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After UNSG Guterres Left CAR, Smale Spin, ICP Asked Connors of Bad-Acting Staff Onana, Dodges

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 –  Before UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' trip to the Central African Republic, Inner City Press asked him about UN sexual abuse there, and about the UN's inaction on mass killings in neighboring Cameroon. Guterres purported to answer on the former, and "didn't hear" the 15-second question on Cameroon. (Then Guterres' Department of Public Information under Alison Smale two days later threatened Inner City Press' accreditation, see below.) On October 24 once Guterres was in CAR, Inner City Press asked deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Guterres in CAR would meet with Mr. Renner Onana, named as a bad actor in the independent panel of experts' report on its sexual abuse in CAR. Video here. On November 3, Inner City Press asked Guterres' Victims' Rights Advocate Jane Connors about the report and Onana. She never answered on Onana, and emphasized that the panel's report was not a UN report. She said her work is forward looking, apparently with nothing in it for the many victims ignored and covered up in the wake of the UN scandal involving fired whistleblower Anders Kompass and promoted coverer-up Renner Onana. While Smale's DPI has yet to provide Inner City Press with the Connors Q&A video it requested three days ago, now Smale herself is promoting a story by her UN News Centre which purports to report on Connors press conference without mentioning any of the questions. Here is the piece, which makes it appears that Connors and Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric at the antecedent noon briefing, spoke to an empty room, which is almost true. With Smale restricting and now threatening the Press which actually comes in to ask question, while rewarding Onana-like no-show state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom, the UN and DPI are sinking lower and lower. This is a disservice to the victims of the crimes reviewed in the report, and does not bode well.  During the CAR trip that  Smale said would be a litmus test of UN story-telling, the UN hadn't even answered the basic Onana question. So on October 25, Inner City Press asked Haq again, noting it had found online a photo of Renner Onana, with a promotion, greeting Fabrizio Hochschild, a main adviser to Guterres. Haq said he was still checking - this just after he'd said Guterres is working on freedom of information - and that Onana might still be employed by the UN but on leave. How hard is it to find out? Either the UN for some reason can't find out, or doesn't want to say. Because when Inner City Press asked again on October 26, still no answer. Video here. From the October 26 transcript: Inner City Press: On the trip, you'd used this phrase, you know, that he met with the victims, all to the good, and that he plans to end impunity.  I wanted to ask now… this is the third time, and it seems like it should be pretty straightforward.  Mr. Renner Onana was named in the UN's own report and in multiple press reports about it as having… being he was criticized in the report for the cover-up, what was called… viewed as the cover-up of sexual abuse.  So, I wanted to know, given that there's a photograph that he got a promotion, is he still at the mission?  And how do you explain it with the idea of… this is not about a Member State disciplining or not disciplining a peacekeeper.  Was there some other finding outside of the UN's own report about what happened that exonerated him? What… what was done in terms of accountability? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we're… like I said before, we're checking up on this.  I don't have the details for you yet, but we've asked our colleagues for details about this particular situation.  As you know, when we pursue accountability in cases involving staff, we do that also in line with following due process, which is also one of our standards. Inner City Press:  But, how can… you'd said yesterday that maybe he was still, I guess, on the payroll, but not in the country.  Do they not know where he is?  Was he given a promotion? Deputy Spokesman:  I'm trying to get details about what his precise status is.  I don't have that yet." And what he "had" on October 27 was even more outrageous. From the UN's October 27 transcript: Inner City Press: I've been asking you, I guess for three days as well, about Renner Onana. Deputy Spokesman:  Oh, yes.  And it's a good thing that you're asking about that because I have something for you.  What I can say is that the individual is currently head of a regional office in the UN Mission, MINUSCA.  All matters relating to the individual accountability of those concerned were reviewed and addressed according to internal processes by the Office of Human Resources Management and Department of Field Support and the appropriate application of rules and policies.  Appropriate decisions were taken, the specifics of which remain confidential per standard practice in order to respect due process for all. Inner City Press: Can you understand why people… the removal of Mr. [Andres] Kompass who actually made public the sexual abuse of children in CAR and the apparent promotion of an individual that withheld the information, at least according to the UN's own report on the matter, would seem contradictory? Deputy Spokesman:  To correct the record of what you're saying, Mr. Kompass was reinstated, and there was, as you know, an inquiry that dealt specifically with his case, which we respected.  Inner City Press: And he came back and said he was totally disgusted with the system, given what it had done.  I think the disparate treatment between Mr. Kompass and Mr… I wanted to know, did Mr. Renner work for Fabrizio Hochschild?  I've been waiting four days for your answer.  I was doing…  It seems that he was promoted to become MINUSCA's Director of Political Affairs during the same time period that Mr. Hochschild was the DSRSG [Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General] in MINUSCA.  So I wanted to know, this now is obviously… this is why I'm wondering.  I was asking what was the connection?  Did the Secretary-General interact with him?  Does he believe, given what he said about zero tolerance and transparency recently as to Mr. [David] Kaye's report, that… that… that the questions raised by just comparing the UN's report on sexual abuse and the promotion of this individual and his apparently close connection to a main advisor of the Secretary-General would give rise to concern?  Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding that, like I said, there were measures taken in place.  I… as I just mentioned, in respect with due process, the steps remain confidential.  As for who Mr. Onana works for, he works for the mission, MINUSCA, and that's his job." This job is to conceal UN rapes. Story-telling indeed. Unless the UN intends to try to replace the independent press, isn't answering factal questions part of the litmus test? Or is attacking and censoring critics the goal? Smale and her deputy who brought about the threat to Inner City Press' accreditation after calling it too negative then blocking it on Twitter, were both on October 24 at the New York UN Day event, which UNlike other correspondents Inner City Press could only reach, later, with their minder. Alamy photos here. Deputy SG Amina Mohammed was informed - but Cameroonian diplomats quote her as saying Anglophone Cameroonian aspirations will never be supported because... Biafra. Maybe she said it; we know what the Cameroonian said but after DPIs threat are it seems not supposed to run audio. Today's UN seems corrupt, in CAR and at Headquarters. This is UN Day. The UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on Friday afternoon at 5 pm. The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. What to make of the letter's vague statement, "filming and recording on the 38th floor are limited to official photo opportunities, and recording conversations of others in the room is not permitted. It has been brought to our attention that you breached that rule recently"? It's not only vague as to when, but absurd: once a Periscope is authorized to start streaming, it is impossible to not record someone who speaks loudly at the photo op. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.  Recently at a photo op, Guterres' adviser on Cameroon Khassim Diagne spoke loudly. Inner City Press later reported, based on sourcing, that Diagne who was previously the representative to Cameroon for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency Guterres ran, speaks in favor of Cameroon's government. Is this letter a response to the reporting? Is it retaliation? Is it intimidation to stop reporting on this threatened genocide? We can't ask the complainant, Maher Nasser: after the threat was delivered, he blocked Inner City Pres on Twitter, here.

  It also comes after Alison Smale the head of the Department of Public Information which would “review” Inner City Press' accreditation has ignored three separate petitions from Inner City Press in the six weeks she has been in the job, urging her to remove restrictions on Inner City Press' reporting which hinder its coverage of the UN's performance in such crises as Yemen, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic where Guterres travels next week, with Smale's DPI saying its coverage of the trip will be a test of its public relations ability. But the UN official who triggered the complaint is Maher Nasser, who filled in for Smale before she arrived.

UN's Letter Threatening to Review Inner City Press' Accreditation for Audio Report While Staking Out on Cam... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

His complaint is that audio of what he said to Inner City Press as it staked out the elevators in the UN lobby openly recording, as it has for example with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, here, was similarly published

A UN “Public Information” official is complaining about an article, and abusing his position to threaten to review Inner City Press' accreditation. The UN has previously been called out for targeting Inner City Press, and for having no rules or due process. But the UN is entirely UNaccountable, impunity on censorship as, bigger picture, on the cholera it brought to Haiti. And, it seems, Antonio Guterres has not reformed or reversed anything. This threat is from an official involved in the last round of retaliation who told Inner City Press on Twitter to be less "negative" about the UN - amid inaction on the mass killing in Cameroon - and who allowed pro-UN hecking of Inner City Press' questions about the cholera the UN brought to Haiti and the Ng Lap Seng /John Ashe UN bribery scandal which resulted in six guilty verdicts. We'll have more on this.


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