UN Guterres Doles To Nigeria Yet Another UN Environment Job Beyond PGA Rosewood Replacement

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UN Guterres Doles To Nigeria Yet Another UN Environment Job Beyond PGA Rosewood Replacement

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here, Vine here

UN GATE, Oct 30 -- Even while banning the Press from covering the UN General Assembly over which he presides, the President of the General Assembly has chosen a UN spokesperson and a chief of staff from UN Security Council candidate (and funder?) Norway. Now even with Nigeria belatedly identified as not paying its UN dues despite its Cameroon rosewood tree export cover up minister Amina J. Mohammed as Deputy Secretary General, Premium Times brags: "Nigeria: Another Nigerian Given Top UN Appointment. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has appointed another Nigerian to a top position in the UN body.  Mr Guterres on Tuesday announced the appointment of Damilola Ogunbiyi as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy.  Another Nigerian, Amina Mohammed, currently serves as the Deputy secretary-General of the UN." Yeah, *another.* Some same if Guterres' lack of credibility results in even more budget shortfalls, the DSG position, which did not always exist, might be cut. So is this is a replacement Nigerian post? 

  Previously leaked to Inner City Press by several disgusted UN correspondents: "a reception to meet the President-elect of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, taking place on Wednesday, September 18th at 5:30 pm in the UNCA room (3rd floor, Secretariat building, room S-310).  The President-elect will be accompanied by his new spokesperson Ms. Reem Abaza, from the Department of Global Communications, News and Media Division, UN News (Arabic Unit) and Chef de Cabinet Ms. Mary Skaare, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN.  Light refreshments will be served.  The event is open to all UN correspondents.  Please join us to toast the new PGA and his team!  Valeria Robecco President, United Nations Correspondents Association." This Robecco was just on a smiling junket in China, on which Inner City Press - banned from even entering the UN - will have more, much more.

  After its  reporting on the United Nations as a resident correspondent for a decade, exposing war crimes and UN scandals from Cameroon to Sri Lanka to Yemen, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his Nigerian Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed had Inner City Press roughly ousted by his UN Security and banned from the UN by them since 3 July 2018.

  On 24 August 2019 Inner City Press applied to  Guterres, Mohammed and their new Communications and media accreditation chief Melissa Fleming to be admitted like hundreds of others to cover the upcoming UN General Assembly. It was summarily denied, even as dozens from state media of Xi's China, Biya's Cameroon and Buhari's (and Mohammed's) Nigeria are being given passes, see below.

  On September 3, just before it emerged that China is funding Nigeria's presidency of the 74th UN General Assembly, Inner City Press wrote to this Presidency, citing UN principles, without any response at all four days later: "September 3, 2019  Via e-mail including to Nigeria's Mission to the UN  Tijjani Muhammed-Bande President of the 74th UN General Assembly   Dear President of the 74th UN General Assembly Tijani Muhammed-Bande:    Hello.  As a journalist who has covered the UN since 2005, including failures and successes of the UN in Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Nepal, Haiti and elsewhere, I write to request that you restore of all my rights as an accredited journalist at the UN, most pressing to enter to cover this month's High Level week of the 74th UNGA of which you are responsible, and also my reinstatement as a ‘resident’ UN journalist with full access rights to UN premises, consistent with the UN Media Guidelines1, as well as the return of my UN workspace.    I write today because, after more a year of censorship, exclusion and even physical violence from the Secretariat, on Friday 30 August 2019  I was informed that my August 24 request to be accredited to cover the 74th UN General Assembly was declined. The only reason given was that my accreditation was "withdrawn," without any hearing or chance to appeal, on 17 August 2018:    "From: malu <malu@un.org> Date: Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 4:23 PM Subject: U.N. eAccreditation request for Matthew Lee has been declined To: Inner City Press  Greetings Matthew Lee from Inner City Press,  Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M5413398, has been declined for the following reason: Media accreditation was withdrawn on 17 August 2018."        This is not due process - it is censorship. I believe that those responsible for this decision should have recused and should now recusal themselves due to conflicts of interest, including regarding CEFC which was shown to have attempted to bribe your predecessor(s). So I am writing to you - at a minimum, you should ensure that I can enter the UN to cover the GA and its committees. For the record:  UN Security twice roughed me up on June 22 and July 3, 2018.   Then after Inner City Press filed a New York Police Department complaint against the UN and its Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, Inner City Press as banned from entering the UN in retaliation. OIOS has not responded to my filing; not has USG of DSS Drennan. I ask that you as PGA inquire into how the UN has no mechanism to deal with allegations of Security misconduct and physical abuse, in this case of a journalist. See video in https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/matthew-lee-un-attacks-reporter-journalist-inner-city-press-a8445081.html   After a UN "review" that did not include any opportunity to be heard for Inner City Press, Guterres' Under Secretary General Alison Smale on 17 August 2018 issued a letter"withdrawing" Inner City Press' UN media accreditation. Smale was asked how Inner City Press could appeal, including by UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye, but did not answer that.  Facing the prospect of being unable to enter the UN to cover your General Assembly "high level" week, Inner City Press submitted an application for accreditation. But there was no action on it - in fact, it has emerged that Inner City Press had been put on a non-public "barred" list such that even if invited by a member state or UN agency, it could not enter the building.     Inner City Press has written to Smale's successor Melissa Fleming, who has done nothing (except inappropriately tweet out personal identifying information of refugees). You should either inform USG Fleming to immediately ensure Inner City Press' access to the 74th GA or ensure it yourself.  Patrick Ho of CEFC was convicted on 5 December 2018. Inner City Press again exclusively reported that Guterres had failed to include his paid position on the board of the Gulbenkian Foundation in his Public Financial Disclosure covering 2016 - and that Gulbenkian in 2018 was trying to sell its Partex Oil and Gas affiliate to CEFC as Guterres refused to audit CEFC and had Inner City Press which asked roughed up and banned.  Guterres' UN has a "one strike and your out" policy - even if there is no strike. The alleged violations were filming in place Smale's own MALU staff told Inner City Press it could film with out an escort, and recording her deputy in a known media stakeout position.    So I am asking you to ensure Inner City Press and I can enter the UN to cover the 74th GA, which you (and not the individuals above with conflicts of interest) are in charge of."

  Watch this site.  On August 28 Inner City Press received from Guterres' Security chief Gilles Michaud an ill-informed response passing the buck to the Department now run by Fleming, who has not responded to four separate letters to her after she defended and covered up for the urging of "harder repression" by Paul Biya in Cameroon. Michaud sent this to Inner City Press:

"From: Gilles Michaud <gilles.michaud@un.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 4:49 PM
Subject: RE: DSS treatment of Mr. Matthew Lee To: Inner City Press
Cc: Hua Jiang <jiang1@un.org>, Jay Pozenel <pozenel@un.org>  [also fleming@unhcr.org]

 Thank you for your message. I have taken the liberty of including counterparts from the Department of Global Communications and Office of Legal Affairs in my response.    

On 10 July 2018 UNDSS escorted Mr. Matthew Lee from the UNHQ complex after he attempted to gain unauthorized access to a locked area and subsequently refused to comply with repeated requests from UN Security to leave the premises, in breach of UN Media Guidelines and the UN Administrative Instruction on the authority of UN Security Officers in place at that time.     Following that incident – and on the basis of a review of a number of previous breaches of the Guidelines and Administrative Issuance – DPI/DGC considered Mr. Lee’s conduct to be inconsistent with the Guidelines for accredited UN correspondents and his accreditation was subsequently withdrawn.    

This decision stands and the DSS role is now limited to ensuring that unaccredited individuals do not enter the premises.    

I hope this clarifies.     Gilles Michaud  USG Safety and Security  United Nations        Gilles Michaud  USG Safety and Security  United Nations  Tel: 1-917-367-4652"

  Inner City Press sent a reply to Michaud and others including  SGCentral <sgcentral@un.org>, Amina Mohammed <amina.mohammed@un.org>, aminaj.mohammed@un.org, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti <marialuiza.viotti@un.org>, David Kaye <dkaye@law.uci.edu> and others:

"Dear Mr. Michaud -    Thank you for you response, which follows the message I sent you this morning intending to ensure that I am able to enter and cover the upcoming UNGA High Level week like hundreds or thousands of other correspondents.      This should take place, and here with all due respect is why:     While you say "I hope this clarifies," frankly what it clarifies is the lawless cover-up of UN censorship which has occurred for the past 421 days.     Essentially you state, and apparently believe, that DSS has only been enforcing USG Smale's decision to remove my 10 year media accreditation without a single hearing or right to appeal.     Be aware that DPI, now DGC, has for its part attempted to tell me that it is DSS's decision.     But you should most certainly be aware that in fact DSS officials, including  not limited to Matthew Sullivan and "Tiny," has said on camera that I am on DSS' "barred" list, and have blocked me from entering the UN with tickets in my name to event I was invited to, not as a journalist. I will be happy to provide with the photos of the tickets, including to a human rights event and also to a film to which I was invited by UNODC.    

So contrary to your clarification, DSS has not been ensuring that a person - me - not accredited by DPI/DGC as a journalist not enter the UN as a journalist, but that a person be entirely barred from any entry of the UN, even as a tourist...

You say that on July 10, 2018 I "attempted to gain access to a locked area." This is false. First, it was July 3, 2018.    

Second, the "locked area" was the Vienna Cafe outside Conference Room Five where the Fifth (Budget) Committee was meeting. I have covered such meetings for a decade without incident; when Lt Dobbins and his colleague grabbed me, I has just conducted an interview with Cameroon PR Tommo Monthe.    

They laid hands on my before I had any opportunity to leave - grabbing my laptop where I was typing up my interview. The Vienna Cafe area was not locked, and MALU guidelines say even non resident correspondents can stay until meeting are over, and thirty minutes after. So this is false.     In my email to you this morning I offered to answer any questions you had, since I was never given any opportunity to be heard after in June and July 2018 DSS was directed to throw me out of the UN even when I was authorized to be there - a speech by the SG in the GA lobby at 7 pm in June, the Budget Committee meeting in July.     I am still willing to show you the documentation of any and all of this. But if DSS has no block on me, and DPI now DGC never gave me a hearing and claims to respect freedom of the press, my August 24 application for accreditation like 100s of other correspondent who don't even write much about the UN should be granted immediately, now four days after I applied.  Given the timing, I ask for confirmation of my ability to enter, forthwith. Please confirm receipt of this message, and the above.   Thank you for your time,  Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press Past (and future?) Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017."

 Then after further messages with the UN which are subject to publication, past 4 pm on Friday, August 30 the UN issued a denial of accreditation with no reasoning other than that accreditation had previously been revoked:

"From: malu at un dot org
Date: Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 4:23 PM
Subject: U.N. eAccreditation request for Matthew Lee Ref # M5413398 has been declined
To: Inner City Press:

Greetings Matthew Lee from Inner City Press,  Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M5413398, has been declined for the following reason: Media accreditation was withdrawn on 17 August 2018."

  This is Kafka-esque, and corrupt. We will have more, much more, on this.


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