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At UN, ICP Puts Killer Robot Q to SG Guterres Spox, He Says Regulations Lag, Excludes Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 – With the UN being asked to take action to ban killer robots, Inner City Press on August 23 asked the UN for Secretary General Antonio Guterres' view of killer robots. Video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Elon Musk and other high-profile, high-tech people have written an open letter to the UN saying that the, what's called killer robots, automated killing machines for the use in war, should be prohibited in some way by the UN.  Does the Secretary-General have any view on the appropriateness of killer robots? Spokesman:  I think it would be easy to say that killer robots are not appropriate, but I think, on, on a broader point, and I think our head of disarmament made that point in a recent speech, is that it's clear that the regulatory framework that exists, the global regulatory framework on weapons, has not caught up with the technology as it exists today.  And it's a discussion that needs to be had at an international, within a multilateral setting. Inner City Press: And, just finally, there was a, there was a swearing in of three officials this morning, including an Under-Secretary-General of DESA.  And, previously, those type of events have been open for… have been photo ops for non-UN photo press.  Today, it wasn't.  What changed between July 11th when an identical… Spokesman:  If you are in need of photos, we can provide them free of charge. Inner City Press:   But what happened? Are we going backwards in terms of access? Spokesman:  We're always going forward.

  Really? When Guterres took five media questions on August 16 after a two week vacation, Inner City Press tried to ask him about the UN bribery verdict against Ng Lap Seng rendered by a jury in lower Manhattan just before he left. Guterres heard the question, but did not answer. Video here.

Instead, his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq handpicked five questioners, two on U.S. President Donald Trump and the first on Venezuela, in response to which Guterres read from notes. Reuters was called on second, asked two questions then later began a third. The UN Correspondents Association president invited Guterres to distinguish himself from Trump, which Guterres coyly did and didn't do.

Then when Inner City Press asked about the Ng Lap Seng guilty verdict, Guterres swept the question away with his and and left with Maher Nasser the acting chief of his Department of Public Information, which without due process evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for pursuing the Ng Lap Seng bribery scandal in the UN Press Briefing Room.

Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed have both received a petition with over 2,000 signatures to end the restrictions on the Press, particularly after the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts.

But there is silence, invisibility, then pre-screened questions. Even among those, nothing on Syria, Yemen, or Libya where Guterres' envoy has praised the Italian Navy's cooperation with the Libyan coast guard, or Kenya where a recent UN official has been banned from travel in connection with electoral irregularities, much less Burundian refugees and abuses by Cameroon. On Western Sahara, moments after Guterres' stakeout, Horst Kohler was belatedly named to the long empty envoy position. We'll have more on this.


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