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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric of Cameroon Bashir Khashoggi Thailand SG Censorship 300+ UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A, NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 13 – Inner City Press on July 5 was banned from entering the UN, the day after it filed a criminal complaint against UN Security for physically removing it from covering the meeting about the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget, as witnessed and essentially cheered on by senior UN official Christian Saunders, tearing its reporter's shirt, painfully and intentionally twisting his arm and slamming shut and damaging his laptop. On August 17, Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale issued a letter banning Inner City Press from the UN - for life. With no due process. She and Guterres have put the UN in the US Press Freedom Tracker, here. Smale said, again, that the UN would answer Press questions to the Spokesman Stephane Dujarric and his Office; Dujarric said the same on camera. On February 13, before a Dujarric briefing in which one of his partners in censorship from Al Jazeera asked him about Guterres standing next to Bashir in a family phone but not about Guterres MEETING Bashir while there, some days after he took a question on  Cameroon from the correspondent who previously said "the Anglophones did some shooting today," Inner City Press submitted 512 questions "There are more than 300+ questions UNanswered.  While appreciating and using what was sent on January 29 after it was read out in the briefing room, no answers on Dec 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 - another FIVE days in a row, even as SG's direct conflicts of interest and failure to disclose emerge, and a newest low. While appreciating the lone partial response to Question Feb 8-8, nothing on Dec 24 or Dec 26 or Dec 27 or Dec 28, or January 2, 3 or 4 or 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 or 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 or 18 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 24 or 25 or 28 - that was FIFTEEN week-days in a row, apparently under orders, then a simple post-facto answer. Now what? No answers on January 30 nor 31 nor February 1 nor 4 nor 5 nor 6 nor 7 nor 11 nor 12. No answers at all during those four days of the US v Ho trial showing corruption in the UN says it all. This ban is just censorship - and Inner City Press must be allowed back into the noon briefing to ask its questions in person and follow up on them. 

February 13-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action on the now formal charges of "rebellion" against Maurice Kamto, which could carry the death penalty, in light of what your Office says Biya's FM told him in Addis? Simarily, what is the SG's comment and action on the filmed recent mass arrest of youth in the Anglophone regions? 

February 13-2: On Sudan and the ICC, please immediately deny or confirm and read out that " United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Sudan’s president on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, said Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed in a statement released on Monday.  The meeting of al-Bashir with Guterres was reported by the official news agency SUNA saying it took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union." How many times in total has Guterres met Bashir - and any other ICC indictees? 

February 13-3: On Saudi Arabia and press freedom, what is the SG's comment and action on that a top Saudi official who was fired after being accused of playing a role in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues to serve as an informal royal adviser: Saud al-Qahtani, who previously served in effect as the right-hand man to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? What is the status of the MOU with MBS' MiSK Foundation of the SG's Youth Adviser? 

February 13-4: On Thailand and press freedom, what is the SG's comment and action on that Thailand’s telecoms regulator on Tuesday suspended the operating license of a television channel linked to ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra weeks ahead of a general election? Two programs on Voice TV, Tonight Thailand and Wake Up News, spread information that caused public confusion and divisiveness, said the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, without elaborating. And AGAIN, please immediately explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.

February 12-1: Please immediately explain why the SG's meeting yesterday 6-6:50 pm was not listed in the UN Media Alert, and separately why some but not other media were in fact allowed in to "the residence." Again, in light of the claim yesterday that is was impossible to attend the UNSC meeting on Venezuela then the Park East Synagogue event (even though USUN charge d'affaires Jonathan Cohen and others did it), explain why the Secretary General did not bother to attend the 9 am UNSC "urgent" meeting on Venezuela on January 26.  And state whether the SG has been working from "the residence" mid-day, and if so, why. 

February 12-2: On sexual abuse and exploitation and the UN's and its TCCs' increasing lack of transparency, what is the SG's comment and action on the report today from Serbia that "The United Nations states that it was a complaint that was received in January, that it was an alleged victim and that the proceedings against the suspected leader were also within the UN and Serbia. The Ministry of Defense did not answer the question of the Whistleblower whether an investigation and a disciplinary procedure is being conducted against that member of the Serbian Armed Forces.... the case of sexual exploitation for which the suspected Serbian soldier was first reported by an independent American journalist Matthew Lee, who has been writing about abuses in the United Nations for years." Explain why you have refused to provide the if-asked information Inner City Press requested. 

February 12-3: On Western Sahara, please confirm or deny that the SG at the AU met with Brahim Ghali and if you don't deny (there is a photograph) provide a read out or explain why UN provided read outs of other meetings but not this one. 

February 12-4: On Haiti, again, what is the SG's comment and action on accountability after the death toll of UN driving into a collective taxi has hit four? "A traffic accident involving a United Nations armored vehicle killed four people and injured nine in Port-au-Prince on Saturday...The vehicle of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) lost the use of its brakes while driving in the capital and collided with a collective taxi — known as a tap-tap — according to witnesses" 

February 12-5: On Zimbabwe and UN censorship, what is the SG's comment and response to a UN "blockee" who has Tweeted: "Dear @UN  It it with deepest disgust to learn that @UNZimbabwe resorted to blocking me following an tweet in which I questioned them on their silence over the January atrocities in #Zimbabwe. An organisation of this magnitude is expected to be above such pettiness" - including in light of the Spokesman's continued blocking of @InnerCityPress. And AGAIN, please immediately explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.

February 11-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action on the deadly burning down of the hospital in Kumba in the Anglophone Southwest Region, and on the imprisonment of nurse Njongwan Emeline for "unauthorized" filming the authorities mass arrests in Buea? In this context, please immediately specify the SG's statement on "dialogue avec le Premier Ministre [du Cameroun] et il nous a promis que tout ce fait pour créer des conditions de respect des droits de l’homme et de dialogue pour que la situation puisse se normaliser"? 

February 11-2: On Haiti, please specify the UN's knowledge of and action on those killed and injured by its APC, what will be done to the driver and for the victims. 

February 11-3: In Iraq, what is the SG's comment and action on his envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert entirely covering herself to meet with Ayatollah Sistani? [Inner City Press tweeted photo here.]

February 11-4: On Sri Lanka, please confirm that the SG and USG Lacroix are, even after Shavendra Silva was named army chief of staff, urging the fast review and deployment of his soldiers to South Sudan. 

February 11-5: On South Sudan, again, please immediately confirm and explain the departure of Olayinka Adeyemi from UNMISS and separately the order to staff NOT to communicate their complaints to UNHQ, leaked to Inner City Press: "Dear Colleagues, It has been noted that security officers continue to  communicate directly with DSS HQ on policies and other official issues in spite of the fact that you have been advised not to do so. Worst  of all, these correspondences are done without  copying the PSA  or security management in Juba.  This is against best practices and should  be stopped.  Once again please be reminded to direct all your concerns regarding security policies and other official issues to  security management in Juba. Where it is deemed that UNDSS HQ’s input is required,  management in Juba will do so.  Kind regards, Thomas Acheampong." Is this USG Drennan's policy? Again, what is USG Drennan's response to Inner City Press' month ago letter to him, receipt confirmed, about being roughed up by UN DSS Lt Ronald E. Dobbins? And AGAIN, please immediately explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.

February 8-1: On Nigeria, what is the comment of the SG and separately DSG on that Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State yesterday threatened that foreign nationals who interfere in the forthcoming general elections would be given a “body bags treatment"? 

February 8-2: On CAR and impunity, what is the comment and action of the SG, and separately the new SRSG, on opposition to  a clause in the "peace" agreement that reportedly calls for the suspension of prosecutions of those accused of abuses during the conflict? 

February 8-3: On Guatemala, what is the SG's comment and action on that war criminals convicted of extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual slavery could soon walk free if Guatemalan lawmakers sanction a blanket amnesty for crimes committed during the 36-year armed conflict which left 200,000 people dead or disappeared. Congress will vote this week to reform the national reconciliation law and give absolute impunity for crimes against humanity including genocide, rape and forced disappearance?  

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