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UNSG Guterres UNknown, His Communicator Says, ICP Asks Of Consultants, CAR

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 16 – While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has yet, for example, to speak clearly about the human rights abuses against Anglophones by Cameroon after he offered unmitigated praise to 35-year president Paul Biya on September 22, now his head of Global Communications Alison Smale wants to re-brand or at least re-introduce him to the public. In an October 3 “Town Hall” meeting in New York City on which Inner City Press has exclusively reported, Smale said there is a “need to get the Secretary General out there.” Not to Cameroon, where Guterres' Central Africa envoy Francois Fall hasn't gone in the more than two weeks since the October 1 killings, but to Central African Republic, see below. She said Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, “is not so widely known in this country or indeed in other parts of the world.” Video here. As Inner City Press has twice asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about without answer, Smale has said she will hire outside consultants, contrary to the recommendations of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. From the UN's October 16 transcript, also on "Dollar a Year" officials: Inner City Press: There’s an ACABQ report on the Secretary-General’s budget proposal.  And one of the things that they say is that there’s a lack of clarity in these seven 'dollar-a-year' Under-Secretary-Generals or Assistant Under-Secretary-Generals, there’s a generalised lack of clarity of the actual cost to the system in terms of supporting them.  So, I wanted to know, what’s the Secretary-General or the Secretariat’s response? Will the disclosure that’s being requested be made public? And the ACABQ document is also critical of the hiring of consultants, such as I asked you about in the case of DPI (Department of Public Information).  Whether or not there’s a procurement process, they’re saying only in the most extremely circumstances should these consultants be hired.  And what is DPI’s presentation of the extreme circumstance? And does it involve the upcoming trip to CAR (Central African Republic), which was also discussed in this town hall meeting? Spokesman:  "I don’t think it involves the upcoming trip to CAR.  I’ll try to get something for you from DPI.  Obviously, whenever the ACABQ raises questions of the Secretariat, those questions are answered.  On the issue of the envoys, I think the Secretary-General, since the beginning, has had in mind to streamline the number of Special Envoys, including dollar-a-year envoys.  And I think most of the envoys were given a year extension of contract to give time for the Secretary-General to look at the system and the cost-benefit analysis of having these dollar-a-year envoys." We'l see. The questions are directed to Dujarric after Smale has repeatedly refused to answer detailed questions from Inner City Press, for example on September 12 here and September 26 here. Isn't it a conflict of interest for a Department and person openly focused on there being only positive portrayals of the UN and Guterres have the unfettered right to restrict the critical independent Press and reward no-shows and sycophants? And as Inner City Press asks the UN about this and such other UN failures as in Cameroon and uploads the answers into YouTube and Google News, suddenly it is downgraded without notice in Google News to a "blog," no longer in Google News Alerts, re-Tweeted photo here, and demonetized in YouTube. This is censorship, a newer kind that Paul Biya's ham-handed moves on the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation SCBC - our question is to prove who is behind it. There is a history, for example here, with the UN. Watch this site.

Smale in the Town Hall meeting claimed her office and e-mail doors are open, and twice focused on Guterres' trip to the Central African Republic later this month as a “key opportunity to show what we can do, editorially, with forward planning with people on the ground portraying, telling the story of the peacekeepers and the people they are helping.”  Some have a different experience, of sexual and other abuse. Only this week, Inner City Press asked the UN about a young woman allegedly drugged and raped by UN Peacekeeper(s) in Bambari in CAR. At what point does hiring consultants to try to emphasize only the positive become a cover up, even a la Harvey Weinstein? And what of the UN's cover up of the abuses in Cameroon? We'll have more on this.
Meanwhile as Canada joins The Netherlands at the UN in Geneva in calling for an investigation of possible war crimes in Yemen including the Saudi-led coalition's killing of civilians, Canada has continued a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference at the UN on September 21, Inner City Press went early, intending to ask him to explain this incongruity or seeming hypocrisy. Trudeau's spokesman announced that the questioners had been “pre-determined,” but did not explain how. So in a lull after what the spokesman called the last question - would Trudeau be a mediator on Venezuela - Inner City Press asked about Canadian arms sales to Saudi while calling for a probe. At first Trudeau said he was happy to answer the question. Then he said no, he would not reward “bad behavior,” and instead reached out for question in French about day care. Now Inner City Press has seen that Google / You Tube have ruled that the video of this question and answer is "not suitable for most advertisers," and those not monetizable. Photo here. Why not? (Inner City Press has spoken more recently on October 12 on Canadian TV, about its national's sell-out of Rohingya in Myanmar, here.) And why, suddenly amid its questions about hypocrisy and Yemen and Cameroon and UN corruption, has Inner City Press been downgraded in Google News? We'll have more on this. (Inner City Press notes that pre-determining questioners is bad behavior. Apparently the CBC journalist who was given the first question agreed to it; the organization only the day before sent an Egyptian state media correspondent as the lone “pooler” in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' meeting with General Sisi.) Earlier on September 21 when UK minister Alistair Burt came in front of the UN Security Council to speak about accountability for Daesh in Iraq, Inner City Press deferred to a timely question about the referendum in Kurdistan. Then during  lull - identical to that in which it put its question to Trudeau - Inner City Press asked Burt about his quote, about accountability for the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition with UK bombs, that "Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations.” Inner City Press asked how he can say this, given that the Saudis have investigated less than five percent of the killings. Video here. Burt's answer focused on the peace process - what peace process? At least Burt answered, and did not like Trudeau try to call merely asking the question in a lull "bad behavior" - we'll have more on this.


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