Saturday, December 17, 2016

On South Sudan, Watered Down Draft Passes 15-0, ICP Asked US Power of UNMISS Arming Warlord

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- When the UN Security Council members met about South Sudan on December 15, the best they could do was extend the mandate of the UNMISS mission for a single day. Even then, there was already news of UNMISS having given arms to warlord, or “rebel general,” James Koang.

This was in a Small Arms Survey report, picked up in the Washington Post. Inner City Press tweeted it at UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, requesting a comment. Nothing.

  On the morning of December 16, Inner City Press asked the Ambassadors of the UK and New Zealand about it, and both had heard of it and said it needed to be investigated. The Ambassador of France, the country that has run UN Peacekeeping for 20 years, did not comment. Video here.

  The US holds the pen, and more, on South Sudan. In the early afternoon of December 16, when US Ambassador Samantha Power held a stakeout about Syria, Inner City Press asked about the US South Sudan draft, and the Washington Post report. Power said she hadn't seen the Washington Post report, but that she thought the draft will pass. Video here.

At 4 pm the resolution, changed, was adopted 15-0. Afterward Egypt, for example, criticized the US for not consulting enough, and showing its draft(s) too late. Final adopted draft here. 

Speaking for the US was deputy Isobel Coleman, who did not in her speech mention UNMISS arming Koang. (In full disclosure, she is also the USUN ambassador to whom the Government Accountability Project directed its request that the Mission opposed the UN's eviction and restriction of Inner City Press - and apparently did nothing.)

  There were already over 9,000 viewers of Inner City Press' Periscope of this South Sudan Q&A, but even after Inner City Press tweeted the Washington Post story to Power, her spokesman and the US Mission generally, there was no response.

None of these did ANYTHING when Inner City Press was evicted, and is still restricting, by the UN of Ban Ki-moon and Cristina Gallach this year, despite a request from the DC-based Government Accountability Project. We'll have more on this.

When the UN Security Council met about South Sudan on November 17, outgoing US Ambassador Samantha Power lavished praise on Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative to the country, Ellen Loj, not linking her to the UN's failures in Juba in July and Malakal before that.

   This stands in contrast to Ban's firing or scapegoating for the July failure of Kenyan's force commander Ondieki, on the job for only three weeks at the time. Was Loj as blameless as Samantha Power and Ban made her out to be, as each speechifies about “accountability”?

On December 9, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the detention then expulsion of the Norwegian Refugee Council's director Victor Moses more than a day before. Haq said he would check with UNMISS. He did not then have, or by the end of the day provide, any statement at all. Call it UNMISSing.

  Inner City Press also asked UN OCHA's John Ging, who to his credit answered, here.

On December 5, Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric how and when Loj would be replaced. UN transcript.  On December 7, after scapegoating the Kenyan force commander and letting the Danish SRSG off the hook, Ban has named another Western Europe and Other Group official to head the South Sudan mission: David Shearer of New Zealand.

Whatever his qualifications, there are already African Group diplomats at this last “diss” by Ban of the African Group - after the scapegoating of Babacar Gaye for Herve Ladsous in CAR and at the same time that the UN said nothing about the Dutch bringing Christmas figures in black-face to the UN Peacekeeping base in Mali, here and now here.

On December 8, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about this, and about how Shearer was vetted - but Haq refused to answer either until Shearer already has the job. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about this letter the Secretary-General wrote nominating, at least, David Shearer to head UNMISS [United Nations Mission] in South Sudan.  One, I wanted to know whether, just from the public record, this issue where he did not, as a New Zealand politician, disclose a bank account he had at the UN with more than $50,000 in it was part of the… of the vetting process.  And, two, given the firing that many complained of, of the Kenyan commander, were there… was there a short list?  And, just to be direct about it, were there any African candidates on the short list, given that both the location of the mission and given recent issues both with Babacar Gaye and with the Kenyan general?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.  We don't have an announcement at this point to make about the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.  I hope we'll be able to have that at some point, but until then, I don't have a confirmation for the basis of your question.

ICP Question:  But it seems like a stran… okay.  I mean, the letter exists, so my question is, the thing is that you set up a process in which questions about vetting or issues that arise cannot… won't be answered until the person's already confirmed.  Am I correct?  See… that's why I'm asking the question now.

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, you are basing a question on an announcement that I'm not able to make at this point.

ICP Question:  Is there such a letter?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'm sure that, as with other cases, there are communications that go to the Security Council about potential choices.  We do not have a confirmation to provide at this point.  That's the nature of the process.  That… as you know, we wait for the process to play itself out, and then we can make our announcement.

On December 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press:  in South Sudan, there's pretty serious reports of fighting in Yei, where it seems that there was some sort of an attack by SPLA in Opposition.  The Government is saying it's just criminals, but I wanted to know whether UNMISS can provide some clarity and also if UNMISS has any comment on the Government deporting AP reporter Justin Lynch, which happened yesterday, and was somebody who was obviously reporting on these topics.  What's the UN's response to that? 

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, on the latter question, we don't have confirmation from the UN Mission, UNMISS, but we are aware of the reports, including from the Associated Press, that, that their reporter has been excluded.
Obviously, we believe that all reporters have to be allowed to go about their work without interference or without hindrance.  We've raised up several times in recent weeks our concerns about the treatment of media in South Sudan, and we reiterate that in this case.

Regarding the fighting in Yei, I don't have any details at present from the Mission, but we'll check with them whether they have anything.

On November 30, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan.  In the session in Geneva today, the US ambassador there, Mr. Ambassador Harper, said that the US has information that the government intends to… to essentially carry out an attack in Equatoria in the coming weeks.  I wanted to ask two things.

One, what the UN… UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan], if… I'm assuming that if the US has this information that UNMISS would as well, what steps it intends to take to protect civilians.  And also, I guess, to ask for your comment, the US mission here in New York is seeking sanctions through the Security Council only on Riek Machar and not on Salva Kiir.

Given that these allegations are about the Salva Kiir Government, does the Secretary-General, who has been willing to talk about arms embargo, believe that the sanctions should be applied to… as well as the party that's actually planning an attack according to testimony today?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, to take your second question first, obviously, it's, the sanctions and how they're devised is up to the members of the Council, and we respect their ability to do that.  At the same time, of course, the Secretary-General has made clear the response, that the responsibility for the violence in South Sudan is a responsibility by the leaders of both parties.  It's, it's not restricted to one side or the other.  And so any solution will involve making sure that both parties abide by this, both the SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army] and the SPLA in Opposition.

Regarding possible violence, of course, we take preparatory steps whenever we are aware of any reports of threats and the mission is doing all it can in terms of its posture on the ground and its patrolling to protect civilians.  But I wouldn't want to speculate on what might happen in the future.  But, yes, we try to take steps to make sure that we'll be ready. 

After a closed door Security Council meeting later on November 29, Inner City Press was told that a “new” letter from the Kiir government on the RSF had been discussed. But neither the Council presidency, nor the US as penholder, represented by Isobel Coleman and not Samantha Power, provided any information.

   The US has proposed to sanction Riek Machar -- but not Salva Kiir. Inner City Press asked UN Prevention of Genocide Adviser Adama Dieng about this choice, video here (he answered on other issues).

Some in South Sudan surmise that the US Adminstration has been against Riek Machar since, as far back as May 2016, Machar started saying Trump could win the US election. Should this play a role in choosing the target of sanctions?

   Now, despite the claims that the UN as a whole is acting on the threats, under Ban Ki-moon's supposed “Rights Up Front” scheme not even complied with by Ban's own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, the UN has stayed quiet on a significant arrest in Yambio.

   Kiir's National Security in Yambio arrested Azande Paramount Chief Wilson Peni Rikito and days later, quiet from the UN which claimed it was paying particular attention to Yambio. We'll have more on this.

Meanwhile many South Sudanese are asking Inner City Press why the US Special Forces in Yambio and Nzara are sitting on their hands amid the slaughter. The US says they are there to “find Kony” - who is nowhere nearby. Others say it is a resources play.

   The US Mission the UN's point-person on South Sudan left the Mission on November 4, and since then his position has been filled in by US Ambassador (ostensibly) for reform, Isobel Coleman. She did nothing even when the DC-based Government Accountability Project wrote to her earlier this year about Ban Ki-moon's UN evicting and restriction Inner City Press.

Now for truthful exclusive stories about those actually responsible for the failure in the Terrain in July, there's threats of litigation -- in essence, SLAPP suits, Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation and reporting. It seems the current US mission would be fine with that. We'll have more on this.

   The US has been responsible for South Sudan, in the Security Council and elsewhere, and this Administration has not succeeded. Inner City Press' sources are describing to it how the parties are reaching around the outgoing Obama administration to the incoming, and we'll have more on that.

Here's the text of South Sudan's charge d'affaires Joseph Moum Majak N. Malok November 17 speech to the Security Council.

For now here's more details on how the UNMISS that US Power praises, and for which Herve Ladsous has not been held accountable, partners with the Dinka SPLA. Beyond Christophe Du Toit of UNDSS; Kenyan Tulicha Osman Abdikardir (UNHCR) security advisor providing intel to SPLA MI and UNMISS / “SPLA Agent” Captain Toang Wal Mut. This is shameful.

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. 

On November 10, Ban's head of peacekeeping Herve Ladsous refused to answer on either Juba or Yambio, see below and video here: Ladsous only said, “You know I do not speak to you, Mister.” This is Ban's UN.

Now Inner City Press is exclusively informed that Ladsous' UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is accused by many South Sudanese as helping the government to the point of having SLPA personnel in its camps, evacuating Dinka residents of Yei, denying others aid - doing anything, in short, to be able to remain in the country.

  Inner City Press has tweeted some photographs leaked to it despite or around the frequently Internet outages in the country. See two photographs here, and watch this site.

Combined with Ladsous' cover up of rapes in Central African Republic - now by at least 25 Burundians as well -- it is Ladsous who should be fired for UNMISS failures in South Sudan. But from sources in South Sudan, including inside the UN, these are others down the line with responsibility, including managing the UN's Security Information and Operations Center:

Christophe Du Toit, UNDSS - his record with the UN in Afghanistan is also subject to review; Thomas Acheampong - DCSA Operations; Enoch Penny Laryea; Essien Idim; Fanwell Mwape - who is said slated for an award for the great job done rescuing the Terrain people although his role is dubious, the sources say. We'll have more on this.

This too: Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, who Ban promoted without recusal to the top UN position in Kenya as resident coordinator, has said nothing even amid raids on South Sudanese in Nairobi. Instead, shamefully, this.

On November 14 in South Sudan, more censorship: Anisa Radio Yambio, tun by the Catholic church, has been closed. To some it appears this may be likely Juba elite kicking back at result of US election and likelihood of no more funding from US Gov / Troika.This is to suppress any information getting out of SPLA Juba military offensive post the US election result.

In Germany, the Left party is calling for the end of UNMISS as ineffective, see here.

There is also ongoing fighting in Maban (Upper Nile). Limited information provided by ICRC, but since initial alert, all communications networks have been suppressed. As usual, nothing from UNMISS / UNDSS on either of the above nor of yesterday’s outbreaks in Yambio or Unity. The UN is involved not only in scapegoating but also cover ups.

On November 10,  Inner City Press exclusively received and due to UN cover ups published:

“Yambio: Fighting since 5 am today. Heavy fighting is still on going right now in Mashiya area and behind South Sudan hotel in Yambio.  The fight started at around 05:00 at Hai Kuba (same area as Inner City Press previously reported where UNMISS never patrolled). UNMISS have refused to open their gate to let the civilians in and many of the civilians were making their ways to bush instead. Ongoing shooting - helicopter gunships.”

And, from sources and in light of UN cover ups, Inner City Press exclusively published this update:

"In this morning's fighting, two people have been killed by SPLA IG soldiers, Inner City Press is informed. Isaac Jacob of the Youth Choir at St Mary Catholic Church Yambio, and Kutaya who is the local chief of Kuzee in Yambio. The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) went to Isaac's house and found him packing up to leave the town.

The SPLA asked him why he was packing and his wife Veronica realized the situation was very tense and ran off. Just as she left running for her life she heardgunshots. After the SPLA left, she came back to find her husband Isaac had been killed. This  happened just after 9 am, in broad daylight. SPLA-IG (In Government) proceeded to cross the road to Kuzee chief’s house and also killed Kutaya. The sources say: heavy SPLA IG presence on streets and no sign of UNMISS."

Then at the noon briefing Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric read a statement on Yambio which didn't mentioned the killings or who did them. It's in this transcript, along with Inner City Press' follow up:

Inner City Press: you read out on Yambio, it seemed to… there are reports there of two civilians and I've published the name… of being killed and the actual… what occurred there, it said, is that the SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] in Government arrived at the town and killed unarmed civilians in their homes.  So I wanted to know, if you're now saying that the UN has done a patrol, are they saying that they… they're unaware of deaths occurring?  And how is it that they're unaware of who attacked the town?

Spokesman:  Well, it's… I'm not saying they're unaware of deaths occurring.  They can only report on what they've actually seen.  Our resources, as you know are fairly… are stretched.  They… when you are involved in these situations and there is fighting, you may be facing men, because they're usually men, with guns in uniforms who may not have specific markings or who may not stop firing to fully identify themselves.
ICP Question:  Sure.  I guess I'm going to ask you again… maybe it's just a yes or no.  Can you… can you ask the… the… the… UNMISS whether Isaac Jacob of the youth choir of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Yambio was, in fact, killed?

Spokesman:  I don't have… you can email the UNMISS PIO [Public Information Office].  I don't have that information here.

   And the head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, refused to answer about Yambio (or Juba), here.

On November 8, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about South Sudan's government's request that the Kenyan force commander of UNMISS be reinstated. Contrary to Ban's reversal for Saudi Arabia, removing them from the UN Children and Armed Conflict annex on Yemen, Dujarric said curtly that Ban's decision on Kenya and South Sudan will not be reversed -- then he walked off allowing no follow up questions. Video here. From the UN Transcript: 

Inner City Press: the South Sudanese Government, the information minister, Michael Lueth, has said that the Government of South Sudan has asked the Secretary-General to reinstate the Kenyan force commander.  Is that… is that a request that you’re aware of?  And you’d said that there’s no… there’s no provisions for reviewing it.  If a host country were to make such a request, would that be at least considered or rejected out of hand?

Spokesman:  The decision taken by the Secretary-General is not going to be reversed.  Thank you.

With the UN resident coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee, Ban Ki-moon's son in law, still silent, Inner City Press is informed of this list of SPLA/IO officials being eyed, including John Garang's son Mabior Garang -- and in South Sudan of a murky joint UN / Malong militia Mathiang Anyoo convoy to Yei, advised by a UN affiliated Security Adviser Osman Abdi a/k/a TULICHA Osman Abdikardir.

There was also a raid by authorities in Kenya on a gathering of South Sudanese, resulting in arrests. This is precisely the type of situation in which a UN resident coordinator like Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee is supposed to get involved -- his counterpart in Cambodia, as just one example, is so involved -- but he is silent.

 On November 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about all this, including why Ban's son in law has done nothing. First Dujarric said "I know your  interest in Kenya. Vine video here.

Then he said the role fell to UNHCR. Not only is this not how UNHCHR does it in Cambodia - the raid on South Sudanese in Kenya is not a UNHCR, nor UN Peacekeeping, matter.

   Inner City Press asked, since Ban unilaterally fired the Kenyan force commander of UNMISS, who could fire the UN resident coordinator in Kenya? Vine video here.

The answer? Only his father in law, Ban Ki-moon. This is why nepotism is unacceptable, and is not accepted at other international organizations, only in today's UN - and those who ask about it are ousted and evicted.

Now, due to a statement by Riek Machar, the SPLA/IO has said it has released 72 Kenyan aid workers in Akobo. What about elsewhere? And targeting of South Sudanese in Kenya? Where is the UN Resident Coordinator? We'll have more on this.

Amid silence by Ban Ki-moon son in law in Nairobi -- and who would or could fire HIM, people are asking -- here is the list:

1. Dr. Adwok Nyaba
2. Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak
3. Dr. Majak de Agot
4. Dr. Cirino Hiteng
5. Mr. Mabior Garang de Mabior
6. Hon. Henry Odwar
7. Mr. Stephen Par Kuol
8. Hon. Manasseh Zindo
9. Ms. Sandra Bona Malwal
10. Mr. Peter Marcello
11. Mr. Lam Jock
12. Mr. Aggrey Idri
13. Gov. Agel Machar
14. Gen. Martin Abucha
15. Mr. Stephen Dayak

And here is a written threat to Kenyans that UN staff tell Inner City Press they received and asked it to publish and expose, to raise the alarm about, here. International NGOs in Bentiu include Acted and Intersos.

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 about air quality in Delhi and about 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.

And here is a question that this UN nepotism has raised, now more than even after Ban Ki-moon unilaterally fired the Kenyan force commander -- what would it take for Ban to similarly fire his own son in law? Would he? Ever? Some are beginning not only to complain, but to ask. We'll have more on this.