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On Syria, After Trump Strikes and Russia Draft Fails in UNSC, Sullivan Calls Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait and Czech

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Patreon, photos, Vine

UNITED NATIONS, April 14At 9 pm on April 13 US President Donald Trump announced airstrikes on Syria, with the UK and Syria. In the UN, Inner City Press rushed from the phone booth it works in to the UN Security Council, only to find the music and drinkers still pulsing from the UN Delegates Lounge. Video here.  Russia called a UN Security Council meeting and had a draft resolution voted on. It failed, with three in favor (China, Bolivia and Russia), eight against and four abstentions. (Ethiopia called its abstention pragmatic). Now the US lists calls made by Acting Secretary of State Sullivan: "The following is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert: On April 14, 2018, Acting Secretary Sullivan made the following calls to foreign leaders to brief on the strikes in Syria: Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Al Sabah, Czech Foreign Minister Stropnicky, Turkish Under Secretary Yalcin, Iraqi Foreign Minister al-Jaafari." Some wonder, why Czech Republic, where Chinese businessman and briber Ye Jianming remains an adviser to the President? Meanwhile there are reports of air strikes on Jabal Azzan - watch this site. After the UNSC meeting, Inner City Press asked Russia's Vassily Nebenzia if any of the abstentions surprised him. He stopped and said that Russia doesn't twist any arms, it is a sovereign decision of each country. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres left with his entourage; Inner City Press asked quite audibly. so are you going to Saudi Arabia now? He didn't answer; Inner City Press has asked his two top spokesmen now in writing to be informed, hour by hour. It is, after all, public money. Watch this site. The failed draft at the end, “Condemns the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter [and] Demands that the US and its allies immediately and without delay cease the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and demands also to refrain from any further use of force in violation of international law and the UN Charter.” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia mocked the UK and France as having joined a military action based only  on the US Constitution; he used the word "neo colonialism." Moments before, Nikki Haley, entering the UN Security Council at 11 am on April 14 paused and said, The time for talk was over and the time for action had come, that's what happened last night. As she kept walking, there was a shouted question: What is the proof? Vine video here. Earlier on April 14 at the Pentagon, Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie bragged that there had been no military response, and that the deconfliction channel was working with Russia. Earlier still on April 14, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced, "The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The OPCW has been working in close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the team." There's to be a 9 am Pentagon briefing. Watch this site. At 11:49 pm on April 13 when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was to leave for Saudi Arabia he issued a statement. In response to Inner City Press' question the UN said, SG is still in NY, then this: "The Secretary-General has decided to delay his scheduled travel to Saudi Arabia." Inner City Press checked - his publicly funded mansion's lights were blazing. But for now long? From DC came this, "attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert:
On April 13, 2018, Acting Secretary Sullivan spoke with:
Senator Bob Corker
Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Lindsey Graham
Congressman Ed Royce
Congressman Eliot Engel
Congressman Mike Rogers
The Acting Secretary is speaking with foreign counterparts now. When those calls are completed we will update." Inner City Press
asked the UN's top two spokesmen: "What is the Secretary General's comment (and action) on the US - France - UK air strikes on Syria? And, right now and each hour until any UNSC meeting, where IS the Secretary General?" Guterres' deputy spokesman to his credit sent two responses: "SG is here, in New York." and "We may issue a statement later." Then at 11:48 pm, the above. Since lead spokesman Dujarric said Guterres was leaving for Saudi Arabia "this evening," does this imply Guterres like Trump has decided to delay? Watch this site. Later from the pool, this about the US Vice President: "Pence has just spoken with with Senator Schumer by phone about the Syria military operation." It was explained that Schumer was in the air. But why the silence from the UN's Guterres, even if he may be in the air for blood money from Saudi Arabia?  From France, Macron put out this. US Senator Bob Casey put out this: "While Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable for his unlawful use of chemical weapons against civilians, the strikes that are being carried out are being done without an authorization from Congress, which is unacceptable." But the UN? Party on. Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres, who earlier in the day had dismissively waved off an Inner City Press question before meeting with another Portuguese and taking gift to the UN to his home - in Lisbon? - was on a junket to Saudi Arabia. But who would call a UNSC meeting? Watch this site.
The day after
two and then a third Syria chemical weapons draft resolution failed in the UN Security Council in New York, Russia's Ambassador in Beirut told al-Manar, "if there is a strike by the Americans on Syria , then... the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired." Wednesday morning before 7 am Trump fired back on Twitter, "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia,  because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" Now after Russia requested a UN Security Council meeting on April 13 there is one, which began at 10 am. SG Guterres, who continues to restrict the Press, showed up, unmemorably. Russia's ambassador Nebenzia spoke just after, saying that the US is moving toward military action and rebel groups are ready to follow suit. Alamy photos here. Nikki Haley, just before the meeting began, said she will be heading back to DC for more meetings.
Periscope here. On April 12 Inner City Press asked Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia if his country is, as some report, engaged in de-confliction talks with the US so that if they order strikes, Russian casualties are avoided or minimized. Nebenzia in response called such casualties "unthinkable." Periscope video here. He also said Russia wants an open UN Security Council meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to brief - and, Inner City Press adds, for Guterres to make his position known, as he hasn't on, for example, Syria as president of the UN Conference on Disarmament. Inner City Press asked - watch this site. On April 11 it emerged that in the UK Theresa May was convening a "war cabinet" for the next day. So on April 12, back at the UN, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Karen Pierce about the war cabinet and if the UK believes military action absent a UN Security Council resolution would comply with the UN Charter.  Pierce said that's something ministers are discussing in London, she would not say anything about it, "I refer you to Number 10." Video here. But the UK has denied, in full, Inner City Press' Freedom of Information Act requests about Yemen and Cameroon. So what kind of referral is this? To be fair, Pierce has been accessible since (re) arriving, so we hope to have more. At the UN, Bolivia's Ambassador has "requested a meeting of the Security Council due to threats of unilateral use of force in Syria." That was the Bolivian Ambassador's tweet. The Council presidency Peru, however, has not tweeted or Facebooked that the request is granted; its transparency could be and should be improved, FUNCA says. We'll have more on this. On the morning of April 11 in front of the UN Security Council, Sweden's Ambassador Olof Skoog when asked said, We don't respond to tweets. He said, “Whatever happens now has to be in line with international law" - an echo of Bolivia's Ambassador's comment on April 10. French Ambassador Francois Delattre dodged on Trump's tweet, saying You're right, the weather is beautiful. He said nothing about the day's Council topic, Mali, on which France holds the pen. Nor did the UN-favored scribes present ask anything about Mali. In Washington, while Axios AM for the day didn't once mention Syria, and POLITICO Playbook mentioned it only as a US immigration issue, Inner City Press at the US State Department's April 10 briefing asked Spokesperson Heather Nauert what the US intends to do with Syria set to be president of the UN Conference on Disarmament in late May. Video here, transcript below. Nauert called it ironic but said the US hasn't yet decided what to do.

Most of the other questions in the briefing were about Syria, with references to the OPCW and the defunded JIM, the UNIMI not to be. (Inner City Press also asked about Cameroon, but that's another story - post briefing Periscope here). 
On the third draft resolution, submitted by Russia at 11 am, there were five yes votes (China, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Kazakhstan and Russia), four against (US, France, UK, Poland) and the other six abstaining. With US President Trump canceling his trip to the Summit of the Americas in Lima in order to focus on Syria, at the UN his Ambassador Nikki Haley has called for a vote at 3 pm. Western spokespeople referred to a vote on what they called an "old" Russia draft as well - and there may be a new one voted on as well. From Washington, the US issued this Trump - UK read out: "President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom.  Both leaders condemned Syrian President Assad’s vicious disregard for human life.  The President and Prime Minister agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue." From The Hague the OPCW issued this: "Since the first reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, were issued, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been gathering information from all available sources and analysing it. At the same time, OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations. Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment. This has coincided with a request from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly." Bolivia's Ambassador was asked if he is concerned about US taking military action. "Of course," he said. "That would be against the Charter." In Washington the State Department has a briefing at 2 pm; Trump is said to be close to a decision. Over the weekend, nine of the UN Security Council's 15 members called for a meeting about "reports of chemical weapons attack in Syria;" Russia called for a meeting on international peace and security. After the meeting and consultations, Russia's Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said, “Tomorrow is tomorrow. I am prepared for everything. Whatever happens, we leave it all to chance.” Sweden's Olof Skoog deferred to the President of the Council, Peru, whose Ambassador said, Members of the Council coincide on need for investigation conducted by OPCW. Experts working on the possibility of a resolution on the matter.” He said the experts - not at the Permanent Representative level - would work on April 10 but there was no assurance a vote would be taken at that time. Since then Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has said to expect a new Russian draft, and President Trump "will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled. At the President’s request, the Vice President will travel in his stead. The President will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.” On April 9 Trump with John Bolton at his left hand, after commenting on Mueller and the raid on his lawyer Michael Cohen's office, said a decision would be made soon and the press would be told, probaby after the fact. Earlier as the Security Council meetings began, at the Council stakeout the UK's Karen Pierce was asked if her country supports military action. She called it hypothetical, then pointedly quoted Lenin. She said her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had spoken with Acting US Secretary of State Sullivan. Twice it turns out: the US has issued this read-out: "Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan spoke by phone twice today with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.  During these calls, the Acting Secretary and Foreign Secretary discussed the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, Syria, which killed dozens of innocent civilians and injured several hundred more.  The two leaders discussed the international community’s response and potential further steps the U.S. and UK governments might take in coordination with other partners." Sweden's Olof Skoog, by contrast, said Sweden generally does not favor military action. He has proposed elements for discussion in a closed door consultation after the open meeting. Russia's Nebenzia said his country is willing to consider it. In Washington, President Trump's spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated that "currently" the US is not conducting air strikes on Syria. We'll have more on that, and on the air strikes on Syria's T4 base near Homs, attributed to Israel (and to the advice of Mattis). In Washington, US President Trump said at his cabinet meeting “It was atrocious. It was horrible" and that his administration will be making a decision on Syria in the next 24-48 hours. “This is about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen. If it’s the Russians, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out.” (On meeting North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Trump said meeting will be in May OR early June.)  In the UN Security Council the nine, this time unlike on March 19, include Cote d'Ivoire. The UK On April 8 tweeted, "UK, France, US, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Peru and Cote d’Ivore have called an emergency meeting of #UNSC to discuss reports of chemical weapons attack in #Syria. Meeting expected on Monday." Back on March 19, these other countries did not have Cote d'Ivoire with them on Syria, resulting in a failed vote to hold a UN Security Council meeting on Syria. (An Arria formula meeting was quickly convened down the hall, where Inner City Press due to UN censorship for corruption can only go, if at all, with UN minder). This time, they got France-aligned Cote d'Ivoire on-side....

Today's UN of Antonio Guterres, who just met with ICC indictee Omar al Bashir, and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed who has refused Press questions on her rosewood signatures and now the refoulement of 47 people to Cameroon from "her" Nigeria, has become a place of corruption and censorship. Amid UN bribery scandals, failures in countries from Cameroon to Yemen and declining transparency, today's UN does not even pretend to have content neutral rules about which media get full access and which are confined to minders or escorts to cover the General Assembly.

Inner City Press, which while it pursue the story of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's bribery of President of the General Assembly John Ashe was evicted by the UN Department of Public Information from its office, is STILL confined to minders as it pursues the new UN bribery scandal, of Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly bribing President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, and Chad's Idriss Deby, for CEFC China Energy.

Last week Inner City Press asked UN DPI where it is on the list to be restored to (its) office, and regain full office - and was told it is not even on the list, there is no public list, the UN can exclude, permanently, whomever it wants. This is censorship...


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