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UN Former Spox Says Inner City Press Should Be Sued For Linking Guterres to Briber CEFC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 18 – In today's corrupt UN, where Antonio Guterres lusts for an UNmerited second term, current spokespeople ban the Press that asks, and former spokespeople imply the threat of libel SLAPP suits: Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation.

   Guterres held a scam "press conference" on February 18, from which Inner City Press was banned but video of which it never the less published, with commentary and unanswered questions. Mark Seddon, a former spokesman for the UN President of the General Assembly - a position thrice bribed by Chinese government firms, as proved in Federal SDNY trials - replied:

"'Corrupt' & 'bribe taking' are extremely serious allegations to make without a scintilla of evidence. If you made such claims in the UK for instance you would likely fall foul of the libel laws & rightly so." 

"Rightly so." Inner City Press responded with a question that current spokespeople Stephane Dujarric and Melissa Fleming, and now Seddon, have not answered: "Please explain why  @AntonioGuterres ' public financial disclosure covering 2016 omitted money he took from Gulbenkian, which tried to sell its oil company to CONVICTED UN bribery firm CEFC China Energy - and why  @MelissaFleming  bans Inner City Press which asked." No answer. And so this, a collaborative project, more analysis:

When Antonio Guterres was elected five years ago, real hopes had been invested in the convalescence of the UN, that was left half moribund by the Korean Ban Ki-moon. Unpretentious, competent and full of bonhomie was the first impression of many of those who met Guterres during his campaign. Soon after the election, the genuine less and less sympathetic nature of the UN secretary general won through. 

Now most leaders realize that his election was a mistake. His failure is illustrated recurrently by weak management practices, corruption, press bullying and total loss of impact and influence for the UN. Not a single achievement could be quoted on the top of the head related to his 5-year mandate. No results, but many let-downs.  By adopting a positive approach towards the United Nations, the permanent five are bound to deal with a number of unflattering truths about the current situation within the UN system.

Rotten by stagnation, corruption, incompetent leadership and total lack of effectiveness, after 75 years of existence even strong UN supporters question its relevance.

  During his mandate, several heads of UN agencies have resigned after their mismanagement, corruption and abuse of power files landed in the media. The UN moral debacle is illustrated by the following factual examples: The former Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, stepped down six months before the expiration of his term because of “defective leadership” that tolerated “a culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power”.

The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, Pierre Krähenbühl, resigned after a scandal involving accusations of nepotism and abuses of authority. The investigation, leaked to the press, depicted an “inner circle” around Krähenbühl, accused of “engag[ing] in misconduct, nepotism, retaliation … and other abuses of authority.”

The UN’s environment chief, Erik Solheim, got sacked following severe criticism of his internal rule-breaking. The audit revealed that Solheim had “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules”. The UN biodiversity Chief, Cristiana Pasça Palmer, had to resign after leaked internal audit documents described a chaotic work environment at the Secretariat and allegations that Pasça Palmer discriminated African staff members on the basis of their race. 

Furthermore, Antonio Guterres has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in the UN offices around the world, with accusers ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity. Indeed, the UN conceded that sexual misconduct is a concern but declared the Secretary General Guterres has “prioritised addressing sexual harassment and upholding the zero-tolerance policy”. Let’s consider the effects of this policy since the reality is quite different.  Tackling sexual harassment at the UN is still not a priority. Survivors of sexual assault and discrimination struggle to be heard and seldom get justice or reparations. Victims are struggling to have their cases heard because the UN has a trust issue. The system lacks independence and there is a real problem with complaints being taken seriously.  As a matter of fact, sexual harassment and assault multiply at the United Nations. While the agency has encouraged the reporting of sexual harassment, unfairly when victims finally make disclosures, they are often unjustly treated and there is a prevailing tendency to protect the sexual aggressors.

Dozens of people told the media of abuse ranging from verbal harassment to rape, and complained the system simply turned a blind eye. This is the result of the zero-tolerance policy of Guterres.  Most UN sex offenders are falling through the cracks. Only few of them got caught.  

 At UN Women, Ravi Karkara, tasked with promoting gender equality and youth partnerships, was dismissed for harassment. UN Women found that Karkara had sexually harassed, exploited and abused two non-UN personnel, harassed a UN intern, and used his work email account to distribute pornography. 

At UNESCO, Frank LaRue, the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information was dismissed for proven sexual harassment in 2018. The Guatemalan La Rue got sacked for serious misconduct after a solid investigation by IOS. He was found guilty of sexual harassment and aggression against a colleague working in his office. Once his case revealed by the media,  the DG of UNESCO had no other option but to get rid of him right away. 

At the United Nations, Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond, special advisor and deputy to the UN Secretary General, has been suspended after being accused by women of abusive behavior. Several complaints have been filed by women who worked with him, citing instances of harassment and other inappropriate behavior. In 2020, Fabrizio Hochschild, born in the United Kingdom and of Chilean nationality, was in charge of the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Organization. 

Other senior UN figures that were investigated over allegations of sexual harassment include the World Food Program’s country director in Afghanistan, Mick Lorentzen and Luiz Loures, an Assistant Secretary general of the UN, and deputy executive director at UNAIDS. Three of the alleged victims said they had lost their jobs, or been threatened with termination of contract, after reporting sexual harassment or assault.  Loures is a good example of the UN failing to cope properly with sexual misconduct. The investigation related to allegations of sexual harassment by Luiz Loures, led him to stepping down in 2018.

The same year, the WHO's Office of Internal Oversight Services cleared Loures of wrongdoing but the investigation was reopened after concerns were raised about the process and after additional women spoke out.  An OIOS official acknowledged that the investigation had concluded, and the accompanying report issued. Media agencies requested a copy or summary of the report, but were told that the decision to share the results lies with WHO and UNAIDS.  The Secretary-general’s office declined to provide an update, citing confidentiality. That much for the transparency of Guterres’ zero-tolerance policy.

 In five years, Antonio Guterres disappointingly failed to assume his functions. Instead, he painted a dark, negative UN picture, with him alone in the middle. And despite his appalling record, he is still applying for a reelection. This should not be allowed to happen. Watch this site.


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