By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series
UNITED NATIONS, May 19 – After Inner City Press exclusively reported that UN Department of Safety and Security's top officer Peter Drennan ordered that a security report on UNESCO chief Irina Bokova be “buried” last year due to the personal political implications for Drennan if Bokova instead of Antonio Guterres became UN Secretary General, the UN's response was to attack the leak. Now we analyze. Click here. The failure to respond to the substance is indicative of why today's UN is failing. Inner City Press published more, here and below: that the UN Board of Inquiry (BOI) report into the killing of its own staff in Garowe, Somalia was also buried, and the informed opinion that "former SG, Ban ki Moon, was at the top of the accountability framework; and will no longer be held to account for decisions at that time. So, hopefully, the results of the BOI will be made public." So what will "new" Secretary General Antonio Guterres do? The claim there was no withholding is belied not only by Mike Croll's allegation (below), but the March 16, 2017 email by Mary J. Mone, UNESCO's Deputy of Chief, Safety, Security and Transport Section: "in relation to the Observation Report - which we have not yet received - would you be kind enough to share the status on this please." This was copied to, among others, Mick Brown and Michael McNulty (audio here.) This was many months after it had been prepared - and buried, according to Mike Croll. Mr. Croll had come to the UN after being head of Security for Catherine Ashton of the EU; most recently he questioned Nicola Sturgeon during her visit to the UN, chiding her for seeking to break the United Kingdom at the United Nations. It is Croll who's said to charge Drennan with burying the report - both, then, should appear at press conference(s).
On May 19, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: yesterday, I'd asked about a memorandum in the Department of Safety and Security (DSS) alleging, among other things, that a report… safety report regarding Irina Bokova had been, quote, buried, and this is an allegation by the staff union within DSS. They also… so my question is, I still… rather than getting a substantive answer to the issues raised in the memo, which is that Peter Drennan, for personal, political reasons buried the memo. I saw the note to correspondents that talked about leaks are unsafe. I want to… first of all, I want to know how does…
Deputy Spokesman: That's not all that it said. It said that the information… that memo that we put out, the note mentioned that UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] and its security had been fully informed, and, indeed, that was the appropriate thing to do, since they are the people who are her security.
Inner City Press: Maybe you've seen the memo, because now I've published the entire memo. And what the memo states is that this is the staff union of DSS saying, for example, that a Board of Inquiry report about the death of UN staff in Garoowe, Somalia, was never made public, and they've requested that it be made public. And they've made similar requests about other documents, and they say that DSS is putting staff at risk by keeping these reports secret. So, the question was never whether they told Bokova. Right in the memo, it says the staff union acknowledges that Bokova herself was told. What they're saying is that these documents, by being kept secret for, they say, personal, political reasons, put staff at risk. And that is what I'm asking a substantive response on, not a statement against… against leaks.
Deputy Spokesman: The substantive… no, no, we gave… that wasn't a statement against leaks. Again…
Inner City Press: It said leaks.
Deputy Spokesman: There was a sentence at the end which mentioned the problem of leaking security data, the effect it may have on our security. Beyond that, the larger part of that note, as you know, because you'll have seen the full note, and it's not very long, was about how the information was shared. And the point was that the Department of Safety and Security shared the information with Irina Bokova's security, which is to say UNESCO security. And that was the appropriate course of action. So that is a substantive response, and it is a denial of the idea that the report was buried.
The idea, according to the memo, from from not-junior UN official Mike Croll; more soon. Guterres holdover spokesman, who passed without comment the windowless focus booth he has confined the Press to, did not seek to distinguish any part of these leaks- instead, he only sought to evict and still restrict Inner City Press, see Paragraphs 9-10, here. Why did the UN, as if by coincidence, search Inner City Press' lone remaining workspace on May 18? The only solution is restoration to the stolen S-303. Also cc-ed here is Michael "Mick" Brown, supervisor of Deputy McNulty who evicted and broken Inner City Press' computer, and who excused surveillance of Inner City Press and UNCA assaults on it. Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, and hours later he emailed all correspondents an attack on "leaks" - "In response to a question asked at the noon briefing about a DSS assessment concerning Irina Bokova, the Spokesman has the following to say: The allegation that security information was 'buried' is strongly denied. The relevant information has been provided to Ms Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, in the appropriate manner. In addition the substance of the report was prepared in conjunction with the UNESCO security staff and as a result UNESCO security staff, who are responsible for the safety and security of Ms Bokova and UNESCO, were fully aware of the report's contents. The Department is deeply concerned about the leaking to the media of confidential information concerning matters of security. The leaking of confidential security information is irresponsible and may well create additional security risks to the UN." Whistleblowers - different whistleblowers - within the Department of Safety and Security say that the claimed concern about Bokova is a pretext. What has roiled feathers in DSS is the assertion that Under Secretary General Drennan moved to bury the report for his personal political reasons in case Bokova became Secretary General. We'll have more on this.
Fearing retaliation, the UN's Kenneth Rosario two months ago wrote to Drennan to formally notify him of the charge of burying the security report, citing the deadly consequence of such UN burying in the cases of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad and later in Algiers. Rosario noted that even in those cases, no one alleged that the reports were suppressed by a head of Department like Drennan.
The documents cited specific and credible death threats against Bokova, the UN system's top ranking official in France, and the letter bomb attack on the International Monetary Fund / World Bank office, ascribing it to the Greek anarchist group Conspiracy of Fire Cells or SPF.
Exclusive: UN Security's Drennan Also “Buried” Report on Somalia, & Bokova, As UN Condemns Leak to Inner Ci... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd
Exclusive: UN Security's Drennan “Buried” Report on Threats Against Bokova, Documents Indicate by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd
Rosario's fear of retaliation was and is well-founded: for example, the UN fired Swedish official Anders Kompass after he blew the whistle on peacekeepers' sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic. More recently Francis Gurry of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization has been accused of retaliation; here is Inner City Press' story on WIPO's North Korea business, including a response from US Ambassador Nikki Haley to Inner City Press' May 16 question on the matter. UN DSS itself was involved in the no due process eviction of Inner City Press and targeting of it since to hinder its investigative reporting in the UN. Audio here. But the reporting will continue: watch this site.