Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

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

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


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

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


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

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

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Kerry Finds Syria's Mouallem in P5 Clubhouse, Source Tells ICP, Fabius Disconnect

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 -- Before US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came to the UN Security Council stakeout after 5 pm on September 30, they had met in the clubhouse office of the Permanent Five members - with a third minister in the mix.

  Inner City Press was informed, and at 6:20 pm tweeted, that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem had been in the P5 clubhouse when Kerry arrived; Kerry was "left waiting," Inner City Press was told.

  Once at the stakeout, Kerry said (fast transcribed by InnerCityPro)
 "Sergey has described the meeting we have had, which we would both agree was a constructive meeting. I relayed a reiterated the concerns I expressed in the course of the SC meeting which was led by Russia today. Concerns we have about the nature of the targets, the type of targets, and the need for clarity, and it is one thing to be targeting ISIL, we’re concerned that is not what’s happening .
 "So, as Sergey said, we agreed on the imperative of as soon as possible, perhaps even tomorrow, having a military to military deconfliction discussion, whatever can be done as soon as possible. Because we agreed on the urgency of the deconfliction.

 [Earlier on September 30, France's Laurent Fabius called it disconnection.]
"Secondly, we did discuss a numerb of different ways to address the conflict itsel.f  And several options were agreed to be further discussed. I need to take those back to Washington. And to the president, and our team. I’m sure Sergie will likewise discuss with President Putin and his team. And we will follow up on that, because we also agreed it is imperative to find a solution and avoid escalating in any way or seeing it intensify by forces beyond anyone’s control. And finally, the foreign minister and I agreed that even as we don’t have yet a resolution with respect ot some critical choices we think we have some very specific steps that may be able to lead in the right direction. That needs to be properly explored and so we finally agreed we have a lot of work to do, and we’re going to get to doing that work as rapidly as possible understanding fully how urgent this is, in the context of refugee,s and the impact on Europe, the impact on the region, and understanding also that we need to see Syria kept full, unified, secular, democratic. Thpse are big agreements in that regard, and now we need to work on getting ther. We wil stay in very close touch."

When French Foreign Minister  Fabius walked into the UN Security Council on September 30 he was asked about Russia's airstrikes in Syria. He did not answer.

  But on almost no notice, he appeared in the UN Press Briefing Room later than morning, saying that France has three "conditions" for airstrikes. Inner City Press asked, three times, if Turkey's bombing of the Kurds meets France's conditions.  Video here.

 Fabius refused to answer, even as some scribes traveling with him noted he should answer.

  He'd said, in French (as transcribed by InnerCityPro - the French only send their transcription to some UN correspondents)

"Simplement, nous avions observe que il y avait des critiques formules, a l’egard de beaucoup, les americains, les francais, les autres, parce que nous ne serions pas efficases contre le daesh. Nous agissons. Et donc j’ai dis qu’il fallait agir contre le Daech. Et je maintiens toute a fait ca. Aujourd’hui il y a des actions qui sont menes. Il restera a voir contre qui elles sont menes. Si elles sont menees effectivement contre Daesh et les groupes terrorists, bien. Des lors que d’autres groupes ne sont pas vises. Et puis, ells doivent s’accompagner d’action pour empecher les bombaredment des population civils, et puis elles doivent s’accompagner aussi de la recherché d’une solution politique que je viens de definir. La France n’a pas changer d’opinion.
Si d’autre veulent agir contre le Daesh, il serons le bienvenue. Des l’ors que les 3 conditions de l’efficacite sont respecte."

  So does Turkey's blasting the Kurds meet the conditions?

As the Syrian Coalition becomes even more marginal on the Syria issue, during the General Assembly week it has again gone behind closed doors with the UN Censorship Alliance, like Ahmed al Jarba but not Hadi al Bahra, we note.

  With news of deployments inside Syria, and French president Hollande bragging about airstrikes, one would think current Syria Coalition president Khaled Khoja would want to speak to all journalists, webcast all over the world, in the UN briefing room.

 Especially now that he wants to speak against other airstrikes.

But no.

Reverting, the Syrian Coalition under Khoja has gone back behind closed doors, with UNCA, now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance. This is a group which has tried to get the investigative Press ejected, and which said nothing for example about Turkey's detention of three and now one Vice News journalist -- about which Inner City Press for the new Free UN Coalition for Access asked Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu on September 28, here.

  Davutoglu didn't put his press conference, at which he took critical questions, behind closed doors. Are the Syrian Coalition and Khoja not ready for prime time?

 They cancelled a September 29 presser, then rescheduled one on September 30. The UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric promoted it. But it is NOT a "UN" press conference. It is a scam.

 When Khaled Khoja, as then-new president of the Syrian National Coalition, held an actual UN press conference on April 29, Inner City Press asked him about the Free Syrian Army working with Jabhat al Nusra, and the UN reports that the FSA has recruited and used child soldiers.

  Khoja acknowledged that the FSA has had "tactical alliances" with al Nusra, for example in Idlib. He said the ties are exaggerated, including by "media of the regime." But given that Nusra is a UN-designated terrorist group, what to make of these alliances?

  The question on FSA child soldiers was not answered. Khoja said that the US train and equip program for now does not benefit the FSA.

The sequel  show was also behind closed door, in the UN Censorship Alliance (UNCA), not on UNTV. This is the same UNCA which hosted former Syrian Coalition head Ahmad al Jarba, allowing him to claim he had a “UN press briefing.”  It is a scam.

  And so on April 24 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Dujarric if Jarba's successor, after Hadi al Bahra, Khaled Khoja will hold a Q&A session in the open UN Press Briefing Room. We'll see.

    UNCA and its board members have, for example, sought to get other journalists thrown out of the UN, for reporting on the financial relationship of UNCA's then and now president Giampaolo Pioli with an alleged war criminal, accepting rent money from him and later agree to screen his war crimes denial film inside the UN, under the UNCA banner.  If one has a case to make, this is not the place to make it.

  Even since its outright censorship bid, the way UNCA is run gives less and less confidence. On April 10, the UN Spokesperson's Office announced over its public address system that "in a few short moments in the UNCA room there will be a press conference by a State Department official."

   But as Inner City Press immediately reported, it wasn't any "press conference" -- it was off the record spin, typical of this UNCA now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance (the invitation they send to those who pay UNCA money is below.)

  Just before 5 pm, the UN Spokesperson's Office made a second public address system announcement: it was NOT a press conference, but rather an off the record presentation by the US State Department.

  All this in the big room the UN gives to UNCA, its Censorship Alliance. Why is the UN involved in this in any way at all?

  The announcement by UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli, sent only to those who pay UNCA money (then forwarded to Inner City Press along with messages of shock and disgust) said

"For correspondents interested in an informal off-the-record meeting with [the] Deputy Director, Media Hub of the Americas, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs, please join us in the UNCA Meeting Room, Friday, April 10th at 3:30pm.

"The meeting will be to explain the work of the State Department Public Affairs bureau that works with international media, to provide assistance in gaining better access to State Department officials and information, in addition to presenting the work done in the Media Hub of the Americas where the Director is the State Department spokesperson in Spanish and Portuguese for regional media and Spain and Portugal.

Thank you,

Giampaolo Pioli
UNCA President"

 Pioli's invite linked to a self-description of this US Bureau of Public Affairs, that “PA/IME works in close collaboration with State Department and interagency colleagues to create and manage tools to ensure accurate coverage of U.S. foreign policy by major international media.”

    UNCA represents only part of the UN press corps. This writer, for example, quit the group after 2012.  UNCA is said by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to receive the first question in the UN Press Briefing Room “by tradition,” even after UNCA's Executive Board tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN for its reporting about Sri Lanka, UN Peacekeeping and colonialism (Herve Ladsous) among other topics.

 UNCA did nothing when Ladsous adopted the policy of refusing to answer any questions from the investigative Press, and having his spokespeople physically grab the UNTV microphone to try to avoid the questions being heard.

  Now UNCA wants to facilitate “accurate coverage of U.S. foreign policy.” Does it perform this service for other countries?

    Inner City Press, like the new Free UN Coalition for Access which it co-founded after quitting UNCA, is not against "accurate coverage of US foreign policy." Last month, Inner City Press asked the US State Department about Yemen (including the decision not to evacuate Yemeni Americans from the country), Cuba (the US restrictions on its diplomats at the UN), the Maldives, Middle East and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In each case, Inner City Press reported the answers in full, where possible with video.

  But why provide this platform for one country and not others? Earlier on April 10 UNCA will have a presentation by a former US CIA employee who served in Saipan, Korea, Vietnam and "Burma," as the UNCA notice puts it.

  What has happened to this UNCA under Pioli and presumably current Executive Committee members from Reuters, the US Broadcast Board of Governors and ANSA? And how now can the UN continue to “partner” with UNCA, exclusively, using this partial group as a proxy for the wider press corps?

 Earlier on April 9, when the UN with little notice canceled its question and answer noon briefing in deference to a "press encounter" with Ban Ki-moon at which Dujarric handpicked the questioners and Ban notably did not call for a halt or even pause in airstrikes on Yemen, UNCA said nothing. (They will, however, have a "Prosecco toast" with Ban later in the month.)

 The Free UN Coalition spoke up in criticism, as here. We'll have more on and of this.


Share |

* * *

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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

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

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

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

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]