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In Corrupt UN of Guterres UNESCO Claims To Protect Journalists Rings False Amid Ban on Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, April 16 – How corrupt is the UN system under Antonio Guterres, including the UNSG election in which he won the brass ring only to flaunt censorship for corruption, roughing up and banning Inner City Press amid its questions on his links to briber CEFC China Energy? Well at UNESCO they are losing case after case in the International Labor Organization tribunal. And now this: the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted another resolution concerning the  Progress report on Safety of Journalists and the issue of Impunity  This   document   has   been   prepared   in   response   to  202 EX/Dec.5.I.K. It    contains    the    progress    report    on    the    continued    implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of impunity. Here it is, online. But consider:  On April 15, a year minus a day since the UN accredited Inner City Press on 16 April 2018, Inner City Press submitted a formal application and letter for re-accreditation, including in light of the guilty verdict and sentencing against Patrick Ho of CEFC (video here), financial links to which Guterres has failed to disclose and has for 286 days sought to censor to conceal. The letter was sent to Guterres, his USG Alison Smale and staff, his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and staff, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti and others whom we will name, along with a simple request for confirmation of receipt. Even this they had not done, a full 24 hours later. From what's been submitted: "A year ago on 16 April 2018 I was re-accredited to enter and cover the United Nations, as for many years before. Then I asked more and more questions about the Patrick Ho / CEFC China Energy UN bribery scandal, about the Secretary General, about Cameroon - and on 22 June 2018 I was pushed out of the UN Visitors Lobby while other non-resident correspondents remained there.    On 3 July 2018 as I covered the UN Budget Committee meetings as I have for years, I was physically roughed up by UN DSS Lt Ronald Dobbins and another who refused to give his name. On July 5 I was told I could not enter the UN and this remains the case, with no hearing and no appeal.     Now just less than a year since I was accredited, before the above and other facts of record, I am submitting this formal application for accreditation which you grant to correspondents who report far less, and far less critically, on the UN than Inner City Press.    It is particularly imperative that Inner City Press be allowed to enter and attend the noon briefing as hundreds of my questions have gone unanswered despite USG Smale's assurance to UNSR David Kaye, and Spokesman Dujarric's on camera assurance.    

This request is submitted in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision limiting the impunity of international organization such as the UN, see JAMS v IFC, and in light of recent decision that for example the City of New York cannot strip a journalist's accreditation without a hearing and due process, discovery and disclosure.   

Beyond the hundreds of articles covering the UN since the arbitrary ouster of 3 July 2018, for the record:  March 29, 2019, Hong Kong TV documentary on Patrick Ho CEFC, Inner City Press in front of UN and SDNY  

April 3, 2019, Serbia's Espreso, "US journalist Metju Li [Matthew Lee] on a corruption scandal," etc; it is supplemented by a more than 6,533 signature petition that my resident correspondent accreditation and Inner City Press' long time shared office S-303 be immediately restored.  

USG Smale's 17 August 2018 letter, which I contest in its entirety, recycles and re-cast events from well before my April 2018 accreditation. I have, in your own files, contested the events dredged up: Maher Nasser claim that I cannot record at an acknowledged stakeout position, the Morocco mission's frivolous complaint about my coverage at the UNSC stakeout, which even your office acknowledged to me was frivolous. Your office told me no escort or minder was needed to Periscope on the 3rd or 4th floors - I asked -and whether it was a "garage ramp" or "parking lot" I was supposed found in, my non resident pass open both doors, and I was summoned to the parking lot senior UN official(s) to receive information and documents.   On these and the grounds set forth in my letters to the SG, USG Drennan (regarding the assault(s) on me by DSS, still not acted on), USG Smale and OIOS, I demand to be treated the same as the state media representatives you have been accrediting to cover the GA. 

While I was reduced to a non-resident correspondent accreditation, my years' long resident accreditation was removed without any hearing then or appeal since by now the departed USG of DPI. That no due process decision has been raised in the UN Human Rights Council, twice; it has been the subject of letters to the UNSG from the Government Accountability Project and others and to DPI from the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders.

 Your actions and those of USG Smale have been listed in the US Press Freedom Tracker, here. Beyond the articles to be found in Google News (and Lexis-Nexis, etc), my work covering the UN and for example Patrick Ho's indictment and now conviction and sentencing to three years in prison for UN bribery has been picked up and cited in Serbia, Hong Kong, Uganda and the Czech Republic. Inner City Press' exclusives about cost overruns in the UN Support Office in Somalia have been picked up in Somali; others in Kenya, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. This letter incorporates what I sent to the acting Officer in Charge of DPI in April 2017 and to the Under Secretary General of DPI since, and my letter to you in January; Inner City Press notes not only that S-303A is virtual unused but also that DPI has granted resident correspondent status to media who come into the UN less often, and who ask and report less. This is a request for restoration of S-303 and resident correspondent access immediately, after systematically being hindered in reporting for example on meeting on the Conference Building's 2d floor in ways other correspondents aren't.   While noting that the UN accreditation guidelines state "online media may include news outlets, blogs, vlogs and others," we and the Free UN Coalition for Access reiterate and will be advocating for greater access by new and social media, including for the UN to belatedly define what it means by "wire service." See also, on the need for a UN FOIA, this. It is also imperative that the UN institute due process protections, and content neutral accreditation rules, for journalists. But for now, this is a demand for the same access I have had to cover the UN and as state media with many fewer articles and questions have from your Office, and to restore my resident correspondent accreditation, and S303, forthwith, during this month you are handing such status to some (including as is relevant in S-303, Inner City Press' work-space) who rarely come in, publish little and ask no questions at all.  Thank you.  Sincerely,  Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press Past (and future?) Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017."

  How has the UN become so corrupt?

At UNESCO there is the uselessness of the Division of Guy Berger Director of the Division for Freedom of Expression, which, besides celebrating once per year the International Day on Freedom of Expression (this year in Ethiopia, so well known historically for its press freedom) is actually doing little with tax payers money to protect press freedom and journalists - quite the contrary....

 Since the beginning of 2018, UNESCO has lost nine of eleven trials brought by former employees, costing more than 300,000 euros. UNESCO whistleblowers tell Inner City Press that while this has resulted in belated change at the top of Human Resources, the number 2 in the HR office Annick Grisar who was the implementing force behind the failed policies introduced by Hong Kwon remains in place - for now. Meanwhile an internal audit has revealed that more than two million tax payers dollars have been spent over the last few years by UNESCO on the integration of the two main management systems, the programmatic one (SISTER) and the financial one (FABS) with no result or progress achieved whatsoever. Ah, UN system reform. Internal sources in the financial office snark that most of the tax payers money probably ended in the pockets of IT companies close to the heart of the Chief Financial Officer of UNESCO, Nutan Wozencroft who is a senior Director - UN D2 level.  

 This is not the first time Wozencroft is under the spotlight. Under the previous UNESCO administration run by Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, she instigated the misuse the 14 million dollars remaining under the Emergency Fund created for voluntary contributions by member states. Aspiring for an even higher position in the UN, Wozencroft assisted Bokova in this failed attempt to use those funds for projects that were to serve as masked bribery to Security Council member states while running for the UNSG position in 2016. When this scheme was rejected by the Executive Board of UNESCO, the sources say Bokova then covered the misdeeds that were planned in her favour. Another accomplice in this scheme: the Assistant Director General of UNESCO for strategic planning, the Brazilian Thompson Flores, benefitted from the same administrative coverage and despite the overwhelming report by IOS , she was sent by Bokova as Director of the Venice office of UNESCO instead of being fired.   The question now is whether current Director General of UNESCO Azoulay will take any action on CFO Wozencroft or again, in the usual culuture of the UN of Guterres, she will be provided with an option to spend some time in a cozy position in one of the Field offices of UNESCO like it happened to Thompson Flores. We will have more on that - and on this: while the Saudi kingdom is still stonewalling on the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, UNESCO has a Memorandum of Understanding to train the staff of MBS's Misk Foundation, Inner City Press can today report and exclusively publish, here on Scribd; for download on Patreon here. It is signed between UNESCO and Ali Alzabarah, CEO, Misk Initiatives Center, and begins: "Considering the mutual désire of Misk Initiatives Center at MiSK Foundation (hereinafter "Partner Institution") and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (hereinafter "UNESCO"), to establish a general framework of collaboration between them and to provide an opportunity for the Trainees to acquire a firsthand working experience at UNESCO; The Partner Institution and UNESCO (together referred to as the "Parties") hâve agreed to establish the
Sponsored Traineeship Programme as follows:
ARTICLE 1 Purpose
1. The purpose of theSponsored Traineeship Programme is threefold:
a) To offer to the selected Trainees specialized in the areas related to the work of UNESCO, the
opportunity to enhance their knowledge and consolidate their experience through practical work assignments;
b) To expose Trainees to the work of UNESCO, and enable them to gain a better understanding
of its mandate, programmes and processes, and thus promoting and strengthening UNESCO's
work in the areas of its mandate;
e) To benefit from the input of professional individuals, who can bring new ideas."
A fish rots from the head: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who earlier this year took a $930 million check from MBS, himself also partners with Misk through his  Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake. But the training role of UNESCO under Audrey Azoulay is particularly ghoulish. It comes as a Saudi diplomat is trying to get the post in UNESCO in charge of the protection of journalists, reported here by Inner City Press which is now informed from an insider in the bureau of human resources, that the Director of HR, Hong Kwon and close friend of Ban Ki-moon (as we already reported – see here and here) signed and MOU with the MISK Foundation to train staff. Inner City Press' sources, who see UNESCO being destroyed under Azoulay and Guterres, view this as a total breach of the UNESCO values and basic principles. Not abrogating the MOU after the murder Khashoggi is a new low - but follows Guterres continuing his Youth Envoy's MOU.
This is not the first time Hong Kwon is exposed to severe criticism inside UNESCO  for dealing with serious matters in a non-professional and incompetent manner. Seconded to UNESCO from the UN where he was promoted almost every two years by his countryman Ban Ki-moon, who pushed Bokova to appoint him with a promotion at UNESCO last year. Most of the staff is keenly expecting his departure back to New York like his predecessor Ruth de Miranda by the end of July 2019. Furthermore, the introduced illegal changes by Kwon Hong in the reclassification of staff policy last August, superseded the decision-making power of the General Conference of UNESCO. These changes are since then severely objected by the two staff unions of UNESCO and, together with other pending files reflecting accumulated problems due to the total malfunctioning of the bureau of human resources may lead to an official disruption of the relations between the staff unions and the administration of Azoulay. This is consistent with Guterres' contempt for staff's rights and even lives, as shown in the DRC. The newly appointed ADG for Administration from the UK is now expected to request his departure in the coming weeks, but this may be objected by the Korean Ambassador to UNESCO and close friend of both Ban Ki moon and Hong Kwon. We will keep following closely what the final say of Azoulay will be on that one and whether she will be politically strong enough to challenge the Korean Ambassador who is also the Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO for 10 more months. This as UNESCO, like Guterres, used also in decay UN Security to physically oust people based on their views.


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