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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric About Guterres Financial Disclosure Delay Cameroon JAG v IFC Censorship 300+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 28 – 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 28 two hours before a Dujarric briefing at which he said the US has not contacted Guterres prior to the afternoon Venezuela vote(s), Inner City Press submitted 566 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 nor 13 nor 14 or 15 nor 18 nor 19 nor 20 nor 21 nor 22 nor 25 nor 26 nor 27. 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 28-1: On UN (lack of) transparency, in light of SG Guterres Feb 18 assurance to official that only he, the Ethics Office and those he authorizes in writing will see any of their financial disclosure, please immediately state wha is the status of the now outdated PUBLIC financial disclosures, and why Mr. Guterres omitted Gulbenkian Foundation from his most recent one online covering 2016, when he was paid by Gulbenkian (which tried to sell its oil company to CEFC China Energy). 

February 28-2: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action on opposition leader Maurice Kamto being tried in military court, his supporters held over at least through March 19? 

February 28-3: On Sudan, what is the SG's comment and action on that Omar al-Bashir has adopted five decrees restricting civil rights while expanding the powers of the security forces. They now have the right to search any building, restrict the movement of people and public transport, or arrest those suspected of crimes related to the state of emergency. Again, how many times has Mr. Guterres met ICC indicted Bashir, and why?  [Partial answer here.]

February 28-4: On UN immunity / impunity, what is the SG's response to yesterday's US Supreme Court decision in JAG v. IFC limiting the immunity of international organizations? Will he consent to legal review of the cholera the UN brought to Haiti, and closer to home, the roughing up and banning of the Press with no hearing or appeal?

February 27-1: On your Office's refusal to answer Inner City Press' written questions about sexual abuse and exploitation allegations against UN peacekeepers including in CAR, please in light of the outgoing SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga's statement to Inner City Press on the evening of February 26 that the UN is transparent (and to keep pushing), please immediately provided the requested if-asked information, particuarly but not only about the allegations of rape by Cameroon soldiers, or explain why you have ceased providing such information. 

February 27-2: On Somalia, please immediately provide information and back-up for what's in UNSOS letter to the Somali government about taxes and visas - and explain why this is not "impolite" but Haysom's letter on human rights was, as the SG told his Town Hall meeting. 

February 27-3: On Sudan, what is the SG's comment and action on that Omar al-Bashir on Monday ordered that only rallies approved by the authorities would be allowed to be held, as he announced a slew of measures to end demonstrations against his rule? Again, how many times has Mr. Guterres met ICC indicted Bashir, and why? 

February 27-4: On Western Sahara and freedom of speech, please immediately explain or deny this, from Morocco's AlMassae, that MINURSO chief Kohler is taking seriously alleged threats against the mission’s members by pro-Polisario elements on the social medias. MINURSO and UN police have recently examined in New York ways to address these threats including deploying UN police elements. AGAIN, 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 26-1: On Libya, what is the SG's comment and action on reports that at least 19 people have been killed in southern Libya, as forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar fought for control of oilfields in the region.  Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) killed civilians, including children, and set fire to more than 30 houses in the southern city of Murzuq? 

February 26-2: On sexual abuse and exploitation, beyond the if-asked information about recent cases Inner City Press has requested that your Office has refused to provide as it previously did, what is the SG's response to the criticism that his "civil society advisory group" is misnamed, not representative of civil society? 

February 26-4: On Venezuela and the the press freedom the SG spoke about in Geneva yesterday, what is his comment and action if any on the reported detention of Univision's Jorge Ramos by the authorities? AGAIN, 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 25-1: On Chad and France, on which your Office has refused to answer for three weeks, now it is alleged that the rebel group France bombed is funded by Qatar. What is the SG's comment and action, including in light of evidence UN NGO China Energy Fund Committee offered weapons for oil to Idriss Deby. Again, what is the SG's comment and action on the now second set of French airstrikes on Chad? 

February 25-2: On UN spending, DGACM and OSSC, please confirm or deny that Argentina informed DGACM is would / could not pay to fly UN interpreters business class to the upcoming OSSC meeting there, and that interpreters have been cajoled to "volunteer" to fly economy by being given additional time off, to be paid for by all member states. Also, is USG Pollard flying economy - or business class? Why? 

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