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On FDLR, Reuters Quotes Anonymous UN Official Stopping What Never Began

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 -- After the UN claimed to be jointly fighting the FDLR rebels with the Congolese Army FARDC, then to be supporting the FARDC to do so, on February 6 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric more questions, and he said "the military actual fighting has not, as far as we know, has not commenced." Video here.

  Nevertheless Reuters on February 10, calling it an exclusive, quoted an unnamed UN official that the UN's support to this non-existent fight had been "paused."

  Now on February 14, still without reporting UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous' history with the Hutu rebels and FDLR, for example here, nor the more recent sale of UN posts in the DRC under Ladsous, Reuters without any of that context quotes anonymous UN official(s) on how committed to rights the UN is, here.

  It 'reports' that "'The next step is the dispatch of formal letters to the relevant Congolese authorities concerning the cessation of support to the FARDC in these anti-FDLR operations,' said the U.N. official."

  What anti-FDLR actions? Tellingly, the story doesn't even purport to give a reason for according the "UN official" anonymity.

   So what is Reuters' policy on granting anonymity? Shouldn't the reason be stated? Reuters has previously refused to explain basic policies - including on censorship like this.

  This Reuters series, praising the UN for "pausing" or suspending action against the FDLR that never even began, is affirmatively misleading. UN Peacekeeping hands faux secrets to Reuters in exchange for positive, uncritical coverage.

  On February 11, Inner City Press asked Spokesman Dujarric about this Reuters "exclusive" on a spoonfed quote: how can something that never began be paused? February 11 video here.  There is as yet no answer.

 In full disclosure, Reuters at the UN has asked Google to censor access to its anti-Press complaint to the UN, here.

 We also note this, that Reuters pays for (sometimes false) exclusives.

From the February 6 transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask on the Democratic Republic of the Congo,  a self-described senior UN official had said they have laid down an ultimatum as to two generals that are leading the Congolese stated fight against the FDLR [Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda].  And today Lambert Mende, spokesman of the Government, has said that they reject these ultimatums and so I wanted to know, the way it’s described is that the UN — I’ve been asking you here, but obviously something was said elsewhere in the building to some that the ultimatum is until 13 February or they would forfeit MONUSCO’s support to the operation.  So I wanted — I don’t think it’s an operational detail.  I want to know:  Has the UN been providing support to units of the FARDC [Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] engaged with the FDLR?  Which units are those?  And would it, in fact — will it now, given this statement, be suspended?

Spokesman Dujarric:  A couple of things.  First of all, my understanding from here is that the FARDC operations have not commenced in terms of the military operations.  The discussions regarding the human rights issues that we’ve raised about the two generals are ongoing and they’re ongoing in Kinshasa.

Inner City Press:  Right.  But can you react — the spokesman for the Government has said we will only replace them if there is…

Spokesman:  Well, I did hear your question.  My reaction is that the discussions are ongoing in Kinshasa.

Inner City Press:  One last thing because I’ve seen there have been various statements about the actions have already started.  “We welcome the action.”  “We are fleeing the action.”  Do you know…  [overlapping talking]

Spokesman:  I’m just saying, my understanding is the military actual fighting has not, as far as we know, has not commenced.  The operation is under way.  But obviously, we understand that the actual — there’s been no actual fighting reported as of yet.

Inner City Press:  Why can’t we get DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) on the record to speak about this matter?

Spokesman:  Well, I think as I said this is a — this operation is being led from — our support for the operation is being led from the field, and I think the questions will be answered there.

Inner City Press:  Was a senior official here in the building or—

Spokesman:  You know what?  The one thing we do have a lot of here are senior UN officials.  Thank you.

On February 5, UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq when Inner City Press asked if ANY support from the UN is being given, did not say Yes. Video here.


 The UN has been dissembling for some time about its role in the Congolese Army's stated attempt to "neutralize" the FDLR. While refusing to answer Press questions publicly, Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping on February 4 once again used friendly scribes to appear to be strong on human rights - in this case, to explain NOT fighting the FDLR.

  Ladsous did this on the Congolese Army rapes in Minova, using the same scribes; he is preparing the same scam to explain his mission's covering up of rapes in Tabit in Darfur, Sudan (more on this to come).

  Here's Ladsous' DPKO's most recent use of Reuters. And here is Ladsous' history with the Hutu rebels in 1994, supporting their escape into Eastern Congo, where now this false fig leaf is used to explain not fighting... Hutu rebels. Here is Agence France Presse; here is Ladsous' DPKO's most recently use of Reuters:

"The United Nations has threatened to withdraw support for a planned Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) military campaign against Rwandan rebels if the government does not remove two generals accused of human rights abuses by the end of next week, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the world body has told Congolese Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda: 'If you keep these guys we're not going to be in a position to support you ... get these people out.'"
  Reuters and AFP of course do not mention Ladsous' history, not only in 1994 but in refusing openly to answer questions about the rapes in Minova, or more recently, this. No, in this story the UN comes off as heroic. Really?

 Inner City Press asked more on February 4, video forthcoming.

 Inner City Press on January 30 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: Since it's UN Social Media Day, MONUSCO 46 minutes ago said that — I'll say it in French: Les operations militaires contre les #FDLR, lancées hier jeudi, seront dirigées et planifiées conjointement par la #MONUSCO et les FARDC.  So unless I'm misunderstanding this, they're claiming that it's a joint operation, “conjointement”, on their Twitter feed.  I wanted to know, why would they be doing that, given what you've just said?

Spokesman:  I think without going into a deep analysis of French and English, which you obviously are able to do and I couldn't try to keep up with you, I think it is a different characterization maybe, a different use of words, but I think the point is that it's an FARDC-led operation with the support of the UN.

   On February 2, Inner City Press asked Dujarric more specifically, video here,

transcript here

  Reuters has again misrepresented the UN's and Herve Ladsous' (non) enforcement of the human rights due diligence policy. The anonymously trolling Reuters correspondent -- reviving that on January 26, after Reuters' Stephen J. Adler et al were told but did nothing -- "reports" that

"The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo threatened in 2013 to withdraw support for two Congolese battalions accused of involvement in the mass rape. The mission decided to keep working with the battalions after 12 senior officers, including the commanders and deputy commanders, were suspended and about a dozen soldiers were charged over the rapes in Minova."

  This is propaganda -- only two lower ranking soldiers were convicted. The Reuters implication is that Ladsous' DPKO is tough on human rights: false.

  On January 22  Ladsous made a speech about freedom of the press in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Thursday to the US Security Council, and made excuses for not acting to “neutralize” the Hutu FDLR rebels as the UN did the largely Tutsi M23.

Then Ladsous came to the Security Council stakeout, ostensibly to take questions.

  Inner City Press asked, “On the neutralization of the FDLR, what is the hold up?”

  Ladsous said "I don't respond to your questions, Mister." Video here and embedded below.

   Then Ladsous turned and gave the question to Reuters, the same trolling correspondent. When that back and forth was over, Inner City Press asked if any of the countries in the UN's Force Intervention Brigade are well than willing to attack the FDLR, as senior diplomats at the UN have told Inner City Press.

   Ladsous refused to answer this question, and gestured that Ban Ki-moon's envoy to the DRC Martin Kobler, standing behind Ladsous at the stakeout, shouldn't answer it either. Reuters took or was given another question, distancing the FDLR from genocide.

   Finally Inner City Press asked both men what if anything UN Peacekeeping has done as the Kabila government has frozen the accounts of the Panzi hospital for rape victims.  Ladsous waved this off -- for months he waved off Press questions about mass rape in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army, video here -- and walked away with this spokesman.

 (One can only imagine the advise this “communications professional” is giving Ladsous. Perhaps he can help Ladsous address his history with Hutu groups as evidence in this memo. These are Press questions.)


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