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At Iran Deal Pitch at Reuters, Sir Harry Cites Skiing, Calls On His Own Censor

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 11 -- The Iran Deal UN Security Council resolution was adopted by the UNSC 15-0 on July 20.

 On August 10 when the Security Council held closed door meeting on the crackdown in Burundi that resulted in very little, the pitch to ambassadors as they went in was not about Burundi but rather to attend a Reuters event with US Secretary of State John Kerry about the Iran Deal on August 11, "moderated by Thomson Reuters Editor-at-Large Sir Harold Evans."

  One might have surmised Sir Harry would, after himself lobbed questions to Kerry, give at least one question to another in-house Reuters scribe. But he dressed it up, peering out into the audience and demanding that questioners identify themselves.

  Even then, at least two of the four questions Sir Harry gave were to Reuters; one, from the censor described below who has tried to get other media thrown out of the UN then to ban his "for the record" complain to the UN from Google's Search, who also followed up as Sir Harry demanded he identify himself, and then a second. The last was by the Daily Beast.

  After that, Sir Harry closed it out under a banner "The Moment of Truth" by saying that Kerry had arrived on crutches due to a skiing accident. It was from biking, and a cane. Moment of truth.

  Kerry doggedly made his case, at one point citing the ongoing trade agreement negotiations. The type of censorship engaged in by Reuters, misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, would be globalized by the Trans Pacific Partnership.

  Again from the UN we note Reuters as an outright censor, not only seeking to get the investigative Press thrown out, but that making a false claim to Google that its "for the record" complaint to the UN was somehow copyrighted, here.  But Reuters' Sir Harry rides on.  From the transcript:

MR EVANS:  Another question?

QUESTION:  A quick follow-up:  Hi, how will UN monitoring be carried out --

MR EVANS:  Wait a minute.  Who’s speaking?

QUESTION:  -- with the UN panel of experts being removed?

MR EVANS:  Hey, wait a minute, you can’t speak until you’ve identified yourself.  Where are you?

QUESTION:  It’s the same, just a follow-up --

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, the UN – they have to build the structure to do that.

MR EVANS:  It’s got to be brief.

QUESTION:  Will there be a structure to follow --

SECRETARY KERRY:  They have to.  I mean, that’s a requirement.  They’re supposed to.


SECRETARY KERRY:  They’ve got to monitor it adequately.  But frankly, we’re not dependent on the UN to do that and I think Israel and others are much happier that we’re not.  We will depend on our own intel community, on our own military, on our own information; we’ll work with Israel, we’ll work with others.  I can assure you we’ll have the best intelligence in the world regarding this, and – but the UN is also required to do its own efforts.

MR EVANS:  Yes, sir.  You, sir.  Identify, please.

QUESTION:  Warren Strobel, diplomatic correspondent with Reuters.  Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here.

 (On August 10, not even all Security Council Ambassadors were invited, Periscope still here for now.)

 Back on July 24, Kerry came to New York to field questions at the Council on Foreign Relations on Park Avenues, then to meet the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Jewish Committee.

 At CFR, Kerry argued that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is less likely with the Deal than without it. He mentioned Yemen, bragging that he stopped Iran from landing a ship there (no mention was made of the new U.S. APCs in Aden). He said that Saudi Arabia spends $80 billion a year on defense, "fancy toys." Look at the impact of those toys on Yemen.

  Kerry said that France's Fabius is going to Iran, and that Germany will be going (actually, it's already gone). Moderator Richard Haass apologized for how few questions were taken from the floor, saying Kerry had other meetings to go to. But would he be protested there?

  Back on July 20 in the Security Council in speeches after the unanimous vote, Russia's Vitaly Churkin shouted out Kazakhstan as well as Austria and Switzerland, which hosted the talks. US Samantha Power vowed to pursue Iran on others issues. Iranian ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo was to speak inside the Security Council, then Israel's Ron Prosor outside at the stakeout.

  The day after the Iran Deal was announced in Vienna by the EU's Federica Mogherini then Iran's Javad Zarif, on July 15 a draft resolution was circulated in the UN Security Council, with paragraphs on sanctions snap-back and other provisions. Inner City Press put the draft, obtained from multiple sources, online here.

  As detailed below, the vote is set for July 20, 9 am in New York.

 On the US Sunday morning political talk shows, not only Republican Senator from Wyoming John Barrasso but also Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland said the Obama administration shouldn't take the deal to the UN until Congress considers it. Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas, speaking from London, said the same, citing Cardin and Steny Hoyer.

 On July 19, the US State Department in Washington said:

"Pursuant to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, today the State Department transmitted to Congress the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its annexes, and related materials. These documents include the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community's Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report, as required under the law. Therefore, Day One of the 60-day review period begins tomorrow, Monday, July 20."

  Then at 5 pm on July 16, Inner City Press reported that the UNSC vote on the draft would occur on Monday, July 20 at 9 am.

  Hours later, the UN confirmed this, and a US Mission spokesperson tweeted the timing. Reuters, typically, then published a story quoting an UNnamed "U.S. official" on the timing; the CBS former head of the UN Censorship Alliance echoed the timing targeting the P3 with nothing but photos. (The current head of the Censorship Alliance was invisible, checked out.)

  This is how the UN works, or doesn't. At the underlying UNSC experts' meeting there were only two journalists. But Western missions served up information later to non-present correspondents, who by quoting unnamed sources seemed knowledgeable. This is today's UN.

  On July 16, the Security Council's 15 members at the Expert level met about the draft. Inner City Press and one other journalist staked-out the meeting (Periscope video for now here), held in basement Conference Room 8 and afterward asked attendees what the next step would be.

  While several said "No comment" -- since it will presumably help them, including the US Legal Expert and a former French mission spokesman -- from others Inner City Press was told of a 9 am Monday July 20 vote on the resolution.

  It was said that France was pushing for a weekend vote, on Sunday, related to Foreign Minister Fabius desire to travel to Tehran with the vote already done. This was resisted - now, 9 am Monday, before a Security Council Arria formula meeting about Gaza, sponsored by Malaysia and Jordan. Watch this site.

  Here embeddd is the draft. Operative Paragraphs 11, 12 and 15 bear particular interest, with their purported automaticity. See also,

Iran Deal Draft UNSC Resolution as Uploaded by Inner City Press by Matthew Russell Lee

   On July 14 the US White House held a background press call, "embargoed until conclusion." This meant, no tweets. But on the call, after Reuters asked a softball about Obama's involvement, several Senior Administration Officials gushed about Obama's calls to Vienna, updates from Susan Rice, concern for Israel's security.

  It was said Obama would not only call Netanyahu but also of course the King of Saudi Arabia. (He did both, adding Russia's Putin as well.)

   Earlier on July 14, Ban Ki-moon chimed in nearly immediately to welcome the deal. This stood in contrast to his 60 hour silence after his own faux Yemen Deal failed amid airstrikes. Success has many wannabe parents; UNsuccessful many fewer.

 Obama from Washington at 7 am said he will veto any legislation slowing this down; The Elders chaired by Kofi Annan spoke quickly against any “ideological preconceptions [or] narrow political interests.”

  Journalists camped out under the Evita-like balcony of the Coburg Hotel for more than two weeks gushed about UN Security Council action "in days," as France's Fabius put it. Now we know why. Watch this site

  Previously as the Iran P5+1 talks continued on the eve of the then-deadline, who was bragging about having predicted their failure? Western wire service Reuters, crowing that "Other media now coming around to @reuters consistent reporting on how final Iran atomic deal unlikely."

 While false exclusives have proliferated at Reuters under Stephen J. Adler, there a second, separate trend at work here.

  On another UN sanctions regime, Somalia and Eritrea, even when former Reuters reporter turned sanctions monitor Dinesh Mahtani was forced to resign for having championed a new leader for the country he was supposed to monitor, Reuters entirely omitted his removal from its claimed exclusives on the sanctions report.

  Some of this goes beyond a desire, compensated by editor Adler, to claim exclusives even where not merited (including by adopted a policy of not crediting others' exclusives).  At the UN, Reuters has gone so far as to try to censor and remove from Google's Search as "copyrighted" copies of Reuters complaints against other media filed with the UN, click here for that.

 At what point does this become more (or less) that journalism? What about "other media now coming around to @reuters consistent" refusal to credit smaller media, attempts to get them kicked out, then censoring the Internet? We'll have more on this.

  Back on October 27, 2014 when the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed held a press conference at the UN, Inner City Press asked him for an update on what he had said about the effect of sanctions and banning of Iran from the SWIFT payments system which Inner City Press asked him about one year and three days earlier, 2013 here from Minute 12:29.

  On October 24, 2013, Shaheed had acknowledged that the banning of Iran from the SWIFT payments system had had an impact. On October 27, 2014, Shaheed said he believes Iran is still banned from SWIFT, but he had no update. Instead he said that humanitarian exemptions to sanctions are having successes. 2014 video here.

 But banning from SWIFT or "de-SWIFT-ing" is not a targeted sanction at all, and he did not mention any exemptions to it.

   Overall, Inner City Press asked Shaheed what impact he thought "the nuclear issue" and the P5 + 1 talks have on human rights in Iran.  Shaheed said he doesn't like linkage, but added that when there's focus on the nuclear issue, it takes away from the focus on human rights.  Now what?

Footnote: on October 27, 2014, the UN Correspondents Association which so often demands the first question be set-aside for it didn't even send anyone to Shaheed's press conference. One attendee said, it's defUNCA-ed, as in defunct, or de-UNCA-ed, like de-SWIFT-ed. The new Free UN Coalition for Access, present, did not try to brand the press conference, because there was no need. Watch this site.


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