By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, November 5 -- The UN judged the Terrain Apartments in Juba, South Sudan to be safe and well-protected in October 2015, documents obtained and exclusively published by Inner City Press show.
This incompetence, well before the Kenyan force commander Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki. took over UNMISS in 2016, contribwhich uted to the rapes and death scandal for which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon fired, or scapegoated, Ondieki on November 1. Here's Ban on November 4, complaining at the push-back, Vine video.
In July 2016 the UN did nothing while those living in Terrain were raped and, in the case of journalist John Gatluak, killed.
On November 1 the UN belatedly released a 10-page summary of its report into Terrain and Juba and fired Kenyan UNMISS Force Commander Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.
On November 2, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Ban had again spared the head of DPKO Herve Ladsous -- “full confidence,” perhaps a euphemism for “Permanent Five member of the Security Council” -- and if Ban's own son in law, whom Ban made the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, was even informed by the government there it is pulling out of UNMISS.
Inner City Press asked an obvious question: was the UN's top official in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee, informed of this? From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: on this Kenya one, I wanted to ask you, since you say it's the first that you saw of it, was this tweet, was the… the Resident Representative in Kenya, the Secretary-General's son-in-law, informed by the Government of this decision that impacts the UN system?
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: Well, I think, if we had been informed officially, I would have said something.
Inner City Press: Was he informed? Can you check whether he was informed?
Spokesman: I… as far as… what I'm just telling you is that, as far as I know, we've not… no one has been apprised of this officially.
To many it's strange, that the UN's top official in Kenya would not be informed, or would say he was not informed. But has he opined on it? While Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN's Resident Coordinator in Kenya, blocked Inner City Press on Twitter, others tell it that Chatterjee has surprisingly - or not surprisingly - said nothing about this on his twitter feed, but has instead tweeted links to his own military article about... his murky time in Sri Lanka, as part of the Indian Peacekeeping Force.
Now that Kenya expelled SLPA/IO spokesman James Gatdek Dak back to South Sudan, and Kenya's in SPLA/IO controlled areas like Bentiu have had their passports confiscated and are subject to death threats received by the UN, where is the UN's resident coordinator in Kenya? Once again promoting himself and his articles about India. Ban's son in law is no friend of free press, see here. But this is too much. We'll have more on this.
The day before the UN's hypocritical marking of the third International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, this UN cover up report did not even mention the killing of journalist Gatluak.
Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric why not - and got no answer. Beyond the Vine video here.
Likewise, Inner City Press asked why the UN's mis-classification of Terrain as safe (when the escape plan involved putting blankets over razor wire) was not in the report: no answer. (Also the report says the UN Security official who dismissed the call of a women trapped in the Terrain could not be identified.)
So Inner City Press asked Dujarric to respond to the idea that having rapporteurs like Patrick Cammaert, who issued a similar “not too tough” report on the UN's failings in Malakal, unacted on by Herve Ladsous, is a conflict of interest, if they want to be commissioned for future reports.
Dujarric replied that Cammaert is not in it for the money (which is not what Inner City Press said, but was also unresponded to be Dujarric and Ban when “Ban's” Libya envoy Bernardino Leon cashed out to the UAE) and that he is respected.
The action claimed is like when Ban Ki-moon "fired" Senegal's Babacar Gaye for rapes in CAR, which have continued since, but never fired Herve Ladsous who linked the rapes to "R&R."
Inner City Press later on November 1 asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if UN Peacekeeping at Headquarters doesn't bear responsibility. Video and his full answer, here. From the UK Transcript:
Inner City Press: Are you guys keeping UN headquarters bearing responsibility for these various peacekeeping scandals whether in CAR (Central African Republic) or South Sudan? Or is it always the fault of the Force Commander or SRSG (Special Representatives of the Secretary-General)?
Rycroft: Well, I think the role of the UN here at headquarters is to make sure that the right processes are in place, that missions learn the right lessons, that there is the right leadership in place, and I’m sure that the UN here as well as in Missions will be taking all of that forward. We'll have more on this.
On October 25, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan. I'm… I'm… I trust that you've seen now Amnesty International has… has come out with this report about the events in Juba in July, and they ag… as with other groups con… conclude that the UN did fire teargas at IDPs [internally displaced persons]. They also have some pretty gruelling description of UN police ordering people to stay out in the rain and putting them at risk. I'm wondering, especially since the UN's report is now delayed more than a month, what is your… it seems that you can't… you can't… what's the UN's response to these very troubling depictions by credible persons…?
Spokesman: First of all, we worked and engaged, both at the headquarter level and mission level, with Amnesty International in the production of the report, including providing responses to some of their questions. Yes, teargas was used during the crisis by one of the contingents as sort of a… as a non-lethal measure when security personnel felt they were overwhelmed with an influx of external… of people coming into the UN House compound. This was done to ensure the safety of the UN personnel, as well as the property, and of the IDPs, in accordance with standard rules of operations. Our report, I know, is overdue. I do expect it later this week or early next week. It's a question of scheduling. And I think we will also lay bare a lot of the issues that took place in that time in Juba.
ICP Question: But, just on… just… only on the specifics of the teargas, like, Amnesty International quotes an elderly man saying that he was gassed, and his eyes hurt for three days. So was he… was he somehow a threat to the UN?
Spokesman: You know, I think, obviously, we're very sorry for anyone who was injured in the operation, for all the individuals who suffered from teargas. I've walked into teargas in my other… previous life. It's not pleasant. Obviously, it's used as a last resort when there is a mass movement of people, and the security forces felt they were being overwhelmed, and it was a non-lethal response to a mass movement of people.
ICP Question: And this spokesperson who said it was an accidental teargas explosion, was this just a miscommunication or kind of reflexive… I mean, you've seen that before…?
Spokesman: I know. I can only speak for this spokesperson, which is myself.
On October 21, still withholding the UN's report on Terrain, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced the departure of Ban's South Sudan envoy Ellen Loj. Inner City Press asked him, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: to follow up on your announcement about South Sudan, is this in any way related to this Terrain Cammaert Report that's supposed to come out? It seems like it's an extraordinary time to announce that a person is leaving right before the report on who bears responsibility. And the second is, will the Secretary-General, in fact, be picking a new one, or will he delegate that or defer that to the incoming Secretary-General, given how close it is in time and that it's a major post to be given out?
Spokesman: The, the timing, I think you'll have to draw your own conclusions. As we stressed, her contract had ended over the summer, so she had planned to leave over the summer. She decided to stay on because of the lack of stability in the country. On the Cammaert, sorry, what were you asking about the Cammaert?
Inner City Press: I was saying that…
Spokesman: The replace... the replacement, excuse me, I don't think the replacement will be chosen right away. If one is chosen before December 31st, I have no doubt there will be consultations with the Secretary-General-designate’s office.
On October 19, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan. I would think that you've seen it. The Guardian has a very long piece about the Terrain situation, and it says, among other things, that there have been very few safety improvements for humanitarian workers since the attack on the Terrain Hotel. And one… and it has a source… a security expert who lived in the Terrain saying that the approved evacuation plan involved putting blankets on the top of razor wire in order to escape. So since the DSS [Department of Safety and Security]… I've asked you this before… has to certify the safety of such places and did, in fact, certify the Terrain, what's your response to somebody on the record saying that the plan was to put blankets over razor wire, and where is the Cammaert report?
Spokesman: I think the Cammaert report should be out shortly, hopefully before the end of this week or early next week. We're in the final stages. It will also obviously look at lessons learned. As far as the details of the security plan for any UN premises, we're not going to discuss them here.
ICP Question: What about accountability? Like, you're saying it's already moved to lessons learned, but isn't the idea…
Spokesman: I didn't say it's already moved to lessons learned. I said lessons learned will be part of that. I would ask you to hold off judgment until you see the report.
ICP Question: What explains the delay from 23 September, when it was due, to now, 19 October…?
Spokesman: I think, as I said, there was a long delay… there was a delay due to the Security Council coming in, because the mission didn't have the absorption capacity to deal with both the Security Council mission and the… and Mr. [Patrick] Cammaert's team. Obviously, I think what's important is for Mr. Cammaert to take the time he needs, and the report is just about done. The Secretary-General will get it very soon.
Inner City Press: Just to nail this one… I mean, the Security Council trip was at most four days.
Spokesman: No, no, I completely…
ICP Question: The delay is 26 days…?
Spokesman: I… that was a delay, and then Mr. Cammaert, as lead investigator, took the time he felt he needed to do a thorough job.
On October 7, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you something about South Sudan. In the wake of that report that came out, it seems that UNMISS or UN Peacekeeping has acknowledged that they intentionally used tear gas to, quote, protect the safety of UN personnel in July in Juba. They had previously said… Elizabeth Chester, spokeswoman, had said, and I had asked your office in writing about, she called it an accidental tear gas explosion. So I would like… maybe you don't know from the podium, can you square those two? Was there an accidental tear gas explosion and then intentional use, or was it one in the same incident?
Deputy Spokesman: I think we'll need to wait for Patrick Cammaert's board to complete its work, and then we can proceed once we have the information from them. And we'll put out whatever they give us on that.
On October 6, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: there was a report that was put out by the Center for Civilians in Conflict… for Civilians in Conflict. And among other things, it was about South Sudan and Terrain. And so it sort of… I guess it's a curtain raiser to the Cammaert… the report that's supposed to come out. But it said… it said a couple of things about repatriation. It basically said that DPKO had in some instances claimed that people had been repatriated, you know, when they had not. And the example they gave is they said… they said that Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping, said in an early August interview with RFI the two commanders had been repatriated; however, a senior UNMISS (United Nations Mission in the republic of South Sudan) official told Civic several weeks after that only one had been repatriated. It kind of reminded me of the Mayuyu one. How is… what does DPKO mean when they say "repatriated"? Does it mean that somebody actually has left or intends to leave? And can you kind of clear up, if that's the main penalty that there is for misdeeds, should DPKO be saying people are out when they're not out?
Deputy Spokesman: Yes. On that, a decision was taken to replace commanders in a unit following the crisis. One of the two identified commanders was repatriated. The other had already rotated out with his unit. In the current context of South Sudan, where the UN Mission in South Sudan is overstretched, it was decided not to replace an entire unit without immediate replacement and leave the protection of civilian site with even less resources to be protected. And, of course, the overview of how this crisis happened and how we handled it will hopefully be available shortly once we have Patrick Cammaert's team finalize their report.
ICP Question: They also… I mean… and maybe that's the thing that I'm not reading between the lines correctly. They said that basically, like, one of the so-called repatriations was, in fact, just leaving with a unit. Instead of staying behind for an extra additional month to provide some kind of a re-up, they left at that time. But it seems that's less than repatriation. Right? That's just leaving in the natural course of things. I mean… I guess I just… is there some way to…
Deputy Spokesman: Like I said, one of the two identified commanders was repatriated. The other had already rotated out with his unit.
ICP Question: And when is the report coming out? When is the Cammaert report coming out?
Deputy Spokesman: Hopefully not too much longer. It's being finalized right now. I will never make an actual prediction because it never quite works out, but I don't think it's that much longer before we get that.
On October 5 Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has told MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) that they want the… the SPLA-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition) fighters of Riek Machar to leave the country within a week, saying that there'd be somehow destabilising force in Eastern Congo. Can you confirm that? And what… what is the UN's, I guess, response? If that is the request, will they, in fact, do it? And where will the individuals go?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we're aware of the request from the Government. As you're aware, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been apprised of the situation regarding these fighters. We're trying to see how best this can be handled in our own communication and our own dialogue with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ultimately, they're the ones who determine how their territory is to be used properly, and we respect that.
ICP Question: And what happened… the… the… they were apparently disarmed or whatever. What happened with the actual armaments that they had when they crossed the border? Where are they now?
Deputy Spokesman: The fighters who are being referred to in this case are people who have not disarmed. There were some… there was a group of people who the UN took charge of on humanitarian grounds that included Riek Machar and some of his close aides. Those individuals had been disarmed at the time that they were transported by the United Nations. This is a different group of people who were not transported and who have not been disarmed. Have a good afternoon, everyone.
Now what? On September 23 at a rare stakeout by UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press audibly asked about Terrain, without answer. (On October 5 an NGO took its report on Terrain into the UN Censorship Alliance, a group which has defended and empowered Ladsous' and the UN's UNresponsiveness. We'll have more on this.)
On September 26 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the delayed report - due September 23 - and about Riek Machar, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan. I'd tried to ask Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous on Friday for an update on the… the report into the Terrain Hotel and other failures to protect civilians in Juba. He didn't answer, but I went back and looked. It seems like, on 23 August, Mr. [Patrick] Cammaert was in charge and said we'd be finished in a month. Is it finished? Has it been turned over, and when will it be made public?
Deputy Spokesman: On that, what I can say is that the special investigation team led by Major General Patrick Cammaert departed Juba on 18 September after arriving in the capital on 9 September. The team has completed its investigation on the ground and is now in the process of drafting its report, which will be submitted to the Secretary-General. As we announced earlier, the findings of this report will be made public.
Inner City Press: is there a distinction between the findings and the report itself? What's going to be made public and how… on what kind of a gap… just given that the month is now expired, when… when… when do you anticipate releasing these findings?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, the… as I just mentioned, they're finalizing the report, so hopefully it's not much longer before we can have the report go to the Secretary-General. And, as we have made clear, we'll put out the findings… it will be clear to you what has been issued once we give it to you.
ICP Question: Okay. And I guess what I wanted to… also, on South Sudan, Riek Machar, it's reported, along with his people in his party, have announced an armed… the beginning of an armed struggle against what they call the… the racist regime in Juba. This was announced in Khartoum on Sunday. And I wanted to know, given the UN's involvement in trying to broker that initial deal that's fallen apart, what's the response to… to what seems to be a return to war?
Deputy Spokesman: We obviously want the parties to abide by the peace agreement. We made it very clear that the peace agreement remains the only viable option for the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan. And so we would encourage all of them to avoid any rhetoric of any return to conflict and to go back to the enforcement of all of the various terms of the agreement.
ICP Question: But does that term involve Riek Machar being first Vice President and being back in Juba or not or being out… chased out of the country and in another country?
Deputy Spokesman: We've made our concerns clear. We want to make sure that all of the stakeholders, including the Government of South Sudan and the opposition, are able to fully implement the agreement. It has to be an implementation of the agreement that is in line with what is acceptable to the parties.
On September 16 Ban Ki-moon's UN gave awards to peacekeepers in South Sudan from Ban's native South Korea, where he coyly seeks to run for president. From the UN's press release:
“Peacekeepers from the Republic of Korea Horizontal Military Engineering Company or ROK-HMEC which are deployed to Bor in Jonglei Region received medals for outstanding contributions to the UNMISS and South Sudan.
The awards ceremony was presided by the mission’s Director of Mission Support (DMS), Ms. Stephani Scheer, as well as the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Parke Jong Dae.
“South Korea has made a very valuable contribution to peacekeeping activities for several decades and their support to the UNMISS is the country’s biggest contribution to the peacekeeping operations throughout the world,” said Ms. Scheer during her remarks.
The Ambassador said the Government of the Republic of Korea will continue it’s [sic] to support to UN peacekeeping Missions around the world, and in particular press on with their support for the people of South Sudan in order for the country to achieve peace.
The DMS then thanked the engineering company (ROK-HMEC) for the outstanding support to the UNMISS mandate in South Sudan.
The DMS also toured the mission’s level two hospital which is operated by Sri Lankan peacekeepers.”
All of this is shameful, a new low even for Ban's UN.
On September 17, as Inner City Press covered the UN Security Council meeting on Syria, under Ban's eviction order it was first locked out of the UNSC stakeout, then told to leave the UN by a UN Security officer. This is Ban's UN.
On July 11, 13 and 14, Inner City Press asked the UN about its lack of response to rapes and killing in the Terrain Apartments in Juba, South Sudan, having been contacted by sources there shocked at the lack of response by the UNMISS mission and others. Video here, including the UN on August 15 claiming after a month to STILL be investigating its negligence.
On August 16, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement that he “has decided to launch an independent special investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding these incidents and to evaluate the Mission’s overall response.”
On August 23, Ban named Patrick Cammaert to head it. Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: About South Sudan, when you mentioned that Mr. Cammaert had previously done the Malakal one, I wanted to know, has that resulted in any accountability? I went back. He did the study of Gaza in 2015. He was sent to Sri Lanka in 2009. I want to know, overall, is the goal of this exercise, particularly given the Terrain events but also rapes outside the gate, to actually hold someone accountable or to write a Malakal-style study?
Spokesman: You know, I think the Malakal report was fairly… was fairly clear. I think it’s important that we be able to assess, not only the facts on the ground, but the role of the mission, how the mission responded, how the various contingents responded. And from that, obviously, if there are further steps to be taken, they will be taken.
ICP Question: Right, but I guess I’m asking as an example, in the Malakal case, have any steps yet been taken?
Spokesman: Well, I think, you know, obviously, we have seen how various contingents responded, and we hope that also what we’ve learned from Malakal will be able to better prepare us for similar situations that may happen in the future.
ICP Question: Relatedly…
Spokesman: Okay. I’ll come back to you.
What's “come back” is Cammaert. With all due respect, Ban for his “independent” investigations picks the same people again and again, or people who need or want a UN post - it creates an incentive to deliver a report that doesn't lead to accountability, in order to get the (next) job: a cover-up cadre.
On the morning of August 17 Inner City Press reported that the UN Department of Safety and Security's Chris Du Toit is said by staff to be the one who adjudged the Terrain Apartments to be “safe,” and had gone “on leave,” like Ban Ki-moon.
On the morning of August 22 Inner City Press exclusively published: The UN Department of Safety and Security's MORSS - Residential Security Survey Report of October 29, 2015 says that “the residence is recommended to UN personnel,” that “UN PK [Peacekeepers]” are “present in the area... guarding the UN House,” and that the gates are in good condition. At noon on August 22, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Beyond the Vine here, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the Terrain Apartments in South Sudan. Back on 14 July, you'd said that the UN was already then starting to look at its role and I have since then obtained what was the UNDSS certification that it was safe. And it says things like the residents is recommended to UN personnel but it also says that there were CCTV cameras covering the area 24/7, that the gate was fine, and it recommended some mitigating measures. I guess my question is, if a month ago... more than a month ago, you'd said from here that the UN was investigating its role, what happened in that month? Is it true that, as was said in this DSS certification, that there are close… you know, closed-captioned TV running the whole time? And if so, why didn't the…
Spokesman: Again, I think you have access to documents that I don't have access to.
ICP Correspondent: Well, you can get this.
Spokesman: Well, I'm not… obviously, I'm not on the distribution list of the same documents that you are on. The… there was a preliminary work that was done, I think, as Farhan announced last week. A special investigation will be conducted. I expect to be… to be able to announce more details on that investigation either later today or at tomorrow's briefing. Obviously, they will take a look at all the circumstances, what decisions were taken by… by the UN, and, obviously, the fact that the perpetrators of these attacks will need to be brought to justice.
In South Sudan, UN DSS Called Terrain Apartments Safe Before July 2016 Rapes and Murder of Journalist John... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd
At the August 17 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about is whether the head of, my understanding is he is or was the head of the UNDSS [Department of Safety and Security] in South Sudan, Chris Du Toit, I'm told that he had in writing deemed the Terrain Apartments to be "safe" for UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund], FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] and other staff to live in and that he's now just recently gone on leave. Was such a determination made? And how does the UN, in places like Juba, determine and certify off-site places for its personnel to live? [Vine here.]
Deputy Spokesman: Well, first of all, I'm not going to get into the specific facts of the case, which are being determined, like I said, first, by the body that's from the UN Mission that's already been working on this and now by a special investigation that will be formed in the coming days. What I can say more generally is simply that we do rely on our Department of Safety and Security to determine, in any country, where places are that are safe for UN staff to stay.
ICP Question: Right. So, it's fair to say that this was… this place had been determined to be safe? That's why people were living there…
Deputy Spokesman: No, that's not fair to say. I'm not… like I said, I'm not going into any specific facts. Those remain to be determined by the groups who are looking into it.
ICP Question: And I also want to ask one thing. I've heard that… that staff of UNFPA in particular, but other UN system staff were discouraged of speaking with the media in the month since this event took place. And I wanted to know, is that… what is the UN's… does it feel that it has a right to tell its staff not to speak about things that… that… in which they themselves were the victims, or are they free at all times to speak about what happens to them?
Deputy Spokesman: No, people are free to speak to the media. Obviously, as staff are aware, when there's an investigation under way, we don't want to prejudice the course of an investigation. [Vine here.]But that… and that is what's happening. But, as a general rule, yes, of course, they're free.
ICP Question: But, it seems like this investigation is really triggered by the AP report. That's why I say it's sort of a chicken-and-egg problem. You were doing your own report. Then the AP ran a story where people spoke to it anonymously, and now you're doing a special investigation. Is that…?
Deputy Spokesman: I don't think that that's fair. I think part of what was happening is that the facts uncovered by the UN Mission prompted the people here at Headquarters to believe that something more is needed...
Inner City Press: I've gone back and looked at it. On 11 July, I asked Stéphane [Dujarric], as it happened, about the Terrain. And he said he hadn't heard anything about it. And then, two days later, Ellen Løj was on the TV screen, and I asked her about Terrain. And she said she acknowledged that she was aware of it and that they'd sent… they called the army to go. And then, on 14 July, Stéphane said more about it. That's what you're referring to. Was there any other statement that you guys proactively put out? When?
Deputy Spokesman: Yes. Exactly. We got those… those were the details we shared over the days as we got them.
Also, who is going to DO Ban's belated (second) investigation? Will the investigation involve DPKO's “conduct & discipline unit” under Mercedes Gervilla, or OIOS' Michael Dudley - the spouse of Mercedes Gervilla? It's “all in the family,” as is so often the case in Ban's UN, where Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo is given a UN post while on the board of Standard Chartered Bank, with two contracts with the UN. We'll have more on this.
On August 16, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Farhan Haq what was done in the last month, other than cover up. Video compilation here; Vine here, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again about the Terrain Apartments. I went back and looked not only at what Ms. [Ellen] Løj said, but the day after that, Stéphane [Dujarric], on 14 July, when asked about what she said, said that the UN was already at that time investigating its own role. So, I wanted to know, in the intervening month, what has the UN found out? Like, yesterday, it was said sort of like the UN, based on the AP report, is going to be looking into it. In the month since 14 July and now, [16 August], what did the UN find out about its role?
Deputy Spokesman: Like I said, we are investigating this. That investigation has not concluded. We may have more to say on this in the next day or so in terms of what will be done in terms of any further investigation, but at this stage, the point is it's ongoing.
ICP Question: But, when did the investigation start, I guess, having now looked at what was said on 14 July? Did it start then or did it not start until now?
Deputy Spokesman: It started very rapidly upon the first awareness of this incident, which, as you're aware, we reported to you at the time.
Not so much - when Inner City Press asked, Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he knew nothing; it took a question to SRSG Loy to get the first admission, see below.
On July 11, Inner City Press received video about the attack while in the UN Press Briefing Room; many including on Capitol Hill in DC were asked about it. But only on August 15 did the US, through its Ambassador Power, say anything.
Is this is a(nother) joint UN and US Administration cover-up?
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric on July 11 said he didn't know anything about it. UN Envoy Ellen Loj on July 13 told Inner City Press UNMISS had called the SPLA to go to Terrain. But, Inner City Press pointed out, there were already there.
On July 14, when Inner City Press asked ask, Dujarric claimed the UN was looking into its own role. Video here. Then, nothing.
Now after a detailed report by AP, Inner City Press on August 15 asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about what Loj has said. Beyond the Vine here. Haq said everything is being investigated, including the UN's role. But what happend with the investigation Dujarric claimed a month ago?
On the evening of August 15, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power put out a statement, which rightly if belatedly noted that "We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help. We have requested and are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the United Nations and demand swift corrective action in the event that these allegations are substantiated."
But the US was told of this more than a month ago. And what follow up has there been on the UN's "investigations" of inaction in Malakal in South Sudan, and on the rapes in the Central African Republic? On UN abuses in Haiti and in its own headquarters? We'll have more on this.
- this while refusing to answer for example which corporate boards of directors Ban's mentor and Special Adviser on Water and Disaster Risk Reduction Han Seung-soo is on. This is a new low for the UN - watch this site.
On August 12 as the UN Security Council prepared to meet on South Sudan, the vote was pushed back from 10 am to 3 pm and the draft weakened to omit triggers for an arms embargo and to require cooperation with the Salva Kiir government.
When the vote occurred, there were four abstentions: China, Russia, Egypt and Venezuela. It was adopted 11-0-4. Here is the final version, as obtained from the UN and put on Scribd by Inner City Press, here. US deputy ambassador David Pressman said that if there is obstruction, the Council will vote about whether to impose an arms embargo. Tweeted photo here. The Chamber was hardly full, tweeted photo here.
Then after the other members' speeches, including Egypt citing the Security Council's inaction on its Burundi resolution (Inner City Press has put the Explanation of Vote online here) and France entirely ignoring that, South Sudan was given the floor and trashed the resolution. Photo of South Sudan government trio here.
One expected someone - the US? - to do a reply. But back down at the stakeout, the US and France walked together down the hall; others noted the contradictions between some members speeches and their votes. It was done.
Inner City Press this morning exclusively published a memo that the International Crisis Group sent to lobby the Council, against sanctions -- in this case against Salva Kiir's Chief of General Staff Paul Malong, about whom we have repeatedly reported.
The author, Casie Copeland, has appeared more publicly in the page of the UK Independent, here. In her ICG memo some may see an echo of the NYT's current series on “think tanks” in Washington, or may question how opposing sanctions on Malong, given his history then and since, is consistent with researching and lobbying for peace. Ms. Copeland's explanation, which we requested, we publish in full below.
Separately Inner City Press hears that neither Kiir-favoring Uganda nor Sudan may officially send new troops to South Sudan, leaving it for Kenya and, yes, Ethiopia. From the ICG memo:
"From: Casie Copeland [at] crisisgroup.org
Subject: South Sudan Sanctions
I hope this finds you well and enjoying the last days of summer. I am writing with respect to the proposed sanctions on two South Sudanese generals.
As you know, the ceasefire workshop after some delays is now scheduled from September 10-15. Both the government and opposition have nominated a set of strong military and police leaders to the workshop and individuals we know to be serious about taking the next steps to establish modalities for the ceasefire - such as identification of forces, number of forces in Juba, withdraw of allies, re-supply procedures, and so on. There is reason to be cautiously optimistic for the outcomes of the workshop.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that much of the fate of this very tenuous agreement rests on the parties abilities to come to agreement at the workshop and leave committed to implementing the agreement.
Sanctions at this point would dramatically undermine IGAD's ability to secure workable arrangements for the ceasefire and thus, potentially the overall agreement. However the threat of sanctions for those who undermine the workshop or violate the agreement afterthe workshop could be useful.
This is particularly true from the perspective of the government. The Chief of General Staff, despite his reservations about much of the peace agreement, came to the venue the day of the signing in Juba to support his President's decision. His support for Kiir was critical in overcoming many of his Bahr el Ghazal (and other) constituency's threats to withdraw support from Kiir if he signed the agreement. To sanction him would appear to be a "slap in the face" to a man whose support for the President's decision to sign was critical in maintaining cohesion in Juba and whose continued support will be absolutely critical to implementing the peace agreement.To make a small point about a ceasefire violation, the Security Council could doom the entire agreement.
I look forward to being in touch with you on this and other matters moving forward. Please do be in touch if I can provide any further information or insight that may be of use.
Casie Copeland, J.D.
South Sudan Analyst
International Crisis Group"
As noted Inner City Press requested an explanation and anything else and publishes it in full:
Last year within a few weeks of the signing of the peace agreement (ARCSS) we understood there was a proposal to sanction the Chief of General Staff of the national army. This followed weeks of intensive pressure on the government to encourage them to sign the ARCSS. The pressure was successful and the government signed the agreement despite the reluctance of many senior officials in government. It was our belief, at that time, that to sanction General Malong would have led to the government disavowing the peace agreement and could have led to an irrevocable deterioration in relations between the Governments of South Sudan and the United States. It is our belief that neither of those outcomes would have served the interests of peace in South Sudan. I am not aware of any proposal since then to sanction General Malong so would be unable to comment on any such proposal.
As for the email in question, we undertake advocacy to all council members on a regular basis. This is done through a number of means and modes of communication, including email. So while this email was widely circulated, it was part of wider advocacy on this topic which included a public statement - "No Sanctions without Strategy" - and reached many other council members directly, including the US government. Warm regards,"
Casie Copeland, J.D.
South Sudan Analyst
International Crisis Group
Back on August 10 after UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien visited South Sudan, Inner City Press asked him about UN delays in registering Internally Displaced People (IDPs) arriving at the UN's Protection of Civilians sites and about reported UN inaction as mostly Nuer women were raped just outside the PoC site in Juba.
O'Brien acknowledged some delay in registration, diplomatically chiding the government for suggestion that people return to where they had fled from in order to register. He described a quickly built camp in Wau, though the reports of registration delay have mostly been from Juba.
Pressed on the issue of UN inaction on rapes, O'Brien said he had not gathered any new information about the allegations during his visit, adding that Salva Kiir told him rapes are “unacceptable.”
Interestingly, O'Brien said that now food is only allowed be to flown in from Uganda, not Sudan or Kenya. We'll have more on this.
Separately, Inner City Press asked O'Brien about the “Functional Review” he had commissioned, and the Heads of Office critique of it, which Inner City Press published here.
O'Brien in his response offered praise and emphasized how short a time he's been at OCHA. We'll continue to report on whether O'Brien, and certain other Ban Ki-moon Under Secretaries General, can or will remain under the Next SG. Some, "even" P-5, should go. Watch this site.
In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.
As the UN refuses to answer questions, and Bans the Press from South Sudan meetings, video here, we publish this internal UN report:
"On 04 August in Yambio, UNMISS received a copy of a directive from the National Security Service (NSS) instructing the senior SPLA Liaison Officer to inform UNMISS that all staff arriving in Gbudwe State from Juba or elsewhere must register at the NSS office in Yambio before proceeding to the UNMISS compound. The Internal Security Bureau (ISB) Director stated that the registration of UNMISS staff is for their own security."
Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about the incident with no real answer. Later on August 5, the UN belatedly emailed its Malakal report, or the executive summary, which Inner City Press immediately put online here. On August 8, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokeman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: The Malakal report that was released on Friday. It seems like one of the recommendations is that, going forward, any… any failure to respond by TCCs [troop-contributing countries] or police-contributing countries [PCCs] be… it said reported to UN Headquarters and to the TCC or PCC involved. In the spirit of kind of name-and-shame, which is taken to the sexual abuse issue, is there a problem with naming the contingents who either didn't respond or said they could only respond if their capital told them they could respond? Is the idea to make that public or to simply keep it in-house?
Deputy Spokesman: At this stage, we're following up with the relevant countries and trying to make sure that any appropriate follow-up is happening. We've also set in motion adjustments to the force structure to identify some of the issues in the investigation, but in terms of actions by the contributing countries, we're working with them to make sure that they do follow up.
ICP Question: Right. And so is that the sum total, all you have on DPKO's (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) response to this lengthy and pretty troubling report?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, there is more. As it is, two commanders were repatriated following the Malakal incident. And, as you have seen from the report, we gave a detailed summary of the events in Malakal of the response by the mission and their recommendations in there. And so that describes the state of play.
“local authorities accused UNMISS of not protecting civilians, Paragraph 14;
UN complains of “unrealistic expectations for the protection [UN] could feasibly afford” Paragraph 19. So UN, What Is It Good For?
Feb18-19 was “not the fist instance when military units in Malakal demonstrated unwillingness to implement ROE,” Rules of Engagement, Paragraph 21;
The UN “acted without urgency to repair the breach in the PoC fence which had been reported on 17 February” - that is called negligence.
Then the UN report cites “failing to cease [sic] an opportunity to better manage the developing security situation” - that is called misspelling. Paragraph 22
The UN BoI's Malakal report says the names of UNresponsive units should be given to UNHQ and to their missions - but NOT to the press or public. This is Ban Ki-moon's ad Herve Ladsous' UN.
And here is the UN's “Confidential” instructions to UN staff, how to deal with authorities in South Sudan - when the Press tries exactly the same inside UN Headquarters with UN Security, it gets ousted (audio here) and evicted.
UN Security will like to remind staff members on actions that should be
taken on approach to/at military check points.
v Reduce speed, slow down and stop completely at the checkpoint.
v Dim headlights/put interior light on, if at night.
v Roll window down not more than 1”, be friendly/courteous.
v Show ID if asked - do not surrender, stay in vehicle unless ordered out.
v Observe any search of vehicle - theft or planting of items.
v Protest the removal of personal items - but do not resist.
v Do not attempt to bribe your way out of a situation.
v Remain calm and give honest answers if questioned. If they mis-state
facts, correct them.
v Insist on your rights as a United Nations staff member. Never forget that
you have rights.
Note: At no point should a staff member speed pass or ignore an official
check point, as such action could be misinterpreted to be hostile and could
result in the vehicle being shot at.
Just two points for now: when Inner City Press points out that the UN mis-spoke to the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders, claiming there was an “altercation” in the UN Press Briefing Room which is disproved by video, the UN does not correct itself. And UN Security's McNulty tore Inner City Press' UN ID off its neck, threw bag with laptop in it on the sidewalk. We'll have more on this.
"On 03 August at 15:00 hours in Juba, one UNMISS Military Personnel (MLO) was prevented by airport security personnel from boarding Kenya Airways flight at Juba International Airport for allegedly taking pictures at the passengers’ waiting room. Before being released HG security personnel seized his laptop, national passport and a smartphone and asked him to report to their office on 04 August. The case was reported to UN Security."
Inner City Press on August 4 asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about it. Video here. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you two things about South Sudan. One is this report that… that, in the camps, in light of the recent violence, the people that have gone into them weren't, in fact, registered as… as… basically, in order to have food delivered to them, to register… to get bigger WFP and that this is in fact leaving some of them without food, and so, they have to go out of the camp, and it puts them at risk. The second question I have it from an UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] memo I've obtained and published, which said that on 3 August an UNMISS military personnel was stopped at the airport by the Government. Computer laptop and phone all taken. UNDSS [United Nations Department of Safety and Security] is aware of it. And I wanted to know, what is the protocol for a Member State to take electronics concluding… presumably including secret information from UNMISS military personnel? And what is the UN doing in this case both to protest it and to make sure the information is not misused?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I will check what UNMISS is doing by way of reaction, but, certainly, our… all of their personnel are supposed to have freedom of movement. And they and their belongings, including, of course, their communications, are to be protected.
ICP Question: This one… I just want to ask you, because what it says is that this was taken because they were taking photographs inside the airport. So I wanted to know, does your interpretation of freedom of movement and freedom of action include taking photographs inside an air… the airport, which is the Government's rationale?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we would have to see whether the actions taken by staff are appropriate. But, certainly, the Government knows what its obligations are under the Status of Forces Agreement, but also, of course, UN personnel are… wherever they go are supposed to have freedom of movement if they go in accordance with their work responsibilities.
ICP Question: And registration? Did you have an answer on that, on whether IDPs [internally displaced persons] that have gone into the camps last week have registered…?
Deputy Spokesman: As far… if I hear otherwise, I can let you know, but as far as I'm aware, all… at all Protection of Civilians sites, the registration continues.
ICP Question: There's an AP story that says totally the contrary, by Justin Lynch.
Deputy Spokesman: Well, registration is a standard practice of the sites. I don't know whether there's a problem at any particular site, but it's standard for all of the inhabitants to be registered.
On August 3 we published these UN internal reports from South Sudan, marked "“UN STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL: ST/SGB/2007/6, Information Sensitivity, Classification and Handling" --
"Armed Conflict – Attack: On 03 August at about 05:00 hours in Leer, reportedly, SPLA soldiers from Koch launched attacks at the villages located north of the UNTCC TOB destroying and looting villages. At 08:10 hours, about 105 IDPs from Kuleer Payam arrived at the Leer TOB seeking protection from GHANBATT.
"On 02 August at about 23:47 hours in Juba, a UN ambulance escorted by UN military departed UN House Level I Clinic to UNMISS-Tomping Level II Clinic, with a female IDP patient in labour. Along the way, the team was harassed by HG security forces at numerous check points. At one check point, the HG security personnel threatened to take the patient out because of her ethnicity."
On August 3, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephande Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: on South Sudan, I wanted to know, I've seen a memo from DSS [Department of Safety and Security] in South Sudan, saying they're aware of these attacks on Leer by the SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army]. It seems from the memo that the UN acknowledges that it's the Salva Kiir forces attacking this Riek Machar area. So, I wanted to know, when is the UN… what's the process for the UN reporting on this type of fighting that it sees? The memo also talks about a woman IDP [internally displaced person] being harassed on the way to giving birth based on her ethnicity. So, I’m just wondering, what is the protocol for UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] or other UN forces in South Sudan to actually say what's taking place?
Spokesman: Well, I think, you know, it's always… it would be helpful for your friends at DSS to share whatever they share with you with me before the briefing so I can give you a better update. But, what is clear is that we have regularly reported from here on fighting, on incidents, when they occur. And the Secretary-General reports regularly to the Security Council, whether in its… in the periodic reports on the mission or periodic briefings, verbal briefings by DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations].
ICP Question: But, just as an example, for example, it's reported that many UN staff have now been unable to get back into the country under this travel restriction. So, when… it seems like this is a violation of the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement]. Is the UN complaining publicly about…?
Spokesman: I think we have raised this publicly. We're obviously raising it privately. It is critical that the Government of South Sudan allow the UN staff to go in and do its work and implement the resolutions of the Security Council and the mandate given to us by the Security Council.
Riek Machar was attacked and chased out of Juba; now he and his forces say they will return absent the deployment of an enhanced international force which those in control of Juba say would immediately be attacked.
Sources tell Inner City Press Paul Malong is setting up his artillery by the main bridge into Juba on the main road artery linking Juba with Nimule, some 9,500 meters opposite UN “Protection of Civilians” and in direct line of sight. This is described by the sources as an act of brinkmanship and an attempt to secure the road corridor.
The UN has had imposed restrictions which violate its Status of Forces Agreement but has quietly accepted them. Inner City Press has published and asked the UN about its (lack of) response, including to rapes, and has been Banned from covering South Sudan meetings inside the UN.
Today Inner City Press publishes in full the resignation letter of Lam Akol, here.
And Inner City Press can report that the UN Security Council anticipated visit to South Sudan and perhaps Sudan from August 15 to 19 is being discouraged by the US, which says it is not ready. We'll have more on this.
The US on July 30 issued a statement saying the UN had documented rapes - but NOT saying that UN Peacekeepers watched and did nothing.
On August 2, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the ramifications are for UN peacekeepers who watch rapes and offer no protection: "on what you said about the witness accounts saying that UN peacekeepers stood by as women were raped outside of the camp of UN House. What would be the ramifications if there’s an investigation if, in fact, it’s found that peacekeepers saw, watched, and did nothing? What happens?
Spokesman Dujarric: "Individual accountability of soldiers is, as it is in every case, up to the troop-contributing country to decide on what disciplinary action is taken."
Ban's UN has no basis to make claims about "zero tolerance."
In the UN Security Council on July 29 US Ambassador Samantha Power said the US had reports of an upsurge of violence in the Equatorias: "I want to stress this also for Council members here today – we have just received very disturbing reports of significant violence in the Equatorias in South Sudan. And all of us need to be on alert, I think, this weekend, because events could spiral rapidly out of control, yet again." What might she have meant?
Inner City Press can report that the US' Ambassador in South Sudan Mary McPhee and US envoy Donald Booth have received this - and it has been reiterated to them by the office of a U.S. Senator, not necessarily one that might be imagined:
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:02 PM
To: Donald Booth [at] state.gov
Cc: Mary McPhee [at] state.gov
Subject: An offensive is on the way soon
Sir, there is an offensive coming soon, probably in the next 7 days.
The plan for SPLA/ IO is to launch simultaneous assaults in three locations at once, probably in a few days from now: 1: attack from Yuai on Pajut; 2:in Malakal and 3rd: on Juba from the direction of the Nimule road and also from Terekeka.
Johnson Olony is the leader of the planned attack in Malakal. Gatwech himself is said to be organizing the attacks around or on Juba liaising with Wani Konga forces kitted out with taken SAF cache in 2005; he is said to be based not far from Juba, possibly around Lafon.
I have no information on the reality or number of the militia forces said to be mobilizing to attack in Malakal or Juba; these forces are being talked about by the tribal factions mobilized in Yuai.
From IO “It will all start North...but details changes are imminent in the last minute.... those Su[san] Rice are weak”
I don’t know if the international community will sit this one out as well but there will be many dead people possible myself since I am here in the UN House.... I can put on a backpack and keep moving on my own but I do care about this country enough to stick it out. Don’t let this next offensive be what I have been worried about turning into the genocide I have been warning about. Everything I had said would happen and come true did come true and I was ignored. Please for the love of humanity don’t let this next offensive take place, there are women and children here, people who are friends and these are human beings, these are personal relationships that were developed out of kindness and trust and here we sit once again, here I am once again warning of what is about to come.
If black lives matter in the United States why don’t they matter here? The people in the POC are trapped with a false sense of security, what we saw last time is a preview, the killing has been rehearsed.”
Previous warnings leading up to this one got only interim responses from one Stetson Sanders, Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the UN Embassy in Juba. We report this part in light of the US Embassy's chiding of South Sudanese media for reports, while the US Mission to the UN has been less than responsive, including on UN free press issues. Albert Taban is out on bail, but UN radio reporter Goerge Livio remain imprisoned and UNremarked upon.
In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.
Since the UN refuses to answer questions, and its Department of Safety and Security (DSS) Bans the Press from South Sudan meetings, video here, we published below a document of complaint against the UN's reported plan to relocate Internally Displaced Persons to the UN House where its peacekeepers stood by watching as IDPs were raped. Photo of complaint here. and below.
On July 28, following an order from the government replete with mis-spellings, tweeted photo here, the UN in South Sudan accepted violations of its Status of Forces Agreement - and says that if UN staff doesn't accept and comply, they will be charged money. This is Ban's UN: Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said he was unaware of any of this, hours after the UNMISS Broadcast email Inner City Press published. (Haq also tried to deny UN corruption right insiee UN Headquarters, here.) From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you on South Sudan. I've seen a letter from the Government to UNMISS, saying that going forward, all entries to the country require 72 hours' notice and also some further restrictions on leaving. I've also seen a memo, a broadcast of UNMISS telling people that they have complied with this and if they don't they can basically be charged money if they seek to travel outside of the restrictions imposed by the Government. I wanted to know whether these restrictions comply with the Status of Forces Agreement, and if they don't, why UNMISS is not only acquiescing to them but charging staff for not complying with them?
Deputy Spokesman: I would need to check whether this is something that is happening. I'm not aware of this as a matter of policy.
ICP Question: A broadcast on this staff today about this.
Deputy Spokesman: I will have to check about what the details are of that.
The UN memo, from DSS whose Inspector Matthew Sullivan has been exposed selling out the UN, with the extent of the scandal still expanding:
"Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:53 PM
Subject: New Immigration Procedures for UNMISS Personnel Arriving at Juba by UNMISS and Commercial Flights
New Immigration Procedures for UNMISS Personnel Arriving at Juba by UNMISS and Commercial Flights
The purpose of this broadcast is to inform all personnel that UNMISS is now required to submit the names of all passengers arriving in South Sudan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) three working days before the planned arrival date. Only passengers that have been notified to the Ministry will be permitted to proceed through immigration and enter the country. Personnel not notified to MOFA are likely to face deportation. The new notification procedures apply to all UNMISS personnel arriving by both UN and commercial flights.
Consequently, all UNMISS personnel are required to note the following restrictions and plan their travel accordingly:
UNMISS Flights Arriving from Entebbe and Nairobi. UNMISS passenger manifests will be closed three working days before planned arrival in Juba. The manifest will then be dispatched to MOFA for processing. Only those passengers listed on the manifest will be permitted to check-in at Entebbe or Nairobi. Manifested passengers that fail to check-in for their flight will be required to re-submit their MOP request and will be delayed for a minimum of four days at their own cost and against their leave entitlement. These procedures apply to all categories of personnel travelling on UNMISS flights.
Commercial Flights Arriving at Juba International Airport. As an interim measure all UNMISS personnel, except National Staff, returning to South Sudan by commercial flights are to provide UN POL Immigration Officers with the following information in Excel format at least 4 workings days before returning to the country, and ideally before they depart South Sudan...
Failure to provide the required information at least 4 working days before planned arrival back in South Sudan could result in the passenger being delayed at their own cost and against their leave entitlement."
On July 27 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the rapes, the inaction, and the planned relocation. Vines here and here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: witnesses in the UN House camp as saying that peacekeepers watched and did nothing as these rapes occurred on 17 July, and I'm wondering, you know, what is being done about that?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, first of all, yes, we take very seriously the allegations that peacekeepers may not have rendered aid to civilians in distress. Of course, that is exactly what they are supposed to do, and there would be serious repercussions if they failed in that duty. But, in this case, the force command of the mission of UNMISS is looking into the allegations, in line with its established protocols.
ICP Question: And we will get the results, whether they confirm or deny them?
Deputy Spokesman: Yes, certainly. We will update you once there is a result to that.
ICP Question: And I wanted to ask you something else about South Sudan. There is an NGO [non-governmental organization] memo that I've seen and published, which is basically protesting the shifting, the movement by the UN of IDPs [internally displaced persons] from Tomping to UN House and they say it's not prepared there, they say because of this, it could create greater Cholera risk. And they are also, obviously, in the case if it's true that people can be raped right outside the gate of the camp with peacekeepers watching, why would you be moving them there? So, I'm wondering, I know this memo has been delivered to UNMISS, but is UNMISS going to forcibly relocate IDPs from Tomping to UN house and if so why?
Deputy Spokesman: It's not a question of forcibly relocating them. What we are trying to do is make sure that, wherever the displaced people are kept, it's a place with the safest standards, so we are trying to move them to a place of greater safety. The problem throughout the country has been one of safety and the responsibility for that ultimately lies with the warring parties who have rendered huge areas, including around Juba, in and around Juba, as unsafe. But what we would need to do is have a place where we can have the best provision of facilities. The Tomping site has, as you know, been full for quite some time, and what we are trying to do is move from one area to the other gradually and as a way of ensuring better safety for the displaced people.
ICP Question: What the NGOs are saying is that Nuer in particular are at risk in UN House; that, in fact, people are saying that, in fact, the rapes that you are describing were largely targeting Nuer woman and that putting Nuer men into UN House basically makes them a target for the majority group, so are you aware of that?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, you heard what I've just said about the problems regarding the rapes. We are documenting all of the rapes, as much as we can. And we also following up at the level of the UNMISS force command with any of the problems involving peacekeepers. But, ultimatel,y we have to make evaluations based on where displaced people are located and where they will be safest, and as we make those evaluations, part of what we will be doing is moving them from one to another.
There is cholera, lack of protection and lack of planning. This is Ban's UN.
Now, Ban Ki-moon's UN has confined to only internal reporting the detention of a UN national staff member, while Ban stealthly attends book parties in New York, taking no questions.
On July 25, Inner City Press asked the UN if it recognizes the replacement of Riek Machar, and why it covers up Kiir's detention of UN staff. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I also wanted to ask about a staff member. I've seen a memo from DSS (Department of Safety and Security) and UNMISS (United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan) and I'm wondering why we have not heard more about it. In Yambio, an UNMISS female national staff member was arrested and detained by the National Security Service, reason unclear, thought to be political, still detained. So this is as of Friday, and I haven't heard anything since from the UN. Is this staff member still detained by National Security in South Sudan?
Deputy Spokesman: I will check with UNMISS where we stand with that. Many times, what we're trying to do is just deal with the local authorities to make sure that any misunderstandings are cleared up; but, certainly, whenever that happens, we want to make sure our staff will be released.
ICP Question: Just one more on this in the same memo.
Deputy Spokesman: Hold on.
This deputy spokesman, who defends and stonewalls on Ban's and Gallach's Banning of Inner City Press from South Sudan and Haiti meetings, waited a full 24 hours to, instead of emailing his answer as he dos to scribes who do not criticize or question Ban, this canned answer: "I was also asked yesterday about the detention of a staff member in Yambio last week. According to the latest information from the UN Mission in South Sudan, she has not yet been released. UNMISS is continuing to press for access and visitation, but has thus far been denied. We are aware that her family has been able to visit her. UNMISS is continuing its engagement with the authorities in this regard."
UN whistleblowers have leaked to Inner City Press a UN memo that
"WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL: On 20 July at about 14:00 hours in Wau, two SPLA personnel stopped a UN vehicle carrying two UNMISS national staff members (of CAD Section) when they were conducting official duty (commodity survey) at Jou marked area. The SPLA questioned the UN staff members about their activities and forcefully took the shoes of one of the staff members as well as the amount 15000 SSP before releasing them unharmed."
The UN being silent on its staff robbed by the government is one thing. The UN has recently been silent, like the Committee to Protect Journalists which seeks Ban-supported access to the UN on July 25, on the detention of UN Radio journalist George Livio. But what about this?
"On 21 July, at approximately 16:25 hours, in Yambio an UNMISS female national staff member was arrested and detained by National Security Services (NSS). The reason for the Staff's detention is unclear but may be political. UN Security was denied access to the staff member... She is still detained by NSS."
Why has the UN said (and seemingly done) nothing about this? On the evening of July 22, not on his schedule which listed only UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Ban Ki-moon appeared at a book event for the spouse of the US Ambassador to the UN.
It was pre-planned: Ban's personal podium was set up in advance. But it was not on his schedule, and Ban's name was omitted from the squawk announcement by this spokesperson's office. And despite a written claimit was open to all journalists, in front of the event along with bodyguards was a sign, here, "Closed Meeting." We'll have more on this.
The nationalities of UN Police who left their posts amid the recent fighting is being withheld by Ban Ki-moon's UN, see below.
The day after UN Spokesman Farhan Haq said police which left would not be allowed to return, on July 22 Inner City Press asked him about German saying it would return despite leaving, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: you said yesterday that you were unable to determine whether there was any memo about the police that left their posts or were pulled out of the country in Juba, so I wanted to know can you now confirm that there is such a memo from Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous to Ban Ki-moon about it, that it doesn't have the Security Council material? But I also wanted to ask you, Germany has said they are going to return. This is a direct quote from Deutsche Welle, Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesman said that German police officers would return to South Sudan when the time has come. So it seems like you have said from this podium that some people won't be returning. Are the Germans returning, as they say?
Deputy Spokesman: I believe there are already still some Germans in the police contingent in the UN Mission in South Sudan, so there are some there. But, beyond that, I don't have anything specific to say about any national contingents, but I believe that they are there already.
ICP Question: They acknowledged they took people out and say that they will be returning, so that is why I'm asking you, will these same officers who left return?
Deputy Spokesman: The officers who left would not return, under the understandings we have reached; unless there is other clarification about how there was notification, the policy that we have is what I've stated a few days ago.
We'll see. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has played fast and loose with the media. On July 21 it was announced Ban would have “press remarks” at 3:30 pm. Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if the topic would be only Inter-Parliamentary Union, or something else. Haq said IPU, that's what it's about.
But once upstairs at 3:30 pm, Ban Ki-moon launched into a statement about South Sudan, while taking no question on it. Video here. He spoke about the media in South Sudan, when his UNMISS has Banned the media from entering and covering the Protection of Civilian sites at UN House and Tomping for ten days. (Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked about it on July 20.)
Ban did not mention the UN Police who left their posts during the violence, nor why his UN is treating them with kidgloves, and not naming them, due to their nationality. Inner City Press asked if it could ask a question and was told no. So it's propaganda. Knowing how Ban's UN retaliates - evicting Inner City Press from its longtime office for merely trying to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room that was nowhere described in writing as Closed, Inner City Press did not shout out its question. But this is Ban's UN: censorship.
And lack of transparency. From the July 21 UN transcript: Inner City Press: can you confirm that the UK withdrew two, Germany seven and Sweden three, and then can you state whether the US has withdrawn its police component?
Deputy Spokesman: No. I can't confirm any nationalities. Basically, the concerned Member States were informed of our decision. It's up to them to make public details on their decision to evacuate their officers, and that is of their choosing.
ICP Question: And what about a UN that opines on the qualifications of a country to be a permanent member of the Security Council? I'm wondering does the Secretariat have the same view of France, given sexual abuse in CAR (Central African Republic), and we can go down the line of the P5...
Deputy Spokesman: First of all, I'm not aware that there is any sort of authentic memo. I was actually trying to check up with my colleagues this morning about this document that was reported on one of the news wires. And, no, they looked over all their memos and there is no such document that they see, so I'm not aware of any such thing.
ICP Question: Finally, even if a country gives notice in the middle of a crisis and pulls its soldiers out, doesn't that also hurt morale? In terms of civilian staff remaining, what is the difference in terms of hurting morale? And do you encourage countries, can Chad pull out of Mali any time they want or when it gets dangerous? How does that work?
Deputy Spokesman: First of all, this is not simply an issue or pulling out. We are well aware that there are times when military circumstances on the ground are extremely dangerous. We are well aware that troop-contributing countries and police contributing countries have sovereign control over their personnel and may take operational decisions to ensure their safety, which may, from time to time, include relocating them or withdrawing them; that's very clear. For us, the issue is really one of communication and coordination; that in this case where some withdrawals were done without consulting the mission, that impedes our work and that's what we wanted to make sure does not happen.
ICP Question: How is it consistent with protection of civilians if the UN is saying to its peacekeeping and police-contributors you can leave, whenever it gets dangerous you can leave, no problem?
Deputy Spokesman: That's not what we are saying. We are not saying you can leave.
ICP Question: As long as you tell us we are leaving?
Deputy Spokesman: No, it's not even that. People have to take military decisions. We are not trying to put people into a path where they have to sacrifice themselves. There are ways to protect people in conditions of conflict that do not involve that kind of action. But what we are saying is that those actions that they take need to be coordinated. And, of course, when we do these things, we have to make sure that we can ensure the protection of civilians. We have to do that.
ICP Question: Isn't there a chain of command? Doesn't the command to come out, well, whatever, doesn't it come from the top or can individual countries say, I'm going my own way, this is what I'm asking you?
Deputy Spokesman: Of course we have a chain of command. We have force commanders for peacekeeping missions. There is a way in which all of these issues are to be handled. Again, with the appropriate amount of communication and coordination, there is a lot of things that can be done. Without that, the system doesn't work and that is why we need to make sure that all contingents understand that.
Likewise the UN was slow to call for the release of Alfred Taban, and has been quiet about its own UN radio reporter George Livio. On July 21, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye spoke out for the former:
"It is crucial for a country seeking to establish peace and stability that it takes active steps to encourage freedom of expression for everyone. Any pressure against journalists based on the content of their reporting represents regressive steps that South Sudan cannot afford to take. The arrest and detention of Mr. Taban are unlawful as they are directly linked to the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression."
Mr Kaye’s statement has also been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst; and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention."
This pair, to their credit, asked the UN why it ousted Inner City Press. But the UN's response two month later contained a falsehood - that there was an altercation, disproved by video - and Inner City Press is not aware of any follow up, and was Banned from covering a UN meeting as recently as July 20. We'll have more on this.
As Inner City Press has reported including leaks, the UN on February 19 and April 16 ousted and evicted it, petition here, and on July 10 Inner City Press was ordered by Ban Ki-moon's UN Security to leave the UN Security Council stakeout while other favored correspondents could stay. This is censorship.
Below is another internal UN system document leaked to Inner City Press, including on harassment of UN staff by the Salva Kiir government, backlash against Ban Ki-moon's proposals covered up by the UN in its public statements (Inner City Press asked the UN about it, below). And also below was the US' warning for July 20, the demonstration which featured, among other things, the old post of the UN's last SRSG packing heat.
On July 20, Inner City Press asked the UN about journalists' open letter to Ban Ki-moon to end his mission's banning of media from the UN camps. Video here.
From the UN Transcript:
Inner City Press: an open letter to Ban Ki-moon, in South Sudan a number, almost all media organizations have written an open letter to Ban Ki-moon urging that after a week of being ban from entering that they be allowed to access and report on the protection of civilian sites and UN House in Tomping say that there is no basis for keeping them out, that they are unable to report, so they have asked him directly in this open letter that I'm staring at to change the policy and allow them access. What is the overall policy of the UN and why hasn't it been implemented, if it is what I think it is, in this case?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I'll check. I mean, as you know, we've had security concerns about the various sites, including Tomping, given the events of last time, so there has been a need to make sure that the populations that we're caring for in those areas will be protected. Beyond that I will check if there is anything.
Inner City Press: Sure. Even in other circumstances the UN sees the benefit of having a reporting of even the dangerous situations. They know that it's dangerous. They want a report on it.
Deputy Spokesman: Certainly. And we try to open up sites as quickly as we can, but we try to do that with respect for the security concerns; and, as you know, the last week and a half has been a fairly exceptional circumstance in that regard.
"U.S. Embassy Juba, South Sudan, Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Demonstration in Juba on July 20
The government of South Sudan has announced that it is sponsoring ademonstration against the IGAD-proposed and AU-endorsed increase of UNMISS troops to Juba. The protest is scheduled to take place in Juba on Wednesday morning, July 20, beginning at SPLM House and moving to the John Garang Memorial. U.S. Citizens are advised to avoid the areas in which the demonstration will take place. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence."
Here's recent UN document, and what Inner City Press asked UN about it:
"The fighting might reignite despite a ceasefire. Troops are moving in Malakal, Nassir, Bor and Unity.
A recommendation has been made to relocate all UN Staff currently in Juba to the UN House Compound of the UNMISS Compound, Tomping - action was taken by FAO already.
There have been demonstrations by the Dinka against the arrival of additional International troops today, 18 July 2016.
UNMISS incoming passengers have been facing difficulties with local authorities at the airport in Juba. The president of South Sudan has instructed the local authorities not to allow foreign soldiers into South Sudan. UNMISS soldiers are considered foreign. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for South Sudan is trying to work out a solution with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
3300 IDPs are currently in the UNMISS compound – Tomping, Juba, however they will be transferred to the Protection of Civilians (POC) area.
The Ugandan military convoy is escorting Ugandans that were trapped in the capital, Juba during the heavy fighting out of South Sudan.
The IGAD summit in Rwanda and New York propose to fortify the UN Mission in South Sudan and the strengthening of Civilian Protection. This may however increase the animosity against the United Nations.
Thirty percent of the shops in Juba are open, however most shops managed by foreigners closed. There is a shortage of food, water and fuel in Juba and the border to Uganda is closed.
Looting of NGO’s inside and outside of Juba is ongoing - this may continue for a period of time.
All program criticality level 1 and 2 staff currently outside Juba must be cleared for travel by the Designated Official before proceeding to Juba. It remains the responsibility of Agency Security Focal Points and Security Officers, and UNMISS heads of sections to seek security clearance for this travel from the Chief Security Officer.There is an outbreak of cholera in Juba town, Tomping and Duk."
On July 19, Iner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: I've seen a UN memo which links these hindrances with orders by Salva Kiir to oppose any foreign troops coming in. Says that… that UNMISS is viewed as foreign troops, and that the level… that there's an anticipation that the level of animosity will increase, given the Secretary-General's call for troops and an arms embargo. So I wanted to, I guess, get you to say… do you… this is what the memo says, but are you willing to say that there's… there's a connection, that this is a pattern of harassment based on the Secretary-General's proposals, and how do you… how do you propose to protect staff from this harassment or respond to it?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I wouldn't link it to the Secretary-General's proposals. Our basic point is that there has been increased harassment of personnel. There have been increased levels of obstructions. There have been increased denials. Those are all clear, and those cannot and must not be allowed to stand. We have to be able to go about our work with… without any sort of hindrance like that. Regarding why there's a… different types of harassment from the population, I wouldn't conjecture what the reasoning is. I do believe that if there's any coordinated effort to obstruct our work, that has to be halted immediately.
Inner City Press: Right. This memo also says that the Special Representative, I guess Ms. [Ellen Margrethe] Løj, is trying to work out a solution with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior. Is that… is it fair to say that she's trying to… is… is it… is it simply to… to ensure free movement of UN staff, or is it to actually get permission to bring in the troops that have been voted on by the African Union?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, in terms of the permission and consent for troops, that is ultimately… this is something also that is being considered by the Security Council, and we'll leave some of this in their hands. As you know, the Council is considering the matter, and we're not getting in advance of that. But regarding Ms. Løj's discussions, of course she is in regular touch with the authorities in South Sudan to make sure that we can go about our work without any hindrance.
Inner City Press: And I just wanted to ask one… and thanks for the statement on Alfred Taban. There's this other journalist in South Sudan, George Livio, who's been now in prison for a year. And he's an employee of the UN's radio station there. And I wanted to know, and some people there want to know, has UNMISS made a similar call? What progress has been made in terms of getting Mr. George Livio freed?
Deputy Spokesman: We continue to work on all of these issues. Throughout the situation in South Sudan, we've been trying to make sure that freedom of expression and freedom of the media is upheld, and our Human Rights Office does monitor and investigate all of these cases.
After Ban Ki-moon's unsuccessful, some say self-serving whistlestop African tour, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni has said no way to any arms embargo. Wires like Reuters, quick to regurgitate in other instances the economics of arms sales, didn't do so here. But here is a document Inner City Press has obtained, of South Sudan's Paul Malong asking Museveni's UPDF for end user certificates on weapons.
We'll have more on this.
Below is UN's internal communication, signed off on by the head of the UN Department of Safety and Security Peter Drennan. (UNMISS' Ellen Loj said on July 13 to Inner City Press, You get everything as related to DSS, Vine here.)
Now from within UN DSS, leaked exclusively to Inner City Press, comes this: "On 15 July in Juba on two occasions during the day on the Yei Road, INGO vehicles moving to UN House PoC 1 and PoC 3 were stopped by SPLA. The occupants were reportedly questioned aggressively on a number of matters before being allowed to proceed."
And this: "On 14 July at about 16:00 hours in Malakal a private truck contracted to IOM was stopped by a group of IDPs within the PoC. The driveSen McCain and Rep Bass, those trapped were saved. No thanks to the UN, we'll have more on this.
UN leak to Inner City Press:
"Exchange of heavy gunfire outside the UN house, at about 300 meter north of the main gate started in the early hours of 10 July 2016. Few rounds of mortar shells landed close to POC 1 and inside the UN house. IDPs in large numbers subsequently began to seek refuge inside the UN house. Heavy fighting continued throughout the day including movement of towed artillery, tanks and troops. Heavy fire was observed on the hill north-east of the main gate. Fighting intensified in the afternoon near POC-3. Heavy and concentrated mortar rounds in the immediate vicinity of the UN house resulted in the SPLA IO troops concentrating around POC-1 western gate.
The UN Tomping compound area also witnessed build-up of heavily armed SPLA soldiers who took up positions and fired bursts of small arms weapon. Multiple instances of bursts of rapid small arms fire followed by heavy weapons and mortar were heard around the Tomping area all thought the day. A large number IDPs and civilians sought refuge inside UN compound in Tomping. The western gate of Tomping was affected by heavy fire.
Heavy fighting resumed this morning 11 July 2016, at about 08:50 hours in most parts of the city. UN house and Tomping compound witnessed intensified heavy bombardment with the use of mortar, tanks, artillery and fires from helicopter gunships. Other areas that witnessed armed activity where within close proximity of WFP, UNICEF, IOM and UNDP residential compounds.
Please see the attached Communiqué electronically approved by Mr. Peter Drennan, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Safety and Security dated 10 July 2016 for your information.
The text in the document reads as follows:
1. In view of the prevailing security situation in Juba, the Designated Official for South Sudan, in consultation with the Crisis Management Team, has recommended the temporary suspension of all incoming and outgoing official travel of UNSMS personnel to and from Juba until further notice, with exceptions to be decided by the Designated Official.
2. I endorse the above recommendation and request UNSMS organizations to comply. Should any mission be deemed of critical importance, advance coordination with the Designated Official should take place for consideration and approval. The security situation is continuously monitored, and once permissible, the suspension will be reviewed."
Previously leaked to Inner City Press on early on July 10: two fatalities in UN "Protection of Civilians" camp 3, seven Chinese peacekeeper injured, three to four critically. And the role of Paul Malong, see below.
After more than three hours of meeting, on July 10 the UN Security Council members emerged. US Samantha Power spoke briefly, about getting more troops from regional countries.
Inner City Press then asked the Council's president for July, Koro Bessho of Japan, if an arms embargo had been discussed - no - and which countries are being looked to. He said he would not name names. Video here.
Could it be, as the UN's Herve Ladsous seeks to continue using in Central African Republic, from Burundi? We'll have more on this. The Council's Press Statement, InnerCityPro.com has put online here.
Belatedly reaching the US Security Council stakeout on July 10, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre about the injured peacekeepers - nothing -- then asked US Ambassador Samantha Power about the role of Paul Malong, should he be sanctioned? Again, nothing. After 6 pm, Inner City Press asked Angola's Ambassador about the use of attack helicopters; he said heavy weapons shouldn't be used.
The head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, who should know or quit, said he couldn't give any casualty figures. Inner City Press asked about the seven Chinese peackeepers seriously injured it reported hours earlier; Ladsous said two more, beyond the Chinese. Inner City Press asked if his DPKO has dealt with Paul Malong. No answer. Video here.
Some say the US has been too quiet, even as aircraft are prepared in Djibouti for an evacuation. From US sources, citing a "hero from Benghazi," comes word of US personnel "trapped" in Juba, amid ambushes and NSA Susan Rice set to meet with South Sudanese diaspora / in exile, including Pagan Amum as well as Bakosoro, see below.
US officials Donald Booth and Susan Page have been informed of SPLA-IO reinforcements on their way and the role of Paul Malong, with Ugandan backing. Meanwhile officials of the UN, which has helped in the cover up, blithely tweet "shame on their leaders" -- are they aware of Malong?
Inner City Press was delayed in getting to the Security Council stakeout by the eviction and accreditation downgrade by Team Ban Ki-moon as retaliation for reporting.
Here is a letter from NGOs to the Security Council, put onling by Inner City Press here.
Now as some of those fleeing are forced to climb over the UN's closed gates, with helicopters with links to Uganda's UPDF over Juba, here was the initial memo Inner City Press exclusively published:
“JUBA Nearly 150 soldiers are reported dead from Friday's clash between South Sudan's rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the First Vice President Riek Machar.
The heavy fighting occurred on Friday near J1, the Presidential Palace, between troops of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and protection unit of the First Vice President, Machar, of the SPLA in Opposition.
35 of the SPLA-IO soldiers lying dead and over 80 died from the SPLA’s side.
All the bodyguards of the First Vice President who were deployed on the street outside J1 were killed, said a senior SPLA officer.
A huge force came from nowhere and joined up with President Kiir’s tiger force and opened fire on Machar’s bodyguards deployed outside the Palace for protection."On July 8 amid the surge in violence in South Sudan, the UN Ambassador of Lithuania, until recently on the UN Security Council, tweeted on Friday that the Council would meet that afternoon about the crisis.
But when ICP asked the month's President of the Council, Koro Bessho of Japan, he said there would be no Security Council meeting that afternoon. The Lithuania ambassador deleted the tweet; the UNTV crew took down their camera. This as, for example, World Vision went on lock-down in Juba. Ban Ki-moon, in China, issued a canned statement - this as his spokesman refuses Press questions about South Sudan, calling them "too granular."
On July 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN Transcript here. Dujarric refused an answer, calling it "too granular."
The UN Department of Safety and Security situation report covers up what other sources say was the targeted assassination of an SPLA-IO soldier:
3. Crime – Shooting: On 05 July at about 10:30 hours in Juba, UN military personnel on patrol reported a shooting incident near the NISS HQ on Jebel Road. The report indicated that an SPLA soldier who appeared to have been shot was taken away from the scene by other Host Government security personnel. The body of a deceased SPLA –IO was reportedly later discovered in the same general area. It could however not be ascertained if this was the same person earlier taken away by HG security personnel neither could it be confirmed if the cause of death was as a result of gunshots.
On June 21, UN DSS issued and Inner City Press has obtained and exclusively publishes the below advisory about South Sudan - well, Juba - which contrasts to DSS officials' behavior, for example in New York where on February 19 they pushed Inner City Press into the street(apparently ordered to do so by DPI's Cristina Gallach), on March 10 ordered it out of the UN contrary to published rules, and since then have harassed the Press even when it has a minder.