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Ban's OCHA Flunked Functional Review, Heads of Office Flunk O'Brien, Spox Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 -- How badly run is the UN under Ban Ki-moon? So far Ban has a head of peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, who links rapes to R&R and refuses to answer Press questions. Ban has a head of “Public Information” Cristina Gallach who evicts the critical Press, tells a Nobel Prize winner it was based on an internal report then tells the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee she has “no written records” about it.

   At the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a Functional Review circulated on June 10 by USG Stephen O'Brien, and exclusively published by Inner City Press here, lays bare (some of) the problems at OCHA. Examples below.

On June 15, Inner City Press wrote to Ban Ki-moon's two top spokespeople and asked them for the UN's response to or comment on this report that the UN - that is, global taxpayers - had paid for. Neither similarly UN paid spokesperson ever confirmed receipt of the Press questions.

So on June 16, Inner City Press at the noon briefing asked Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it - and he refused to comment, calling it a "leaked" document, akin to internal email (on which, of course, comments are often made.) Vine here.

Now we publish the response by many OCHA officials and experts, some of whom Inner City Press has previously reported about and supported, when for example they faced de facto expulsion from a country. Some tell Inner City Press O'Brien is trying to angle to stay one when Ban Ki-moon leaves. Here is the letter, exclusively published by Inner City Press:

From:                     Vincent Lelei/OCHA/FD
To:                          Stephen O'Brien/OCHA/NY@OCHA
Cc:                          Kyung-Wha Kang/OCHA/NY@OCHA, John Ging/OCHA/NY@OCHA, Gwi-Yeop Son/OCHA/NY@OCHA, Rudolph Muller/OCHA/GE@OCHA, Mark Bidder/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Justin Brady/OCHA/FD@OCHA, David Carden/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Helena Fraser/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Ivo Freijsen/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Paul Handley/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Trond Jensen/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Ute Kollies/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Susan Le Roux/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Sarah Muscroft/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Rein Paulsen/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Caroline Peguet/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Johan Peleman/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Esteban Sacco/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Sebastien Trives/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Heli Uusikyla/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Markus Werne/OCHA/FD@OCHA, Bamouni Dieudonne/OCHA/FD@OCHA, George Khoury/OCHA/FD@OCHA
Date:                      14/06/2016 01:12 PM
Subject:                 Critical observations by the Heads of Office on Functional Review Outcome
Dear Stephen,
We would like to thank you for sharing the Summary of Preliminary Findings of the OCHA Functional Review and welcome your leadership in having called for the Functional Review and taking on the difficult task of making OCHA more fit for purpose.
We have many detailed comments to offer on the diagnosis and look forward to providing them and engaging in discussions on possible solutions in the coming weeks. However, as some of the preliminary findings appear to us to have been heavily influenced by the HQ dynamics, we thought it may be useful to share our most immediate and important observations ahead of any next step in the review process, including ongoing engagements.
As we are sure you can imagine, we were very disappointed to read of the degree of dysfunction at the HQ management level. We have found it immensely frustrating that key issues affecting our field operations - such as UMOJA and mobility - have not been responded to with one voice from HQ, and that we have been left at field-level to deal with incoherent messages on OCHA's direction. However, while the morale and motivation of our organisation may have suffered, as field leadership we have gratefully been spared the most part of the HQ dynamics and been able to implement our field operations - which after all represent the bulk of OCHA’s staff, work and branding of the organization - in line with the vision and trajectory laid out in the Strategic Framework.
First and foremost, we appeal to you to fix HQ through rationalising and realigning structure with function. From a field perspective, there are simply too many disconnected entities - indeed, this is why many colleagues put forward the concept of a Functional Review several years ago. To this end, we were deeply concerned to read the diagnosis that "formal connections between the field and relevant functions in HQ would allow for improved quality and consistency throughout the organisation".

We in the field believe that there is clarity around what is expected from us and how best to achieve this from our line management, and such clarity empowers us to lead our teams and enables effective engagement with our partners in the discharge of our duties. Under no circumstance should we countenance a return to the notion of multiple reporting lines from the field to HQ. Many of us have painful memories of that chaotic experience in past years - it disempowered field management and made it highly difficult for us to deliver on the outputs expected of our offices when our staff were being tasked by, and reporting to, different units in HQ, creating diffused and confusing accountability arrangements. We can already see this happening in some instances in the absence of formal reporting lines, as with the management of pooled funds.
What we need is more disciplined and coordinated engagement with the field to achieve the vision outlined in OCHA's Strategic Framework, not more reporting lines. We are fully committed to continue to be held to full account for the performance of our offices - through our direct reporting line to CRD and CRD's reporting line to you - but will be unable to deliver if we are unable to oversee the performance and tasking of our teams.
In the same spirit, we are having difficulties understanding the logic that informs the recommendation from the review team about the need to ensure an “appropriate span of control and balance within the organization”. We trust that this is not implying that there is a need to somehow arithmetically balance the relative size of the different parts of the organization, as this would seem to run counter to the imperative of ensuring that form follows function, and to the stated need of keeping a single reporting line for maximum accountability for field operations both of which we feel are imperative.
We enthusiastically welcome the reference to decentralization of decision-making, and hope this translates into immediate implementation of the long-standing commitment from the 2013 Global Management Retreat to delegate meaningful administrative and budgetary authority to Heads of Office. We also welcome the proposal to have additional surge capacity and expertise placed at regional level, in support of country-level requirements. However, we would like to encourage you from the outset to ensure that no additional reporting lines, structures, layers or complications are introduced for us at country-level under the rubric of decentralisation. Our current direct reporting line to CRD allows us to function with the pace, flexibility and delegated authority (with the exception of finances and administration) demanded by the high-paced emergency settings we operate in. We are able to seek and obtain guidance and support from our Section Chiefs in real-time – regardless of the hour or day – when needed, and hope this light and effective structure will remain in place moving forward. We are all acutely aware of the lessons from the Ebola crisis, where one of WHO's biggest obstacles was its cumbersome regional structure, and sincerely hope we avoid such challenges in OCHA.
While we welcome and very much support your efforts to overcome the dysfunctional HQ dynamics, we were concerned to read the EMC described as an inclusive body when it has no direct field representation. We have not seen any agendas, readouts or outcomes circulated from EMC meetings, which used to be the case with SMT meetings. We are of course eager to know the direction of the organisation and to be able to represent this, and your vision, faithfully. We therefore hope that, whatever comes next, keeping field management engaged and informed in key decision-making processes will be a priority.
We welcome the strong emphasis in the report on a revitalised and refocused human resources management services. However, we were of course very disappointed that the exceptional challenges faced with UMOJA roll out was not mentioned even once in the report. We highly appreciate your personal leadership on this issue since our Head of Office workshop in December. However, we are compelled to remind the authors that without an effective and efficient administrative services, supported by an effective platform to facilitate field operations in crisis and emergency settings, OCHA will inevitably fail in its mission, and fail in its duty of care to our staff. OCHA is now a serious player in the humanitarian sphere. The importance of our mandate needs to be matched by the robustness of our administrative systems in supporting the only asset that we have (our staff), and enabling our field operations to function optimally in increasingly challenging locations. We need operational support and systems that are solid from the outset of an operation - not one or two years down the line - and regularly reviewed in existing operations. Above and beyond fit-for-purpose systems, we need a wholesale change in the attitude and orientation of the administrative support that we receive – one that puts the needs of the field, and the treatment of our staff, front, back and centre.
Please be reassured, USG, that we are fully committed to supporting you in ensuring that this once in  decades functional review delivers real and important change for our organisation, at a time when the demand for our services is escalating. As those on the front lines of humanitarian action, we will be proud to be the face of that change.
Finally, allow us to congratulate you on the success of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit – this is a very exciting time for OCHA and for the work that we all do.
Yours sincerely,
Mark Bidder, HoO Philippines
Justin Brady, HoO Somalia
David Carden, HoO oPt
Bamouni Dieudonne, HoO Niger
Helena Fraser, HoO Regional Office for the Syria Crisis
Ivo Freijsen, HoO Sudan
Paul Handley, HoO Ethiopia
Trond Jensen, HoO Turkey
George Khoury, HoO Yemen
Ute Kollies, HoO Mali
Vincent Lelei, HoO Nigeria
Susan Le Roux, OiC Iraq
Sarah Muscroft, HoO Jordan
Rein Paulsen, HoO DRC
Caroline Peguet, OiC CAR
Johan Peleman, HoO Lebanon
Esteban Sacco, OiC South Sudan
Sebastien Trives, HoO Syria
Heli Uusikyla, HoO Pakistan
Markus Werne, HoO ROAP"

Here were some of the critique in the report:

"The leadership team does not work well together. There is entrenched polarization and a lack of trust among many of OCHA’s senior managers, who do not see themselves as part of a single, unified team. This is combined with a sense that everything is a 'zero-sum' game, which drives what are perceived as 'turf battles' and 'kingdom building'."
"Decision-making at the senior management level generally lacks discipline, transparency and accountability. A lack of transparency in decision-making is felt throughout the organization. Senior managers do not consistently execute today's documented management model, and collective discussion and alignment as a group do not reliably translate into cohesive action among the members of the leadership team"

"The management system is not codified in a clear way, and is lacking key components and interconnections. There is no management system in place to drive a clear agenda for the organization as a whole, one that assures that the proper topics are being prioritized and discussed for regular and relevant decision-making."

Culture "relative to available NGO benchmarks, OCHA scored in the bottom quartile across every area of the survey. This is highly unusual, and the stark result is a strong indication that the challenges across the other areas covered by the Functional Review have had a negative impact on the OCHA staff engagement, morale and satisfaction."

"The leadership team does not work well together. There is entrenched polarization and a lack of trust among many of OCHA’s senior managers, who do not see themselves as part of a single, unified team. This is combined with a sense that everything is a 'zero-sum' game, which drives what are perceived as 'turf battles' and 'kingdom building'."

The report was written by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and MANNET. On June 13, Assistant Secretary General Kyung-wha Kang resigned:

To: OCHA SMT Members, OCHAFieldStaff, OCHA-HQs
From: Kyung-Wha Kang/OCHA/NY
Sent by: Laila Bourhil/OCHA/NY
Date: 06/13/2016 02:54PM
Subject: Message to all OCHA Staff

 Dear colleagues,

With much sadness, but also with deep gratitude and sense of achievement, I would like to share with you my decision to leave my post in the coming months. I've conveyed the decision to the Secretary-General and the USG, both of whom have accepted this with respect and well wishes.

I am deeply grateful to Valerie for bringing me on board to OCHA as her Deputy, and also to Stephen for keeping me. The USG/ERC position is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and it has been a privilege to assist them.

The past three years have been a period of mounting and unprecedented challenges for OCHA, which we took on with great passion and dedication.  It has been an eye-opening journey and personal fulfillment to be a part of the experience. I've learned tremendously from all of you, and will cherish the moments of working together both at HQ and in the field. My decision is made easier with OCHA on a high note in the aftermath the success of the WHS and the personal prospect of joining my full family back home, but also harder knowing of the challenging times that lie ahead for OCHA.  But I am confident that the SG and the USG will ensure the appointment of a successor who will bring fresh energy, vision and motivation that will enable the organization to thrive and perform at the highest standards.

As the recruitment of a successor will take many months, the exact departure date has yet to be decided in consultation with the USG.  In the meanwhile, I assure you of my on-going full dedication to working with all of you to the very last day.

Best regards, K

  Ms. Kyung-wha Kang
  Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
  Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator

  Next stop  Gwi-Yeop Son? This is Ban's UN.

How does the UN under Ban Ki-moon and his "Public Information" chief Cristina Gallach pretextually evict the critical Press from its long time office and confine it to minders, hindering further reporting on their corruption?

This UN "Aide Memoire," which Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric called "leaked" and refused to answer questions on, shows how.

First, Ban's spokesman Dujarric made a non-public deal on January 26 with Giampaolo Pioli of the UN Correspondents Association to privatize the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29 - but not tell anyone it was private.

Next, when Inner City Press which quit UNCA in 2012 finding it too close to Ban and corrupt, for example Pioli's unilateral granting of a "UN" screening for Sri Lanka's war crimes denial film at the request of its Ambassador Palitha Kohona who had been Pioli's tenant, click here, appeared to cover the event, get Dujarric to order Inner City Press to leave, without showing any paperwork.

After Inner City Press, as it said it would, left as soon as a single UN Security guard said to, conspire with Under Secretary General Gallach, whom Inner City Press had previously questioned about her role in the Ban's Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal, to issue a letter on February 19 telling Inner City Press to leave its office and the building on two hours notice - without once speaking to Inner City Press.

  Throw Inner City Press in the streets, audio here, evict its ten years of investigative files from its office, video here, then just before Inner City Press could re-apply for its stolen office, gave it to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar Elyom, whose correspondents Sanaa Youssef, a former UNCA president, has not anywhere near met the UN's stated three day a week requirement for such an office, and who never asks questions.

To top it off, leave South South News, founded with Ng Lap Seng's money and by Francis Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty to UN bribery charges, with its office and Resident Correspondent accreditation. See Courthouse News, here.

   Thus the investigative Press is punished, publicly, and a chilling message sent to anyone else who might dare to cover Ban Ki-moon's role in the corruption scandal, while he seeks to run for the South Korean presidency in 2017. This Ban, or his spokesman, coyly denies of course.

  Of the retaliatory eviction, Ban said “that is not my decision.” But it is. He was set extensive information, including the total inconsistency of what Gallach told Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta when he inquired for Inner City Press (she said she ouster order was based on an “internal report”) and what the UN told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (that the UN has “no records” that the meeting was closed.

  Ban Ki-moon is responsible; he has created an atmosphere of retaliation, has retained and empowered Under Secretaries General like Herve Ladsous, who linked rapes to R&R and openly refuses Press questions, and Gallach. We'll have more on this: it must be reversed.

 For ten years as Inner City Press covered the UN in ever greater detail, showing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Herve Ladsous' inept overseeing and cover up of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers, disparate treatment in Mali, dalliance with genocide in Sri Lanka and prospectively Burundi, impunity for cholera deaths in Haiti and until now for UN lead poisoning in Kosovo and cravenly pro-Saudi position on Yemen amid the airstrikes (BBC this week here from Min 6:18), it was never thrown out of the UN.

Now in 2016, Ban Ki-moon's last year at the UN, it has been. New York Times of May 14 here. 

The issue is to be raised at the UN Human Rights Council this coming week.

 And this contraction has already been raised, between the UN's "Aide Memoire" to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying there is no written records of the underlying January 29 meeting being closed, and Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach telling Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta that her ouster decisions was based on considering an "internal report."

 So is it no written record, or internal report?

Was inaccurate information provided to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Or to Nobel Peace Prize winner / UN official Jose Ramos Horta? On June 13, Inner City Press asked the question to Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who cut the question off, saying "we're good" then, "You may not be good, I'm really good" - perhaps a new motto for the Ban Ki-moon administration. Video here. UN Transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you this, a request for a document.  The… the Under-Secretary-General of DPI wrote to [José] Ramos-Horta in February and said that she had considered an internal report, and I've seen an aide-memoire, which says that there's no written record of the same topic that she raised.  So, I wanted to know, can you square these two?  How is it possible…?

Spokesman:  No.  I have no… again, these are your personal issues.

Inner City Press:  She wrote to the Senate and she wrote to a Nobel Prize winner…

Spokesman:  Matthew, Matthew.  We're good.

Inner City Press:  No, no, we're not good…

Spokesman:  You may not be good.  I'm really good.

Inner City Press:   I'm sure you're good.

Spokesman:  But, I'm not answering those questions.  Those are questions to be dealt with… your personal case should be raised directly with DPI.

Inner City Press: I'm asking you how a Nobel Prize winner was told one thing, and the Senate was told something else.

Spokesman:  Thank you.  We're going to get our colleague on the phone.

 Gallach told Ramos-Horta Inner City Press had "open" violated a rule and she considered an "internal report" -- when the Aide Memoire, here, shows the UN says it has no written record the meeting was closed and the Handbook allegedly violated is not public:

"Dear mr Ramos-Horta,

Many thanks for your message which allows me to inform you about the
decision I have taken on the type of accreditation that Mr Lee has and will have in the future.

Recently mr Lee openly broke the rules that guide all the resident correspondents. After careful consideration of the internal report elevated to me, I decided to continue providing him with a press pass that allows him to work without any impediment at the UN, as the vast majority of
journalists. What the UN cannot do is to let him use an space exclusively for  him, after the mentioned events.

As you can see, mr Lee will have a valid press card as soon as he presents himself to the accreditation premises.

Rest assured that I am the first person to be interested in ensuring totally free and safe reporting from the UN HQ and about the UN. This is what mr. Lee will be able to do.

I remain at your disposal for any further clarification that you might need and want. My warmest regard, Cristina"

But the UN says it has no written record the meeting was closed; the Handbook allegedly violated is not public. And "without impediment" has turned out to mean "with minders," and even not permitted to cover a Western Sahara briefing Inner City Press was invited to, only on June 10.

 The UN is trying to give Inner City Press' long time shared office to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar Elyom, whose correspondent hasn't come close to meeting the three day a week requirement and never asks any questions. It rewards others like this, while retaliating against and trying to censor the critical Press.

This will be raised this week at the UN Human Rights Council; the UN in continued attempt to censorship has not responded to Inner City Press' formal requests submitted more than two week ago. Watch this site. 

On June 8 Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric outright refused to provide a copy of, or any answer questions about, the "Handbook" the alleged violation of which the UN told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was the basis for evicting Inner City Press. Aide Memoire to SFRC here.

Before Inner City Press was even able to ask the question, Dujarric cut it off, and later disallowed an unrelated Press question about other UN corruption. Video here, transcript here and below, with quotes from Ban Ki-moon later on June 8.

Ban later on June 8 said: "I will continue to defend the rights of journalists and to do everything possible, publicly and privately, to ensure that journalists have the freedom to work...I will also continue to stand up for the rights of journalists and their defenders to be represented here at the United Nations.

"I am extremely disturbed by recent remarks by the President-elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. [Inner City Press had asked, here.] I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.  Such comments are of particular concern in light of on-going impunity for serious cases of violence against journalists in the Philippines. I have expressed my disappointment that the Non-Governmental Organization Committee voted to deny the Committee to Protect Journalists consultative status with the Economic and Social Council...I have presents for each of you [segue to presentation]. "

e This is what it has come to: censorship while Ban exchanges gifts and drinks champagne with his friends and sells out the UN human rights lists to the highest bidder (for now, Saudi Arabia.) From the June 8 transcript:

Inner City Press:  I've asked you about this aide-mémoire that was sent by the UN to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  So I want to ask you about it again.  What I want to ask you about…

Spokesman:  My answer's not going to change.

Inner City Press:  No, here's what I want to ask you about specifically.  You call it a leaked document.  It's hard to understand if it's sent from the UN to a committee.  It's leaked.  But this is my question.  And it's sort of a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) like question.  The document says that what was violated is something called the UN Handbook for Safety and Security Personnel.

Spokesman:  Matthew, Matthew, your personal issues will not be discussed here.

Inner City Press:  You're calling it personal…

Spokesman:  Thank you.  Masood?

Inner City Press:  But if you can punish journalists, where is the document?  I'm requesting the handbook.

Spokesman:  Talk to DPI (Department of Public Information).

Inner City Press:  I did, and they don't have it.

Spokesman:  Talk to them again.

Even as groups like the Government Accountability Project tell Ban to reverse the eviction and give Inner City Press back its long time office and Resident Correspondent pass, Ban's UN tellingly moved to award Inner City Press' office to Egypt state media Al-Akhbar / Akhbar Elyoum. 

While Ban told Inner City Press "That is not my decision," and his Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach has yet to explain anything to Inner City Press, on June 5 we published the UN's "Aide Memoire" which claims that the "rule" against being in an interpreters booth is in a UN Security handbook that is not available to the public - it is not on the Internet, not on the UN's in-house iSeek and on June 6, UN MALU did not have it -- and states there is no paper work for the underlying meeting being closed. 

On UN Eviction of ICP, UN Aide Memoire to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Admits No Written Record, Oral... by Matthew Russell Lee

The UN Aide Memoire says the entire event -- which included UN paid sound engineering - was organized orally between UNCA President Giampaolo Piolo and Ban Ki-moon's Spokesman Stephane Dujarric. So on June 5, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about it, video here, only to have Dujarric call it a "leak" he could not verify and to insist Inner City Press ask  the Department of Public Information.

. UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: This I wanted to ask you and I'll try to keep it brief.  I've seen now a aide-mémoire that the UN, I guess, Office of Legal Affairs sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and they said this. It had… since it involves you, I wanted to ask you about it.  It says that, as to a meeting held in this room on 29 January, the UN has no documents, correspondence or other written materials in print or electronic that it was a closed meeting.  And it says you arranged it entirely orally that it would be closed.  So, I wanted to ask you this.  As a financial matter, how is it possible to arrange for UN audio engineering without there being any written record and how…?

Spokesman:  Matthew, I don't know what document you're quoting for or what… the veracity of this leaked document.

Inner City Press:  They sent it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Spokesman:  We've gone through your personal case here over and over again, and I would ask you to take it up with DPI [Department of Public Information].

Inner City Press: This quotes you.

Spokesman:  Lot of things quote me.

 But here is what the UN's Aide Memoire provided to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee says, in Paragraph 9:

“The Spokesperson of the Secretary-General of the United Nations has informed the Office of Legal Affairs that on or about Tuesday, 26 January 2016, he was approached by the President of UNCA who orally requested permission from the Spokesperson for the use of the UN Press Briefing Room in order to hold a members-only meeting of UNCA. Among his other duties, the Spokesperson grants permission for the use of the UN Press Briefing Room for meetings other than press briefings. The UNCA President told the Spokesperson that the UNCA Meeting Room on the fourth floor of the United Nations Secretariat Building was being prepared for a reception to be held after the closed members-only meeting and so, the UNCA Meeting Room was unavailable for such closed members-only meeting on the 29th of January. The Spokesperson gave permission orally to the President of UNCA during that encounter on or about the 26th of January.”

   As Inner City Press reported, there were UNTV audio staff in the engineers' booth for the UNCA meeting. Is it credible that this use of UN resources was organized without a single written record? Inner City Press was told that the engineer was to make sure to disable the microphones in the briefing room, other than those at the podium occupied by this UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli and two others.

 The UN's response is false in many ways - but note that the UNCA Meeting Room is NOT on the fourth floor. So what else is false? Watch this site.

Aide Memoire now here  It states that Gallach has NO paperwork that the meeting she ousted and evicted Inner City Press for attending was closed. This was requested:

“Documentation received by Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, including emails, letters, and any other written communications indicating that the United Nations Correspondents Association meeting in the Press Briefing Room, that Mr. Lee was barred from attending, was a closed meeting.”

  Here is the UN's response:

“No official of the United Nations has received or is in possession of any documentation, correspondence or any written materials, whether in print or electronic form, indicating that the closed meeting of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA), which took place on Friday, 29 January 2016, was taking place or was a closed meeting.”

  So if the UN admits there is NO WRITTEN RECORD that this event in the UN Press Briefing Room was a closed meeting, how was it a closed meeting? How could Inner City Press be ousted and evicted for seeking to cover, in the UN Press Briefing Room, an event attended by other correspondents and NOWHERE listed as closed?

  And now Inner City Press' long time office given to an Egyptian state media which rarely comes to the UN and never asks questions? This is a scam; this is UN censorship..

  The UN "aide memoire" also claims that Stephane Dujarric orally told UN Correspondents Association honcho Giampaolo Pioli, who previously demanded that Inner City Press remove from the Internet a factual story about his financial relationship with Sri Lanka's Ambassador Palith Kohona, that the meeting was closed. This is a joke; this is a pretext.   This is censorship.
Tweeted photograph here.

On May 19, a sign for "Al Akhbar Yom" went up on Inner City Press' office - Inner City Press has STILL never seen the correspondent being given the stolen office.

So on May 20 Inner City Press went to get an on the record explanation from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Duajrric, before Ban sets out on a campaign trip to South Korea (denied by his senior adviser Kim Won-soo). But not only did Dujarric refuse to answer the question - Gallach's DPI intentionally omitted from the transcript Inner City Press' entirely audible question about Ban Ki-moon's commitment to freedom of the press. The question then, answer itself.

Since the spin to the NYT is that Inner City Press' questions on corruption and censorship somehow block questions other correspondents want to ask, Inner City Press twice told Dujarric it would hold one question to the end. But Dujarric, showing that the spin is a scam, insisted: go ahead. Video here. From the UN Transcript:

Inner City Press: I have another question, but I don't want to…

Spokesman:  Well, just ask it.

Inner City Press:  No, no, I'll wait.

Spokesman:  I'd like you to ask it now.

Question:  Okay.  Stay where you are and I’ll do it as fast as I can.  I wanted to ask you, you sometimes say you don’t have a long memory, but you’ve been a Spokesman for a while.  When is the last time, to your knowledge, that the publication Akhbar al Youm has been in this room and asked a question?  And the reason I asked… you said I could ask.  I’ll do it quickly.  The office that was formerly "Inner City Press", has been given to this organization.  I've never seen them here.  I'm aware there's a rule of being three days a week here.  So, I’m wondering… and you used to implement that rule.  And the reason I’m asking you, and you’re going to say, ask MALU [Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit], I want an on the record quote.  This is a media organization that CPJ [Committee to Protect Journalists] says targets other medias for arrest for not agreeing with the Government.

Spokesman:  I will tell you that I do not have in my head the attendance records of journalists here.  Some of you are here every day.  But, for the rest of you, I don't keep tabs in my head.  And again, that’s a question for you to ask MALU.

Inner City Pres:  But, I'm asking for an on-the-record comment.  What does it say about freedom of the press…

Spokesman:  I’ve given you… Nabil?

Inner City Press' last line, "What does it say about freedom of the press," was intentionally mistranscribed and censored: it said, What does it say about Ban Ki-moon's commitment to freedom of the press."

This is today's UN: ham-handed censorship. 

The UN says Resident Correspondents must be at the UN three days a week, but Inner City Press has never seen this person, former UN Correspondents Association president Sanaa Youssef, much less asking a question in the UN noon briefing. 

The point, of course, which Dujarric did everything he could to cut off, including walking out of the brieifng room and not returning, is what does it say about Ban Ki-moon's supposed commitment to free press to evict the investigative Press here every day for a state media never here, never with questions, which targets other journalists for arrest?

The question is answering itself, but we will continue. Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq after the briefing was heard telling DPI staff under Gallach that he had predicted Inner City Press would "go after" Akhbar Elyom.

This is today's UN: here's Haq on Jan 29, video here, and before. Haq claimed incorrectly that "non resident correspondent" passes get one through to the second floor: either years out of date or intentional inaccurate. This too is today's UN.

Scribes speaking off the record according to the New York Times of May 14 "accused [ICP] of printing gossip, rumors." That UNCA's president rented an apartment to Palitha Kohona then granted his request to screenin the UN his government's war crimes denial film is no rumor or gossip.

But Akhbar Elyom, to which Gallach's and Ban's MALU and UNCA have given Inner City Press' office, not only gets journalists in Egypt attested - it targets, with a "Muslim Brotherhood" smear, a journalist who works right in the UN. Arabic article here.

This is the journalism that Ban Ki-moon and his Cristina Gallach want and reward. By taking away Inner City Press' office, it is now required to have a minder and is told to not ask diplomats questions. This is censorship.

Akhbar Elyom has been used to finger for imprisonment non-state journalists in Egypt. For example, in July 2015 Aboubakr Khallaf, the founder and head of the independent Electronic Media Syndicate (EMS), “was arrested after a news article was published by the government-owned daily Akhbar Elyoum.”

Inner City Press has formally requested the return of its long time shared office and Resident Correspondent status, as have 1,450 people in this petition, here.


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