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After DR Congo Clash Kills 7 UN Peacekeepers Lacroix Silent on Which FARDC Units Inner City Press is Banned

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter The Hill

UNITED NATIONS GATE, November 16 – In the DR Congo where the UN uses a "Force Intervention Brigade" to neutralize groups, eight peacekeepers have been killed: rest in peace. But when UN Peacekeeping chief Jean Pierre Lacroix came to the UN Press Briefing Room that Antonio Guterres has banned Inner City Press from for 136 days, he did not specify when their offensive action was decided on, nor on which Congolese Army units they were working with. Amid softball questions, the excuses given didn't add up or raise more questions: the UN peacekeepers don't know how to fight in the jungle. They don't speak the language. They rotate out too quickly and re-training has to start again. How can the UN be this ineffective after so many years and billions of dollars spent in DRC? Lacroix let drop that there are captured ADF combatants and he'll get information from them. Does his and Guterres' UN know or care if torture is used? No one asked. Guterres' UN is corrupt.  In Mali's Gao a compound of the UN Mine Action Service was the target of an attack claimed online by Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) as against forces from the UK, incoming UN Security Council member Germany and UNSC candidate Canada. Inner City Press, still banned from the UN for the 132nd day by UNSG Antonio Guterres, asked in writing:  After the noon briefing it was banned from, Guterres' deputy spokesman sent the following, seemingly clunkily translated from French: "On question Nov. 13-3, we have the following to say: The UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) report that a suspected car bomb detonated at a mine action implementing partner's compound in Gao in Gao region yesterday evening. Two civilians were killed as well as nine UNMAS demining partner personnel and several civilians were wounded in the attack.
The Mission dispatched support on the ground, including attack helicopters, to assist Malian security forces. The wounded are being treated at MINUSMA's Level II hospital." So will there be a UNSC statement? Guterres, after a junket in Lisbon and speeches in Paris in DC for an award by a deceased investor. When does the UN's work get done? Back in last October two UN peacekeepers from Burkina Faso were killed and four from Togo injured in two attacks, the UN Mission MINUSMA first said. Now this from the UN Security Council, which even still banned by UNSG Antonio Guterres for the 115th day we publish in full: "The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks perpetrated on 27 October 2018 against the camp of MINUSMA in Ber (Timbuktu region) and against a convoy of MINUSMA near the town of Konna (Mopti region), which resulted in two peacekeepers from Burkina Faso killed and several peacekeepers from Burkina Faso and Togo injured.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government of Burkina Faso and to MINUSMA. They further expressed solidarity to the Government of Togo. They wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured. They paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. They stressed that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers constitutes a basis for sanctions designations pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.  They underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice. They stressed that those responsible for these killings should be held accountable, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, MINUSMA and the other security presences in Mali and in the Sahel region, as mentioned in resolution 2423 (2018).

The members of the Security Council expressed their concern about the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region. They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali (“the Agreement”) without further delay. They noted that the full implementation of the Agreement and the intensification of efforts to overcome asymmetric threats can contribute to improving the security situation across Mali. They underlined that the efforts of the Force Conjointe of the G5 Sahel to counter the activities of terrorist groups and other organized criminal groups will contribute to create a more secure environment in the Sahel region.

The members of the Security Council further stressed the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacities to fulfil its mandate and promote the safety and security of the United Nations peacekeepers, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2423 (2018).

The members of the Security Council stressed that these heinous acts will not undermine their determination to continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Mali." In a press release only in French, auto-translated, the UN Mission said, "This morning at dawn, the MINUSMA peacekeepers based in Ber in northern Mali in the Timbuktu region, repelled a complex attack launched simultaneously by several pickups armed with rocket launchers and machine guns and others charged with explosives, and pursued the attackers. A few hours later, in Konna in the Mopti region, MINUSMA peacekeepers were also attacked by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). According to an initial assessment, two peacekeepers were killed and several others wounded. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSMA, Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif expressed his indignation against this attack by the enemies of peace. "I strongly condemn this brutal attack which will not undermine our determination to support Mali in its march towards peace. " he added. On behalf of MINUSMA, Mr. Annadif extends his condolences to the families and loved ones and to the Government of the killed soldiers and wishes a speedy and complete recovery to the wounded.
He recalls that attacks against peacekeepers can constitute war crimes under international law. "The perpetrators of these crimes must be prosecuted and paid for their actions," he added." RIP. Inner City Press asked, What is the nationality of the fallen peacekeepers? Hours later, from the UN spokesman who did not answer a single one of Inner City Press' twelve written questions on October 25 and 26, this: "Preliminary reports indicate that the attack against the camp in Ber resulted in two peacekeepers from Burkina Faso killed and eleven others injured, and that four peacekeepers from Togo were injured in the attack in Konna." The day after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' guard first physically ousted Inner City Press which was covering Guterres' June 22 Eid speech and his failures in Cameroon, corruption and reform, Guterres appeared in Washington for a Portuguese luncheon and to meet Mike Pompeo, to whom he bragged about his trip to Mali. On August 12 in the Mali presidential run-off election polling stations were torched and (reported here by Studio Tamani, funded by Fondation Hirondelle), electoral workers reported killed, in
Fituga, administrative region of / cercle de Niafunké and in Diaptodji, cercle de Douentza. Even before the opposition leader called on Malians to "rise up," see below, On August 12 Inner City Press: When and how would Guterres, after in a belatedly disclosed July 11 meeting having as now exclusively exposed by Inner City Press promised to help Cameroon crack down on negative Press, "speak out" on Mali?  On August 20 - after Guterres through his ex-NYT Global Communicator Alison Smale issued a lifetime ban against Inner City Press which wouldn't stand up even in IBK's Mali, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert issued this: "The United States commends the people of Mali for their participation in the presidential election on July 29 and the runoff on August 12. The elections were a demonstration of their commitment to democratic values and we congratulate President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on his reelection.  We condemn the violence and threats that prevented some Malians from voting.

The United States and Mali maintain a lasting friendship and share the goals of peace and prosperity in Mali.  We look forward to continuing to work together to overcome the serious challenges Mali faces from terrorism, to promote development, and to fully and rapidly implement the Algiers Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali." Guterres' UN cannot be believed. And clearly is not listened to: in Bamako, opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse has said he will reject the results and called on Malians to "rise up." At his party's HQ he said, "The fraud is proven, this is why there are results we will not accept. I call on all Malians to rise up... We will not accept the dictatorship of fraud." But Guterres apparently will, as he does elsewhere like in Cameroon. On August 15, Guterres spokesman - censor Dujarric is back - issued this: "
The representatives of the International Community based in Bamako reaffirm their support for Mali and commitment to the Malian authorities and people for a calm and respectful post-election process.We remind the two candidates of their commitments to peaceful campaigns before and after the electoral process.  We strongly encourage the candidates and their supporters to use legal and constitutional channels to settle disputes. The International Community stands with Malians across the political spectrum who are working together to advance democracy, build prosperity, and strengthen governance and security in their great country. We will continue to work with the elected government of Mali for a lasting peace and true security throughout the country.." Back on June 23, the US State Department put this out: "The Secretary and the Secretary-General discussed the success of the Singapore Summit, efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Libya, peace in the Middle East, and the Secretary-General’s recent trip to Mali." On Mali, just as when Guterres was bragging about it at an Eid event his security physically evicted the Press from, it is unlike Guterres raised in DC since he didn't in Mali the UN child rape there, and now the finding of mass graves attributable to the Malian military the UN supports. Now after Guterres' Security more violently ousted Inner City Press from covering the UN Budget on July 3 and Guterres has banned it since, on July 27 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesmen in writing, "In Mali, on 20 July, the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) announced the existence of a parallel electoral register that would include nearly 1.2 million fictitious voters, out of 8 million registered voters. What is the UN's comment, including given its MINUSMA mission there?" Despite Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale's claim that Inner City Press' questions, albeit only by e-mail, are being answered, this one wasn't answered except to say "ASK MINUSMA." Symbolic of the UN's decay and cult of personality under Guterres, it was Monday, July 30 at 6 am New York time, long after the polls closed in an an election described as grim that featured rocket attacks in the north that the MINUSMA that vacationing Dujarric told Inner City Press to contact put out a two day old statement by Guterres about "on the eve of these polls, which are important for peace and reconciliation in Mali, the Secretary-General is encouraged by the overall peaceful climate." After the voting, on Monday July 30 still banned from the UN by Guterres Inner City Press outside the UN Delegates Entrance asked at least five Security Council delegations if there will be a Council statement on this Mali election. Kazakhstan's Permanent Representative Kairat Umarov, who is aware of Inner City Press' exclusion, politely asked, Today? I don't know so. This was repeated by Political Coordinator and charge d'affaires Stephen Hickey of the UK, president of the Security Council in August. The US representative, perhaps not authorized, did not say anything. We'll have more on this. For the July 30 UN noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from, for the 27th day in a row, Inner City Press submitted questions in writing including "July 30-3: On the elections in Mali, given the SG's statement in advance, what and from where is his comment on the rocket fire and irregularities?" After the briefing Inner City Press was banned from, and in which no one present asked about Mali, Haq sent this: "our peacekeeping colleagues say that yesterday’s presidential election in Mali was conducted in most of the country in a peaceful manner and it is hoped that the vote tally will be held in a transparent manner leading to results acceptable by all.

However, a number of violent incidents and other difficulties prevented voting from taking place in 644 of 4,632 polling stations in the north and centre of the country, according to the Government.

In addition, our peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA, reports that yesterday afternoon, unidentified armed men launched 10 mortar shells against the MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok, Kidal Region. No casualties or damage was reported. A MINUSMA Quick Reaction Force and other security personnel already patrolling outside the city were dispatched to the area." This is Guterres' UN, which throws critical media in the street and goes on vacation: "The Secretary-General is closely following developments in Mali ahead of the presidential election scheduled to take place on 29 July 2018.
On the eve of these polls, which are important for peace and reconciliation in Mali, the Secretary-General is encouraged by the overall peaceful climate that has characterized the electoral campaign to date, despite continued security challenges in the north and center of the country.
The Secretary-General calls on all Malians to maintain the peaceful course, thereby ensuring that Sunday’s elections serve as an important celebration of democracy. The Secretary-General urges all political actors in Mali to commit to making this poll a peaceful, free and transparent process, and to resolve any possible dispute through the appropriate institutions in accordance with the law.
The Secretary-General stresses that peace and reconciliation for all Malian citizens must prevail, irrespective of the electoral outcome.
The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to supporting the electoral process in Mali.
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General,
New York, 28 July 2018."

    Lead Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, like Smale and Guterres himself, is on vacation, as the Press remains banned by them. This is today's rotten UN.
This while Guterres lets his own guards oust the press then has a spokesman who said you can only ask UN Security about it. It seems Guterres is a corrupt censor. Five UN Security officers, most with automatic weapons, pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN on June 22 as it was filming and preparing to write about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' claims about his visit to Mali, where he didn't even inquire into a recent case child rape by a UN Peacekeeper. With the event still ongoing, Inner City Press was approached by UN Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building.

 That is not the rule, nor the practice; in any event, the Guterres Eid al -Fitr event listed in the UN Department of Public Information was still ongoing, making it unquestionable that Inner City Press had a right to be in the UN and cover it.

   But even as Inner City Press dialed DPI's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, getting only voice mail, Dobbins made a call and UN “Emergency Response Unit” officers arrived, with barely concealed automatic weapons. One of them repeatedly pushed Inner City Press' reporter in the back, forcing him through the General Assembly lobby toward the exit. Periscope video here. Longer YouTube (40 min) here.

   UN Under Secretary General Catherine Pollard was told the ouster and did nothing, as was a Moroccan diplomat. The heavily armed UN Security officers refused to give their names when asked. Lieutenant Dobbins, with no name plate on his uniform, refused to spell his name. He said, I have my orders. From who - Guterres? His Deputy SG or chief of staff, both of whom were at the event? DSS chief Drennan? DPI chief Alison Smale?

    Inner City Press repeatedly asked to be able to get its laptop computer, which was upstairs - there was no way to have known it would be ousted during Guterres' event.

  But Dobbins and the others refused, as did the UN Security officers at the gate. Inner City Press remained there, with dwindling cell phone battery, raising the issue online to Smale, under whose watch Inner City Press has remained in the non-resident correspondent status it was reduced to for pursuing the Ng Lp Seng UN bribery case into the UN press briefing room where Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric ordered it out, then had it evicted. A DPI representative, whom Inner City Press asked to call Smale, was unable or unwilling to even let Inner City Press go in escorted to get its laptop.

   Just in the past week, when Inner City Press complained of Dujarric providing only to Al Jazeera the response of Antonio Guterres to the US leaving the UN Human Rights Council, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio claimed to MALU that the coverage was “too aggressive.” Journalism is not a crime? Next week, Antonio Guterres is set to give remarks, to which Inner City Press has requested the right to cover response, to the UN Correspondents Association, which not only has not acted on this censorship, but has fueled it.

  Inside the UN the Eid event continued, alongside a liquor fueled barbeque thrown by UN Security. This DSS sold tickets to non resident correspondents, and allowed in people who had nothing to do with the UN, including some seeming underage. When Inner City Press audibly raised the issue to UN Safety and Security Service chief Mick Brown, he did nothing.

   The Moroccan diplomat emerged and chided Inner City Press for even telling him of the ouster, claiming that “25% of what you write is about Morocco.” Pakistan's Permanent Representative, who hosted the Eid event, said she would look into it. Sweden's spokesperson asked whom to call in DPI and when Inner City Press said, Alison Smale, responded, Who is Alison Smale? Indeed.

  Smale has refused to respond in any way, in the eight months she has been Guterres' “Global Communications” chief, to a 5000 signature petition to restore Inner City Press to its unused office S-303 and to adopt content neutral media access rules going forward. That, and appropriate action on Lt. Dobbins and the others, must be among the next steps. Watch this site.


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