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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric About Thai UN Corrupt Sex Abuse EA302 Cameroon Venezuela Censorship 400+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 12 – 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 March 12 more than three hours before a Dujarric noon briefing that was already over by 12:19 pm,  Inner City Press submitted 607 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 28-3, 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 nor March 1 nor 4 nor 5 nor 6 nor 7 nor 8 nor 10 nor 11. 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. 

March 12-1: On Thailand, what is the SG's comment and action on Thai authorities' pursuing defamation complaints brought by poultry company Thammakaset Company Limited against Nan Win and Sutharee Wannasiri for their involvement promoting labor rights?

March 12-2: What are the SG's comments and action on complaints of UNOG staff to Inner City Press about recruitment irregularities for "the much-coveted P-5 job managing the road safety trust fund... The position for a Senior Program Management Officer on road safety was advertised on 25 September, with requirements including ten years of experience in an organization dealing with road safety and extensive experience in international cooperation in the transport sector. These criteria would have excluded the [connected person who got the post] who has spent years as a human rights expert at OHCHR. Yet one week after the post appeared, it was quietly cancelled and readvertised, with the requirements considerably watered down, suddenly making the [connected person who got the post] eligible. She was subsequently confirmed to the post by ECE chief Olga Algayerova?

March 12-3: On sexual abuse and the UN, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the arrest of UN system "coordination specialist" Gregory Connor "for sexually abusing an Italian teenager who was visiting the Big Apple for a class trip, police sources told The Post.  The 17-year-old victim was inside his hotel room at the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue near West 53rd Street around 6:30 p.m. Friday when stranger Gregory Connor, 46, allegedly approached him in the hotel’s hallway and asked if he could use the teen’s iPhone charger, police said.  The teenager said yes, walked with him into his hotel room and allowed him to use his charger.  That’s when, police said, Connor started to take his shirt off and began touching the victim’s chest. He then groped the victim’s groin over his pants before leaving a few minutes later.  A second 17-year-old was in the hotel room at the time and witnessed the encounter, police said.  Connor, who has an Upper West Side address, was arrested hours later, around 1:30 a.m., while still at the hotel. He was charged with forcible touching of intimate parts, and released without bail following an arraignment later Saturday?

March 12-4: On the Ethiopia Airlines crash, on whichInner City Press questions on March 10 and 11 were not answered or acknowledged despite the attempt to ascertain the fate of the names raised by concern by UN staff in Somalia, please now answer this question, put to the WFP without answer: " at what point does the credibility of an airline become eroded sufficiently for a large organisation not to risk the lives of its staff by flying on it.   This article linked here in a respected professional publication about the 2010 Ethiopian fatal crash in Beirut and the spin put on the investigation by the airline makes scary reading... Notwithstanding the concern about the model of aircraft in question in Addis, there have now been two crashes within nine years where independent analysis suggests pilot error may have been a decisive factor,   at what point would WFP decide that it would suspend its use of an airline pending investigation? will there have to be another crash?"

March 13-5: On Venezuela and press freedom, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the disappearance / detention of journalist  Luis Carlos Diaz? 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.

March 11-2: From the Advance Copy of the ACABQ report on the SG's re-configured GSDM proposal, which Inner City Press has published today, please provide SG's comment on inter alia "Taking into account the significant number of French-  speaking clients in the African region, the Advisory Committee notes with concern the  time zone gap between the region and Montréal, the centre that would provide French- speaking services to clients in Africa. The Committee expects that the Secretary-General  will provide more detailed information."  And, on Uganda," Upon enquiry, the Advisory Committee was informed that since the inception of RSCE, approximately $7.71 million has been invested in RSCE office space, in addition to $9.77 million invested in training and technology facilities which are not related to the scope of the global service delivery model. The Advisory Committee expects the Secretary-General to provide further information to the General Assembly, at the time of its consideration of this report, on the investments made in RSCE. Considering the significant number of proposed abolishments, the investments made in RSCE to date, the request of the General Assembly in resolution 72/266 B, and its key regional role, the Advisory Committee trusts that the Secretary-General will ensure the optimal use of RSCE’s capacity and the implementation of mitigation measures for its affected staff.  The Committee recommends that the General Assembly request the Secretary-General to provide more information on this matter." 

March 11-3: Also on Uganda, perhaps relatedly, what is the SG's comment and action on President Museveni's threat to pull Ugandan troops from AMISOM? 

March 11-5:  On press freedom and, today, Turkey what is the SG's comment and action if any on that Thomas Seibert, a reporter for the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel daily, and Jörg Brase, a correspondent for public broadcaster ZDF, flew to Germany on Sunday after their accreditation to work in Turkey was not renewed?  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.

March 8-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the holding over of barrister Michele Ndoki, whom the government previously shot, on charges like Maurice Kamto of "rebellion"? 

March 8-2: On UN corruption and bribery, yesterday evening Inner City Press saw in front of the UN and questioned Francis Lorenzo, who pleaded guilty to UN bribery. Please immediately state the last time convicted UN bribery felon Francis Lorenzo entered the UN (same for former El Salvador Ambassador Carlos Garcia, who it was shown facilitied Lorenzo's illegal acts, and for Patrick Ho), and state whether Lorenzo is affiliated in any way to the Dominican Republic mission to the UN. 

March 7-4: AGAIN - immediately state who, with public funds, the SG invited to eat halibut with him on March 4, and why it was not on his public schedule. Please state whether the UN considers "The Century Fund" to be a media and if so, why - and, 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.

March 6-3: Please immediately provide the SG's comment and response to the Staff Unions' complain that DSS funds are being diverted to for profit events of CulinArt and USG Smale's DGC: " "the Department of Safety and Security is currently ceding some of its funding to serve profit-making ventures, both a contractor, CulinArt, and another Secretariat department, the Department of Global Communications, by providing security services for their ventures, that is, Friday nights activities at the Delegates Lounge and United Nations Tours, respectively. The funds to provide those services from the UNDSS’s annual budget are substantial and are not reimbursed. Why should UNDSS continue to provide those services out of its budget free of charge when cuts are being made elsewhere?" 

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