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For Burundi 2016, UN Repeats Its "Genocide Joyride," No Reform

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 20 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's mere one-line mention of Burundi in his long Priorities for 2016 speech on January 14, when Ban took questions in front of the General Assembly Inner City Press five times began, "On Burundi." Inner City Press similarly requested to cover the UNSC's trip to Burundi. Both were rejected.

  This echoes what happened in 2013, when for the UN Security Council's trip to the Great Lakes regions France was allowed to pick which media could go - and chose only three, all of which are now on the Burundi trip, with Agence France Presse now restored to the Permanent (scribes) members, the UN in decay. From 2013:

After the UN informed journalists of the opportunity to accompany and cover the UN Security Council trip to the Great Lakes region of Africa, it allowed colonial powerhouse France to hand-pick which of those who applied would be able to go.

While Inner City Press in the past went on UNSC trips to the Eastern Congo and Uganda, this time the answer was "no." UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky acknowledged on camera that it was France's decision.  Video here, embedded below.

But when Inner City Press asked which correspondents had been selected by France to cover what's now known as its Genocide Joyride, the information was never provided.

On the evening of September 30, Inner City Press was informed that French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud, responsible for the ideological selection of accompanying correspondents, will not himself be going. 

  And, Inner City Press was told as if it was an excuse, "only" three correspondents would be going, "and not AFP," allegedly due to the size of the UN plane.

Now, not in response to its on the record question but through other sources, Inner City Press is informed of three correspondents selected by France to go, "and many more to be added."

First among those going is Reuters, which has openlyparroted the line of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and its Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head DPKO. As noted, Reuters at the UN has seen fit to spy for the UN or at least its accreditation official, turning over an anti-Press internal UN Correspondents Association document three minutes after promising not to.Story here, audio here, document here.

  Surprising in terms of the lack of seriousness of its UN correspondent's Africa coverage, Voice of America has been selected by France to go. As documented under the UN Freedom of Information Act, Voice of America's Steve Redisch asked the UN accreditation official to "review"Inner City Press' accrediation; VOA's reporter said that Reuters supported this request, click here and here for that.

  But in Washington, VOA's reporter at the State Department Scott Stearns in July asked a planted anti-Rwanda question, the day before then the day of John Kerry's speech on DRC in the Security Council. Perhapsthat earned US state media one of the only three spots France gave out -- in the UN plane.

  Click here for a video of the VOA reporter, and Reuters, getting a hallway briefing from France's Ladsous after he refused to answer Press questions about rapes by the DRC Army in Minova.

  The third attendee we don't wish to quarrel with, but it will be seen that while intellectual, it is Western (now Gulf and Western funded and) aligned, and has on its advisory board the second of France's four DPKO chiefs in a row.

  So, this is balanced coverage? Inner City Press was told not to worry about being banned by the French, some "pool reporting" will be provided by the UN Spokesperson's Office staffer selected to go on the trip. And he... used to work for Agence France Presse for 12 years. So AFP is represented, in a way. But alternative views have been banned from the trip, France's Genocide Joyride. We will, however, report. Watch this site.

 On January 20, 2016, one of the four media handpicked to cover the Burundi trip reported that "although some members were interested in meeting with opposition representatives, it seems that due to strong resistance from the government and other members this is unlikely to be on the schedule."

 As this takes on the aura of an official or pass-through statement, via tag-along media, Inner City Press on January 20 asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, who also speaks for the UN Special Adviser on Burundi, to confirm the lack of meetings with the opposition and if so, why. Video here.

 Haq refused to answer, saying it is a question only "for the Security Council." But who speaks for the Council, particularly to those not allowed to accompany and cover the trip? We'll have more on this.


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