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UN Staffer Injured In Somalia Face Eletricity Cut As Guterres Spends UN Money on Lisbon Trips and Censors Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR NYP

UNITED NATIONS GATE, October 15 – How little do UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and those supporting his censorship and secret banned list including "political activists" care even about UN staff? The answer, or non-answer, was again found on October 8, when in lieu of the UN noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from for the 97th day it asked Guterres Spokesman Stephan Dujarric in writing questions including about an injured and mistreated staff member, October 15 update below: "October 8-4: As a matter of how Mr. Guterres' UN treats injured staff members I am requesting by close of (your) business 5 pm the UN's response to the detailed tale of staff member [redacted then but see below] “severely injured my spine serving in Mogadishu; this has resulted in so far two major surgeries, my termination from service and, cancellation of health insurance seven days following my last surgery (ASHI was eventually provided several months’ later). The issue I, and other SM’s are having is with the appendix D supposedly in place to protect us when we are injured. On one hand, the UN is happy to admit that due to these service-incurred injuries I am disabled, awarding me a disability pension; to the extent that it will not be reviewed for a minimum of five years (apparently anything over two years ‘ in the eyes of the law is classed as a permanent disablement) however, when it comes to the processing of my appendix d claim they refuse to make any progression at all, in fact, they have done nothing for over two years’ claiming they are unable to ascertain if my disablement is permanent or not. What they don’t seem to care about is the fact that due to this injury and their continued incompetence/refusal to process claims or, stick to their own rules and regulations contained within the appendix, they are ruining SM lives.” When Dujarric replied with no answer on that, instead citing a statement he made on Cameroon with no chance for Press follow up and passing the buck on refugees, Inner City Press reiterated the question, with the complainant's name and a 5 pm deadline. There was no response at all, and by 6 pm even the video of the noon briefing Dujarric cited had not been provided. And now a week late, no response including to the complainant, now named in the update below. Here's more of the story of the complainant: "It has now been two and a half years since my claim was filed and, one since my termination from service yet they have done nothing towards my case, refuse to answer any emails and, on the few occasions, they do respond they ignore the questions asked etc. This loss of income, the increased medical expenses and, refusal to process the compensation claim in line with their own rules etc has left my family on the brink of bankruptcy for the last year now, they are fully aware of the financial struggles I face all due to these injuries with multiple departments being informed of this fact in an attempt to see a resolution, yet they just don’t seem to give a damn.  It has got to the point now where I spent the last three weeks’ eating one potato a day so I could keep food on the kid's table, we have run up so much debt that each month it is a struggle to the power on and keep our house, the UN know this and couldn’t care less." UNlike Guterres' spokesmen (and deputy and chief of staff and Global Censor Alison Smale, all cc-e on Inner City Press' question), the complainant answered questions. Inner City Press asked, among other things: "do you mind saying how / in what context you were injured? Where do you live now? Which departments of the UN have you been in touch with?" The complainant replied, "Thank you for taking the time to get back to me.  I injured my lumbar spine in Mogadishu whilst performing my duties a as close protection officer for the SRSG. Initially I put it down to nothing more than an awkward movement and carried on. However, over the coming months’ things became progressively worse, with an eventual diagnosis of a severely herniated disc and cauda equina syndrome; this lead to the removal of the discs at L5-S1 and, the insertion of an implant. Following around three months’ on sick leave both my surgeon and the UN medical services cleared me fit to return to duty (this was the initial point of maximum medical improvement they are so keen on before they will progress my case) however, over the next six months’ my condition began to deteriorate, in the Aug of 2017 it was eventually confirmed that my initially surgery had failed and I had to have it all done again in the Nov of last year. Seven days following the surgery the UN terminated me and cancelled my health insurance leaving me with no way to pay for medication, physio etc etc and then proceeded to take nine months’ to fully finalize my separation from service/pay all monies owed. They are now using the excuse that they will not progress my case any further until the point of MMI has been reached, my argument has been that that point had been reached, hence them clearing me to return to work and, that is only due to their incompetence and not looking at my case since it’s submission over two years ago, that they conveniently managed to coincide it with the failure of my original operation and having to wait to reach MMI again. Initially correspondence was done through the mission HR in Mogadishu, they however, are useless and couldn’t answer any questions, in addition they took 13 weeks to send any information requested by the ABCC. I then started to go directly to the ABCC liaison in HQ NYC, again she was not very forthcoming with information or, very good a t responding to emails/requests for information. In the later part of 2017 they ceased to respond to any emails with me just receiving an auto-response telling me to contact the support office in Kuwait.  For the last year communications with KJSO have been few and far between with again zero information coming my way.  They only reason I managed to find out nothing further would be done is because I filed for a UNDT; However, this was declared moot as the ABCC upon receiving it agreed to pay outstanding medical expenses a year and a half late, that whilst the judge did say to me that what was happening was morally wrong, I had not contested a decision.  OSLA refused to represent me in this instance, being self-represented it would appear I didn’t articulate my issues clear enough or in the correct legal context (I had been lead to believe that not making a decision, was a decision in itself, and foolishly to what was written in the appendix, as what would actually happen; it turns out they are able to interpret however they see fit). Throughout this whole process not one person has had the courtesy to explain exactly how it all works, why, despite what the rules may say why things are not being acted upon etc and each time I ask anything it is either ignore or skirted around." This is Guterres' UN - and he should be fired. Now his UN has left his injured UN staff member with his electricity about to turned off, while Guterres spends UN money on his more than a dozen private trips to his home in Lisbon. The October 15 update: "Dear Matthew, Thank you for taking the time to publish my current situation, at least now other staffers will be aware that should they injury themselves whilst on duty, expect the organization to wash their hands of them.
By way of a quick update, for me things have now gotten considerably worse; mid last week I received notification that my electricity will be cut off on the 17th Oct unless I can manage to pay the arrears.  As previously mentioned the disability pension barely covers our basic monthly expenditure, with us receiving two unexpectedly large electricity bills over the last few months’ (e450 & e989) we just can’t afford to pay.  In addition, I have just been informed that following a hospital visit last week to find out the current status of my spine/if the last operation worked and, attempt to find out if the MMI that the UN are so hell bent on knowing has been achieved, that the hospital will not accept direct payment from medical insurance leaving me unable to pay for the results.
I sent messages to the support office handling my appendix D claim, the ABCC, the ombudsman, and the pension fund telling them of my situation, making it very clear (backed up with evidence) that come this Wednesday we will lose electricity and with that, all stockpiled food will spoil, we’ll have no heating/cooling, lighting washing facility or water as it runs from a pump, essentially come Wednesday will become nothing better than a cow in a barn.
I have pleaded with them to do something to assist, if they had processed my claim in a timely manner or, took the time to try and find an alternative post suited to my medical condition I wouldn’t been in this position; prior to termination I offered to do anything, I also offered to sign waivers to continue working without any blame laying at the UN’s feet, I would sooner have ended up in a wheelchair than see my kids living like this but, they just ignored me.  So far although they did bother to read my email last week, not one person has had the courtesy to respond, not even the usual BS that they ‘sympathize’ or are ‘sorry’.
So, it would appear that not only are the UN happy to wash its hand and mess about injured staff, they are also happy to let these service incurred injuries lead to them living like a dog. For an apparent humanitarian organisation they really don’t give a damn about its staff.
Best regards
Mark Barber
Close Protection Officer
UNSOM Close Protection Unit
Mogadishu, Somalia." Guterres thumbs his nose as those who serve, and actually cover, the UN.  For an event in the UN about human rights, with speeches by Secretary General Antonio Guterres and High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, Inner City Press on September 26 was ordered out of the waiting line despite having a ticket. A UN Security official, a Captain known as Tiny, told Inner City Press it is under a ban from headquarters even though that has never been conveyed in writing, much less subject to any hearing or appeal. Video here. What is the basis of the ban? While not conveyed in writing, because Guterres' UN is a corrupt censor, Guterres' Office of the Spokesperson has told the following lies in support of the ban. They claim falsely that Inner City Press "took a swing" at UN Security on July 3 - when in fact Lieutenant Roland E Dobbins and his unnamed colleague initiated and monopolized the use of force, video here. They say that a correspondent's media filed a written complaint. If this is Voice of America, that was years ago in 201s, and BBG told Congress it was a mistake. If it is Al Jazeera in June 2018, it is shameful. Finally they say that Inner City Press pursued a diplomatic down the sidewalk asking questions and that this somehow showed they had no security guards, putting them at risk to others. This seems to refer to the time the UN neglected to disclose Guterres was meeting in the public's $15 million mansion with the P5. For this reason, Inner City Press staked it out, entirely legally, from across Sutton Place. UK Ambassador Pierce emerged, found no car, and walked home. Inner City Press did not ask any question and is allowed to film - particularly noting Guterres total lack of transparency. These are all lies, pretexts for censorship. We will have more on this, having writtten earlier on September 26 to Michelle Bachelet, David A. Kaye and their staff members.

This comes as Inner City Press is told by sources close to Guterres that he was and is so angy at Inner City Press' anti-corruption questions and reporting that he is intent maintaining a life time ban, even as he blathers about human rights. His Deputy Amina J. Mohammad and chief of staff got along; troublingly, new Commissioner was written to but did nothing. Her staff handed out tickets in chaotic fashion on 46th Street, to such insiders as Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch which has done nothing about the lawless "permanent ban" list of the UN that HRW loves so much. But for new Commissioner Bachelet to be so quickly corrupted or defanged? We'll have more on this. On September 24 for a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, Inner City Press was on September 24 singled out and banned, despite having its RSVP accepted by the Mission of Liechtstein and even UN University.  Video here. In the early afternoon of September 25, Inner City Press sent this to Antonio Guterres, and also High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet: "Secretary General Guterres: This follows up on a telephone call I made to your chief of staff's (and Deputy SG's) offices yesterday afternoon when I was blocked from attending an event in the Trusteeship Council Chamber about launching an Initiative for a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. 

  I am writing now because I am intent on attending, and have a right to attend other events this week, for example the human rights event with HCHR Bachelet on Wednesday, 26 September, at 1115 am in Conference Room 2, see below. I have RSVP-ed, and cc this message to High Commissioner Bachelet and her two assistants.

It is unacceptable for the UN to have an UNdisclosed and UNexplained "current and active banned" list with no due process and no appeal. It is akin to no-fly lists with no appeals process. This must be resolved, in particular for the September 26 UN "human rights" event.

I was invited to the modern slavery event -- I investigate and report on the misdeeds of banks, and did so before I came to the UN to cover it in 2005 -- and my RSVP was accepted. I picked up my ticket at 2:45 pm on 46th Street, showed it to the officers on Second and First Avenues and stood in line at the Visitors Entrance with others going to the event.

They all were admitted but I was singled up and told to wait by the side. After a time a Department of Safety and Security official told me I am subject to a “current and active barred notice.”

Since all I have received from the UN, since being assaulted by DSS Lieutenant Dobbins and another on 3 July 2018 as I staked out the Fifth (Budget) Committee meetings having been invited there by several member states' diplomats in those final meetings, is an August 17 letter stating that my accreditation as a correspondent is withdrawn, I asked who is behind this target “current and active barred notice.”

The officer would not tell me. I asked if it is USG Drennan of DSS, whom I wrote to on 5 August 2018 (“REPORT OF PROHIBITED CONDUCT (HARASSMENT, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY) AND ‘FORMAL COMPLAINT’ SUBMITTED TO UN UNDER SECRETARY GENERAL FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY, MR PETER DRENNAN, PURSUANT TO ST/SGB/2008/5.” Receipt of that was confirmed to me on 8 August 2018 by Elena Rice-Howell, Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General of DSS.

But nothing has been done by DSS, including about my formal complaint of assault against Lt Dobbins and his colleagues who refused to give their names. This whole sordid descent into censorship by the current UN was profiled, along with SEA, Haiti cholera, conflicts of interest and travel cost waste, including the issue of yours, and whether and where you disclosed your son's business connections, in the New York Post two days ago, here.

  I was told yesterday I should contact DPI - whose USG Alison Smale never spoke to me before withdrawing my accreditation and has not answer any of my ten e-mail nor a petition with more than 5000 signatures urging her to restore my access, my office S-303 and stop targeting me as I report, sometimes critically, on the UN.

So I called your chief of staff's (and Deputy SG's) offices, just as the event I had RSVP-ed to began, and I am outraged by the lack of response. I have written to each of them this morning, still no response, even as I picked up another RSVP ticket. This should be responded to immediately. Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press."

On September 24 the slavery bank event ran from 3:30 to 5 pm in the UN's Trusteeship Chamber. Inner City Prss arrived 45 minutes early to the NYPD security checkpoint at 46th Street and Second Avenue. Its ticket was accepted by NYPD, it prepared to audio record the event -- but at the UN Visitors Entrance a large UN Security Officer or Capitan nicknamed Tiny said No, it was his understanding that Inner City Press is entirely banned from the UN, not only as a journalist. "You have a current active barred notice against you," he said. Audio here.

Inner City Press asked him if this came from the boss of the Department Safety and Security Peter Drennan, who has not responded to Inner City Press formal complaint to him that it was assaulted by UN DSS Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins on July 3. He said it was not from chief Michael “Mick” Brown. Who then? He refused to say. “You have to call DPI,” he said, referring to the Department of Public Information whose chief Alison Smale has not answered a single on of Inner City Press' more than 10 e-mails.

    Inner City Press called the office of Secretary General Antonio Guterres' chief of staff Maria Luiz Viotti and informed them; they said that she would be told. Hours later, nothing. Inner City Press called the office of the Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, and was told that the head of office, seemingly Nelson Muffuh, could or would do nothing. Then Inner City Press called the office of Alison Smale, where a person named Charlotte said she would look into and call back. Hours later, nothing. Audio of Inner City Press' side of calls, here.

   Inner City Press was never given a hearing by Smale before her August 17 letter with withdrew Inner City Press media accreditation. Nothing in it said anything about a ban from entering the UN as a person, a tourist, or in another other way. But this is what happened, without any recourse. Pure Kafka-esque censorship, by a former New York Times Berlin bureau chief to hinder coverage of the corruption of the former Portuguese prime minster Antonio Guterres, see September 23 New York Post here. What next? Watch this site.


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