Inner City Press

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

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

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


Home -

Follow us on TWITTER

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


ICP on YouTube

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

UN's Ladsous Now Spins in Syria, After DPKO Demanded ICP Censor His Name

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 -- Two days after the UN demanded the censorship of a Press story reporting that Department of Peacekeeping Operations boss Herve Ladsous would travel to Syria, Ladsous appeared on TV at the DamaRose Hotel, pontificating about his failing Observer mission.

  He spoke after a car bomb in Deir Al Zor killed at least seven, and UN Observers arrived late and "impotent."

  Ladsous bland remarks were reported only by Syrian and Cuban state media. Desperate to keep the position he left the fated Sarkozy administration for, Ladsous has taken to praising himself to anyone who will listening, while refusing to answer press questions.

  Inner City Press on May 16 quoted its diplomatic sources that Ladsous "plus three" had told Syria they would come. The next morning, DPKO spokesman Kieran Dwyer demanded deletion of Ladsous' name -- but not that of his predecessor Jean-Marie Guehenno.

  After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to answer Inner City Press' question whether the now unnamed UN official's trip was as claimed about the "political track" or rather only about the observers, a senior UN Security official told Inner City Press the censorship call had been misplaced, since "ambassadors" were the source of the Ladsous information.

  At the UN before leaving Ladsous told Inner City Press in response to a question, "I do not speak to you," but DPKO military adviser Babacar Gaye did answer questions, and appeared at Ladsous' side at the DamaRose Hotel.

  Ladsous' inability to talk to the press, and since he was put in place by Nicolas Sarkozy as a last minute replacement for Jerome Bonnafont, mounting peacekeeping failures from the Congo to Haiti to now Syria have led to calls for new French president Francois Hollande to replace him.

  Hollande's foreign minister Laurent Fabius conferred with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday morning in a meeting the UN did not disclose or confirm in advance. Afterward the French readout included UN reform, while Ban Ki-moon's did not. An urgent and concrete reform, some say, would be the replacement of Ladsous.

  As Inner City Press reported on May 16-- and modified at the UN's demand as shown in this version -- on May 16 a Security Council Permanent Representative told the press that

"in the coming days Jean-Marie 'Guehenno and DPKO,' the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, will go to Damascus, on the political track, with it was hoped Kofi Annan to follow. Later on May 16, Inner City Press was informed that the request was made [initially deleted at UN's request but now reported: Ladsous plus three] on the issue of the observers, not the political track."

  More than 12 hours later DPKO's spokesman Kieran Dwyer, copying Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, wrote:

Date: Thu, May 17, 2012 at 7:46 AM

I have become aware of you[r] web article and tweets naming [individual's name included in DPKO's email, but initially deleted, now reported: Mr. Ladsous] as planning to travel to syria along with dpko colleaugues. Your decision to publish this information in advance of a trip has created a potentially serious security situation for un personnel. I ask that you remove all such references from the inner city press website without delay

  For the UN to request post-publication removal from the Internet of information, stated on the record by a Security Council's Permanent Representative, seemed to implicate freedom of the press issues which have not been the UN's priority under Ban Ki-moon.

  But within minutes of receiving the above, Inner City Press modified the story, removing the name and an included critique of the individual specified in DPKO's removal request -- that is, Mr. Ladsous and his refusal to answer any questions as DPKO fails under his watch.

  Later on May 17 at that day's noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky:

Inner City Press: on Syria, yesterday, a Security Council Permanent Representative said that DPKO and an individual who he named would be traveling to Damascus. And he said this was on the political track of the Kofi Annan plan. Other diplomats have said that this visit is limited to the issue of the observers. Is it about the political track or is it about the observers?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Matthew, you and I both know the background to your question here, and quite clearly the Department of Peacekeeping Operations does not release travel plans of its officials.

Inner City Press: But I guess my question is, as reporters here, if Permanent Representatives describe a trip to us, are we not supposed to report that or do you tell diplomats, for example, even the Syrian Government is informed about this trip, including the individuals who are going. So I just wanted to understand what the protocol is, since I was requested to remove the individual’s name from the story I wrote; what is the protocol on reporting what is said on the record at the UN? I understand the security thing, but if you are giving the names to Syria-

Spokesperson: Well, Matthew,  not for the first time, you are mixing up lots of points here and twisting your… the words, and it is, frankly, unacceptable.

Inner City Press: So we shouldn’t report on this, this UN mission in Syria?

Spokesperson: Matthew, you know very well that this is the way that you are trying to distort this to make into a matter of freedom of information…

Inner City Press I received an e-mail to change a story, and I disagree with it entirely, absolutely, 100 per cent.

Spokesperson: This is a matter of security. It involves the lives of individuals, and I think that it is something that everyone needs to reflect on.

  The very next day Annan's spokesman said that his Deputy will travel to Syria. Then Ladsous appeared spinning in Damascus. Watch this site.

Share |

Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

* * *

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-253, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

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 2006-2012 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]