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Sept 24, 2013

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As US Thanks Dutch After Amsterdam Attack FOIA Request on Cameroon and UN Censorship Pends

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 2 – As to the Netherlands, the US State Department through spokesperson Heather Nauert on Sunday morning said, "The Department of State extends its concern and support for two U.S. citizens injured in an attack Friday in Amsterdam. We ask that all parties respect the privacy of the victims and their families at this difficult time.  Dutch authorities have announced that investigations are focused on a terrorist motive for this unprovoked, horrifying attack.  The United States stands with our Dutch allies and others in our common fight against terrorism in all forms. We stand ready to assist Dutch authorities in their investigations as appropriate.  We thank the Dutch police and medical personnel for their effective and courageous efforts to apprehend the assailant and care for our citizens." At Inner City Press, our recent experience with the Dutch government or at least its Mission to the UN has been directing. We submitted a FOIA or "WOB" request, which is supposed to get a prompt reply, but now we've been told, "Dear Mr Lee, I hereby acknowledge receipt of your e-mail of 22 August 2018, in which you requested information on the basis of the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wet openbaarheid van bestuur; WOB). Your application will be assessed. If we have questions about your application, I will contact you. Yours sincerely, Mirnel Comic, Legal adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Legal Affairs Department | Netherlands Law Division." The request is on Cameroon - and UN censorship, which for now will have Inner City Press banned from covering the UN General Assembly high level week for the first time in a decade, with a Sept 5 deadline. Now the issue has been raised to Ministers Sigrid Kaag and Stefan Bok, via Kees Van Baar and Monique Van Daalen. We'll see. As the Cameroon government of 36 year President Paul Biya slaughters civilians in the Anglophone regions as well as in the North, it has re-engaged Washington lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, on a retainer of $100,000 per quarter plus expenses, documents show. The UN belatedly acknowledged to Inner City Press, which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had roughed up on July 3 right after it spoke to Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, that Guterres met with a Cameroon delegation on July 11. Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq has three times refused to answer Inner City Press e-mailed question whether Guterres was aware his meeting was stage managed by lobbyists at Patton Boggs, and what was discussed. While suspended but before the UN outrageously purported to impose a lifetime ban on entry, Inner City Press asked the same and more to the Dutch Mission to the UN, in writing and in person. After Guterres banned Inner City Press from entry from July 3 onward, in order to report on the UN Inner City Press had to seek answers other than at the UN Noon Briefing and UN Security Council stakeout position, from which Guterres and Smale also banned it. Inner City Press asks question in front of the UN Delegates Entrance, and has gotten about put online responses from, among others, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid, Burundi's Ambassador, and on August 20, for example, a diplomat on the North Korea sanctions committee -- whose Dutch chair Karel van Oosterom refused to comment.

 This stakeout is where Inner City Press asks questions only because Guterres and Smale have banned it since July 3. But in her August 17 letter, Smale justifies the ban imposed July 3 with this post-July 3 interviews, and says that UNnamed member states - and somehow correspondents - have complained.

 Is that Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom? Inner City Press has submitted a FOIA or WOB request: "This is request under the WOB / Dutch Freedom of Information act for the following records as that term is defined in WOB, including but not limited to all electronic records, emails, text/SMS message and communications in any form, involving the Netherlands Mission to the UN in New York since August 15, 2017 regarding Cameroon and/or Southern Cameroons and all meeting including Amb van Oosterom's July 11 meeting with Cameroonian ministers, all responses to communications received about Cameroon including but not limited to Inner City Press' communications of

July 14, 2018 to "Eybergen, Bas van"
Frits.Kemperman [at],, Oosterom and Kaag

July 25, 2018 to the same recipients;
and August 12, 2018 to the same recipients;
and multiple verbal questions to your PR and DPR since July 3.
  To explain the last part of this request, the head of UN Dep't of Public Info Alison Smale in issuing a lifetime ban to my on August 17 wrote "“We would also note your conduct at the entrances of the United Nations premises and nearby, including the use of profanities and derogatory assertions and language toward individuals accessing the United Nations, in close proximity to them. Video / live broadcasts of this are frequently published on the Inner City Press' website and other media platforms. This conduct gives rise to potential safety concerns for Member State diplomats...The conduct described above has generated multiple complaints to the United Nations from Member States."

  Given Ambassador van Oosterom and his Deputy PR's flat refusal to answer or even acknowledge the Cameroon questions I asked them at the Delegates Entrance stakeout, most recently Amb van Oosterom on August 20 about North Korea (on which other delegations answered, despite PR van Oosterom being the chair), this is a request for all record that reflect or are related to any communications by the Dutch Mission to the UN about questions or comments received at the stakeout(s).
Given the situations in Cameroon and South Cameroons, I and Inner City Press asked for expedited processes of this request." And we have received back, for now, this: "Bedankt voor uw e-mail.
Afhankelijk van de aard en inhoud van uw bericht kunt u binnen twee werkdagen een reactie tegemoet zien.
Uw kenmerk is E3487878
Met vriendelijke groet,
Informatie Rijksoverheid
Thank you for your e-mail.
Depending on the nature and content of your message you can expect a reply within two working days.
Your reference is E3487878
Kind regards,
Public Information Service, Government of the Netherlands." Watch this site.

Earlier, Inner City Press asked the Netherlands' Mission's two spokespeople Bas van Eybergen and Frits Kemperman as well as the Mission's general e-mail address since Ambassador von Oosterom's e-mail, like that of Minister Sigrid Kaag who used to block Inner City Press on Twitter but to her credit stopped, bounces back: "This follows up on Inner City Press' previous written questions, and questions I have asked at the UN Delegates Entrance since I have now been banned from entering the UN for 40 days after being roughed up by UN Security while covering the UN Budget meetings on July 3: I have obtained the Cameroon government's version of their meeting with, as they list it in their memo: -Mr. Karel J. G. Van OOSTEROM, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, and I am hereby request your Mission's version / read-out of the meeting. I would also like to know if you were aware that the meeting was stage managed by Washington based lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, paid $100,000 a quarter by the Paul Biya government, and if your mission has had other meeting this year arranged by paid lobbyists (if so, please disclose them). Finally, for now, I am again informing your Mission that my roughing up and ban from the UN was without basis (I was allowed to stay to stake out that advised Budget Committee meeting under the UN Guidelines) and that the supposed review being conducted has had no due process. See, e.g., July 30 Columbia Journalism Review, here (citing Cameroon and Yemen, another others) and August 11 Fox News, here, on the shifting of the UN's Kafkaesque "review." I was interviewed only once, back on July 10, by UN Security in the basement of the UNITAR building, only about portions of July 3. Your mission has stood by during this 40 days of censorship in contravention of your government's purported positions on freedom of the press and protection of journalist. This is a request on deadline that you explain, and take action." Still nothing.

  Inner City Press has obtained the Cameroon government's internal memo about the lobbying, including of Guterres and what he said, and this, regarding Mr. Karel J. G. Van OOSTEROM, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands: "they appreciated the initiative of the Head of State to send this Mission to the UN. The move has helped in a better understanding of the situation on the ground, instead of the one-sided information on the social media...Some members recognize the strategic position of Cameroon and her leadership role in the sub region...
Maintain a direct link between our Government and the UN, by constant High-level Missions.
Adopt and adapt an aggressive Communication strategy, especially with the Anglo-Saxon press.
Get our Permanent Mission all documentation to distribute on a permanent basis."

UNSG Guterres said that the ("Anglo-Saxon") media is unfair to Paul Biya's Cameroun and that he, Guterres, will help them in the "propaganda campaign." Guterres said he "will contact reasonable people" and "counter the daily press briefs."

 Guterres has kept Inner City Press banned from the UN and its daily press briefings for 40 days, with the prospect of a longer or permanent ban by his conflicted, UK-national Under Secretary General for Global Communications Alison Smale (see yesterday's Fox story here; Smale refused comment.)

  Here's from the Cameroon government's memo: "THE DION NGUTE/GHOGOMU PAUL MISSION REPORT

High Level Mission to the USA
(11 – 20 July 2018)

Delegation Members:
H.E Dr DION NGUTE Joseph, Minister in charge of Missions at the Presidency,
H.E GHOGOMU Paul MINGO, Director of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet,
H.E MBAYU Felix, Minister Delegate to MINREX, in charge of the Commonwealth,
Mr. CHINMOUN Oumarou, Director of American and Caribbean Affairs at the MINREX, and
Mme EYEMA ELINGE Susan epse EWUSI, Research Officer at the Presidency....

Meeting with:
H.E Antonio Gutteres, Secretary General of the UNO

The Delegation was helped in the organization of audiences by the Cameroon Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E TOMMO MONTHE. At each audience, we presented the historical background of the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. We also briefed our hosts on the current situation in the two Regions, and explained the measures taken by the Government to address the crisis.

We insisted that it was an internal crisis for which the Government had mobilized all necessary security, political, social and humanitarian means for its management. We presented the Government Emergency Humanitarian Plan and stated our Government’s expectations from the UNO and the members of the Security Council.

For the SG/UN:
Cameroon is a very important and strategic Country,
We have a very wise and intelligent leader,
There is a pattern of inevitable problems when there is a linguistic minority,
The strategy of radical groups has always been to provoke, then show the world what the army is doing,
The global media is Anglo-Saxon dominated, so that there is a campaign to show that the English-speaking minority is being maltreated,
We are losing the international propaganda campaign, but he is willing to help. He will contact reasonable people,

Cameroon should however counter the daily press briefs" --

  And Guterres has Inner City Press banned from the UN's daily noon press briefing, and refuses to answer written questions about these meetings. Meanwhile, Guterres for a year sought to ingratiate himself to Biya's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, UN Budget Committee chair whose bureaucratic help Guterres wanted for example for his ill-gated Global Service Delivery Mechanism plan to move UN jobs from Geneva to Budapest, from New York to Mexico City, and from Entebbe, Uganda to Kenya. We'll have more, much more, on this.

  On August 10, with Inner City Press banned from entering the UN for the 38th day by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Dutch Mission to the UN and HRW started bragging about a UN Security Council Presidential Statement which they said embodied deep concern. At first banned Inner City Press, thanks to Guterres who took Biya's golden statue in October 2017, couldn't even see the Statement: it was not on the Security Council's website now run by the (Dutch) husband of the chief of staff of the UN Department of Political Affairs' Rosemary DiCarlo, and was not emailed out to those not (allowed) in the UN. But by mid afternoon it came out: and it was just a single line, about the "worrying increase in violence in the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon." Why did Human Rights Watch make so much of this, after earlier this year telling Inner City Press - before Antonio "Golden Statue" Guterres banned it from the UN - that HRW omitted Cameroon from its 2018 World Report because it didn't view it as a top-90 problem? That's here. As Guterres and his Alison Smale and their stooges try to keep Inner City Press out even longer, we'll have more on this. After twice asking the Spokespeople for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (from the bus stop outside the UN Delegates' Entrance since Guterres has banned Inner City Press since July 3), UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq on August 8 belatedly told Inner City Press, "On your first question, we can confirm that, on 11 July, a high-level Cameroonian delegation was dispatched to UNHQ to brief the Secretary-General on the efforts carried out by the Government to address the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions. The Secretary-General stressed the importance of finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis through an inclusive dialogue and reiterated the UN’s readiness to support such efforts, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected regions." But Inner City Press' question was, "On Cameroon beyond the questions you have left unanswered from August 3 and August 6-1, please state if anyone in the UN Secretariat met with a Cameroonian government delegation in the US from July 11 (whcn they met UK Ambassador Pierce) to July 20 and if the UN was aware that this Biya delegation's lobbying trip was stage managed by the DC-based lobbying firm Patton Boggs." No answer on this, nor on August 10, when Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Haq answered a past question from August 6, on using and paying for Biya's troops: "Regarding your earlier Cameroon question, here’s what we have for you: "August 6-1: On Cameroon, important and not answered - please immediately confirm and explain: “A 295-strong Cameroonian contingent including four doctors, will be deployed in the intervening weeks to the Central African Republic (CAR).They will be part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Mission for the Stabilization of CAR (MINUSCA), ministry of Defense sources in Cameroon disclosed on Thursday.” Given not only this military's torching of villages in the Anglophone areas but summary executions, why is the UN accepting this deployment at this time? How much of the money goes to / stays with the Biya government? What vetting has been done? Does the UN know the identity of the Cameroon soldiers recently shown killing women and children? What assurance does the UN have these soldiers will not “serve” the UN in CAR?"

The 295-strong Cameroonian contingent referred into in the article is not a new deployment. It is in fact a rotation of two Cameroonian Formed Police Units (FPUs) already deployed in MINUSCA.

In this specific case, the two Cameroonian FPUs will finish their tour of duty by mid-September, will substitute them. As per established procedures, all FPU personnel undergo extensive pre-deployment training to ensure they understand the rules, regulations and, standards and values expected of personnel deployed to UN operations, including respect for human rights.

With regard to the vetting process, the Policy on Human Rights Screening of United Nations Personnel places primary responsibility on Member States to ensure that the personnel they appoint for deployment have not been involved in violations. All countries contributing uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations have primary responsibility for screening individuals and for ensuring that personnel they nominate for service have not been involved, by act or omission, in violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law, and have not been repatriated on disciplinary grounds from a UN operation. Contributing countries have to provide a certification to that effect when they nominate personnel for deployment.

The Policy thus sets forth procedures to strengthen the ability of the United Nations to ensure that its personnel meet the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and to promote and encourage respect for human rights, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. These procedures have notably led to strengthen pre-deployment screening and certification by contributing countries.

On your question regarding payment, countries contributing uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of US$1,428 per person per month."

After Guterres remained disturbingly quiet about Biya's killing for a full year, when Cameroon was the chair of the Budget Committee whose support Guterres wanted for his proposal like moving jobs from Geneva to Budapest, New York to Mexico City, Entebbe to Kenya? We'll have more on this. This also means that the July 11 meeting with Cameroonian ministers bragged about by this month's UN Security Council president, Karen Pierce of the UK, was actually in connection with a lobbying trip stage managed by Patton Boggs. Inner City Press has asked the UK Mission, see below, and also on the morning of August 7 asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq before "his" noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from for the 35th day in a row. Guterres' Haq never answered (though perhaps relatedly envoy Francois Fall is supposedly going to Cameroon). Now Inner City Press has reviewed Patton Boggs long history with Paul Biya, as he has become more and more brutal. It began in 2004 with a letter from Patton Boggs' Joseph Brand (still involved in 2018) to Biya's Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo for Peter Mafany Musonge, here. We'll have more on this. UNanswered as of August8 by Guterres' team: "August 7-1: On Cameroon beyond the questions you have left unanswered from August 3 and August 6-1, please state if anyone in the UN Secretariat met with a Cameroonian government delegation in the US from July 11 (whcn they met UK Ambassador Pierce) to July 20 and if the UN was aware that this Biya delegation's lobbying trip was stage managed by the DC-based lobbying firm Patton Boggs." Neither Haq nor the others in Guterres' team whom Inner City Press asked - Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, Eihab Omaish, Alison Smale and her officer in charge (of censorship) Hua Jiang answered that specific question. Instead Haq at the briefing said he trying to "get language" about Guterres' envoy Francois Lounseny Fall, who equated secessionists with extremists, may go to the country this week. What, some ask, for Patton Boggs? 
Inner City Press asked the UK Mission's two spokespeople Matthew Moody and Amy.Quantrill: "Good morning. This is a formal Press request for an answer I have sought from the UK Mission to the UN since August 1. On July 31 Ambassador Pierce stated on Twitter that she (and presumably others at the UK mission) had met on July 11 with Cameroonian ministers.

On August 1, for the Program of Work press conference I was and am banned from by USG Alison Smale and SG Antonio Guterres, after being roughed up by UN Security while covering an event and a meeting on June 22 and July 3, I asked both of you:

"Did she mean government ministers or religious ministers? If the former, who were they? Which departments? And what was it mean to say “we were watching the situation closely.” Does this mean the UK or the Council? Is there a role, does the UK think, for UN envoy Francois Lonseny Fall? Or should another mediator be assigned?"

  I have yet to receive an answer, including after tweeting substantial the same question to Amb Allen yesterday. Nor did I receive any response to my August 3 question to you, explicitly your UK's capacity of President of the UNSC, about Yemen and a Saudi letter.

This time I am addressing this to Stephen Hickey as well. (Hello).

  I am requesting an immediate answer to these Cameroon questions:

Name the ministers Amb Pierce met with on July 11.

State whether Amb Pierce or anyone else at the UK mission was aware this this Biya administration "tour" July 11-20 was stage managed by DC-based lobbying firm Patton Boggs (reflected on documents Inner City Press has this morning published), including US ex-Amb Frank Wisner.

  State whether any non-Cameroonians were present at the July 11 meeting and if so, who they were.

state whether Amb Pierce has had any meetings with Cameroonian opposition or Federalists or separatists, and if not, why not.

  Also, as I asked on August 1 in advance of these week's UNSC meeting I remained banned from,

Last month Sweden said at the beginning of the month that it would be seeking agreed Press Elements from every consultation. Will the UK be seeking Press Elements from this Western Sahara consultation? And if not, why not?

  On deadline. Thanks you in advance. -Matthew." Nothing.

The Patton Boggs FARA documents show the agreement is to run to mid 2019, long after Biya's next "election" in October (also made a mockery of by French President Emmanuel Macron inviting Biya to an event in Paris as head of state in November). The "confidential" letter agreement is addressed by Patton Boggs' Robert S. Kapla to Biya's Prime Minister Philemon Yang, to be signed by Ghogomu Paul Mingo and cites Prof. Nkot. It  says Joseph Brand and "Ambassador Frank Wisner" will work on the Biya fileAfter the abuses by Cameroon's security forces have been ignored by the UN, as Inner City Press has repeatedly asked about them until being banned from the UN on July 3 and since, new leaked videos show summary executions and manhandling of prisoners. On July 14 and 25 Inner City Press raised the issue, and that of the UN's censorship
 to the French Mission to the UN, and also directly to Deputy Ambassador Anne Gueguen. Nothing, from France and from the Security Council as a whole, not even an "Any Other Business" briefing, with none as yet foreseen under August's Security Council president the UK, whose Liam Fox bragged of UK New Age's gas deal with Biya; Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Karen Pierce about it here, before Guterres' Security's ouster and ongoing ban on which the UK has done nothing. July 20 video here.  After that, Pierce said on Twitter - while ignoring Inner City Press' question as her mission has in recent days, also on Yemen - that she had met with Cameroon ministers on July 11. Inner City Press asked the UK Mission in writing on August 1 to explain: "Amb Pierce disclosed in yesterday's Twitter Q&A that she “spoke to a delegation of Cameroon ministers at the UN on 11 July.” Did she mean government ministers or religious ministers? If the former, who were they? Which departments? And what was it mean to say “we were watching the situation closely.” Does this mean the UK or the Council? Is there a role, does the UK think, for UN envoy Francois Lonseny Fall? Or should another mediator be assigned?" Nothing, still no answer as of noon on August 6 from the UK Mission. (
Inner City Press' later on August 6 online question to returned-toTwitter Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen on this has yet to be replied to.) Instead, Pierce said the initiative is with Biya and his government. Now it emerges that Paul Biya sent a delegation of five from July 11 to 20, to DC and New York to meet members of the UN Security Council. This while UNSG Antonio Guterres had banned from the UN Inner City Press, which has ask him for more than a year about the slaughter in Cameroon and his inaction, as he needed the support of the Cameroonian chair of the UN Budget Committee. New filing on Guterres and conflict of interest, here. We'll have more on this - and this: ghoulishly in Cameroon, where there is supposed to be an election in October, French Ambassador Gilles Thibault, of whom Inner City Press has asked French Permanent Representative Francois Delattre before being banned from the UN since July 3, has invited Paul Biya to an Emmanual Macron "Peace" event, as Cameroonian head of state.. in November. We'll have more on this. On August 1 in a briefing Inner City Press was banned from Pierce said the initiative is with the President and government of Cameron - that is, 36 year ruler Paul Biya. On August 2 Inner City Press emailed Guterres' spokesmen and team including Alison Smale and officer in charge Hua Jiang, "On Cameroon and refugees from Cameroon in Nigeria, what is the comment, response and action if any of the Secretargy General to the deaths of eight Cameroonian refugees in Ikom, Cross River who died of fumes from a generator in their room? What has the SG done about the conflict and crisis in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon since his visit to Younde in October 2017? What has he done in the last 12 days?" Haq did not email any response back before heading out to lunch. On his way back in, Inner City Press reiterated the question and he just walked by, as did Hua Jiang, schooled in this with UNMIS in Sudan it seems, part of the censorship, minutes later. Video here. This is today's UN.


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