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After N Korea Hydrogen Bomb Test, UNSC Set For Ethiopia Trip, UN Silent on Cyanide, Censors

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Letter, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, September 3 – Two days before today's reported North Korean hydrogen bomb test, incoming UN Security Council president for September Tekeda Alemu of Ethiopia held a long press conference at the UN and only mentioned North Korea once, per the UN Department of Public Information's summary, here. Will the Security Council and its president still leave New York for five days?  For now from Vienna, this: "“Our monitoring stations picked up an unusual seismic event in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) today at 03:30 (UTC). The event seems to have been larger than the one our system recorded in September last year and the location is very similar to that event. If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would indicate that the DPRK's nuclear program is advancing rapidly." In late August after North Korea submitted a letter to the UN Security Council about the joint US - South Korea military exercised (Inner City Press put it online here), North Korea fired a missile right over Japan's Hokkaido island. On August 29, there was an emergency UN Security Council meeting - leading to the read out and adoption in the Council chamber past 8 pm, of Presidential Statement, below, that Inner City Press published before the meeting. After Egypt read it out - Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, to which the UN is trying to give Inner City Press' long time office, was not even present for this - there were speeches by Nikki Haley, Japan's Bessho, China's Liu and Russia's Nebenzia. Then UN Security threw the press out of the stakeout, to continue work in the lobby since its long time office is assigned to a no-show DPI and UNCA favored retired former journalist. Inner City Press on September 1 asked Ambassador Alemu four questions, including on Burundi (on the Council's agenda) and the Oromo Protests, a major human rights issue. Video here. But when the UN Department of Public Information wrote up the press conference, it did not even MENTION Burundi, much less the Oromo protests. See UN document here. What is wrong with UN DPI, a corrupt UN Department which spends $200 million a year in public funds, but doe not even has any rules, content neutral or otherwise, on how it accredits and/or restricts the independent press which covers the UN? Where is the new head of DPI, Alison Smale, listed as starting September 1? Where is Antonio Guterres, still silent on the reversal of the Kenyan election scam he praised, and whose spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to answer 14 of Inner City Press' 17 questions last week?  For now, here's the UNSC's August 29 statement: PRST FOR DPRK AUGUST 28 LAUNCH OVER JAPAN The Security Council strongly condemns the August 28 2017 (local time) ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that flew over Japan, as well as the multiple ballistic missile launches it conducted on 25 August 2017. The Security Council further condemns the DPRK for its outrageous actions and threats against another UN Member State, and demands that the DPRK immediately cease all such actions. The Security Council stresses that these DPRK actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all UN Member States.The Security Council expresses its grave concern that the DPRK is, by conducting such a launch over Japan as well as its recent actions and public statements, deliberately undermining regional peace and stability and have caused grave security concerns around the world.The Security Council, resolute in its commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, emphasizes the vital importance of immediate, concrete actions by the DPRK to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond.    The Security Council demands that the DPRK not proceed with any further launches using ballistic missile technology and comply with resolutions 1695 (2006), 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), and 2371 (2017), as well as the statements of its President of 6 October 2006 (S/PRST/2006/41), 13 April 2009 (S/PRST/2009/7) and 16 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/13), by suspending all activities related to its ballistic missile programme and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launches.  The Security Council further demands that the DPRK immediately comply fully with all of its other obligations under all relevant Security Council resolutions, including that it shall: abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities; not conduct any further nuclear tests or any further provocation; and abandon any other existing weapons of mass destruction in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. The Security Council calls on all states to strictly, fully, and expeditiously implement all relevant Security Council resolutions including 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), and 2371 (2017). The Security Council reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North-East Asia at large, expresses its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation, and welcomes efforts by Council members, as well as other States, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.”" Earlier, French Deputy Ambassador Gueguen read a statement but did not answer any questions, as she previously declined to answer on Togo killing protesters, when asked by Inner City Press. Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho said the first order of business will be to make sure Council members are all on the same page; he declined to answer if Japan will ask for an oil embargo. There is talk of "elements to the press" today, something more formal later in the week, perhaps on the UN's Eid holiday on August 31. On their way in, Nikki Haley conferred with UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who then came to the stakeout with a statement, also on Myanmar, saying the August 30 meeting agreed to will "shine a spotlight." Inner City Press asked, So an open meeting? It was not answered. Periscope here. On the morning of August 29, US Ambassador Nikki Haley stopped at the Security Council stakeout and said, as to North Korea, "Enough is enough." Alamy photos here. UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen said that he didn't want to prejudge the meeting, but that the entire world condemns North Korea's action. (This included, however belatedly, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, or at least his Associate Spokesperson. Under Guterres, the UN World Intellectual Property Organization has helped North Korea with cyanide patent(s), as Inner City Press aske Nikki Haley about, see below.) Late on August 28, Inner City Press ran to the UN Security Council stakeout and raised a Periscope video, here. Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho said We are still gathering facts, at this time, I have nothing to say. Egypt's Ambassador, President of the UN Security Council for August, emerged and said there has been no request for an emergency meeting, yet. Inner City Press asked him a question, here (Alamy photos here); Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, to which the UN is trying to give Inner City Press' long time UN work space, was not even present. Now Japan has announced, "#NorthKorea's #ballisticmissile launch - @JapanMissionUN @USUN & @ROK_Mission have just requested urgent @UN #UNSC consultations. #DPRK." It will be late Tuesday, whenever the previously scheduled Egyptian debate on peacekeeping ends. Now the White House has issued this read-out: "President Donald J. Trump spoke yesterday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to address North Korea’s launch of a missile that overflew Japanese territory.  The two leaders agreed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, as well as to countries around the world.  President Trump and Prime Minister Abe committed to increasing pressure on North Korea, and doing their utmost to convince the international community to do the same." Watch this site. After North Korea's most recent missiles, the EU said, "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) today launched a number of short range ballistic missiles. Such actions violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions and seriously undermine regional peace and stability. The DPRK must halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon its ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, as required by the UN Security Council. There is an urgent need for a de-escalation of tensions on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We  expect the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and to immediately re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community aimed at pursuing the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation through peaceful means. The European Union supports such a process in consultation with key partners." Meanwhile the chair of the UN Security Council 1718 Committee, Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, told Inner City Press DPRK arms sales to Syria and/or the UAE was not discussed in his August 25 meeting. Vine Camera video here. The UN Security Council on Saturday August 5 met and adopted new sanctions, including a ban on the export of seafood, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore. On the evening of August 4 the UN itself allow North Korea to censor an art exhibit in its lobby (exclusive Inner City Press coverage here), at an event attended by (former?) US Mission to the UN spokesperson Kurtis Cooper. On August 8, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that “a miniature nuclear warhead in North Korea is a massive and unacceptable threat to the United States... We need a coherent and comprehensive strategy from the Trump administration that focuses on immediate direct diplomacy and increased economic pressure, along with military deterrence with regional allies to confront this grave national security threat.  Last weekend, the United Nations Security Council imposed sweeping new sanctions to slash North Korea’s exports by upwards of $1 billion. The UN took an important step, but... President Trump must work to start direct and immediate talks with North Korea.  We cannot afford to wait any longer. The consequences of inaction are too great.” We'll have more on this. In other UN censorship news, while Inner City Press remains under restriction, the Egyptian state media the UN is trying to give its office to didn't even come in, with Egypt as Security Council president. The UN was asked but would not explain this absurdity. On August 4 Inner City Press notice a sign outside windowless UN Conference Room A, of a "Mission of the United States of America: Security Council Experts Meeting [Closed]," to begin at 11 am. Photo here. Inner City Press staked it out, but no one went into the room at that time. Nevertheless by the afternoon a lone Security "Council diplomat" was spoon-feeding Reuters that on Saturday, with a high likelihood, the Council would ban exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. Seafood! What about the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization's work on North Korea's cyancide patent? The UN, and the wire service, were fine with that, as they were with now-convicted Macau based businessman Ng Lap Seng buying the UN, its Department of Public Information and its allies. Absurdly CBS on July 29 had a headline about the US wanting a UN Security Council meeting, including in the body of a the story Nikki Haley's quote that "We have not called for a meeting." Photo here. On July 31, Inner City Press asked the president of the Security Council for July, Liu Jieyi of China, if any question for a meeting had been received, and he said no. Yet CBS still had the story up, and was re-tweeting it, see below. As Inner City Press noted, this from a media which never reported on the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization working on North Korea's cyanide patent - nor, hardly, on the six guilty verdicts in the UN bribery case, even as the UN says it should be paid for its corruption in the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case. Now Nikki Haley has directly denied the CBS story, calling it misreporting: "Following North Korea’s second ICBM launch on Friday, many have asked whether the United States will seek an emergency Security Council session on Monday. Some have even misreported that we are seeking such a session. That is mistaken. There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence. North Korea is already subject to numerous Security Council resolutions that they violate with impunity and that are not complied with by all UN Member States. An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value. In fact, it is worse than nothing, because it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him. China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over. The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all." Eight hours after this, CBS re-tweeted the story. Due to this, extrapolating who the non-US source could be, we note sycophantry to the South Korean mission, given that its Ban Ki-moon was Secretary General. We again note that Monday, July 31 is the last day of China's presidency of the UN Security Council, with an end of presidency event at 6:30 pm (we'll go and rush back to meet the UN's 7 pm censorship deadline imposed for reporting on UN corruption, and continued amid critiques); Egypt takes over the presidency on Tuesday, August 1. We'll have more on this. From Washington, Tillerson then Trump: "The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the second this month, in blatant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community. All nations should take a strong public stance against North Korea, by maintaining and strengthening UN sanctions to ensure North Korea will face consequences for its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability. The United States seeks the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end to belligerent actions by North Korea.  As we and others have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea nor abandon our commitment to our allies and partners in the region."  Trump: "North Korea’s test launch today of another intercontinental ballistic missile—the second such test in less than a month—is only the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime.  The United States condemns this test and rejects the regime’s claim that these tests—and these weapons—ensure North Korea’s security.  In reality, they have the opposite effect.  By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people.  The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region."  Back after the missile on on June 3-4, UN Secretary General was in his stomping ground of Lisbon, Portugal, after days of his spokesman not disclosing where he was. Meanwhile the UN system continues to recruit internationally for "Junior Professional Officers" to work for it in Pyongyang, here - Inner City Press on July 5 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about that, and for all details on any North Korean participation in or agreements with the UN JPO program. On July 10, Inner City Press asked the head of the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo, who said he'd read Inner City Press' previous coverage, to explain if North Korea can as it has at WIPO place a staffer into the UN Department of Political Affairs. Video here. His answer(s) didn't make it clear that North Korea can't. On July 7, after Dujarric had not answered for two days, Inner City Press asked again and it turned out Dujarric had an answer he would not have given if not asked again, in the briefing. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on the JPO [Junior Professional Officer], I asked a couple of days ago about whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has reported a memorandum for Junior Professional Officers program with the UN.  Do they, and are they sending anyone?

Spokesman:  I think I have something, which is basically that based on the… first of all, that the JPO programme is open to every Member State, all right.  Based on expression of interest of [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] as a Member State of the UN, and in accordance with relevant resolutions from [Economic and Social Council] from March, the Permanent Mission of the DPRK and the UN reached a memorandum of understanding, the provision of JPOs without prejudice.  While the memorandum of understanding is concluded, the provision of a JPO to the UN is subject to the identification by the organization of programmatic needs and suitable candidates who meet the qualifications, competencies, ability to perform duties and other requirements, set by the receiving Department.  The selected candidate is subject to UN staff rules and resolutions, including the obligation not to seek or accept instruction in regard to performance of duties from any Government or any other source external to the UN, as per Article 100 of the Charter.

Inner City Press: At least one published report identified or described an individual — they said — is already in the pipeline, mentioned the Department of Political Affairs as the target and said that a Permanent Representative has spoken to António Guterres in opposition to this.  You say it's open to all, but is it also open to… are there considerations of not, for example, placing a national of a country, for example, under a sanctions system to work in the DPA or SCAD Sanctions Office about that country?

Spokesman:  I think, obviously, first of all, it's up to the UN and to the Department to identify the programmatic needs and where that person would be best… best used.

  The UN's World Intellectual Property Organization had defended working on cyanide patents for North Korea, and Guterres' spokespeople had defended it. But on July 4 the UN issued this: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns the launch of a ballistic missile of possible intercontinental range conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 4 July 2017. This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation. The DPRK leadership must cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations. The Secretary-General underlines the importance of maintaining the unity of the international community in addressing this serious challenge." The US Mission's subsequent press release said, "A short time ago, Ambassador Nikki Haley and her counterparts from Japan and the Republic of Korea requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to be held in the open chamber in response to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch. The Security Council session will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. EDT." After the last launch, the UN Security Council added to its sanctions list 14 individuals and four companies. Inner City Press put the resolution online here. This as some on the UN Security Council, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres or at least his spokesman Stephane Dujarric have no problem with or comment on the UN's own World Intellectual Property Organization helps North Korea with a patent application for social cyanide (WIPO site here).  On Capitol Hill on June 28, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) urged US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to act on WIPO, including its retaliation against whistleblowers. Haley spoke about reviewing peacekeeping missions, which is needed - as is a review and reversal of the UN's lack of protections for free press, and continued restrictions on investigative Press. At the day's UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here: Inner City Press: down in Washington this morning, there's a hearing in the committee… House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the issue of the… the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), not only its dealings with patents for North Korea, but its retaliation against its own staff, you know, has been raised.  So, I've asked you about it before.  I just wanted to know, what does the Secretary-General… given there's even some provisions of US law about failure to protect whistle-blowers, has he taken any action on the… the numerous cases within WIPO of…?

Spokesman:  The Sec… WIPO is an independent agency, specialized agency.  It has its own governing body, on which the United States is represented.  I expect those discussions are going on between the US and WIPO… the WIPO leadership, and I really have nothing else to add than what I've previously said on the issue.

Inner City Press: Right, but given that they're a part of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) and there are certain, I guess, minimum standards in the UN system, such as not using criminal defamation against the press, I would assume…?

Spokesman:  As a matter of principle, the Sec… and this goes across the board for every organization.  The Secretary-General expects all UN agencies, whether specialized or not, to… to uphold standards… minimum standards.  But, I'm not going to go into the details of WIPO management, which is an issue that WIPO management will… dealing with, with its own governing body.

  The UN Secretariat alsobacked up WIPO on May 26 when Inner City Press asked, transcript here and below. Inner City Press on May 16 began to ask US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about it (video here).

On May 17, Nikki Haley replied to Inner City Press' question: "All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Sodium cyanide is banned for export to North Korea by the Security Council. A common sense reaction would be for WIPO to inform the Council of such patent applications. Its failure to do so may have dangerous consequences.”

The UN through spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press it supports WIPO, video here. On May 19, Inner City Press asked North Korea's Ambassador Kim In Ryong about it, without answer. Video here.  Then the US Mission to the UN issued a longer press release, here. On May 26, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to respond. UN transcript: Inner City Press: since, since I last asked, the US Mission has put out a second, more-detailed statement about the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) work on the sodium cyanide patent for either a North Korean individual or the Government.  They seem to insist that there was no need for them to inform the Sanctions Committee that everything is fine with that.  And I wanted to know, what does the Secretary-General think, given his calls and his own statements that all Member States take this very seriously both, implementing… does he think that WIPO has met all of its obligations and that it should continue in the future to do patent work in North Korea on cyanide without informing the Committee?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as you're aware, the World Intellectual Property Organization has, twice now, on its website, put explanations of its actions, and we would refer you to what they have said on this.  Of course, the Secretary-General does want all Member States, and, indeed, all parts of the UN, to abide by Security Council resolutions, but you can see what the explanation is provided by WIPO itself.

Question:  But, what does he think of their explanation?  I guess that's my question.  He's the head of the UN System.  Does he think… obviously, there are some that think that the…   what they're saying is asinine, and they think that it's fine.  So, I'm asking what does he think of it?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of what their explanation is, and we refer you back over to them.

 That is not leadership. Inner City Press adds: condemnation should also include the UN Federal Credit Union, which is soliciting the funds of the North Korean mission and its employees, as well as UNA-USA members. Inner City Press on the morning of May 18 asked the chair of the UN Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, the Italian Mission to the UN under Sebastiano Cardi, "Does your Mission, which holds the chair of the 1718 Committee, agree that WIPO should have informed the Security Council of this work with North Korea? I recently asked Ambassador Cardi about a DPRK sanctions violation in Germany, without yet much of a response. I notice that the Italian mission stopped sending Inner City Press any information at all in February 2017. Please explain." In the afternoon, the Italian Mission's spokesperson Giovanni Davoli replied, "the Panel of Experts was not aware of this matter. Therefore the Committee could not be. The Panel announced they are going to open an investigation. Once the Committee will receive the report of the panel, we might be able to comment further." We await that, and another answer.
 Inner City Press also on May 18 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Ambassador Haley's response - but all Dujarric would do was refer, positively, to a WIPO press release. In its press release, WIPO says "a DPRK individual citizen applicant filed an international patent application under WIPO’s PCT system in respect of a process for production of sodium cyanide." Are there really "individual applicants" in today's North Korea? Isn't the import of sodium cyanide into North Korea a violation of UN sanctions? Dujarric called this WIPO's "very clear explanation." Inner City Press repeatedly asked Dujarric to state if the Secretariat finds WIPO's statement on May 16 -- before Ambassador Haley's response -- sufficient. Apparently yes. We'll have more on this: Inner City Press has asked other UN Security Council members. Watch this site. In an earlier exchange with UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN itself acknowledged that the Security Council's Panel of Experts is belatedly looking into it as a possible sanctions violation. Video here, transcript below. Later to May's President of the UN Security Council, Uruguay's Elbio Rosselli, Inner City Press asked about UN WIPO's (non) compliance with UN sanctions, working on a patent for North Korea's production of sodium cyanide. Periscope video here. Ambassador Rosselli said he had not heard of the issue. At the UN's May 16 noon briefing, Inner City Press had asked the UN about that and its reporting that the UN Federal Credit Union, regulated by the US National Credit Union Administration, openly solicits the business of both North Korean employees of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's mission to the UN and the members of the UN Association of the USA (UNA-USA), amid questions of immunity and a previous UNFCU settlement for sanctions violations.  UN briefing video here, from Min 10:20.

UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric dodged on whether Secretary General Antonio Guterres would this time talk to WIPO chief Francis Gurry, as he did not as Gurry deployed criminal defamation law against the press; he also wouldn't answer on UNFCU. UN transcript: Inner City Press:  About WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization] doing a patent application for North Korea for the production of sodium cyanide, which is banned to be brought into the country.  Before, it wasn't clear to me if the Secretary-General had communicated with WIPO about their use of criminal defamation against journalists.  But, is this something that concerns him?  I also want to ask you about the UN Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) openly soliciting deposits from… from the Mission of North Korea, as well as the employees of the Mission despite having previously settled sanctions charges for just such activity on another sanctioned country.  Do you think that this is consistent with this whole idea of tightening up?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I don't speak for the Credit Union.  They're an independent body.  I would agree… I would urge you to question them.  On the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and the Fox News report, obviously, I think what's contained in the report is disturbing and demands looking into.  The Panel of Experts… the Security Council Panel of Experts, as you know, is an independent team reporting to the Council.  And they have the prerogative to look into all alleged violations of DPRK sanctions and report to the Council accordingly.   I think, as noted in the article, the Panel's coordinator said the Panel will look into the issue.  And I think we'll need… the Panel will do its work and report back.  And if… we will obviously look more directly into the issue, as well from our end.

Inner City Press:  Given that there have been previous allegations and reported retaliation at WIPO concerning activities with North Korea, do you or the Secretary-General think it's something that at the CEB [Chief Executives Board] or some kind of system-wide, does it need to be reiterated to the UN agencies that these sanctions are reported?

Spokesman:  I think the need… the absolute need to respect the sanctions regime, both whether it's from Member States or within the UN, I think, is clear and should be clear to everyone.

 UNFCU's website lists under “Missions to the UN in New York eligible to join UNFCU” that of “North Korea (DPRK"). Inner City Press asked UNFCU's Senior Manager of Media Relations Elisabeth Philippe questions including “why some UN member states' missions to the UN are eligible to join UNFCU, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and others are not, why members of UNA-USA became eligible to join UNFCU, what regulatory filings in any UNFCU made for this change in field of membership, and any restrictions on the use of these UNA-USA members' funds, and what services UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams, in which countries, and if there are any restrictions or safeguards.”

  On deeming the North Korean mission and all of its employees eligible, UNFCU's Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press, “The employees of any mission to the United Nations based in New York are eligible to apply for UNFCU membership. The employees of all missions are eligible to join once their mission has submitted an application and been approved.” The website says the mission itself can join UNFCU. On May 10, Inner City Press asked the chairman of the UN Security Council's North Korea Sanctions Committee Sebastiano Cardi about North Korea's embassy in Berlin renting out space as a hostel, video here. What safeguards does UNFCU, with UNA-USA's members in its field of membership, have?

  On UNFCU expanding its field of membership to including anyone who joins UNA-USA, Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press, “UNA-USA is the largest UN advocacy organization in the United States. UNFCU is a financial organization providing retail banking for the UN community. Members of UNA-USA, who are US citizens or permanent residents of the US, are eligible to become members of UNFCU. In December 2013, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the US regulatory body which oversees US federal credit unions, approved the expansion of UNFCU membership to include UNA-USA based on a shared mission and values in support of the United Nations. UNA-USA members who become members of UNFCU are eligible for the full suite of products and services available to UNFCU’s field of membership.”

  But what is in the “full suit of products and services” available from UNFCU? The US Office of Financial Asset Control or OFAC settled charges against UNFCU for, in connection with Mission employees, violating sanctions, see here. And Inner City Press' third question, about precisely what services “UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams” - including for example in North Korea - remained at publication time unanswered. Now this: "As a member-owned financial institution that serves the UN community globally, UNFCU provides bank account services to UN/agency staff, and consultants subject to payroll requirements of the various UN agencies and subject to the rules and regulations governing all US Financial Institutions. Accounts are maintained in US dollars and are protected by federal share insurance through the National Credit Union Administration. UNFCU complies with US regulations, including those governing US economic sanctions." But why then did UNFCU settle charges of sanctions violations? We'll have more on this. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported for example that "Sudanese nationals working for the UN have had part of their salaries paid into UN Federal Credit Union accounts, in U.S. dollars. Then they were told that these dollar accounts were frozen, and could only be transferred to the Bank of Khartoum." Watch this site.


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