Monday, September 25, 2017

North Korea's Ri Yong Ho Says All Options on Operations Table, At One UN Hotel, Periscope


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos, Periscope


UNITED NATIONS, September 25 – Days after the UN Security Council banned textile exports from North Korea, the country fired another missile over Japan's Hokkeido. On September 23, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho delivered this speech in the UN General Assembly hall, then came to meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, USg Jeffrey Feltman and others. There was a photo op, well attended by wire services and largely Japanese and some South Korean photographers - and Inner City Press. Saturday Periscope video here. Then on Monday September 25 Ri held a press encounter - no questions, just two statements - in front of the One UN Hotel / Millennium Hilton. Inner City Press streamed Periscope, here

He said, all options are on the operations table. Inner City Press asked the North Korea Mission to the UN if the international legal conference they have been asking for was discussed; the North Korean Mission to the UN told Inner City Press its “Foreign Minister raised that issue during the meeting. He also told UNSG to be most impartial, not to take one-sided.” We'll see. Back on September 21, this speech in the UN General Assembly Hall, by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as transcribed in English by Inner City Press: "The situation on the Korean peninsula is now a focus of international attention. The 19 September this year, that is two days ago, marks the 12th  anniversary of the 2005, September 19 joint statement of the 6 party talks. At that time, the 6 parties, China, the United States, Russia,  DPRK, RoK and Japan, with China being the chair, made concerted efforts, the two main parties concerned, the US and DPRK made the decision, and we had formulated the roadmap for denuclearization of the peninsula. The DPRK undertook to abandon its nuclear programs, and the US undertook to normalize its relations with the DPRK. All parties committed to setting up a peace mechanism for the peninsula. The statement opened up new vistas for regional peace and stability. 12 years have passed. Some think things have changed on the peninsula and the statement has become outdated, but we believe things following the progressing trend of the times never become outdated, and decisions on the right track never become obsolete. If there is any change, anything we need now, it is denuclearization that is more comprehensive, more thorough, and more irreversible. There should be no new nuclear weapon state whether it is in the north or the south of the peninsula, whether it is in Northeast Asia or other parts of the world. We urge the DPRK not to go further on a dangerous direction. We call ont eh US to honor its four no commitment, and we call on all parties to play a constructive role in easing tensions.  There is still hope for peace and we must not give up. Negotiation is the only way out. Parties should meet each other halfway by recognizing each other’s legitimate concerns. In China’s view, the day when the denuclearization of the peninsula is realized should also be the day when a peace mechanism is established. China is always a force for peace. We have made tireless efforts for a peaceful resolution on the Korean peninsula. Whatever changes may take place, however long it may take, China will stay firmly committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to regional peace and stability." Back on September 15 Russian Ambassador Nebenzia said, as transcribed by Inner City Press: "we made a statement, a press statement by the president of the Security Council condemning the recent launch, calling on the DPRK to stop it, and also, which is important, reiterating the need for political and diplomatic solution of the crisis, early... We’re discussing that we’re in a vicious circle. We have a provocation, a resolution, then another provocation. Many people raised the issue that we have to think outside the box.  There is the China Russia road map of the 4th of July, which is at the moment the only political proposal on the table... Take away this morning’s Secretary of State Tillerson’s statement, our  American colleague said that Russia and China should quickly implement the sanctions measures provided for in 2375. To which we said that we are responsible members of the international community and we honestly implement resolutions that we adopt in the Security Council but this resolution also provides for political measures that should be implemented equally in that sense we called on our US partners and others to implement the political and diplomatic solutions that are provided for in the resolution and without implementing this we also will consider it as non-compliance with the resolution, not fully implementing the resolution. We were considering what elements we might include in a resolution that would be on a political side.. One way or another, we are including them in the resolutions we have already adopted. We would possibly like more. We’ll see what happens. I think people are keen to discuss it during the high level -- one way or another it will come up, both in the debates and in the meetings. We think that threats, tests, launches should be stopped and we should engage in meaningful negations. Many serious American actors are saying there is no way but to sit at the table and come to think how to resume the six party talks. I think it was Madeline Albright who was referring to it recently and some others as well. There are serious analyses in the American press of the issue, which came out in the last few days before we adopted resolution 2375. Many people around the world understand that there’s no alternative to this in the end."  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the day before said, "North Korea's provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks. These continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation. United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take.  We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime. China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own." When Nikki Haley spoke on North Korea's hydrogen bomb test in the UN Security Council on US Labor Day, she called for a vote on new sanctions on Kim Jong Un's government on September 11. They passed 15-0, after reducing the cut into North Korea's oil and dropping a proposal travel ban and asset freeze on Kim Jong Un. Now on September 14 North Korea has fired another missile, right over Japan's Hokkeido. And the UN was holding... a fashion show, in its General Assembly lobby, introduced by its new head of "Global Communications" who has yet to even respond to emails about her Department's imposition of UN minders on the independent Press. We'll have more on this. Back on September 11, spinning on background, a US official familiar with the negotiations said, before the vote, that "Kim Jung Un doesn’t have that many assets that are out there and vulnerable anyway." Now you tell us. On September 6, the US draft came out, saying it would among other things BAN oil exports to North Korea (see language below); CNN is still using that term (but see new draft and language below). The vote is slated for 6 pm on September 11; mid morning when Inner City Press asked Italy's Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi about the oil provisions, he said he wouldn't comment on the "details." Video here.At 3 pm, French Ambassador Francois Delattre said "The bottom line is simple: the threat of DPRK has changed in scope, scale, and its very nature. We’re facing not a regional but a global threat, which unites us. We fully support the resolution proposed by the US. We think it’s a robust resolution, a needed step towards the firmness I was just referring to. Our deep belief is that only a firm reaction of the Council can open the path to a political res. Our firm attitude today is the best antidote to the risk of war. I think the conditions are met to go for a vote. We completely support the resolution as it is. By definition this is a compromise to get everybody on board. We believe we have a  strong, robust resolution and it is a needed and important step with respect to the firmness that is the condition for a political solution tomorrow."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Amid UNGA Spat With India, Pakistan Cites Kashmir With Photo Seemingly From Gaza


By Matthew Russell Lee, photos IndiaPakistan

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 – After India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in her UN General Assembly speech said while her country exports IT, Pakistan exports terrorists, Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi asked for the right of reply at the end of Saturday's UNGA session. She morphed India as the biggest democracy into the biggest hypocrisy - and raised up a photograph showing the impact of the use of pellet guns. But it appears the photo used was not from Kashmir, but from Gaza. What next? 
The day before on Friday, Inner City Press had asked the Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Pierre Krähenbühl, about UNRWA's policies on social media. Inner City Press asked about another UN agency, UNHCR, being less than transparent after a staffer called for “harder repression” of Anglophones in Cameroon; another example was UNRWA illustrating the situation in Palestine with a photo from... Syria. So these things happen, but UNRWA is under different pressures to issue corrections, including by funders. What will Pakistan do? Will we find out by the Daily Dawn? We aim to have more on this - and on UN Spokespeople being less responsive than government's Ambassadors, because the UN or at least its Spokesman is apparently under no pressure or metric to be responsive. After UN Secretary General met with Yousef Al Othaimeen, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the UN issues a read-out that "they discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including counterterrorism, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan, as well as resolving the plight of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar." Inner City Press tweeted photohere. Then the UN "re-issued" the read-out, dropping Somalia and the plight of the Rohinga, and adding the Middle East peace process: "The Secretaries-General discussed a number of issues in OIC’s area of responsibility, including counterterrorism, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, the Middle East Process and Myanmar. The Secretaries-General agreed to strengthen cooperation between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations." So who complained? Myanmar about the "plight of the Rohingya"? The OIC about no MEPP? Who said, drop Somalia? We aim to have more on this. On September 22, Guteres met with Cameroon's 30-plus year President Paul Biya, he met Saturday morning with DR Congo holdover Joseph Kabila, now with white in his beard, and the prime minister of Togo, where protesters against the father and son in power for 50 years are being shot and killed. Inner City Press covered the meetings, or photo ops, here. There was also Sri Lanka (Sirisena without accountability) and Libya's Serraj. While no read-outs have issued yet, the Cameroon read-out refers only to the political situation in the country - that would be, the killing and jailing of Anglophones. This is today's UN. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

At UN, ICP Asked Of Southern Cameroons Crackdown, Then Paul Biya Happy Talk with SG


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photovideo


UNITED NATIONS, September 23 – When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres, he was accompanied by state media and... Inner City Press. Earlier on September 22 Inner City Press interviewed Southern Cameroonians out on 47th Street, then asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about people killed that very day. 
From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  there’s a protest right now of Southern Cameroonians on 47th Street, but more importantly, there’s one in Southern Cameroon where five people have been killed today, as Paul Biya gave his speech, so I’m wondering…  I know the Deputy Secretary-General had some interest in the issue.  There’s Mr. [Francois Lonseny] Fall.  Are they aware of these protests? Spokesman:  "We’ve seen the reports I think we would definitely… we would call on the authorities to show restraint and ensure that people have the right to demonstrate freely." But on the UN's 27th floor, it was all smiles. And much later the UN put this read-out on its website: "The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon. The Secretary-General appreciated Cameroon’s hospitality towards the refugees.
They discussed the latest political developments in the country, as well as regional issues, including Boko Haram and the situation in the Central African Republic. The Secretary commended Cameroon for its efforts to combat Boko Haram, and reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to support the Government in all areas." No mention of the Anglophone areas, much less the day's killings. This is a new low, even for today's UN. UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman had left the floor with the Australian delegation; it was unclear if any UN Human Rights official was present. One of Biya's handlers even signed the UN visitors book in advance for him. When Guterres greeted his next visitor he did so in French then apologized, the last meeting was in French. Back September 19. Guterres ended with two photo ops. The first was Paraguay's President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, who spent a long time writing in the UN's visitors' book, followed by a short meeting. Alamy photos here. Next and last was Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Guterres said pointedly, just the signature. But something was lost in translation: he still started writing. Alamy photos here. Then the Press was ushered out. Alreay on the way in before the Paraguay photo op, the Media Entrance on 47th Street was locked. The questions about double standards of media access, including retaliatory restrictions still in place on the investigative Press 
while no-show, no-question state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom have full access have yet to be answered by the official now responsible, Alison Smale. According to a photographer allowed into the smaller "G-200" room, Smale was there to greet "her" Prime Minister, Theresa May. The previous day, Guterres was to have met Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, trying to get Presidential age limits in his country removed, at 4:40 pm on September 18. Inner City Press went, with UN Security, to the 27th floor for the photo op. But moment before, the Security said to change the flag from Uganda to Denmark, or really just UN blue. Then they said to switch it to South Africa for Jacob Zuma. This was attributed to New York City traffic. Alamy photos here. UN Department of Political Affairs official Taye Brook Zerihoun, there for the Uganda meeting, stayed on as he has in his post. Would he stay for Denmark, or South Korea's Moon? Periscope video here. When Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano took media questions at the UN on September 18, they were all in Italian except for a final chosen question about Donald Trump. Inner City Press insisted and asked, in English, if Italy funds militia in Libya to detain migrants and refugees. Alfano's answer was in Italian, but a handler from the Italian Mission offered a translation: that Italy has denied it. So what due diligence does Italy do, over the funds it gives to the UN-propped up government in Libya? We'll have more on this. Alamy photos here. When US President Donald Trump gave his UN reform speech on September 18, he noted that UN staff have doubled since 2000, but we haven't seen the results. He could have said more: what HAS been seen includes inaction on mass killings in Sri Lanka and Yemen, Myanmar and Cameroon. Not mentioned in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' speech, nor in his answers the two times Inner City Press has asked him, is the UN bribery guilty verdicts in the case of Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe. The UN was shown, only this summer, to be for sale. And nothing has changed. As UN General Assembly week started up on Sunday, the US announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at 9 pm, at Russia's Mission to the UN. Inner City Press after asking Cote d'Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara a question about Myanmar - without answer - biked up to that Mission on 67th Street. There in the half light were dozens of reporters and photographers, waiting for Tillerson to leave. In the street were US body guards with machine guns. Tillerson emerged and said nothing, driving away. Video here. Most of the Western wire service correspondents, one a photographer who'd been at the UN photo op with Ouattara but not the stakeout with Ivorian media, turned and left. Then the spokesman for Lavrov, and before him for now deceased Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, emerged and briefed in Russia. Inner City Press was informed second hard that she said the topics had been Syria, Ukraine and Minsk implementation, and “North Africa.” Later the US State Department said, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met this evening in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two recommitted to deconflicting military operations in Syria, reducing the violence, and creating the conditions for the Geneva process to move forward, pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.” So what about North Africa? Peacekeepers in Ukraine? Watch this site.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

UN Staff Unions Protest SG Guterres Gender Parity Plan As UNrealistic, No Consultation, Here


By Matthew Russell Lee, Scoop; Video

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 – After UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced his new "gender parity" plan, he was immediately hit with complaints about lack of consultation from the UN staff unions. Inner City Press has obtained their letter, which says: 

"Wednesday 20 September 2017
Dear Secretary-General, Since coming to office, you have repeated the importance of healthy staff- management relations, especially in the context of many forthcoming reforms.
One of the reforms is your strategy on gender parity. From the start it was made clear that any proposed strategy would be the subject of consultations through
the Staff-Management Committee (SMC), in line with the staff regulations and rules (ST/SGB/2017/1) that you promulgated in January this year.
In May, your office gave a brief presentation of broad ideas relating to the strategy. It noted that the briefing was not a consultation and clarified that once these
ideas were more complete, formal staff-management consultations through SMC would be organized. Confirming this, your office called shortly after for an SMC meeting, to be held on 19 July. Your office then requested that the meeting be postponed to 23 August. On 4 August your office requested a further postponement,
citing the need for further work on the proposals.
On 13 September the strategy was published without warning and with no consultations having taken place.
We trust that you will understand our surprise and disappointment at the turn of events. The strategy, on a subject that matters greatly to the UN, contains important
and specific measures that will affect staff welfare. Not only has this strategy been published without consultation, staff unions were also misled into believing there would be consultations. Further, the strategy document incorrectly claims that staff unions were consulted.
Consultations with staff not only ensure the possibility of staff buy-in, but allow us to seek clarifications that can be shared with our constituents. An example of an issue brought to our attention is that department heads will be held accountable for increasing female participation in the workforce by between four and five percentage points a year. Given that your report to the General Assembly (Composition of the Secretariat – A/72/123) forecasts an annual rate of retirement of 1.8 percent for D staff and 0.5 percent for P staff, and in the context of shrinking budgets and fewer posts, we would be curious to see the mathematical calculations behind these targets.
We further note that the President of the SMC, Mr. David Yeandle, has also expressed his surprise at the way in which the strategy document was issued.
It is unfortunate that the actions taken by your office have undermined the trust of staff in the future of staff-management relations at a time when a number of
important reforms are being planned and especially in light of the letter we wrote to you on 18 August reiterating “our commitment... to work closely with you and your management team on the formulation and implementation of these reforms”.
In order to restore trust in staff-management relations at the UN, we ask that the strategy be submitted to the SMC in draft form, with all recommendations considered tentative pending consultation.
Yours sincerely,
The staff unions of the United Nations:
ESCAP Staff Association
Field Staff Union
Staff Council of ESCWA
Staff Council of ECA
Staff Council of ECLAC
Staff Council of UNHCR
UN Criminal Tribunals Staff Union
UNDP/UNOPS/UNFPA/UNWOMEN Staff Council
UNICEF Global Staff Association
UNOG Staff Coordinating Council
UN Staff Union (New York)
UN Staff Union Nairobi
UN Staff Union Vienna
UN University Staff Council
cc: Ms. Jan Beagle, USG Department of Managment
Mr. David Yeandle, President of the Staff-Management Committee"
We'll have more on this. The UN is limiting access passes during this UN General Assembly week to what it calls “resident correspondents,” many of whom rarely even come into the UN, some whom have never asked any questions. Meanwhile the investigative Press asking the UN every day about UN reform and corruption, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, is banned from the passes, as are the many journalists working out of the UN Media Center (in which the handler of French President Emmanuel Macron took over a whole row, despite claims there are no assigned seats). The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when Inner City Press asked, said le Media Center, ce n'est pas moi. He also said, in a "background" briefing he tried to exclude Inner City Press from, that he would be sending around the "grid" of UNGA events. He never sent it to Inner City Press, nor presumably to the other journalists the UN denies the special "UNCA" passes to. But Inner City Press obtained the grid from a disgusted whistleblower elsewhere in the UN system and now in the spirit of the Free UN Coalition for Access puts it online here, for wider use. (If Scribd stops working, as it sometimes does, it is also on Patreon, here.) Open the UN. On September 15, as Inner City Press worked in the small booth it's confined to since being evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room and its UN office by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, it saw some insider correspondents passing by and into the Briefing Room. To not fall into a trap, Inner City Press asked UN Media Accreditation what the event was, of which it was not informed. You can go in, it was told. Inside, three senior UN officials we'll leave unnamed were giving a background briefing about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' schedule for the General Assembly week. Inner City Press asked why there are no events about Yemen and Burundi, and told the officials to tell Guterres to ensure that all journalists are treated fairly. Dujarric cut that off and said, "You're here, aren't you?" Only because the other venue he'd tried to invite his friends to was too small and the event was moved. This is how today's UN is working - or not working. This too: Inner City Press has learned that last month, after it asked Dujarric how the UN had vetted a shadowy event co-sponsored as exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial by a business interest and two developing world countries, Dujarric told the Permanent Representative of one of the sponsors NOT to talk to Inner City Press, it would just write about it. The UN has arrived at the situation in which its holdover spokesman tells member states not to speak to the Press. Now those at the top of the UN know about it - what will they do? They are responsible. New DPI chief Alison Smale has as of yet changed nothing, has not even responded to a petition on the issues. Retaliation for coverage continues, and exclusion or attempted exclusion from UN "Communications." Reform was discussed and even, for once, asked about, but only vaguely. The UN and its affiliates were bribed by Ng Lap Seng, as shown in a trial this summer. No answers. Back last Friday an UNnamed UN speaker in what was declared a background briefing not made available to media coming to cover the GA week told Inner City Press that while it is not a “resident correspondent” - it was evicted while covering the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe corruption scandal - it could perhaps stakeout for example the Yemen meeting, but only with an “escort.” That is a UN minder, some of whom ask Inner City Press who it is trying to speak to. This is UNacceptable, the Free UN Coalition for Access says, as it the weakened wi-fi and lack of LAN lines for any but the insider correspondents of UNCA. The UNnamed speaker said that the limitation of the access passes was agreed to, or requested by, UN Security and this UNCA (UN Correspondents Association a/k/a UN Censorship Alliance). It was for seeking to cover this group's event in the UN Press Briefing Room, presumptively open to all journalists, to see if they would address having received funds from then indict, now convicted Ng Lap Seng that Inner City Press was evicted and still restricted. We'll have more on this, and access issues before, during and after #UNGA72. The access briefing should have been webcast to journalists coming; UN Security should have been there, and the Department of Public Information leadership reportedly beginning work on September 8 - they have been asked, for reforms. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres gave a speech to honor fallen UN staff on September 8, he took the opportunity to say that if the sacrifices of UN staff were known by unnamed UN critics, they wouldn't say what they do. But the UN is in need of reform, which requires critique. And, frankly, sometime UN staff and experts are killed with some role played by UN negligence, for example in Kasai in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The problem with what Guterres said is that it emboldens others in the UN system to simply shout down or vilify critical voices, sometimes to the point of outright physical eviction and restriction, and sometimes short of that. Only the previous day, the acting head of the UN Department of Public Information Maher Nasser on his last day in the post allowed a heckler to block Inner City Press' questions about the UN's duty to the Haitian families impacted by the cholera it brought to the island - then when Inner City Press asked a legal immunity question, to say loudly, It's always about you. Well, DPI did evict Inner City Press with no hearing or appeals, and has restricted it every day since. But speeches such as that on September 8, UNcorrected, validate targeting and censorship. Nasser's successor Alison Smale has been written to, for reversal. And Guterres did tell a moving story about staff in Chad's Abeche - which Inner City Press covered, before DPI's eviction meant it was no longer notified of or allowed to cover UN Security Council trips. Here was from the UN Staff Day Parade of Nations. We'll have more on this. For weeks the UN had promoted its book event about New York City and the UN, featuring author Pamela Hanlon. 
But when Inner City Press went and asked about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti and paid nothing, and whether Haitians in Brooklyn had been able to get any accountability from the UN, there was no answer. 
A heckler in the audience said loudly that the question was not appropriate. Video here. So Inner City Press followed up on Ms. Hanlon's statement that the land under the UN is still US territory. If so, what of John Ashe selling diplomatic posts from inside his UN General Assembly President's office, and Inner City Press for covering the scandal being thrown out onto First Avenue by eight UN Security officers? Audio here. (NYPD told Inner City Press it has no jurisdiction to take criminal complaints, even for assault, for anything east of the First Avenue curb.) 


That question wasn't answered, either, including by Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs. 
Instead Maher Nasser, in charge of the UN Department of Public Information from April 1 until tomorrow, said “it's always about you” and ended the event, encouraging those present to buy books for signing. And so it goes at the UN.

Inner City Press Asked Trudeau of Canada Arms Sales to Saudi, He Called The Question Bad Behavior


By Matthew Russell Lee, PeriscopeVideo


UNITED NATIONS, September 21 – While Canada joins The Netherlands at the UN in Geneva in calling for an investigation of possible war crimes in Yemen including the Saudi-led coalition's killing of civilians, Canada has continued a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. 

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference at the UN on September 21, Inner City Press went early, intending to ask him to explain this incongruity or seeming hypocrisy. Trudeau's spokesman announced that the questioners had been “pre-determined,” but did not explain how. 

So in a lull after what the spokesman called the last question - would Trudeau be a mediator on Venezuela - Inner City Press asked about Canadian arms sales to Saudi while calling for a probe. At first Trudeau said he was happy to answer the question. Then he said no, he would not reward “bad behavior,” and instead reached out for question in French about day care. (Inner City Press notes that pre-determining questioners is bad behavior. Apparently the CBC journalist who was given the first question agreed to it; the organization only the day before sent an Egyptian state media correspondent as the lone “pooler” in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' meeting with General Sisi.) Eearlier on September 21 when UK minister Alistair Burt came in front of the UN Security Council to speak about accountability for Daesh in Iraq, Inner City Press deferred to a timely question about the referendum in Kurdistan. Then during  lull - identical to that in which it put its question to Trudeau - Inner City Press asked Burt about his quote, about accountability for the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition with UK bombs, that "Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations.” Inner City Press asked how he can say this, given that the Saudis have investigated less than five percent of the killings. Video here. Burt's answer focused on the peace process - what peace process? At least Burt answered, and did not like Trudeau try to call merely asking the question in a lull "bad behavior" - we'll have more on this. The day before on September 20 when the UN's new Libya envoy Ghassam Salame came to take questions, Inner City Press went to ask him directly about his quotes on ANSA supporting Italy's cooperation with the Libyan Navy and Coast Guard. After several sycophant questions, Inner City Press asked - and Salame pushed back, claiming he was misquoted by ANSA. Video here. But he went on to say that the deal[s] between Italy and Libyan forces are bilateral, UNese for We will not comment. In fact, sources tell Inner City Press the very apartment Salame occupies was paid for from the Gulf. We'll have more on that - and on Grandi's and Louise Arbour's high minded answers to Inner City Press earlier in the day, here. Who represents the UN system on this: Arbour (and to a lesser extent Grandi) - or go along to get along Salame? Guterres will one day have to decide.  Two days before on September 18 when Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano took media questions at the UN on September 18, they were all in Italian except for a final chosen question about Donald Trump. Inner City Press insisted and asked, in English, if Italy funds militia in Libya to detain migrants and refugees. Alfano's answer was in Italian, but a handler from the Italian Mission offered a translation: that Italy has denied it. So what due diligence does Italy do, over the funds it gives to the UN-propped up government in Libya? We'll have more on this. Alamy photos here. When US President Donald Trump gave his UN reform speech on September 18, he noted that UN staff have doubled since 2000, but we haven't seen the results. He could have said more: what HAS been seen includes inaction on mass killings in Sri Lanka and Yemen, Myanmar and Cameroon. Not mentioned in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' speech, nor in his answers the two times Inner City Press has asked him, is the UN bribery guilty verdicts in the case of Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe. The UN was shown, only this summer, to be for sale. And nothing has changed. As UN General Assembly week started up on Sunday, the US announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at 9 pm, at Russia's Mission to the UN. Inner City Press after asking Cote d'Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara a question about Myanmar - without answer - biked up to that Mission on 67th Street. There in the half light were dozens of reporters and photographers, waiting for Tillerson to leave. In the street were US body guards with machine guns. Tillerson emerged and said nothing, driving away. Video here. Most of the Western wire service correspondents, one a photographer who'd been at the UN photo op with Ouattara but not the stakeout with Ivorian media, turned and left. Then the spokesman for Lavrov, and before him for now deceased Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, emerged and briefed in Russia. Inner City Press was informed second hard that she said the topics had been Syria, Ukraine and Minsk implementation, and “North Africa.” Later the US State Department said, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met this evening in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two recommitted to deconflicting military operations in Syria, reducing the violence, and creating the conditions for the Geneva process to move forward, pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.” So what about North Africa? Peacekeepers in Ukraine? Watch this site.

On Yemen, ICP Asks UK Burt How Claims Saudi Can Probe Its Killing of Civilians With UK Bombs


By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoPhotos


UNITED NATIONS, September 21 – When UK minister Alistair Burt came in front of the UN Security Council to speak about accountability for Daesh in Iraq, Inner City Press deferred to a timely question about the referendum in Kurdistan. Then Inner City Press asked Burt about his quote, about accountability for the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition with UK bombs, that "“Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations.” 

Inner City Press asked how he can say this, given that the Saudis have investigated less than five percent of the killings. Burt's answer focused on the peace process - what peace process? Inner City Press filmed the UN's failed envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed bopping out of the UN early on September 20, not having taken any questions. At least Burt answered - we'll have more on this. The day before on September 20 when the UN's new Libya envoy Ghassam Salame came to take questions, Inner City Press went to ask him directly about his quotes on ANSA supporting Italy's cooperation with the Libyan Navy and Coast Guard. After several sycophant questions, Inner City Press asked - and Salame pushed back, claiming he was misquoted by ANSA. Video here. But he went on to say that the deal[s] between Italy and Libyan forces are bilateral, UNese for We will not comment. In fact, sources tell Inner City Press the very apartment Salame occupies was paid for from the Gulf. We'll have more on that - and on Grandi's and Louise Arbour's high minded answers to Inner City Press earlier in the day, here. Who represents the UN system on this: Arbour (and to a lesser extent Grandi) - or go along to get along Salame? Guterres will one day have to decide.  Two days before on September 18 when Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano took media questions at the UN on September 18, they were all in Italian except for a final chosen question about Donald Trump. Inner City Press insisted and asked, in English, if Italy funds militia in Libya to detain migrants and refugees. Alfano's answer was in Italian, but a handler from the Italian Mission offered a translation: that Italy has denied it. So what due diligence does Italy do, over the funds it gives to the UN-propped up government in Libya? We'll have more on this. Alamy photos here. When US President Donald Trump gave his UN reform speech on September 18, he noted that UN staff have doubled since 2000, but we haven't seen the results. He could have said more: what HAS been seen includes inaction on mass killings in Sri Lanka and Yemen, Myanmar and Cameroon. Not mentioned in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' speech, nor in his answers the two times Inner City Press has asked him, is the UN bribery guilty verdicts in the case of Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe. The UN was shown, only this summer, to be for sale. And nothing has changed. As UN General Assembly week started up on Sunday, the US announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at 9 pm, at Russia's Mission to the UN. Inner City Press after asking Cote d'Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara a question about Myanmar - without answer - biked up to that Mission on 67th Street. There in the half light were dozens of reporters and photographers, waiting for Tillerson to leave. In the street were US body guards with machine guns. Tillerson emerged and said nothing, driving away. Video here. Most of the Western wire service correspondents, one a photographer who'd been at the UN photo op with Ouattara but not the stakeout with Ivorian media, turned and left. Then the spokesman for Lavrov, and before him for now deceased Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, emerged and briefed in Russia. Inner City Press was informed second hard that she said the topics had been Syria, Ukraine and Minsk implementation, and “North Africa.” Later the US State Department said, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met this evening in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two recommitted to deconflicting military operations in Syria, reducing the violence, and creating the conditions for the Geneva process to move forward, pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.” So what about North Africa? Peacekeepers in Ukraine? Watch this site.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When UNSG Met Sisi, UN Sent Egypt State Media As "Pool" Reporter, Barred Independent Press


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video


UNITED NATIONS, September 20 – The UN is limitingaccess passes during this UN General Assembly week to what it calls “resident correspondents,” many of whom rarely even come into the UN, some whom have never asked any questions. Not only access, but also "pooling" opportunities, are limited without disclosure to insider correspondents. This hit a new low on September 20, when Inner City Press' request to cover the meeting of Egypt's Sisi with Secretary General Antonio Guterres was denied - and a rarely present Egyptian state media was authorized by the UN to "pool" the meeting. Afterward, Inner City Press asked for Akhbar al Yom's pool report, and got this: "Evidently there was not much to report as the photo was in GA-200 and the meeting in another room. They welcomed each other, the president signed the guest book, they took hand shake photos and went to the other room." Even in GA-200, in which Inner City Press was previously allowed to cover bilateral meetings, there was more to observe. Inner City Press has asked: "why then was a print pool reporter given one of the few spots in G-200?  Who decided that Egyptian state media would take one of the spots, as pool?  And as pool, who was there on the Egyptian side, and on the Secretariat side? Feltman? UN Human Rights?" Did Akhbar al Yom, the "pool," even look for these things? Would they report them if they saw them? Their retiree is a former president of UNCA, which bragged to its dues paying members that the UN "has informed us that we have approval to send a pool reporter to the SG bi laterals/photo ops, where possible. If you are interested in pooling one of these events, please send an email to the UNCA office... Sherwin Bryce-Pease, President, United Nations Correspondents Association." Egypt, needless to say, has one of the worst press freedom records in the world - but its state media was on September 20 the UN's, and UNCA's, "pool" to covers Sisi's UNSG meeting. 

Meanwhile the investigative Press asking the UN every day about UN reform and corruption, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, is banned from the passes, as are the many journalists working out of the UN Media Center (in which the handler of French President Emmanuel Macron took over a whole row, despite claims there are no assigned seats). The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when Inner City Press asked, said le Media Center, ce n'est pas moi. He also said, in a "background" briefing he tried to exclude Inner City Press from, that he would be sending around the "grid" of UNGA events. He never sent it to Inner City Press, nor presumably to the other journalists the UN denies the special "UNCA" passes to. But Inner City Press obtained the grid from a disgusted whistleblower elsewhere in the UN system and now in the spirit of the Free UN Coalition for Access puts it online here, for wider use. (If Scribd stops working, as it sometimes does, it is also on Patreon, here.) Open the UN. On September 15, as Inner City Press worked in the small booth it's confined to since being evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room and its UN office by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, it saw some insider correspondents passing by and into the Briefing Room. To not fall into a trap, Inner City Press asked UN Media Accreditation what the event was, of which it was not informed. You can go in, it was told. Inside, three senior UN officials we'll leave unnamed were giving a background briefing about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' schedule for the General Assembly week. Inner City Press asked why there are no events about Yemen and Burundi, and told the officials to tell Guterres to ensure that all journalists are treated fairly. Dujarric cut that off and said, "You're here, aren't you?" Only because the other venue he'd tried to invite his friends to was too small and the event was moved. This is how today's UN is working - or not working. This too: Inner City Press has learned that last month, after it asked Dujarric how the UN had vetted a shadowy event co-sponsored as exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial by a business interest and two developing world countries, Dujarric told the Permanent Representative of one of the sponsors NOT to talk to Inner City Press, it would just write about it. The UN has arrived at the situation in which its holdover spokesman tells member states not to speak to the Press. Now those at the top of the UN know about it - what will they do? They are responsible. New DPI chief Alison Smale has as of yet changed nothing, has not even responded to a petition on the issues. Retaliation for coverage continues, and exclusion or attempted exclusion from UN "Communications." Reform was discussed and even, for once, asked about, but only vaguely. The UN and its affiliates were bribed by Ng Lap Seng, as shown in a trial this summer. No answers. Back last Friday an UNnamed UN speaker in what was declared a background briefing not made available to media coming to cover the GA week told Inner City Press that while it is not a “resident correspondent” - it was evicted while covering the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe corruption scandal - it could perhaps stakeout for example the Yemen meeting, but only with an “escort.” That is a UN minder, some of whom ask Inner City Press who it is trying to speak to. This is UNacceptable, the Free UN Coalition for Accesssays, as it the weakened wi-fi and lack of LAN lines for any but the insider correspondents of UNCA. The UNnamed speaker said that the limitation of the access passes was agreed to, or requested by, UN Security and this UNCA (UN Correspondents Association a/k/a UN Censorship Alliance). It was for seeking to cover this group's event in the UN Press Briefing Room, presumptively open to all journalists, to see if they would address having received funds from then indict, now convicted Ng Lap Seng that Inner City Press was evicted and still restricted. We'll have more on this, and access issues before, during and after #UNGA72.

On Burundi, Inner City Press Asks UNHCR Grandi of Refugees Killed in DRC, Now US Speaks


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- There will be no country-specific meeting about Burundi during this year's UN General Assembly high level week, it was confirmed to Inner City Press on September 15 on background and then on the record. Meanwhile Burundian refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo were slaughtered on September 15, initially without any comment by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' part-time envoy Michel Kafando. On September 20, Inner City Press asked UNHCR chief Grandi about it. He said, read my Tweet, I called for an investigation by the DRC authorities. But are they involved, as in the killings of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan? Minutes later, the US State Department put this out: "The U.S. government is dismayed by the violence and death of more than 30 Burundian nationals and a Congolese soldier in Kamanyola, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on September 15.  We call upon the Government of the DRC to work with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UN peacekeepers to ease tensions between Burundi refugees and their host population. The cause of the violence must be determined and perpetrators must be held accountable.  We urge the Government of the DRC to protect those civilians affected by violence from further attacks.  Moreover, we urge the security forces of the DRC to refrain from using excessive force." The UN Secretariat gave up placing its selected official in Bujumbura, allowing the Nkurunziza government to block it; Kafando is being offered additional UN staff posts in his home base in Burkina Faso. On September 18, Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesmen Stephane Duajrric about the killings, and after the briefing his Office sent this: "Your question on DRC: Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we are concerned by reports that at least 36 Burundian refugees were killed and 117 injured by the Congolese security forces during clashes in South Kivu.  The Burundian asylum-seekers and refugees were apparently demonstrating against local authorities after four of them had been expelled from the DRC. One FARDC officer was reportedly killed in the clash, which led to an escalation of violence. The Congolese defence and security forces allegedly responded through indiscriminate firing on the protestors. We condemn the violence and recall that the defence and security forces have an obligation to use force only as a last resort. The UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has deployed teams on the ground to shed further light on the circumstances surrounding the clashes. We call on the authorities to swiftly open legal actions to establish the truth and deliver justice to the victims." Like on UN experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan? On August 2, the Security Council's penholder on Burundi, France, did not speak at the Council stakeout or take questions, but Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about it. Video here, transcript below. On September 13, informed but wanting confirmation of a raid by armed men in Bujumbura on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights premises, Inner City Press sent a simple question to OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville: "this is a Press request for OHCHR to confirm or deny that its office in Bujumbura, Burundi was entered by armed men, and if so, who OHCHR thinks they were, what relation to the government. Inner City Press has other questions, but starting with this one. Please confirm receipt." Three hours later, nothing. (Colville previously declined to respond to Press question about Cameroon, 49 days into the Biya government's 94 day Internet cut off in Anglophone areas.) Burundi opposition figure "Léopold Habarugira, a member of the political party-Union for Peace and Development [UPD] was abducted in the early morning of 12 September  in Mutanga-Nord in northern Bujumbura by a group of four people, one of them in police uniform." Where on this is UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his part time envoy, Michel Kafando? After Colvile has not responded in any way for 24 hours, Inner City Press on September 14 asked Guterres' spokesman Staphane Dujarric. He said he had not heard of Habrugira's abduction, and that the armed raid might have been a burglary. Inner City Press asked if UN envoy Kafando will even be in New York for the General Assembly high level week and Dujarric said he didn't know but will check. On September 15, Inner City Press asked again, UN transcriphere: Inner City Press: I asked you a couple of days ago about Burundi, about the abduction of a major opposition leader and… and also whether Mr. [Michel] Kafando would be here.  I guess… Spokesman:  Mr. Kafando will be here.  Mr. Kafando will be here. Inner City Press: Okay.  And can you say what he'll be doing?  And also whether he or you have become aware of this… this very high-profile abduction? Spokesman:  I haven't gotten any more updates on that abduction.  I have no doubt that he's aware, and I assume he will be having a number of bilateral meetings with delegations here, as most of the envoys will do.  They… it's only natural for them to come here and use this opportunity to meet with various stakeholders." On September 5, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' top three spokespeople: "On Burundi, what is the SG's and his envoy Michel Kafando's response to yesterday's UN Panel of Inquiry report, and separately, what is the UN's comment and action on the attached photo of Pierre Nkurunziza forces, in Bujumbura, in a white pick up truck marked 'UN'? Six hours later, no answer, not even the requested confirmation of receipt. So on September 7, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you on Burundi.  There's obviously been this report by the Panel of Inquiry saying there may be war… you know, war crimes and other crimes have been committed.  I waswaiting to see either DPA or Michel Kafandois there some response to that report?  And also, I think I sent you a photograph of what purports to be Burundian soldiers inside their own country in Bujumbura in a pickup truck marked "UN".  And I wanted to know is it… I know that they have deployed to CAR [Central African Republic], but is there… is there… is the UN somehow endorsing what the soldiers are doing in Bujumbura? Spokesman:  "I don't know the origin of the photo or whether it's real or not real.  The point is, is that no country should use UN-marked equipment that they may have used in a deployment peacekeeping mission in their home country.  So, that stands.On September 1, Inner City Press asked the incoming President of the Security Council, Ethiopia's Ambassador Alemu, why Burundi is not on the Council's agenda for the month, or in Addis. He said Buurndi has "strong state institutions" (video here), contradicted by the UN Panel's statement on September 4. And by this: "On 28 August 2017, Bonith Habonimana was gravely wounded byImbonerakure who attacked him with machetes in Nyempundu in theDistrict of Mugina... On 30 August 2017, a dead body of Athanase Manirakiza was recovered in
Mwanda in the District of BubanzaOn 30 August 2017, Gaspard Niyokwizera was killed by unknown gunmen in Donge- Burasira in the District of MugambaOn 31 August 2017, a grenade attack at the residence of Sabine Habimana located in Bunywana in the District of Buhinyuza resulted in her child, Annonciate Ndihokubwayo being woundedOn 31 August 2017, twelve (12) youths were arrested as they entered the city of Bujumbura. All were descended from the bus and told to show their
passports. Those who had stayed more than two months abroad weretaken to unknown destination. Eight passports of women coming back from Saudi Arabia were seized by the policeOn 1 September 2017, Radio Isanganiro correspondent in Gitega Arthur
Kavabushi was arrested in Buraza by the Police which detained him."
On August 25, Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Antonio "Mr. Refugees" Guterres, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the Tanzanian Government has given, supposedly, UNHCR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] seven days to repatriate thousands of refugees that are there, saying that, if they don't, if UNHCR doesn't do it, they, Tanzania, will do it unilaterally.  Many people working in the refugee field are pretty surprised by it, and I'm wondering if the Secretary-General or his envoy, Mr. Kafando, have any view of this ultimatum by the Tanzanian Government? Spokesman:  "I haven't seen report.  I would encourage you, as a first port of call, to call either UNHCR here or Geneva for a reaction." Inner City Press: My other… can you give any… I don't know if it will, maybe next week, any, any update on what Mr. Kafando is doing? Spokesman:  we will be posting highlights daily. We'll see.  In Burundi, arbitrary arrests and abductions including of those seeking to leave have continued with no response by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres or his part-time envoy Michel Kafando. For example, on 17 August 2017, Marcel Nsengiyumva aka Fiston was abducted from Kamenge and taken to unknown destination. Marcel was returning from
Rwanda where he lived for the 3 previous yearsOn 19 August 2017, 98 students were arrested following a police search operated at the University of Burundi campus Mutanga by the anti- riot police in partnership with Imbonerakure militiamenOn 16 and 17, an estimated number of 57 young people from Ruhororo and Tangara were arrested as they planned to travel to Tanzania. All were taken
to Ngozi police station where they were detained. Under laws Guterres used to cite in his previous job, people have a right to leave, and a right against refoulement, now ignored in Libya as in Burundi, with silence from Guterres' envoys. 
On August 15, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the Burundian refugees that are in Tanzania, they actually tried to protest UNHCR because they say that food has been cut off, and, essentially, they're being pushed back to Burundi despite their fear.  So, again, given António Guterres, his past history, given that he has a Special Envoy on it, is there any comment from the Secretariat on what seems to be the refoulement of or [inaudible] refoulement…

Spokesman:  I don't… I would ask you to check with UNHCR as to what the actual situation is.  I would highly doubt that UNHCR is involved in any active or passive refoulement. 
  Really? On August 7, three more corpses were found dumped in a river in Cibitoke. Silence from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in the middle of a two week initially UNdisclosed vacation. Silence from his part time envoy Michel Kafando. No answers from Guterres' spokespeople to Inner City Press' questions about the deployment of human rights abusers to peacekeeping missions. We'll have more on this. From the UK August 2 transcript: Inner City Press:  On Burundi, is it your position that the mandate to send the police remains? That they are under legal requirement, under Chapter VII, to take them? Why wasn’t it just extended to make clear that Chapter VII applies to this deployment?

Amb Rycroft: Yes, you are right that the initial resolution calls on this police mission to take place. And you’re right that the reason that it hasn’t is that the Government of Burundi has made absolutely clear that they have no intention at all of allowing even a small deployment in. So they are in breach of that obligation and so we are reminding them of that obligation and encouraging them to do what they should be doing...  I think there are other obligations that they are in breach of as well, but this is an important part of their engagement with the international community and we need to take from it the fact that they are not engaging on this or indeed many other parts of that resolution and we call on them to have a genuinely inclusive political process.

The UN's lack of vetting of peacekeepers, exposed by Inner City Press then as credited by the Washington Post as to Burundi, has continued under Secretary General Antonio Guterres 

UN Restricted Grid of UNGA Events To Insiders, ICP Puts It Online Here, Open the UN


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video


UNITED NATIONS, September 20 – The UN is limitingaccess passes during this UN General Assembly week to what it calls “resident correspondents,” many of whom rarely even come into the UN, some whom have never asked any questions. Meanwhile the investigative Press asking the UN every day about UN reform and corruption, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, is banned from the passes, as are the many journalists working out of the UN Media Center (in which the handler of French President Emmanuel Macron took over a whole row, despite claims there are no assigned seats). The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when Inner City Press asked, said le Media Center, ce n'est pas moi. He also said, in a "background" briefing he tried to exclude Inner City Press from, that he would be sending around the "grid" of UNGA events. He never sent it to Inner City Press, nor presumably to the other journalists the UN denies the special "UNCA" passes to. 

But Inner City Press obtained the grid from a disgusted whistleblower elsewhere in the UN system and now in the spirit of the Free UN Coalition for Access puts it online here, for wider use. (If Scribd stops working, as it sometimes does, it is also on Patreon, here.) Open the UN. On September 15, as Inner City Press worked in the small booth it's confined to since being evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room and its UN office by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, it saw some insider correspondents passing by and into the Briefing Room. To not fall into a trap, Inner City Press asked UN Media Accreditation what the event was, of which it was not informed. You can go in, it was told. Inside, three senior UN officials we'll leave unnamed were giving a background briefing about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' schedule for the General Assembly week. Inner City Press asked why there are no events about Yemen and Burundi, and told the officials to tell Guterres to ensure that all journalists are treated fairly. Dujarric cut that off and said, "You're here, aren't you?" Only because the other venue he'd tried to invite his friends to was too small and the event was moved. This is how today's UN is working - or not working. This too: Inner City Press has learned that last month, after it asked Dujarric how the UN had vetted a shadowy event co-sponsored as exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial by a business interest and two developing world countries, Dujarric told the Permanent Representative of one of the sponsors NOT to talk to Inner City Press, it would just write about it. The UN has arrived at the situation in which its holdover spokesman tells member states not to speak to the Press. Now those at the top of the UN know about it - what will they do? They are responsible. New DPI chief Alison Smale has as of yet changed nothing, has not even responded to a petition on the issues. Retaliation for coverage continues, and exclusion or attempted exclusion from UN "Communications." Reform was discussed and even, for once, asked about, but only vaguely. The UN and its affiliates were bribed by Ng Lap Seng, as shown in a trial this summer. No answers. Back last Friday an UNnamed UN speaker in what was declared a background briefing not made available to media coming to cover the GA week told Inner City Press that while it is not a “resident correspondent” - it was evicted while covering the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe corruption scandal - it could perhaps stakeout for example the Yemen meeting, but only with an “escort.” That is a UN minder, some of whom ask Inner City Press who it is trying to speak to. This is UNacceptable, the Free UN Coalition for Accesssays, as it the weakened wi-fi and lack of LAN lines for any but the insider correspondents of UNCA. The UNnamed speaker said that the limitation of the access passes was agreed to, or requested by, UN Security and this UNCA (UN Correspondents Association a/k/a UN Censorship Alliance). It was for seeking to cover this group's event in the UN Press Briefing Room, presumptively open to all journalists, to see if they would address having received funds from then indict, now convicted Ng Lap Seng that Inner City Press was evicted and still restricted. We'll have more on this, and access issues before, during and after #UNGA72. The access briefing should have been webcast to journalists coming; UN Security should have been there, and the Department of Public Information leadership reportedly beginning work on September 8 - they have been asked, for reforms. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres gave a speech to honor fallen UN staff on September 8, he took the opportunity to say that if the sacrifices of UN staff were known by unnamed UN critics, they wouldn't say what they do. But the UN is in need of reform, which requires critique. And, frankly, sometime UN staff and experts are killed with some role played by UN negligence, for example in Kasai in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The problem with what Guterres said is that it emboldens others in the UN system to simply shout down or vilify critical voices, sometimes to the point of outright physical eviction and restriction, and sometimes short of that. Only the previous day, the acting head of the UN Department of Public Information Maher Nasser on his last day in the post allowed a heckler to block Inner City Press' questions about the UN's duty to the Haitian families impacted by the cholera it brought to the island - then when Inner City Press asked a legal immunity question, to say loudly, It's always about you. Well, DPI did evict Inner City Press with no hearing or appeals, and has restricted it every day since. But speeches such as that on September 8, UNcorrected, validate targeting and censorship. Nasser's successor Alison Smale has been written to, for reversal. And Guterres did tell a moving story about staff in Chad's Abeche - which Inner City Press covered, before DPI's eviction meant it was no longer notified of or allowed to cover UN Security Council trips. Here was from the UN Staff Day Parade of Nations. We'll have more on this.