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In Drone Wars, Reuters Spies for UN, Ladsous Withholds a Day, Typing Up Selex

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- With the UN allowing its Herve Ladsous to conceal which units of the Congolese Army he is aiding, on July 31 Inner City Press asked the UN who won its contract for drones:

Inner City Press: Ladsous announced during the Bastille Day in France that the drone contract had been signed. I’ve checked various databases that are publicly available. What’s the company that won? And if it’s not yet public, how could the UN be signing a contract declaring a winner and not have it be public? Is it public and what is the name of the company?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I will check. I don’t believe it is public...Yes, Evelyn?

Question: Just to be certain the drones that are being used are for observation

  This last, by a retired Reuters reporter, is a point Ladsous drone-like makes: he, his mission and the drones are not offensive. To not parrot that, according to Ladsous, is "innuendo," a basis to explicitly refuse to answer Inner City Press' questions. Video compilation here.

  The Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, run by former Reuters reporter Martin Nesirky, provides answers between noon briefing to some media, notably Reuters as well as Ladsous' favorite, Agence France Presse (Ladsous served on one of AFP's management boards.)

But on this who won the drone contract question, neither Nesirky nor his office got back to Inner City Press. Twenty four hours later at the August 1 noon briefing, Nesirky read out this answer:

I was asked [and] the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations can confirm that it has reached the final stage of the procurement process in relation to the trial use of unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, by its Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The selected vendor is the Italian company SELEX ES. The UAV is known as the “FALCO” and is designed to be a medium-altitude, medium-endurance surveillance platform capable of carrying a range of payloads, including several types of high-resolution sensors. Of course, its payload does not include weapons.

  When Nesirky was further spinning that final point of Ladsous', and Inner City Press asked to follow up, Nesirky refused. He had given others two rounds of questions, but refused to Inner City Press.

  Upstairs at Reuters, Michelle Nichols typed up Nesirky's answer to Inner City Press' question the day before and put it out, noting that Ladsous "did not initially name the company." Right. (She has done this before, and filed a specious complaint when this was complained about.)

   In Africa, Reuters re-tweeted it: another credit to The Baron. (Much of Reuters' tweeting is simply the robotic repetition of the corporation's products.) Others sua sponte noticed, it was noted that Nesirky used to work at Reuters.

Worse, Reuters UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau has been shown to have leaked to the UN's top accreditation official an internal anti-Press document of the UN Correspondents Association, three minutes after promising he would not. This is, in essence, spying for the UN. Or would that be innuendo?

 Story here, Charbonneau audio here, document here. None of this has been explained or acted on, by UNCA or the UN -- or Reuters.

Ladsous made it clear, only if Press coverage of him was positive would he answer questions. Now in what we call the Ladsousification of the UN, this has spread to Ban's communications. The conflicts of interest are rife. It's on video -- but the UN can cut the sound on questions, can edit out video it doesn't like.

  As we've coined, the First Amendment stops at First Avenue. Maybe that can be stolen too. But there will be more questions. Watch this site.

Footnote: We also note, actually looking into rather than just typing up what Nesirky withholds and then spoon-feeds, that Ladsous' Selex ES Falco is about "target acquisition," video here. More on this to come.


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