Inner City Press

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

SG Guterres Says UN Has To Earn the Right To Do The Right Thing, Replacing Failed Heads of DPKO & DPI Key

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- Antonio Guterres formally took the reigns at the United Nations on Tuesday, he said of the UN, “We have to earn the right to do the right thing.” Vine here.

He might have added, “re-earn” the right, because in recent years the UN has been bleeding credibility, from shirking for six years its responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti to letting peacekeepers who have raped in the Central African Republic and elsewhere enjoy immunity, and even as in the base of the Burundian contingent in CAR, to rotated 800 more troops in to get paid.

   And so any implementation of Guterres' message of hope would have to include replacing the Ban Ki-moon era officials who brought the UN into disrepute. 45-second tweeted video here.

  UN Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous, who said that his troops would rape less frequently if they had been R&R or “rest and recreation,” is slated to leave in March. Longer YouTube here.

   But a real litmus test will be replacing the head of Ban's Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach, who bought the UN down first by neglecting to do any due diligence as now-indicted Macau businessman Ng Lap Seng bought events in the UN including its slavery memorial (audit here, Paragraphs 37-40 and 20b) then by ousting, evicting and still restricting the investigative Press which asked her about it.

 There's also the Wonder Woman as UN ambassador fiasco, and spending taxpayers' funds on a DPI trainer who, among other things, called Detroit, Michigan a “third rate city” in “flyover country.” Four strikes and you're out. Busca una otra.

   Guterres' first day in UN Headquarters as Secretary General began with the laying of a wreath in the Visitors Lobby. As noted by Inner City Press, still required by Gallach's eviction order to enter through the metal detectors unlike its purported replacement in its long time office, Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom's Sanna Youssef who rarely come in and never asks questions, fallen staff include one Louis Maxwell.

    Louis Maxwell was killed by Afghan National forces and the UN covered up it, including lying to his family in Florida. It's a case that should be reopened, by one or both transitions.

  Then Guterres moved to the Secretariat lobby, stopping to answer media questions as Ban rarely did. On Ban's first day in 2007, he was asked about the killing of Saddan Hussein and said that the death penalty is up to each member state: not the UN answer. Re-earn the right to do right, indeed...

 As Ban Ki-moon left at the end of 2016, intent on running for the Presidency of South Korea and having shown himself willing to evict, censor and restrict the Press which asked him uncomfortable questions.

   Inner City Press even under restrictions still imposed closely covered the selection process that picked Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal and head of the UN's refugee agency, in which capacity Inner City Press questioned him about the IMF's and World Bank's non-help to refugee-hosting countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Nigeria. Video here.

   Guterres faces substantive tests, from Yemen to Burundi, Myanmar to Western Sahara. He need to hear about those, and this. Even still under the targeted restrictions imposed in the final ten months of Ban Ki-moon's tenure, Inner City Press will cover these and all other UN issues.

   Guterres has said it will take him some time to choose his own officials, meaning that as he officially became Secretary General on January 1, he still had Ban Ki-moon's Under Secretaries General Herve Ladsous for Peacekeeping and Cristina Gallach, who signed the letters ousting and evicting Inner City Press, for Communications and “Public Information.” How long will this last?

 Just after midnight on January 1, Guterres has made a statement - to which a day later no link is possible, as the UN's website was not working. Improvements at the UN are needed, on many fronts.

One simple step that comes to mind is to put Saudi Arabia, which has used cluster bombs to kill kids in Yemen, back on the UN's Children and Armed Conflict annex.

  To pay more attention to Burundi, to whose Pierre Nkurunziza Guterres has already written.

  To take some immediate action on the killing - and closing of the border on -- the Rohingya in Myanmar. There's more, but we'll begin pursuing this, including January 3 when Guterres speaks to UN staff on 9:10 am. Watch this site.

When then-new UN Secretary General Guterres came to take questions outside the General Assembly hall on October 13, he was first asked about Syria and cited his past as head of the UN refugee agency.

Inner City Press asked, “And Yemeni people?” - referring most recently to the double-tap airstrike on the funeral in Sana'a.

  Guterres took the question, adding in South Sudan as well, and said he will try to be an honest broker. That would be a welcome change, and one that we will closely cover as censorship restrictions are lifted. Recent Swiss Radio & TV here.

 On December 12, Inner City Press reported from multiple sources about the lobbying of Guterres for various jobs.

On the chief of staff post: Inner City Press exclusively reported it would be a woman, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, who was Brazil's Permanent Representative to the UN from 2007 to 2013. She always answered Press questions, and would not be expected to put up with the shenanigans Ban Ki-moon has overseen, including the ouster, eviction and restriction of the Press.

This was confirmed on December 15, as well as what Inner City Press first reported on November 11: that Guterres' deputy will be Amina J. Mohammed, until recently part of the UN's sustainable development and climate change teams. Also announced: a policy post for Kyung-Wha Kang, who as a Ban Ki-moon official witnessed Ban's and Cristina Gallach's eviction of Inner City Press' office on April 16, 2016, video here. We'll have more on this.

  On November 21 Stephane Dujarric, who has been spokesman already for Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, said "I only speak for one Secretary General at a time." And two in a row is too much; even more clear, on censorship, waste, corruption / John Ashe audit and other ground, Ban's "Communications" boss Critina Gallach should go, there are many other qualified women.

Inner City Press had also separately been told to "watch Nigeria," noting Amina J. Mohammed, until recently part of the UN's sustainable development and climate change teams.

  Under Secretaries General's contracts expire in March -- some should be let go earlier, even if they insist on getting the three extra months' pay for continued non-work, like Herve Ladsous (see November 10 video here).

  Guterres' commitment to gender parity is laudable, but must not mean that a USG like Cristina Gallach of DPI, who was criticized in the OIOS audit of l'affaire John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng, who was responsible for the Wonder Woman as Ambassador snafu as well as evicting the Press with no due process -- should stay. Not difficult to find una otra, substantially better. Watch this site.

  Since Guterres' predecessor Ban Ki-moon angered Kenya (and others) by summarily firing its UNMISS force commander in South Sudan, while leaving in place the long time head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, many wonder what Guterres would have done, or will do.

Ladsous on November 3 said, according to sources, that he expects to stay on "at least" until March. How can that be? And despite the laudable goal of gender parity in Under Secretary General posts, a USG like that of DPI, who appears in a negative light in OIOS audits and act lawlessly and contrary to the raison d'etre of her department must be replaced.

As one well-placed African Group Permanent Representative has twice told Inner City Press, for Guterres "expectations are high."

Beyond the UN Peacekeeping issues explored below, as to ending UN censorship who becomes Spokesperson, and who heads the Department of Public Information, will have an impact. On October 28 the UN told correspondents that Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for Guterres, should now be contacted through a and not email address. Does this mean she'll be UN Spokesperson? Head of DPI?

The Free UN Coalition for Access has asked. One thing should be clear: Cristina Gallach must go. Beyond her no due process eviction of the Press, and the recent Wonder Woman as Ambassador debacle, she is named in the Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng scandal, as having done no due diligence. There must be accountability, even belatedly.

   (Later on October 28, the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon who not only threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room but who has also for two weeks resisted making publish a speech Ban gave on October 14 to a group, the Council of Korean Americans, which sought $100,000 sponsorships for the event, was glad-handing at an Upper East Side event. A lot of people are dusting off their c.v. or resume.)

  UN Peacekeeping has been controlled by France for 20 years, and many believe that it is and will be time to relinquish it. But when Inner City Press asked, if for example France will shift to DESA or even across First Avenue to UNDP, it was told “don't believe everything you hear.”

   Now the person who gave that answer or quip is reported as a possible replacement for Herve Ladsous, who has run DPKO into the ground.

Other names floated are Sylvie Bermann -- if France keeps it, a woman USG might be designed to address the sexual abuse issues that expanded and were justified under Ladous - or Jean-Maurice Ripert, without any mention of his issue when he was assigned to Pakistan humanitarian issues and remained on vacation. (In full disclosure, Ripert also confronted Inner City Press on a UN Security Council trip involving Chad and, by accident, Rwanda - but that's another story.)

On October 19, Guterres had a first “inter-active” with the General Assembly. This consisted of speeches, at the end merely one minute apiece, followed by Guterres' rapid-fire responses or summaries.

In this final round, Guterres shouted out China for the G-20 and Oman for being “a bridge.” He nodded to Iran's call to fight terrorism, adding that xenophobia and racism must relatedly be fought.

He cited the Portuguese who were welcomed in exile in Algeria -- Inner City Press thought of a documentary clip in which Ornette Coleman's bassist Charlie Haden stood up to the Portuguese military rulers and control over Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Angola, here -- and noted that the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines has a Portuguese name.

He said he took notes on Japan's concerns: non-proliferation / North Korea, regional conflicts and Security Council reform.

  In the last row, Benin couldn't be heard until the Holy See came and turned on its microphone. Palestine's Riyad Mansour said, I speak last but when will I be able to say, Free at last, free at last. Guterres said he'd love to see the two state solution implemented during his time as Secretary General. The interpreters were thanked for staying late, and it was over. But we'll have more. Watch this site.

Earlier he cited gender parity and regional balance in appointments to top posts, the integration of the three pillars of the UN -- peace and security, sustainable development and human rights -- and ended with a shout-out to the Colombian Ambassador and peace process. (Inner City Press questioned UN envoy Jean Arnault about Colombia earlier on October 19.)

   Then there were 100 minutes for 56 countries, so (less than) two minutes each. President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson gently banged his gavel when Deputy Ambassador Sison of the host country, USA, went over-time. The UK's Permanent Representative Matthew Rycroft brought his in within time, citing Syria but not Yemen, on which UK plays a role. Japan hammered on North Korea and Security Council reform.

   Slovakia's Permanent Representative, who had a candidate who shot up in the polls only to fall just as fast, spoke of the number of babies born and trees cut down in two minutes, making many delegates look up from their smart phones. Guterres' transition team, beside and behind him, listened and took notes.

On October 14, Guterres announced this team:

  Transition Team Chief: Ms. Kyung-wha Kang (Republic of Korea).

Senior Advisor/ Spokesperson: Ms. Melissa Fleming (USA).

Senior Adviser: Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough (Jamaica).

Senior Adviser: Mr. João Madureira (Portugal).

Senior Adviser: Mr. Radhouane Nouicer (Tunisia).

  On October 14 inside the GA hall, speakers included Chile's Ambassador Christian Barros and the UK's Matthew Rycroft, who spoke of the process by which Guterres was selected (but not, perhaps understandably, about Yemen). US Ambassador Samantha Power joked that she had set aside time around Christmas in case more straw polls were needed.

   In the days and weeks ahead, Inner City Press will be running its “New UN” series, which today covered the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The need for change at UN Peacekeeping and the Department of Public Information is clear. But how will the UN become anything near to an honest broker? We are hoping for it. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

Past and future UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

For now, mail to: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station, NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2017 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]