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

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At UN, 3 Days After Clinton Foundation Met DSG, Still No Read-Out Amid Political Forum

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 17 – At 5 pm on the mid-July Friday on July 14, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed met with the Clinton Foundation's director of foreign policy, Amitabh Desai. Inner City Press spotted the schedule, deep in the UN's website, went through in the UN's tourist entrance and asked the UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the meeting. After a generic pre-meeting summary - it would concern the "mobilization of resources" -- the UN and the Clinton Foundation have refused after the meeting to say what was discussed, for example, Haiti. On July 17, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq again, without answer (Amina J. Mohammed is, according to her schedule, out of the office on July 17, as the High Level Political Forum starts.) Google's YouTube, it turns out, denied monetization to the video of this Clinton Foundation Q&A, here. Given the Clinton Foundation's ambiguous record in Haiti - where the UN has brought cholera and failed to even try to make up for it - Inner City Press asked to know the topic(s) of the UN's Clinton Foundation meeting. Inner City Press wrote to Desai himself: "you're meeting today with Deputy SG Amina Mohammed.  Could you state what's on the agenda, before and if possible also after the meeting?" Desai replied, from a address, but only to forward the Press question to Brian Cookstra at the Clinton Foundation. Two hours after the meeting, Inner City Press wrote again to both: "now two hour after the meeting was scheduled: is there any read-out, including but not limited to if Haiti was discussed?" Various publication have noted Mr. Desai's statement that Oxfam - another "development partner," one would think - "screwed" the Clinton Foundation by questioning its performance in Haiti. The email is here. Two hours before the meeting, the UN told Inner City Press this: "The meeting is essentially part of the ongoing effort to engage and mobilise support from different development partners and stakeholders for the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda." So that means, asking the Clinton Foundation for money? Or vice-versa? At the UN, no further information is available. The UN has no rules protecting the rights of journalists to investigate and report on UN corruption without being evicted and restricted for their coverage. Despite not making any change to this since taking power, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed lists as her lone public appointment on July 6 “remarks at the launch of the 2017 United Nations Correspondents Association Directory.” Tweeted photo here. This supposed UN Correspondents Association has not pushed for any rules or transparency. In fact, it was for seeking to pursue the UN bribery / Ng Lap Seng / South South News story by covering a UN Press Briefing Room event of UNCA, which accepted funds from Ng's South South News, that Inner City Press was evicted from the UN and remains restricted sixteen months later. (Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has defended this, saying he "lent" the room to UNCA, Aide Memoire to US Senate here.) On July 5 as Guterres gave a “reform” speech about how Amina Mohammed will take over the UN Development System, Inner City Press was ordered to stop staking-out the meeting unlike other correspondents. Actually, at the same time UNCA was holding an unrelated event in the clubhouse the UN gives them. It's like an in-house union, which has allowed a two-tier system of access and actively sought to get the investigative Press thrown out. And while Amina Mohammed, of whom we still expect and hope for more, earlier in 2017 said she was "working on" Cameroon where the Internet was cut off for 94 days, nothing came of that so far, and no reforms or reversal. The UN and censorship. In this context it is also troubling that the acting head of the UN Department of Public Information Maher Nasser, who has maintained the double standard of access for ten weeks and counting recently "multiple reportedly" attended a Hamptons event of -- and accepted gratuities from, as they'd put it in the Ng Lap Seng trial -- UNCA big wig Giampaolo Pioli, who previously vowed to get Inner City Press thrown out if it did not remove from the Internet a story concerning his renting of an apartment to the ambassador of Sri Lanka, implicated in the White Flag murders of surrendering combatants. These things are not all UNCA members' fault, nor most of those who accept their gratuities. But the UN Secretariat's failure to have content neutral rules, and for example to have now disparately treated the investigative Press for sixteen months while trying to give its office and full access to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar al Yom, whose Sanaa Youssef rarely comes in and never asks questions - is shameful. It's the UN Censorship Alliance. We'll have more on this.


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