Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tribute to John Ashe in GA, Ban Ki-moon Remarks and Links, Ban's and Gallach's Retaliation Against Press

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- Five days before his court hearing on UN bribery charges, today former UN President of the General Assembly John Ashe died at 61 -- from a freak weight lifting accident.  We'll have more on this - the bribery scandal is not over, and how the issue is addressed in coming days makes a difference. John Ashe should not be another UN scapegoat like Babacar Gaye in Central African Republic. 
But this? On June 29 in the UN General Assembly Hall, where Italy and the Netherlands are to cut a deal to divvy up a Security Council term, there's this on the agenda: 
"The General Assembly will also pay tribute to the memory of His Excellency John W. Ashe, President of the sixty-eight session of the General Assembly. Remarks by the Secretary-General." 
This, we have to hear. Who has it, in Ban's team, who doctored a resolution for Ng Lap Seng after John Ashe asked for it? Who on Ban's Team did no due diligence of Ng Lap Seng's Global Sustainability Foundation and took its money for the UN Slavery Memorial, held illicit presentation in the GA Lobby featuring Ban Ki-moon? 
That was Cristina Gallach, who Ban later let or had oust and evict Inner City Press which asked about the links to the Ng / Ashe scandal to Gallach and, yes, Ban? We'll have more on this. The lack of basis of Ban's UN's eviction of Inner City Press has been raised in Geneva, here, and elsewhere.
On June 23, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman why Ban had issued no comment on the death. UN transcript here and below. After that, this statement from Dobbs Ferry: 
“His wife and younger son had previously found him collapsed and unresponsive first on April 25th, and again on April 28th. Both times, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital and received emergency medical treatment. On June 22nd, it appears that a third episode of collapse, tragically, led to his untimely death. At the time of his passing, he was under the care of a neurologist who was evaluating the causeof the earlier episodes. He was awaiting the results of an MRI, and was scheduled for an Electroencephalogram (EEG) for sleep deprivation on June 25th.” 
 Meanwhile some of those including scribes who partnered with Ashe while he was alive are now trying to scrub from the Internet all of their photos like here and connections with him. We'll have more on this. 
From June 23 transcript:
Inner City Press:r  Does the Secretary-General have any statement on the… on the death of former President of the General Assembly John Ashe yesterday?

Deputy Spokesman:  Oh, well, certainly, he was saddened by the passing of John Ashe.  He is writing a letter of condolence to Ambassador Ashe's wife, and so that will express his sorrow at his passing and his condolences.

Question:  Sure.  President… current PGA [President of the General Assembly] [Mogens] Lykketoft in the statement that he put out said these charges hadn't been proven but that  he'd done some previous service.  And I know the incoming PGA had said that the John Ashe case is a serious blow to the UN.  So, I'm wondering, is there any nexus… either in his letter or here from this podium what's… what's your reflection on the way that this leaves the case still pending in the Southern District involving UN bribery?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, obviously, the case is a separate matter and I believe that that would still go on.  We will continue to cooperate as best we can with the relevant authorities as they go about their investigation into this.  And we certainly hope that they get to the bottom of this particular issue. 
Haq said that Ban will be writing a letter to Ashe's widow -- whose book launch Ban attended and the DPI of Cristina Gallach put on UNTV -- but unlike PGA Lykketoft, Haq did not mention the corruption case. 
Late on June 22, or really early on June 23, current PGA Lykketoft issued this: 
"the President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft expressed his sincere condolences to the widow, friends and colleagues of the former Antigua and Barbudan diplomat John Ashe, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday.
Mr Ashe was the President of the General Assembly for its 68th session and had since October 2015 been facing criminal charges in the United States courts related to his term as President.
"Despite the many as yet unproven accusations made against him, Mr Ashe was for many years a hard-working and popular member of the diplomatic corps in New York and at the United Nations," said Mr Lykketoft. "I know that his death will come as sad news to the many professional friends and colleagues he made during his time here.
"We wish his wife, family and friends well as they come to terms with his sudden death."
" At 6 pm on June 23 Lykketoft's spokesperson issued a new release: 
"Last night  we issued a statement  which attributed the cause of  Mr Ashe's death to a heart attack. That was based on an Antiguan media report  already online and one other source. It appears from subsequent media reports that the cause of death may have been different. Please find a corrected statement below and online:
 While many try to insulate today's UN from the open corruption of the recent past of President of the General Assembly John Ashe, and of Francis Lorenzo who has pleaded guilty, there is continuity to this UN scandal. This includes a revival of the Ng Lap Seng's old "South South News" team, with El Salvador ex-Ambassador Carlos Garcia and others, even as those investigating this UN corruption are evicted and restricted, and those covering it up are rewarded. 
   On May 18, former President of the General Assembly John Ashe's new (May 9) lawyers informed the Southern District of NY of ongoing plea negotiations, letter below. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the letter, on PACER, and also about what the UN is doing with regard to those who plead guilty to UN bribery charges. 
Can they, as has happened, get back into the UN? Apparently yes, despite what the OIOS audit says. This is UN decay under Ban Ki-moon, related to his and his Gallach's ouster and eviction of Inner City Press which is covering it. 

US Inaction on UN Impunity for Haiti Cholera Hit By 158 in Congress

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 29 --  When the UN of Ban Ki-moon is asked about bringing cholera to Haiti, the answer is usually, “Our position remains unchanged” -- that is, immunity.  Now it's reported that may change. But when Inner City Press asked on June 1, Ban's spokesman again said, our position has not change. Video hereUN transcript here and below. 
On June 29, 158 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry asking that he and the State Department make the UN answer for bringing cholera to Haiti, including with reparations to victims. 
The letter, hereis sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) and includes 11 other Republicans; half of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) i.e. 22 of its 44 members, including six Republicans; ten of the 14 members of HCFA's Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, four Republicans and six Democrats; and four of the eight members of HCFA’s Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations ("Global Health") Subcommittee, two from each party. Republican HCFA signatories include former HCFA chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, current Global Health Subcommittee Chair Christopher Smith, and Representatives Daniel Donovan, Michael McCaul, Steve Chabot, and Lee Zeldin. The 16 HCFA Democrats include the respective ranking members of the HCFA itself, Rep. Eliot Engel, and of its Western Hemisphere and Global Health Subcommittees respectively, Representatives Albio Sires, and Karen Bass. We'll have more on this.
From the UN's June 1 transcript:
Inner City Press: I'm sure you've seen The Guardian piece about Mr.… Deputy Secretary-General [Jan] Eliasson's letter about cholera in Haiti.  And it's being portrayed as a possible breakthrough or change in position.  I wanted to know if, in fact, it is, as the letter apparently says that the prom… that the promise of resources could be fine-tuned or expanded as needed.  And I wanted to know whether this involves any consideration of paying compensation to the families who had a breadwinner or other family member killed by the cholera.

Spokesman:  What is… the UN's position on the legal claims has not changed.  What has also… always been the case is the UN's determination to help the people of Haiti with the cholera outbreak and with the impact of the cholera outbreak.  I think the Secretary-General, if you look back to the statements that he made when he was in Haiti, expressed clearly the will and his commitment to help the people of Haiti.  That also involves donors stepping up and funding the necessary projects that are needed to deal with the outbreak.  The UN on the ground has already made… has already worked clearly in that… to that effect, providing assistance to national sanitation campaigns, ensuring that certain villages are free of open defecation, and also bring whatever support they can.

Question:  The piece is saying this represents a change in position.  Are you saying that it's not… there's no change in position?

Spokesman:  Well, I think… I'm telling you our position.  Obviously, journalists are free to interpret it one way or another.

Inner City Press:  What was the impact of five Special Rapporteurs writing to the Secretary-General and saying that the UN's reputation is being injured by not offering compensation?

Spokesman:  I think we clearly hear what the Special Rapporteurs are [saying].  The respect for human rights remains at the centre of what we do and how we try to act every day.

Inner City Press:  And just one related question, maybe you'll have it or you can get it.  What's happening with the Kosovo… it was said that it was recommended that the mission pay for lead-poisoned children?

Spokesman:  I have no update on that.  
The UN in Kosovo left Roma children lead poisoned by putting there in a refugee camp by an old mine. In that horrendous case - video here - the UN is now said to be considering compensation. Why not in Haiti? On May 16, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, UN transcript here
Inner City Press: On Kosovo, since it's in the Council today, I wanted to ask whether it was said in April that Zahir Tanin had raised to the UN Headquarters this idea of paying compensation for the Roma children that were living in a camp over… and got lead poisoning.  Now that it's mid-May, what… what… one, can you confirm how this was raised?  And what is the process at the UN to decide whether to pay this compensation or not?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe that process is still under way.  I don't have anything to add to what Stéphane said about this several weeks back.  But, as you know, that there was a panel that made its recommendations, which are being evaluated, and we're trying to follow up.

Question:  And how is that… I guess… many people don't understand it.  How is this process different than the one on Haiti?  Like, was a panel set up by the UN to decide whether to even consider compensation or what's the difference?

Deputy Spokesman:  They're completely different circumstances.  They have had different bodies looking into them.  They have had different ways of looking at it.  You'll have seen what we've had to say about Haiti.  It's a separate matter. 

We'll have more on this. For now, NYT of May 14 here.

In France's UNSC Month, No Burundi, CAR or MINURSO, Eritrea Covered Up

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- With France in June presiding over the UN Security Council, topics it didn't want to come up, didn't. France is the penholder on Burundi, but did nothing during its month to push forward. 
Sources say it will, next month, half-heartedly appear to push for the deployment of some 200 UN police, winking at Pierre Nkurunziza to reject them. A French minister visited Bujumbura and nothing came of it, nothing was announced.
  So too on Western Sahara. After Morocco expelled more than 80 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission, during France's month nothing was announce. Ambassador Francois Delattre amiably told Inner City Press of “positive momentum,” but as the month ends, nothing.
  Delattre specially mentioned to end of the month of France's presidency when Inner City Press on June 29 asked about Eritrea's letter to the Council about fighting on its border with Ethiopia. Delattre said France's month is ending and so nothing be done. When the French Mission transcribed the June 29 stakeout, they entirely omitted the Eritrea question, quite audible, Vine video here. And so it goes: entre amis.
  On the scandal of rapes in Central African Republic by peacekeepers from France and from the UN, justified by France's fourth head of UN Peacekeeping in a row Herve Ladsous, nothing was done during the month. 
As Inner City Press has reported elsewhere, there's talk of Ladsous leaving - not as should happen for linking rapes to R&R, but so France can install a fifth head of peacekeeping in a row, making it a fait accompli to the Next SG. 
When Ladsous refused to answer why his DPKO let weapons into the Malakal camp in South Sudan, French deputy Alexis Lamek at least offered some answer, here. But when UNMISS did not open its gates as 43 or 400 civilians were killed, no Security Council meeting was called. Oh, Protection. Delattre did in fairness speak about Colombia and North Korea, here.
Back on June 1, Delattre took questions on the Program of Work, from six media outlets. 
Obvious topics like Yemen and the alleged sexual abuse in the Central African Republic including by French troops did not come up among the selected questions. When the press conference was abruptly curtailed, Inner City Press asked, “Western Sahara?” Delattre smiled and said, “On travaille” - we are working. But on what? 
The major theme of France's month atop the Council was peacekeeping. But Morocco's ouster of more than 80 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara is a direct challenge to peacekeeping. Many thought that France, which has controlled UN Peacekeeping four times in a row now, would be more active in response to this ordering-out of a peacekeeping mission. 
  The sexual abuse in CAR, too, puts UN peacekeeping, and the parallel French forces, in a negative light. These are topics Inner City Press will be pursuing, particularly during this month. They are fair questions and should be answered.
It must be noted that Herve Ladsous, France's fourth head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, refuses to answer Inner City Press' questions; this type of response to critical questions led, for merely seeking to cover an event in this same UN Press Briefing Room, to Inner City Press being ousted (audio here) and evicted from its long time UN office,video hereNew York Times here. 
   On Yemen, an NGO filing in Geneva accuses France of violating international law and its obligations, as the number one supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia which is bombing Yemen. 

On Syria, de Mistura on Ban Ki-moon's "Legacy," Kurdish Homework

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- After the UN's envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefed the Security Council on June 29, the Council's outgoing president Francois Delattre came to the stakeout and said, We trust Staffan de Mistura's judgment on when intra-Syrian talks should resume and we should not pressure him. Then he declined questions, saying de Mistura wanted to speak next and was hungry.

   For de Mistura's stakeout, it was Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman picking the questions. He chose Al Jazeera English, Al Quds Daily, Rudaw and CBS News and that was it. Tellingly, de Mistura made much of Ban Ki-moon's “legacy,” and September 2016 being Ban's and Obama's last UN General Assembly week. Periscope video here.

Not only has de Mistura wanted to replace Ban as SG - Ban wants to be president of South Korea, according to journalists he met on background there. But it's too late for legacy.

  No questions were posed or allowed on Jaish al Islam's shoot-downs, or even the U.S. State Department “dissent channel” memo. As to whether Kurds will be included in the talks, de Mistura said “homework” is needed, saying that calls for federalism cause concern.Back on June 3 as the UN Security Council met about aid access in Syria, the month's Council president Francois of Delattre of France stopped on the steps on the way in and read out several talking point. 

Inner City Press asked quite audibly about helicopters, which the UN on June 2 said would be necessary in urban areas with consent. There was no answer.

After the meeting, Delattre announced that "on Sunday the UN, in accordance with the ISSG’s requests, will ask Damascus to authorize humanitarian air drops to reach localities for which land access was denied by the Syrian regime." Periscope here, including comments of Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

   Before the meeting UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft stopped on the steps and said, “One step at a time,” citing Daraya. Periscope here.  Earlier on June 3 the BBC interviewed a pseudonymous Daraya ex-resident saying only 8,000 people remain there.

  Earlier in the week Inner City Press asked Rycroft if the UK is preparing a Chapter 7 draft resolution on access, and if it is concerned that Al Nusra may have and use surface to air TOW missiles. YouTube video here.

After the closed door meeting, Rycroft said among other things that "Staffan De Mistura warned us that the chances are that the regime will be stop go about this. They'll stop it one day, they'll let it in the next day, they'll stop it the next day, they'll let it in the day after that. That is not acceptable."

Rycroft on UNTV took only questions from  BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Al Arabiya and France 24. Delattre on UNTV took no questions.

Back on May 12 after the Security Council agreed to a Press Statement about attacks in Syria, drafted by Egypt, New Zealand and Spain, the three countries came to the Council stakeout to take questions. New Zealand's Gerard van Bohemen, tracking the Statement, said that “the Council’s position is that terrorists are terrorists designated by the Security Council. So that’s Al Qaeda, Da’esh and Al Nusra. Those are the people designated as terrorists.”

 Inner City Press asked “about the paragraph in the statement where you say terrorist acts by Da’esh, Nusra and then other individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda, so you are limiting, that’s what you are sticking with. Can you say anything about the request, and I guess, unsuccessful request, to list other groups? Are you prepared to say where that stands?” Video here.

   Ambassador van Bohemen replied, “There is a process and it requires consensus of the committee whether that’s a good or a bad system, that is the process. There is no consensus on that most recent recommendations.”

   So, with the day's events in Zaara in mind, Inner City Press asked, “If a group not on that list did a car bomb, would it be a terrorist act?”

  To this van Bohemen replied, “I am not going to go down hypotheticals. Sorry. Thank you.”

  But Zaara is hardly a hypothetical.

Those who delayed and demurred on Kurdish involvement in the UN's Geneva talks have only themselves to blame.

 On March 15, Inner City Press put the question to US State Department spokesperson John Kirby. From the State Department transcript:

Inner City Press: what does the U.S. think of the inclusion of Kurdish groups from – in Syria in the talks?  There’s more and more – many countries talk – say they should be involved.  Obviously, Turkey says that they shouldn’t be involved; there’s the Ankara attack.  Has your – what’s the thinking here?

MR KIRBY:  I’ve addressed this before and our position is exactly the same.  The invitations to the talks were decided and sent by the UN, by Special Envoy de Mistura.  He sent invitations this time to the same groups that he sent last time.  Right now, that does not include Kurdish groups in the proximity talks.  That said, as before, he continues to consult with a wide range of groups, to include Kurdish groups.  And we believe that we need to respect his decision-making process going forward and how he wants to conduct these talks.  We’re going to continue to support that.  And again, there are consultations, there are discussions going on.  We recognize that those consultations are important.

  But what about Kurds declaring self determination in northern Syria? We hope to have more on this.

Here's some background on de Mistura's M.O. in Geneva, then Inner City Press' question on it: on March 1 the "Association des Correspondants Aupres des Nations Unies a Geneve" (ACANU), in a bit of advocacy the NY-based UNCA does not engage in, protested de Mistura making announcements about the Syria talks in exclusive interviews, and not to all correspondents at once.

 Inner City Press has obtained the ACANU letter, which was cc-ed to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric (who threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29 and out of the entire UN on February 19 and 22,petition here) and published it here.

  In New York, Ban Ki-moon and his Under Secretaries General like Herve Ladsous dole out information to favored correspondents; Ban's USG for Public Information Cristina Gallach on February 19 went so far as to oust Inner City Press after speaking with Giampaolo Pioli's UNCA but not Inner City Press. Will de Mistura, as now pledged, be different?

On March 14, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press there is no policy in this regard. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: I saw you [carbon copied] on this, so it seems like a fair question to you.  I saw a letter from the ACANU, or the Geneva press association of correspondents, directed to Mr… Mr. de Mistura and [carbon copied] to you, protesting that he announced a delay… initial delay in the Syria talks in an exclusive interview.  And I saw him this morning very early say that he's not going to do any exclusive interviews between 14 and 24 March, sort of as an accommodation.  I guess I wanted to know, what is the UN's policy in terms of both the Secretary-General or a news-maker like de Mistura giving… ACANU seemed to say very clearly this information should be given to all correspondents at the same time.  Do you agree with that?

Spokesman:  No, Mr. de Mistura is a seasoned diplomat.  He chooses to… he deftly handles the media, and he will do whatever he feels he needs to do.  There is no policy per se on any of these issues that you raised.

  No policy - like on the "lending out" of the UN Press Briefing Room, resulting in differences of opinion on the right to cover events there which the UN, Dujarric, can use as a pretext to oust the Press.

  UN Geneva spokesman Ahmad Fawzi on March 14 gave the first question to “our Turkish colleague” -- who asked about the timing of elections in Syria. The next picked questioner identified himself “with the Geneva press corps;” then Al Jazeera Arabic asked if there is any deadline for a deal to be reached.

  To this, de Mistura said this first round would run from March 14 to 24 -- during which no exclusive interviews, he said -- then a recess of a week or ten days. This will be folllowed by a second round of two weeks, then another recess, length undefined.

  Fawzi's final question went to ACANU, representing Geneva correspondents accredited by the UN, hopefully (much) better than the decaying and corrupt UN Correspondents Association the UN uses in New York. This question was to say when meetings begin and end. And then it was over.

One couldn't help wonder if there were anywhere near this focus on the slaughter in Yemen - and where is de Mistura's counterpart Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed?

 On Syria, will the Ankara attack impact mounting demands that the Kurds be given a role in this round of talks? We'll have more on this.

After Egypt Expels Liliane Daoud, Akhbar Elyom Silent,Like CPJ On Eviction

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 27 -- As the Egyptian government steps up its crackdown on the media, expelling Liliane Daoud after arresting Yahia Galash, the Sisi-supporting media has stayed quiet or participated. 
This includes Akhbar Elyom, the publication to which the UN of Ban Ki-moon is giving the long time shared office space of Inner City Press, from which the UN evicted Inner City Press on April 14 (see New York Times of May 14, here)
In fact on June 28, as Inner City Press confined ot minder asked questions of the foreign ministers of Sweden, Kazakhstan and Italy, Akhbar Elyom's corrrespondent, a former UN Correspondents Association president, wasn't even in the building, having been awarded the space in contravention of the UN's supposed rules, simply to keep Inner City Press out of it. This was raised at the UN Human Rights Council on June 27, here.
Now, this: "The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the expulsion of TV host by authorities in Egypt late on Monday.... 'It is outrageous that Liliane Daoud was seized from her home and forced to leave the country without warning," Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington. "Where independent journalists are concerned, Egypt has given up even the pretense to rule of law.'" 
But CPJ and Mansour have not said anything about the UN's eviction of Inner City Press to put Akhbar Elyom in. We'll have more on this.
On May 31 Inner City Press - not Akhbar Elyom - asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the crackdown in Egypt. Video hereUN Transcript here: 
Inner City Press: in Egypt.  I’m waiting for a statement there…  [inaudible]

Spokesman:  They apply across the board.  We, obviously, have seen the reports of new charges being brought against the Union of Journalists in Egypt.  We remain concerned at the situation.  We’re following it closely.  
 If Team Ban saw the crackdown and was so concerned, why did it issue no statement until asked by Inner City Press? Why is it giving Inner City Press' long time UN office to Egyptian state media Akhbar Elyom, whose rarely seen correspondent Sanaa Youssef, last seen in 2002, a former President of the UN Correspondents Association, asks no questions at all?  Perhaps the question answers itself. We'll have more on this. 
 This while Ban Ki-moon speaks about "authoritarian impulses" and ostensibly for press freedom, while campaigning in South Korea. (See article in Korean here,robo-translation here.) 
Meanwhile the Committee to Protect Journalists has said
“Authorities are pursuing Yehia Qallash, Khaled al-Balshy, and Gamal Abdel Rahim for trying to defend the Egyptian media against a thin-skinned and brutal security apparatus," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. "We call on Egyptian prosecutors to drop these charges immediately and stop harassing journalists."
  But CPJ has yet to speak on Ban's UN evicting the investigative press, much less on Ban then giving Inner City Press' UN shared office to Egyptian state media Akhbar Elyom. We'll have more on this.
Amnesty International’s interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme Magdalena Mughrabi said:

"The arrest of key media figures at the Press Syndicate signals a dangerous escalation of the Egyptian authorities’ draconian clampdown on freedom of expression and demonstrates the extreme measures the authorities are prepared to take in order to tighten their iron grip on power.

“By prosecuting senior members of the Press Syndicate the authorities are clearly attempting to punish them for speaking out against the government and to send a strong message to intimidate all journalists into silence. The authorities must immediately order their release and drop the charges against them.” bo-translation here.)
"For ten years as Inner City Press covered the UN in ever greater detail, showing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Herve Ladsous' inept overseeing and cover up of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepersdalliance with genocide in Sri Lanka and prospectively Burundi, impunity forcholera deaths in Haiti and until now forUN lead poisoning in Kosovo and cravenly pro-Saudi position on Yemen amid the airstrikes, it was never thrown out of the UN. 
Now it has been, and even as groups like the Government Accountability Project tell Ban to reverse the eviction and give Inner City Press back its long time office and Resident Correspondent pass, Ban's UN tellingly move to award Inner City Press' office to Egypt state media Al-Akhbar / Akhbar Elyoum. 
Akhbar Elyom has been used to finger for imprisonment non-state journalists in Egypt. For example, in July 2015 Aboubakr Khallaf, the founder and head of the independent Electronic Media Syndicate (EMS), “was arrested after a news article was published by the government-owned daily Akhbar Elyoum.” (Article in Arabic here.) 
According to CPJ, Khallaf's EMS “trains and supports journalists who work online in Egypt. The syndicate operates independently from the state-recognized Egyptian Journalists Syndicate... 
The local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture and the local Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said Khallaf was also accused of 'taking pictures and displaying artistic works without a license,' among other allegations. A 1998 executive order states that individuals conducting audio and audiovisual work must have a license from the Ministry of Culture. According to AFTE, the accusation is in connection with Khallaf photographing the funeral of Hisham Barakat, Egypt's prosecutor general who was assassinated late last month."
There are many echoes of this in Ban's UN: as simply one example Ban's Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach telling Inner City Press it takes photographs of things that "are not newsworthy." There are more, and more examples of Akbar Elyom. 
Only when it questioned Ban's and its PR official CristinaGallach's roles in the John Ashe, Ng Lap Seng and Francis Lorenzo UN bribery scandal did Gallach order Inner City Press ousted then evicted, and now try to give its office to an Egyptian media which rarely or never asked questions. Ban Ki-moon claimed “That is not my decision,” but that is not true.
  The New York Times on May 14 covered the story. But they did not in their long process report, because it happened at the end, that Ban Ki-moon and Gallach are moving to give Inner City Press' long time office to Egyptian state media, Al Akhbar / Akhbar El-Yom / Akher Saa, to a correspondent Sanaa Youssef who most even on the UN press floor have never seen. 
Her "in" seems to be that she was a previous president of the UN Correspondents Association, now become the UN's Censorship Alliance. As one respected usual UN interlocutor put it, "it would be a hugely negative symbolic step for Egyptian state media to replace Inner City Press in the UN." 
 A longtime UN correspondent who spotted her moving in on Inner City Press' office noted she had not been seen before; the name was confirmed by UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, which refused to provide the waiting list or describe the rationale. 
But this is Ban's and Gallach's UN (click here for a Spanish take on Gallach's tenure.) We are beginning to report this now because it has proven nearly impossible to reach Al Akhbar / Akhbar Al Yom - the telephone numbers listed online are disconnected, or private homes; the correspondent at UNCA address has been unresponsive.The absurdity of this has been directly raised to Ban Ki-moon, his Deputy and Chief of Staff with enough time to stop it. We'll see. 
  For now from the NYT we note this quote: “It’s not exactly the same access,’’ Mr. Dujarric said, “but if he has an issue, there is a staff of media liaisons to help him resolve the problem and get where he needs to go.”
  This is false. As Inner City Press has raised to Ban Ki-moon, "even when begrudgingly accompanied by a staff member of your Spokesperson's office, UN Security refused to allow me through the turnstile onto the second floor of Conference Building. I have been told not to ask questions of diplomats, just after you came out of ECOSOC and even with a MALU minder / escort with me, a UN Security official stood directly in front of me, apparently so I couldn't even try to ask you a question. This is censorship."  We await response.
    UN Correspondents Association boss Giampaolo Pioli lied, but at least on the record. (He rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona then granted Kohona's request, as Sri Lanka's Ambassador, to screen his government's war crimes denial film in the UN. Then Pioli told Inner City Press to take its story about it off the Internet or be thrown out of the UN, which Gallach and Ban did: UN Censorship Alliance.)
In any event, who is a rarely present boss of an ostensible Correspondents Association (morphing into the UN's Censorship Alliance) to lobby for the ouster of an investigative journalist so that his office can be handed to a never present former UNCA president - a representative of state owned media who never asks questions? This too has been raised and we await response.
  What's next? Is it acceptable for the UN to throw out a critical journalist writing four to eight stories a day, while leaving in people who write little, and ask nothing? Is Ban Ki-moon killing the UN? Watch this site.
The UN is now both corrupt -- a half a dozen indictments and counting, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cavorting with the indicted and his team covering it up -- retaliatory and badly run. 
Now the UN is moving to give away Inner City Press' long time office as retaliation for its seeking to cover the bribery and corruption scandal, including  trying to cover a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), a group which took money from the indicteds' company, Ban Ki-moon's “Communications” chief Cristina Gallach threw Inner City Press out of the UN on February 19. 
So to whom does the UN seek to give Inner City Press' office away? A former UNCA President, who it seems has not asked any question, much less a critical question, in the UN Press Briefing Room or stakeout in quite some time. 
Inner City Press has in the past defended correspondents when the UN sought late in their careers to move them along, and is treading lightly for now: perhaps this former UNCA President didn't know the history here. 
(The current UNCA website doesn't even list its past Presidents, perhaps wisely: it seems to be a Year Zero operation.) 
But what is the UN's rationale of giving away the office of a working, critical journalist to a former UNCA president who asks even fewer questions than the current UNCA president?
It's called retaliation, or some say, human shields. Who is responsible?
Audio hereBan, when asked, said “that is not my decision.” But he heard about the ouster and eviction in advance and ok-ed it.
On April 16, the acting chief of Gallach's “Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit Tal Mekel oversaw the eviction of Inner City Press' office, leaving five boxes of its files out on First Avenue. Video here.
Some in Ban's team indicated to Inner City Press its office would be left empty until its four month “purgatory” or punishment-for-reporting period was over. 
That was a lie: on May 13, after Inner City Press asked more questions about Ban's engagements with John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo - president of South South News which paid UNCA and still has a UN office - Inner City Press was informed that its long time office is being given out -- apparently, to a former President of UNCA.
   When Inner City Press asked to see the supposed waiting list, this was refused by Mekel. It is apparently entirely up to Gallach - or UNCA - who is given UN office space, without which one cannot access the UN Conference Building's second floor, see below. 
On May 13 as the UN Security Council began a meeting about Lebanon, the glass doors to enter the Council were locked. Apparenlty the UN can't afford one guard for a Security Council meeting, but won't provide information requested by the Press about Ban Ki-moon's endless and largely fruitless travel.
   Inner City Press, which covers the UN corruption scandal and was ousted then evicted by an official implicated in the scandal, Cristina Gallach -- see OIOS audit Paragraphs 37 to 40 and 20(b) -- with Ban Ki-moon's full knowledge, was unable to get to the Security Council stakeout. Its pass, cut by Gallach, won't open the turnstile at the other end of the stakeout. This week a guard there even refused to allow Inner City Press through to a stakeout with a staffer of the Spokesperson's office.
   Gallach, at least according to some paid to tweet for the UN, is in Washington. So Inner City Press undertook to document the restrictions and censorship. Another UN system spokesperson tried to undermine it, as did UN Security. They claimed everything is fine, even as Security Council Ambassadors asked them how can it be that the door is locked (and Press excluded). Some Security write-up began, sure to omit all of this. Watch this site - and see below.
While many try to insulate today's UN from the open corruption of the recent past of President of the General Assembly John Ashe, and of Francis Lorenzo who has pleaded guilty, there is continuity to this UN scandal. This includes a revival of the Ng Lap Seng's old "South South News" team, with El Salvador ex-Ambassador Carlos Garcia and others, even as those investigating this UN corruption are evicted and restricted, and those covering it up are rewarded. 
   Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Ban's appearance at an event sponsored by the Francis Lorenzo registered group Global Governance for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Q&A videos here and here
Dujarric tried to answer about another group, then said Lorenzo's connection to the group isn't clear. Q&A video here.
   Well, now Inner City Press can report that the "Global Governance for the UN Sustainable Development Goals"event Ban attended was with indicted John Ashe, his wife Anilla Cherian's book launch. Video here.
 It featured speeches by Ban and by Francis Lorenzo, who in his speech named both GG-UNSDG and Global National Competitiveness Cooperation Organization for the UN, which sponsored the DPI-NGO conference last year at which Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach spoke.Q&A video here.
   How did this not show up in the UN's audit of l'affaireJohn Ashe and Ng Lap Seng? How did this book launch event get inserted into UNTV archives, run by Gallach's DPI? On the video, Ban and then Mrs. Ban are thanked by Ashe and then Anilla Cherian. The indictment details how over $1,000,000 was withdrawn from the PGA Accounts and transferred to the personal accounts of Ashe and of Anilla Cherian; no-show jobs are also described.
   Then there is the speech of Francis Lorenzo, how Anilla Cherian showed Ban the book even before Ashe. The UN has been trying to downplay or conceal Ban Ki-moon's contacts with Lorenzo, most recently saying it's unclear how Lorenzo is connected to a group that he, Lorenzo, register, and another one he founded. Those obfuscations cannot stand; separately, the retaliation is more and more clear. We'll have more on this.
As UN officials including Cristina Gallach, whoseinvolvement in the scandal is detailed in the UN's ownOffice of Internal Oversight Services audit at Paragraphs 37 to 40 and 20(b) have moved to evict Inner City Press  from the UN premises (video hereCourthouse News article here) and restrict its access, Inner City Press has been made aware of a revival of the South South News model, in organizations which retains ties to indicted Ng Lap Seng.   

And Gallach's Department of Public Information continues partnering with these organizations, even as DPI falls apart on Gallach's watch. The last NGO Conference at the UN, sponsored by South Korea among others, had as a sponsor and speaker the "Global National Competitiveness Cooperation Organization for the UN," one of four Sponsors of indicted Francis Lorenzo's Global Governance for the UN SDGs.  Gallach even spoke at the event.