On North Korea Talks, Kim Talks Freeze, UN Stonewalls From Margins, Amid Mis-Reporting

Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

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

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron. 

MRL on Patreon

Home -

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


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro

Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On North Korea Talks, Kim Talks Freeze, UN Stonewalls From Margins, Amid Mis-Reporting

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Video II

UNITED NATIONS, April 20 -- The Trump - Kim talks, primed by Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, have had their location sweepstakes narrowed down, excluding the US. On April 17, "Pooler yelled out to Trump if any of those are in the US. He shook his head and said no." Could the UN's Geneva be in the running? Or is the UN running to try to remain relevant? The UN Security Council is on retreat in Sweden, accompanied by UN Secretary General and, Inner City Press first reported, UN Disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu. On the 38th floor the word was that her agenda is "OPCW" - that is, Douma. And North Korea? No other media was up on the 38th floor for this, other than Inner City Press. And no other media, as Inner City Press did, asked the UN on April 20 to name who else is at the retreat. Now Kim Jong Un announces he will freeze testing, having accomplished his goals. On CNN it was said this is a gambit to outlast Trump. But if the talks go badly, will things last even two more years? Inner City Press ran into Nakamitsu after she had a meeting preparing for the retreat with Guterres and his Political (some say, Cameroon) adviser Khassim Diagne. The UN Secretariat has yet to release a list of the officials it is bringing to the retreat, so this report is a scoop-lette. Sweden's Deputy Ambassador Carl Skau's joke the previous day about making the Council members sit silent and listen to music, perhaps Bach as Dag Hammarskjold famously did, came up. But what music? Inner City Press is covering this. At an April 18 press conference Inner City Press asked what seemed an obvious journalistic question: who's paying? Video here.

On the morning of April 18, Trump tweeted: "Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!" So at noon on April 18, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Pompeo's trip, which the UN spokesman said he had no proof actually occurred. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: it has, since your last briefing, emerged that current CIA head, nominee to State Department Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, travelled to Pyongyang and met directly with Kim Jong-un.  I'm wondering, I mean, you've had statements on other breakthroughs.  This… what do you think of this one?  And also, the President, Donald Trump, said that there [are] five locations being considered for the talks.  None are in the US.  Maybe you will or maybe you won't.  Would the UN be willing to offer, for example, its premises in Geneva as a location for the upcoming talks?  Pompeo first.

Spokesman:  The United Nations is ready to support this effort in whatever way we can.  I've seen the reports, and we've read with interest the different articles that say Mr. Pompeo was in Pyongyang.  I have no way of confirming it.  In general, the Secretary-General is very supportive of all of the diplomatic initiatives that are currently under way.

Inner City Press:  Are you saying that you doubt that he was there?  I mean, the President said he went there.

Spokesman:  No, I'm not saying I doubt it; I'm saying I have no… it's not for me to… I have no official comment.  I've seen the press reports." He said, "I have no way of confirming it." Before  Pompeo's April 12 confirmation hearing to replace Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State - would Tillerson ever have been sent to Pyongyang? - the White House on April 11 sent out portions of Pompeo's opening statement on North Korea., see below. Will Pompeo's Pyongyang trip raise his vote count for confirmation? Notably, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) has already said, "“I do expect for someone who is the nominee ... when he speaks with committee leadership and is asked specific questions about North Korea, to share some insights about such a visit.” Meanwhile, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) says he is not bothered. Watch this site. During the hearing - the vote will be April 23 - Pompeo said that "no one is under any illusions" that the first talks will results in a comprehensive agreement on denuclearization. But he said it could "set us down the course to achieve a diplomatic outcome that America and the world so desperately need."  In his prepared statement Pompeo said, "I have read the CIA histories of previous negotiations with the North Koreans, and am confident that we will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  President Trump isn’t one to play games at the negotiating table—and I won’t be either." All politics, including journalistic politics of course, are local. Take for example the self-described pro-Abe Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, which missed the Washington news as it misses and bungles the news at the UN, with a babbling neophyte Kevin uselessly typing up Security Council quotes on Yemen that are not used, sidling up to state media using "Sonkei... the right wing smallest of the major Japanese papers" as a calling card, gushing a pedigree of Chinese media (great) and Swiss magazines - the state media had not heard of Sankei. On April 20 With nothing in the Security Council, mindless Sankei typing continued; but when Ambassadors staked out on Gaza t 3 pm, no Sankei was there. This is a fail. On April 18 at a stakeout on Syria covered by Inner City Press, present were other Japanese media but not Sankei. Its Mayu Uetsuka now "covered" Stormy Daniels, with cookie cutter comparisons of the US and France and swipes at evangelicals, absurdly under the rubric "Reading the United States."
The two were together, questionless, on April 18, apparently lobbying the UN censorship machine. Meanwhile they missed even the story of the US Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, see Inner City Press' coverage here. This reading will continue. Uutsuka, an embarrassment even to her predecessor Jun Kurosawa and, in Paris Mina Mitsui actually covering Syria, previously "reported" on MLK events in Memphis, while using UK-based corporate wire coverage of the issues impacting its own readership. We'll have more on this - and on this: as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres took off for his six day trip to China, Inner City Press which has pursued the UN bribery scandals of Ng Lap Seng and now the China Energy Fund Committee asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric on April 6 if Guterres will address any of these issues during his five days in the country. Dujarric was dismissive, and ended the briefing. Video here.  UN transcript here and below.  Guterres spoke at the Boao Forum on Asia, with no mention of bribe paying, much less the growing but censored #MeToo / #RiceBunny sexual harassment movement in China - nor China's recent gifts to Kim Jong Un in seemingly open violation of UN sanctions. Gushing with him at Boao one of Guterres' UN system officials, Francis Gurry, under whom the UN World Intellectual Property Organization helped North Korea with cyanide patents without even notifying the UN's DPRK Sanctions Committee. Gurry, identified as a senior Australian diplomat, "told The Australian Financial Review on the sidelines of the Boao Forum... he would remain at the helm of the WIPO until his second term expires in 2020, despite efforts last year to oust him." So much for accountability, including for retaliation against staff, in Guterres' UN - where the investigative Press gets retaliated against, daily. Guterres quotes at the Forum in Hainan: "last May when I had the honour to attend the Belt and Road Forum with President Xi Jinping... By connecting peoples and markets in Asia, Europe and Africa, including in Latin America..." In Africa, through CEFC China Energy at the UN to UN PGA Kutesa, this included bribes for oil and banks in Uganda. In the Czech Republic, which chairs ECOSOC at Guterres' UN, this included buying sports teams and media, banks and even brewers - and China Energy Fund Committee is still in "special consultative status" with ECOSOC, even after the indictment and jailing of this "NGO's" Patrick Ho. The UN has gotten even more corrupt, and censorious, under Guterres. From the UN's April 6 transcript, when Guterres' spokesman Dujarric was also dismissive of restrictions on the Press in UN headquarters: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about the… the trip to China by the Secretary-General.  You know, as you know there's… there's one being concluded and one still active UN bribery cases pending in the Southern District of New York.  Most recently…

Spokesman:  I don't agree with your characterization.

Inner City Press: They're both about bribing the PGA.  I guess you can say the PGA is not really the UN, but…

Spokesman:  Go ahead.  Go ahead.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  So my question is since there seems to be a pattern of… in two cases, one was Ng Lap Seng, South-South News, who Vivian Wang has now pleaded guilty.  The other is the China Energy Fund Committee, which remains in consultative status with ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council].  Is this an issue that the Secretary-General, in visiting the home base of both operations, and both are alleged to be Government connected?

Spokesman:  The United Nations has cooperated with the Southern District here in New York in whatever way we can in any and all investigations.  The legal process here has played itself out and is playing itself out, and as for the accreditation of the ECOSOC accreditation, as I've told you numerous times, it's a member state issue…". And then Dujarric ran off the podium. We'll have more on this. The UN has been targeting not only Inner City Press for censorship, but also its sources, for retaliation.

It was reported and quoted here:  "Looks like UN is making efforts to ID people who send stuff to media: 'Identified a computer used to print an email that was later leaked to Inner City Press, by correlating an URL on the top of the leaked document with Webmail & DHCP logs.' Are they punishing whistleblowers?"

Well, yes. And the investigative Press.

On March 14, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the above-quoted and he said, since the UN has confidential information it can and does investigate leaks and leakers. Video here.

But isn't that, in leaks to Inner City Press ranging from Burundi to Cameroon to cover ups to North Korea, going after whistleblowers? Haq dodged, and Inner City Press asked if a person who leaked the memo to Kofi Annan about impending genocide in Rwanda would be investigated. Apparently yes - but Haq again claimed that there is no retaliation. What about Anders Kompass, fired after releasing a document bout French peacekeepers' rapes in Central African Republic? Or Miranda Brown? Or Emma Reilly? On March 15, after asking Haq about threats of retaliation made at and by UNAIDS, Inner City Press asked what type of leak the UN investigates, and for whom. Haq said any kind the UN wants, and ostensibly for member states. Video here.

From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: On the issue of investigations, given what you said yesterday, I took the time to digest it.  I've also heard from some people that were surprised by it.  I want to just be clear. You said the UN can absolutely investigate perceived leaks because it deals with confidential information, if I take you correctly.  I mean, you said that it can do that, but you seem to also claim that no one is retaliated against.  So, the two things I wanted to know is, when can the UN investigate?  Is it… does it have to be information labelled confidential?  Can it be… in what cases does it… and… and if the Anders Kompass case or the Miranda Brown case or the Emma Reilly case, these are all cases of retaliation.  So, can you explain what you were saying yesterday?

Deputy Spokesman:  With the cases you're referring to, these are cases where the system itself examined what was happening.  We do that in compliance with our rules and our procedures, and we certainly make sure that all the whistle-blower protections are put in place.  That is why we look into those individual cases.  What you were talking about was a general question of:  Can leaks be investigated?  And with the United Nations, as with any other entity, you have the right to do that to make sure that the confidentiality of sensitive documents is protected.

Inner City Press: So, for example, the UN's request to the 1718 Committee for a waiver and the use of a correspondent bank that was leaked, and I did publish it, can that be investigated?  Is that considered… what's… does it require the showing of harm to the UN to investigate it or…?

Deputy Spokesman:  Those are ultimately the judgments that are made by relevant officials.  It's clear, as with any number of institutions, whether State institutions or private institutions, that documents leak out.  But, it's also clear that, for the diplomatic work of the UN to continue, Member States have to feel secure in the confidentiality of many of those communications.  And so that is a judgment that individual managers will have to make.

Inner City Press:So, is it Member State information?

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said it's a decision that managers would have to make in terms of what they feel is important and sensitive.

Inner City Press: Can you see why with the UNAIDS guy's comment about "I can investigate my enemies", why the two put together, an unfettered or unclear ability to investigate any leak, combined with threats from UN officials to investigate any opponents, might be problematic?

Deputy Spokesman:  There is no effort and, certainly, there is no encouragement to any sort of effort to pursue people who are making complaints.  Those are something… that's something that's entitled within the system.  And, as you know, there are a series of protections throughout the system for people who make complaints about issues at the workplace, whether sexual harassment or otherwise.  Again, I'm just stressing the basic point of principle that the UN does have the right, just as a point of principle, to protect the confidentiality of its communications." We'll have more on this. Here's how the UN transcribed it: Inner City Press: it's been said here by OHRM [Office of Human Resources Management], which did a press conference that UN — and you just said it, in fact — that UN staff are free to speak.  So, I wanted to ask you, this is a quote of a document obtained by the journalist Lauren Wolfe, who's recently written about “#MeToo” at the UN.  And the document, it's a UN document, says: "Identified a computer… a computer used to print an email that was later leaked to Inner City Press by correlating an URL at the top… URL at the top of the leaked document with web mail and DHCP logs," which is Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.  Basically, it reflects that UN — and I believe it's OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] — is conducting electronic investigations to determine which UN staff member leaked documents showing UN wrongdoing, they believe.  And so, how does this square with the idea that people are free to blow the whistle and that the UN wants wrongdoing and malfeasance to be confronted in any way possible?  And is it appropriate to… to identify whistle-blowers that communicate with investigative journalists?  Is that appropriate?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, whistle-blowers should be protected.  At the same time, as you know, there's a huge amount of confidential information in the United Nations, information that needs to be handled with great sensitivity.  And it is appropriate for different offices to monitor how those… that information is handled.

Inner City Press: I just wanted to ask one… just… because it seems like there's… there could be a conflict between saying that whistle-blowers are free to speak, but we're free to investigate them because we're an organization that has confidential information.  So, I'm asking about this specific… and I believe you can answer on this one…

Deputy Spokesman:  Every institution, including all Governments, are free to conduct leak investigations, and they do so.  We try to make sure… and there are, as you know, different offices and different avenues for protection for whistle-blowers.  There's a whistle-blower protection policy, and that has to be enforced.

Inner City Press: So, if somebody leaked — for example, I'm going to go back so it's not a hypothetical, an actual document — the Rwanda memo that went to Kofi Annan that said weapons are being stored and a genocide is about to happen, somebody leaked it to the press, would the UN… would it be appropriate for the UN to investigate who blew the whistle on human rights violations, which is the case in this…?

Deputy Spokesman:  As you know, there have been many different types of sensitive documents over the history of the UN that have, in fact, leaked to the press and no one has faced any consequences for that, precisely because it was in the public interest.  At the same time, a lot of business of the UN simply could not be conducted, the sensitive diplomatic work we're supposed to do could not happen if there was the presumption that all documents would leak. 

  The decay or need for reform at the UN Department of Public Information was shown again on March 12, when DPI's UN Photo called Arancha Gonzalez of the ITC the UN National Security Adviser, here. This came the business day after March 9, when DPI's now flagship UN News mis-named the UN's scandal plagued peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic “MONUSCO” instead of its actual name MINUSCA. Photo here; DPI also mistakenly called Najat Rochdi a "High Commissioner." That came on the same day that DPI chief Alison Smale was criticized, both fairly and unfairly, in a General Assembly meeting held in the Trusteeship Council. Inner City Press, covering the meeting but only with the escort or minder that Smale's DPI requires of it but not more than a hundred less prolific, less critical and seldom present correspondents, put questions after Smale's holdover adviser Hua Jiang sped out of the meeting to a critic, then politely to Smale herself. She acknowledged little action to date on the criticisms, at least one of which should have been directed to the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management. But all bureaucratic niceties aside, how can a former New York Times editor have presided without explanation or response over a system of press accreditation with no rules, with blatant targeted restrictions, for more the six months? In October Smale said she acknowledged the need for the “courtesy” of a response to the Press' petitions - which has yet to come - and on March 9 seemed to indicate an acknowledgment of the need for rules. But where are they? After the reiterated exchange, Inner City Press demurred for days. On March 12 it reiterated the request for rules, to Smale, Guterres and his chief of staff, and Deputy Amina J. Mohammed: "Dear USG Smale, SG Guterres, DSG Mohammed & CdC Ribeiro: I am writing to formalize my oral request to USG Smale on March 9. Specifically, that Inner City Press be given an opportunity to be heard on why, after now more than two years of restricted access to the UN for having pursued the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery story into the UN Press Briefing Room, it should be restored to its long time office and resident correspondent status. Beyond my particular case - on which Special Rapporteur David A. Kaye wrote to DPI about the lack of due process, here. There is as I mentioned again to USG Smale on March 9 the need for UN rules not only on how a journalist gets due process before any eviction, but also for how a once-evicted journalist can pursue reinstatement. I have been told I am not even on any list, as correspondents who ask less and produce less than I do about the UN have come after I was evicted, and been made resident correspondents. I have covered, among other stories, Cameroon, DPRK, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Sudan, the new (Nov 2017) UN bribery case of Patrick Ho and CEFC China Energy and the issues raised by a UN Security Inspector openly praising a controversial GA speech (the Iran bomb fuse cartoon speech), in both 2016 and this month - and for this last story, I'm told I face further complaints or restrictions. Similarly lawlessly, as I live-streamed on Periscope a recent SG photo op with Egypt's new Ambassador I was suddenly told by UN Security that I could not record audio, even as UNTV recorded audio. This is Kafka-esque and must end, this month which marks the 25th month. I will be trying to cover the UNSC and CSW, with the absurdly required DPI minder or escort. A meeting on this should be held this week by USG Smale or one of you." 24 hours, nothing. We will continue on this. The deadline is now. Watch this site.


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

Feedback: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com

Past (and future?) UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA
For now: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2018 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com for