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

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

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

CONTRIBUTE

(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

BloggingHeads.tv
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka

VoA: NYCLU

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"
 

 

 


Community
Reinvestment

Bank Beat

Freedom of Information
 

How to Contact Us



As Saudis Blame Khashoggi Death on Fist Fight Guterres of False Altercation and Press Ban Speaks of Probe

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE, October 19 – Now the Saudi government, admitting that Jamal Khashoggi is dead, is blaming it on a "fist fight." Even more incredibly, the Crown Prince who previously presented the $930 million check to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, will heads up the self investigation. Another Guterres echo: the July 3 so-called altercation, ban, and bogus review. And now this: "The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the confirmation of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. He extends his condolences to Mr. Khashoggi’s family and friends. The Secretary-General stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death and full accountability for those responsible. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General." Even as others issued Khashoggi-related cancellations of attendance as Saudi-funded events, two officials of the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres attended and even spoke on October 16 at the Saudi-funded event "New York/Arab World Culture Forum: Art for Sustainable Futures" at the Asia Society in New York. UNESCO's Marie Paul Roudil gave a speech (video here), and long time UN lobbyist Rob Skinner, a close collaborator and one time competitor for the job of Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric, was in attendance as not denied by the UN. Here is Skinner's speech, in which he calls himself a "UN bureaucrat." There was no misunderstanding: others have publicly pulled out of the event, funded by the Riyadh-based Misk Art Institute, founded under the auspices of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud: MBS. So why is Antonio Guterres' adminstration, which itself maintains a secret "banned" list which includes since July 3 not only Inner City Press but also "demonstrators" and "political activists," so chummy with MBS and Saudi? Guterres lavished praised on MBS on March 27 accepting a $930 million check from the Saudis and UAE, with not a word of the Saudi led bombing campaign that has killed civilians and caused cholera in Yemen. With critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi "disappeared" after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Inner City Press banned from the UN noon briefing by Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the 97th day, on October 8 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesmen and deputy in writing, "what is the SG's comment and action on the disappearance of critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi?" At the October 10 Press-less UN noon briefing at which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric by choice had only two questioners, one retired, Dujarric said Guterres had not spoken to the Crown Prince he took the money from. Now as some banks pull out of Davos in the Desert, notably two French banks both with operations in the United States are still planning to go: Societe Generale CEO Frédéric Oudéa and
BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre
; also a French arms manufacturer Thales CEO Patrice Caine. We'll have more on this. On October 15, with Inner City Press still unable to attend and ask, included on Guterres "banned" list along with political activists, thankfully the Khashoggi question was asked, by Richard Roth: "Now that he's home, is the Secretary-General planning to meet or has he met with the Saudi UN Ambassador?  What is the Secretary-General's comment regarding President Trump's remark this morning that the Saudi King said that there were rogue killers, rogue actors who were responsible?  And it might be nice if the Secretary-General stopped after his Security Council appearance tomorrow morning considering some of the events that have happened while he was gone.  Just a suggestion.  Thank you.

Spokesman Dujarric:  I’m always happy to take the suggestions on board.  You know, I think the Secretary-General was very clear in the comments he made, I think, to some of your colleagues in Indonesia, is that he thinks it's very important for the truth to come out.  Our understanding is that, obviously, the Turks… Turkish authorities are investigating.  I think we, like everybody else, would like to know what happened to Mr. [Jamal] Khashoggi.  And as the Secretary-General said, as we've said from here, we've had… there have been contacts between the UN and the Saudi authorities." At what level? As Inner City Press showed, Guterres seemingly slept in on October 15. It was his chief of staff who presented in the Fifth Budget Committee. And this?
O
n October 14 from US Senator Dick Durban, this: "Yesterday, Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Ambassador to the United States, called Durbin directly from Riyadh about Khashoggi’s disappearance. 'In my call with Ambassador bin Salman, he admitted to knowing Mr. Khashoggi and even said he counts him as a friend.  However, Ambassador bin Salman gave no credible explanation for Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.  He refused to comment directly on the video showing Mr. Khashoggi entering the Istanbul consulate but not exiting, would not respond to reports of intelligence showing a plan to lure Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, would not respond to a request for a third party to investigate, and gave me no timetable on the Saudi’s investigative report.

I told Ambassador bin Salman that he should expect a very negative response from both sides of the aisle in Congress if Mr. Khashoggi was in fact kidnapped and murdered.  And if that is the case, I do not believe the U.S. should continue to be party to supporting the Saudis in the bloodshed in Yemen -- a halt that is long overdue given the humanitarian disaster resulting from that conflict. 

This recurring theme of the Saudi government and royal family silencing their critics, such as the case with Raif Badawi and Waleed al-Khair, along with the fact that they continue to turn a blind eye to the export of Wahabbi extremism makes it increasingly difficult to accept Saudi Arabia as trusted ally of the United States.

Since Saudi arms are being used to ravage Yemen and they are apparently complicit in the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, I cannot support President Trump’s proposed arms sale.  Secretary Mnuchin should immediately cancel his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia and after a two year delay, the Trump Administration should finally nominate a U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.'" 
Earlier Dujarric's
deputy
emailed this to Inner City Press: "
Regarding Mr. Khashoggi, we have said the following: The Secretary-General is very concerned about recent reports of violence against journalists, including the most recent cases - the reported disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and the murder of Victoria Marinova in Bulgaria. Both publicly and privately, the Secretary-General has often raised this issue with Member States. It’s also important to note that that there’s also been a very worrying increase increasing violence, sexual and otherwise, against women journalists.
The Secretary-General’s position is clear: a free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all. He reiterates his call on all governments to strengthen press freedom, including ensuring that there is justice and accountability for crimes committed against journalists." This while Guterres himself has roughed up and banned the critical Press - and is now exposed as putting it on his secret banned list that includes "political activists."

And so too the story about the Saudi foreign minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir's speech in the UN General Assembly that Guterres banned Inner City Press from, by his state media "UN News Centre" run by Alison Smale. This story merely runs lines from Al-Jubeir such as, "On the conflict in Yemen, the Saudi Minister said that Houthi militia continue to manufacture missiles and carry out activities that destabilize the region. Underscoring the need for a political solution to the crisis, Minister Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia will continue to facilitate all humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people." This story does not mention the Saudis bombing of children in a school bus. One might think Smale is just wasting public money, as usual, by reproducing the flat coverage of UN Meetings Covering. But it's worse: the lack of analysis or presenting the other side is selective. Smale's UN News Centre's write up of the Myanmar speech includes a description of and link to a report on the government's killings. Smale also barred Inner City Press from attending the Reuters and CPJ event on Myanmar's jailing of two journalists, here. We'll have more on this - due to Guterres and Smale's lawless censorship Inner City Press has had to cover UNGA 73 from the streets and is only now reviewing Smale's shameful production. Watch this site.

 On September 25, after meeting the Saudi foreign minister, Guterres gushed, "The Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister discussed regional issues of mutual interest, including Yemen and Syria. The Secretary-General expressed appreciation to Saudi Arabia for its support to the ongoing reconciliation process in the Horn of Africa and United Nations youth initiatives." Not a word on the bombing of school bus. Earlier on September 25 the UK Mission to the UN closed to the press - all press, apparently - its event on Addressing Malnutrition in Yemen. To his credit, ICRC's Peter Maurer released his remarks, here, including calling for "ceasing the transfer of weapons if there is a clear risk of violations of international law." That should mean the host of the meeting would stop such sales - and, as didn't happen this week, incoming UN Security Council member Germany would as well. We'll have more on this. On September 14 the NRC's Saleem Al-Shamiri in Hodeidah said, "Stability within Hodeidah is becoming worse and fear about what might happen continuing to increase. Those remaining in Hodeidah know they could lose everything, including their lives, but for many, it is not a simple decision to leave. To leave is to abandon everything people know and have worked for, with no certainty about the future. If people leave, they don’t know where they will go, how they will find shelter, what they will eat. Many fled here already and the war followed. They’re tired of running. One of our colleagues here is expecting her baby any day. These are terrifying circumstances for her delivery. She says it is now too late, too uncertain and too expensive for her family to leave. No baby should be born into a situation like this.”
The weekend of 7-9 September marked one of the deadliest in Yemen’s war so far, with more than 84 conflict-related fatalities reported within Hodeidah health facilities alone, according to reports received from Safer Yemen.
Fighting is now pressing in on Hodeidah city from several sides, including heavy ground clashes and sustained aerial bombardments. Civilians in Hodeidah reported airstrikes in close proximity to the city’s southern and eastern borders, including up to fifty strikes on the city fringes on Wednesday alone.
Houses, farms, a flour mill and a soft drink factory were among civilian buildings hit by airstrikes across Hodeidah governorates over the last fortnight.
We are highly concerned about the security of the Hodeidah Port complex, including milling facilities housing enough to feed 3.5 million Yemeni people.
Aid agencies in Yemen have identified close to 500,000 people that had fled homes in Hodeidah between June and August. So far in September, 55,000 people have been displaced from across the governorate, leaving more than half a million at heightened risk of hunger and exposure to diseases, including cholera.  
ECHO reports that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has now increased for the 12thweek in a row, to 9,245 suspected cases. This number adds to more that 133,000 cases of suspected cholera through 2018 thus far.
By 13 September, seven vessels were berthed at Hodeidah port, carrying a 79,000 metric tons of food and over 30,000 metric tons of critically-needed gas oil. An additional three vessels are queued to deliver food and fuel in the coming days. Food and fuel deliveries through Yemen’s Red Sea Ports have held steady since June but any disruption or threat to the safety of shipments could strangle the Yemeni economy and impact access to food for more than 20 million people." Inner City Press, which previously at the UN Security Council stakeout asked US Ambassador Nikki Haley questions about Jeffrey Feltman and Cameroon has now been banned from the UN for 70 days and counting and so asks like this, on September 11. We'll have more on this.
O
n September 10 the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has had this to say on Yemen in her opening speech: "
Regarding Yemen, I urge all parties to take stock of the gravity of the findings of the Group of Eminent Experts. They have identified a number of individuals who may be responsible for international crimes, and that confidential list is now in the Office. It is crucial that there be continued international and independent investigations into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes – particularly in light of the apparent inability of the parties to the conflict to carry out impartial investigations. Last month's shocking strike on a bus carrying schoolchildren was followed by another horrific series of airstrikes which left dozens of civilians and children killed and injured in Al Hudaydah. I note the recent statement by the Coalition acknowledging mistakes over the airstrike on the school bus in Sa’ada, and I will be closely following what steps are taken to hold the perpetrators accountable and provide remedy and compensation to the victims. There should be greater transparency over the coalition’s rules of engagement and the measures taken to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated. The recent Saudi royal order which appears to provide a blanket pardon to members of the Saudi armed forces for actions taken in Yemen is very concerning." So why has Guterres done a favor to Saudi Arabia putting it on the "good child killer" list? 
We'll have more on this, and on Bachelet's response (or not) to the evidence provided to her on and since her first day about shameful censorship of the Press at and by the UN Secretariat as it pursues the UN's role in Yemen, deferring to the Saudis and their armers. And on this: On September 8 Guterres' envoy Martin Griffiths lavished praise on the government / Hadi delegation he spent three days with in Geneva, in a press conference featuring qestions cut off by the UN and from which though in Geneva Inner City Press was banned from by New York-based, Moscow junketing Alison Smale for Guterres, soon to be Lisbon bound. After Griffiths, Hadi's Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yahami took over the UN room to denounce coup plotters and deny that Sudan and Egypt wouldn't open their air space. What about the injured being able to get to Oman? Griffiths, vetted by the Saudis before Guterres gave him the post ostensibly for the Brits, wouldn't say. He said every action has a repurcussion. We'll have more on this. On September 7, with the UN declining to answer basic questions from banned Inner City Press including "September 6-3: On Yemen, what is the SG's response to that the Yemeni government is considering not extending the UN teams’ missions in the country after they have proven their bias, Yemen’s human rights minister Mohamed Askar said on Thursday," this from NRC protection and advocacy adviser in Yemen Suze van Meegen: “This week was due to mark a turning point in Yemen’s conflict as parties convened in Geneva to chart a way forward. Instead, we have passed another week full of violence and devoid of promise. While parties to the conflict continue to operate on the basis of differences, Yemenis are united in their experience of violence, deprivation and grief. Yemenis I met this week all tell me that they are losing hope in the possibility of any solution to the current situation. They are exhausted, People are reaching their tipping point.”
The situation in Hodeidah city remains exceptionally fragile. Heavy fighting is currently taking place at the city’s western and southern outskirts, closer than at any other point since the offensive on Hodeidah commenced in June, including around Hodeidah airport, on the city’s southern border.
Airstrikes and helicopter attacks have been reported across several districts south of Hodeidah city, and missiles launched from Yemen at targets in both Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea. Reports indicate that jets have been hovering over Hodeidah city for up to 16 hours a day.
Citizens in Hodeidah described increasingly militarised conditions inside the city this week, with an increasing number of checkpoints, trenches and jersey barriers installed across the city. Most residents stay inside their houses to try to protect themselves.
Tension in and around the city continues to keep prevent tens of thousands of city residents from returning. People remaining in Hodeidah report that more than half of all businesses, shops and services have closed, including whole blocks of shopfronts locked up following the departure from the city of owner-operators. A shopkeeper selling fabric and clothing told NRC staff that he had not sold a single item since the second week of August.... On September 4, with the UN declining to answer basic questions from banned Inner City Press about the previous, non-Saudi approved UN envoy, this: "UN Special Envoy For Yemen Affirms Commitment To Southern Participation In The Political Process: Amman, 4 September 2018 - Since I assumed my role as Special Envoy in March this year, I have consistently affirmed that there will be no peace in Yemen if we do not listen to a broad cross-spectrum of Yemeni voices, including southern groups, and make sure that they are included in the efforts to reach a sustainable political settlement. In the past few months, I have consulted with numerous southern groups to reach a consensus on their meaningful participation in the political process. I have been encouraged by their openness to dialogue and to a peaceful resolution for their concerns. I remain committed to reaching a consensus with them on their participation in the political process, and look forward to continuing our discussions in the coming weeks. I urge all Yemeni stakeholders to work together to create a conducive environment for negotiations to end the war and for the stabilization of the economy and delivery of basic services to the Yemeni people."
We'll see.
Also, Spain under Pedro Sanchez is said to be belatedly reviewing its arms sales to the Saudis. Better late than never - the UN, it seems, never reviews anything, no more how outrageous or ultimately incriminating. Where was UNSG Guterres? In China, after rebuffing basic questions from banned Inner City Press on August 31, here. On August 2, the day after the implicated UK took over presidency of the UN Security Council while denying Press requests under FOIA and for access,
British nominated (and Saudi vetted) UN envoy Martin Griffiths was to brief the Council and then a Press-less press stakeout (which he later canceled) - when, just before the meeting, the Saudi and Emirati led Coalition reported bombed the Al-Thourah Hospital in Hodeidah, killing 55 civilians. While Griffith in his speech didn't even mention these airstrikes (and he has not answered Inner City Press' online question to him about why), on August 3 the Saudi Mission, dutifully amplified by Al Arabiya to which the UN gives a ten meter long office that Guterres and his Deputy and team often cravenly appear in, blamed the bombing on the Houthis. Seems like it might require an objective investigation - unlike the scam 45 day"review" the UN held to ban Inner City Press for life,  while turning itself over to the likes of Al Arabiya. On August 24 after yet more killing of civilians by the Saudi and Emirati Led Coalition from which Antonio Guterres smiling took a $930 million check, this: "“We are appalled by conflict that appears entirely ungoverned by the laws of war and astounded at the silence of the many governments enabling it. We cannot comprehend any possible moral justification for killing civilians fleeing to safety as their towns become battlegrounds.

Attacks on civilians have become a deadly trend in Yemen’s war. The new media reports of civilian casualties follow recent coalition strikes on a busload of school children that killed 51 people, and over three years of ceaseless violence from both parties to the conflict on homes, markets, hospitals, schools and farms. More than 350,000 Yemeni people have fled violence along Yemen’s west coast since the beginning of June, adding to the three million displaced through the course of the war. People forced to flee are not simply numbers, they are individuals forced to leave everything they have behind in an effort to stay alive.

This war is not only a Yemeni problem, it is a global one. The multiple nations supplying intelligence, arms and logistical support to enable the violence are implicated in a conflict that has killed thousands and will not subside without conscious and meaningful action.

The UK, US, France, Iran and all others contributing to the conflict in Yemen must use their influence to bring about an immediate and permanent end to the violence. We call on the countries funding and fuelling the war to ensure that civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected from attack, and that humanitarian aid is allowed to reach those who need it.'" The UK and France are both complicit in the killing of civilians in Cameroon by Paul Biya - and in the lifetime ban Guterres' Alison Smale imposed on Inner City Press on August 17.
On August 13, for a UN noon briefing Inner City remained banned from, it e-mailed the spokesmen for Antonio "$930 Million Guterres this question: "August 13-2: On Yemen, what is the comment of the SG and, separately, his envoy Griffiths on reports that Saudi and Emirati Led Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaida militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters. One Yemeni commander who was put on the U.S. terrorism list for al-Qaida ties last year continues to receive money from the UAE to run his militia,. Another commander, recently granted $12 million for his fighting force by Yemen’s president, has a known al-Qaida figure as his closest aide. In one case, a tribal mediator who brokered a deal between the Emiratis and al-Qaida even gave the extremists a farewell dinner. What does the UN know / say / do about this?" Even when Inner City Press submitted the question again, to Guterres' email address and that of his Deputy SG and Communicator UK USG Alison Smale, there has been no answer more than two days later, in the face of this: "A senior US official says the UAE paid money to tribal leaders in Yemen to rout al-Qaeda from its strongholds. Wednesday's remarks followed AP investigation outlining how Emirati forces cut secret deals with the militants to get them to abandon territory. The official says money "has exchanged hands" and that it often went to "sheikhs in areas that have collaborated or allowed al-Qaida to exist." He didn't elaborate on how much was paid, but says the Emiratis' payments to tribal sheikhs allowed them to 'ally themselves to the Emiratis.'" One wag might note the handed $930 million check, half Emerati, to Guterres; the UAE already bought the UN's Bernardino Leon and, some say, Ghassam Salame. Today's UN under Guterres is corrupt, and censors.
On August 9, for a UN noon briefing Inner City remained banned from, it e-mailed the spokesmen for Guterres this question: "August 9-3: On Yemen, what is the SG's comment and action on 'airstrikes in northern Yemen have targeted a busy market and a bus, killing at least 20 people, including children, and wounding as many as 35. ICRC said a hospital supported by the organisation had received dozens of casualties after the attack at a market in Dahyan in Sa’ada governorate.'"  At the UN Security Council, from which Guterres has also banned Inner City Press, UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen was asked "the reaction to the bombing of a school bus in northern Yemen? Dozens of very young children, videos showing many under the age of ten injured and/or killed in a strike that the Saudis say was justified. Allen: Well, we've seen those reports. It's very important as we've said repeatedly that all parties to the conflict in Yemen adhere to International Humanitarian Law. Where there is an incident of this sort, it's important this investigated thoroughly and the conclusions of that investigation are shared and are learned from and we'll be calling for that in this incidence as well. As President, I'm afraid I don't have anything to say on that. This is not something that the Council has discussed recently. Q: Has anybody asked the Presidency to discuss it in AOB?  Allen: As of this moment, I am not aware of any such requests." At the beginning of the month t
he UK prepped the correspondents it feeds cake to, as it sells bombs to Saudi Arabia - while refusing to answer questions from Inner City Press on Yemen, Western Sahara and Cameroon.
On July 30 Guterres' sleazy basis for roughing up and banning Inner City Press for 27 days and counting was reported in the Columbia Journalist Review:
Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has gone further, in an article published July 30 by the Columbia Journalism Review. Dujarric - who Inner City Press directed to the CJR reporter to - is quoted that " Lee Periscoped while shouting, 'Fuck you!' repeatedly. (Lee says he was complaining that Dujarrac had given the Al Jazeera crew a private interview, and excluded him.) 'He creates an atmosphere of incivility within our working environment,' Dujarrac says."  This is a lie. Inner City Press on June 19 when Dujarric gave a "private briefing" to Al Jazeera about Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo announcing the US pull out from the UN Human Right Council said in the hall that is was a "sleazefest." After closing the door of the focus booth it has been confined to work in for two years by Dujarric, and long after the Al Jazeera trio including James Bayes and Whitney Hurst were done, said on Periscope, F-You. Periscope video - still online during this 27 day "investigation" - here. So Dujarric is a censor, justifying the beating up and banning of a journalist for something he broadcast in a soundproof booth to his audience. This is disgusting, all the more so because as Inner City Press has reported, Dujarric told an interlocutor on June 20, before the two beat-downs of Inner City Press, that things would be worse for it. Guterres and Dujarric and it seems Smale are.. thugs. Disgusting. On Yemen, the CJR article quotes Inner City Press: "The Saudis buy UK weapons to bomb Yemen—but the UN envoy to Yemen is British." All true.  On July 5, hours before Guterres' (and the UK's and Saudis') envoy Martin Griffiths briefed the UN Security Council, Guterres' UN banned Inner City Press from entering, and it has been banned for 12 days and counting since. Fox News story here ("UN roughs up, ejects, bans reporter from headquarters: Caught on tape"); petition to Guterres here; GAP blogs I and II (“Harassment of US Journalist Intensifies at the UN”).  On July 30 (Inner City Press is still banned from the UN with no end in sight), US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert issued a read-out including that "Secretary Pompeo met today in Washington, DC with Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, who participated in the July 24-26 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.  On Yemen, they affirmed the importance of continued support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and emphasized the need for all parties to show restraint to avoid further escalation of hostilities." All parties. The UK becomes president of the UN Security Council on August 1; watch this site. On July 20, NRC on Hodeidah said that "airstrikes, mortar fire, missiles and shelling continue to kill, injure and threaten the safety of civilian populations, particularly in At Tuhayat and Zabid districts. NRC’s staff inside Hodeidah city have described it as a “ghost town”, where the bulk of shops and restaurants have been closed by proprietors fleeing the city. Through the course of the week, residents of Hodeidah city heard low-flying jets and heavy airstrikes on the outskirts of the city. The price of women’s sanitary items has risen by more than 15% since May, creating major challenges for women in already challenging circumstances, many of whom are without access to clean water. Ali Al Hajori, in Hajjah, said that 'conditions here are becoming worse. People aren’t only arriving from Hodeidah now, but from areas in the north too. They come in the heat and dust with everything they can carry, but it usually isn’t enough for them to survive beyond a few days. We are stretching the aid we have to reach as many people as possible but it will never compensate for what they lose by leaving their homes.' Isaac Ooko,NRC’s Area Manager in Hodeidah said that 'people are living in pathetic conditions, not fit for humans and completely untenable for those who are most vulnerable. I am incredibly proud of our teams for fronting up each day to make it possible for people to live with dignity in a situation that otherwise strips it from them. What might appear to be a pause to the outside world, doesn’t feel the same for those of us seeing what it means for people here.' Yemen’s Protection Cluster reported severe damage to the main water tanks in Al Tuhayet district earlier this month, leaving close to 100,000 people without safe water and at heightened risk of communicable diseases.
NRC’s staff in Hodeidah are continuing to carry out our usual cholera prevention programs, focused on ensuring people have access to safe water and hygiene material." The UN has a shameful record with cholera, having killed over 10,000 people in Haiti with the cholera UN Peacekeeping brought, with not a penny in restitution.
On July 13, unable to go to the UN's noon briefing as it had been been unable to attend Guterres' July 12 press conference at which not a single Yemen question was asked, Inner City Press wrote to Guterres' spokesmen: "
Saudi King Salman has ‘pre-exonerated’ all troops fighting in Yemen from any accountability issues they may face over their conduct in the war, in which thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded. A statement announcing the early pardon, released by Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA, said the pardon extends to “all military men across the armed forces” taking part in Operation Restoring Hope.” Given that the SG accepted Saudi's $930 Million check, what is his comment?" There was no answer for four days. On July 17, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq e-mailed Inner City Press that "Regarding your earlier question on Yemen, we have the following: We are aware of the reported royal decree by King Salman. The United Nations does not endorse amnesties for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights. The Secretary-General has consistently reminded all parties to the conflict of their obligation to adhere to international humanitarian law, including taking steps to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. We emphasize once again that a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only way to end the conflict and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis." So what about that $930 million check? And the ongoing ban of Inner City Press? We'll have more on this. On June 26 as Guterres proposed to Security Council to continue to list the Saudi and now Emirati led Coalition as "good" child killers, Guterres' spokesman said this classification is for parties who "engage." Inner City Press asked if the $930 million check was part of the engagement and Dujarric archly said No. On June 29, NRC  NRC staffer, Lolah Alkahtani, in Sana’a: "I am worried that this war will kill my family in Hodeidah, and that it will destroy our house which my father built after spending all his life saving for it. The word worried doesn’t even describe a bit of how we feel.”

 NRC staffer, Saleem Al-Shamiri, in Sana’a, said "My family in Hodeidah city think any moment a bomb will explode, or clashes will reach their homes. I have felt this situation myself in 2011, and understand the fear and panic they feel now. While the past days have been quiet, family and friends I have spoken to tell me that people don’t dare leave their houses. Only a few grocery shops are open, and many people going hungry. I sent some money to my family so they can buy food, as most people don’t have anything left in their houses. I’m concerned that they won’t be able to find food or clean water to survive while the offensive drags on.”

NRC continued: The fighting in Hodeidah continues but is on a relative pause while the UN envoy is allowed further time to mediate between the parties to the conflict in an attempt to restart peace negotiations.
The situation in the wider Hodeidah area is volatile, and fighting continues in Hodeidah’s southern districts.  Airstrikes have been ongoing around the city although they have slowed this week.
People inside Hodeidah city tell NRC staff that the situation continues to be calm, with only a few clashes reported during the night. Some roads within the city are reportedly closed or partially blocked by defensive entrenchments. 
People inside the city tell NRC that most shops, especially in the southern side of the city, remain closed as shopkeepers are too scared to open them. Electricity is still unavailable in many areas and water remains scarce. Most people do not leave their houses unless it’s urgent. Many don’t have adequate food in their homes and are at the brink of going hungry.
Money exchange shops are reported to remain mostly closed. This is a serious concern in Yemen, where people have been struggling with an increasing lack of cash liquidity in the past few years of the conflict. Without access to cash, and with reportedly rising prices of basic goods, civilians who could otherwise survive may be left without food and other necessities."
Last week, Dujarric spoonfed sound bytes to Al Jazeera and is working with them to try to further restrict Inner City Press, here - Inner City Press was in fact ousted on June 22, video here, story here. On June 26, MSF's Caroline Seguin gave the following account: "SELC-backed forces are currently fighting Ansar Allah troops for Hodeidah airport, located a few kilometers south of the city center. It is very difficult to assess the situation, as we don’t have MSF staff inside Hodeidah yet. But [Yemeni] medical staff we work with have reported airstrikes and shelling inside the city, and people have started stockpiling food and fuel. Ansar Allah forces have been very active in Hodeidah, digging trenches and building barricades, [and] deploying troops near civilian areas such as residential zones, hospitals, and hotels, which is very worrying. Hodeidah’s water system has been affected by these excavations, and water shortages are being reported by residents. Electricity has been out for years, and people are using generators when they can afford them.
It is difficult to estimate how many people fled the city so far. Inside Hodeidah, population movements have been observed from the south of the city to the north. Some displaced families have moved further to neighboring Dhamar and Ibb governorates, and to the capital Sana’a, where they can rent houses or stay with relatives. Since the war began in March 2015, the average price of fuel has more than doubled, so fleeing the city can cost families a lot of money."
The UN says Griffiths will meet with propped up "president' Hadi on June 27, in Aden. Inner City Press on May 29 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Saudi led Coalition's and UAE's moves on Hodeida. On June 20 after UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash delivered the final threat (the UAE Diplomatic Academy has former UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon) and after Dujarric announced the withdrawal by the UN of its international staff from Hodeidah, the assault began. Now on June 21, from the UN's British envoy Martin Griffiths, this: "I will continue my consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hudaydah, which I fear would have severe political and humanitarian consequences. My priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hudaydah and to swiftly return to political negotiations. I am encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Ansar Allah leadership in Sana’a and I look forward to my upcoming meetings with President Hadi and the Government of Yemen. I am confident that we can reach an agreement to avert any escalation of violence in Hudaydah. While in Sana’a, I also briefed the Security Council on 18 June and announced my intention to relaunch political negotiations in the coming weeks. I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. I welcome the commitment and willingness of the parties to engage in a UN facilitated intra-Yemeni political process."  On June 18 before Griffiths briefed the Security Council, on the way in, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said that Griffiths is working closing with the Coalition - that is, though assaulting Hodeidah. But why then would the Houthis trust him? Inner City Press was previously informed, from high in the UN Department of Political Affairs, that Saudi Arabia and the UK chose Griffiths and Guterres went along. More recently Guterres has mock dressed up as a FIFA World Cup referee and Inner City Press' livestream Periscope account was suspended by Twitter for showing UN reacting to the World Cup and a screen installed by the Russian Mission to the UN. But the above, though Inner City Press was unable to Periscope it, is what Pierce said. After the meting, after push back at censorship and with Inner City Press' Periscope restored, it asked Russia's deputy ambassador who is calling the shots on Hodeidah: the UAE? Saudi? Yemen national army? Mercenaries? Periscope here. He said that wasn't discussed in the consultations. How not?  Watch this site. The assault is proceeding. There was a UN Security Council meeting about it at noon on June 14, behind closed doors, at the request of the UK. Afterward Inner City Press asked President of the Council for June Nebenzia what the UAE or Saudi Arabia had responded, to the UN or its envoy. Nebenzia said envoy Martin Griffiths works behind the scenes. But for whom? On the way in, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said the meeting was closed so that the Council could hear about the military situation on the ground, from the UN. Inner City Press audibly asked, from who? But there was no answer, and the question was not included in the UK transcript, below. So in the June 14 UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: At the stakeout, the UK Ambassador, Karen Pierce, said that… that the meeting… the consultation on Hodeidah is closed because the UN is going to be providing detailed information about the actual situation on the ground.  So, I wanted to know, can you say who… who from the UN is going to be providing that briefing?  And is it… can you tell us, you know, as much as you can publicly about what's happening there?

Deputy Spokesman:  The briefing, as… as I was going into this, the intention was for it to have the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Mueller, brief the Security Council on the humanitarian conditions in Hodeidah.  At the top of the briefing, I did point out what our Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, is saying about the situation there and about the work that we're undertaking to help the estimated 600,000 civilians in the city.  There's a press release from her with more details.

Inner City Press:  I guess… my question is just, because Karen Pierce referred specifically to military information, she said the meeting had to be closed because they want to know the stat… the military status of the assault on Hodeidah.  And so I guess I'm wondering, does Ms. Mueller… who's… who's providing from the UN system… who's providing that information?  Is it through OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)?  Is there some…?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe that… regarding political developments that Martin Griffiths will also be calling in to that briefing.

Inner City Press: Right, but she kept using the word “military”.  That's why… I'm just trying to figure out if there's some… is it the national staff that are in Hodeidah that would provide this information?

Deputy Spokesman:  There… obviously, the details that are going on in closed consultations are by definition details to which I'm not privy, so I wouldn't be able to express those." So the UN's knowledge is withheld from the UN spokespeople? On June 15, Haq repeatedly said, the UN is on holiday; state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom could come in to work but Inner City Press cannot. This is today's UN. 
From the UK's June 14 transcript, omitting Inner City Press' question, here's from Pierce's opening statement: "We wanted it closed because we'd like to have quite a lot of detail from the UN about what's actually happening on the ground. As there is a military operation ongoing, we think we'll get more of that detail if it's closed. I think that's perfectly reasonable. We hope also to hear something about Houthi dispositions because some of what we hear suggests there may have been mining of the harbour by the Houthis. So we're very interested in that. Beyond that, I'd like to echo what the Foreign Secretary said in London yesterday. Now the military operation is underway we look to all parties to act in accordance with international humanitarian law, protection of civilians. But I also want to recall that the coalition is acting in Yemen at the request of the legitimate Yemeni government and this request was made after the Houthis came into force in 2014. So I think that's an important point.... We've seen some very helpful statements from the UAE about their respect for international humanitarian law but also their willingness to work with the UN." On June 13 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Yemen who the UN thinks is calling the shots.  The various calls that were made to not begin the assault which began last night, many people are saying the UAE [United Arab Emirates] as opp… not as opposed to but along with Saudi Arabia, but that the UAE is very central to it.  And so, I guess I… and they made the threat.  The Foreign Minister of the UAE said, 48 hours and we're going in.  Did the Secretary-General or Mart… or… or Mr. Martin Griffiths… at what level have they reached out to the UAE to…?

Spokesman:  They've reached to… they've been speaking to various parties to those who have influence on the parties, but I'm not going to get into details about that.

Inner City Press:  And I'm asking in part because former UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino León, with some fanfare, went to be… is a… I don't know if he's the head of, but he's a major figure in the UAE Diplomatic Academy…?

Spokesman:  I recall.

Inner City Press: Yeah, exactly.  So, I guess I'm wondering… obviously, he's no longer with the UN, but I would assume he's someone that UN people know… this seems like a diplomatic gambit to make a threat…

Spokesman:  I'm not aware that Mr. León has had any contact with anyone at the UN.

Inner City Press: Okay.  And I guess, given… given that… that… the… the statement by UNICEF about the impact on children in… in Hodeidah — and this was a statement made before the assault began — and given the… the… the children and armed conflict mandate, would you say that this is inconsistent with having listed the Coalition, or does it cause a rethinking of listing the Coalition as one that takes children's safety seriously?

Spokesman:  The safety and the violence… the safety of children, the violence caused upon children, is one of great concern to the Secretary-General that has been going on in Yemen.  There is a process under which the report of… the Secretary-General's report on children and armed conflict is being produced.  It should be coming out soon-ish.  That report will look back at 2017, and you'll be free to make your own analysis." Inner City Press put the same question about reaching out to the UAE to Sweden's deputy ambassador Carl Skau, video here; he said the key is to support Griffiths (who is in Amman).
Military vehicles moved on Hodeida firing and bombs were dropped. Saudi TV said the "liberation of the port of Hodeida is a milestone in our struggle to regain Yemen from the militias.” Houthi-run Al Masirah said they hit a Saudi coalition ship near Hodeida with two land-to-sea missiles. "The targeted ship was carrying troops prepared for a landing on the coast of Hodeida." Guterres was silent. But at 7 am on June 13, ICRC put out a statement including from Robert Mardini, their regional director for the Near and Middle East that "lifelines to the outside world must be maintained, including the Hodeida port and the Sana'a airport. Real people, real families, will suffer if no food is getting in, and we are concerned that ongoing military operations continue to hamper the arrival of essential goods.... The ICRC – working in line with international humanitarian law - urges all parties to the conflict to respect civilian life by taking every possible measure to protect civilians, and to allow safe passage for those who want to escape the fighting. All persons captured in relation to the ongoing hostilities must be treated humanely, and the ICRC should be given access to detention facilities holding them."  The Council meets on June 13 at 10 am - about Central Africa including Cameroon. The General Assembly meets at 3 pm about Gaza. Watch this site. Earlier on June 12, the Norwegian Refugee Council reports that "fighting along Yemen’s west coast is closing-in on the port city of Hodeida. The city is tense, amid media reports of airstrikes inside the city, most notably in the Al-Doraihimi District and the Southern part of Hodeida governorate.  NRC has not evacuated our staff in Hodeida, but we continue to monitor the situation extremely closely." NRC Country Director in Yemen Mohamed Abdi said: "The UK government has warned aid agencies that it has received information from Coalition forces the city will be attacked in the coming days. Any attack will have catastrophic consequences for civilians – risking hundreds of thousands of lives. We call on all parties to the conflict to refrain from any further military activities in and around Hodeida city. We urge the US, UK and France – as those country that can influence the Coalition - to immediately issue a clear and unequivocal warning against an attack on Hodeida city or port." As to the UK, Inner City Press has also since 2017 been pursuing from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office information about Yemen under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In February 2018, after 170 days, FCO denied Inner City Press' request in full. Inner City Press immediately sought an internal review and FCO. Now that has resulted in the release of some superficial documents about Yemen, here, including for example "7. The UN Special Envoy has said the next round of peace talks are not likely to start before the end of March. [REDACTED] The next phase of preparations needs to focus on reinforcing efforts of the Military De-escalation and
Coordination Committee. Meanwhile, HMG is continuing to work closely with the UN, US and World Bank on the socio-economic confidence building measures.
8. Military activity continues with isolated clashes throughout the country. [REDACTED] Since December there has been significant military movement around Sana’a [REDACTED] there are reports of Houthi/Saleh forces moving from Taiz to reinforce positions in Sana’a. [REDACTED] Houthi/Saleh forces
continue to target Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles with accuracy." The rest is, for example,
about interest in women in the failing peace process, and the denial of all other records.
The "internal review" denial letter states, "The disclosure of information detailing our relationship with the Yemen and Cameroon governments could potentially damage the bilateral relationship between the UK and Yemen and Cameroon. This would reduce the UK government's ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with Yemen and Cameroon which would not be in the public interest. For these reasons we consider that, the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing it." Yes, the UK promotes its interests. We will be pursuing this - watch this site. On June 11, even as Doctors Without Borders MSF said that "this morning's attack on an MSF cholera treatment center by the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition (SELC) shows complete disrespect for medical facilities and patients," Guterres took three pre-picked questions and claimed there is a "lull" in fight in Yemen. Do they not have the Internet on his 38th floor of the UN? Or is this the effect of The Check, like some say of the Golden Statue? Inner City Press, not called on and with the noon briefing canceled by Dujarric, audibly asked Guterres about the bombing of the MSF clinic. Periscope video here. Nothing. On Sunday June 10 the UN Security Council has scheduled a closed door meeting on Yemen for June 11 at 11 am. Inner City Press asked the Presidency of the Council for June who requested it and who will do the briefing. The response was that both the UN Department of Political Affairs and OCHA will brief and that the UK requested it. On the UK Mission's twitter feed, nothing. And the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office denied in full Inner City Press's Freedom of Information Act request about Yemen. Two hours before the UNSC briefing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued this statement: "The United States is closely following developments in Hudaydah, Yemen.  I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.  We expect all parties to honor their commitments to work with the UN Office of the Special