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Kerry and Zarif Speak of April 22 Meeting, UN Censors Press Coverage

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 19 -- When US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met in the UN on April 19, they each announced they would meet again on April 22 about the JCPOA.

  While this might seem like mechanical news, the UN and its partners in censorship saw fit to make it difficult or impossible for non-favored journalists to cover it. Inner City Press, which until this year being ousted (on February 19, audio here) and then evicted (on April 16, video here and here), was always able to cover events on the UN's second floor, now can't.

 A request to pass through the turnstile was denied, and Media Accreditation, which oversaw and filmed Saturday's eviction, was no help. But here, as fast as Inner City Press could obtain them, are the quotes:

Kerry: "We agreed to – we’re both working at making sure that the JCPOA, the Iran agreement – nuclear agreement – is implemented in exactly the way that it was meant to be and that all the parties to that agreement get the benefits that they are supposed to get out of the agreement.  So we worked on a number of key things today, achieved progress on it, and we agreed to meet on Friday.  After the signing of the climate change agreement, we will meet again to sort of solidify what we talked about today."

  Zarif confirmed, “We focused on how we will implement the JCPOA. We meet again on Friday.”

   But why would the UN evict and restrict reporters, for their coverage? The ouster and eviction were ordered by Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, with a conflict of interest as she appears in the UN's Ng Lap Seng case audit at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20(b); Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press, "That is not my decision." We'll have more on this.

When the US dramatically called for a UN Security Council meeting about Iran's ballistic missile launch, outside the Council Iran distributed a written statement, while Israel's Danny Danon and then Samantha Power spoke.

  Iran's statement said, "Security Council resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional military activities, nor does international law disallow them. Iran has never sought to acquire nuclear weapon and never will in the future, as it fully honours its commitment under the NPT and the JCPOA. Consequently, Iran's missiles are not and could not be designed for delivery of unconventional weapons. We reject arbitrary interpretation of the provisions of Security Council resolution 2231 and its annexes, and call upon all parties to act in good-faith and refrain from provocations."

 Danny Danon had a exhibit, a photo of launching missile. Inner City Press asked him if he though Ban Ki-moon is "letting it all hang out" in his final year (including though the ouster of Inner City Press, petition here); Danon said they don't always agree, but they talk.

 Samantha Power took a single question, from AP. Inner City Press asked, audibly, if she is aware of the Government Accountability Project letter to her Mission, here.We'll have more on this.

  The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.

 In the UN Security Council on the Yemen sanctions resolution adopted on February 24, language was added to try to discourage the Panel of Experts from looking into the act of the Saudi-led Coalition. Concessions were made, of a kind not made for or about other countries under sanctions.

  (Inner City Press had to follow the process from outside the UN, literally, the park on 43rd Street across First Avenue, because only days after Inner City Press asked why the UN was so quiet about false claims of Iranian military equipment in a UN WFP aid ship, Inner City Press was summarily thrown out of the UN, and Banned, without due process. Petition here.)

 On March 1, back in on a reduced access pass, Inner City Press asked UN OCHA official John Ging about taking "aid" money from Saudi Arabia while it blasts away at Yemen. Video here.

 Ging said these two are "ring fenced," and that the UN doesn't allow Saudi Arabia to put conditions on aid or where it is delivered.
  Inner City Press asked, what about the Saudi threat that aid workers should leave Houthi-controlled areas? Ging said the UN had pushed back.

But quietly, as was the case with the Saudi diversion of the WFP ship. Does money talk?  Apparently yes.

The Yemen "government," which under UN rules could hold a press conference for all journalists in the UN Press Briefing Room, has instead chosen to invited only members of the Gulf and Western media dominated UN Correspondents Association to a spin session. We've put the leaked invitation online here; here's some of the text:

Dear Colleagues,

UNCA is extending an invitation sent from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Yemen, to a light breakfast briefing with a public diplomacy delegation on their visit to New York to discuss the current political situation in Yemen, on Tuesday, March 8th at 9:00am at the mission (413 East 51st street). Please see the attached invitation to RSVP.

Giampaolo Pioli, UNCA President

The focus of the annexed invitation is on "IHL and HRL violations of the Houthi - Saleh rebels." This is UNCA: this is how the UN works, or doesn't.

On March 3, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq why UN OCHA official Stephen O'Brien said he was "pleased" when Saudi Arabia, which funds O'Brien's Yemen appeal, continues to hold the UN's "humanitarian IT equipment" at least under March 6, after Yemen's Ambassador - sure to be present at the spoon-fed breakfast for UNCA - said was Iranian military equipment.

Yemen's Hadi Gov Invites UNCA on "IHL and HL violations of the Houthi - Saleh rebels" Over Breakfast by Matthew Russell Lee

  UNCA played a role in the UN's ouster of Inner City Press, and is now linked to at least two anonymous troll Twitter accounts trying to defend the ouster. This too is how the UN works: UN Censorship Alliance. Here, already public online, are the officials and some of the large and in charge At-Large UNCA 2016 (breakfast) board members:

Giampaolo Pioli, Quotidiano Nazionale

Room: S-422A-2
Phone: (212) 371-1099

Mobile: (917) 287-3969

Nabil Abi Saab, Alhurra TV

Room: S-416A
Phone: (212) 308-2317
Mobile: (202) 413-4666

Valeria Robecco, ANSA News Agency - UNCA Second Vice President 2016

Room: S-0305
Mobile: (973) 413-0864

Ali Barada, An-Nahar Newspaper; France

Room: S-340B
Tel: (917) 365-0942

Carole Landry, Agence France Presse

Room: S-0316
Phone: (212) 759-8183
Mobile (917) 832-5415

Seana Magee, Kyodo News

Room: S-304
Phone: (212) 508-5475
Mobile: (347) 512-5506

Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcasting (SABC) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Room: S-415
Phone: (917) 703-4470

Zhenqiu Gu, Xinhua News Agency - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team YYYY

Room: S-313
Phone: (212) 371-9618
Mobile (917) 868-3210

Melissa Kent, CBC/Radio-Canada - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Melissa Kent, CBC/Radio-Canada

Room: S-342
Phone: (212) 546-0510
Mobile: (646) 238-5876

Michelle Nichols, Reuters (NA) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Room: S-321
Phone: (212) 355-6053
Mobile: (646) 775-5943

Sylviane Zehil, L'Orient Le Jour - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Sylviane Zehil, L’Orient Le Jour

Room: S-419A-1
Phone: (212) 529-9136
Mobile: (917) 882-8244
Email: &

Masood Haider, Dawn Pakistan (D) - Member at Large, UN Correspondents Association Executive Team 2016

Masood Haider, Dawn Pakistan

Room: S-348C
Mobile: (917) 971-1170

  In action.
 This same UNCA board in December 2015 offered up seats with Ban Ki-moon for $6,000, after arranging for indicted Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban. Covering the organization is entirely legitimate, whatever the UN says, now more than ever with the spoonfed breakfast of Yemen spin.

 On February 28, Ban Ki-moon but not his invisible envoy issued a canned statement about the previous day's airstrike:

"The Secretary-General... calls for a prompt and impartial investigation of this incident."

  Ban's call for an impartial investigation rings hollow, when he has allowed his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach to oust Inner City Press, which reports on Yemen, based on an "investigation" which never even SPOKE to Inner City Press. This incongruity, and its consequences, has been raised directly to Ban and his most senior advisers. Impartial?

Previously: Inner City Press obtained UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's documents for the delayed talks in Switzerland, and exclusively put them online here.

UN Yemen Talks Documents Leaked to Inner City Press, December 2015 by Matthew Russell Lee

Back on November 10, while Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was on the next to last day of his trip to Saudi Arabia to discussed among other things Yemen, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric to confirm that envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is not even IN Saudi Arabia with Ban.

 Dujarric confirmed that he is not there, but would not confirm that he is in his native Mauritania, to which Inner City Press is informed he flew on the UN's dime, for a vacation, signed off on by the top of the Department of Political Affairs.

Inner City Press has reported from sources dates on which the UN's envoy went to Dubai, purpose UNknown. Given his follow UN enovy Bernardino Leon's deal with the UAE, this must now be explained and acted on by the UN.

Inner City Press previously reported on and published the Houthis' letter denouncing UN envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed as little more than a Saudi tool. Now it's gotten worse: even Kenny Gluck who works for the envoy and went to Muscat trying to meet the Houthis was unable. He waited then returned to Riyadh.

    The envoy, meanwhile, is said by those who know him to not only be “laughably” cheap -- putting in for reimbursement for an eight dollar taxi ride from the UN to a Mission on 67th Street, for example -- but also still involved in the same business for which Inner City Press previously dubbed him “the Fisherman” or the “Fishy Envoy.” 

  He has traveled on the UN's funds to Dubai, claiming he would meet the Houthis there. Not only will the Houthis not meet with him -- even if they would, they would not be found in Dubai, given that the UAE is part of the coalition. In any event, Abu Dhabi is the capital, not Dubai. There is something... fishy.

  Now we can report what UN sources say are dates of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's travel to Dubai: May 11; June 3 and June 5; August 1 and August 4; September 12-15; October 9-11; October 26; November 4; and prospectively November 10 and November 12. 

 What are Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's trips to Dubai for? Given the UAE's offer to UN Envoy Bernarndino Leon, while he was UN Envoy to Libya, this question must be answered.


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