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On Darfur, ICP Asked UK Rycroft of “Team Sites” Given To Bashir's Militia, Answer UNreceived

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, New Platform

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 – Sudan's Omar al Bashir, charged at the International Criminal Court with genocide in Darfur, visited Morocco in August, essentially to shake down the Saudi King during his over-the-top Moroccan vacation. Now the UN is giving its "team sites" in Darfur to Bashir's militia, and when caught only issues statements of concern, rather than reversing the transfers. On September 14, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about it, video here, as partially transcribed by the UK Mission: Inner City Press: On Darfur, have you seen the reports that the team sites are being turned over to the Government and the Government is putting militia in them? What should the UN and AU do about it? Amb. Rycroft: "We are following that very carefully and we want to make sure that the Government of Sudan is providing full cooperation with UNAMID in Darfur, the UN force in Darfur, that it is cooperating fully, that there is full access for the UN and that the UN is able to fulfil the whole of its mandate. And let’s not forget that the primary responsibility for the government in any country is protection of civilians. It’s the Government that is responsible for that and we have in the case of Darfur an important UN force that is doing that as well." Then Inner City Press asked more specifically about the team sites and Rycroft said, we'll get back to you. That hasn't happened - even as insiders whom the Mission demands not be attacked or critiqued, and who didn't ask about Darfur, or Cameroon, were "briefed." We'll have more on this. On September 12 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here including the statement Dujarric later read, as if it were sufficient: Inner City Press: on Darfur, what I wanted to ask you, with the Mission downsizing, I wanted to know, the allegation… there are allegations that the team sites that have been closed have been turned over to Government militias, some of whom have been connected with the very allegations of genocide for which the Government… the… Omar Al-Bashir was indicted or supposed to go to the ICC [International Criminal Court].  So, I wanted to know, what is UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] doing to ensure that the camps and sites and equip… things that they're leaving behind in Darfur don't, in fact, go to the very forces that brought the peacekeeping mission there in the first place? Spokesman:  I will check, I haven't received anything from UNAMID today.  [Later] Spokesman: On UNAMID, my trusted staff has actually given me some answers here.  UNAMID said this weekend that it is concerned about the recent allegations of improper handover of team sites in North Darfur as part of its mandated reconfiguration.  In line with its mandate, the mission is reducing the number of military police and civilian personnel and has earmarked 11 team sites for closure across Darfur.  Four team sites have been closed to date, and seven are yet to be closed.  Closed team sites have been handed over to the Government of Sudan or appropriate private parties as per lease agreements signed by the Mission. Inner City Press: Right, but what… if they're concerned about it, are they concerned that the Government gave it to this militia…? Spokesman:  "Well, I think that would encompass the concern." Well, no.  Even if it's about Bashir trying to shake down Saudi Arabia for (more) money, there should be a limit to Morocco's desperate attempt to make itself relevant in Africa, as in CAR, in order to support its abuses in Western Sahara. On Morocco: the Free UN Coalition for Access was informed that the journalist Mr. Elmahdaoui was transferred to Casablanca after being condemned to four months of imprisonment. He was transferred to Casablanca court/prison. At the UN, the Moroccan state media the UN gives offices and full access to don't even come into the building, must less ask questions. Today's UN is corrupt - but it is being opposed. On July 20, before interviewing Rif activists outside the UN's gates, here, Inner City Press asked the UN about Rif for the 15th time, UN transcript here... After several delays, the UN Security Council renewed for one year the mandate of its Western Sahara mission MINURSO at 6 pm on April 28. Final resolution put on Scribed by Inner City Press here. After the vote when Morocco's Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale came to the UNTV stakeout, and after questions from Moroccan state media, Inner City Press asked Hilale three questions, on Horst Kohler as possible new envoy, on the C-24 Committee visiting the regions, and what Morocco had accomplished by ousting the MINURSO peacekeepers. Hilale rather than answering used the podium to, as he put it, give some statistics. 6-second Vine Camera video here.

He said that Inner City Press has asked 225 questions about the conflict in the past year - quelle horreur -- and had had the temerity to write 150 articles about it. Inner City Press pointed out that it has written more about other countries, such as these days Cameroon. But Hilale went on from there. Video here. Three days after the stakeouts, the UN Department of Public Information had put on its website only two of the three speakers that evening (May 1 photo here). So on May 1 Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript is part of the video. What is wrong with the UN, and its DPI?  It was to the DPI that Hilale's Moroccan mission made a frivolous complaint about Inner City Press taking photos at the stakeout; it was this DPI which evicted Inner City Press and still keeps it restricted, trying to give its long time shared office to an Egyptian state media which rarely comes in and never asks questions. This zero, apparently, is a count that Hilale, Morocco and its state media and trolls are most comfortable with. Up to death threats have been received. Here then is a song, Western Sahara Blues, the Ballad of Omar Hilale.

  And then there's this: Moroccan trolls, using Dujarric's (and the now-gone Gallach's) eviction of Inner City Press for covering corruption like this, that Inner City Press "was sacked out from the #UN because he was caught filming a closed meeting." No, Inner City Press said openly it would film, and did, a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room by a group that took dues money from now indicted Ng Lap Seng's bribery conduit. The Moroccan state "media" at the UN don't even ask questions. Troll on.  On April 19 as Guterres held a rare Q&A session, about Africa, his holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric had pre-selected questions, many of them not about Africa at all. The UN Department of Public Information under Guterres has threatened Inner City Press after a frivolous complaint from the Moroccan mission about photos taken according to the rules at the UN Security Council stakeout, while DPI has given multiple "Resident Correspondent" badges to Moroccan state media, some moonlighting for the UN itself, while restricting the UNderdog Press. Meanwhile, Inner City Press has learned, the UN's decoloniziation (C-24) committee is preparing to visit the Tindouf refugee camp. We'll have more on this. While Guterres breezed by the issue of Western Sahara on Friday, April 7 as Morocco tried to get the Press which covers it further restricted, Inner City Press was leaked the email below, from the UN's Kim Bolduc, amid reports of Germany's Horst Kohler as new Personal Envoy. While Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to comment on either, here (contrary to his Q&A last week about "Sex in the City, here), now Inner City Press has put on Scribd the full text of Guterres' first MINURSO report such as it is, here. But when Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about both on April 10, he wouldn't answer either question. Video here.


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