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On North Korea US Seizes Wise Honest Ship For Sanctions On Which UN Has Been UNtransparent

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter  Denial

UN GATE / SDNY, May 18 – Earlier this month a North Korean ship was seized by the United States, with only a fleeing reference to the United Nations, whose DPRK Sanctions Committee has been an untransparent backwater, see below. On a May 9 U.S. Department of Justice press call at 1 p.m., Inner City Press asked Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, if he or the Department expects North Korea or its allies including China to context the seizure in the UN and its Security Council's DPRK Sanctions 1718 Commitee (and if the UN had helped, or hurt). Berman said "no comment" (he previously answered Inner City Press' question about Rochester Drug Co-op, here).

On May 18 it is reported that North Korea's Ambassador to the UN Kim Song has written for action to none other than UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who traveled to China without daring to mention to Uighurs to Xi, and who to cover up his links to UN briber CEFC China Energy has had Inner City Press roughed up and banned, now 318 days. The letter says in part: "Recently, the US committed an unlawful and outrageous act of taking the DPRK's cargo ship to Samoa, linking the ship to the violation of the American domestic law, and this act of dispossession has clearly indicated that the United States is indeed a gangster country that does not care at all about international laws." But what about the SDNY, since Guterres is sure to do nothing?

On May 14, the North Korean Mission to the UN sent Inner City Press this: "A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea made the following statement on Tuesday: The United States committed an unlawful and outrageous act of dispossessing our cargo ship by forcibly taking it to Samoa (U.S.), linking the ship to the "sanctions resolutions" of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and its domestic "sanctions acts", all being imposed against the DPRK. The UNSC "sanctions resolutions" on the DPRK, which the U.S. has employed as one of the grounds for its dispossession of our cargo ship, have flagrantly infringed upon the sovereignty of our state, and therefore, we have categorically rejected and condemned the whole of them all along." But no reference to the SDNY.... The seized ship is on the way to American Samoa from Indonesia and as to the SDNY, North Korea has 60 days to try to contest it. After that it will be sold or put to U.S. government use....
From May 9, prior to any DOJ press call: ", John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and John Brown, Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint against M/V Wise Honest (the “Wise Honest”), a 17,061-ton, single-hull bulk carrier ship registered in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”).  The Wise Honest, one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers, was used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery to the DPRK.  Payments for maintenance, equipment, and improvements of the Wise Honest were made in U.S. dollars through unwitting U.S. banks.  This conduct violates longstanding U.S. law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.                  U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Today’s civil action is the first-ever seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.  Our Office uncovered North Korea’s scheme to export tons of high-grade coal to foreign buyers by concealing the origin of their ship, the Wise Honest.  This scheme not only allowed North Korea to evade sanctions, but the Wise Honest was also used to import heavy machinery to North Korea, helping expand North Korea’s capabilities and continuing the cycle of sanctions evasion.  With this seizure, we have significantly disrupted that cycle.  We are willing and able to deploy the full array of law enforcement tools to detect, deter, and prosecute North Korea’s deceptive attempts to evade sanctions.” 
The Dutch Mission to the UN, ending the year and its UN Security Council tenure withholding all documents requested by Inner City Press about Cameroon and the Mission's role in the UN banning the Press, is going out in a blaze of self congratulations. While they voted the EU line, they were less than transparent in chairing the North Korea / DPRK sanctions committee and embraced Antonio Guterres' total ban on Inner City Press, which asked them about sanctions chicanery and inaction on Cameroon. Here's hoping those replacing them do better - and that perhaps now, off the Council, one or more in The Hague can reverse the mission's embrace of UN censorship for corruption and play a more opening role. It is now clear that when Guterres refused Inner City Press questions about China Energy Fund Committee and had it roughed up and banned, he had a conflict of interest. The Gulbenkian Foundation for which he was a paid board member was trying to sell its Partex Oil and Gas to CEFC. This must all be reversed and acted upon in 2019. Back on December 20 the Dutch mission tweeted that adopting in the UN General Assembly of its OPCW resolution has been unanimous. Inner City Press, even still banned by Antonio Guterres from entering the UN for the 169th day, replied that there are been 12 abstentions. It expected in reply an argument that zero "No" votes meant unanimous, or some other justification or excuse. But there was no reply. Without any explanation or disclosure, the Dutch Mission to the UN deleted its tweet and put up a substitute: "Today, the #UNGA adopted with an overwhelming majority the resolution acknowledging the cooperation between the @UN and the @OPCW. #KingdomNL is proud to have submitted this resolution as host nation of the OPCW." This is not a best practice; it is UNtransparent like the withholding of all records about the Netherlands Mission's role in and response to the banning of Inner City Press, and all records about Cameroon. As the Cameroon government of 36 year President Paul Biya prepared for today's re-coronation to a seventh term by slaughtering civilians in the Anglophone regions as well as in the North, it  re-engaged Washington lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, on a retainer of $100,000 per quarter plus expenses, documents show. The UN belatedly acknowledged to Inner City Press, which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had roughed up on July 3 right after it spoke to Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, that Guterres met with a Cameroon delegation on July 11. Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq has three times refused to answer Inner City Press e-mailed question whether Guterres was aware his meeting was stage managed by lobbyists at Patton Boggs, and what was discussed. While suspended but before the UN outrageously purported to impose a lifetime ban on entry, Inner City Press asked the same and more to the Dutch Mission to the UN, in writing and in person. (And now has its "WOB" appeal set for a hearing, albeit by Skype, below, as now Dutch Ambassador Karel von Oosterom and his Spokesman refuse to answer any Inner City Press questions, unlike other UNSC Ambassador, November 19 video here.)
After Guterres banned Inner City Press from entry from July 3 onward, in order to report on the UN Inner City Press had to seek answers other than at the UN Noon Briefing and UN Security Council stakeout position, from which Guterres and Smale also banned it. Inner City Press asks question in front of the UN Delegates Entrance, and has gotten about put online responses from, among others, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid, Burundi's Ambassador, and on August 20, for example, a diplomat on the North Korea sanctions committee -- whose Dutch chair Karel van Oosterom refused to comment.

 This stakeout is where Inner City Press asks questions only because Guterres and Smale have banned it since July 3. But in her August 17 letter, Smale justifies the ban imposed July 3 with this post-July 3 interviews, and says that UNnamed member states - and somehow correspondents - have complained.

 Is that Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom? Inner City Press submitted a FOIA or WOB request - and now an appealon which there will be a Skype hearing, including based on October 7 election irregularities and the denial's evasion on Dutch role in UN censorship which now includes a secret barred list which violations applicable law, see below.  First, the request: "This is request under the WOB / Dutch Freedom of Information act for the following records as that term is defined in WOB, including but not limited to all electronic records, emails, text/SMS message and communications in any form, involving the Netherlands Mission to the UN in New York since August 15, 2017 regarding Cameroon and/or Southern Cameroons and all meeting including Amb van Oosterom's July 11 meeting with Cameroonian ministers, all responses to communications received about Cameroon including but not limited to Inner City Press' communications of

July 14, 2018 to "Eybergen, Bas van"
Frits.Kemperman [at],, Oosterom and Kaag

July 25, 2018 to the same recipients;
and August 12, 2018 to the same recipients;
and multiple verbal questions to your PR and DPR since July 3.
  To explain the last part of this request, the head of UN Dep't of Public Info Alison Smale in issuing a lifetime ban to my on August 17 wrote "“We would also note your conduct at the entrances of the United Nations premises and nearby, including the use of profanities and derogatory assertions and language toward individuals accessing the United Nations, in close proximity to them. Video / live broadcasts of this are frequently published on the Inner City Press' website and other media platforms. This conduct gives rise to potential safety concerns for Member State diplomats...The conduct described above has generated multiple complaints to the United Nations from Member States."

  Given Ambassador van Oosterom and his Deputy PR's flat refusal to answer or even acknowledge the Cameroon questions I asked them at the Delegates Entrance stakeout, most recently Amb van Oosterom on August 20 about North Korea (on which other delegations answered, despite PR van Oosterom being the chair), this is a request for all record that reflect or are related to any communications by the Dutch Mission to the UN about questions or comments received at the stakeout(s).


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