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DRC War Machine of Ladsous, Reuters & UN, Bangura Ignores Desecration?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 24 -- The UN claims to be impartial, to care equally about all victims, to not be a tool of Permanent members of the UN Security Council like France and the US. In and on the Democratic Republic of the Congo recently, and at UN Peacekeeping generally, this has not been the case.

  Consider just the past two days. The UN's office on Sexual Violence and Conflict, run by Zainab Bangura, which has been surprisingly quiet as UN Peacekeeping has continued to support the US-trained Congolese Army's 391st Battalion after it was implicated in 135 rapes in Minova, belatedly decided to tweet about rape in the Congo.

  But it was not about Minova, nor about the newer implication of the 391st Battalion in the desecration of corpses. No, it was a straight re-tweet of a Human Rights Watch report that even HRW belated appended a correction to. Neither HRW or Bangura's UN office mentioned the correction. The Free UN Coalition for Access, through @FUNCA_Questions, has asked Bangura's office about it, so far without response.

  Inner City Press asked Bangura on July 24 about the dearth of arrests -- only two -- for the rapes in Minova, and about the new charges of corpse desecration against the same 391st Battalion. She said she hadn't heard of the latter -- strange, since a statement said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply concerned about them -- but on the rapes, said she had "spoken with Herve Ladsous" about them earlier in the day.

  But spoke about what? It was Ladsous who essentially waved Ban's claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and decided to continue to support the 391st Battalion after the Minova rapes.

 Now it seems that rather than answer any Press questions about this decision, he is trying to implicate other UN officials like Leila Zerrougui in his decision. She and Bangura have potential, but there is the Ladsousification of the UN.

  In the DRC itself, the UN's Radio Okapi broadcast the UN Mission MONUSCO's weekly press conference Wednesday morning. Okapi itself asked a question -- based on the HRW report, without noting the correction.

  In Washington on Tuesday, the State Department's own Voice of America asked a planted question about the DRC, also about the HRW report without noting the correction, and got a canned answer. This was reported, for example, by Reuters without at first included anything about the correction.

  Later Reuters UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, who has been shown to have leaked to the UN internal documents of the ostensibly independent United Nations Correspondents Association to the UN's chief accreditation official, typed up a fast and sloppy piece on Rwanda's anger at HRW blatant error of using the testimony of an unnamed "witness" who falsely said Rwanda has peacekeeping forces in Somalia. But this piece has HRW flatly denying it pays in connection with its studies.

  HRW has already admitted this, in December 2012. Reuters does not mention it. As on the Eritrea sanctions report -- click here for that -- the Reuters UN bureau is part of a machine. Watch this site.


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