, which is a town in Anglophone Cameroon, quite a few of them.  And… and I'm… so people don't know what they're doing there.  This goes back to the… sort of distrust from the Blue Helmet at one of the torching sites.  Is there some way you can find out… if there's some… is there some engagement taking place?

Spokesman:  I'll find out." A full day later, nothing. Dujarric was spotted watching the World Cup in the UN Delegates Lounge bar, bt he did not do the UN's June 14 briefing. So Inner City Press asked his deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Dujarric] yesterday had said… I'd asked him a pretty… pretty straightforward questions, that there… there are photos circulating.  Many people in Anglophone Cameroon are concerned about it, of several… a team of UNDSS [Department of Safety and Security] personnel in Buea at the Mountain Hotel in blue t-shirts.  What is the purpose of that deployment?

Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding that, we've asked our colleagues in the Department of Safety and Security.  They're actually unaware of what these reports are, but they are following up." How?


June 11, 2018

On Cameroon UK Told Inner City Press Monitoring But Brags Of New Age Oil Deal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, II

UNITED NATIONS, June 8 – Amid the worsening crackdown by the army of 36-year Cameroon president Paul Biya in the country's Anglophone areas, in April a video circulated depicting soldiers burning down homes. Click here for one upload of it. Noted by many residents and activists: blue helmet of the type used by UN peacekeepers. On April 30 Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the video, the day after publishing a story about it, in Google News. April 30 Q&A video here; transcript below. Why hasn't the UN Security Council had a single meeting about the government's killings in Cameroon, specifically in the former British Southern Cameroons? Previous UK ambassador Matthew Rycroft, and now his successors, tell Inner City Press the UK continues to monitor the issue, even as the UK denied in full Inner City Press' request for documents under the UK Freedom of Information Act, and the UK Mission to the UN siddles up only to the media which don't ask them about the issue. Now this outrage: the UK is bragging about a big natural gas deal with Paul Biya's government, through a London based company called New Age. Minister Liam Fox "announced today a deal worth more than £1.5 billion had been secured by a UK company to deliver natural gas project in Cameroon." More detailed, "Following Trade Minister, Baroness Fairhead’s, meeting with Minister Secretary General Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, London based oil and gas company, New Age, and the Cameroon Government have agreed a deal which will see the development of a floating natural gas project in Cameroon utilising the offshore Etinde gas field. The project is of huge importance to the African country, who will be able to ramp up their gas export operation, in turn generating a huge revenue stream for the public treasury, whilst also helping to develop offshore infrastructure in support of future local power generation." This is on the UK.gov website, here. We'll have more on this. On June 7, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you this.  It has to do with Cameroon.  It's reported that Samuel Eto’o, the football player, as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, will be touring with Government officials [in] the Anglophone areas trying to encourage people to either go back to school or stop protesting, and so there's a lot of pushback against him.  And I wanted to know, one, when's the last time Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall was in the area?  Maybe you have it or could find it out… I want to compare.

Spokesman:  No, I mean there's nothing more than what is publicly known.

Inner City Press:  Would Samuel Eto’o’s trip, if it takes place — he's in Yaoundé — would it be as a UN Goodwill Ambassador?  And, if so, what would you say to the…?

Spokesman:  I have to check what his status is and who he actually worked for.

Inner City Press:  Well, people are saying that he's said nothing about this crisis the whole time…

Spokesman:  No, no, I'm not debating you. I just have to see what… the details.

Inner City Press:  Can you… okay.  I'd appreciate an answer on that." But 23 hours later, nothing. Dujarric waited until the June 8 noon briefing, when he read out: "I was asked yesterday about a visit, I think by you Matthew, by [football star] Samuel Eto’o to Anglophone Cameroon.  UNICEF has told us that this was a private visit to Cameroon, and that this was done completely outside his role as UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador." Video here. We'll see.
June 4, 2018

As North Korea's Kim Yong Chol Heads to DC, Pompeo Cites 72 Hours of Progress in Presser

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Scope

UNITED NATIONS, May 31 – On the much discussed North Korea - US talks, US President Donald Trump on May 29 tweeted, "Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York." On May 30 just before 7 pm Kim Yong Chol and security, as well as at least one staffer from the US Mission to the UN, exited the Millennium Hilton hotel on 44th Street across from the UN and piled into a series of black cars, pursued by media. See 2 minutes and 20 seconds of Inner City Press' Periscope feed, here. They drove to 330 East 38th Street, the Corinthian Condominium where many war crimes linked diplomats have lived and the US leases a condo for its deputy ambassador; they dined for 1 hour and 26 minutes on "American beef." On May 31 after a two and a half hour meeting at the Corinthian, Pompeo held a short press conference at the Lotte Palace Hotel at 2:15 pm. Inner City Press arrived as required at 1:15 pm; there was a full stand up by Fox then another cut short by someone's ring tone. Periscope video here. Pompeo took four questions (Bloomberg, WSJ, ABC and Fox) and was upbeat but declined to entirely confirm the June 12 talks are on. Why could he, if another statement like those on Bolton and Pence could get it called off again? Looks like it's a go. Will UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (again out of town until May 31, when he canceled the press Q&A he had scheduled) try to make himself relevant? Seems not. On travel ban exemptions, the UN Security Council website as Inner City Press exclusively reported is to be run by the "self employed" husband of the chief of staff of the Department of Political Affairs. The Dutch have a role in this website, DPA whistleblowers tell Inner City Press. We'll have more on this. Back on May 24 Trump wrote to Kim Jong Un, "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." Simultaneously, UN Secretary General put out a statement - praising North Korea for destruction of an already played out testing site. The UN under Guterres remains out of date, irrelevant and worse.May 28, 2018

After UN Discloses Rape Case in Mali, Inner City Press About Accountability, Cut Off, Guterres May 29

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here, Vine here

UNITED NATIONS, May 25 -- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment, and for retaliation. But when Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on March 15 about Michel Sidibé's reported threats of retaliatory investigations against those making and offering support to sexual harassment complaints at UNAIDS, Haq said this is entire a matter for UNAIDS. Earlier Inner City Press story here; exclusive publication of whistleblowers' international condemnation of retaliation and favoritism in Sidibe's UNAIDS, below. On May 22 at 5:30 pm, the UN disclosed a rape allegation against one of its civilian contractors in Mali, in the MINUSMA mission in 2018. The Office of Internal Oversight Services, whose director has declined Press requests to take questions about OIOS' procedures, is the one investigating it. But why isn't it a crime subject to real prosecution by Mali? Inner City Press asked Haq on May 25, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: an additional case of child rape by a civilian contractor of the UN in Mali, and unlike for military personnel, it doesn't disclose, one the nationality, and two it's a pretty serious charge, and the Secretary-General is obviously going there for the Day of the Peacekeepers, so I wanted to know what's the nationality of the contractor?  How did the UN become aware of this?  And what… in the serious instance of alleged child rape, what is the UN going to do about it?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don't have the nationality to share with you.  What I can say is that MINUSMA has received a report of sexual abuse involving a national civilian contractor, so this… I assume from that what the nationality is, but it says it involves a national civilian contractor.  The allegations refer to the rape of a female minor, resulting in her pregnancy.  The incident allegedly took place at an unspecified date in 2018.  Ensuring the provision of assistance to the victims is our priority.  The victim has been referred to UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] and an NGO [non-governmental organization] partner for appropriate medical, psychosocial, and legal support.  The Mission also stands ready to provide additional assistance as needed and the allegation is currently being investigated by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

Inner City Press:  If, in fact, the contractor is Malian and the victim is Malian, why wouldn't… why would not this be a criminal matter for actual prosecution in Mali?  Is the person given immunity simply by being a UN contractor?  What is it… like, for example, what was this person doing for the UN…?

Deputy Spokesman:  You would have to ask the Malian authorities whether there's any criminal prosecution being followed up in that case.  That is a matter between the contractor and the Government of Mali.  I've given you the details on our side.

Inner City Press: But what was the contractor doing?  You say he's a contractor, just to understand a little bit better how someone could get immunity for child rape, what services were their performing for the UN?

Deputy Spokesman:  I didn't say that any… first of all, there's not immunity for crimes that are committed.  Second of all, I didn't say that immunity was in play.

Inner City Press: Is it immunity from local prosecution?  [Inaudible]… rape by the UN…

Deputy Spokesman:  Again, you would have to ask… no, it's not by the UN.   Like I said, it's by a national contractor.  Second of all, you would have to check with the Malian authorities whether they are following up with criminal charges." The "inaudible" was a correspondent often used by the UN for this purpose trying to cut off the follow up on UN child rape with an unrelated question. We'll have more on this.

May 21, 2018

At UN, Guterres To Move NYC Jobs to Mexico City, Budapest and Nairobi, 290 From Uganda, ICP Asks

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, full docs, II

UNITED NATIONS, May 18 – At the UN with Antonio Guterres 17 months into his term as Secretary General, there's talk of reform but little transparency. The attempted power-grab of the resident coordinator system has yet to be approved; the proponents have yet to answer Press questions. Guterres' proposed Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM) may, despite Guterres' murky attempts to over-ride his advisory team's recommendations, be an exception, as it would eliminate jobs in New York, jobs held by Americans. The proposal, which Inner City Press first wrote about in early March, is to move to cheaper location(s) back office functions like human resources, payments and payroll. 

Inner City Press has reported -- and has published full documents on Patreon, here -- the four cities in Guterres' initial filing with ACABQ, the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. They were Budapest, Kuala Lumpur, Mexico City and Nairobi. The first three were each the product of conflict of interest. Guterres wanted Budapest, those involved say, in order to support or cover up his Budapest move while at UNHCR. But given Victor Orban's statements, why is Antonio "Mister Migration" Guterres tweaking the process to reward Hungary? On Kuala Lumpur, UNDP in that country "lent" John Kidd to mediate or change the outside consultants' recommendations - and include KL. Now Malaysia has said it cannot or will not commit the requisite resources, and Inner City Press is informed - not by Guterres spokespeople which it has repeatedly asked - that Kuala Lumpur is out. And then there were three. Inner City Press asked in each article in this series, What will happen to Entebbe which was set up by DFS for their GFSS Global Field Support Strategy? And now Uganda's Museveni has protested to Guterres, without response. Museveni called the decision "unfair;" his foreign minister Sam Kutesa has threatened to call a vote in the General Assembly, of which he was president (and allegedly accepted bribesfrom Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, still in Special Consultative status with UN ECOSOC. On May 7, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, again, about the GSDM and specifically about Uganda - and it turns out Guterres spoke with Kutesa, though presumably not about the CEFC bribery scandal, on which Guterres has yet to act. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I want to ask you again about this global service delivery mechanism.  Seems that… you'd said you were going to give some granular guidance, but I wanted to ask you if it's the case that Kuala Lumpur has dropped out of the four cities and, if so, why, and also if you can confirm the receipt of a letter by the President of Uganda protesting  their non-selection in… despite having this Entebbe situation and the various critiques he's made in it.  There's been a call… at least they've said that Sam Kutesa, which… a name from the past, may call a vote in the General Assembly about the selection of Nairobi over them.  And staff are… are… many people and I've asked here to see the underlying recommendations of how these cities were selected.

Spokesman:  Not aware of Kuala Lumpur.  On Entebbe, the Secretary-General spoke last week with the Foreign Minister of Uganda to explain the situation to him.  A number of functions related to peacekeeping will remain in Entebbe.

Inner City Press:  Could I ask you…

Spokesman:  Go ahead.

Inner City Press: I want to ask you another… since it seem… so, was that called before or after the reported letter from the President?

Spokesman:  It was before.  I'm not… I can't confirm the letter's been received." On May 18, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq about reports in Uganda, video here

May 14, 2018

UN Guterres Met Finland FM, His Security Ordered Inner City Press To Not Periscope

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres met Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini on May 11, and Inner City Press went up intending to photograph (Alamy photos here) and stream Periscope video as it had with Iceland's President in the morning. But once in Guterres' conference room, two UN Security officers told Inner City Press it could not Periscope. "But I did this morning," Inner City Press replied. "That because there were remarks," one of the officers said. No more that in this Finnish one: Guterres' small talk, of the type his predecessor Ban Ki-moon routinely allowed to be recorded and even used to praise his visitor. Was this because Inner City Press Periscoped Guterres telling Egypt's Ambassador to convey his "warm regards" to Sisi? Wasn't that newsworthy? The other UN Security officer declined to explain - UNTV was shooting video, but would apparently be counted on to censor anything embarrassing. "This is on the order of the speechwriter," one of the UN Security officers said. But who is the speechwriter? It is certainly not spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who tried earlier in the week to entirely ban Inner City Press from photo ops, saying they were only for photo agencies (clarified to be, those who do not write). So is it the writing that is the problem? Periscope or not, those present hear what is said, and see where they are brought through. Since we have been censored, here's writing for example about Guterres' back pillow, brought back and forth from his office to the conference room. The menus and place cards, for exmple for Rosemary DiCarlo (the swearing in of whom Inner City Press was banned from). How about that the meeting, at most, lasted ten minutes, since when Inner City Press went at the appointed 2:40 pm time for Guterres' photo with UN Force Commanders it had already happened, ten minutes early? What is wrong with today's UN? What are they so willing to censor to ensure is not shown? Earlier on May 11 Guterres met Iceland's President Gudni Th. Johannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid and Inner City Press openly Periscoped; other than in-house UNTV and UN Photo, Inner City Press was the only media there. Alamy photo, Periscope. This came two days after Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric had Inner City Press blocked from covering Guterres' meeting with Al Sharpton while allow another media to cover. Dujarric said he was trying to bring "order" by excluding any photographer who also writes articles like this one. That is clearly censorship, but the decision was not revoked; Dujarric called Inner City Press "self-centered" for questioning it. Video here. We'll have more on this - and on Finland, where Gudni Th. Johannesson will visit on May 15, when Guterres will also again be in Europe. In other news, Eliza Reid recent presented the Icelandic crime writing award to Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. Guterres' UN is ripe for crime writing, what with the still unacted on UN bribery by Patrick Ho's China Energy Fund Committee, still in special consultative status with UN ECOSOC. Watch this site. Guterres disclosed the existence of a meeting with Martin Luther King III and Kweku Mandela at 3:30 pm on May 9 - but Inner City Press was not allowed as before to go up to the UN's 38th floor and photograph it. It was told that since it also files written reports, it is not a photo agency. This is the new censorship system of Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. So Inner City Press waited as it its right in the lobby, until Martin Luther King II came down - with Al Sharpton. Photo here. Inner City Press asked the two what they discussed with Guterres and was told it is still premature to announce it. Periscope video from here. Tellingly, there was no UNTV camera there, and a lone non-UN paid photographer. Whether he writes, as Inner City Press is accused of, is not known, including to the UN. Another attendee told Inner City Press Guterres was rude and dismissive to some of the attendees, including it seems Kweku Mandela, not shaking his hand - we can't dispute, as we weren't there by the Guterres / Dujarric "rules." On May 10 Inner City Press asked Dujarric about it. He said he didn't know Sharpton had been there, and stonewalled on the censorship "rule" he had put forward. Video here.May 7, 2018

At UN Press Restricted From Covering Guterres' Lusophone Garden Party, Kids Climb Slavery Memorial

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 – The UN Media Alert for May 5 listed a “Portuguese Language Day Celebration;” when Inner City Press asked the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres it was told there would be remarks by Guterres, who is increasingly rarely in New York. Events in the UN Media Alert are open to all journalists - but in today's UN, rules mean little.

On May 5 UN Security stopped Inner City Press saying, No, I know who you are. Another UN Security Officer asked, Why don't you like the UN? Haiti cholera impunity came to mind, or UN Security Deputy Chief McNulty throwing Inner City Press' laptop on the sidewalk when it was evicted (audio here) for covering an event in the UN Press Briefing Rule - also ostensibly open to all journalists.

  On My 5 while UN Security was focused on making it impossible for Inner City Press to do its job, they allowed children, presumably Lusophone, to play on the UN's slavery memorial, which its Department of Public Information took money for from now convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng, even according to the UN's own audit. The UN was turned into Antonio Guterres' Lusophone garden party. Any number of state media, like rarely present Egyptian Akhbar al Yom to which DPI under Alison Smale continues to assign Inner City Press' long time work space to, could enter and cover the event without no interaction much less blocking by UN Security. (Smale retweeted Guterres' Portuguese language self celebration, here - but could not or would not assure that the Press could cover the event, in the Media Alert, and has not in eight months responded to 5000 signature petitions and request for reinstatement and rules).

  The May 5 targeting of Inner City Press -- "I know who you are" -- is allowed by downgrading and keeping down Inner City Press as "non resident correspondent," while giving full resident correspondent status to no-show state media like Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef who has not asked the UN a question in more than a decade. Inner City Press, by contrast, is required to have a minder. But the UN is a place now of targeted censorship - the cancellation by the UN Alliance of Civilizations is just the most recent example. We'll have more on this.

April 30, 2018

UN in DRC Drone Procurement Ousts Low Bidder, Lets In Firm Under Probe, ICP Asks, Dodge

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, April 27 -- In UN Procurement, the lowest bidder doesn't always win, the UN confirmed on March 26 in response to Inner City Press' March 23 question. Rather than e-mail the statement to Inner City Press which asked, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spoksman Farhan Haq waited to read it out at the March 26 noon briefing, and then refused to answer questions about it. See transcript, and below. Today's UN is corrupt. Now it's even clearer: after ousting the low bidder PPI, UN Procurement has let in a company, Aeronautics Ltd a/k/a Aeronautics Defense Systems, which is under investigation and had a contract canceled in Romania in 2017, like one in Poland in 2012, and Mexico in 2009. On April 27, after publishing the above, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I had asked you before about the procurement of drones for MONUSCO [United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] in the DRC, and I think the upshot of this back-and-forth is that the low bidder doesn't necessarily get the bid, but it's since emerged that a… a company has been allowed in as… as now, the presumptive front-runner, Aeronautics Defence Systems, which will actually banned from… had contracts terminated in Romania in 2017 and Poland in 2012, so many… the people that are… that are, you know, following this to see how money is being spent… what's the… the… it's one thing to say, you know, the low bidder, we can investigate them and not do them, but then how can a company be brought in…?

Spokesman:  Look, I don't have all the facts on the top of my head.  What I do know is that obviously, it's always the lowest… it's the low bidder with the best possible bid.  I mean, you know, what the process is.  All vendors go through a vetting process.  I have no information on this particular company or know whether or not they are, in fact, part of the bidding process.

Inner City Press: Is past… is past record of completion or termination of contracts part of the…?

Spokesman:  Everything is looked at in the procurement process." Really?  Inner City Press was exclusively informed that in the bidding for the UN's Democratic Republic of the Congo UAS or Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) program, the low bidder is being displaced by more favored companies, unilaterally, by UN Procurement chief Dmitry Dovgopoly.

The story, exclusive to Inner City Press, goes like this: out to bid is a $50 million contract to provide Unmanned Aerial Systems services to the UN's MONUSCO in the DRC for a term of five (3 + 1 + 1) years. The present company, Leonardo, has a contract which expires in November. PPI beat out Leonardo, CAE, Thales, Qintetiq, Airbus and Trans Capital.

But shortly after our award, UN Procurement chief Dmitry Dovgopoly refused to approve the agreed upon terms and demanded PPI perform a demonstration flight prior to contract signature. Inner City Press covered Dovgopoly and similar tricks back when he was at the “D-1” level, and received pushback and is currenty still restricted to minders in the UN for pursuing its anti-corruption coverage into the UN Press Briefing Room, its work space purportedly assigned to a no-show Eygptian state corresponent Sanaa Youssef who has not asked a question in ten years.

April 23, 2018

On North Korea Talks, Kim Talks Freeze, UN Stonewalls From Margins, Amid Mis-Reporting

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Video II

UNITED NATIONS, April 20 -- The Trump - Kim talks, primed by Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, have had their location sweepstakes narrowed down, excluding the US. On April 17, "Pooler yelled out to Trump if any of those are in the US. He shook his head and said no." Could the UN's Geneva be in the running? Or is the UN running to try to remain relevant? The UN Security Council is on retreat in Sweden, accompanied by UN Secretary General and, Inner City Press first reported, UN Disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu. On the 38th floor the word was that her agenda is "OPCW" - that is, Douma. And North Korea? No other media was up on the 38th floor for this, other than Inner City Press. And no other media, as Inner City Press did, asked the UN on April 20 to name who else is at the retreat. Now Kim Jong Un announces he will freeze testing, having accomplished his goals. On CNN it was said this is a gambit to outlast Trump. But if the talks go badly, will things last even two more years? Inner City Press ran into Nakamitsu after she had a meeting preparing for the retreat with Guterres and his Political (some say, Cameroon) adviser Khassim Diagne. The UN Secretariat has yet to release a list of the officials it is bringing to the retreat, so this report is a scoop-lette. Sweden's Deputy Ambassador Carl Skau's joke the previous day about making the Council members sit silent and listen to music, perhaps Bach as Dag Hammarskjold famously did, came up. But what music? Inner City Press is covering this. At an April 18 press conference Inner City Press asked what seemed an obvious journalistic question: who's paying? Video here.

April 16, 2018

On Syria, After Trump Strikes and Russia Draft Fails in UNSC, Sullivan Calls Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait and Czech

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video II Patreon, photos, Vine

UNITED NATIONS, April 14At 9 pm on April 13 US President Donald Trump announced airstrikes on Syria, with the UK and Syria. In the UN, Inner City Press rushed from the phone booth it works in to the UN Security Council, only to find the music and drinkers still pulsing from the UN Delegates Lounge. Video here.  Russia called a UN Security Council meeting and had a draft resolution voted on. It failed, with three in favor (China, Bolivia and Russia), eight against and four abstentions. (Ethiopia called its abstention pragmatic). Video here. Now the US lists calls made by Acting Secretary of State Sullivan: "The following is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert: On April 14, 2018, Acting Secretary Sullivan made the following calls to foreign leaders to brief on the strikes in Syria: Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Al Sabah, Czech Foreign Minister Stropnicky, Turkish Under Secretary Yalcin, Iraqi Foreign Minister al-Jaafari." Some wonder, why Czech Republic, where Chinese businessman and briber Ye Jianming remains an adviser to the President? Meanwhile there are reports of air strikes on Jabal Azzan - watch this site. After the UNSC meeting, Inner City Press asked Russia's Vassily Nebenzia if any of the abstentions surprised him. He stopped and said that Russia doesn't twist any arms, it is a sovereign decision of each country. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres left with his entourage; Inner City Press asked quite audibly. so are you going to Saudi Arabia now? He didn't answer; Inner City Press has asked his two top spokesmen now in writing to be informed, hour by hour. It is, after all, public money. Watch this site. The failed draft at the end, “Condemns the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter [and] Demands that the US and its allies immediately and without delay cease the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and demands also to refrain from any further use of force in violation of international law and the UN Charter.” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia mocked the UK and France as having joined a military action based only  on the US Constitution; he used the word "neo colonialism." Moments before, Nikki Haley, entering the UN Security Council at 11 am on April 14 paused and said, The time for talk was over and the time for action had come, that's what happened last night. As she kept walking, there was a shouted question: What is the proof? Vine video here. Earlier on April 14 at the Pentagon, Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie bragged that there had been no military response, and that the deconfliction channel was working with Russia. Earlier still on April 14, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced, "The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The OPCW has been working in close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the team." April 9, 2018

Amid UN Bribery of Ng Lap Seng and CEFC China Energy, Guterres Spun Xinhua, ICP on Xi's Vase to Kim

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Video II

UNITED NATIONS, April 7 -- As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres took off on his trip to China, Inner City Press which has pursued the UN bribery scandals of Ng Lap Seng and now the China Energy Fund Committee asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric on April 6 if Guterres will address any of these issues during his five days in the country. Dujarric was dismissive, and ended the briefing. Video here; UN transcript here and below. This cutting off of public quesitons happened after Guterres gave a private (self) promotional interview to China's state media Xinhua, touting the trip and China as "absolutely essential" on the North Korea nuclear issue. Dujarric race off the podium made it impossible to ask him for Guterres' opinion on if the gifts given to Kim Jong Un on his recent train trip to China violated the UN's 1718 sanctions. Then again, the UN's own World Intellectual Property Organization helped on North Korea's cyanide patents without telling the 1718 Committee, and Guterres has been as hands-off with WIPO's Gurry as he has been with UNAIDS' Michel Sidibe on the sexual harassment and retaliation scandal. We'll have more on this. From the UN's April 6 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about the… the trip to China by the Secretary-General.  You know, as you know there's… there's one being concluded and one still active UN bribery cases pending in the Southern District of New York.  Most recently…

Spokesman:  I don't agree with your characterization.

Inner City Press: They're both about bribing the PGA.  I guess you can say the PGA is not really the UN, but…

Spokesman:  Go ahead.  Go ahead.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  So my question is since there seems to be a pattern of… in two cases, one was Ng Lap Seng, South-South News, who Vivian Wang has now pleaded guilty.  The other is the China Energy Fund Committee, which remains in consultative status with ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council].  Is this an issue that the Secretary-General, in visiting the home base of both operations, and both are alleged to be Government connected?

Spokesman:  The United Nations has cooperated with the Southern District here in New York in whatever way we can in any and all investigations.  The legal process here has played itself out and is playing itself out, and as for the accreditation of the ECOSOC accreditation, as I've told you numerous times, it's a member state issue…". And then Dujarric ran off the podium. We'll have more on this. The UN has been targeting not only Inner City Press for censorship, but also its sources, for retaliation.

It was reported and quoted here:  "Looks like UN is making efforts to ID people who send stuff to media: 'Identified a computer used to print an email that was later leaked to Inner City Press, by correlating an URL on the top of the leaked document with Webmail & DHCP logs.' Are they punishing whistleblowers?"

Well, yes. And the investigative Press.

On March 14, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the above-quoted and he said, since the UN has confidential information it can and does investigate leaks and leakers. Video here.


But isn't that, in leaks to Inner City Press ranging from Burundi to Cameroon to cover ups to North Korea, going after whistleblowers? Haq dodged, and Inner City Press asked if a person who leaked the memo to Kofi Annan about impending genocide in Rwanda would be investigated. Apparently yes - but Haq again claimed that there is no retaliation. What about Anders Kompass, fired after releasing a document bout French peacekeepers' rapes in Central African Republic? Or Miranda Brown? Or Emma Reilly? On March 15, after asking Haq about threats of retaliation made at and by UNAIDS, Inner City Press asked what type of leak the UN investigates, and for whom. Haq said any kind the UN wants, and ostensibly for member states. Video here.

April 1, 2018

After UN Guterres Refused Press Question on UNAIDS #MeToo, To Lisbon For 4 Days, Slow

By Matthew Russell Lee, Vine, doc here

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 – For Antonio Guterres' 15 months as UN Secretary General he has gotten less and less transparent, about meetings and read-outs and even where he is. At one point for more than a week his spokespeople refused to answer the Press on where he was, finally saying "Europe." On March 29, Inner City Press asked Guterres' top three spokespeople a simple question: "where *is* the Secretary General? And where will he be, each day prior to his appearance Monday in Geneva? Again, has the Secretary General or anyone in his team spoken with Michel Sidibe of UNAIDS following the reports of his threats to staff who have come forward with harassment complaints?" Past 4 PM on March 30, despite Guterres' spokespeople putting out a statement from him about Liberia, no answer. His absence was noted at a protest in front of the UN, here (and later at the UN Security Council stakeout on Gaza). More than 17 hours after the question was asked, and asked again, finally this from Guterres' spokesperson: "the SG is in Lisbon." There - was that so difficult? The question of costs, of four days in Lisbon based off an appearance Tuesday in Geneva, amid protests and the Gaza crisis and inaction by UN Headquarters on sexual harassment and retaliation at UNAIDS and elsewhere is another question. And there are still other questions left unanswered, for example "what is the UN's position, and what has the UN done, about the detention then deportation of Kenya opposition figure Miguna Miguna, and the beating of journalists covering it in the Nairobi airport?
Does the UN have anything more to say about Somalia's complaint about UAE's deal with Somaliland for port and military base, other than that it is a bilateral matter between Somalia and the UAE?" We'll have more on this.
On March 29 Guterres refused to answer Inner City Press' question about sexual harassment at UNAIDS, about which Inner City Press has been asking the UN all year and which will be on CNN International on March 30, while protesters from Southern Cameroons / Ambazonia gather across from the UN to have their voices heard. But where IS Guterres? We'll have more on this.
Only two weeks ago Guterres found yet another reason to visit, with public funds, his home in Lisbon. He also investigates whistleblower, presumably for retaliation, here.
March 26, 2018

On Cameroon, ICP Asked Nigeria's Ambassador About the 47 Taken, UN Not Sure DSG Will Raise

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- The deference of the UN system's and many of its member states to Cameroon's corrupt 36-year president Paul Biya, and their complicity in his recent crackdown, continues. UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed was in Abuja as 47 people were illegally refouled to Cameroon;  she has been silent on that, as on continuing restrictions on the Press in her UN. She will be back in Abuja on March 23-24. On March 22, Inner City Press asked Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the UN Tijjani Muhammad Bande about the 47 people. Video here. He replied that he cannot answer, he doesn't know all the facts. "I would need information" about it, he said, "I am looking for verification."

Really? Isn't it his government, even more than (still) the government of Amija J. Mohammed. Still Tijjani Muhammad Bande UNlike Amina . Mohammed at least took the question, along with Niger's affable Ambassador Abdallah Wafy and offered some response. Amina J. Mohammed hasn't responded on that, on the CITES issues, or on this. On March 23 Inner City Press asked the Spokesman for Antonio "Golden Statue" Guterres and Amina J. "Rosewood" Mohammed, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: at the stakeout yesterday, the ambassador… the Permanent Representative of Nigeria, Tijjani Muhammad Bande, I asked him about these 47 people that were sent back to Cameroon, that… that UNHCR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] has said were sent back, and criticized.  He said he doesn't have any information on it.  I'm wondering, given that the Deputy Secretary-General is going to be in Abuja, is this one of the issues that she's going to try to get an answer to?

Spokesman:  She had raised it with various officials in the past.

Inner City Press:  But now, the Government is taking they don't know?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware that she plans to raise it.  If anything changes, I will let you know." What, to SABC?  On March 19, while constrained with a minder and a roped in cage, Inner City Press asked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid if he had any updated death count, since he stopped at 10. Video here. He replied he needs to look at the statistics, I can't recall, the important issue is to have access. Inner City Press pointed to the visit or access of UN envoy Francois Lounseny Fall (who equated secessionists with extremists, justifying the crackdown). Zeid replied "like in West Papua, I am asking for access." But not asking as loudly as elsewhere.
March 19, 2018

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

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- The deference of the UN system's and many of its member states to Cameroon's corrupt 36-year president Paul Biya, and their complicity in his recent crackdown, continues. The UN has enabled Biya in equating Boko Haram with the restorationist forces, as he did in his cabinet meeting on March 15 with this line: "Thanks to the firm action of our defense and security forces, we have been able to drastically curb the atrocities perpetrated by criminal groups in the Far North, North-West and South-West Regions." The violence in the Far North is entirely different from that in North-West and South-West Regions. But it was the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' envoy Francois Lounceny Fall who equated separatists with extremists; it was Guterres who stopped by Yaounde and took Biya's golden statue back in October. On March 16, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: since it's so rare, I got asked today.  The President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, held