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Sept 24, 2013

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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric of Turkey Burundi SG Missing Fleming Cameroon Tanzania SG Censorship 700+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 7 – 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 August 7 more than two hours before the UN noon briefing by spokesman Stephane Dujarric, from which he bars Inner City Press but had the presence of one of his partners in expulsion, here, after the July 26 noon briefing had no questions at all, video here, Inner City Press submitted 1101 questions, including why it continues to be lawlessly banned from entering to ask questions in person: "There are more than 700+ questions UNanswered. And Monday Sept 17, Tuesday Sept 18, Wed Sept 19 and  Thurs and Fri Sept 21, that whole week, no questions answered. Nor Sept 25, nor 28th - nor October 2 nor 3. While appreciating and using what was belatedly sent on August 7 and on March 28 in partial request to Inner City Press' questions about the UN bribery sentence of Patrick Ho of CEFC and CEFC's 2018 attempt to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid the SG, 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. 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 nor 15 nor 18 nor 19 nor 20 nor 21 nor 22 nor 25 nor 26 nor 27 nor March 1 - 27 (!) And now April 1, 3-30 (one answer in the entire month - corrupt), and now May 1-13, 15-17, 21-31, June 3-28, and July 1-2, 8-31 and August 1-5, many questions. 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.

August 7-1: On Turkey and human rights, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that the authorities acknowledged on July 28 that they are holding four men, Salim Zeybek, Yasin Ugan, Özgür Kaya, and Erkan Irmak, but have not revealed where they have been since February, and are implying that the men were not in the custody of the state nor their proxies before July 28. The men were detained on various dates in February and are presumed to have been held in unacknowledged detention ever since. The whereabouts of two other men, Mustafa Yılmaz and Gökhan Türkmen, who were also reported missing in February, remains unknown. 

August 7-2: On Burundi, malaria and politicization / abuse, what is the SG's comment and action if any on a that  senior government official said that the government did not want to admit weakness with elections set for 2020. Civil society organizations say the government and its affiliated agencies and forces, including the police, the National Intelligence Service (Service national de renseignement, or SNR), and the ruling CNDD-FDD party's youth league, the Imbonerakure, have been responsible for gross, widespread, and systematic human rights violations over the past four years, as well clamping down on freedom of expression. 

August 7-3: On public corruption and Nigeria, what are the comments and actions if any of the SG and separately of DSG Amina J. Mohammed to that Nigerian court has ordered that three bank accounts belonging to Lagos state, the country's main commercial hub, be frozen? Justice Chuka Obiozor gave the order following an application by Nigeria's anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is investigating alleged fraud totalling $27m. A fourth bank account, which was opened by top civil servant Adewale Adesanya on 17 September last year, has also been frozen.  The agency alleges that $27m was transferred into Mr Adesanya's personal account from the Lagos state accounts before elections for governor were held in March this year.  Mr Adesanya served as a permanent secretary in the administration of ex-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was unable to stand for re-election as he lost his party's primary. 

August 7-4: On the Gambia, now that it is reported that  DSG Amina Mohammed and UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, are expected to visit The Gambia from 8 to 10 August 2019, accompanied by UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Director, Mr. Mabingue Ngom, reiterating August 6-2: On human rights, impunity and The Gambia, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the release of three of Jammeh's self-confessed assassins? Malick Jatta, Omar Jallow and Amadou Badjie were members of a paramilitary unit known as the "Junglers".  They were released from army custody two weeks after appearing before the country's truth commission.  "Our team was a hit squad for Yahya Jammeh," Mr Badjie told the commission.  "We had blind loyalty for Yahya Jammeh," he added  The three assassins had been arrested by military police in 2017, when President Adama Barrow took office after winning elections in December 2016 to end Mr Jammeh's 22-year rule...

August 7-6: Given that the SG's public schedules for August 2, August 5, August 6 and now August 7 are entirely blank, not even "all appointments internal" as before but just blank, and given that Poland's Foreign Minister was not able to meet with the SG on August 3, please immediately state where the UNSG is, now and for the next three weeks, and at what cost to the public. Additionally, since public officials from Trump to de Blasio to Corey Johnson all disclose where they are, and given the UN system travel scandals at UNRWA, UN Women and previously UNEP, explain why Mr. Guterres' lack of transparency is not part of the problem. Given the Secretariat's communication failures, state when exactly Ms. Fleming takes over from Alison Smale, whether Ms. Fleming is still has stated on her profile at UNHCR (Chief Communications  @Refugees as of August 7) and if she is answering some/any of her e-mail there. 

August 7-7: Please confirm or deny that the UN system can arranged with DC-based lobbying firm (which also lobbies for Paul Biya of Cameroon) Glover Park to promote the SG, and this message on August 1 from Glover Park: "I wanted to let you know that Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will be participating in a live press stakeout at 12:30 pm ET today." Please disclose what the Secretariat knows / did about this, if any bidding was competitive, and if it is appropriate for SG appearances to be promoted by the same firm representing Paul Biya and others. 

August 7-8: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that "Raymond Ndingana is one of many journalists who have been harassed by government troops.  "The last time I fell into the hands of the military, they almost destroyed my working tools simply because they asked me a question in French and I responded in English," Ndigana said. "They got angry..." 

August 7-9: Also on press freedom, and Tanzania, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that a week after he was detained, Tanzanian investigative journalist Erick Kabendera appeared in a Dar es Salaam court on Monday and was charged with organized crime, tax evasion and money laundering?  A copy of the court document signed by the principal state attorney said that since January 2015 Kabendera failed to pay Tsh173.2 million (US$75,000) in taxes and that he laundered the same amount.   Kabendera, who has worked for local and international media, was abducted last Monday from his home by six people who emerged from a silver van and wore no uniforms, activists said.  A day later, police said they detained him and were checking his citizenship. On Friday, authorities announced they were charging him with sedition under cybercrime laws but changed the accusation on Monday into organized crime, tax evasion and money laundering.   According to The Guardian - an outlet that published Kabendera’s articles - the procedure violated Tanzania’s constitution which says that a person has to be charged in court after being detained for 24 hours, or the police must get leave from a magistrate to keep him for longer.  Press freedom campaigners said the charges were retaliatory and should be dropped... Now that the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled against public officials blocking critics on Twitter even if the official claims their account is private, what is the justification for UNSG Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, with the UN flag in his profile photo and Guterres promoting content, blocking Inner City Press? What is SG Guterres' response / reaction to UN DSS and Guterres' actions on Inner City Press being listed in the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. In the UN, what has the accountability been for Lt Ronald E. Dobbins and those those refused on camera to give their names? What is each of yours - particularly the SG's - response to the letter written and sent by Burundi activist Manisha Lievin? To the April 15 letter to the SG, DSG and USG Smale for which receipt has not even been acknowledged, other than a single lawless line from MALU: "Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M66561081, has been declined"? This is a formal request for the UN's explanation of grounds for this denied, and since SGcentral, the SG's chief of staff and Deputy SG and USG Smale haven't even confirmed receipt of the April 15 letter much less responded, for reconsideration. 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.

June 14-5: Since the SG claimed publicly that the mansion he lives in "cannot" be sold, please immediately provide any and all documents with such a restriction, and separately explain why the concept of cy pres or reformation of donor intent has not been explored. Separately,  Boutros Boutros Galli wrote in his book that the building was given by Arthur Houghton through the United Nations Association of the USA. What actual inquires, with UNA-USA or any successor to Houghton or Corning Glass, has Guterres made? 

June 11-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on this report from Chinese state media: "YAOUNDE, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Cameroon's House Speaker of National Assembly Cavaye Yeguie Djibril on Monday denounced foreign interference in the country's internal affairs which he referred to as "conspiracy."  "Cameroon has become an object of conspiracy intended to destabilize the country. To justify their interference in internal affairs, the conspirators pretend to denounce it." Again, how many offices / desk does the Secretariat give to Chinese state media inside the UN? 

May 15-3: On the Public Financial Disclosures for 2017 belatedly published over the weekend of April 27-28, please state why Mohammed Ibn Chambas, like the Executive Secretary of the UN Biodiversity Convention, Cristiana Paşca-Palmer, UNICEF's Henriette Fore, with documented links to ExxonMobil and others, USG Mark Lowcock (undisclosed while the Secretariat's speaker at the UNSC Arria on Cameroon), UNCTAD's Mukhisa Kituyi, UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNOG chief Michael Moller, UNDP chief Achim Steiner,  Heidi Mendoza, Adama Dieng, UN Security chief Peter Drennan, Rosemary DiCarlo and Nicholas Haysum, is not even on the list. OIOS chief Inga-Britt Ahlenius reported - why not Mendoza? Where IS Mendoza? Isn't it a bad practice for the UN's head (anti) genocide definition official to conceal from the public even cursory financial disclosure? Did DiCarlo decline to make any public disclosure despite being the UN's top political officer? What is the even plausible applicability of this line from SG Guterres' web page: "Please note that given the multi-cultural environment of the UN and the often security sensitive locations where UN staff are either working or come from, full public disclosure may not always be a viable or sensible option for certain staff members"? Why has Guterres changed the previous system in a which a "choosing not to disclose" statement was upload and listed, to one which helps conceal who reports and who does not?  Again, state why considering the UN bribery conviction of Patrick Ho of CEFC, and CEFC's attempt to purchase the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid Mr. Guterres in 2016 was omitted from his online public financial disclosure covering 2016, and why Guterres has not even started an audit of CEFC in the UN. 

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