Friday, November 17, 2017

Amid OCC Scams on Sanctions & CRA, Withhold Otting Documents, Inner City Press & CRC Sue Under FOIA


By Matthew R. Lee

NEW YORK, November 17 – Amid the scandal of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency covering up Sterling Bank'sunreliable Community Reinvestment Act data (see below) by withholding most of 400 pages released to Inner City Press under the Freedom of Information after the nomination of Joseph Otting, formerly of OneWest Bank to be Comptroller, back in July Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch and the California Reinvestment Coalition submitted this FOIA request. 

Now, after non-response by the OCC even has it promises merger approvals to banks with Needs to Improve CRA ratings and allows Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi to skirt North Korea sanctions review by fast approving applications for which effective public notice was never provided (ICP scoop on notice here), now ICP and CRC have filed suit, stating "No formal response was ever received from the OCC in response to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request. To date, the OCC has not disclosed any records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request nor has sent any correspondence to Plaintiffs informing
them of the OCC’s need for an extension of time to process the FOIA Request. As of November 10, 2017, Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request was listed as 'In Process' on the OCC’s FOIA request portal... Defendant has far exceeded the 20-working day statutory time limit for the processing of FOIA requests, as required by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A). 12. Plaintiffs have a statutory right to the records sought in its requests... WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for relief as follows: A. Order Defendant to conduct a reasonable search for all records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request, and to immediately disclose all records or portions of records responsive to the FOIA Request in their entirety that are non- exempt; B. Issue a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs are entitled to disclosure of the records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request; C. Enjoin Defendant from continuing to withhold responsive, non-exempt records or portions of records from Plaintiffs; D. Provide for expeditious proceedings of this action... Dated: November 17, 2017 By: s/ James H. Kaster." 

Watch this site. As to Otting, beyond his gaming of the CRA system, another problem has arisen: Otting misrepresented his resume on education. He listed a degree on his resume from the "School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth College." It's a fraud. "Joseph Otting is not a Dartmouth graduate," Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said. "Dartmouth does not have a school of credit and financial management." In turns out the school is a four-week program spread over two years, which rented space from Dartmouth. It's not only Sterling's CRA data is an unreliable. While at OneWest, as reported by Inner City Press in 2015, Otting was best know for trying to get his own employees, fundees and investors to submit comments to the OCC to support OneWest's purchase by CIT.  Click here. Otting wrote: 

From: Otting, Joseph M [at] owb.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2015 5:00 PM
Cc: Haas, Alesia Jeanne; Tran, Cindy; Kim, Glenn
Subject: Support For OneWest Bank

Dear Friends,

We were excited to announce on July 21, 2014, that IMB HoldCo LLC, the parent company of OneWest Bank entered into a merger agreement with CIT Group Inc. As part of the applications for regulatory approval of the transaction, our regulators are interested in the perspectives of the public. We are writing you to seek your support of the Bank and pending merger. This merger, if approved, would create the largest bank headquartered in Southern California with a full suite of banking products and services, which will allow us to better serve our customers. We would retain and grow jobs and are committed to continuing and expanding our efforts to serve the economic and development needs of our community. I would like to ask you to take a moment to click on the link below and submit a letter of support adding any of your own words or thoughts.

Please submit your letter by clicking here, or by visiting our website at www.OneWestBank.com/merger-support (if the link isn't clickable or part of the link is cut off, please copy and paste the entire URL into your browser's address bar and press Enter)

Thank you for your support.  Best wishes for a successful 2015 and please call on me if I can ever be of assistance.

Joseph M. Otting
President and CEO
OneWest Bank N.A.
888 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91101
  Inner City Press and the California Reinvestment Coalition, both members of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) will have more on this. 

***

Japan's Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi Skirts North Korea Sanctions With "Incorrect" Application to US OCC, Public Excluded


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo

UNITED NATIONS, November 17 – Amid talk of increased enforcement of sanctions on North Korea, and possible imposition of new sanctions against Myanmar, a November 13 letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services cites Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi for “continuing compliance failures in Hong Kong, which has a 'repeat transaction' program for certain high risk clients in Chinese cities bordering North Korea. The repeat transaction program results in not more but less scrutiny of these clients transactions.” 

The NYSDFS letter also notes that BTMU has processed transaction through its New York branch for “Burmese parties” on the OFAC sanctions list. How did Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi react to the New York regulator's investigation of these issues? It applied on October 30 to switch to the more lax Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and had its application approved in a mere week, then threw the state regulators out of its New York branch on Sixth Avenue. All this just a few blocks from the United Nations whose Security Council, on which Japan has a seat until the end of the year, has imposed rounds of sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear weapons program, and was set to vote for a new UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, or Burma, on November 16. What's going on? 

Now Inner City Press can exclusively report a further outrage, not included in the NYSDFS letter nor a Wall Street Journal article which quoted it. The OCC gave its approval in a week even while belatedly listing Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi's filings under "THESE APPLICATIONS APPEARED INCORRECTLY IN A PRIOR WEEKLY BULLETIN." Photo here; link to Bulletin here. The public, as is the trend under the OCC, was cut out. The face savings compliance agreement, here, does not cure or address this. The OCC is lax not only in sanctions compliance and absurdly short comment periods on corporate applications - it also markets itself to banks as being “flexible” on other compliance issues including the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. Recently the OCC announced that even a rare less than satisfactory CRA rating would not bar approval of a bank's application, click here for that Inner City Press coverage. A new Comptroller, Joseph Otting formerly of OneWest Bank, is set to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week, even while the OCC has refused to answer a pending Press (and CRC) request under the Freedom of Information Act. A lawsuit has now been filed. What will a FOIA request into the OCC's communications with Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi yield? Watch this site.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jailed Journalist Ahmed Abba of Cameroon Feted By CPJ Near UN Which Didn't Raise Case to Biya


By Matthew Russell Lee, UN Audio

UNITED NATIONS, November 15 – The government of Cameroon, where Paul Biya has been president for 35 years, has sentence journalist Ahmed Abba to 10 years in prison on terrorism-related charges. On November 15 in New York, Abba was given, in absentia, an International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). 

The event was in a hotel ballroom three blocks from the United Nations, where Inner City Press had earlier on November 15 asked the deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres if Guterres had even raised Abba's case when he met with Biya and received from his a gold statue in late October in Yaounde. (The answer appears to be, No.) 

So Inner City Press went to cover the event, and in the absence of the imprisoned Abba interviewed the coordinator of CPJ's Africa program Angela Quintal, mostly on Cameroon but also on Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, the UN and Lesotho, which Quintal brought up.
   Quintal said that Cameroon had “stalled” visas when CPJ was slated to visit the country in April and so the visit never happened. Citing Inner City Press' questions to the UN, she brought up the Anglophone areas and journalists arrested there. Inner City Press asked her about the cut-off and now hindering of the Internet in the Northwest and Southwest of the country, so that government abuses cannot be reported. She said that is of concern to CPJ, and opined that the Biya government wants to ensure that conflicts cannot be reported, even less so than in neighboring Nigeria.
   She said Biya's Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary is “pretty good at stalling,” and said CPJ has tried to get Abba's case raised by the EU, US and African Union. Inner City Press asked her about Burundi, where it seems international focus has waned. She did not disagree, noting that the number of journalists trying to leave Burundi has fallen, because most who wanted to leave already have. She said on where to devote CPJ resources there are hard choice, and then went off the record, which we respect.
  Back on the record, Quintal noted that CPJ has had success in getting a journalist released in Zambia (Chanda Chimba) while acknowledging that more must be done. That much is true. As Inner City Press rushed out of the Grand Hyatt to get back to the UN before the 7 pm curfew imposed on it for the past 21 months for reporting on a meeting, in the UN Press Briefing Room, of the UN Correspondents Association to see if they discussed funds received for their ball from now convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng, CPJ welcomed to its fundraiser an UNCA president who vowed to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN if it did not remove an article from the Internet. CPJ was informed of all of this, and has done nothing. Yes, there are hard choices. We'll have more on this. And on this, on Cameroon: a week after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accepted a golden statue from Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya in Biya's palace in Yaounde, there were threats of prosecution against people who refuse to celebrate Biya's 35 years in power. Photo of letter here. So is this was Guterres celebrates, under the Guterres Doctrine? What is the relation to the illegal lumber exports signed off on by Guterres' Deputy, Amina J. Mohammed in the #RosewoodRacket? This 
involves "smuggling from Cameroon." See EIA video, hereThere were threats to Inner City Press' accreditation at the UN, here. On November 15, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcripthere: Inner City Press:  since the Secretary-General's going to give this speech on… on countering terrorism while it's en… you know, holding up values, tonight, Cameroonian journalist Ahmed Abba is going to get an award… the International Press Freedom Award, not in person because he's been sentenced to ten years in jail for reporting on the conflict in Cameroon.  He's been convicted under antiterrorism laws.  So, it made me wonder, when the Secretary-General visited, met with President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, who's largely responsible for this prosecution and imprisonment of a journalist, was this issue raised? And… and does it fall within the ambit of the Secretary-General's views of proper use or improper use of terrorism laws, in this case, to imprison a journalist? Deputy Spokesman:  "The Secretary-General has made it clear that any measures that are counter-terrorist measures should not be used to restrict the enjoyment of human rights in any aspect, including freedom of expression and freedom of the media.  And that would be the case here, as well." But did Guterres raise it? Will he? Meanwhile in the South West Region, there is a curfew and demand to register and give "weapons" to the government. On November 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: over the weekend, in Cameroon, in both the northwest and southwest, there was a collection apparently in light of not only armaments, rifles and handguns, but even hoes and cutlasses, it said, basically a total disarmament and… and… impinging on even farming work by people.  And I'm wondering, given that François Fall is… calls for a dialogue, what… is the UN aware of this?  There are written orders online that you can see telling people to turn all of these things in… Spokesman:  "I have nothing on these reports as of now." Nor six hours later.  On November 9, Inner City Press asked UN official Najat Rochdi, who was the head of the UN system in Cameroon until earlier this year and is now its deputy in the Central African Republic where Guterres just visited before Cameroon, if Guterres had spoken to her at all about Cameroon. No, she said, he had wanted to optimize his time. Video here. So apparently Guterres gets his information, and gold statues, from Paul Biya, or from Khassim Diagne, who was part of Rochdi's system. It is  closed loop, and a total failure. On November 8, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric (drawing a response of sorts, that "The Anglophones have been doing some shooting today"), UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon, I know that there was a call by François [Lounceny] Fall and, I guess, the Secretary-General for dialogue with the “Anglophone regions”.  It's reported in the press in Yaoundé that the Government has sought international arrest warrants for 15 Anglophone leaders, and I'm wondering if that would be viewed as consistent with this call for dialogue and, if not, if the UN has anything to say about it. Spokesman Dujarric:  I don't have any information on those arrest warrants.  We, obviously, continue to call for calm and reiterate the availability of the UN to support the search for a lasting solution in the Anglophone provinces.  And we call on the… also on the authorities to ensure maximum restraint by security forces.  Evelyn? Evelyn Leopold: Yes.  I think the Anglophones did some shooting today." Video here; Leopold is retired from Reuters, still demands first questions at UN press conferences "on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association," wihch will charge money for an event with Antonio Guterres in mid-December - we will have more on this. On November 7 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Duajrric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you two questions about Cameroon.  One is, since the Secretary-General's visit, one, there's a… there are reports of a crackdown in a place called Jakiri, where one gendarme was killed, and now basically everyone is being told there will be collective punishment unless a gun is turned over.  And I wanted to know, is Mr. [François Louncény] Fall… who… after the visit, who's keeping track of it?  Also, bigger picture maybe, the… the Cross River State Governor in Nigeria, Ben Ayade, has said that the border has essentially been closed for people fleeing the Cameroon… the anglophone region of Cameroon, and I wanted to know whether that's something that either Mr. Fall or on the… you know, UNHCR is aware of. Spokesman:  UNHCR, you can check with them.  I will… I don't have anything on… more on Cameroon. Inner City Press: if Mr. Fall was there on the trip… he wasn't in the photograph with the…Spokesman:  He was there.  We already said he was there. Inner City Press: All right.  So what was the… was any plan reached for continued work…? Spokesman:  If there's a further visit that he's able to make, we will announce it." Nothing.  On November 6, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:has to do with Cameroon, where the Secretary-General stopped, met President [Paul] Biya.  Today, they're celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of his accession to power.  And a letter's emerged that orders all Government employees to participate in the ceremony marking the thirty-fifth year in power of Paul Biya, saying, basically, names should be provided, and they will be punished for not.  Given… I guess I'm just wondering, is the Sec… was the Secretary-General, when he stopped, when he took this golden statue, what did… was he aware of this?  What does he think of… is it… is it permissible, from the UN's point of view, for a Government to order its civil servants to mark the thirty-fifth year in power of a leader or face punishment, or should this be discouraged?  And does he have any comment on it? Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, people everywhere have the right to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly.  Those freedoms need to be respected in all circumstances.  Regarding the gift, Stéphane [Dujarric] made very clear to you that's a standard protocol gift — which happens in many different countries and contexts." The UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on October 20, using as its pretext an undefined violation with Periscope in UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' 38th floor conference room, and publishing audio from a UN stakeout, citing Cameroon. On October 31 at the UN Security Council stakeout, Cameroon's Ambassador approached Inner City Press and issued his own threat. Of the UN's 38th floor, he demanded of Inner City Press, "Who asked you to go to 38? I'm going to call, say for Matthew not to go upstairs. You've started... asking nasty questions." On November 2, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: a statement made by Cameroon's Permanent Representative to me at the Security Council stakeout, in a public area, saying, on 38, "Who asked you to be up there?  I'm going to make a call to make sure Matthew is not up there anymore.  You ask nasty questions."  So my question to you is, if a Member State, in this case a Member State that is subject to questions, nasty or not, were to call the 38th floor and say, I want a particular media to not be up there, why are [they] up there — what would be the response from the 38th floor?  I ask because I've gotten an accreditation threat for being up there.  That's why it’s strange… Spokesman:  Well, I think you're mixing… you know, if an event is open to the press, to the wider press, then everybody is welcome.  We are not… journalists here have to do their job.  There are obviously restrictions placed, depending on the event, but I guess the answer would be no.  Thank you." This from the UN Spokesman who threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing and then from its office, keeping it still restricted. This is today's UN. But can Inner City Press publish this threat, meant to hinder or prevent coverage of mass killing and displacement of Anglophones, without the UN's Department of Public Information's censorship machinery moving to review its accreditation, or using it as its rationale for continuing to keep Inner City Press from its long time office, keep it restricted in movement? DPI boss Alison Smale said she saw the need to respond to petitions to restore Inner City Press to its office and normal access - then her Department issued its October 20 threat. Now this. Watch this site - audio here.  Be aware: the audio is from Smale's own DPI. This UN has become disgusting.  The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. What to make of the letter's vague statement, "filming and recording on the 38th floor are limited to official photo opportunities, and recording conversations of others in the room is not permitted. It has been brought to our attention that you breached that rule recently"? It's not only vague as to when, but absurd: once a Periscope is authorized to start streaming, it is impossible to not record someone who speaks loudly at the photo op. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.  Recently at a photo op, Guterres' adviser on Cameroon Khassim Diagne spoke loudly. Inner City Press later reported, based on sourcing, that Diagne who was previously the representative to Cameroon for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency Guterres ran, speaks in favor of Cameroon's government. Is this letter a response to the reporting? Is it retaliation? Is it intimidation to stop reporting on this threatened genocide? We can't ask the complainant, Maher Nasser: after the threat was delivered, he blocked Inner City Pres on Twitter, here.
  It also comes after Alison Smale the head of the Department of Public Information which would “review” Inner City Press' accreditation has ignored three separatepetitions from Inner City Press in the six weeks she has been in the job, urging her to remove restrictions on Inner City Press' reporting which hinder its coverage of the UN's performance in such crises as YemenKenya,Myanmar, and the Central African Republic where Guterres travels next week, with Smale's DPI saying its coverage of the trip will be a test of its public relations ability. But the UN official who triggered the complaint is Maher Nasser, who filled in for Smale before she arrived. 


His complaint is that audio of what he said to Inner City Press as it staked out the elevators in the UN lobby openly recording, as it has for example with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, here, was similarly published

A UN “Public Information” official is complaining about an article, and abusing his position to threaten to review Inner City Press' accreditation. The UN has previously been called out for targeting Inner City Press, and for having no rules or due process. But the UN is entirely UNaccountable, impunity on censorship as, bigger picture, on the cholera it brought to Haiti. And, it seems, Antonio Guterres has not reformed or reversed anything. This threat is from an official involved in the last round of retaliation who told Inner City Press on Twitter to be less "negative" about the UN - amid inaction on the mass killing in Cameroon - and who allowed pro-UN hecking of Inner City Press' questions about the cholera the UN brought to Haiti and the Ng Lap Seng /John Ashe UN bribery scandal which resulted in six guilty verdicts. We'll have more on this.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

At UN Pension Fund, Benefits Manually Calculated Despite IPAS Spending, Audit Finds


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series


UNITED NATIONS, November 14 – With UN Pension Fund problems including late payments and $3.4 billion in foreign exchange costs leading to the departure of Secretary General Antonio Guterres' representative to the Fund Carolyn Boykin, who issued a gag order to staff not to leak to Inner City Press, problems remain. On Halloween we first wrote of Boykin's replaced Sudhir Rajkumar, triggering much feedback into which, despite the restrictions and threats by Guterres' Department of Public Information, we are digging. 

Now this: the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the UN Pension Fund's implementation of the so-called Integrated Pension Administration System (IPAS) found that because "the benefit calculations performed in IPAS were not always reliable, PES staff manually calculated and verified them, with the resultant impact on efficiency." Paragraph 28 of the audit, which Inner City Press is putting online here, on Patreon. Who will be held accountable for this? Or for this? On November 9, Inner City Press first reported and asked the UN about this: a UN Office of Internal Oversight Service audit has found at least $1.8 million in unauthorized spending, and much PCW work being done outside the contours of the agreed contract, at higher cost to the UN. We've put the audit online, here, on Patreon, with these questions: How much pension fund money was overspent on the 75 percent of services that were not bid for? (If there had been bidding for the other services, there may have been less use of $475 an hour partners. Having signed a contract for low-cost accountancy services, how did PWC accept to provide high-cost consultancy services without a new contract being signed? Was there collusion between PWC and Pension Fund staff? Doesn't the buck stop with, or in this case flow from, the CEO? And this: the six UN Participant Representatives have asked Guterres to NOT reappoint the current CEO of the pension fund, Sergio Arvizu. We've published the letter on Patreon, here. Already, the Board has proposed only a three year and not a five year reappoint. The six UN Participant Representatives say it should be zero, based on: "a poorly implemented new IT system with no contingency planning, leaving retirees without income, many for more than nine months; attempts, since blocked by the General Assembly, to remove OIOS as the Fund’s auditor; attempts to remove the Fund from the UN’s administrative oversight by creating new
staff and financial rules; attempts to circumvent rules on procurement and receiving gifts. It should be noted that the current payment backlog to widows, orphans and retirees still numbers in the thousands. For almost three years the CEO has refused to meet with staff representatives at the Fund despite multiple attempts by staff. The CEO has misrepresented good faith and constructive efforts made by the UN’s Department of Management to resolve the situation involving two staff of the Fund’s
Secretariat elected to the Board." On this last, the "UN Appeals Tribunal last week ruledillegal a decision by the pension fund’s board to exclude two of the six members that you, as UN staff, elected back in April.
" We'll have more on this, and on what Guterres does.

At UN Pension Fund, Benefits Manually Calculated Despite IPAS Spending, Audit Finds


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series


UNITED NATIONS, November 14 – With UN Pension Fund problems including late payments and $3.4 billion in foreign exchange costs leading to the departure of Secretary General Antonio Guterres' representative to the Fund Carolyn Boykin, who issued a gag order to staff not to leak to Inner City Press, problems remain. On Halloween we first wrote of Boykin's replaced Sudhir Rajkumar, triggering much feedback into which, despite the restrictions and threats by Guterres' Department of Public Information, we are digging. 

Now this: the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the UN Pension Fund's implementation of the so-called Integrated Pension Administration System (IPAS) found that because "the benefit calculations performed in IPAS were not always reliable, PES staff manually calculated and verified them, with the resultant impact on efficiency." Paragraph 28 of the audit, which Inner City Press is putting online here, on Patreon. Who will be held accountable for this? Or for this? On November 9, Inner City Press first reported and asked the UN about this: a UN Office of Internal Oversight Service audit has found at least $1.8 million in unauthorized spending, and much PCW work being done outside the contours of the agreed contract, at higher cost to the UN. We've put the audit online, here, on Patreon, with these questions: How much pension fund money was overspent on the 75 percent of services that were not bid for? (If there had been bidding for the other services, there may have been less use of $475 an hour partners. Having signed a contract for low-cost accountancy services, how did PWC accept to provide high-cost consultancy services without a new contract being signed? Was there collusion between PWC and Pension Fund staff? Doesn't the buck stop with, or in this case flow from, the CEO? And this: the six UN Participant Representatives have asked Guterres to NOT reappoint the current CEO of the pension fund, Sergio Arvizu. We've published the letter on Patreon, here. Already, the Board has proposed only a three year and not a five year reappoint. The six UN Participant Representatives say it should be zero, based on: "a poorly implemented new IT system with no contingency planning, leaving retirees without income, many for more than nine months; attempts, since blocked by the General Assembly, to remove OIOS as the Fund’s auditor; attempts to remove the Fund from the UN’s administrative oversight by creating new
staff and financial rules; attempts to circumvent rules on procurement and receiving gifts. It should be noted that the current payment backlog to widows, orphans and retirees still numbers in the thousands. For almost three years the CEO has refused to meet with staff representatives at the Fund despite multiple attempts by staff. The CEO has misrepresented good faith and constructive efforts made by the UN’s Department of Management to resolve the situation involving two staff of the Fund’s
Secretariat elected to the Board." On this last, the "UN Appeals Tribunal last week ruledillegal a decision by the pension fund’s board to exclude two of the six members that you, as UN staff, elected back in April.
" We'll have more on this, and on what Guterres does.

Monday, November 13, 2017

UN Refuses To Answer DSG Rosewood Racket Qs from Inner City Press, On Bribes, Cameroon Wood?


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, November 13 – The export to China of illegally harvested rosewood, reported on by Le Monde on November 3 with reference to UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who signed the certificates, also involves "smuggling from Cameroon." See EIA video, here. On November 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to answer basic questions, but he refused. Video here:


From the UN's November 13 transcript: Inner City Press: I've been looking closely at this Environmental Investigation Agency report about, among other things, the Deputy Secretary-General and her role in signing thousands of certificates for rosewood.  So, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.  I've heard the statement that the Secretary-General stands behind her, and I wonder, first of all, can you say has he read the whole report? Spokesman:  The Secretary-General is fully aware of the report and the accusations therein.
 Inner City Press:  Okay.  So my question is, they quote directly a member of the wood exports association, saying that Chinese businessmen travel to Abuja and paid a minister.  They didn't say who the minister is.  So was the Deputy Secretary-General aware of any payments by Chinese businessmen to Nigerian officials involving the export of this rosewood? Spokesperson: Look, what the Deputy Secretary-General is very clear on, she has never taken any sort of illicit money, and she rejects categorically the accusations herein… to the report.  As for any other questions having to do with the functioning of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I would encourage you to ask the Nigerian Government. Inner City Press: Can you see why signing of thousands of certificates right before she came to the UN seems strange?  Do you at least acknowledge that?  And I have another question.  Because in the report, they actually say that much of this wood came from Cameroon.  So, I want to ask you directly.  When she signed the certificates, what was her understanding of where the wood at issue came from? Because she definitely acknowledges signing the certificates and that the wood. Tere's some dispute of when it left Nigerian shores. Spokesman:  She… I think I would refer you to the statement that we issued.  She categorically refutes any claims that she signed illicit or any forged documents.  She only dealt with issues having to do with wood coming from Nigeria. Inner City Press: I guess my question is this, is that I see… I've seen… she did… she did an interview, I guess, over the weekend with something called the cable in Nigeria.  And she said that she's been asked by… by Chinese… a Chinese journalist about the timing between the certificates and the wood leaving.  And so I'm just wondering, what is the procedure to actually get direct answers to these questions?  Is she fielding questions by phone from Chinese journalists?  Do we write to you?… How does it work? Spokesman:  First of all, I mean, I don't think it is Spokesman-like ethics to tell another journalist what contacts others are having.  So, that's not what I would get into.  I would refer you to the statement that I read out last week, which I think covers your answers.  If you have more questions, you can provide them.  Yes, ma'am.  Sorry and… I'm jumping around here." Yes, the UN is jumping around. This may put a new light on the UN's inaction on the Cameroonian government's killings and Internet cut off in the Anglophone zones. Cameroon's Ambassador to the UN, while saying he'd call upstairs to ensure Inner City Press couldn't go there any more (the UN's Department of Public Information did threaten Inner City Press' accreditation for Periscope broadcasting in connection with photo ops on the 38th floor), also bragged that the DSG's opposition to separatism in Biafra led to the same position on Cameroon. And just as UN envoy Chambas went and preached One Nigeria, failing UN envoy Francois Fall called Southern Cameroons secessionists "extremists," on DPI's UN Radio no less. They say in journalism, Follow the Money. But in this case it may be, Follow the Rosewood, or Kosso.  In terms of money: Joe Biden appeared at the UN on November 3, and tables were sold for up to $50,000. One might think, after the proved corruption of the UN in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial for events in this same Delegates Dining Room, charging this kind of money for sitting with  a “senior UN official” would be a thing of the past. Or after Antonio Guterres was questioned after taking a golden statue from Paul Biya, the 35-year rules of Cameroon. But no. On November 6, Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed appeared, took an award and gave a speech at an event in Washington for which $25,000 sponsorships were offered, here, by a publication which covers and is promoted by the UN (while following up on November 9 on Le Monde's November 3 story, no mention of Cameroon.) On November 9, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press; as you know or you or Farhan [Haq] had said, she just recently received the Diplomat of the Year Award from Foreign Policy down in DC. Was she aware of this story being in preparation when she accepted the award? Often, to receive the award, you have to be present.  How long were the discussions? Spokesman:  I think some of those questions should be addressed to Foreign Policy.  She was fully aware that the story was going to come out when she received the award." No Cameroon. Ban Ki-moon allowed the corruption of Ng Lap Seng, and Antonio Guterres has done thing to reverse it. In fact, Guterres left through the same door Biden came in, one hour before, using public funds to fly to his home in Lisbon, using a 15 minutes speech there on Monday to justify a three day UN paid junket. And his spokesman refused to answer questions, even about his one on one lunches on the 38th floor, where Inner City Press' use of Periscope during photo ops has allowed Guterres' DPI under Alison Smale to threaten its accreditation. All of this takes place while Guterres covers up mass killing in Cameroon, and is prepared to be sold himself, on Wall Street no less. We'll have more on this. On November 2, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced that "on Monday, the Secretary-General will be in Lisbon to participate in the Web Summit 2017, which brings together the leaders of key Internet companies with officials from different Governments.  You are aware of the attention the Secretary-General has been devoting to the uses of the Internet." Really? Guterres was silent for example when Cameroon cut off the Internet for 94 days this year; his Department of Public Information has threatened Inner City Press' accreditation for unspecified violation by live-streaming a Guterres photo op using Twitter's Periscope platform. But why did Guterres take this speaking gig, which it turns out is for only 15 minutes at 7:25 pm on the evening of Monday, November 6? Inner City Press asked Dujarric, who refused to state with whom Guterres had a formal lunch meeting in the UN dining room with UN funds on November 3, where Guterres will be on Saturday and Sunday. Dujarric replied: "sg will be in lisbon over the weekend." It sure seems like that's why he took the Lisbon speaking gig. And in fact, even before 5 pm on Friday, November 3, Guterres left the UN with bodyguards, in a three-car convoy. Who is paying for all this? On October 27, after Guterres' spokespeople stonewalled Inner City Press for three days on his plans for a grip and grin meeting in a Cameroon airport with Paul Biya, who has killed hundreds this year as well as cutting the Internet Guterres loves so much, they also refused to say how Guterres personal, or shall we say Lisbon-focused, travel is paid for, and how much it costs. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: If he goes to Lisbon, Portugal, does he take UN security with him?  In which case, where do they stay, and what are the costs?  How are they borne? Deputy Spokesman:  However he does his stopovers, he does it at the least cost to the UN.  And a lot of times, what that means is traveling with a smaller delegation, and it also means traveling on commercial flights.  He does take specific steps, and he's been very conscientious over these months of making sure that he travels with as slim a delegation as he has. Inner City Press: My question is just who's paying for his security if he goes to Lisbon?  And also I'm aware that he sent some people in advance to CAR.  They didn't travel with him, but they were actually part of the party.  So is there an attempt to bifurcate traveling trips so that some people are not considered to be traveling with him.  For example, the UN photographer, I'm aware, went days in advance.  Why was that?
Deputy Spokesman:  Well, sometimes advance teams go out when it's needed to do that.  For us, in terms of the Department of Public Information, there are many times when it's useful for us to send our media crews in advance to get different coverage for the sort of pieces and features that they do.  Inner City Press: Can we just get the cost?  It's a straight transparency question. Deputy Spokesman:  The costs of travel are calculated over the year and shared with the Member States, and that's how we do it.  All right.  Have a good weekend, everyone." Antonio sure will - on the public dime. Back on July 29, the day after guilty verdicts on six counts of UN briberyin the case of Ng Lap Seng, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres flew to Split for a seven day vacation on the Dalmatian islands, according to sources there. Guterres' spokespeople did not disclose the travel or any week-long absence to the press covering the UN, at least not to the Press evicted and still restricted for covering Ng's bribery. This lack of transparency stands in contrast to the executive branch in Washington and even New York routinely disclosing travel including vacation travel. But the UN has no press protections either - Guterres has been asked. Meanwhile his spokespeople says the UN should get paid for the UNreformed corruption shown in the Ng trial and verdict. We'll have more on this. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on July 27 had a brief meeting with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatar state media and other UN based photographers went up. Alamy photos here. There were complaints how short the handshake was; Inner City Press noted that on the UN side of the table were only four people, all men, including Jeffrey Feltman. Periscope video here. Guterres was scheduled to be at another meeting in 25 minutes time. So will the UN help solve the stand-off in the Gulf? It seems unlikely. The UN never answered Inner City Press' questions of if Feltman had visited Saudi Arabia and if not, why not. Back on July 19 Guterres.had a meeting and photo op with Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo. Inner City Press went to cover it, Alamy photos here, Periscope video here including of whether Dastis should write "una poema" in the UN visitors' book. Inner City Press barely arriving on time due to the crowd of tourists at the UN's visitors entrance. It has been this way since Spain's now-gone Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press evicted from and still restricted at the UN after Inner City Press asked her about attending indicted Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's South South Awards, and allowing Ng fundees improper events in the UN. Although Guterres did not continue Gallach's contract - she lobbied to stay, but failed - her negative impacts are still in evidence. The Spanish Mission to the UN, now off the Security Council, likewise did nothing to reign Gallach in. But surely they are lobbying Guterres to get another Under Secretary General position, even as their Fernando Arias Gonzalez runs against six others to head the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We'll have more on this. The day before on July 18 Guterres had a meeting and photo op with the Dominican Republic's Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado (Alamy photos here,Periscope video here); it came one day after in the UN bribery case against Ng Lap Seng a video of then 
then-President Leonel Fernandez Reyna visiting South South News near the UN was discussed. That video is here. South South News was a bribery conduit, its funds used for gambling by Dominican Deputy Permanent Representative Francis Lorenzo in Las Vegas and Atlantic City while the UN's Department of Public Information let SSN's content into UNTV archives and let Ng fundees have impermissible events in the UN. On July 18, Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq refused to answer Inner City Press' yes or no questions about South South News and the UN. After the July 18 photo op, Inner City Press had nowhere to edit - for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room in pursuing the UN / SSN corruption story, Inner City Press was evicted and still restrictedThe 38th floor apparently loves it. On July 10 Guterres has a photo op with Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar. It was supposed to be in his office in UN Headquarters at 4:30 pm. But on little notice he moved it to his - make that, the UN and the public's - mansion on Sutton Place and 57th Street, at 4 pm. Inner City Press jumped on the city bus up First Avenue, broadcasting a Periscope video about the change, when suddenly it was urged to stop broadcasting by a board member of the UN Correspondents Association, which Guterres' deputy spoke before last week and whose former president Giampaolo Pioli's Hampton's gratiuty-fest the UN acting head of Public Information Maher Nasser attended, the UN Censorship Alliance. This is today's UN. Still, up on Sutton Place UN Security brought up a sniffing dog in a UN 4x4, and two quick photos were allowed before Guterres escorted Holguin onto "his" elevator.  Back at the UN, the door to the UN Security Council stakeout was locked, and the turnstile where targeting Inner City Press' ID pass no longer works was guarded by new UN Security who didn't even recognize the UN minder. Still, we got this Periscope, despite UN censorship which continues. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

On UN Reform, SG With Rosewood Scandal DSG, Press Confined to Minders


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos


UNITED NATIONS, November 10 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres presented his proposed “peace and security” reform to the General Assembly in UN Conference Room 2 on November 9, it was initially going to be in a closed meeting. Inner City Press asked about it two days in a row and, an hour before the meeting, it was changed to open “but no UN webcast.” (But see below). Then on November 10, when Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed embroiled in the "Rosewood Racket" scandal touching on not only Nigeria but also Cameroon, presented their development reform proposals in ECOSOC, Inner City Press could only cover it with a minder. Other correspondents could go there freely - but did not. Even with the minder still required by the UN Department of Public Information's Alison Smale, the UN Security officer in front of ECOSOC indicated he'd make sure Inner City Press remained "minded," even as tourists wandered freely. This is censorship. Inside ECOSOC, questions included what the role of states would be in appointing Resident Coordinators? Ecuador for the Group of 77 said the process must be transparent - on a day the UN canceled its noon briefing, and did not answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. Mexico said it wants ECOSOC to be more of debate or deliberative body. The US spoke (briefly) against duplication and waste. In the middle of this, Mohammed tweeted about the Sahel: a robo-tweet? The duo, set to leave New York, left with UN Security and entourage, no answers. Earlier on November 10 Guterres has gotten even less transparent. When he left a media stakeout for which the day's noon press briefing was canceled after a mere three questions, none on Yemen much less Cameroon, it was not disclosed where he was going. Guterres' public schedule did not list anything after this. But it emerges Guterres is at the Lotte Palace Hotel, in the Villard Ballroom on the second floor. Previously, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to tell Inner City Press with whom Guterres had a one on one lunch meeting on the 38th floor of the UN before flying off on the public dime to his home in Lisbon. But how could this one not be on his public schedule? Dujarric, before refusing to answer any follow up questions, told Inner City Press, "The UN70 is a group of member states and they are organizing the retreat. It’s an internal meeting." In the Lotte Palace, tweeted by at least six states? On November 9, Inner City Press told the UN it would Periscope and was led to the photo booth; there due to Kafka-esque threats from the UN, it unilaterally decided only to broadcast what Guterres, paid by the global public, said. It was a mouthful: Guterres called Kenya's Ambassador Kamau “sincerely unfair; as the meeting was gaveled closed he turned on his microphone to tell Djibouti how support to AMISOM in Somalia would be effected. Russia raised many questions; others provided rote support. Reviews afterward were mixed. But Inner City Press remains under restrictions imposed by the UN Department of Public Information 20 months ago for covering UN corruption. It raised the issue again to the head of DPI on November 9; watch this site. When  Guterres held his pre-General Assembly week press conference on September 13, Inner City Press asked him about reform, in light of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts and new reports of peacekeepers' sexual abuse. Guterres responded on the latter, see below. Now a month later, Guterres is pitching a reform plan that many do not understand, and others don't agree with. Inner City Press went to cover Guterres' presentation to the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee on October 11, but was quickly told by UN Security, "No Press." So it went to the photo booth and streamed a Periscope video, here. Guterres sat next to Cameroon's Ambassador, here. There were speeches by Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago (fresh off its elimination of the US from the World Cup), the EU and Australia. Then Guterres left, before the US spoke. There was nothing else on his schedule for the day. We'll have more on this. Here's a sample Guterres "reform" proposal: "A Standing Principals’ Group of Under Secretaries General (USGs) and the EOSG, to provide leadership for all strategic, political and operational functions and ensure a coherent 'whole-of-pillar' approach... Interaction with the global operational support and management departments would be facilitated at the level of the Standing Principals’ Group as well as through dedicated capacity within the Departments at the strategic and operational levels, including within the integrated operational team [IOT] concept." Sources close to Guterres exclusively complain to Inner City Press this is little more than "Lacroix' DPKO trying to grab the IOTs." They point to the lame duck status of Jeffrey Feltman at the Department of Political Affairs as leading to DPA "losing the turf war with Peacekeeping." Meanwhile, the sources say, there is increasing frustration on the UN's 38th floor at the "message" not getting out, even talk of hiring outside communicators, rather than holding those already getting paid accountable. The new head of Global Communcations, Alison Smale, never responded to a detailed petition to her before the General Assembly week, nor to one after the week - nor since (it was raised to her again on November 9). Ah, Communications, f/k/a DPI which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press which every day asks questions and reports, in favor of no-show state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom which has not asked a single question during Guterres' tenure. The UN is UNreformed. 

On UN Reform, SG With Rosewood Scandal DSG, Press Confined to Minders


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos


UNITED NATIONS, November 10 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres presented his proposed “peace and security” reform to the General Assembly in UN Conference Room 2 on November 9, it was initially going to be in a closed meeting. Inner City Press asked about it two days in a row and, an hour before the meeting, it was changed to open “but no UN webcast.” (But see below). Then on November 10, when Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed embroiled in the "Rosewood Racket" scandal touching on not only Nigeria but also Cameroon, presented their development reform proposals in ECOSOC, Inner City Press could only cover it with a minder. Other correspondents could go there freely - but did not. Even with the minder still required by the UN Department of Public Information's Alison Smale, the UN Security officer in front of ECOSOC indicated he'd make sure Inner City Press remained "minded," even as tourists wandered freely. This is censorship. Inside ECOSOC, questions included what the role of states would be in appointing Resident Coordinators? Ecuador for the Group of 77 said the process must be transparent - on a day the UN canceled its noon briefing, and did not answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. Mexico said it wants ECOSOC to be more of debate or deliberative body. The US spoke (briefly) against duplication and waste. In the middle of this, Mohammed tweeted about the Sahel: a robo-tweet? The duo, set to leave New York, left with UN Security and entourage, no answers. Earlier on November 10 Guterres has gotten even less transparent. When he left a media stakeout for which the day's noon press briefing was canceled after a mere three questions, none on Yemen much less Cameroon, it was not disclosed where he was going. Guterres' public schedule did not list anything after this. But it emerges Guterres is at the Lotte Palace Hotel, in the Villard Ballroom on the second floor. Previously, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to tell Inner City Press with whom Guterres had a one on one lunch meeting on the 38th floor of the UN before flying off on the public dime to his home in Lisbon. But how could this one not be on his public schedule? Dujarric, before refusing to answer any follow up questions, told Inner City Press, "The UN70 is a group of member states and they are organizing the retreat. It’s an internal meeting." In the Lotte Palace, tweeted by at least six states? On November 9, Inner City Press told the UN it would Periscope and was led to the photo booth; there due to Kafka-esque threats from the UN, it unilaterally decided only to broadcast what Guterres, paid by the global public, said. It was a mouthful: Guterres called Kenya's Ambassador Kamau “sincerely unfair; as the meeting was gaveled closed he turned on his microphone to tell Djibouti how support to AMISOM in Somalia would be effected. Russia raised many questions; others provided rote support. Reviews afterward were mixed. But Inner City Press remains under restrictions imposed by the UN Department of Public Information 20 months ago for covering UN corruption. It raised the issue again to the head of DPI on November 9; watch this site. When  Guterres held his pre-General Assembly week press conference on September 13, Inner City Press asked him about reform, in light of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts and new reports of peacekeepers' sexual abuse. Guterres responded on the latter, see below. Now a month later, Guterres is pitching a reform plan that many do not understand, and others don't agree with. Inner City Press went to cover Guterres' presentation to the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee on October 11, but was quickly told by UN Security, "No Press." So it went to the photo booth and streamed a Periscope video, here. Guterres sat next to Cameroon's Ambassador, here. There were speeches by Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago (fresh off its elimination of the US from the World Cup), the EU and Australia. Then Guterres left, before the US spoke. There was nothing else on his schedule for the day. We'll have more on this. Here's a sample Guterres "reform" proposal: "A Standing Principals’ Group of Under Secretaries General (USGs) and the EOSG, to provide leadership for all strategic, political and operational functions and ensure a coherent 'whole-of-pillar' approach... Interaction with the global operational support and management departments would be facilitated at the level of the Standing Principals’ Group as well as through dedicated capacity within the Departments at the strategic and operational levels, including within the integrated operational team [IOT] concept." Sources close to Guterres exclusively complain to Inner City Press this is little more than "Lacroix' DPKO trying to grab the IOTs." They point to the lame duck status of Jeffrey Feltman at the Department of Political Affairs as leading to DPA "losing the turf war with Peacekeeping." Meanwhile, the sources say, there is increasing frustration on the UN's 38th floor at the "message" not getting out, even talk of hiring outside communicators, rather than holding those already getting paid accountable. The new head of Global Communcations, Alison Smale, never responded to a detailed petition to her before the General Assembly week, nor to one after the week - nor since (it was raised to her again on November 9). Ah, Communications, f/k/a DPI which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press which every day asks questions and reports, in favor of no-show state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom which has not asked a single question during Guterres' tenure. The UN is UNreformed. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

On UN Reform, SG With Rosewood Scandal DSG, Press Confined to Minders


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos


UNITED NATIONS, November 10 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres presented his proposed “peace and security” reform to the General Assembly in UN Conference Room 2 on November 9, it was initially going to be in a closed meeting. Inner City Press asked about it two days in a row and, an hour before the meeting, it was changed to open “but no UN webcast.” (But see below). Then on November 10, when Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed embroiled in the "Rosewood Racket" scandal touching on not only Nigeria but also Cameroon, presented their development reform proposals in ECOSOC, Inner City Press could only cover it with a minder. Other correspondents could go there freely - but did not. Even with the minder still required by the UN Department of Public Information's Alison Smale, the UN Security officer in front of ECOSOC indicated he'd make sure Inner City Press remained "minded," even as tourists wandered freely. This is censorship. Inside ECOSOC, questions included what the role of states would be in appointing Resident Coordinators? Ecuador for the Group of 77 said the process must be transparent - on a day the UN canceled its noon briefing, and did not answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. Mexico said it wants ECOSOC to be more of debate or deliberative body. The US spoke (briefly) against duplication and waste. In the middle of this, Mohammed tweeted about the Sahel: a robo-tweet? The duo, set to leave New York, left with UN Security and entourage, no answers. Earlier on November 10 Guterres has gotten even less transparent. When he left a media stakeout for which the day's noon press briefing was canceled after a mere three questions, none on Yemen much less Cameroon, it was not disclosed where he was going. Guterres' public schedule did not list anything after this. But it emerges Guterres is at the Lotte Palace Hotel, in the Villard Ballroom on the second floor. Previously, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to tell Inner City Press with whom Guterres had a one on one lunch meeting on the 38th floor of the UN before flying off on the public dime to his home in Lisbon. But how could this one not be on his public schedule? Dujarric, before refusing to answer any follow up questions, told Inner City Press, "The UN70 is a group of member states and they are organizing the retreat. It’s an internal meeting." In the Lotte Palace, tweeted by at least six states? On November 9, Inner City Press told the UN it would Periscope and was led to the photo booth; there due to Kafka-esque threats from the UN, it unilaterally decided only to broadcast what Guterres, paid by the global public, said. It was a mouthful: Guterres called Kenya's Ambassador Kamau “sincerely unfair; as the meeting was gaveled closed he turned on his microphone to tell Djibouti how support to AMISOM in Somalia would be effected. Russia raised many questions; others provided rote support. Reviews afterward were mixed. But Inner City Press remains under restrictions imposed by the UN Department of Public Information 20 months ago for covering UN corruption. It raised the issue again to the head of DPI on November 9; watch this site. When  Guterres held his pre-General Assembly week press conference on September 13, Inner City Press asked him about reform, in light of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts and new reports of peacekeepers' sexual abuse. Guterres responded on the latter, see below. Now a month later, Guterres is pitching a reform plan that many do not understand, and others don't agree with. Inner City Press went to cover Guterres' presentation to the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee on October 11, but was quickly told by UN Security, "No Press." So it went to the photo booth and streamed a Periscope video, here. Guterres sat next to Cameroon's Ambassador, here. There were speeches by Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago (fresh off its elimination of the US from the World Cup), the EU and Australia. Then Guterres left, before the US spoke. There was nothing else on his schedule for the day. We'll have more on this. Here's a sample Guterres "reform" proposal: "A Standing Principals’ Group of Under Secretaries General (USGs) and the EOSG, to provide leadership for all strategic, political and operational functions and ensure a coherent 'whole-of-pillar' approach... Interaction with the global operational support and management departments would be facilitated at the level of the Standing Principals’ Group as well as through dedicated capacity within the Departments at the strategic and operational levels, including within the integrated operational team [IOT] concept." Sources close to Guterres exclusively complain to Inner City Press this is little more than "Lacroix' DPKO trying to grab the IOTs." They point to the lame duck status of Jeffrey Feltman at the Department of Political Affairs as leading to DPA "losing the turf war with Peacekeeping." Meanwhile, the sources say, there is increasing frustration on the UN's 38th floor at the "message" not getting out, even talk of hiring outside communicators, rather than holding those already getting paid accountable. The new head of Global Communcations, Alison Smale, never responded to a detailed petition to her before the General Assembly week, nor to one after the week - nor since (it was raised to her again on November 9). Ah, Communications, f/k/a DPI which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press which every day asks questions and reports, in favor of no-show state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom which has not asked a single question during Guterres' tenure. The UN is UNreformed.