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At UN, Jonathan Cohen Tapped by Trump as Haley's Deputy Amid Stalled UN Reforms, Sanctions Qs, Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, photos, Video

UNITED NATIONS, February 7 – As Nikki Haley's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, the Trump Administration on February 7 tapped Jonathan R. Cohen, bio below. It comes at an important time, not only on North Korea -- will Haley break silence on the request for a sanctions waiver for Worker's Party honcho Choe Hwi to attend the PyeongChang Olympics? - but for the UN's stalled reforms. After  November 20 indictment of its leader, China Energy Fund Committee is still a consultative status to UN ECOSOC. The UN Department of Public Information continues to restrict the Press that covers that case, while flying its head Alison Smale down to Haley's South Carolina to cravenly praise a Chinese plane with "SDGs" painted on the side. The UN is failing on Cameroon and elsewhere. We could go on. Here is the Trump announcement: "Jonathan R. Cohen of California, to be Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations, with the Rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.  Mr. Cohen, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1986.  He is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, a position he has held since 2016.  He also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq (2014-2016), Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France (2013-2014), Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (2011-2013) and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus (2008-2011).  He has served at Embassies or Consulates in Bangkok, Jerusalem, Vienna (OSCE), Stockholm, Ankara and Rome as well as in senior leadership positions at the Department of State.  Mr. Cohen earned an A.B. at Princeton University.  He also studied at Georgetown University and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.  He speaks French, Swedish and Italian." He'll need all three, and more. The UN's more than five billion dollar budget was supposed to be adopted by the UN's Fifth Committee on December 22 then, the Committee chairman told Inner City Press, noon on Saturday December 23. Ultimately the Committee approval didn't finish until 2 in the morning on Christmas eve, with the ultimate approval postponed until 10 am on Christmas eve. Inner City Press, the only media covering it, was required to get a UN "minder" to access the General Assembly, unlike other no-show non-critical UN resident correspondents. From a booth about the GA it Periscoped the approval, and even an impromptu holiday carol. And holiday was the word. While in previous hears a colorful Christmas tree has been displayed on the GA Hall after the last session, this year it was a generic pine tree with no ornaments. Afterward, US Ambassador Haley said, "The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests." There are a lot more steps needed for accountability. In all other ways, it was routine: opposition to Responsibility to Protect and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to funding the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2231 (Iran) and 1559. Myanmar opposed any UN envoy being funded, but it passed 122 yes, 10 no, 24 abstaining.There was vague praise of reforms, even as absent S-G Guterres hasn't even ordered an audit of the most recent UN bribery indictment, much less his own Deputy's signing of 4000 rosewood certificates. Reform? And end of UN censorship of investigative Press? We will Press on this. On a document Inner City Press obtained, Speial Political Missions was blank. The Comptroller read it out orally, including $853,800 for the belated UN envoy to Myanmar. On a vote on R2P, Liberia spoke up and said having been asleep, an abstention was intended. There was laughter. It was after 1 am. Earlier Tommo Monthe confirmed Inner City Press' reporting on constraints on freedoms the vacationing Secretary General Antonio Guterres had wanted, the overall $166 million budget cut figure including 15% and higher in human rights. (He smiled.) Others told Inner City Press about North Korean ships, here. Particular opprobrium was reserved for the Department of Public Information under Alison Smale. DPI had requested 18 new posts or jobs, all of which were rejected, with the word "abolished" reserved for (GS)OL and Public Information officer (Japan) and UNIC-DC (G77 and China). Quitting time? On the other hand, no thanks to Smale, the push continued for posts in the Kiswahili and Portuguese UN Radio units. 18 posts or not, Smale or not, the UN and DPI must implement content neutral accreditation and access guidelines. We'll have more on this. When Inner City Press came in through the tourists' entrance Saturday at 2, nothing was moving except diplomats sleepwalking down in the 1B basement. One told Inner City Press the vote might not happen until 8 pm on Saturday; another gave it a copy of the "negotiators' broad agreement" including 10% to 25% cuts in human rights. Exclusive photo here. (Inner City Press would scan the whole document, but its scanned was evicted from UN along with all in its office by UN Department of Public Information, run by Alison Smale.) Where was UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, with the reforms he ran on and supposedly cares about also getting bogged down? He was on vacation already, for the next ten days, leaving the investigative Press restricted and killings in Cameroon and elsewhere unaddressed. Among the parts of the UN facing budget cuts for waste is not only the Department of Public Information, increasingly a propaganda arm which, as if as a sidelight, engages in censorship of the investigative Press, but also the UN's Regional Commissions, Budget Committee officials told Inner City Press on December 13. On December 21, as Inner City Press covered the process down in the UN basement past 11 pm, this was confirmed. The US wants to cut from Regional Commissions, the sources said, while others target "human rights" and DESA, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, respectively. Inner City Press asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly about it on December 22, then at 3 pm headed down to Conference Room 5. After other reporting, Inner City Press asked the chair, Saturday? He said, Yes, we'll vote as the Fifth Committee plenary at noon on Saturday, then GA in the afternoon. During this, Secretary General Antonio Guterres is already on vacation, through January 3. The chair told Inner City Press, we're just working through associated issues. These include the Group of 77 and China's response to vacationing Antonio Guterres requesting more discretion. See G77 draft Combined Proposal as of 8 am on December 22, which for example "15. decides not to implement any changes at present regarding any expansion of exceptional budgetary authorities, unforeseen and extraordinary expenses, and the Secretary-General’s limited budgetary discretion." Full draft here on Patreon. Late night on December 21-22 Paraguay bought in empanadas just before midnight; UK Deputy Jonathan Allen, who had spoken on Peacekeeping much earlier in the day, told Inner City Press, "Could be a long one." It always is - and this year, there are more cuts publicly threatened. Inner City Press was exclusively informed by sources that of the $250 million cut proposed by the US, the cutting number is now $166 million, "it's just a question of where." In the 1B basement there were meetings on Reform, Construction and the all-important Budget in multiple locations. "China has gotten involved," another source told Inner City Press, naming Cherith Norman as involved for the US and contrasting her to former US rep Joe Torsella. "We will work all night," another source said," and vote it through at 3, or 6, or 10 pm." There were jokes made about a UNGA speech on "puppets" earlier in the day. "Watch out, though," one source said, "like the lady across the street, he might rising up in his government." Antonio Guterres was long gone, on vacation through January 3. His deputy Amina Mohammed, the spokesman told Inner City Press, would remain. But she withheld information even from her public schedule.It was the UN caste system at work, although UK Deputy Permanent Representative Jonathan Allen was still there at 10 pm, telling Inner City Press, "Live the dream." Only at the UN. Inner City Press has previously reported on and asked about the presence of the Latin American Regional Commission (ECLAC) chief Alicia Barcena with Antonio Guterres when he spoke before the Committee. The UN then told Inner City Press Barcena was called on by Guterres for her expertise, but remains head of ECLAC. We'll have more on this. The Budget Committee officials told Inner City Press that if the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions does not finish "five big reports" by the end of this week, concluding the session on December 22 may be unlikely. At the noon briefing on December 14, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly for the status of the ACABQ reports, and about the budget process. The question has been answered in writing: "The President of the General Assembly is aware of and concerned by the late arrival of documents to the Fifth Committee for its consideration. This has been a persistent problem, hampering the work of the Committee. The President has discussed this issue with the Chairs of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Fifth Committee. He has also been kept abreast of the state of play in the Fifth Committee, including through periodic contact with the Fifth Committee’s Chair. ACABQ is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and is represented in the Fifth Committee by its Chair." We'll have more on this. At the noon briefing on December 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'm sure you're aware that, in the Budget Committee, proposals have been made for more substantial cuts than… than the Secretary-General has proposed.  He's proposed 200 million.  There's a proposal for 2… an additional $250 million in cuts.  And I wanted to ask you about… part of it, I've heard from a Budget Committee official, is the regional commissions to face… as well as special political commissions, DPI [Department of Public Information].  And I wanted to know, number one, are there contingency plans to implement it?  Do you have any response to this desire for cuts?  And Ms. [Alicia] Bárcena, who I know is the head of a regional commission, is this… I'd asked Stéphane [Dujarric], I think, what… she was, you know, sitting behind the Secretary-General in the presentation to the Budget Committee.  Is this her role?  What's the… what is the response to the… the desire to cut these regional commissions?  Can you justify their current budget?Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding this, this is a matter that's up for discussions among the Member States, and we'll let the Member States discuss amongst themselves how to proceed forward with a budget.  And so, the matter is in their hands, and we're not going to comment while they're dealing with it." New DPI chief Alison Smale's swearing in ceremony was closed to the Press; she has still not even responded to Inner City Press' three petitions for review of its eviction and restriction for reporting on corruption at the UN. Meanwhile, the UN Budget Committee head for the year, the Cameroonian Ambassador who joined DPI in its censorship after Inner City Press asked about abuses by his president Paul Biya, told Inner City Press it will all be done by December 22. We'll see. The UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on October 20 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. 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.

  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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