Saturday, May 18, 2019

Exclusive: OCC of Otting Told ETRADE It Is Exempt From CRA Inner City Press Finds Under FOIA


By Matthew R. Lee, Exclusive

SOUTH BRONX, May 18 – The US Treasury Department is in a process to try to weaken and take the community out of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. Docket file here. The protagonist, akin to Scott Pruitt when he was at the US Environmental Protection Agency, is Comptroller of the Current Joseph Otting. On September 12 Fair Finance Watch (and on FOIA, Inner City Press) commented to the OCC, here. Now on October 11, more on Otting's assault on the CRA has become known. In April 2018 his OCC approved an application by E-Trade Saving Bank which Fair Finance Watch had challenged based on the bank having no fewer than six states rare "Needs to Improve" CRA ratings. 
FFW notedrare Needs to Improve ratings for the entire states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oregon, and an undeserved “Satisfactory” for New York. Otting's OCC, after the approval, helpfully contacted E-Trade Bank to tell it that upon (Otting's) reflection, it was no longer even subject to the Community Reinvestment Act. 
 Back in October 2018 Inner City Press asked the OCC for documents about this under FOIA - while the OCC has sought to evade by accessing fees, to this day. But in May 2019 while withholding 1000 pages the OCC released to Inner City Press, like a needle in a hay stack, its June 16, 2018 letter from Assistant Deputy Comptroller for Midsize Bank Supervision William Russell to E*TRADE's Karl Roessner telling him that E*TRADE's banks are exempt from CRA, here. We'll have more on this.
 Inner City Press on October 11 raised the E-Trade (and another bank) issue into the record on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Many more are resisting Otting, but Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta J. Mester on October 3 saidthat "the OCC, a part of Treasury, has put out an advance notice of proposed rule-making (ANPR) seeking comment on ways to modernize the CRA regulations. The Federal Reserve is also undertaking efforts aimed at ensuring that the CRA regulations continue to meet the goals of the legislation amid the evolving financial services environment" - with these as her footnotes for that: "Brainard, Lael, “Community Development in Baltimore and A Few Observations on Community Reinvestment Act Modernization,” Baltimore, Maryland, April 17, 2018a and Brainard, Lael, “Keeping Community at the Heart of the Community Reinvestment Act,” New York, NY, May 18, 2018b. Both of those Brainard speeches were before Otting's proposals. And since? In the docket file as of October 8 are 42 comments, now including the President of  First National Bank & Trust in Elk City, Oklahoma who writes, "I firmly believe that this form of oversite was meant for metropolitan areas and banks with multiple branches. There’s got to be a better way of monitoring and locating those banks that aren’t helping the population it serves. I would be surprised to find there are very many banks that fail the CRA examination." It's called grade inflation. On September 29 The Intercepthas dug into it, citing FFW's formal request that Otting recuse himself - and so here now are some of the Freedom of Information Act documents. On October 2 in the Senate Banking Committee, Otting insisted he is not trying to weaken the CRA; he called the ANPR an "Advanced Notice of Public Rulemaking" instead of Proposed. He said he met with 1100 individuals - still undisclosed - and expects five to ten thousand comments on the ANPR. (So far there are 33 listed but only 29 visible). Senator Sherrod Brown began by asking him indirectly about the blogs at CFPB of Eric Blankenstein. We'll have more on this. And this - as obtained by Inner City Press and fellow NCRC member CRC, here are more of the documents, for (this time) free download on Patreon
 On October 1 Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch submitted the documents obtained under FOIA into the record before the OCC, stating that "These documents, which must be considered as part of this ANPR and any subsequent formal rulemaking, show that fraudulent comments supporting Otting's OneWest were submitted to the OCC - presumptively attributable to Otting.
The documents show that the OCC sought an explanation from Otting's / OneWest's outside counsel - and the OCC's and Justice Department's response to date reflect that no such explanation was ever provided. The OCC nevertheless approved the merger and even gave weight to the fraudulent comments. On this record we again insist that Otting be recused from this ANPR and any related rulemaking or proceedings. We have other substantive concerns about this ANPR but view the question of Mr Otting's recusal (and of with whom he has met, on which Inner City Press has another long-pending FOIA request) as threshold matter than must be addressed as quickly as possible."
 The FOIA document as provided by the OCC and US Department of Justice reflect that the OCC never followed up on its lone (and wan) question to Otting's counsel as Sullivan & Cromwell to explain the fraudulent comments. Nor did this counsel respond to questions from The Intercept's David Dayen, who reports: "AFTER A YEARLONG effort to obtain the information, which included ongoing litigation, the OCC made available 15 pages. They contain emails to and from David Finnegan, an OCC senior licensing analyst who was a point of contact for public comment on the merger.

Four individuals contended in emails to Finnegan that they never sent the comment letters supporting the merger. “This is to bring to your attention that I received an email from the office of OCC regarding a subject I am completely unaware of,” wrote one individual (the OCC redacted the emailers’ identifying information). “I DID NOT send the email below that you responded to. This is a fraudulent use of my email account.” The other three sent similar complaints.

The letter of support attributed to these individuals was identical to the letter posted at the OneWest Bank website.

Matthew Lee of Inner City Press expressed outrage at the fake comments. “There’s nothing more offensive of speech rights than artificially presenting someone as saying something you don’t believe,” Lee said. “You have the right to be silent. It’s so beyond the pale.”

Finnegan responded to these emailers, thanking them for letting him know. He also sent two emails to Stephen Salley, an attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell, who was representing OneWest in the merger. “FYI and review. We would appreciate any information you can provide regarding this submission,” Finnegan wrote to Salley on both occasions.

Presumably, Finnegan reached out to OneWest’s lawyer about the fake comments because they featured the same form letter that OneWest had written to encourage public support. But the two emails are the only record that OCC did any investigation of the fake comments. There is no reply from Salley or Sullivan & Cromwell to the OCC, at least not in written form. “By reaching out to the attorneys immediately, it suggests something serious, and yet there’s no follow-up that’s apparent whatsoever,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition...Olivia Weiss, a spokesperson for CIT, forwarded a request for comment to her colleague Gina Proia, who declined to comment. Salley did not respond when asked whether he or his law firm responded to the OCC....In his public comment for Inner City Press, Lee asked for Otting to recuse himself from the new rule-making, highlighting the fake comment controversy. “Public participation is key to CRA, on performance evaluations and crucially on bank merger and expansion applications,” Lee wrote. He added that it’s unclear whether the OCC has improved its processes to prevent fake comments from being submitted again in the CRA rule-making. The public comment period ends in November.

Otting is scheduled to appear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on October 2, where his CRA push could be a topic of discussion." We'll have more on this Why didn't the OCC more seriously look into this fraud? What has been improved since? Shouldn't Otting be recused, as Fair Finance Watch has already timely requested? One analogy, also noted by The Intercept, is to the gaming of the FCC's process on net neutrality, when even Senator Jeff Merkley and Pat Toomey's identities were borrowed, as reported by the Washington Post's Hamza Shaban.  Unlike Otting to date, at least the FCC's Ajit Pai responded, if only to blame David Bray, as reported by Adam Jacobson in RBR. Otting simple refuses to answer - for now. From the Fair Finance Watch / Inner City Press comment: "Fair Finance Watch (and where applicable Inner City Press) appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currencys (OCC) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) regarding the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). CRA has leveraged significant amounts of loans and investments for low- and moderate-income communities.

We began enforcing the CRA in the South Bronx then beyond starting in 1994, in connection with the applications for mergers or expansions on which banks' records are considered. Numerous banks excluded the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan from their CRA assessment areas even though, as we proved, they collected substantial deposits from area residents. We got six banks to open branches and make lending commitments, in the Bronx and beyond.

We concerned that the OCC's proposal threatens to weaken CRA, see below. As as relevant here, we commented along with others on the CIT - OneWest proceeding, and were concerned both by OneWest's record under now-Comptroller Otting and by what emerged as the gaming of the system with pre-fabricated comments Otting openly solicited. We may comment in more detail on this later in his ANPR proceeding.

For now we wish raise particular concern about the approach signaled by Questions 21 and 15 and to emphasize that public participate is key to CRA, on performance evaluations and crucially on bank merger and expansion applications. Inner City Press, which often submits FOIA requests to the OCC (which is, frankly, slow), the Federal Reserve, FDIC and even non-USA regulators many of whom are faster than the OCC, emphasizes that comment periods should never close while information that is not specifically exempt from disclosure under FOIA is being withheld. Inner City Press has pending with the OCC, but not yet responded to, FOIA requests related to this proceeding / process, that should be responded to in full, including any necessary appeal, during this proceeding.

If the OCC proceeds to significantly diminish the importance of assessment areas on CRA exams, the progress in increasing lending to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods will be halted. NCRC estimates that low- and moderate-income neighborhoods could lose up to $105 billion in home and small business lending nationally over a five year time period. We join in the comments of NCRC, of which we are members... We urge the OCC to go back to the drawing board and develop reform proposals with the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC.

And, for the reasons above and yet to be submitted, we contend Comptroller Otting should be recused from this process. Thank you for your attention to this."

While Reuters blandly noted that he is "a former banker," the bank he headed, OneWest, was accused of predatory lending and when its acquisition by the CIT Group was challengedby Fair Finance Watch, CRC and others Otting arranged for seemingly counterfeit or compelled comments supporting the merger. In this light, Question 11 of his "Advanced Notice of Proposal Rulemaking" or ANPR is noteworthy: "11. How can community involvement be included in an evaluation process that uses a
metric-based framework?" How, indeed. Here's what Otting wrote as a banker, already long public, in support of his merger: 
"From: Otting, Joseph M [at] owb.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2015 5:00 PM
Cc: Haas, Alesia Jeanne; Tran, Cindy; Kim, Glenn
Subject: Support For OneWest Bank

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Joseph M. Otting
President and CEO
OneWest Bank N.A.
888 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91101"

UN Dujarric Personally Covers Up Morocco Child Rape in DRC Blocking SEA Info Deputy Twice Released


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here, Vine here
UNITED NATIONS GATE, May 18 -- Stephane Dujarric, the lead spokesman of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has taken it upon himself to personally cover up child rapes and sexual abuse by UN personnel, most recently a Moroccan peacekeeper's alleged child rape in DR Congo. 
   The UN's transparency under Guterres has declined steadily. But on his issue of refusing to provide basic if-asked information from the UN Peacekeeping missions about the allegations the UN data dumps in one line on its website, Dujarric stands apart.
  While Dujarric was away on Guterres' most recent junket, now saying nothing about the no confidence motion in Tuvalu while Guterres is there, long time deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to his credit - it is his job after all - twice provide the if-asked information, see below.
  (It was Dujarric who said, on camera, that Guterres' UN would "continued to answer emailed questions from Mr. Lee," here. Inner City Press has not been able to enter the UN once since then. So that only rationale for stopping is content: censorship.)
  The moment Dujarric returned, with his glad handing jokes with the scribes his uses to oust the Press, even this if-asked information was again withheld. It is not because it is an "international" staffer on whom Guterres refuses to give information. The only difference between the Moroccan peacekeeper's child rape and the allegations Haq answer on is... Dujarric, and perhaps the French connection. We'll have more on this.
  Guterres says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment,and for retaliation. But on March 15 he took his administration's "press briefing" about UN sexual abuse off the record, in a room he has banned Inner City Press which most asks about it from for 315 days.
 On May 15 the UN data dumped a serious new charge, of child rape by a Morocco peacekeeper in the DR Congo in April. Inner City Press immediately in writing asked Guterres and his spokesmen, Farhan Haq and the returned Stephane Dujarric, "Please immediately provide all if-asked information for new SEA allegation against Moroccan peacekeeper in DRC uploaded this morning, since Inner City Press is banned from entering to ask at noon briefing. Please confirm receipt and explain."
 Dujarric held his noon briefing, bantering with his stooges who did not ask about UN child rape; no answer was sent to Inner City Press. This is the cover up by child rape by the UN.
 On May 13, in the middle of a belatedly UNSecurity Council meeting about Cameroon and still without providing basic if-asked information about rapes by UN peacekeepers at least identified as being from Cameroon, the UN data dumped more sexual exploitation allegations against it, in the DR Congo, by an "international" with nationality undisclosed.Inner City Press on the morning of May 14 asked Guterres, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric (who never answers despite his on camera promise to) and deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, who sometimes does provide the if-asked information,"May 14-2: On UN sexual abuse and exploitation, immediately provide all if-asked further information about the allegation(s) in the DR Congo put online on May 13 in the middle of the belated UNSC meeting on Cameroon, and explain why the SG does not disclose the nationality of international staff accused of sexual misconduct, and of the April 17 regarding Burundi and South Africa peacekeepers and still the Cameroon troops' rape allegations you have not provide any further information on - and now the four cases put online on May 9,four more sexual misconduct cases, declaring three "unsubstanted" including the alleged rape of a child in Guinea Bissau by a UN civilians whose nationality the UN declined to disclose. The fourth involves a UN person from DRC, but the position in the MONUSCO mission is undisclosed."
  Deputy spokesman Haq some hours later replied, and we publish in full, "On question May 14-2, we can say the following:     The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has received an allegation of sexual exploitation involving a civilian international staff.  The allegation refers to an exploitative relationship involving an adult woman that allegedly took place over an unspecified period and resulted in the birth of a child. The matter is being investigated by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). Meanwhile, the mission is making all efforts to locate the alleged victim and her child to provide them with the appropriate support as per the UN’s victim assistance policy." But why is the nationality withheld? We'll have more on this.
On May 9 - still unanswered four days later - the UN declared three "unsubstanted" including the alleged rape of a child in Guinea Bissau by a UN civilians whose nationality the UN declined to disclose. The fourth involves a UN person from DRC, but the position in the MONUSCO mission is undisclosed. Even the UN's initial disclosures are getting more and more evasive. Will they continue, as they began after physical ousting and banning Inner City Press which asks, to not provide if-asked information? Or will the Deputy Spokesman, as he did earlier this week and then more than a month before, provide at least that information? Watch this site.
On May 2 the UN disclosed two cases, both in CAR, by "peacekeepers" from Senegal and from Gabon, another country Guterres' UN is failing on. On May 3 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric and others for the if-asked information on these cases, and one from Guinea Bissau. For five days, nothing. Inner City Press reiterated the questions early on the morning of May 8. Then this, from Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, which we publish in full minutes after receipt: "Regarding question May 8-2, here is the relevant information from the missions:    
 The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has received two allegations of sexual exploitation involving members of its military contingents deployed to the Mission.     
 The first allegation refers to attempted transactional sex by a Gabonese peacekeeper, involving an adult woman, that allegedly took place in March 2019.     The second allegation refers to transactional sex involving an adult woman by a Senegalese peacekeeper that allegedly also took place in March 2019. The Mission informed the alleged victim of available assistance in line with the UN’s victim assistance protocols, which was declined by the victim.      The UN has accordingly separately informed both Member States. Further, the UN has requested the countries to appoint their own National Investigation Officer within five working days and for investigations to be completed within the reduced 90-days timeframe.     
Meanwhile, the Mission reports that the Senegalese peacekeeper is currently confined to barracks, while the peacekeeper from Gabon has been repatriated. The UN has withheld payment for both peacekeepers.     
The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) has received an allegation of sexual exploitation involving a civilian international staff.  The allegation refers to transactional sex with an adult woman. The alleged victim was offered medical, psycho-social and legal assistance and the Mission is maintaining continuous contact with her to keep her informed of the status and progress of the investigation which is being conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)." Why is the time frame of the abuse in Guinea Bissau not given? And why is the nationality withheld? We'll have more on this. 
Background: On April 20 the UN went even more murky with sexual abuse in Guinea Bissau by a UN "international" it would not even say where from. Could it be Guterres' colonial Portugal? Inner City Press has asked in writing and more than a day later, no answer at all. We'll have more on this.
 On April 17, the UN data dumped new sexual abuse allegations, by troops from Burundi in CAR and South Africa in DRC and others it wouldn't even specify the nationality of of. Photo here. On the same day his UN denied in one line the application for re-entry by Inner City Press which asks about these UN rapeshere

 This is cover up of rapes #DumpGuterres: no second term.

Friday, May 17, 2019

UN Journalism Awards Are Subject To Chinese Veto With Xinhua On UNCA Awards Committee Cover Up of CEFC Bribery of Guterres


By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR LetterPFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, May 17 – The UN has been so corrupted and dominated by China under UNSG Antonio Guterres that now its ostensible journalist award is controlled with Chinese state media. Would stories about CEFC China Energy's proven bribery at the UN, and bid to buy an oil company linked to Guterres through the Gulbenkian Foundation, even get through a first round of review with this Chinese "journalism" veto? Fat chance. Guterres and the UN are corrupt.

  Here's from today's announcement by the pro-Guterres and now China controlled UN Correspondents Association, with its second vice president on the awards committee from Chinese state media: "2019 U.N. Correspondents Association Awards For Best Journalistic Coverage Of The United Nations And U.N. Agencies - NEWS PROVIDED BY United Nations Correspondents Association -  Winners Will Be Honored At Gala Event By The U.N. Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres... UNCA Awards Committee: Valeria Robecco (UNCA President), Giampaolo Pioli (Awards Chairman), ), Jianguo Ma (UNCA Second Vice President [from Chinese state media and Sherwin Bryce-Pease (UNCA Executive Member).
 In full disclosure, before Inner City Press quit UNCA after finding it corrupt and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access (FUNCA), and was then evicted from its UN work space (2016) then roughed up by Guterres' UN Security on 3 July 2018 and banned from any entry of the UN since, it was on the Executive Committee of UNCA. There, it was told by the already Permanent representative on the board of Chinese state media to NOT raise the issue of Taiwanese journalists. Guterres has gone further and covered up CEFC China Energy UN bribery and his own links. We'll have more on this.
Before Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Security on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since then, it insistently asked for disclosure of how many of Guterres' publicly funded trips took him through his real home, Lisbon. The questions are not been answered by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who on 2 November 2018 simply bicycled away as Inner City Press asked about Guterres' failure in Cameroon and attempt to get even Park East Synagogue to oust Inner City Press from covering his October 31 speech about tolerance.  
 On May 14, Inner City Press asked Guterres and Dujarric, "May 14-1: On China, human rights and NYC, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that a state-owned Chinese shipping company refused to lease an office space in NYC to  Amnesty International USA? Cosco Shipping acquired Orient Overseas in 2017, and took ownership the company’s real estate investments, including the office building in question, called Wall Street Plaza.  Amnesty said the organization was told that it is “not the best tenant” for a building owned by a Chinese state-owned firm." More than a day later, no answer. One wonders the position of Mayor De Blasio and his International Affairs representative Penny Abeywardena...
  On May 15, Inner City Press asked Guterres and Dujarric, "May 15-1: On China and the UN, beyond the ban on Taiwan journalists, what is the SG's explanation and/or action on that former political prisoners in China who now reside in the United States were informed by the UN accreditation desk in Geneva that they could not enter the premises without a passport from a UN member state. As political dissidents who have fled from China, the visitors did not have valid passports from the country? Dissidents who flee their home countries due to persecution are often not issued passports from their countries of refuge but are rather issued other valid forms of identification." 
  Eight hours later, no answer. But there's this, sent to Inner City Press by several outraged UN staffers: "Scheduled demonstration outside VIC Gate 1 on Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:00 -12:00 hours.   This is to inform VIC staff that on Thursday, 16 May 2019, between 10:00 hrs and 12:00 hrs there will be an authorized demonstration of approximately 100 demonstrators in Muhammad Asad Platz outside VIC Gate 1.  The organizers describe their demonstration message to "Support Taiwan’s participation to the World Health Organisation".  The UN Security and Safety Service, together with the host country police, will monitor this event for its duration.   Office of the Chief, Security and Safety Service United Nations Department of Safety and Security United Nations Office at Vienna." Yeah, Guterres' UN will monitor this event, and movement, for the duration. To (try to) save the UN, dump Guterres.
  While Guterres was in China banned Inner City Press in writing asked him and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric about China's crackdown in Hong Kong - no answer at all. Now even according to CNBC, tens of thousands of people marched on Hong Kong’s parliament on Sunday to demand the scrapping of proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial — a move which some fear puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.  Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Guterres said nothing. And when, CNBC reports, China censored its reporting from being broadcast in China, again nothing. Then again, Guterres has had critical Press roughed up and banned from the UN, for 298 days. He is corrupt.
  On April 27 from Beijing, from Guterres' second craven Belt and Road Initiative speech in as many days as he conceals his links with BRI briber China Energy Fund Committee which tried to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which has paid Guterres: "I can assure you, Mr. President [Xi Jinping of China], that the UN will do everything possible to help towards the success of the Belt and Road Initiative... the Belt and Road Initiative, with its huge volume of investment, is an opportunity we cannot miss." Guterres will do anything to conceal his own personal financing link to UN briber CEFC China Energy, through Gulbenkian Foundation whose payments to him he omitted from his public financial disclosure covering 2016.  From Guterres's April 26 singing for supper speech: "Convened by President Xi Jinping, we come together at this forum on the Belt and Road in the face of uncertainty and unease around the globe.      I want to recognize China for its central role as a pillar of international cooperation and multilateralism... United Nations country teams stand ready to support Member States in capacity and governance building, and in achieving a harmonious and sustainable integration of the Belt and Road projects in their own economies and societies in accordance with national development plans, anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The world needs to take profit of the Belt and Road Initiative to help close significant financing gaps for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the developing world, in particular, the need for about $1 trillion needed for infrastructure investments in developing countries.... The United Nations is poised to support the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Sustainable Development Goals, to share knowledge, and to make the most of the opportunities of this large-scale initiative for maximum sustainable development dividends.      Let us work together to restore trust by making good on the shared promise of the 2030 Agenda and our common commitment to leave no one behind.     Thank you."
Before 10 am on April 25, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, as well as Guterres' email address and that of his deputy and Alison Smale, "April 25-1: Now that SG Guterres is lavishing praise on China's "Belt and Road" please immediately provide the full transcript of Guterres' "interview with Chinese journalists" from which this propaganda came out: "UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the Belt and Road Initiative is a "very important opportunity" to the world. With such a huge volume of investment for international cooperation as the Belt and Road Initiative, it is a "very important opportunity for enhancing the capacity to implement the sustainable development goals and an important opportunity to launch green perspectives in the years to come," Guterres said during an interview with Chinese journalists at the UN headquarters before leaving for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. (Xinhua)." Immediately state how many staff of Xinhua and other Chinese state media the UN DPI/DGC has granted accreditation to to currently enter the UN.  
April 25-2: Immediately state how much Guterres and team's trip to China is costing, the size and composition of the UN delegation, and who is paying for it (given that even the PGA now discloses this information).  Again, state whether after the UN bribery conviction of Patrick Ho of CEFC, and CEFC's attempt to purchase the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid Mr. Guterres in 2016 (omitted from his online public financial disclosure covering 2016), he intends to raise corruption and UN bribery issues with China." More than seven hours later, no answer at all. But the UN South South Cooperation Office, which fronted for Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, was tweeting photos of its meetings in Beijing including Jorge Chediek and his (Chinese) deputy Xiaojun Grace Wang, here. China was bragging that Guterres would cravenly show up at its Belt and Road event, after Guterres refused to audit UN briber CEFC China Energy. CEFC tried to buy the oil company of Lisbon based Gulbenkian Foundation the payments of which to Guterres were not included in his public financial disclosure covering 2016. This was  days after Guterres' Alison Smale and Tal Mekel summarily denied Inner City Press application to re-enter the UN to ask questions, and after guards physically pushed Inner City Press out of the line for a press freedom event in the UN it was invited to and had a ticket for, then refused to provide the banned-by-Guterres list they said was the basis of their action.
 We'll have more on this. On March 2 with Guterres presumably in New York but not in the mansion at 5 pm - there were no UN security vehicles nearby - he nonetheless left all lights in the second floor blazing. This is pure waste, pure hypocrisy given what Guterres claims about his commitment to sustainability - all the more so because it was broad day light. On matters ranging from censorship and corruption to this, the hypocrisy gets worse and worse. On November 20, the day Guterres accepted the resignation of Erik Solheim -- which Guterres hypocritically demanded on November 19 -- for similar misuse of public funds to travel to Oslo and Paris, Inner City Press asked Guterres who his travel to Lisbon was any different. Guterres refused to answer, got into the back of his publicly funded Mercedes and drove off. Video here. On November 21 Dujarric was asked how / where Guterres would spend the next day, US Thanksgiving and replied Guterres would be "glued to his email." But past 11 am on November 21 there was none of the usual UN Security in front of the $15 million publicly funded mansion on Sutton Place where Guterres (sometimes) lives. Vine video here. Before 9 am on Monday November 26 Inner City Press in writing asked Guterres, his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and his two spokesmen: "November 26-3: As asked November 23 without any answer at all, please immediately state where SG Guterres has been since November 21, how much it has so far cost the UN budget / public, including in light of the Spokesman's response on Nov 21 that the SG would be “scrolling his email” and in the context of officials such as previous host city Mayor and now UN official Bloomberg disclosing when he was out of town and where - and of SG Guterres now reported role in demanding Erik Solheim “pull himself, now” for just such undisclosed personal travel?" Twelve hours later this was not answered, despite the promise of answers from Guterres' Communicator Alison Smale to UNSR David Kaye. But at the day's noon briefing Inner City Press was banned front, when asked why Guterres has said nothing on Ukaine, Dujarric said: "the Secretary-General is on plane on his way back to New York as we speak.  He is being fully briefed on the situation." So that's admitting Guterres was gone - while refusing to say where or how much it cost. And so much for being "glued to his email." Today's UN is corrupt. On Friday November 23 when the Spokesperson's Office was open, people getting paid, Inner City Press submitted five written questions including, beyond Cameroon, DRC and India, this: "November 23-3: Please immediately state where SG Guterres is, how much it is costing the UN budget / public, including in light of the Spokesman's response on Nov 21 that the SG would be “scrolling his email” and in the context of officials such as previous host city Mayor and now UN official Bloomberg disclosing when he was out of town and where." Even by the next day, not one of the questions was answered, including about a Kenyan priest killed by Biya's army in Cameroon, despite UK USG Alison Smale's promise to UNSR David Kaye that questions would be answered. This on the eve of a trial that will show how irresponsible and corrupt Guterres has been as UNSG.  And Friday evening, still the empty mansion, Vine here.Seems Guterres has taken off again. Even Trump tells the public where he is going (Florida). Even billionaire NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who unlike Guterres didn't use public money for his travel, ended up disclosed he was going to the Caribbean. How untransparent and arrogant can Guterres get, while having roughed up and still banned the Press that asks? Guterres has had Inner City Press banned from the UN for life, by his Alison Smale. But Inner City Press, even banned, on August 28 published the first in an exclusive and detailed series. Now on November 3 with this total lack of transparency from the UN Secretariat itself, Inner City Press can exclusively report that Guterres' current four day trip to Lisbon, his 16th as Secretary General, was only booked on October 24, making it more expensive, and is entirely paid for by the public. What was the pretext for the trip? A 15 minute "Web Summit" speech; Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it would be live streamd - free, one assumed - on the Web Summit platform. But there, to see it, members of the public had to "pre-register" for €850 for the 2019 Web Summit (purchased by Lisbon for 10 years). Now we can report that on each of his 16 publicly-funded junkets to Lisbon Guterres has taken two UN Security with him. How much does it cost? The UN refuses to answer, prefers to rough up and ban the Press that asks. This time they have refused to confirm - or attempt to deny - that Guterres staffer Aguinaldo Baptista went as well. Inner City Press asked, 23 hours ago: "November 5-1: Please state the cost to the UN budget of the SG's current trip to Lisbon, deny or confirm that staffer Aguinaldo Baptista has also traveled there and if so the cost and rationale for that, Web Summit (?) or CPLP, and what the benefit to the UN and public is of travel to receive this CPLP award. What other UN staff and security went, for how long, and how much has it cost the public?" No answer. Totally unaccountable, not unlike Paul Biya's use of funds from Cameroon's coffers to pay hotel bills in Geneva in cash. Birds of a feather. As to the Lisbon speech, Inner City Press immediately put a how to see it question to Dujarric and his deputy - no answer on that. So clicking the obligatory "yes" to pre-register and accept Web Summit promotions, even then just as Guterres began blathering about medical devises and dating apps the screen was cut off and the promotion blocked it again, unable to be moved. Vine video here. Guterres has put the UN up for sale, sometimes intentional, sometimes because he just has contempt. Also at the Summit, behind this promotional paywall, is Tony Blair. Inner City Press also raised the issue to Guterres' Global Censor Alison Smale, Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, her chief of staff Nelson Muffuhand staffer Aguinaldo Baptista, who along on the public dime. Was this justified by Guterres' personal Prize from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, CPLP - previously awarded to, among others, the currently incarcerated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva? The decision to give it to Guterres was made months ago in July in Cabo Verde, where Guterres' son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres does UNdisclosed business; no recusals or safeguards from Guterres, only the roughing up and banning of the Press which asks. On November 5, Inner City Press asked: "it was said that the SG's speech in Lisbon will be streamed on Web Summit platform. But there, after a mere minute, it says To continue watching, pre-register for the 2019 Web Summit. So it is for-pay? Question Nov 5-1 is reiterated: “November 5-1: Please state the cost to the UN budget of the SG's current trip to Lisbon, deny or confirm that staffer Aguinaldo Baptista has also traveled there and if so the cost and rationale for that, Web Summit (?) or CPLP, and what the benefit to the UN and public is of travel to receive this CPLP award. What other UN staff and security went, for how long, and how much has it cost the public?” And as Guterres' 15 minutes speech, ostensibly justifying all this public spending, approached there was no answer.We'll have more on this. Back on September 7 Inner City Press reported that Guterres intends to use even Kofi Annan's death and the September 13 event in Ghana as a pretext to again fly to Lisbon. He'll turn it into a five day junket, leaving New York on September 11 (when he's arranged a Myanmar white washing CPPF meeting, also reported exclusively by banned Inner City Press, here), offer praise sure to be ironic of Kofi Annan who Rest in Peace never had a critical journalist roughed up and banned - then fly to Lisbon on the public dime, until September 16. How much will it cost? The UN refuses to answer. But it is not their money. And the climate of cover up includes Guterres not disclosing his own son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres' business links in Africa and elsewhere. We'll have more on this: it is what journalism is supposed to do, hold institutions and those who lead them accountable. Here from multiple member state sources and open source are the dates of Guterres' first 14 -- 30% of total UN trips - through Lisbon for each of which Inner City Press has asked, and not been answered, and live-stream Periscope of the UN's empty massion on 57th Street and Sutton Place for which it was roughed up and banned:
1/13/2017-1/20/2017    NY->Lisbon->Geneva->Davos Platz->Zurich

2/9/2017-2/20/2017            NY->Istanbul->Riyadh->Dubai->Abu Dhabi->Muscat->Doha->Cairo->Frankfurt->Bonn->Munich->Lisbon

2/24/2017-2/27/2017    NY->Lisbon->Geneva

3/25/2017-3/31/2017    NY->Lisbon->Amman->Baghdad->Arbil->Gaziantep

5/9/2017-5/22/2017            NY->London->Beijing->Strasbourg->Geneva->Lisbon

5/25/2017-5/29/2017    NY->Catania->Lisbon

6/20/2017-6/26/2017    NY->Entebbe->Lisbon

6/27/2017-7/4/2017            NY->Washington DC.->Geneva->Lisbon, (30/06/2017 - 04/07/2017 in Lisbon)

11/3/2017-11/7/2017    NY->Lisbon

2/12/2018-2/19/2018    NY->Kuwait->London->Munich->Lisbon

3/14/2018-3/16/2018    NY->Rome->Lisbon

5/11/2018-5/19/2018    NY->Lisbon->Vienna->Brussels->Washington DC

5/23/2018-5/31/2018    NY->Geneva->Lisbon->Paris->Bamako

7/6/2018-7/11/2018        NY->Lisbon->Addis Ababa->Kinshasa
  Do the member states paying for this - whom Guterres' Smale quotes without name as supporting the roughing up of and permanent ban on Inner City Press, agree with this? Do they know this? How arrogant or out of touch a self-styled world leader is has been revealed in the Leader's contemptuous approach to freedom of the press and whose who even gently chide him on it, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No, this is not a reference to Donald Trump, but to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The Nobel Peace Prize winner who has sought the reversal of Guterres' outrageous 56 day and counting ban on Inner City Press even entering the UN is Jose Ramos Horta of Timor Leste, still serving Guterres' UN, who told Inner City Press on August 27, "Dear Matthew I did reach the very inner sanctum of the UN system reporting on your case to no avail. Apologies but I don't know what else I can do." Later on August 27 an independent journalist asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why things are not fixed with Inner City Press' access, since it "looks bad" given other attacks on press freedom. Video here. Dujarric tried to cut the journlist off, insisting to say this is about freedom of the press would be wrong. (Then why is it in the Press Freedom Tracker, here, and the Columbia Journalism Review, amongothers for example in the UKJapanItaly and Cameroon?) Dujarric changed the earlier reference to Inner City Press being in a "garage ramp" - something Guterres' Grand Inquisitor Alison Smale never asked Inner City Press about - to being in the "parking lot." (Inner City Press' pass worked to get there, many use it as a way to exit, and several senior UN official, anti-Guterres sources of Inner City Press ask to meet it and give it documents there. Maybe that's the reason.) Dujarric then said that Inner City Press creates a "hostile environment" for the diplomats, some times correspondents and always UN officials it covers. Seems clear the ban is entirely about freedom of the Press, freedom to question, and a Secretary General and vindictive team of holdovers who seek to retaliate against questions and coverage, including live streamed covering, with a lifetime ban with no appeal. Here is an example of Inner City Press' August 28 questioning at the Delegates Entrance, since Guterres and Alison Smale have banned it from the Security Council stakeout. Is this hostile?  Would Guterres, former NYT bureau chief Smale and former former Dujarric like to write Inner City Press' questions? Its articles? Perhaps to omit all refernce to Cameroon and what Guterres did and didn't do? On August 28 during an empty noon briefing Inner City Press was again banned from, it asked in writing Dujarric, Alison Smale, Amina J. Mohammed and others 13 questions including: "At yesterday's noon briefing you said I am banned because I was “found in the parking lot.” Since no one spoke to me about this, please state when and where, and explain how that is a violation if non resident correspondents' passes open those doors, unlike the bathrooms on the 4th floor, and how this Trumped up into so serious a violation as to ban me, including from the upcoming UNGA week. Also, again, name the diplomats (and UN staff and journalists) you yesterday publicly said I created a hostile environmental for. Honestly, that was not my intent. But I have a right to know. And it sounds troublingly similar to questioning and critique: free press. August 28-2: This is again a request to be informed -- including if the question is view as hostile - of the reason on the SG's Public Financial Disclosure page USG Smale is not listed, while Natalia Gherman who was named to her position later than USG Smale is listed and has made public disclosure - and for an explanation why Smale did not recuse herself as was clearly called for from banning me." While two other questions were answered on August 28, these were not touched. This is censorship.  For now, though, Nobel Peace Prize winner who has worked for the UN has been rebuffed. What they say Trump is, Guterres is as well and more so - only Guterres has actually roughed up and banned a critical journalist for 55 days, with total impunity. Hence this story. After having covered the UN since 2005 for Inner City Press, and pursued stories of UN under-performance from Sri Lanka to Darfur and Haiti to Yemen and most recently Secretary General Antonio Guterres' failure and conflict of interest on Cameroon, at 4 pm on Friday August 17 I got a four page letter from Under Secretary General Alison Smale, formerly the New York Times' Berlin bureau chief. We've put the letter on ScribherePatreon download here
The letter informed me, without a single opportunity to be heard and offer rebuttal, that “your accreditation is hereby withdrawn pursuant to the Guidelines.” It cited what it called three previous warnings. But on further inspection there is no there, there. See below. In the middle of the now 55 day ban, Jose Ramos Horta who has known and answered Inner City Press for years wrote to it, somewhat comedicly, "I am puzzled by such an extreme DPI decision of banning you for life from UNHQ for reporting purposes. Here in Timor Leste our Govt never ever barred a journalist from entering a public space and reporting even though our Media has never been friendly with Govt officials.I cannot imagine how serious an offense you may have committed that may have justified such an extreme action by DPI. Did you throw a bomb, rotten eggs, tomatoes, spaghetti at some guy? I shall try to reach the SG." And then, on August 27, "Dear Matthew I did reach the very inner sanctum of the UN system reporting on your case to no avail. Apologies but I don't know what else I can do." This is how arrogant and out of touch Guterres is, Lusophone or not. People would report this about Trump, whole profiles of those they say should have spoken out - Mattis, Kelly, members of Congress and the Senatre - and isolation and rage. But what about Guterres? Jose Ramos Horta, who has never had a problem being public, is a man of integrity, on the right side on this one when all is said and done. What about others? We'll have more, much more, on this - there has been other outreach, and more to come. One individual, even with a former NYT Global Communicator like Alison Smale, cannot be allowed to censor like this, to impose a ban on a journalist for the first time in 40 years, an active journalist Guterres and Smale and UNnamed others want to prevent or hinder Inner City Press from covering this UN General Assembly High Level Week and the UN going forward. We will not rest. Watch this site.
  In her lifetime ban letter, Smale also claimed that Guterres' spokesmen would answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. But this it false. Of the fourteen question Inner City Press e-mailed to them, and Smale, and Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and others on August 23 and 24, not one was answered. Not one. Including: "August 24-3: Given that Deputy Spokesman Haq told IPS “we respect his press rights, but we also want to respect other’s press rights. And some journalists feel their press rights have been impeded by his actions” - state, since this is the basis of me being banned, who these are, and how they feel their press rights have been impeded by my actions. Also all video and other evidence that Haq alluded to to IPS should be produced, today, since it is the basis of my being banned." Nothing has been provided, eight hours later, bSpokesman Stephane Dujarric who was drawinpay all day after having essentially ordered or passed on from his boss the order to rough up Inner City Press. From the IPS article: "Lee has been known for asking thought-provoking questions during daily briefings and at press stakeouts. He has reported on global conflicts such as those in Sri Lanka, Congo, Somalia, and others..However, the incidents with Lee started back in 2012, when he was warned by the DPI to treat his fellow journalists with respect." That's not the case. In 2012, the President of the UN Correspondents Association Giampaolo Pioli, who had rented one of him Manhattan apartments to one Palitha Kahona then unilaterally granted his request or demand for an UNCA screening of the war crimes denial film of the Sri Lanka government he represented at the UN, ordered Inner City Press to remove from the Internet its article about the conflict of interest. Inner City Press declined but offered to publish any response, at any length. Pioli and the UNCA board demanded removal of the article, and ultimately Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-foundedFUNCA, the Free UN Coalition for Access. The UN claimed it was uninvolved - instead, then head of Accreditation Stephane Dujarric tried to condition Inner City Press' re-accreditation as a resident correspondent on more positive coverage of the Secretariat, specifically his fellow Frenchman Herve Ladsous, the head of Peacekeeping who famously said peacekeepers would rape less if they had more "R&R." So from 2012 it was the UN trying to strong arm positive coverage of its officials, and using the aura of "other correspondents" in UNCA as the leverage - making UN the UN Censorship Alliance.