Thursday, August 11, 2016
Inner City Press Asks UN About Feltman and Gilbert Chagoury, When UN Feltman Qs UNanswered, Saudi
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 11 -- After UN official Jeffrey Feltman was again in the news for his previous post in the US State Department, Inner City Press on August 11 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Farhan Haq about it, and why Feltman answers so few Press questions at the UN. Beyond the Vine here. From the UN Transcript:
Inner City Press: Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs, is in the news, has referred to e-mails that were released in which it was said that a billionaire, Nigerian Lebanese businessman, Mr. Gilbert Chagoury, was… at the time that Mr. Feltman was at the State Department was referred to speak to him about matters in Lebanon. And the reason I'm asking you is that Mr. Feltman has seen fit to… to deny to CNN that he, in fact, ever spoke to Mr. Chagoury. What I wanted to know is, was this contact done through his DPA (Department of Political Affairs) Spokesman's office? And can we get an answer from Mr. Feltman about the number of times he's spoke with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia during the time frame immediately before Ban Ki-moon dropped Saudi Arabia from the Yemen Children and Armed Conflicts annex, since this is his current job?
Deputy Spokesman: We… first of all, we don't provide details of all the diplomatic contacts our diplomats do. That would impede their work. Second of all, Mr. Feltman did convey to us, including to me as well as others, the information that he did not speak to Mr. Chagoury, and we've passed that on to reporters as they asked.
Inner City Press: I guess what would you say to the fact that a current UN official immediately responds to a question about his previous employment at the State Department but has yet… has not done a stakeout in front of the Security Council in I don't know how many months? And I'm asking you… this is a question I'd like to try to get an answer from him, the same way of how many times did he speak with Mr. Foreign Minister [Adel] al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia? Just the number.
Deputy Spokesman: On Foreign Minister al-Jubeir, when he has met with the Secretary-General, we've provided readouts. We do not provide lists of all the contacts that our diplomats have, since that would affect their ability to go about their work. Mr. Feltman does actually offer information… whenever there are requests for information about his work, he provides it either through us or through his own spokesperson.
Inner City Press: Will he be willing to similarly deny contacts in terms of his UN work? I'm just wondering about this… the… I'm comparing the levels of transparency. You immediately responded on one topic, and I'd like to ask you about a topic about his current work.
Deputy Spokesman: You're comparing dissimilar things. You're comparing dissimilar things. Like I said, his diplomatic work, a lot of it has to do with how he goes about contacts with different people. And it's up to him to decide how to engage on that.
Back on December 7, 2015, two days after Inner City Press asked the UN why its Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman forwarded other UN officials' emails to his former colleagues at the US State Department months after he moved to the UN, US sources told Inner City Press Feltman is slated to head to Washington on December 8.
In October in the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, it was noted that the Committee had none of Feltman's emails. After sources told Inner City Press Feltman will appear before the Committee on December 8, Inner City Press on December 4 asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny it. Video here.
Haq declined to confirm, telling Inner City Press to ask the US. But what if Feltman used UN lawyers to respond? And as shown, Feltman after working at the UN continued to forward emails, including other UN officials' emails, to the US State Department.
Inner City Press on December 7 asked the UN, will Feltman be under oath on December 8? From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I'd asked you, I guess, on Friday about Mr. [Jeffrey] Feltman testifying. You said, ask the US. So I have. It's confirmed and formalized. He will testify on Tuesday. The one thing I wanted to ask you, which I think only the UN can answer, is whether he… whether the condition of his testimony is that he will not take… will he testify under oath, and how does this impinge on UN immunity and previous precedence in this?
Deputy Spokesman: As I understand it, these are for actions that precede his work as an Under-Secretary-General and is part of a separate and prior responsibility.
Inner City Press: But did he use… did he confer with UNOLA [Office of Legal Affairs]? That's why I was asking on Friday. It seems like, if UNOLA lawyers are involved in responding to the request that he testify, obviously, he's not being… he's being asked to testify about a previous time, but there is a UN hook, and was it negotiated that he will not take the oath before testifying?
Deputy Spokesman: I wouldn't have any comment on the UN side. Like I said, this is something that precedes his period with the UN.
This takes place amid unanswered Press questions about Feltman's and Ban's knowledge of Bernardino Leon, while UN Envoy to Libya, negotiating a $500,000 a year job with the United Arab Emirates, a player to say the least in Libya. We'll have more on this.
On November 30 among the 5,109 Hillary Clinton emails released by the US State Department was one from October 2012 from Jeffrey Feltman, then already ostensibly with and for the UN, to Jake Sullivan about Lebanon.
Feltman forwarded the US State Department a copy of his own email to “his guy” in Lebanon, British UN official Derek Plumbly and asks for US advice on whom he should call.
Inner City Press on March 28, 2012 first reported that Feltman would take over UN Department of Political Affairs from fellow American B. Lynn Pascoe, and asked if it was wise, to whom would Feltman be loyal. Now the question arises: why was Feltman still in October 2012, afterstarting with the UN on July 2, 2012, forwarding his emails to the US State Department?
On December 1, 2014, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcript here:
Inner City Press: about Mr. Feltman, yesterday, as happens monthly, there was a release of… of e-mails by the US State Department. And without getting into all the… all 5,000 of the e-mails, I wanted to ask about the ones that involve Mr. Feltman, specifically in the time frame after he left the State Department and came to the UN. So, there’s an e-mail in 19 October 2012. This is months after he was at the UN, in which he forwards to Jake Sullivan and others in the State Department his communications with Derek Plumbly about Lebanon. And he says, “Here’s my communications with my guy in Lebanon”, redacted, redacted, redacted, “please tell me what you think and advise.” And I guess I wanted to ask you, is it… what is the… what’s the protocol for a former… of any government, not just the US, for a UN official to share what are presumably confidential UN communications with his previous employer, and how would you… how do you respond to this?
Spokesman: I think the way to look at it is that, I think, through our mediation efforts, UN officials are often in touch with Foreign Ministries or permanent missions and share our analysis. And that’s often how we get our work done. I’m not going to comment on the exact… you know, what exactly was said. I haven’t seen the e-mail. But I think it’s… you know, we have contact, and we share our analysis with members of the Security Council, with permanent missions and Foreign Ministries.
Inner City Press: My question is one of the e-mails… in one of the e-mails, Mr. Feltman says, I’ve tried to send this through Hotmail, but it didn’t work, which to me implies it wasn’t necessarily as a UN official. Like, would you say… in what you’ve described as the protocol, should this be done very clearly as a UN official seeking advice from the…?
Spokesman: As I said, I think there is nothing untoward with senior UN officials who we often… in dealing with mediation, we need to consult with different sides and share analysis and share information.
Inner City Press: [Did he] share with others, other than the US?
Spokesman: I’ll leave it at that.
On October 20, 2012, the State Department's Elizabeth Dibble says she spoke with Feltman; in September, Feltman told Huma Abedin he's walk on hot coals for Hillary. He offered to cancel a meeting with Esther Brimmer in order to meet with Hillary in the Waldorf -- saying he had problems responding with hotmail, that the 90s may have ended. He wasnot using his UN email address.
We'l have more on this.
Also in the November 30 release is an email that in Eastern Congo, theM23 rebels did NOT loot the Central Bank in Goma -- Inner City Press in 2012 questioned the New York Times reporting that that this did, in fact, happen - and an evergreen line, that “Ban's gambit didn't work out too well.” What wa about Syria, but has been repeated for example with the faux ceasefire on Yemen. We'll have more on this.
Back on August 31 among the 4,368 Hillary Clinton emails released by the US State Department were only 17 that mention Libya. In one, forwarded by Feltman, a Qaddafi staffer was angry at P.J. Crowley's failure to apologize, here.
(In another just released email, Feltman bragged how his interview with An-Nahar pushed Nasrallah out of the news, "HBJ" loved it, here.)
Feltman is cc-ed on a "sensitive but not classified" email about February 2010 Egypt being "amazed" that Hillary Clinton flew over on the way to Qatar and Saudi Arabia without stopping.
Another of the 17 email mentioning Libya was mostly about promoting the US' concern about Haiti, here.
By contrast, 38 emails cite "Sudan," including this one in which Jimmy Carter offers help on that country, Korea, Cuba and "the Middle East."
Among those few that mention UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 26, 2010, Huma Abedin wrote to Hillary Clinton that "Ban ki-Moon will formally welcome NATO logistical support in Pakistani flood relief."
Back on July 31 among the 1,356 Hillary Clinton emails released by the US State Department on July 31 are only 14 which mention Libya.
There is the threat of Gaddafi staying at his UN Permanent Representative's house in Engelwood, New Jersey, then that gettingcanceled.
(There is an email to Cheryl Mills from Martin Edelman, citing "support in Israel for dialogue with Syria... chess game with Iran.)
There is then-US, now-UN official Jeffrey Feltman noting that US funding might go to an NGO headed by a Gaddafi, here.
The newly released emails mention Feltman's "boss" Ban Ki-moon 12 times.
One was from Strobe Talbott, about dining with Ban (who will be in DC against next week, here) and trying to find the right "channel" to reach Hillary on, here.
One is a "Call Sheet" for Hillary Clinton to call Ban on August 24, 2009, starting "You are calling UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ask him to co-host with you an event at UNGA to advance the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security."
Another email, which Inner City Press reported a month ago, is about NOT having UN Food and Agriculture Organization chief Jacques Diouf host the meeting.
There is one email that mentions the UN Development Program, UNDP - but it is hard to read, literally: apparently a hard-copy.
There are 16 emails mentioning Sri Lanka. One of them also mentions Ban, whose record on Sri Lanka continues to be questioned today, but most of which are about responding to the Government of Sri Lankacomplaining about Hillary Clinton linking their army to rape in a September 30, 2009 speech. It is "put to bed" by a letter to Sri Lanka's then Foreign Minister.
Morocco is mentioned only three times: the Forum for the Future twice, and once concerning urging Guinea's Dadis Camera to seek exile in Morocco or another French-speaking country.