Saturday, July 14, 2018

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


By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoPetition7/11 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.

On Cameroon Inner City Press Has Asked UNSC Members About Videos of Abuses and Ban from UN


By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoPetition7/11 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. 

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 video: "An investigation by Amnesty International experts has gathered credible evidence that it was Cameroonian soldiers depicted in a video carrying out the horrific extrajudicial executions of two women and two young children. While an investigation has now been announced, the Ministry of Communication earlier dismissed video footage of the killings as “fake news”.

Extensive analysis of the weapons, dialogue and uniforms that feature in the video, paired with digital verification techniques and testimonies taken from the ground, all strongly suggest that the perpetrators of the executions are Cameroonian soldiers....
The video shows the soldiers using Galil and Kalashnikov-style rifles. While AK-type weapons are common, the Galil, the weapon specifically used in the execution, is comparatively rare and distinctive. The Small Arms Survey lists the Galil as only “occasional” in sub-Saharan Africa among governments, and as unknown among non-state actors. The only force in the area carrying Galil’s are a small subset of the Cameroon Army.

Both the weapons and uniforms of the soldiers in the video are indicative of the Cameroon army, and display patterns consistent with a number of possible units, including regular infantry and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), the special forces of the Cameroonian army.

The person filming the video specifically identifies two members of the group as soldiers. The first is a second-rank soldier (soldat de deuxième grade) who he names as “Cobra”, the second a Master Corporal (caporal chef) who is named as “Tchotcho”. These names mean that the group can be identified.

The Master Corporal’s uniform is a tiger stripe pattern that is standard among Cameroon regular army. The other soldiers are wearing black shirts and green-and-black woodland pants. While the Ministry of Communication claims that the mixed and casual nature of the uniforms indicates a lack of authenticity, Amnesty investigators have found the opposite. Mixed and partial uniforms are common among army personnel, especially in remote areas where this incident took place. Soldiers in the Far North region wearing casual flip flops and T-shirts, as well as a mix of tiger stripe print and woodland print, can be clearly seen in videos previously verified by Amnesty International.

The soldiers are followed by about 10 people whom the sources consulted said are most likely members of the local vigilantes’ committee (because they carry light weapons such as clubs and machetes) from the nearby village. According to Amnesty International’s analysts, the video was likely filmed in the Mayo Tsanaga area in the Far North region of Cameroon. The vegetation is generally consistent and matches other footage from the area. Terrace cultivations, as visible in the video, are found in Mayo Tsanaga. The rocks, the mountains and the low-growing shrubs (locally known as “tchaski”) can also be found in Mayo Tsanaga. There is a military base located in Mozogo in this region." And from the UN, silence and censorship. 
Since Inner City Press alone has asked Guterres and his spokesman dozens of questions about the killings by Cameroon's government, it seems clear the goal of banning Inner City Press is to avoid those questions. What about the China Energy Fund Committee scandal of UN bribery of Presidents of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa - with whom Guterres still deals - and Vuk Jeremic? No one else asked. And what about Guterres' “Global Service Delivery Mechanism” plan, to fire American UN staff in New York (and others in Geneva), and move the jobs to Mexico City and Budapest, respectively? Guterres the way he and Dujarric and Alison Smale have set it up may get a question about Western Sahara - but it would be from the many Morocco state media to which they give office space and full access. There is a lot of that - watch this site, and @InnerCityPress on Twitter. 
The UN has banned Inner City Press from entering its campus since July 5, claiming that its LieutenantRonald Dobbins targeted ouster of Inner City Press from a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres on June 22 then from a meeting about his budget on July 3 were "altercations." Now this ban has been extended  beyond the UN campus to the Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue, for a July 10 press conference by the UN affiliated but ostensibly independent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which as Inner City Press has previously reported helped North Korea with its cyanide patents and retaliated against it staff and media. Inner City Press was e-mailed an invitation on July 2 and replied with an RSVP to cover it. Marshall Hoffman of WIPO's public relations firm Hoffman PR wrote back, "Thanks. We will see at the press conference." After that, Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq was asked why Inner City Press is banned and said it is pending a review of two "altercations" - both of which were improper and unilateral ousters of Inner City Press by UN Security's Dobbins and officers, four of whom refused to givtheir names. Soon, there was this follow up e-mail from WIPO's flak Marshall Hoffman: "Dear Matthew, It has come to my attention that your accreditation to the UN has been suspended pending an investigation into an incident. Given the suspension, I regret you will not be able to attend the WIPO press conference." This is more than a little strange - the press conference is not explicitly limited to UN accredited journalists, and Inner City Press has not been contacted once by the UN about the review or any suspension, it was only told at the 46th Street gate that its banned for some undefined time. But now also banned from a press conference at a hotel in Manhattan by an agency for which Guterres spokespeople have refused to answer, saying Francis Gurry (who will speak at the Pierre Hotel press conference along with Soumitra Dutta from Cornell University and Bruno Lanvin from INSEAD) has his own governing board? Something stinks here. We'll have more on this - and on this: how untransparent and inaccessible is Antonio Guterres, as UN Secretary General? The day he canceled his first UN Headquarters press conference in six months, he was ironically the guest of honor of the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was scheduled to make remarks at 6 pm - but it was not in the UN Media Alert. Inner City Press, whose RSVP to UNCA was never responded to, streamed the event from the tourists' balcony, edited here. Then Guterres' UN Security guards physically ousted Inner City Press from covering the UN Fifth Committee's July 3 meeting on his proposal to fire UN staff and move the jobs- then on July 5 banned Inner City Press from entering the UN. Fox News story here, GAP blogs and IIWhile Guterres' UNCA fan club said nothing, others did. Guterres blathered on about how he supported the media in Portugal - dubious - and then cuts a cake for his UN Censorship Alliance. Earlier Inner City Press asked Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who previously lent the UN Press Briefing Room to UNCA, if the event was open press but he refused to answer and ran off. Inner City Press asked the spokesman from the President of the General Assembly, who is listed as attended but will not speak, why it is not in the UN Media Alert. The spokesman said to ask UNCA. But UNCA never responded to the RSVP of Inner City Press through the Free UN Coalition for Access. In the middle of the event the claim was that UN correspondents didn't have to RSVP - not what the notice said. The event was not even in the June 26 UN Media Alert. Last week, Dujarricspoonfed sound bytes to a prominent UNCA members and is working with them to try to further restrict Inner City Press, here - Inner City Press was in fact ousted on June 22, video here, story here). The Free UN Coalition for Access questions this and the propriety of this explicit focus by the UN Correspondents Association on the UN's "causes" rather than simply covering the UN as it is; it and corruption are among the reasons Inner City Press quit UNCA (and co-founded FUNCA).

On June 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
on Friday there was the Eid event in which António Guterres gave a speech, and I… I want… I guess I want to put this in a general way because I don't understand it.  During the event, as the event went on, I was required to leave by a Lieutenant Dobbins and the emergency response unit.  And it seemed strange, because there were many other non-resident correspondents at the event.  So, I wanted to know… to know, one, what are the rules?  Number two, is it acceptable for a… a… UN Security to… to single out and target a specific journalist?  And I did… and I ask this because I've previously written a story about promotions in DSS [Department of Safety and Security], including Mr. Dobbins, and whatever that is, what are the provisions in the UN to make sure that security cannot abuse its powers?  So those are… I… I… I'd like you to answer that, and also they didn't give their names.  The other individuals refused to give their names.  Is that UN policy?

Deputy Spokesman:  UN Security has their policies.  Your concerns with them need to be addressed to UN Security.  I'm not going to comment on your own problems with UN Security.  Brenden, come on up.
Inner City Press: I don't understand.  This happened at a speech by the Secretary-General.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I'm sorry, your security issues are things you're going to have to deal with.

Inner City Press: It's not a security issue.  It was done in the name of the Secretary-General.  Is he speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m. somewhere?  Can you say where the Secretary-General is speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m.?

Deputy Spokesman:  I’m not going to argue with you on this." There was more - video here.
  FUNCA timely sent this: "This is a timely response to your statement that 'The event is open to all UN correspondents, Please RSVP by FRIDAY, June 22nd to RSVPUNCAEvents@gmail.com... Opening Remarks byUN Secretary-General António Guterres, 6:00 pm (LOCATION TBC).' A UN correspondent, by choice not a member of UNCA, is hereby timely requesting to be informed where SG Antonio Guterres will be making remarks, and to cover it. Please confirm receipt and provide response. On deadline, thank you in advance." Five days later on Tuesday June 26, no answer at all. So it is not true, the claim that "the event is open to all correspondents"?
Five UN Security officers, led by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN on June 22. Inner City Press was live-streaming Periscope 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 Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building. Video here.
 That is not the rule, nor the practice. But Inner City Press under Guterres and his head of Global Communications Alison Smale has inexplicable been at the "non-resident correspondent" level lowered from that of no-show state media like Akbhar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, assigned Inner City Press' long time office despite rarely coming in and not asking a question in ten years.
  While Guterres and Smale have created and encourage the atmosphere for targeting the Press, Dobbins had and has his own reasons. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported on fraudulent promotions in the UN Department of Safety and Security, beginning of serieshere with a leaked document with Dobbins own name on it, under the heading "Possible Promotions... if Dobbins does not want Canine / ERU." Document here. Since the publication, Dobbins and a number of UN Security officers have openly targeted Inner City Press. This has been raised in writing to Smale (for eight months), for almost 18 months to Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, whose response has been to evade questions on Cameroon and now an ambiguous smile while surrounded by UN Security. On June 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
on Friday there was the Eid event in which António Guterres gave a speech, and I… I want… I guess I want to put this in a general way because I don't understand it.  During the event, as the event went on, I was required to leave by a Lieutenant Dobbins and the emergency response unit.  And it seemed strange, because there were many other non-resident correspondents at the event.  So, I wanted to know… to know, one, what are the rules?  Number two, is it acceptable for a… a… UN Security to… to single out and target a specific journalist?  And I did… and I ask this because I've previously written a story about promotions in DSS [Department of Safety and Security], including Mr. Dobbins, and whatever that is, what are the provisions in the UN to make sure that security cannot abuse its powers?  So those are… I… I… I'd like you to answer that, and also they didn't give their names.  The other individuals refused to give their names.  Is that UN policy?

Deputy Spokesman:  UN Security has their policies.  Your concerns with them need to be addressed to UN Security.  I'm not going to comment on your own problems with UN Security.  Brenden, come on up.
Inner City Press: I don't understand.  This happened at a speech by the Secretary-General.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I'm sorry, your security issues are things you're going to have to deal with.

Inner City Press: It's not a security issue.  It was done in the name of the Secretary-General.  Is he speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m. somewhere?  Can you say where the Secretary-General is speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m.?

Deputy Spokesman:  I’m not going to argue with you on this." There was more - video here.
  Even if Lt Dobbins and his team and commanders wanted to interpret and twist the existing rules in a way they are not enforced against any other non-resident correspondent at the UN, 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. 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 claimedto 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.” Some Periscope video here. 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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

UN Bans Inner City Press Then Tells UK Independent Claim of Targeting Is Ludicrous and Saunders Innocent


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video Petition Q&A 2dQ&A2

UNITED NATIONS, July 12 – Inner City Press on July 5 was banned from entering the UN, the day after it filed a criminal complaint against UN Security Lieutenant Ronald Dobbins and another for physically removing it from covering the July 3 meeting about the UN's $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget, as witnessed and essentially cheered on by senior UN and British official Christian Saunders, tearing its reporter's shirt, painfully and intentionally twisting his arm and slamming shut and damaging his laptop. 

Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Fox News that the ban of Inner City Press is pending a “full review of the incident," which by July 9 Haq was calling an altercation - except only UN Security used force, before even talking. 

On July 12, The Independent (UK) via its US bureau chief Andrew Buncombe, covered the ongoing ban, reporting that "Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said it was 'ridiculous' to suggest Mr Lee had been treated as he had because UN officials were upset with his coverage.  He said many correspondents published stories that were embarrassing to the world body. He said a review had been launched into the manner in which Mr Lee had been removed and his future accreditation. He said Mr Mr Saunders was not involved in the decision to remove and had just 'happened to be there' the night Mr Lee was escorted out by security." 

These are such lies it's laughable. Even Al Jazeera, whose current in-house UN trio Dujarric has earing out his hand are given private briefing, the UN went after the sole Al Jazeera (then) reported who asked about Haiti cholera. Christian Saunders, as Inner City Press has reported, was implicated in procurement corruption and after the ouster came and told Inner City Press he doesn't like its articles. Dujarric himself, after manipulating a "press conference" without Press, disgustingly gave Inner City Press a thumbs-up on First Avenue. We'll have more on this. In the first visible step of the UN's self-investigation of the July 3 assault on the Press, on July 10 Inner City Press was interviewed for more than an hour by UN Security officer Raughn Perry in a windowless basement room of the UNITAR building across from the UN on 47th Street. Perry and his partner / witness Officer Valentin Stancu refused to include in what they typed and edited either the June 22 ouster of Inner City Press by Lt Dobbins and four Emergency Response Unit officers who refused to give their names, or Inner City Press' June 25 formal notification to Guterres, his deputy and chief of staff and Global Communicator Alison Smale that Inner City Press was being targeted by Dobbins based on an investigative piece it published about scam promotions in UN Security, including Dobbins' and others'. They would not include Inner City Press allegation of retaliation or vendetta, saying it was beyond the scope of their interview. They told Inner City Press not to make any notation to this effect on the statement they printed out, complete with mis-spelling of Cameroon, that it could submit that information later. But to whom? Their boss Peter Drennan has not acknowledged any of Inner City Press' e-mails to him, even those at the suggestion of Guterres' "Victims' Advocate" Jane Connors who kindly spoke with Inner City Press outside the visitors entrance and promised to appropriately forward what Inner City Press sent her, so far without effect. On June 11, after refusing to provide Inner City Press with even a summary of what Dobbins and Saunder have said, Perry did hand Inner City Press a copy of "its" statement. It says at the top, "This is a United Nations document and may not be disclosed or used outside of the Organization without first obtaining written permission from the United Nations." It seems absurd that the UN could further retaliate against Inner City Press publishing the print out of its statement about being attacked by UN Security. But when Inner City Press wrote to Perry and USG Drennan notifying them of its intent to publish and asking their confirm receipt, there was no response. This is Guterres' UN. So Inner City Press in an abundance of caution has transformed the hard-copy of its statement handed to it by UN Officer Perry into the below, without any changes other than to fix the UN's telling mis-spelling of Cameroon: 
"My name is Matthew Lee. I am a journalist attached to Inner City Press.... I would like to state that on the evening of the 03 July 2018, I remained in the "Bull Pen" press area on the fourth floor of the Secretariat Building from 07:00PM to approximately 10:00PM writing articles and waiting to check on the status of the Fifth Committee Budget meeting. I would like to state that this area is reserved for Non-Resident Correspondents to perform their duties as they are not provided with offices or cubicles. At approximately 10:00PM, I proceeded to the Viennese Cafe, located on the first basement level of the UN Conference Building, to cover the Fifth Committee Budget meeting. I was aware that the meeting was closed so I anticipated waiting in the Viennese Cafe to speak with any of the Committee members about any news regarding the budget. I recalled that Mr. Tommo Monthe, Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the United Nations, and Chairman of the Fifth Committee, approached me in the Viennese later that evening and explained the current state of the meeting/ discussions. I recorded our conversation on my mobile phone.
After Mr. Monthe and I ended our conversation, I proceeded to the dining area of the Viennses Cafe where I sat down to transcribe what Mr. Monthe had shared with me. Less than five minutes after sitting down, I observed two UN Security Officers approaching me. I recognized one of the Officers as Lieutenant Dobbins; I did not know the other Officer. Lieutenant Dobbins immediately said to me that I had to leave the building, while he (Lieutenant Dobbins) grabbed my computer from the table and put it in my backpack. The Officer I did not know approached me and grabbed at my chest. I did not know if that officer was attempting to reach for my UN grounds pass (which was hanging foom around my neck) but he grabbed the shirt I was wearing and he ripped it, creating two holes. That Officer then released my shirt and then grabbed my right forearm and begun twisting it and pulling me towards the front of the cafe towards the garage. I observed that Mr. Christian Saunders was in the vicinity. I called out to him and asked him if he could intervene. Mr. Saunders came over to where the Officers and I were and told me, "If the Officers are asking you to leave, then you should leave." I told Mr. Saunders that there is a Media Accreditation Liaison Unit rule that allows me to remain in the building beyond 07:00PM if there is a meeting to be covered and one hour after the meeting. The Officers then continued to physically pull me by my arms towards the UN garage. I then asked Mr. Saunders to accompany me as the Officers escorted me; to which he did. Mr. Saunders accompanied me as both Lieutenant Dobbins and the other unknown Officer escorted out of the UN premises via the 43rd Street and 1st Avenue exit. There was no other physical altercation through the UN garage or at the exit to the UN compound.
Matthew Lee
This statement was recorded by me at UNHQ on Tuesday 10 July, 2018 at 1100 hours, at room GA-1B-052.
Raughn Perry
Witnessed by: Valentin Stancu"

   Even with the material Perry and Stancu refused to include - while including the wrong room number for the "recording" of the statement which took place in a windowless basement room of the UNITAR building which is not the GA or General Assembly, it is amazing that the UN's response to this is to ban Inner City Press from entering the UN for nine days about counting, including so it misses and cannot ask questions at Guterres' rare July 12 press conference. We'll have more on this. On July 11 at noon, Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric was asked about Inner City Press by a sunny correspondent, UN transcript here: Question:  Thank you.  Can you update us on the status of the usual occupant of this chair?

Spokesman:  The usual occupant of this chair?

Question:  Of this chair.

Spokesman:  His… there was an incident, I think, last week or a bit… I'm starting to get lost in the weeks.  His status is being reviewed.  And I know… 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.

Question:  And is he currently suspended?  Is he barred entry to this…

Spokesman:  Yes.  His credentials and pass have been suspended, pending review." What review? UN Security investigating itself, and covering up for Guterres who was informed of Lt Dobbins' vendetta on June 25 and did nothing? Officer Perry declined to or could not explain what the process or timing is going forward, or who unilaterally banned Inner City Press pending and apparently during this "investigation." He said to ask MALU and DPI - but DPI's Alison Smale has refused to answer or acknowledge a single one of Inner City Press' seven emails. We'll have more on this.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Two UN Security Officers Pull Inner City Press Away From Budget Interview and Tear Shirt as Guterres ASG Approves


By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoPetitionQ&A2d Video

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 – Eleven days after UN Security officers led by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbin and four others who refused to give their names pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN during a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on July 3 just after Inner City Press interviewed the chairman of the UN Budget Committee, Dobbins and another UN Security officer even more physically removed Inner City Press from the UN. Periscope video here, tweeted here

This happened as Inner City Press was actively writing about the UN's murky $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget and questionable reforms by Guterres. It happened directly in front of, and ultimately at the order of, a Guterres Assistant Secretary General, Christian Saunders. A number of diplomats stood and took pictures and videos. Here as the interview, pre-ouster, with the Budget Committee chairman Tommo Monthe of Cameroon, video here. Guterres' spokesman Farhan on both July 2 and July 3 insisted to Inner City Press that the budget was agreed to in a closed session on Sunay, when clearly it has not been approved. While we will have more on the other UN Security Officer, Inner City Press has previously reported on issues with Saunders, from education to the cover up of sexual harassment and abuse in the UN. The fact that Antonio Guterres allows this to go on in his UN should disqualify him. The UN had at least 11 days to deal with this - Inner City Press repeatedly at the noon briefing asked about the rules, and the budget - and this was their response. Significantly, on July 3 the Government Accountability Project has criticized the ouster and called for Inner City Press to be reinstated as a UN Resident Correspondent. Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you, a week ago, about the UN policy of UN security ousting the non-resident correspondent during a meeting to be covered and refusing to give their names, and now the Government Accountability Project has asked the same question.  So I'm wondering, you didn't ask me when I answered it [sic], what is the policy of the UN on something as fundamental as security officers giving their names, and also can they oust journalists during a meeting such as a budget meeting that will be upcoming, I would believe, in upcoming days?

Deputy Spokesman:  As far as I'm aware, the security officers were enforcing the appropriate rules.  Any problems that you have with them are questions that you need to address with our colleagues in UN security and with Media Accreditation." But as GAP notes, the boss of Media Accreditation Alison Smale has refused to answer anything in eight months. GAP writes: "as security expelled Mr. Lee from the building, he encountered Catherine Pollard, the UN’s Under-Secretary General (USG) for General Assembly and Conference Management, who pointedly ignored his plight and simply stayed her course, despite his plea for her intervention. Along the way, Mr. Lee also asked the guards for their names, which they refused to provide. This most recent incident is the latest in a long history of harassment directed at a journalist who has been critical of UN management and operations over the years. Mr. Lee’s investigative reporting has broken stories concerning sexual abuses committed by peacekeepers in Africa, the role of UN peacekeepers in bringing cholera to Haiti, and war crimes in Sri Lanka, Burundi and Sudan [and Cameroon]. Mr. Lee’s reporting has also helped to expose corruption at the Headquarters of the United Nations, including the current bribery scandals surrounding former General Assembly President [Sam Kutesa and] John Ashe."
  In the eleven days since the ouster, live-streamed on Periscope and then put on YouTube, the UN of Antonio Guterres has not responded in any way. Inner City Press was first told to "Ask Security" then to "Ask DPI" or as it now absurdly wants to be known, the UN Department of Global Communications. But as GAP continues, "Like USG Pollard, the Under-Secretary for Global Communications, Alison Smale, seems deaf to Mr. Lee’s distress; she has refused for eight months to answer e-mails or respond to a petition to restore his credentials as a resident correspondent." Inner City Press since the ouster has raised it to Smale not only in writing (again) but also in person - with no response. Global Communications, indeed. GAP concludes: The Government Accountability Project therefore urges the Member States of the United Nations to combat the silencing of a journalist by taking action at the offices of the self-appointed guardian of free speech, itself: the United Nations. Matthew Lee should be: Reinstated as a resident correspondent with appropriate access to facilities and events, and Issued a public apology for the improper expulsion that occurred on June 22nd." To Inner City Press, it is the first of these, restoration to its long time work space S-303 which sits empty every day, assigned to an Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom whose Sanaa Youssef, while a former president of the UN Correspondents Association (1984) has not asked the UN  a question in a decade. As to apologies from today's UN, the disingenuous apology in Haiti for example shows how much those are worth. We'll have more on this. Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric evaded Inner City Press' questions then ran off the podium. Video here. Despite the fact that Guterres' armed guards ousted Inner City Press and that the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Smale did nothing, Dujarric babbled that Inner City Press should "ask DPI" then ran off the podium. Video here. From the UN (controlled) transcript: Inner City Press: Farhan [Haq], on Monday, when I informed him that on Friday I had been, during an event in which the Secretary-General was giving a speech, made to leave by UN Security while other non-resident correspondents, a distinction you just cited, were still in attendance, he said to talk to security.  And that seems strange to me, because it seems to me that the Secretariat, like civilian…

Spokesman:  I think if there are any issues that you have…
Inner City Press: My issue…

Spokesman:  If you have any issues with your access, you should take them up with DPI [Department of Public Information] and the people who actually issue the accreditation.

Inner City Press:  They came… they came and they said there was nothing they could do…

Spokesman:  "Thank you very much.  Brenden." The UN transcript omitted the audible question, "So can Security just at will bar journalists?" Video here. The UN of Guterres, Dujarric and Smale is a place of corruption and censorship, and self-serving erasure even of the questions asked, with the public's money. The day before, after cutting off Inner City Press' question about protests of Guterres' inaction on sexual harassment cover-ups at UNAIDS, Dujarric called on a correspondent for a London-based Arabic daily. Then he called on that same correspondent again before returning to Inner City Press. Sensing this second round might be cut off, Inner City Press began asking about Guterres inaction on Cameroon then on his Security's ouster of the Press which asks. But Dujarric after evading the Cameroon question turned to Al Jazeera which asked what even it called a light question about the French label pin on Dujarric's sear-sucker jacket. Then Dujarric simply left the room, so that Inner City Press' question about Guterres' use of his Security to target the Press could not be asked. On June 22 Inner City Press was live-streaming Periscope 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 Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building. Video here.
 That is not the rule, nor the practice. But Inner City Press under Guterres and his head of Global Communications Alison Smale has inexplicable been at the "non-resident correspondent" level lowered from that of no-show state media like Akbhar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, assigned Inner City Press' long time office despite rarely coming in and not asking a question in ten years.
  While Guterres and Smale have created and encourage the atmosphere for targeting the Press, Dobbins had and has his own reasons. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported on fraudulent promotions in the UN Department of Safety and Security, beginning of serieshere with a leaked document with Dobbins own name on it, under the heading "Possible Promotions... if Dobbins does not want Canine / ERU." Document here. Since the publication, Dobbins and a number of UN Security officers have openly targeted Inner City Press. This has been raised in writing to Smale (for eight months), for almost 18 months to Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, whose response has been to evade questions on Cameroon and now an ambiguous smile while surrounded by UN Security. On June 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
on Friday there was the Eid event in which António Guterres gave a speech, and I… I want… I guess I want to put this in a general way because I don't understand it.  During the event, as the event went on, I was required to leave by a Lieutenant Dobbins and the emergency response unit.  And it seemed strange, because there were many other non-resident correspondents at the event.  So, I wanted to know… to know, one, what are the rules?  Number two, is it acceptable for a… a… UN Security to… to single out and target a specific journalist?  And I did… and I ask this because I've previously written a story about promotions in DSS [Department of Safety and Security], including Mr. Dobbins, and whatever that is, what are the provisions in the UN to make sure that security cannot abuse its powers?  So those are… I… I… I'd like you to answer that, and also they didn't give their names.  The other individuals refused to give their names.  Is that UN policy?

Deputy Spokesman:  UN Security has their policies.  Your concerns with them need to be addressed to UN Security.  I'm not going to comment on your own problems with UN Security.  Brenden, come on up.
Inner City Press: I don't understand.  This happened at a speech by the Secretary-General.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I'm sorry, your security issues are things you're going to have to deal with.

Inner City Press: It's not a security issue.  It was done in the name of the Secretary-General.  Is he speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m. somewhere?  Can you say where the Secretary-General is speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m.?

Deputy Spokesman:  I’m not going to argue with you on this." There was more - video here.
  Even if Lt Dobbins and his team and commanders wanted to interpret and twist the existing rules in a way they are not enforced against any other non-resident correspondent at the UN, 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. 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 claimedto 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.” Some Periscope video here. 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.