By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 23 -- Following the election of Donald Trump on November 8-9 UN high officials, one of them told Inner City Press on November 14, “have been freaking out. They don't know how much is going to be cut, and from where.”
Now on November 23 it is reported that Trump has chosen as his Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina. We'll repeat our first, simplest suggestion: to save taxpayers' money, and to send a needed message, the new US Ambassador to the UN should not follow outgoing Ambassador Samantha Power's practice of using (and having the taxpayers' pay) up to three bodyguard even while inside the UN. No other country does it.
Turkey and Qatar go with one bodyguard each; others have none. We'll have more on this.
As to the UN itself, here's a suggestion for the first cuts, based not only on Inner City Press' personal experience at the UN (NYT here) but interviews with staff, diplomats and elected officials: if there is one UN Department to be cut, even eliminated, it is the Department of Public Information (DPI).
Since Cristina Gallach of Spain took DPI over, as Ban Ki-moon's attempt to ingratiate himself to Spain during its now-ending UN Security Council term, it has not only evicted the investigative Press without any due process or appeal, it has most recent named as the UN's gender empowerment ambassador not an actual person but rather a cartoon character, Wonder Woman.
Gallach, after not consulting with staff or even the top of UN Women, ignored the staff and mission protest to her ceremony promoting a forthcoming movie.
In terms of outright corruption, even the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng ongoing bribery case found that Gallach did no due diligence of at least two Ng Lap Seng funded events in the UN, including involving the UN's slavery memorial.
Three strikes and you're out.
By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, December 25, more here -- Amid charges that the UN in Sudan, including Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping in Darfur, has colluded with the authorities in Khartoum to cover up rapes and killing, now the UN's Resident Coordinator Ali Al Za'tari has been ordered to leave Sudan by January 2, Inner City Press first reported earlier today.
On December 24, Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported and then asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle being ordered out of Sudan, citing her and Al-Za'tari's e-mails. Video here.
A full day after that, Reuters reported on Helle's ouster -- typically, for Reuters, with no credit to the Press' prior exclusive story. (Reuters' UN bureau chief has said he has a policy of not crediting Inner City Press' exclusive, and has gone to far as to censor, Sudan-style, his "for the record" anti-Press complains to the UN, click here for that, via EFF's ChillingEffect.org).
Now, after UN Spokesman Dujarric issued two statementson the afternoon and evening of December 25 responsive to the question Inner City Press asked at the December 24 noon briefing, Reuters has run a piece with no fewer than eight journalists listed, and of course no credit. This is policy, untransparenty (when Inner City Press asked top Reuters brass including Stephen J. Adler for Reuters policy on crediting, none was provided.)
But eight journalists?
But eight journalists?
The above-referenced Reuters UN bureau chief, it must be noted, under his own byline sought to exonerate Ladsous, reporting without context complaints made to Ladsous about another UN staff member, without mentioning Ladsous' own role in covering up rapes in the DR Congo and now Darfur. Reuters has not reported the complaints against Ladsous, even as a Permanent Three mission on the Security Council has confirmed to Inner City Press its receipt of the letter.
On December 24, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Sudan having just similarly "PNG-ed" or declared persona non-grata the Sudan Country Director of the UN Development Program Yvonne Helle, with Za'tari barely pushing back against the government.Dujarric said that host countries' ordered to PNG a UN staff member are treated seriously and should be sent to, and considered and acted on by, Ban's Secretariat in New York. But Dujarric in the 18 hours after Inner City Press asked about Helle has not returned with any information or answer. Then Reuters published its story, with no credit.