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To Spin Rapes, UN Couples With Ladsous' 3 Mouseketeers of VOA, Reuters & AFP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 -- When the UN's lack of accountability finally results in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon feeling uncomfortable, even if only briefly, what does the UN do?

  If the source of the problem is persistent questions from Inner City Press about UN Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous' inaction on 126 rapes in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army, the answer is to, Step One, round up the same friendly reporters who accompanied Ladsous out into the hall on November 27. Video here.

   The reporters are Margaret Besheer of Voice of America, Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse,  and Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, who now outsources the stenography to Michelle Nichols and then tweets about it.

  Besheer, it seems, is reduced to only tweeting her “news,” mixed with gushing appreciation of the British royal family.

   Step Two: then give these scribes, who never asked about Minova or pushed Ladsous on any topic, seemingly important information about threats Ladsous is belatedly making to two unnamed units of the Congolese Army.

   Ascribe these comments to an unnamed UN source and voila: the total sleazy dysfunction that is the UN Censorship Alliance and the UN chief of peacekeeping.

   Ladsous first started publicly refusing to answer Inner City Press' in late May, just after Besheer, Witcher, Charbonneau and two others started a Kafka-esque “trial” (without rules) against Inner City Press in their UN Correspondents Association. Emboldened, Ladsous said, no more answers for you.

  But the questions kept coming, including after the 126 rapes were committed by Ladsous' partners in Minova in late November. Things got more extreme: from the Security Council stakeout on November 27, Ladsous took the three Mouseketeers out into the hall (video here).

  After again refusing to answer Inner City Press about the Minova rapes on December 7, on December 18 Ladsous had his spokesman seize the UNTV microphone to try to prevent Inner City Press' question. Video here.

   The person in charge of UNTV, Stephane Dujarric, would later tell Inner City Press after advocacy by the Free UN Coalition for Access -- on the record, of course -- that he quietly told Ladsous' spokesman that it was improper. But he did not tell anyone else.

   Later, on February 22, when Inner City Press for FUNCA was summoned to a meeting that included Charbonneau and the “new” UNCA president Pamela Falk of CBS, Charbonneau told Inner City Press “the fundamental problem is your website.”

   When Inner City Press reported on the meeting, Dujarric wrote a false complaint that “it was clearly understood by all sides that there would be no reporting.”

  In fact, Inner City Press said loudly, “You are on the record,” and Pam Falk said, “He is going to write this up.” Audio here.

   The Department of Public Information, for which Dujarric works, had repeatedly urged Inner City Press to “go easier” on Ladsous, had implied that things would get better, or at least as they were under Ladsous' predecessor Alain Le Roy.

  But it appears to all be a scam, with Dujarric writing false complaints and refusing to explain or retract them, and Ladsous daily hitting new lows -- and taking the three Mouseketeers with him. And maybe more. Watch this site.

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