Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Afghanistan UNSC Belatedly Welcomes Nov 28 Geneva Conference While UN Guterres Refuses Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT, Scope

UNITED NATIONS GATE, December 10 – Amid multiple reports that Zalmay Khalilzad would emerge from retirement to become US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Afghanistan envoy, Inner City Press recently banned from the UN after 10 years of coverage, as it reports on Secretary General Antonio Guterres' conflicts of interesting for example on Cameroon, looked back, see below. Guterres Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on August 27 said at his noon briefing that Inner City Press is banned for creating a "hostile environment" for diplomats and UN officials. How is that not censorship? On December 10, the UN Security Council which Guterres still bars Inner City Press from staking out after 159 days put out a Press Statement beginning: "The Members of the Security Council welcomed the outcome of the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on 27-28 November, co-hosted by the government of Afghanistan and the United Nations, which renewed the partnership and cooperation of the government of Afghanistan and the international community for Afghanistan’s peace, prosperity and self-reliance midway through the Transformation Decade (2015-2024).
The Members of the Security Council took note of the review of the progress and reform achieved so far under the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF) and its deliverables for 2017-2018, noted the progress made on the reform agenda, but expressed concern that benchmarks on anti-corruption, and on elections with respect to its technical conduct, had not been met fully. The Members of the Security Council welcomed the adoption of the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework (GMAF), which outlines measurable reform objectives and commitments for the government of Afghanistan and the international community for 2019-2020, and underlined that the government’s delivery of the mutually agreed commitments will be key for sustained international support." On November 20, after UNSG Guterres ignored Press questions and got into his (or you) Mercedes after a long lunch, Periscope video here, he put out a hard to take at face value statement on Afghanistan, below. Now on December 2 from the US State Department, this: "Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2 – 20.  He will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate.  Special Representative Khalilzad will be in communication with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and other Afghans.
On his last trip to the region in November, Special Representative Khalilzad met with men and women active in civil society and peace efforts, members of the media, and other governmental and non-governmental officials. He stressed that all Afghans must have a say in creating a sustainable peace for Afghanistan.  The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people’s desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for international terrorism again." Back in November, Guterres said or had written for him this: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack targeting Afghans gathered in Kabul to celebrate a day of special religious significance.  The deliberate targeting of civilians is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. Every effort should be made to bring perpetrators to justice.The Secretary-General extends his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Afghanistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured." Must have been some lunch. Meanwhile former UN offiical Helen Clark on 19 November 2018 criticized Guterres' exclusion from the UN, Vine here. But does Guterres care? Can he hear, inside his Mercedes? On October 18, with Inner City Press still banned from the UN now for 107 days and counting by Guterres, the UN Security Council issued this: "The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks that took place in Afghanistan over the past weeks, including in Jowzjan, Kunduz, Takhar, Herat, Zabul, Farah and today in Kandahar, resulting in numerous casualties and many injured, ahead of the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan on 20 October.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Afghanistan and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council underscored the importance of a secure environment for conducting elections and emphasized that violence in any form, or the threat thereof, intended to disrupt the elections and democratic process in Afghanistan is unacceptable." Thre American were injured and the American commander in the area was present at the attack... On August 27, the UN Security Council which at least under UK presidency is content to let Guterres pick and chose which media can enter and ask questions, issued a statement beginning: "The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement by the Government of Afghanistan on 19 August of a second conditional ceasefire with the Taliban from the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The members of the Security Council urged the Taliban to reciprocate without delay. They also reiterated their call upon the Taliban to accept the offer made by the Afghan Government in February this year to engage in direct peace talks without any preconditions and without the threat of violence, with the aim of an ultimate political settlement that leads to sustainable peace for the people of Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led and -owned peace process for the long-term prosperity and stability of Afghanistan, and expressed their full support for the Afghan Government’s efforts to that end.
The members of the Security Council emphasised the importance of holding peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018 and presidential election on 20 April 2019." Looking back, Khalilzad during as his time as US Ambassador was always accessible. Inner City Press spoke with him many times during the late night budget meetings of example the type Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric had Inner City Press roughed up for covering on 3 July 2018. Here was from 21 December 2007: "Ban's bodyguards loitered by the Vienna cafe, standing at the ready. The vacuum cleaners began in Conference Room 5. There was no turning back.

  Down the hall came the American flotilla: Permanent Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, Ambassadors Alejandro Wolff and Mark Wallace, accompanied by Controller Warren Sach and the Secretary of the Fifth Committee. In the corner of Conference Room 3 they pow-wowed, as other delegates tried to get in.  They discussed the U.S. political ramifications of various ways of voting on the budget. Leave it to the experts, Khalilzad said. But as written, we cannot vote for the budget, he told Inner City Press, as he Googled past midnight." Compare that to today, where for covering the budget meetings from the same (expensively renovated) Vienna Cafe, Guterres has you assaulted - a crime scene - then imposes a lifetime ban. The UN is in decline, even decay.  Four days after UN Security officers led by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN during a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on June 26 Guterres envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamomoto came to the Security Council stakeout to take questions. But of the entire UN press corps, only Inner City Press was there.  Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq who had run out on Inner City Press' questions about the ouster the day before told Yamamoto leadingly, gesturing at the UNTV microphone, "It's up to you." Inner City Press encouraged Yamamoto and he came over. Periscope video here. On August 17, Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale issued a no due process ruling that Inner City Press is banned from the UN - for life. It is outrageous and we'll have more on it. Now on August 19, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, "The United States welcomes the announcement by the Afghan government of a ceasefire conditioned on Taliban participation.  This plan responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people for peace.

The last ceasefire in Afghanistan revealed the deep desire of the Afghan people to end the conflict, and we hope another ceasefire will move the country closer to sustainable security.  The United States and our international partners support this initiative by the Afghan people and the Afghan government, and we call on the Taliban to participate.  It is our hope, and that of the international community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear.

The United States supports President Ghani's offer for comprehensive negotiations on a mutually agreed agenda. ?We remain ready to support, facilitate, and participate in direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.  There are no obstacles to talks.  It is time for peace."

On August 15, after Haq's boss Stephane Dujarric and his boss Antonio Gutteres had Inner City Press more violently roughed up July 3 and banned 43 days since, Dujarric back from a vacation personally emailed out this statement: "The Secretary General conveys his condolences to the families who have suffered from the recent Taliban attacks in Ghazni.

The Secretary-General stresses the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of talks between the parties to the conflict to negotiate a sustainable peace. The targeting of civilians and of civilian facilities are clear violations of international humanitarian law.

The warring parties must do everything feasible to ensure that no civilians are further killed or injured by the fighting, and must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance so that it can reach Ghazni

The Secretary-General once again stresses that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and urgently calls for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the interest of building a more stable and prosperous future for all Afghans. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, New York, 15 August 2018." Meawhile Dujarric and Haq, despite false assurance by ex-NYT Alison Smale, have refused to answer at least 15 of Inner City Press' laste 17 questions. They are killing the UN. Back in June Inner City Press asked the hapless SRSG if the UN will confirm that up to 10,000 Afghan security forces were killed in 2017. He replied that the UN leaves it up to the military to collect those numbers, but said it might be that high. Inner City Press asked about the peace protesters who marched from Helmand to protest in front of the UN in Kabul. Yamamoto called them grassroots and fiercely independent. Inner City Press asked if he thinks they will be a force in the slated upcoming elections. We'll see. At the UN on June 22 Inner City Press was live-streaming Periscope and preparing to write about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' claims about his visit to Mali, where he didn't even inquire into a recent case child rape by a UN Peacekeeper. With the event still ongoing, Inner City Press was approached by Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building. Video here.

 That is not the rule, nor the practice. But Inner City Press under Guterres and his head of Global Communications Alison Smale has inexplicable been at the "non-resident correspondent" level lowered from that of no-show state media like Akbhar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, assigned Inner City Press' long time office despite rarely coming in and not asking a question in ten years.

  While Guterres and Smale have created and encourage the atmosphere for targeting the Press, Dobbins had and has his own reasons. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported on fraudulent promotions in the UN Department of Safety and Security, beginning of series here with a leaked document with Dobbins own name on it, under the heading "Possible Promotions... if Dobbins does not want Canine / ERU." Document here. Since the publication, Dobbins and a number of UN Security officers have openly targeted Inner City Press. This has been raised in writing to Smale (for eight months), for almost 18 months to Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, whose response has been to evade questions on Cameroon and now an ambiguous smile while surrounded by UN Security. On June 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
on Friday there was the Eid event in which António Guterres gave a speech, and I… I want… I guess I want to put this in a general way because I don't understand it.  During the event, as the event went on, I was required to leave by a Lieutenant Dobbins and the emergency response unit.  And it seemed strange, because there were many other non-resident correspondents at the event.  So, I wanted to know… to know, one, what are the rules?  Number two, is it acceptable for a… a… UN Security to… to single out and target a specific journalist?  And I did… and I ask this because I've previously written a story about promotions in DSS [Department of Safety and Security], including Mr. Dobbins, and whatever that is, what are the provisions in the UN to make sure that security cannot abuse its powers?  So those are… I… I… I'd like you to answer that, and also they didn't give their names.  The other individuals refused to give their names.  Is that UN policy?

Deputy Spokesman:  UN Security has their policies.  Your concerns with them need to be addressed to UN Security.  I'm not going to comment on your own problems with UN Security.  Brenden, come on up.

Inner City Press: I don't understand.  This happened at a speech by the Secretary-General.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I'm sorry, your security issues are things you're going to have to deal with.

Inner City Press: It's not a security issue.  It was done in the name of the Secretary-General.  Is he speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m. somewhere?  Can you say where the Secretary-General is speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m.?

Deputy Spokesman:  I’m not going to argue with you on this." There was more - video here.

  Even if Lt Dobbins and his team and commanders wanted to interpret and twist the existing rules in a way they are not enforced against any other non-resident correspondent at the UN, the Guterres Eid al -Fitr event listed in the UN Department of Public Information was still ongoing, making it unquestionable that Inner City Press had a right to be in the UN and cover it.

   But even as Inner City Press dialed DPI's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, getting only voice mail, Dobbins made a call and UN “Emergency Response Unit” officers arrived, with barely concealed automatic weapons. One of them repeatedly pushed Inner City Press' reporter in the back, forcing him through the General Assembly lobby toward the exit. Video here.

   UN Under Secretary General Catherine Pollard was told the ouster and did nothing, as was a Moroccan diplomat. The heavily armed UN Security officers refused to give their names when asked. Lieutenant Dobbins, with no name plate on his uniform, refused to spell his name. He said, I have my orders. From who - Guterres? His Deputy SG or chief of staff, both of whom were at the event? DSS chief Drennan? DPI chief Alison Smale?

    Inner City Press repeatedly asked to be able to get its laptop computer, which was upstairs - there was no way to have known it would be ousted during Guterres' event.

  But Dobbins and the others refused, as did the UN Security officers at the gate. Inner City Press remained there, with dwindling cell phone battery, raising the issue online to Smale, under whose watch Inner City Press has remained in the non-resident correspondent status it was reduced to for pursuing the Ng Lp Seng UN bribery case into the UN press briefing room where Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric ordered it out, then had it evicted. A DPI representative, whom Inner City Press asked to call Smale, was unable or unwilling to even let Inner City Press go in escorted to get its laptop.

   Just in the past week, when Inner City Press complained of Dujarric providing only to Al Jazeera the response of Antonio Guterres to the US leaving the UN Human Rights Council, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio claimed to MALU that the coverage was “too aggressive.” Journalism is not a crime? Next week, Antonio Guterres is set to give remarks, to which Inner City Press has requested the right to cover response, to the UN Correspondents Association, which not only has not acted on this censorship, but has fueled it.

  Inside the UN the Eid event continued, alongside a liquor fueled barbeque thrown by UN Security. This DSS sold tickets to non resident correspondents, and allowed in people who had nothing to do with the UN, including some seeming underage. When Inner City Press audibly raised the issue to UN Safety and Security Service chief Mick Brown, he did nothing.

   The Moroccan diplomat emerged and chided Inner City Press for even telling him of the ouster, claiming that “25% of what you write is about Morocco.” Some Periscope video here. Pakistan's Permanent Representative, who hosted the Eid event, said she would look into it. Sweden's spokesperson asked whom to call in DPI and when Inner City Press said, Alison Smale, responded, Who is Alison Smale? Indeed.

  Smale has refused to respond in any way, in the eight months she has been Guterres' “Global Communications” chief, to a 5000 signature petition to restore Inner City Press to its unused office S-303 and to adopt content neutral media access rules going forward. That, and appropriate action on Lt. Dobbins and the others, must be among the next steps. Watch this site.


Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

 Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2018 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for