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At UN, Meece in Denial on Congo, Ladsous Mutters on Syria to Selected Scribes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 -- The UN's current communications strategy is amateurish, partial and sometimes outright inaccurate.

Consider UN Peacekeeping. The head of the peacekeeping mission in the Congo, Roger Meece, gave a video briefing about the mutiny in Eastern Congo. Inner City Press asked about the role of Rwanda; Meece answered that there was good communication between the Rwandan and Congolese authorities.

Then it emerged, stated by Meece's mission's own head of office in Goma, that the UN knew and had in its care mutineers who said they were recruited and trained in Rwanda. Inner City Press wrote it, crediting BBC and the tweeter who'd made it aware, and then asked the UN about Meece's previous statement.

Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey said, things change. This, the San Francisco Bay View covered, with credit.

But when Meece appeared at the Security Council stakeout on June 12 and Inner City Press asked him about his previous statement in the video briefing, and the BBC story, Meece denied it all.

  He said he didn't have a transcript of his video briefing -- in fact, as noted, the UN's Department of Public Information entirely omitted from its "press release" about the briefing the Rwanda question, and a detailed question about a moribund project, Meece's Mills, that MONUSCO whistleblowers have said the the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services should investigate.

On June 12 Meece said he had no updated on the project. But most striking was his statement that the UN has still never said there was a Rwandan role in the mutiny. This is not just based on what Meece called a "leaked" report -- there were and are direct quotes from "Hiroute Guebre-Selassie, bureau chief of the UN mission in the DR Congo (Monusco)."

Does Meece not know Ms. Guebre-Selassie? What kind of UN communications are these?

Footnote: Meanwhile, the head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous openly refuses to answer Inner City Press questions about his Department's introduction of cholera into Haiti and he and Ban Ki-moon accepting peacekeeping advice from alleged war criminal Sri Lanka general Shavendra Silva.

Ladsous told Inner City Press, "Well, Mister, I will start answering your questions when you stop insulting me and making malicious and insulting insinuations." The video, at Minute 28:10, is online at here, and Ladsous has since repeated the same.

   But on June 12 the UN's DPKO put this out:

Subject: USG Ladsous on Syria today (as told to Reuters Louis Charbonneaux and AFP Tim Wichter)
From: Andre-Michel Essoungou [at]
Date: Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Q (Louis Charbonneaux, Reuters): On Syria, what is the latest now...

USG Ladsous: On Syria, I think there is massive increase of the level of violence. So massive indeed that, in a way, its implicate some change of nature…

Q (Louis Charbonneaux, Reuters): Is it civil war now?

USG Ladsous: Yes I think one can say that. And clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territories and several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas. So now we have confirmed reports not only of the use of tanks and artillery but also attack helicopters and this is really becoming (inaudible). Because the opposition also resists and they are incidents of large scale… many incidents everyday.

  For such a staged "interview," the "inaudible" could probably have been filled in, perhaps by Charbonneaux / Charbonneau. Since the second scribe is not in the transcript, it's not clear in what capacity he was there, nor where the there was. Is this how Ladsous intends to "communicate" going forward? What kind of UN communications are these? Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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