Thursday, March 24, 2016

Iran Says Its Launches Should Not Be Raised In UN Security Council, Are Entirely Legal

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- When the US dramatically called for a UN Security Council meeting about Iran's ballistic missile launch on March 14, outside the Council Iran distributed a written statement, while Israel's Danny Danon and then Samantha Power spoke.
Now Iran has put in a letter to the Security Council, that its launches were legal and should not be raised in the Council. The letter, from Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo and dated March 23 but sent to the Press on March 24, says that 
“Security Council resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional military activities, nor does international law disallow them.... Iran's recent ballistic missile test launches were part of ongoing efforts of its armed forces to strengthen its legitimate defense capabilities... The Islamic Republic of Iran, thus, reiterates that there is no basis for the raising of this issue in the Security Council."
 Back on March 14, Israel's Danny Danon had a exhibit, a photo of launching missile. Inner City Press asked him if he though Ban Ki-moon is "letting it all hang out" in his final year (including though the ousterof Inner City Press, petition here); Danon said they don't always agree, but they talk.
 Samantha Power took a single question, from AP. Inner City Press asked, audibly, if she is aware of the Government Accountability Project letter to her Mission, here.We'll have more on this.
  The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below. 
 In the UN Security Council on the Yemen sanctions resolution adopted on February 24, language was added to try to discourage the Panel of Experts from looking into the act of the Saudi-led Coalition. Concessions were made, of a kind not made for or about other countries under sanctions.
  (Inner City Press had to follow the process from outside the UN, literally, the park on 43rd Street across First Avenue, because only days after Inner City Press asked why the UN was so quiet about false claims of Iranian military equipment in a UN WFP aid ship, Inner City Press was summarily thrown out of the UN, and Banned, without due process.Petition here.)
 On March 1, back in on a reduced access pass, Inner City Press asked UN OCHA official John Ging about taking "aid" money from Saudi Arabia while it blasts away at Yemen. Video here.
 Ging said these two are "ring fenced," and that the UN doesn't allow Saudi Arabia to put conditions on aid or where it is delivered.

  Inner City Press asked, what about the Saudi threat that aid workers should leave Houthi-controlled areas? Ging said the UN had pushed back.
But quietly, as was the case with the Saudi diversion of the WFP ship. Does money talk?  Apparently yes. 
The Yemen "government," which under UN rules could hold a press conference for all journalists in the UN Press Briefing Room, has instead chosen to invited only members of the Gulf and Western media dominated UN Correspondents Association to a spin session. We've put the leaked invitation online here; here's some of the text:
Dear Colleagues,

UNCA is extending an invitation sent from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Yemen, to a light breakfast briefing with a public diplomacy delegation on their visit to New York to discuss the current political situation in Yemen, on Tuesday, March 8th at 9:00am at the mission (413 East 51st street). Please see the attached invitation to RSVP.

Giampaolo Pioli, UNCA President
The focus of the annexed invitation is on "IHL and HRL violations of the Houthi - Saleh rebels." This is UNCA: this is how the UN works, or doesn't.
On March 3, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq why UN OCHA official Stephen O'Brien said he was "pleased" when Saudi Arabia, which funds O'Brien's Yemen appeal, continues to hold the UN's "humanitarian IT equipment" at least under March 6, after Yemen's Ambassador - sure to be present at the spoon-fed breakfast for UNCA - said was Iranian military equipment.

  UNCA played a role in the UN's ouster of Inner City Press, and is now linked to at least two anonymous troll Twitter accounts trying to defend the ouster. This too is how the UN works: UN Censorship Alliance. Here, already public online, are the officials and some of the large and in charge At-Large UNCA 2016 (breakfast) board members:
Giampaolo Pioli, Quotidiano Nazionale

Room: S-422A-2
Phone: (212) 371-1099
Mobile: (917) 287-3969

Nabil Abi Saab, Alhurra TV

Room: S-416A
Phone: (212) 308-2317
Mobile: (202) 413-4666

Valeria Robecco, ANSA News Agency - UNCA Second Vice President 2016

Room: S-0305
Mobile: (973) 413-0864

Ali Barada, An-Nahar Newspaper; France

Room: S-340B
Tel: (917) 365-0942

Carole Landry, Agence France Presse

Room: S-0316
Phone: (212) 759-8183
Mobile (917) 832-5415

Seana Magee, Kyodo News

Room: S-304
Phone: (212) 508-5475
Mobile: (347) 512-5506

Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcasting (SABC) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Room: S-415
Phone: (917) 703-4470

Zhenqiu Gu, Xinhua News Agency - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team YYYY

Room: S-313
Phone: (212) 371-9618
Mobile (917) 868-3210

Melissa Kent, CBC/Radio-Canada - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Melissa Kent, CBC/Radio-Canada

Room: S-342
Phone: (212) 546-0510
Mobile: (646) 238-5876

Michelle Nichols, Reuters (NA) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Room: S-321
Phone: (212) 355-6053
Mobile: (646) 775-5943

Sylviane Zehil, L'Orient Le Jour - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Sylviane Zehil, L’Orient Le Jour

Room: S-419A-1
Phone: (212) 529-9136
Mobile: (917) 882-8244
Email: &

Masood Haider, Dawn Pakistan (D) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Masood Haider, Dawn Pakistan

Room: S-348C
Mobile: (917) 971-1170

  In action.
 This same UNCA board in December 2015 offered up seats with Ban Ki-moon for $6,000, after arranging for indicted Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban. Covering the organization is entirely legitimate, whatever the UN says, now more than ever with the spoonfed breakfast of Yemen spin.
 On February 28, Ban Ki-moon but not his invisible envoy issued a canned statement about the previous day's airstrike:
"The Secretary-General... calls for a prompt and impartial investigation of this incident."
  Ban's call for an impartial investigation rings hollow, when he has allowed his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach to oust Inner City Press, which reports on Yemen, based on an "investigation" which never even SPOKE to Inner City Press. This incongruity, and its consequences, has been raised directly to Ban and his most senior advisers. Impartial?
Previously: Inner City Press obtained UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's documents for the delayed talks in Switzerland, and exclusively put them online here.

Back on November 10, while Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was on the next to last day of his trip to Saudi Arabia to discussed among other things Yemen, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric to confirm that envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is not even IN Saudi Arabia with Ban.
 Dujarric confirmed that he is not there, but would not confirm that he is in his native Mauritania, to which Inner City Press is informed he flew on the UN's dime, for a vacation, signed off on by the top of the Department of Political Affairs.
Inner City Press has reported from sources dates on which the UN's envoy went to Dubai, purpose UNknown. Given his follow UN enovy Bernardino Leon's deal with the UAE, this must now be explained and acted on by the UN.
Inner City Press previously reported on and published the Houthis' letterdenouncing UN envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed as little more than a Saudi tool. Now it's gotten worse: even Kenny Gluck who works for the envoy and went to Muscat trying to meet the Houthis was unable. He waited then returned to Riyadh. 
    The envoy, meanwhile, is said by those who know him to not only be “laughably” cheap -- putting in for reimbursement for an eight dollar taxi ride from the UN to a Mission on 67th Street, for example -- but also still involved in the same business for which Inner City Press previously dubbed him “the Fisherman” or the “Fishy Envoy.”  
  He has traveled on the UN's funds to Dubai, claiming he would meet the Houthis there. Not only will the Houthis not meet with him -- even if they would, they would not be found in Dubai, given that the UAE is part of the coalition. In any event, Abu Dhabi is the capital, not Dubai. There is something... fishy.
  Now we can report what UN sources say are dates of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's travel to Dubai: May 11; June 3 and June 5; August 1 and August 4; September 12-15; October 9-11; October 26; November 4; and prospectively November 10 and November 12.  
 What are Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's trips to Dubai for? Given the UAE's offer to UN Envoy Bernarndino Leon, while he was UN Envoy to Libya, this question must be answered.
  So on November 4, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric,video heretranscript here.
  On October 26 Inner City Press reported that its sources exclusively told it of a new low, that the UN brought into Sana'a what the Houthis call two members of US intelligence, with the cover identification that they work for the company running the former hotel now occupied by the UN. But, the sources say, security in Sana'a recognized the two and they are now detained. 
  On October 30, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video heretranscript here and below. Dujarric acknowledged he knew about two "contractors."
 On November 2, amid wire reports derivative and worse, Inner City Press followed up, video here, UN transcript here.
 Meanwhile on November 2 the US Statement Department was referring questions to this UNresponsive UN: "We’re aware of those reports. Due to privacy considerations, I’m not going to comment on them...  I would direct your questions to the UN."
  After Inner City Press' October 26 report and October 30 noon briefing questions, on October 31 Reuters "reported" a piece citing an unnamed UN spokesperson about two "contractors," with no mention of the Houthis claim they work with US intelligence, which by now had also been reported, along with Inner City Press' October 30 Q&A with Dujarric, by Al-Akhbar.
  But it's worse. Reuters initially (mis) reported that "'Two contractors have been detained and the Deputy Secretary-General (Jan Eliasson) is looking into it,' a U.N. spokesman said without elaborating or confirming if the two were American citizens."
  Then a day after that, Reuters blamed the UN for its correction to "'Two contractors have been detained and DSS (Department of Safety and Security) is looking into it,' said a U.N. spokesman."
  It would seem the UN spokesman, left unnamed by Reuters, said "DSS" and Reuters mis-heard it as "DSG," didn't note it would be strange for the UN's second highest official to be on two contractors when lower official Herve Ladsous is the one who made a call for 13 contractors in South Sudan.
 But Reuters, including the Thomson Reuters Foundation,running its correction, says "UN corrects source of information in second paragraph." So the UN made the mistake?
 This is the same Reuters which on Friday regurgitated a UN report which Inner City Press had reported and asked the UN about fully two weeks earlier, same Reuters which refused to make public its policies, and tries to censor its anti Press complaints to the UN, here. We'll have more on this. 

 We'll have more on this.
  Meanwhile the Houthis are denouncing UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad and his (mis) representation to the Security Council regarding what they agreed to. This has happened before and the goal seems to be delay to allow for more air strikes. There's work of mercenaries, in essence, including from Colombia in Aden, joining the troops from ICC-indicted Sudan.
 A new level of dysfunction was hit with the deployment in Aden of hundreds of troops from Sudan, putting ICC-indicted Omar al-Bashir on the same side as the US and UK. (Inner City Press is exclusively informed that "UN" envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is working on a similar Saudi deal with his native Mauritania, see below.)
  On September 10, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if the UK had met with the Houthis and GPC in Muscat, without the UN Envoy present. Video here. 
  Meanwhile Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed says the same parties will now meet with him. Replay?

  On September 9, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, video heretranscript here

 On August 12, Inner City Press asked Yemen Permanent Representative, outside the Council meeting, questions ranging from the destruction of schools and health care facilities in Sa'ada by Saudi airstrikes to when, according to him, the Houthis might be "driven" out of Sa'ana. Video here. He said in a few weeks - and added that the Oman talks were "not UN."
 So how then might the parties negotiate? UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was headed back to Riyadh. That seems to be his base, where he works from - and for? Watch this site.

   After publishing its multi-sourced story, Inner City Press on July 22 asked the UN's Associate Spokesperson about new APC and weapons in Aden, and if Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is on vacation. Video here. She replied that she would check - but did not revert with any response either way.
  So on July 23, amid reports that without Cheikh Ahmed or any UN presence talks were occurring about Yemen in Cairo, Inner City Pressasked, here.
  On June 25, Inner City Press asked new UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien three questions about Yemen: cholera, the destruction of ambulances in Sa'ada and about international staff. Video here.
  O'Brien replied that cholera is a risk; he had no information on WHO it was that destroyed the ambulances in Sa'ada (we can guess.) On international staff, which the UN evacuated earlier, he spoke of a rise from 17 to 70, with the goal of getting to 200. He would not say if they are anywhere in the country outside of Sana'a, citing security. But at least he spoke - the Free UN Coalition for Access thanked him.