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On CAR, Ladsous & Araud Spin AFP Praise of Sri Lanka, FrancAfrique

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 16 --At the UN, how does colonialism work?

  Let's consider the consecutive "press availabilities" on Central African Republic by Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, and outgoing French Ambassador Gerard Araud, then the resulting "reporting" of Agence France Presse.

   Araud never spoke on camera, instead standing in an area called the "Turkish Lounge" speaking to French reporters. Ladsous came to the camera, but hand-picked four questions, three in French.

  AFP quoted Araud that CAR will be getting helicopter patrols from the Sri Lankan army -- but neither AFP not Araud apparently mentioned the UN Human Rights Council probe into war crimes by Sri Lanka's army.

  In fact, AFP's story doesn't mention the slaughter of Muslims in CAR, and the French Serval force's alleged role in it. Instead, its single mention of Muslim links their actions to their own slaughter: "CAR has been in crisis since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a March 2013 coup."

  This is how colonialism and propaganda work at the UN. It's ironic because it was Araud who on April 15 told a Lebanese reporter, "You are not a journalist, you are an agent."

   When UN Peacekeeping's Ladsous said he would take questions about peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, Inner City Press arrived early to ask about reports the current MISCA peacekeepers have killed civilians, for example in Bozoum, here.

  Ladsous however refused to answer the question. First he sought out a softball question in French; then when the Press question about MISCA in Bozoum was asked, he shook his head and said, I give the floor to Madame.

  Earlier in the afternoon at the same UN Television stakeout, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda had answered Inner City Press' question by stating that Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations not only flew a sanctioned FDLR militia leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Ladsous has also refused to answer Rwanda's formal June 26 complaint.

   So Inner City Press asked that question, politely but audibly. Again Ladsous refused to answer, looking desperately around for a friendly question.

 Ladsous has adopted this position -- video compilation here -- since Inner City Press asked him about his history during the Rwanda genocide in 1994, as France's Deputy Permanent Representative in the Security Council arguing for the escape of genocidaires into Eastern Congo, sample memo here.

  It was and is a straightforward question, the type public officials answer every day. But Ladsous has refused, and has gone further.

   Because Ladsous is protected -- was nominated -- by the French government which has controlled UN Peacekeeping four times in a row now, this anamoly is allowed to go on inside the UN.

  Here's how it look from outside, in the UK New Statesman. And here is a video of Ladsous ordering his spokesperson to take the microphone away so that questions about rapes by his partners in the DRC Army could not be asked.

  Here is a video of Ladsous taking the friendly scribes atop the UN Correspondents Association into the hall for a private briefing. To this has the UN descended.

  More seriously, UN Peacekeeping by most accounts brought cholera to Haiti, which has killed over 8,000 people. Inner City Press asked Ladsous, loud and clear (but nothing but polite) if his DPKO now belatedly screens peacekeepers from cholera hot spots before deployment.

  Ladsous refused to answer. To this has the UN descended. The new Free UN Coalition for Access has formally proposed that UN Under Secretaries General not be allowed to take this approach. Watch this site.


 

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