Amid North Korea Talks At UN Japanese Colonial Rule Said Better Than Kims, Sense Trump Train Moves Too Fast

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Amid North Korea Talks At UN Japanese Colonial Rule Said Better Than Kims, Sense Trump Train Moves Too Fast

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Video II

UNITED NATIONS, May 3 -- The Trump - Kim talks, primed by Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, have had their location sweepstakes narrowed down, excluding the US. While some including CBS report Singapore is in the running, after that report Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "We've had no formal invitations, requests from the parties."  On the afternoon of May 3 in the UN in a Japan sponsored event about human rights in North Korea, Sung Yoon Lee of Tufts University made a point of saying that Japan's colonialism in Korea was better than what the Kims have done. Fine, but why compare? Conference Room 6 was full - although increasingly irrelevant pro-Abe media Sankei Shimbun was not in it, too busy "reading" Kanye West - and many of the speeches, punctuated by applause, were directed at urging Trump not to be fooled by Kim Jong Un. Australia spoke about Human Rights Council term, as earlier in the day did Austria, on the UN's hypocritial World Press Freedom Day. This is today's UN. Earlier on May 3 it was reportd that North Korea has moved its three American hostages to a hotel in preparation of releasing them; Trump's lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has said the release will be today, May 3. We'll see. On the other hand on May 2 the North Korea / DPRK mission to the UN issued a press release trashing the US for having, in the closed door April 30 Security Council 1718 sanctions committee meeting, brought up North Korean hacking. Inner City Press has put it on Scribed, here. The tone runs counter to what's been coming out of Pyongyang. But it is all in evolution. Trump has suggested the DMZ, and South Korea's President Moon called UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to ask the UN to play a role in North Korea's promised shut down of its nuclear testing location at  Punggye-ri. Inner City Press on May 1 asked Guterres' spokesman which of the two versions from Seoul was correct, that Guterres said Yes or that he passed the buck to the UN Security Council. Rather than answer, the Spokesman said there would be a UN read-out soon From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on this report that… that President Moon [Jae-in] of South Korea called António Guterres, what can you say about it, in one report, it said that… that he'd said that, yes, I'll do it, and another report it said he'd said it's up to the Security Council, but I want to.  Which is it?

Deputy Spokesman:  We actually expect to have a readout… I was hoping to have it when I got in, but it's not ready yet.  But, hopefully, you'll have it shortly." Five hours later, still nothing. Then after 6 pm, this: "The Secretary-General spoke with H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, on 30 April. The Secretary-General congratulated the President on the success of the Summit between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The President sought the support of the United Nations to verify the imminent closure of the DPRK’s nuclear test site, as announced by the DPRK Chairman Kim-Jung-un. The President also asked the support of the United Nations for the implementation of the DPRK-ROK agreement to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone, as provided for in the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula. The Secretary-General reiterated the full support of the United Nations to furthering the inter-Korean dialogue and in this regard pledged that the United Nations stands ready to discuss possible forms of support." So no answer on the role of the UN Security Council. Inner City Press on April 30 went to stake out the 10 am meeting of the UN Security Council's 1718 DPRK Sanctions committee. But even as of 10:15 it had not started - some Council members had not bothered to show up. A UN Secretariat staffer made repeated cell phone calls. Finally the meeting began, including hearing on humanitarian issues from the UN Development Program, which pending a proposed power shift to the UN Deputy Secretary General coordinates UN efforts in-country. It was UNDP which pushed for the exemption of sanctions for Russia's Sputnik Bank on which Inner City Press exclusively reported earlier this year. But the delayed April 30 meeting didn't break up until 12:30, when Inner City Press was at the UN noon briefing asking about, among other countries, Syria, Haiti and Cameroon. Rushing down to the basement, the Committee Chair was saying that all efforts are made to enable the transfer of liquidity, using exemptions, and noting the exemptions given so all participants could attend last week's DPRK - ROK talks. Second half of stakeout here, on Periscope. Reference was made to the Global Fund suspending malaria work in North Korea. We'll have more on this - and this:

In the face of North Korea sanctions, the UN in December 2017 used the sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank and Russia's Sputnik Bank to release EUR 3,974,920.62 into the country, documents obtained by Inner City Press and exclusively published on February 21 show. On February 21, Inner City Press asked the Dutch chair of the UN Security Council's 1718 Sanctions committee about the exemption. He refused to comment, saying the issue did not come up in the meeting he had just exited. Video here. 

But a letter from Sputnik Bank stated that "unauthorized person (I.V. Tonkih) led  negotiations with Korean party on interbank correspondent relationship." Photos here, more documents in PDF now published on Patreon, here. On February 22, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about how Sputnik Bank, given its admission, was selected, and then additional questions in writing, below - which Dujarric would not answer or confirm. Video here.

Beyond the Committee member(s) delayed arrival on April 30 some Japanese media at the UN weren't present either, for example the notably anti-talks (and increasingly incompetent) Sankei Shimbun. Nor was Sankei Shimbun present at the May 1 UN noon briefing where Inner City Press asked about Moon's call to Guterres. After the Moon - Kim talks with hand shaking and two-step across the DMZ, on April 28 the White House issued read outs of calls with Abe of Japan and Moon of South Korea: "President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea to discuss the April 27 meeting between President Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  President Trump thanked President Moon for the close coordination between the Republic of Korea and the United States in the lead-up to his meeting, and committed to remain in close contact in the coming weeks.  The two leaders agreed that the unprecedented pressure applied by the United States, the Republic of Korea, and the international community through the global Maximum Pressure Campaign has led to this significant moment.  President Trump and President Moon emphasized that a peaceful and prosperous future for North Korea is contingent upon its complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization." And, "President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.  The leaders affirmed their commitment to achieving the permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea and to continuing their close coordination in advance of talks between the United States and North Korea.  They also reiterated the need for North Korea to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.  Finally, President Trump noted that he will urge North Korea to promptly resolve its abductions of Japanese citizens." Japan continues on this issue, but we'll see its place in a Trump - Kim meeting.  Inner City Press on the morning of April 27 witnessed the North Korean Ambassador coming down the steps from the UN's Delegates' Entrance to its 1B basement, where in Conference Room 3 Guterres was to meet with the Group of 77 and China on his stalled reforms. Meanwhile the parents of US student Otto Warmbier have filed suit against North Korea, care of Ri Yong Ho, for punitive damages in the killing of their son. Lawsuit on Scribd, here. On April 26, Pompeo was confirmed as US Secretary of State by the Senate, 57-42. (From the State Department: "Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito swore in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the West Conference Room of the Supreme Court at 2:00 pm, April 26, 2018." Reportedly, after Brussels he's headed to Jerusalem.) President Trump, before the vote, told Fox & Friends that "We're doing very well with North Korea. We'll see how it all comes out. We have three or four dates. That includes five locations. That will be narrowed down... Mike Pompeo did go there. He wasn't supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un, but he did. He, you know, they arranged actually while he was there to say hello. We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting which I'd love to release if we can." On April 25 some details of Friday's Kim - Moon talks emerged. "There are three items on the agenda for Friday: denuclearization, creating a peace regime, and improving inter-Korean ties. Moon will propose the opening of an inter-Korean liaison office and establishing a joint committee to promote political, military and economic exchanges, the left-leaning Hankyoreh reported. But on denuclearization, the most difficult issue and the one of most interest to the United States, the discussion will be carried out by the two leaders directly, the right-wing Chosun Ilbo reported." Meanwhile self described right wing Sankei Shimbun has no information, literally fallen asleep at the UN.  As the UN Security Council headed for a retreat in Sweden, it was 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. 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? 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." 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,
having switched to a scribe named Kevin Pinner who brags online of his time as a copywriter in Shenzhen for "Chinavasion Wholesale Ltd, I named products, generated slogans." Slogans indeed. Now Pinner is uselessly typing up quotes on Palestine that are not used, talking about his boss and then falling asleep in the bullpen, 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 27 he was not even at the UN noon briefing where the PGA meeting with the Korean Ambassador was announced. 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." And why not Canada, with superficial coverage of a mere "motion" about the South China Sea? 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.


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