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As UN Still Bans Inner City Press E-Asked Spox Haq About Cameroon and DRC and UN Security Cover-Up

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Petition, 2d Video, CJR

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 3 – 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's $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 July 18, still banned from entering the UN, Inner City Press submitted five questions before UN Spokesman Farhan Haq's near empty briefing (at which two journalists kindly asked Haq for an update on the ban on Inner City Press, and Haq said the "investigation" is ongoing though Inner City Press has not been contacted in eight days, that GAP's letter was received and that the UN will simply issue a "decision."). On August 2 before a mere 18 minute briefing by Deputy Farhan Haq Inner City Press emailed in four questions, one of which will for now be under embargo, including: August 3-1: On Cameroon, please immediately confirm and explain: “A 295-strong Cameroonian contingent including four doctors, will be deployed in the intervening weeks to the Central African Republic (CAR).They will be part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Mission for the Stabilization of CAR (MINUSCA), ministry of Defense sources in Cameroon disclosed on Thursday.” Given not only this military's torching of villages in the Anglophone areas but summary executions, why is the UN accepting this deployment at this time? How much of the money goes to / stays with the Biya government? What vetting has been done? Does the UN know the identity of the Cameroon soldiers recently shown killing women and children? What assurance does the UN have these soldiers will not “serve” the UN in CAR?
August 3-2: On DRC, what is the SG's comment and action on this: “Congolese security forces have fired shots to disperse the several thousand followers of opposition leader Moïse Katumbi who are waiting to welcome him as he attempts to cross the border from Zambia. Latest reports indicate that Mr Katumbi is currently at immigration on the Zambian side of border town Kasumbalesa, meanwhile his supporters have gathered on the Congolese side”?

August 3-3: [redacted, for now]

August 3-4: This is a request to belatedly be informed of the name of the UN Security officer who, accompanying Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins on 3 July 2018, tore my shirt and twisted my arm. Before I was banned, I was absurdly told to “Ask Security” about being improperly ousted by Security. But USG Drennan has not answered or even acknowledged a letter sent to him (just as USG Smale has not responded to GAP's near immediate reply to her vague, even the promise of emailed answers in which is now being violated). So what is the name of Dobbin's “colleague” on July 3, and unnamed ERU colleagues on June 22?

(and extremely concerned that of 11 questions submitted yesterday and the day before, only half of ONE was responded to)

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. What are t costs to the UN budget and public of him taking UN Security wherever he goes? Does he reimburse the Organization for that?

USG Smale, also now on three week vacation, has claimed that the SG's spokesmen are answering Inner City Press' email questions. First, for example, none of the four questions submitted yesterday morning, 24 hours ago, has been answered. Second, even if these e-mailed questions were all being answered it does not make up for denying Inner City Press the right not only to attend the noon briefing and other press conferences, but the stakeouts at the Security Council and elsewhere, such as the Budget Committee meeting stakeout I was physically ousted from on July 3. It's 31 days of outright censorship, and counting."

From August 2, no response to any for 24 hours: "August 2-1: On Cameroon and refugees from Cameroon in Nigeria, what is the comment, response and action if any of the Secretargy General to the deaths of eight Cameroonian refugees in Ikom, Cross River who died of fumes from a generator in their room? What has the SG done about the conflict and crisis in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon since his visit to Younde in October 2017? What has he done in the last 12 days?

August 2-2: On the ICC, it is reported that “In a letter circulated Wednesday, [Kenya PR] Amayo asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to request that the General Assembly put the African request for an advisory opinion on immunity on the agenda of its upcoming session starting in September.” Confirm or deny the SG's office has received the letter, and state what the SG will do, which UN body he may ask to act on it, and when and how.

August 2-3: What is the SG's comment and action on this [WSJ] report from Saudi Arabia that “Those rounded up in recent days include Samar Badawi, who is known for having challenged the kingdom’s male guardianship rules and is the sister of one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent detainees, liberal blogger Raif Badawi. Ms. Badawi, who was detained Monday in her hometown of Jeddah, had also campaigned for her brother’s release”?

August 2-4: On South Sudan, what is the SG's (and, separately, UNMISS') comment and action on the detention of South Sudanese peace activist Peter Biar Ajak by South Sudan’s National Security Service after his criticism of the direction of the South Sudanese peace process?

August 2-5: While the “investigation” for which I gave an interview to DSS 23 days ago is neither speedy nor transparent (as the SG purported to call for in Cameroon), yesterday I was informed by staff that my photo has been placed in an array that they likened to a “terrorists list.” Given that I was the one assault, while covering the Budget Committee, this is a request to be informed what the procedure is for putting a person in that array, who made the decision in my case, and how it is consistent with due process and the idea of an impartial investigation. 30 days of censorship is (way) too long.

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. What are t costs to the UN budget and public of him taking UN Security wherever he goes? Does he reimburse the Organization for that?

USG Smale, also now on three week vacation, has claimed that the SG's spokesmen are answering Inner City Press' email questions. First, for example, none of the four questions submitted yesterday morning, 24 hours ago, has been answered. Second, even if these e-mailed questions were all being answered it does not make up for denying Inner City Press the right not only to attend the noon briefing and other press conferences, but the stakeouts at the Security Council and elsewhere, such as the Budget Committee meeting stakeout I was physically ousted from on July 3. It's 30 days of outright censorship, and counting...
(and extremely concerned that of 5 questions submitted yesterday, only half of ONE was responded to)"

On August 1 before a mere 15 minute briefing by Deputy Farhan Haq - with only six questions asked - Inner City Press e-asked: "August 1-1: As “UN Sex Abuse Scandal” airs today in the UK, please provide the UN's comment on / explanation of this: “Francine, who was 15 when she started working for a UN contractor as a housekeeper. She soon learned that sex was part of the job and she fell pregnant. Francine never reported the abuse, and her son Alberto is now five years old. He has never met his father, who Francine never heard from since.”

August 1-2: On CAR, please provide the UN's account of a reported confrontation between MINUSCA's Milan Trojanovic and local authorities, including concerning the motorcade of the President.

August 1-3: Also on CAR, MINUSCA's Vladimir Monteiro has been quoted, "Of course we will assist national authorities, our police will assist national police with the investigation. The country has its police, but they called they don’t have all the capacity, so we will for sure assist them... We never said if they were journalists or not, we just collected the bodies and took them to the hospital.” Will the UN now confirm that the three were journalists? Why this equivocation? What is the UN doing to help with the investigation?

Update: Haq merely sent what he told TASS in the briefing: "On the CAR question, we have the following from MINUSCA: Yesterday, following several reports, MINUSCA Force found the bodies of three male foreigners with multiple gunshot wounds along with an abandoned vehicle 33km north of Sibut, in Kemo Prefecture. After initially being transported to the MINUSCA Level 1 hospital in Sibut, the bodies have now been transferred by national authorities to one of Bangui’s local hospitals. The circumstances of the incident have not yet been established. National authorities, with MINUSCA’s support, are investigating the case. Today, a team of UN Police travelled to Sibut to support the national police with the investigations."
August 1-4: On retaliation and whistleblowers, provide UN's response to the JUI para 10), the report shows that staff are intimidated by the prospect of retaliation, and that this fear significantly affects the willingness of staff members to report either misconduct or retaliation. Isn’t it likely, then, that all problems and shortcomings reported here are significantly understated, as many staff members report that they fear retaliation for exposing institutional shortcomings to anyone inside the organization? “

August 1-5: On India, what is the SG's comment and action, if any, on this: “Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday informed the Lok Sabha that Rohingya migrants will be deported to Myanmar and asked the State Governments to collect their details and confine them to a single place. “BSF and Assam Rifles guarding international borders have been sensitised to ensure that Rohingyas do not infiltrate the country.”

August 1-6: To be more specific than the entirely unresponded to July 31-4, Given Spokesman Stephane Dujarric's quotes to Columbia Journalism Review that I am uncivil, please state whether it is his position that the Al Jazeera representatives heard anything I said after I entered and closed the door of the focus booth, or if they (and he) only heard what he alleges afterward, on Periscope archive. Also, given his quotes, please explain Dujarric own use of the “F word” in the briefing room, for example here: (“Matthew it's f*cking Friday night, I'm so f*cking tired, I want to go home, just leave”).

How can a journalist legitimately be targeted and banned 29 days about counting for using the same word the Spokesperson did, in a more public setting? Where is this investigation?

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. What are t costs to the UN budget and public of him taking UN Security wherever he goes? Does he reimburse the Organization for that?

USG Smale, also now on three week vacation, has claimed that the SG's spokesmen are answering Inner City Press' email questions. First, for example, none of the four questions submitted yesterday morning, 24 hours ago, has been answered. Second, even if these e-mailed questions were all being answered it does not make up for denying Inner City Press the right not only to attend the noon briefing and other press conferences, but the stakeouts at the Security Council and elsewhere, such as the Budget Committee meeting stakeout I was physically ousted from on July 3. It's 29 days of outright censorship, and counting."
On July 31 before a delayed UN noon briefing by Guterres' Associate Spokesperson Eri Kaneko, Inner City Press submitted four questions, including: "July 31-1: On sexual abuse, what is the UN's response to the findings in today's UK report? What is the status of each of the 70 accusees listed yesterday, in particularly those involving the 18 underage victims?

July 31-3: On Burkina Faso, what is the SG's / DPA's response to the opposition denouncing the policy of exclusion from the new electoral code adopted for the presidential elections of 2020. Only the Burkinabe national identity card or passport will be the documents authorized for Burkinabè living abroad to register on the electoral register?

July 31-4: Given Spokesman Stephane Dujarric's quotes to Columbia Journalism Review, and the moribund nature of the supposed “investigation,” please describe all instructions given to UN Security, Lt Dobbins and others, after June 19 regarding Inner City Press, and also state whether any personnel of Al Jazeera or [  ] has been interviewed for the investigation.

July 31-5: Relatedly, I am reiterating my request for SG (or now, Dujarric) comment on Macron aide Benalla having reportedly roughed up protesters on May Day in France."
  Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, about the UK report which only came out at 7 pm New York time on July 30, merely repeated what he'd said hours before that: non-responsive. He did, however, for the first time admit that Guterres' trips, now to Japan as well, involve UN Security costs paid for by the public. So how much is the public paying for Guterres' many junkets and vacations and pretextual trips to Lisbon? From July 30: "July 30-1: On Cameroon, what the the SG's or his representative Francois Fall's response to the Mayor of Buea saying that a planned meeting of Anglophone leaders to attempt dialogue will not be allowed there? What is DSG Amina J Mohammed's response, since she is reported in charge of environmental issues for the 38th floor, to the Biya government's destructive rubber concessions in Southern Cameroon?

July 30-2: With “UN Sex Abuse Scandal” to which the SG declined to comment set to air in the UK, this is request for comment [embargoed - now see above]

July 30-3: On the elections in Mali, given the SG's statement in advance, what and from where is his comment on the rocket fire and irregularities? In Cambodia, on Hun Sen claiming to win all 125 seats? And in advance on Zimbabwe?

July 30-4: Given that the UN - seemingly only DPI despite my “interview” by DSS 20 days ago - says I am banned pending an investigation of why I covered SG speech on June 22 (ousted) and Budget Committee meetings July 3 (violently ousted and banned since), please explain why dozens of non resident correspondents were allowed to remain in the UN past 7 pm on June 26, 2018 for an irony SG “free press” event that was NOT in the UN Media Alert, and for which no list of attendees could have been provided to UN Security, given that my RSVP was ignored and I was then told by the organizer that no RSVP was necessary? What records has the UN kept about the presence in the UN after 7 pm of (all) non resident correspondents and why am I being denied the ability to ask questions in person like others, for 27 days and counting?

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. On claim of no public costs does that mean no UN Security accompanied the SG? Or that he is personally paying their salaries and accommodations?"

On July 27 Guterres lead spokesman and censor Stephane Dujarric which Inner City Press covered from the bus stop by the Delegates Entrance gate  Inner City Press submitted four questions, which after the briefing Dujarric returned with responses IN CAPS, on which he then refused follow up questions of the type he would have had to respond to if Inner City Press weren't banned from the briefing: "My answers are in CAPS after each question.

July 27-1: Given yesterday's UN Budget Note to Correspondents, please immediately confirm or deny that the amount short, including 2017, is over $1.2 billion and separately that the US account for over 70% as reflected by Status of Contributions print outs provided to Inner City Press by member states who found yesterday's Note to Correspondents misleading at best. THE NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS IN ADDITION TO WHAT WAS SAID AT THE BRIEFING AND AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC SHOULD BE CLEAR.

July 27-2: From Burundi, it is reported that earlier this week, Tanzanian authorities including the Kigoma Governor met with Burundian refugees in the Nduta camp and told them that they have to go back to Burundi whether they want to or not. OUR PRINCIPAL POSITION REMAINS THAT REFUGEES SHOULD DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES WHEN TO GO HOME. RETURNS SHOULD ALWAYS BE VOLUNTARY.

July 27-3: In Mali, on 20 July, the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) announced the existence of a parallel electoral register that would include nearly 1.2 million fictitious voters, out of 8 million registered voters. What is the UN's comment, including given its MINUSMA mission there? PLEASE CONTACT MINUSMA DIRECTLY.

July 27-4: Yesterday when asked about my “case” or the “investigation” previously described, during which I have been banned from the UN and briefing for 24 days and counting, you said “an issue of press accreditation, and it is being handled by the Department of Public Information.” So who is investigating the actions of UN Security and Lt Dobbins and his colleagues - refusing to give names while ousting me during an event in the Media Alert on June 22, then after I wrote to the SG, USG DPI and others on June 25 and asked both of you, tearing my shift, damaging my laptop and twisting my arms on July 3 as I covered the Fifth Committee meetings that had been advised to me? Can DPI investigate DSS? Why was my only contact to date - in 24 days - a single “interview” by DSS? Where are these discussions with various parts of the UN that you mentioned? When does this outrage end, and who will be held accountable? THE PROCESS IS ONGOING.

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. On claim of no public costs does that mean no UN Security accompanied the SG? Or that he is personally paying their salaries and accommodations? WHEN THE SG IS ON PERSONAL TRAVEL HE PAYS HIS OWN WAY. [So no Security? And how not say were, as Mayor De Blasio does, and Trump does?]

USG Smale, also now on three week vacation, has claimed that the SG's spokesmen are answering Inner City Press' email questions. First, for example, none of the four questions submitted yesterday morning, 24 hours ago, has been answered. Second, even if these e-mailed questions were all being answered it does not make up for denying Inner City Press the right not only to attend the noon briefing and other press conferences, but the stakeouts at the Security Council and elsewhere, such as the Budget Committee meeting stakeout I was physically ousted from on July 3. It's 19 days of outright censorship, and counting. THIS VERY EMAIL PROVES THAT WE ARE ACTUALLY ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS. WHETHER OR NOT YOU FEEL THE ANSWERS ARE SUFFICIENT IS UP TO YOU BUT YOU CAN NOT CLAIM IN ANY WAY THAT WE ARE NOT ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS OR ENGAGING WITH YOU IN REGARDS TO NEWS QUERIES." Well, no. These email answers don't make up for barring Inner City Press from being able to ask questions at the Security Council stakeout - censorship - and being able to ask follow up questions (one of which, on what member states told Inner City Press were misrepresentations in Dujarric's July 26 Note to Correspondents, he refused to answer). So Inner City Press - before it learned Dujarric was heading on vacation like Guterres for two weeks and Alison Smale for three, send him, them, and Smale fill-ins Hua Jiang and Ramu Damodaranthis: "On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 12:46 PM, Stephane Dujarric De La Riviere <dujarric[at]> wrote: "YOU CAN NOT CLAIM IN ANY WAY THAT WE ARE NOT ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS OR ENGAGING WITH YOU IN REGARDS TO NEWS QUERIES." 

I have tried to avoid e-mailing follow up questions, in part because they can be evaded or ignored just like the initial questions. But today's first and last responses, particularly together, compel this follow up:

USG Smale, before going on three week vacation with Inner City Press already banned from the UN since it on July 3 covered the Budget Committee in the same way it has for ten years, including the last two as a non-resident correspondent, wrote to the Government Accountability Project that “ the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General has continued to answer Mr. Lee's questions and requests for information. The United Nations will continue to respect Mr. Lee's ability to freely exercise his journalistic endeavors.”

But not only banning me from asking questions at the the Security Council stakeout but also from the noon briefing where I could ask questions and follow ups in person is no respect for journalistic endeavors.

The example today is the budget shortfall question. After yesterday's Note to Correspondents, Inner City Press was contacted by member states (as well as some UN Staff) who said the Note was misleading. I asked today in writing if “ the amount short, including 2017, is over $1.2 billion” and the question was evaded by simply referring again to the 2018 figure, when it is a biennial budget. If not banned from the briefing, I would have followed up. So I ask you now to comment on the attached print out from the Status of Contributions website: why report on only one of a two year budget?

And on the Burundian refugees, beyond the vague “principal position,” what if anything is the UN doing about it?

As to the “investigation,” it's been three and a half weeks, and I have be contacted once, by DSS. What could possibly take this long to investigate? Was I entitled to cover the Budget Committee meeting of which I was advised? Yes. Was I nevertheless roughed up by Lt Dobbins and his colleague, still UNnamed? Yes. Did I say “I am a journalist”? Yes. Had I informed USG Smale, and the SG and Deputy, that I was targeted by Dobbins on June 22 and to do something? Yes. So why am I still banned, in disrespect, as USG Smale put it, to my journalistic endeavors? As GAP's July 23 letter to USG Smale and the cc-ed Officer(s) in charge put it, "Finally, GAP is aware you are on vacation for three weeks, but response (and full reinstatement) should not and cannot defer to that schedule." Please state any information needed from me to complete this Kafkaesque 'investigation.'" Hours later, no reponse at all. Watch this site.

From July 26: "July 26-1: Given allegations of nepotism and corruption made by UN staff to Inner City Press, please confirm and comment on how John van Rosendaal, the husband of Department of Political Affairs chief of staff Kyoko Shiotani, became a UN P5, how he was given a role in a DPA website, who else works on it, whether it is Dutch funded, and what the SG has done about this since I wrote to sgcentral[at] about it on June 25, after first reporting it in May.

July 26-2: In Kenya, what is the comment and action of the UN/SG and his Resident Coordinator on this: “Kenya's government is violating the rights of nearly people who have been evicted from their homes in the last two weeks to protect a forest and construct a road.... at least 10 000 people were left homeless when they were evicted from Nairobi's Kibera slum where the government plans to build a road. They accused the authorities of going against a court order prohibiting government from evicting residents from the area without a resettlement plan.In western Kenya, at least 7 888 people have been evicted to preserve a critical water catchment area, the Mau Forest Complex, from destruction. Rights groups say the evictions violate the rights of the people affected.”

July 26-3: What is the UN / SG's comment / action on Sierra Leone's warning to media: “Sierra Leone police has warned journalists and media organisations against broadcast of ‘misleading, disrespectful and inciting’ statements, which it says have the potential to cause insecurity, instability and fear in the minds of the people. In a statement issued over the weekend, the police force specifically called out FM 98.1 and AYV television for broadcasts that it says were made against President Julius Maada Bio’s executive orders, the governance transition team report and the controversial of the fuel subsidy that caused the first demonstration in Bio’s presidency. ‘‘In as much as people have the right to discuss issues, yet this should be done within the confines of the law and should be done responsibly and factually,’‘ read part of the statement.”

July 26-4: On UN Sex Abuse, confirm or deny and state what the UN is doing about “11 alleged victims of sexual abuse, four of whom came forward for the first time and seven who MINUSCA confirmed it was aware of and supporting.Of the seven, none said they had received regular, individual counselling and just one of the women – who are now aged between 15 and 23 – said she had received support for school fees... the original investigation into the Dekoa allegations, which began in mid-2016 and was conducted by Gabonese and Burundian investigators together with the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS). The probe, which remains unfinished, was supposed to identify victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. But a former UN investigator with first-hand knowledge of the Dekoa investigation said DNA evidence was mishandled and interviews were conducted in ways that may have jeopardised the wellbeing of victims and adversely impacted their cases.” What is the SG's comment, and action, on this?

 From July 25:  "July 25-2: On Cameroon, now that Prince Zeid has belatedly spoken, what is the SG DOING about Biya's forces' killings? Has he requested that the UNSC, soon to be under the presidency of a country which bragged about its company's natural gas deal with the Biya government, be briefed under Article 99 and if not, why not?

July 25-3: In terms of belatedly nominating a successor for Zeid, please confirm or deny that the SG interviewed Korean FM Kyung Wha Kang for the position, state who else has been interviewed and if not, why not.

July 25-4: In PBS Frontline's “UN Sex Abuse Scandal” 1 hour documentary, please state why the SG, as head of the organization, declined to be interviewed and separately why he put forward part time Jane Holl Lute and not Jane Connors. Also, why was the victim of the Mauritanian contingents not contacted as promised by the UN?

Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG. On claim of no public costs does that mean no UN Security accompanied the SG? Or that he is personally paying their salaries and accommodations?" Only one, so not listed here, has been responded to. If they have an if-asked, they email it. This is Smale's definition of supporting journalistic endeavors.

From July 24: "In Cameroon what are the UN's / SG's comment on and response to continued and increasing abuses such as this woman's account of being raped by Biya's security forces in Bamenda?

July 24-3: What have been the SG's inquiries and actions on the sexual harassment / cover up scandal at UNAIDS, today in light of yesterday's walk out by hundreds of delegates from the opening of the International AIDS Conference o in protest when UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe took the stage. Before the walkout, a group of African women read out a statement in protest against Sidibe’s mishandling of a sexual assault case against his former deputy, Luiz Loures. The women read out a statement calling for Sidibe to step down for what they say was a cover-up then walked out, followed by a large number of delegates. What is the SG doing? Where IS the SG?

July 24-5: What is the UN's / SG's comment on the scandal in France involving Macron aide Benalla posing as a policeman and roughing up protesters on May Day?

   On July 23 Dujarric
faced only 5 questions total; 
Inner City Press itself submitted five questions only one half of one was answered a day later: "July 23-1: In Cambodia on threat of fines and intimidation for those who boycott Sunday’s general election, what is the SG's comment and action?

July 23-2: In Burundi, journalist Jean Bigirimana has been missing for two years now. He was kidnapped by agents of the National Intelligence Service, and the investigation has led nowhere. What is the comment / action of the UN/ SG / SRSG Kafando on this?

July 23-3: In Comoros there's been an assassination attempt on VP Moustoidrane Abdou days before a referendum on constitutional reform. What is the UN's / SG's comment, and what is the UN's involvement, if any, in elections in Comoros?

July 23-4: Confirm or deny what USG Khare told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, that “there is no decision yet” following the July 5 resolution by the UN’s 5th Committee which rejected the proposal. “No decision has been taken yet, and all contracts of local and international staff were extended for one year until June 2019.” [Quote confirmed by Haq after Dujarric's briefing. Still unanswered:] Has this extension been done elsewhere in the UN system? Where? Under what authority?

July 23-5: You have said in the noon briefing last week that the UN would respond to the Government Accountability Project's letter to USG Smale. She did, but GAP has today called the response grossly inadequate. Now with Ms Smale off on a three week vacation, this is request for the UN's / SG's response to / comment on GAP's reply, pasted below but also sent the the OIC of DPI, the DSG, etc

  Still waiting for answer to July 21-1, regarding location of SG and public costs.

USG Smale, also now on three week vacation, has claimed that the SG's spokesmen are answering Inner City Press' email questions. First, for example, none of the four questions submitted yesterday morning, 24 hours ago, has been answered. Second, even if these e-mailed questions were all being answered it does not make up for denying Inner City Press the right not only to attend the noon briefing and other press conferences, but the stakeouts at the Security Council and elsewhere, such as the Budget Committee meeting stakeout I was physically ousted from on July 3. It's 19 days of outright censorship, and counting.
July 23, 2017
Alison Smale, Under Secretary General for Global Communications
United Nations
New York, New York
Dear Ms. Smale:
Thank you for your letter of July 19th concerning the actions of the United Nations with respect to
Matthew Russell Lee, a US journalist who has been covering the UN since 2006. Unfortunately, it is not
possible to determine from your response what guideline or regulation Mr. Lee violated that resulted in
his expulsion from the premises.
First, your letter tells us that you consider the withdrawal of Mr. Lee’s accreditation as a resident
correspondent closed because the US government was informed of the circumstances concerning this
action. Mr. Lee tells GAP that he has not been informed and was not consulted about this decision.
Was there some form of due process surrounding the decision to withdraw Mr. Lee’s resident
correspondent credentials in 2016, and if so, who participated and of what did it consist?
Second, you explain Mr. Lee’s two expulsions by dispositive statements asserting that he violated the
scope of his permissions. Ms. Smale, the operative question is which of the media guidelines did Mr.
Lee violate, and what action was in violation of the guidelines? If you cannot identify the specific
regulation broken, we cannot address your response. Mr. Lee tells GAP that UN Security officials
accused him of exceeding the time limits allowing a non-resident correspondent to access the UN
premises, but he presents evidence clearly demonstrating that the meeting he was covering was still in
session when he was evicted. According to the guidelines, non-resident correspondents may access the
premises for two hours after the adjournment of the event they are covering.
Third, according to your letter, Mr. Lee behaved in a confrontational manner when approached by
United Nations Security officials, who were therefore entitled to expel him. However, it was Mr. Lee’s
shirt that was torn and it was his laptop that was damaged by the UN officials. Mr. Lee asserts that it
was the officials who behaved uncivilly, and the videos he recorded illustrate this fact.
Fourth, your letter informs us that the matter is under review, but prior to the release of conclusions of
the review, you inform us of what this exercise will find: “As a result of Mr. Lee’s recent actions in
violation of the Media Guidelines and his unacceptable comportment when dealing with United Nations
Safety and Security officials, Mr. Lee’s privileges of access to the premises of the United Nations as a
non-resident correspondent have been suspended. Those privileges of access will remain suspended
pending a review of this matter to determine what further actions, if any, should be taken with respect
to such privileges.” In other words, the review is not a process to determine what actually happened on the dates in question. It is instead an exercise to determine what further actions can be taken against Mr. Lee. Our question is, why is this matter under review? Are you not enfranchised to decide what actions shall be taken against a journalist who has violated the terms of his privileges? A more basic question is, why is there no due process to consider a violation and evidence regarding what actually
happened in Mr. Lee’s case (and more generally)?
Ms. Smale, if we are allowed to argue this dispute before an objective decision-maker, in reference to
specific guidelines, allegations of violations and production of evidence, we can demonstrate that Mr.
Lee’s expulsion from UN premises was unprovoked, and most likely retaliatory for articles he has written
critical of UN operations. If, however, we are subject to an exchange of letters, in which you respond to
us and to Mr. Lee with dispositive statements, without reference to specific guidelines violated or
evidence of the violation cited, we cannot prevail.
In short, the United Nations, and in particular your office, is deciding who will be accredited to inform
the public about the operations of the United Nations. This practice, in itself, is a violation of Article 19
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the UN was established to uphold.
Once again, GAP is requesting information about the specific guidelines that Mr. Lee violated on June
22nd and on July 3rd of this year that caused his eviction from the premises of the UN. And most urgently,
we respectfully request immediate access to the premises, so that Mr. Lee can do his job. Today, we are
informed that the UN Security Council is meeting about Afghanistan, Lebanon, Eritrea, Ethiopia and
Myanmar, and Mr. Lee cannot access any of those meetings or the stakeouts. Please respond by e-mail
this afternoon, if possible.
Finally, GAP is aware you are on vacation for three weeks, but response (and full reinstatement) should
not and cannot defer to that schedule...
Cc: Officer in Charge, Department of Global Communications
Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press
US Senator Patrick Leahy
US Representative Chris Smith
US Representative James McGovern
David Banisar, Article 19"  Dujarric called on his stooges; we'll have more on that. And still these from July 20, when Guterres refused to answer on his censorship: "July 20-1: On Western Sahara, what is the comment of the SG and separately his envoy / adviser Kohler on “Morocco and the European Union concluded on Thursday negotiations held to renew the 2014 fisheries agreement, a diplomatic source told Yabiladi. The treaty includes the Western Sahara waters.”
July 20-2: Yesterday in SDNY court, Patrick Ho who is charged with using UN NGO CEFC for bribing then PGA Sam Kutesa failed in getting any of the indictement counts against him dismissed, and failed in suppressing or excluding from the case his texts and emails. What is the SG's comment, why hasn't the SG called for or commissioned an OIOS audit as even his predecessor did, and who in the UN system is the UN aware of as being in Ho's seized messages?
July 20-3: Please confirm or deny that “Atul Khare, while meeting with the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda in Kampala, said evaluations carried out by the UN did not show cause for an urgent move of the base to Kenya as earlier reported.”
July 20-4: What is the SG's comment on the already completed Frontline documentary S36 E11: "UN Sex Abuse Scandal" - “An investigation of sex abuse by United Nations peacekeepers in the world's conflict zones. The film traces allegations from Boston to Congo to the Central African Republic, with firsthand accounts from survivors, witnesses, and officials.”" Nothing.
On July 19 when the UN Webcast of which had no audio, nearing the very definition of censorship, Inner City Press asked Haq questions including: "
July 19-2: I saw that at the July 18 noon briefing when asked if there is a deadline or timeline to complete this supposed investigation of July 3 (when I was physically roughed up and ousted from covering the 5th Committee meetings as I have the last ten years including the last two as a non resident correspondent, under the MALU Access Guidelines). How is that lack of timelines - 16 days and counting - consistent with your call for “swift and transparent” investigations, for example in Cameroon? What is the timeline? Given that I have not been contacted in 9 days, what is the delay? Why was I not allowed to speak, 9 days ago, about the June 22 ouster and my June 25 email to the SG, USG Smale and others?

July 19-3: Also on Cameroon, you've told me this morning “Regarding your Cameroon questions and the briefing by Mohammed ibn Chambas, please note that Cameroon does not fall under the purview of UNOWA. In his briefing, SRSG Chambas referred to the border demarcation activities of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, of which he is Chairman."

But SRSG Chambas told the UNSC, “"The demarcation of the Cameroon-Nigeria border and the pillar construction continue to face challenges due to insecurity in areas affected by the presence of Boko Haram and unrest in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Nevertheless, pillar construction is expected to resume at the end of the rainy season." So he referenced “unrest” in Anglophone Cameroon, and expressed an expectation about how it would develop / allow pillar construction. And so again:

What is the basis of the SRSG's “expectation”? Statements by the government of Paul Biya?

Is the problem in the “English speaking regions” one of unrest, or of targeting killings and the burning and looting of villages by Paul Biya's forces?

What inquiry had Chambas or his colleagues in the UN system made into the fate of the 47 people illegally refouled from Nigeria to Cameroon?

July 19-4: Also on transparency, it is reported that “Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations.” Please provide a copy of that MOU, and of the Myanmar - Rohingya MOU, or state why and on what basis for a public institution these are not released." Nothing - except these notes, which we publish in full:

As of today, the entire population of the besieged Syrian towns of Foah and Kafraya has reportedly been evacuated following a local agreement between parties to the conflict. The two towns had been besieged by non-state armed groups since October 2015. The United Nations last provided humanitarian assistance to the besieged areas in September 2017.

An estimated 6,900 people were reportedly escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to the Al-Eiss crossing in southern rural Aleppo Governorate. In addition, 17 medical cases, accompanied by 21 family members, were brought to hospitals in Aleppo city.

The United Nations was not party to the negotiated agreement or its implementation, but stands ready to provide all people in need with humanitarian assistance wherever they are. The United Nations underlines that any evacuation of civilians should be safe, voluntary, well-informed and to a place of their own choosing. All people displaced through such agreements must retain the right of return as soon as the situation allows.

Also today, a United Nations/Syrian Arab Red Crescent inter-agency convoy delivered food, nutrition, health, education, water and other humanitarian supplies for 19,500 people in need to Beit Jan and surrounding areas, in southwest of the Rural Damascus governorate. This is the first humanitarian convoy to reach the formerly besieged area since 2013. In addition, the team conducted a needs assessment during the delivery.


The World Health Organization announced recently that 38 per cent of health facilities in Iraq supported by nine Health Cluster partners are at risk of closure by the end of July 2018, due to funding shortages, affecting more than 900,000 people.

Health partners urgently require $54 million under the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure continuation of health services in conflict-affected and newly accessible areas.

Meanwhile, the Iraq Humanitarian Fund has completed the allocation of some $34 million to support NGOs, UN agencies and Red Cross/Red Crescent partners providing crucial humanitarian assistance in Iraq.


 The Deputy Secretary-General will travel to the United Kingdom from 22 to 25 July to participate at the first Global Disability Summit and to engage in high-level meetings on reforms of the United Nations development system.

She will return to New York on Wednesday, 25 July.


In a statement we issued last night, the Secretary-General welcomed the decision by political parties in El Salvador to establish a negotiating framework to reach medium and long-term agreements for the benefit of the country. He congratulated the members of civil society, constituted in a UN-facilitated Group in Support of Political Dialogue, who have helped bring into being the commitment of political parties.

The Secretary-General hopes that the political parties will now join their efforts in translating their commitment into concrete agreements that will benefit all Salvadorans.


The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today welcomed recent actions taken by several European countries to collectively end a standoff on the Mediterranean where some 450 refugees and migrants had been stranded at sea amid a battle over disembarkation.

Since Saturday, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal have agreed to land the ships and share the processing, including any potential asylum claims, of these people.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said that this sets a positive example of how, by working together, countries can uphold sea rescue and manage borders while simultaneously meeting international asylum obligations.

However, he cautioned, solutions that go beyond piecemeal or “ship-by-ship” arrangements are needed.

You can read more on UNHCR’s website.


The Economic and Social Council is holding a high-level policy dialogue with International Financial and Trade Institutions today, focusing on trends in the global economy and international trade in the context of sustainable development.

Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) offered their projections for economic growth, international trade and other trends and challenges.

And in the afternoon, a thematic discussion on “Leveraging new technologies for the Sustainable Development Goals” will take place.


For the Honour Roll, I am delighted to welcome Lithuania to the Honour Roll! Our friends in Vilnius have paid their regular budget dues in full, making Lithuania the 111th Member State to do so.


This evening, at around 6:30 p.m., there will be stakeout by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Olof Skoog of Sweden, along with the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council, Ambassador Sebade Toba of Togo, at the Security Council Stakeout.

They will brief in their capacity as Co-Chairs of the 12th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council, following the conclusion of the meeting." Inner City Press will, of course, be banned from that as well. Thanks, Guterres, Smale and Sweden.... From t
he July 18 questions Inner City Press submitted, UNanswered like those below: "
Is the Secretary General meeting today with the Club of Madrid or any of its members? If so, why is this not in his public schedule? And please list the purposes and issues of his most recent two meetings involving the Club of Madrid... Regarding the next Administrative Instruction ST/AI/2018/8 signed on July 9 by USG Beagle about the use of force by UN Security, please explain the meaning of “Security officers are expected to exercise their functions with courtesy and in co nformity with established rules and regulations, including applicable local law.” Since NYPD officers are required to give their names, does this mean that the UN ERU officers who refused to give their names on June 22, and Lt Dobbins who told them not to give there names, do not comply with this?" What is the UN deciding on - suspending Lt Dobbins and the other rogue officer who tore Inner City Press' shirt and twisted its reporter's arm for covering Guterres' $6.7 billion budget committee meeting?

From the day before: "July 17-1: Confirm or deny that the Indian army unit based in Uri that was struck and struck Kashmir is no longer being deployed to MONUSCO, and the UN's reasoning.

July 17-2: Relatedly, please provide an update on the (second tier of) vetting of Sri Lanka troops whose deployment was reportedly deployed.

July 17-3: “Egypt's parliament has approved a tough new law to regulate social media, raising fears that it could curb dissent against President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's regime. The law states that social media users who have more than 5,000 followers could be placed under the supervision of Egypt's Supreme Council for Media Regulations. The council would be authorised to suspend or block any personal account which "publishes or broadcasts fake news” - what is the comment of the SG / UN?

July 17-4: What is the SG's or UN's comment on the physical removal of journalist Sam Husseini from yesterday's US-Russia press conference in Helsinki?

July 17-5: Since you and USG Smale have refused to answer Inner City Press' questions on why it remains banned, and unable to attend and ask questions at the noon briefing and elsewhere in the UN (and even to WIPO in the Pierre Hotel), please provide the UN's responses on deadline to the letter to USG Smale and others (including chief of staff Viotti and ASG Christian Saunders) from the Government Accountability Project." No answers, repeat questioners, only one to PGA Lajcak's spokesman. On July 16, Inner City Press submitted seven questions, only one of which, on Haiti, was even partially answered, on this web site. The July 16 questions: "Still banned from UN, for being roughed up while covering the UN Budget Committee meetings I am entitled to cover under MALU Access Guidelines and as applied to all other non resident correspondents) I was belatedly “interviewed” by UN Security in the basement of the UNITAR building on July 10 from 10:45 to 12:05 and *nothing* since. I have questions on that; as I've told you, DPI has not responded to a single one of my seven emails so I am asking you:

July 16-1: On Cameroon, Inner City Press is still awaiting your response to question I posed two days ago: there are new leaked videos of abuse by Cameroon security forces. Since there's not yet even a promise of self-investigation, what is the UN's comment?

July 16-2: Given your belated call last week for a “swift and transparent” investigation of the earlier verified footage, please live up to “swift and transparent” -

how long can an investigation (of me being roughed up and wrongfully ousted from covering Budget Committee meeting on July 3) take? It's been 13 (or at least 11) days.

On transparency, again, WHO decided, between July 3 and July 5 945 am, to ban me? And on what basis?

July 16-3: Thousands took part yesterday in Rabat in a march called by Human rights associations and unions to call for the liberation of the “Hirak El Rif” detainees and answer the socioeconomic requests of the inhabitants of Al Hoceima. For the upteenth time, what is the UN's comment on this ongoing unrest and injustice, given the SG's “conflict prevention” and human rights claims?

July 16-4: In DRC President Joseph Kabila replaced the country´s army chief in a military shake-up at the weekend that included the promotion of two leaders accused of human rights violations. what is the UN's comment on this ongoing unrest and injustice, given the SG's “conflict prevention” and human rights claims?

July 16-5: In a letter to the UN, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has called for a reassessment of the UN peacekeeping force’s (UNFICYP) mandate on the island. What is the SG's thinking / response?

July 16-6: Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned, after civilians were killed protesting fuel price subsidy cuts. Again, that is the comment of UNSG and the UN Mission, given what the UN has done there including by introducing cholera and not paying reparations of any kind?" No answers. On June 13 another empty briefing,
after which Haq answered only one of the questions, which included: "Still banned from UN, I was belatedly “interviewed” by UN Security in the basement of the UNITAR building on July 10 from 10:45 to 12:05. I have two more questions on that; as I've told you, DPI has not responded to a single one of my seven emails so I am asking you:

1) who is responsible for deciding, between 10 pm July 3 when I was assaulted by UN DSS Lt Dobbins and another UNnamed, and 10 am on July 5, that I was and am banned from entering the UN? Who participated in this decision?

2) Your office yesterday told The Independent (UK) that “a review ha[s] been launched into the manner in which Mr Lee had been removed and his future accreditation.” How my accreditation should suffer for having been assaulted by Lt Dobbins and unnamed colleagues, for the second time in 11 days, is a mystery or worse. But please state how it is possible for DSS to investigate itself in this matter. What provisions does the UN have when abuse BY UN Security officers is alleged, and how does it impact for example their New York and other gun permits?

July 13-1: Two full days ago I asked your Office about the video of Cameroon soldiers executing women and infants. You have still not answered. Now that Amnesty International has verified the video, what has the UN done about it? What will the UN do? Relatedly, what is the UN's comment on “Cameroon's President Paul Biya has announced that he will be a candidate in the 7 October presidential election that would, if he wins, extend his 35-year-rule. Biya tweeted 'I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as your candidate in the upcoming presidential election'”

UPDATE: After the briefing, Haq sent Inner City Press this: "On Cameroon, we can say the following now: We are aware of the video circulating on social media and welcome the announcement by the Government of Cameroon to open an investigation into the matter. We urge the Government to swiftly and transparently conduct the announced investigation." While different in kind, this echoes UN Security "investigating" its own personnel's assault on the Press. It is a bad joke.

July 13-2: Saudi King Salman has ‘pre-exonerated’ all troops fighting in Yemen from any accountability issues they may face over their conduct in the war, in which thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded. A statement announcing the early pardon, released by Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA, said the pardon extends to “all military men across the armed forces” taking part in Operation Restoring Hope.” Given that the SG accepted Saudi's $930 Million check, what is his comment?

July 13-3: In Spain El Pais reports that Equatorial Guinea protects President Teodoro Obiang from coups by hiring combat pilots and commanders of warships from Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania in a "flagrant regime of illegality" and violating international regulations, according to a report of the Spanish police. What is the UN's comment and action?

July 13-4: Before being ousted and now banned, I had asked at the noon briefing about the status / absence of USG Heidi Mendoza from OIOS. While that was not answered, having now learned more, this is a written request that you confirm that USG Mendoza has been on leave for approximate six months, that you state (as I requested) who is the Officer in Charge, that you state the current role in OIOS of Michael Dudley, and that you provide the SGs comments on and response to the decision in [ ]

July 13-5: With the Fifth Committee's rejection of SG Guterres' GSDM proposal in the process from which I was ousted and banned from covering, what is SG Guterres' plan? Relately, on the “reconfiguring of the development system,” how much money has been raised and when will SG Guterres file the required Program Budget Implication?" No answers. But a tape recorder holder for a Japanese media that reports more, in a racist fashion, on US rappers finally asked a (lame) question. We'll have more on this. On July 9, while
Haq claimed that this one-way assault was an "altercation" justifying the ban of the journalist improperly ousted and assaulted, Haq did not by 1 pm answer a single one of these questions then making him one for six and trying to keep Inner City Press out from Guterres' long delayed July 12 press conference (a subsequent answer, published in full below, claims that Guterres is committed to press freedom in Myanmar and Sudan). Later on July 9, Haq belatedly answered Inner City Press' July 6 question about Canada in Mali, below, with this: "Regarding your earlier question on Mali, we have the following to say: We can confirm that an advance party of 25 Canadian military troops have so far been deployed to MINUSMA as part of the 136-strong aviation unit to be deployed to UN peacekeeping by the Government of Canada, according to our memorandum of understanding (MOU) with this troop-contributing country. Canada has not submitted any nominations for Police contingent members to MINUSMA to date." No police, 25 out of 136. The July 9 questions: "Since I am still, for a third business day, banned from the UN without due process (see below), here are three question for answer before or at the noon briefing:

July 9-1: In South Sudan, the opposition has reportedly rejected a peace plan under which Riek Machar would be reinstated as vice president. What is the SG's (and separately UNMISS') comment and role if any in the process?

July 9-2: What is the Secretary General's response to the demand by Transparency International and others that its MOU on the return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar be made public? And please explain what part of Bangladesh's plan for a distant island for Rohingya the SG finds or found interesting. And what is the SG's comment (and action) on the charged now announced by Myanmar against journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo?

July 9-3: “Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Sunday seized copies of Al-Jareeda and Akhir Lahza newspapers without stating reasons” -- what is the SG's comment, and separately his country team's action?

On the “ban” -- Fox News reported this ban is pending a review. I have not been contacted concerning any review. Despite DSS and DPI not have spokespeople, on July 6 I was told to contact them. I wrote to DPI's USG Smale, again - without any response. So I ask again: who is conducting the review your Office told Fox News about? When does it end? How does it not involve Inner City Press, which is now banned for a third business day?

What is the Secretariat's comment on/ response to this?

July 6, 2018, “Harassment of US Journalist Intensifies at the UN,”

To whom in the UN do I submit my evidence for this “review”?" After 1 pm, Haq replied with this: "Regarding South Sudan, the UN Mission in South Sudan welcomes the apparent progress being made in the peace process as talks between the South Sudanese parties continue in Khartoum. It is encouraging that there appears to be fresh momentum and that all the various stakeholders are actively engaged in the discussions. The Mission also acknowledges and appreciates the strong lead role of sub-regional actors in facilitating the discussions.

On Myanmar, we remain concerned at the arrest and continued detention of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.  The Secretary-General has repeatedly urged  for the release of the journalists and for the authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and information.  We will continue to raise the issue as a high priority at every possible opportunity.

On Sudan, we continue to call for freedom of expression, including the rights of the media." Oh really. On July 6, when Inner City Press went to the gate to ask politely if it could as before enter to attend the noon briefing and ask questions, it was told "No." Inner City Press reiterated its concern about censorship to Darrin Farrant, a staff member of Alison Smale of DPI who has not answered Inner City Press' six emails and petition; he said he would pass the concern along. We are waiting, in the rain, for an answer. At the day's noon briefing, the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq took questions from France 24, Moroccan state media, Reuters and quickly turned over the podium to the PGA's spokesman. Inner City Press had asked Haq: "Since Inner City Press' six inquiries with the head of DPI Alison Smale have gone unanswered, and I am as you know banned from entering the building, who are you telling me to contact in Security and DPI? Aren't you the spokesperson for the Secretariat? Need answer immediately. For now, for noon, three questions:

In Tanzania, Julius Mtatiro asenior leader of a Tanzanian opposition party has been arrested for insulting President John Magufuli by asking“Who is the President, really?” Police detained him “as they found this phrase offensive to the president. They went on to search Mr Mtatiro’s home for the device used to post on social media.” What is the Secretary General's comment - and his / Country Team's action?

It is reported that Canada will deploy up to 20 civilian police officers to support both the United Nations peacekeeping mission and the EU training mission in Mali. So, will they be part of MINUSMA? How many Canadian personnel are currently part of MINUSMA, and what is the plan and timetable for additional Canadian joining of MINUSMA? Will Canadian troops have different (and significantly, better) security equipment that other countries' troops in MINUSMA?

On the deadly class between DRC's and Uganda's militaries on Lake Edward, what is the SG's comment and what is MONUSCO's action?" So far, even after the briefing, only this: "Regarding your question on Lake Edward, there is no comment or response from MONUSCO." We'll have more on this.

Haq told Fox News "Matthew Lee [i]s a repeat offender, having been similarly removed from the building on 22 June 2018, Matthew Lee has been temporarily barred from the premises pending a full review of this incident." There is no offense by Inner City Press: the rules permit Inner City Press to cover meetings after 7 pm, on June 22 a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres and on July 3 a meeting about Guterres' $6.7 billion budget. So since no one from the UN contacted Inner City Press on July 5 about any review, Inner City Press wrote to Haq and his boss Stephane Dujarric (out of the office again). Haq replied, "Receipt is confirmed. For questions about security issues, you will need to be in touch with security and with DPI." But neither Department has a spokesperson - Haq is the spokesperson for the Secretariat -- and Inner City Press has written six times to the head of DPI without a single response. The head of DPI ordered an investigation of him own staff after Inner City Press published a leaked email about him "burying" a threat to another UN system official, Irina Bokova (who may, some say, become High Commissioner for Human Rights). So Haq's "answer" is Orwellian. We will have more on this. Guterres was informed on June 25 by Inner City Press of the escalating targeting by his UN Security Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins. In fact, Guterres deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on July 3 essentially gave the green light for that evening's Security violence. On July 5, Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to answer press questions about the ouster before "his" noon briefing. Afterward, when Saunders sauntered out of the UN in black sunglasses and was informed that Inner City Press was now banned, his response was to complain about some of the written coverage of him. Video here. So is that why he cheered on the twisting of the Press' arm? Will this obviously biased official be witness in the "full review of the incident" pending which Inner City Press is indefinitely banned? Brenden Varma the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak (whose chief of staff and under-staffer were also informed of the Press ban) said, as his office summarized, "This afternoon at 3:00, the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which handles administrative and budgetary matters, will formally take action on all outstanding issues, including United Nations peacekeeping budgets and the Secretary-General’s management reform and peace and security architecture reform proposals.
It will then close the second part of its resumed session.
Following that, the General Assembly plenary will meet to consider the report of the Fifth Committee." Inner City Press was banned from this meeting and vote. While the UN has told Inner City Press nothing, Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq told FOX News' Adam Shaw that "security followed up, they found Matthew Lee to be in the building past 9 p.m., well after the hours for a non-resident correspondent, and they informed him that he was not allowed to roam around the UN compound at that hour. They informed him that he would be required to leave the premises. At that point, Mr. Lee became loud and belligerent, and resisted the instructions of UN security officers. He was then escorted outside the building, along with his laptop and backpack. Based on his unacceptable behavior, and the fact that he was a repeat offender, having been similarly removed from the building on 22 June 2018, Matthew Lee has been temporarily barred from the premises pending a full review of this incident." But Inner City Press has not been contacted for any review, which would have to include UN Security twisting its reporter's arm before any volume, and the MALU rule permitted coverage of meetings after 7 pm, and for an hour after then end. This was pure targeting, and Guterres and his team are responsible.  Eleven days after UN Security officers led by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbin and four others who refused to give their names pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN during a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on July 3 just after Inner City Press interviewed the chairman of the UN Budget Committee, Dobbins and another UN Security officer even more physically removed Inner City Press from the UN.
Video here, tweeted here. Hours later as diplomats and Guterres officials who witnessed it left the UN, Inner City Press asked Guterres' Under Secretary General for Field Support Atul Khare about the process. He admitted, contrary to Guterres' spokesman, that the Support Account was still not agreed. Shown the shirt that UN Security officers Dobbins and his thus far UNnamed partner tore, he said, "I'll talk to DPI." While appreciated, Inner City Press already six times wrote to DPI's Alison Smale, and last week spoke directly to her and her piano playing husband Sergei Dreznin at the End of UNSC Presidency reception. Inner City Press told Smale, and an hour later emailed her, that her continued disparate treatment of active Inner City Press as a non - resident correspondent would allow further targeting like that of Lieutenant Dobbins and four unnamed Emergency Response Unit officers on June 22. Smale didn't even confirm receipt of the email as requested. And on July 3 a new officer got involved as Inner City Press covered the UN budget, breaking Inner City Press' laptop, tearing its shirt and twisting its arm. Smale and Guterres are responsible. This all happened as Inner City Press was actively writing about the UN's murky $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget and questionable reforms by Guterres. It happened directly in front of, and ultimately at the order of, a Guterres Assistant Secretary General, Christian Saunders. A number of diplomats stood and took pictures and videos. Here as the interview, pre-ouster, with the Budget Committee chairman Tommo Monthe of Cameroon, video here. Guterres' spokesman Farhan on both July 2 and July 3 insisted to Inner City Press that the budget was agreed to in a closed session on Sunay, when clearly it has not been approved. While we will have more on the other UN Security Officer, Inner City Press has previously reported on issues with Saunders, from education to the cover up of sexual harassment and abuse in the UN. The fact that Antonio Guterres allows this to go on in his UN should disqualify him. The UN had at least 11 days to deal with this - Inner City Press repeatedly at the noon briefing asked about the rules, and the budget - and this was their response. Significantly, on July 3 the Government Accountability Project has criticized the ouster and called for Inner City Press to be reinstated as a UN Resident Correspondent. Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you, a week ago, about the UN policy of UN security ousting the non-resident correspondent during a meeting to be covered and refusing to give their names, and now the Government Accountability Project has asked the same question.  So I'm wondering, you didn't ask me when I answered it [sic], what is the policy of the UN on something as fundamental as security officers giving their names, and also can they oust journalists during a meeting such as a budget meeting that will be upcoming, I would believe, in upcoming days?

Deputy Spokesman:  As far as I'm aware, the security officers were enforcing the appropriate rules.  Any problems that you have with them are questions that you need to address with our colleagues in UN security and with Media Accreditation." But as GAP notes, the boss of Media Accreditation Alison Smale has refused to answer anything in eight months. GAP writes: "as security expelled Mr. Lee from the building, he encountered Catherine Pollard, the UN’s Under-Secretary General (USG) for General Assembly and Conference Management, who pointedly ignored his plight and simply stayed her course, despite his plea for her intervention. Along the way, Mr. Lee also asked the guards for their names, which they refused to provide. This most recent incident is the latest in a long history of harassment directed at a journalist who has been critical of UN management and operations over the years. Mr. Lee’s investigative reporting has broken stories concerning sexual abuses committed by peacekeepers in Africa, the role of UN peacekeepers in bringing cholera to Haiti, and war crimes in Sri Lanka, Burundi and Sudan [and Cameroon]. Mr. Lee’s reporting has also helped to expose corruption at the Headquarters of the United Nations, including the current bribery scandals surrounding former General Assembly President [Sam Kutesa and] John Ashe."

  In the eleven days since the ouster, live-streamed on Periscope and then put on YouTube, the UN of Antonio Guterres has not responded in any way. Inner City Press was first told to "Ask Security" then to "Ask DPI" or as it now absurdly wants to be known, the UN Department of Global Communications. But as GAP continues, "Like USG Pollard, the Under-Secretary for Global Communications, Alison Smale, seems deaf to Mr. Lee’s distress; she has refused for eight months to answer e-mails or respond to a petition to restore his credentials as a resident correspondent." Inner City Press since the ouster has raised it to Smale not only in writing (again) but also in person - with no response. Global Communications, indeed. GAP concludes: The Government Accountability Project therefore urges the Member States of the United Nations to combat the silencing of a journalist by taking action at the offices of the self-appointed guardian of free speech, itself: the United Nations. Matthew Lee should be: Reinstated as a resident correspondent with appropriate access to facilities and events, and Issued a public apology for the improper expulsion that occurred on June 22nd." To Inner City Press, it is the first of these, restoration to its long time work space S-303 which sits empty every day, assigned to an Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom whose Sanaa Youssef, while a former president of the UN Correspondents Association (1984) has not asked the UN  a question in a decade. As to apologies from today's UN, the disingenuous apology in Haiti for example shows how much those are worth. We'll have more on this. Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric evaded Inner City Press' questions then ran off the podium. Video here. Despite the fact that Guterres' armed guards ousted Inner City Press and that the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Smale did nothing, Dujarric babbled that Inner City Press should "ask DPI" then ran off the podium. Video here. From the UN (controlled) transcript: Inner City Press: Farhan [Haq], on Monday, when I informed him that on Friday I had been, during an event in which the Secretary-General was giving a speech, made to leave by UN Security while other non-resident correspondents, a distinction you just cited, were still in attendance, he said to talk to security.  And that seems strange to me, because it seems to me that the Secretariat, like civilian…

Spokesman:  I think if there are any issues that you have…

Inner City Press: My issue…

Spokesman:  If you have any issues with your access, you should take them up with DPI [Department of Public Information] and the people who actually issue the accreditation.

Inner City Press:  They came… they came and they said there was nothing they could do…

Spokesman:  "Thank you very much.  Brenden." The UN transcript omitted the audible question, "So can Security just at will bar journalists?" Video here. The UN of Guterres, Dujarric and Smale is a place of corruption and censorship, and self-serving erasure even of the questions asked, with the public's money. The day before, after cutting off Inner City Press' question about protests of Guterres' inaction on sexual harassment cover-ups at UNAIDS, Dujarric called on a correspondent for a London-based Arabic daily. Then he called on that same correspondent again before returning to Inner City Press. Sensing this second round might be cut off, Inner City Press began asking about Guterres inaction on Cameroon then on his Security's ouster of the Press which asks. But Dujarric after evading the Cameroon question turned to Al Jazeera which asked what even it called a light question about the French label pin on Dujarric's sear-sucker jacket. Then Dujarric simply left the room, so that Inner City Press' question about Guterres' use of his Security to target the Press could not be asked. On June 22 Inner City Press was live-streaming Periscope and preparing to write about Secretary General Antonio Guterres' claims about his visit to Mali, where he didn't even inquire into a recent case child rape by a UN Peacekeeper. With the event still ongoing, Inner City Press was approached by Lieutenant Dobbins and told that since it was just past 7 pm it had to leave the building. Video here.

 That is not the rule, nor the practice. But Inner City Press under Guterres and his head of Global Communications Alison Smale has inexplicable been at the "non-resident correspondent" level lowered from that of no-show state media like Akbhar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, assigned Inner City Press' long time office despite rarely coming in and not asking a question in ten years.

  While Guterres and Smale have created and encourage the atmosphere for targeting the Press, Dobbins had and has his own reasons. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported on fraudulent promotions in the UN Department of Safety and Security, beginning of series here with a leaked document with Dobbins own name on it, under the heading "Possible Promotions... if Dobbins does not want Canine / ERU." Document here. Since the publication, Dobbins and a number of UN Security officers have openly targeted Inner City Press. This has been raised in writing to Smale (for eight months), for almost 18 months to Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, whose response has been to evade questions on Cameroon and now an ambiguous smile while surrounded by UN Security. On June 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
on Friday there was the Eid event in which António Guterres gave a speech, and I… I want… I guess I want to put this in a general way because I don't understand it.  During the event, as the event went on, I was required to leave by a Lieutenant Dobbins and the emergency response unit.  And it seemed strange, because there were many other non-resident correspondents at the event.  So, I wanted to know… to know, one, what are the rules?  Number two, is it acceptable for a… a… UN Security to… to single out and target a specific journalist?  And I did… and I ask this because I've previously written a story about promotions in DSS [Department of Safety and Security], including Mr. Dobbins, and whatever that is, what are the provisions in the UN to make sure that security cannot abuse its powers?  So those are… I… I… I'd like you to answer that, and also they didn't give their names.  The other individuals refused to give their names.  Is that UN policy?

Deputy Spokesman:  UN Security has their policies.  Your concerns with them need to be addressed to UN Security.  I'm not going to comment on your own problems with UN Security.  Brenden, come on up.

Inner City Press: I don't understand.  This happened at a speech by the Secretary-General.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I'm sorry, your security issues are things you're going to have to deal with.

Inner City Press: It's not a security issue.  It was done in the name of the Secretary-General.  Is he speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m. somewhere?  Can you say where the Secretary-General is speaking tomorrow at 6 p.m.?

Deputy Spokesman:  I’m not going to argue with you on this." There was more - video here.

  Even if Lt Dobbins and his team and commanders wanted to interpret and twist the existing rules in a way they are not enforced against any other non-resident correspondent at the UN, the Guterres Eid al -Fitr event listed in the UN Department of Public Information was still ongoing, making it unquestionable that Inner City Press had a right to be in the UN and cover it.

   But even as Inner City Press dialed DPI's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, getting only voice mail, Dobbins made a call and UN “Emergency Response Unit” officers arrived, with barely concealed automatic weapons. One of them repeatedly pushed Inner City Press' reporter in the back, forcing him through the General Assembly lobby toward the exit. Video here.

   UN Under Secretary General Catherine Pollard was told the ouster and did nothing, as was a Moroccan diplomat. The heavily armed UN Security officers refused to give their names when asked. Lieutenant Dobbins, with no name plate on his uniform, refused to spell his name. He said, I have my orders. From who - Guterres? His Deputy SG or chief of staff, both of whom were at the event? DSS chief Drennan? DPI chief Alison Smale?

    Inner City Press repeatedly asked to be able to get its laptop computer, which was upstairs - there was no way to have known it would be ousted during Guterres' event.

  But Dobbins and the others refused, as did the UN Security officers at the gate. Inner City Press remained there, with dwindling cell phone battery, raising the issue online to Smale, under whose watch Inner City Press has remained in the non-resident correspondent status it was reduced to for pursuing the Ng Lp Seng UN bribery case into the UN press briefing room where Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric ordered it out, then had it evicted. A DPI representative, whom Inner City Press asked to call Smale, was unable or unwilling to even let Inner City Press go in escorted to get its laptop.

   Just in the past week, when Inner City Press complained of Dujarric providing only to Al Jazeera the response of Antonio Guterres to the US leaving the UN Human Rights Council, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio claimed to MALU that the coverage was “too aggressive.” Journalism is not a crime? Next week, Antonio Guterres is set to give remarks, to which Inner City Press has requested the right to cover response, to the UN Correspondents Association, which not only has not acted on this censorship, but has fueled it.

  Inside the UN the Eid event continued, alongside a liquor fueled barbeque thrown by UN Security. This DSS sold tickets to non resident correspondents, and allowed in people who had nothing to do with the UN, including some seeming underage. When Inner City Press audibly raised the issue to UN Safety and Security Service chief Mick Brown, he did nothing.

   The Moroccan diplomat emerged and chided Inner City Press for even telling him of the ouster, claiming that “25% of what you write is about Morocco.” Some Periscope video here. Pakistan's Permanent Representative, who hosted the Eid event, said she would look into it. Sweden's spokesperson asked whom to call in DPI and when Inner City Press said, Alison Smale, responded, Who is Alison Smale? Indeed.

  Smale has refused to respond in any way, in the eight months she has been Guterres' “Global Communications” chief, to a 5000 signature petition to restore Inner City Press to its unused office S-303 and to adopt content neutral media access rules going forward. That, and appropriate action on Lt. Dobbins and the others, must be among the next steps. Watch this site.


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