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Sept 24, 2013

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As UN Guterres Bans Inner City Press Silence of FP Lynch Tepperman Gramer Agrawa Ephron and Abadi

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 10 – Two key elements of press freedom are not banning access as the UN has done to Inner City Press for 69 days now and being transparent, another UN failing. Today we consider not only the shocking censorship regime at the UN of Alison Smale, until a year ago the New York Times' bureau chief in Berlin, but the equally shocking failure of Foreign Policy, with blogger Colum Lynch ostensibly based at the UN, to report a single work about the UN roughing up a journalist on June 22 and July 3 and banning Inner City Press since. It's been reported by the UK Independent, the Columbia Journalism Review, in Japan and Italy and Sri Lanka and of course Cameroon - but to FP, it does not exist, despite this August 31 e-mail: Date: Fri, Aug 31, 2018
Subject: Jonathan, Robbie et al at FP - UN ousted and bans Inner City Press, formal request that Foreign Policy cover it - please confirm receipt and lemme know, thanks, -Matthew
 I am a journalist who has been banned from the United Nations since July 3. I'm writing formally asking that FP cover this potentially terrible precedent for press freedom and due process at the UN. It was listed, last week, in the, here. The UN has for whatever reason hit a new low on this and you can do something to fix it because the remedy is simply: allow me to enter the UN like thousands of other journalists, reversing this no due process mistake before September 5 for the upcoming UN General Assembly week.
For over a decade, I've reported closely on the United Nations, on their impact in countries like Burma / Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,  Sri Lanka and now Cameroon and on the UN's often-secretive budgetary process for But on July 3, while I covered a UN Budget Committee meeting as usual, UN Security officers approached me and roughed me up before they even spoke to me. They physically dragged me out of UN premises, ousting me and, since then, issuing a ban so that I can no longer report from inside UN Headquarters.
The UN's Department of Public Information has sent me a letter which says that the ban is permanent. Unless the ban is quickly reversed, I believe that such a ban would create a terrible precedent for press freedom at the UN and other international bodies. The letter is online here, for download here.
In the letter, UN Under Secretary General for Global Communications Alison Smale, who never once spoke to me during her 45 day review of my rights, says that she can withdraw my accreditation based on anonymous complaints she says she has received from unnamed UN staff (or officials), correspondents and member states. Note that my accreditation at the UN dates back to 2005.
Should a single UN member state, repressive or otherwise, be able to get a journalist banned from the UN? I have been closely covering UN bribery and SG Antonio Guterres' inaction on that and on human rights abuses against the Anglophones in Cameroon, for example, and that country's Ambassador shortly before my ouster questioned why I was allowed to cover events in the UN.
   Also, shouldn't a person facing a loss of their livelihood be given an opportunity to be heard, and to know who has accused them of what?
A number of media outlets - but notably not FP, which I am asking your to explain and separately redress  -- including the Columbia Journalism Review, BuzzFeed, IPS (which says such a ban hasn't happened in 40 years), Fox News, and The Hill -- have covered my ouster and ban from the UN. And most recently, acting on the suggestion of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Press Freedom Tracker has written about my situation. But this doesn't seem to impact USG Smale or those on the 38th floor of the UN.
The deadline for (re) accreditation to cover next months' UN General Assembly High Level Week is fast approaching: September 5. The UNGA week is the UN's major event, which some have compared to the "World Cup" of diplomacy. I have covered these UNGA weeks for 11 years, in increasing detail. It would hurt me and my readers, including those throughout the United States, to be excluded - but it would also be a terrible precedent, censorship by and at the UN.
I urge you / FP inquire into this Press ban by the UN." Nothing. Crickets. We'll have more on this. There is also the failure of the NYT's three UN correspondents to cover or even respond on Smale's lifetime ban imposed on an investigative journalist.
  On August 17, Smale after a 45 day "review" that did not include a single interview with Inner City Press issues a lifetime ban on its entry into the UN. It was noted not only in BuzzFeed and The Hill, but in the largely anti-Trump Press Freedom Tracker, here. But from the New York Times, nothing. Inner City Press submitted material to the NYT editorial pages and James Bennet - no response. Inner City Press emailed the NYT's three UN correspondents, Rick Gladstone, rickg [at], Somini Sengupta sengupta [at], and the newer but no more responsive Michael schwirtz [at] - and days later, nothing, to this: "I'm requesting that you / the NYT report on this: the UN's ex-NYT Alison Smale as USG of DPI on Friday imposing a lifetime ban on me, with no due process, no appeal.  The letter is attached. My rebuttal(s) so far are online at   The reasons given are bogus - the warning letters, one the product of a complaint from the Mission of Morocco whose policy on Western Sahara I often question, the other a complaint from a DPI official who didn't like an article I wrote. How can I be banned from the UN for this? Most pressingly, how can Smale and SG Guterres block me from covering next month's General Assembly high level week, which I've covered for 12 years? The deadline to accredit is September 5.  If I have to, I will cover it from the street (a practice Smale called derogatory, but see "On Cameroon Inner City Press Video Guterres' Smale Calls Derogatory for Lifetime Ban Remonetized by YouTube.")  I do not believe the UN should, or legitimately can, target, rough up, suspend and now ban for life a critical journalist. I am requesting that you cover this, or work so another NYT reporter does. It is UN (and beyond) story. Since the NYT reported Inner City Press' entry into the UN, it would seem it would cover its being roughed up, suspended and now banned for life, on such bogus grounds, particularly at this time and given The Times' advocacy for press freedom and access elsewhere." And days later - nothing. We'll have more on this. Tellingly, while one might expect the UN Department of Public Information to be more public than other of Security General Antonio Guterres' departments, the chief of DPI Alison Smale is not even on the public disclosure list as of August 16, 2018. What could explain it? Since DPI has all day and a bent to propagandize, one can imagine the excuse being that Smale was only awarded the position on 9 August 2017, after, say the USG of Counter Terrorism who is listed: he was named in June 2017. But the excuse breaks down: making public disclosure, here, of a property in Moldova, is Natalia Gherman who was only awarded her UNRCCA position on 15 September 2017, more than a month after Smale. So why isn't Smale in the public financial disclosure list? Isn't this particularly inappropriate for a former Berlin bureau chief of the New York Times, which calls for such disclosures by public official like Smale is, but doesn't act like? We'll have more on this, and on other disclosures: some don't even fill out the Assets section, only Outside Activities, for example. Why have Guterres and Smale, and their non-responsive spokesman Stephane Dujarric, banned Inner City Press from the UN and the noon briefing for 44 days now? Watch this site. The New York Times on Wednesday evening put online its faux humble contribution to the 100 editorials called for the Boston Globe, saying Trump's - studiously not named - "attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States." The irony, now raised to the Times' James Bennet and others, is that their former colleague and bureau chief Alison Smale is, at the UN, engaged in an attack on a smaller investigative Inner City Press. After it was roughed up by UN Security on June 22 and July 3 while covering a speech by her new boss UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his budget, Smale despite the conflict of interest about Inner City Press' coverage of her internal Town Hall meeting and whistleblowers say diversion of Swahili funds saw fit to ban Inner City Press from the UN for 43 days and counting now. She has put herself in charge of a "review" of Inner City Press involving anonymous complaints Inner City Press has not been shown. (That Smale's significant other, Russian pianist Sergei Dreznen told Inner City Press it should change and wear a suit or face her wrath is another matter.) Smale's UN Department of Public Information has told those who have asked, including for example even the Kazakhstan Mission to the UN as well as the Government Accountability Project and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that her review and ruling will be issued soon - with no due process for Inner City Press, whose reporting has been injured for more than six weeks, on its beats from UN corruption to Yemen and Cameroon. This is the Times' legacy in press freedom? Tellingly, despite the New York Times previously covering Inner City Press at the UN, for example gushingly in 2007 and as a character study in 2016 (with quotes from Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric which have typically turned out to be false), this violent ouster and ban by ex-NYT Smale has garnered not a single word in the ostensibly pro free press Times, whose correspondents have been written to and are aware, despite coverage in The Independent (UK), the Columbia Journalism Review, Fox, POLITICO and even a note in CNN. We'll have more on this.

   Inner City Press on July 5 was told at the UN gate that it was banned from entering any UN premises, the day after it filed a criminal complaint against UN Security Lieutenant Ronald Dobbins and another for physically removing it from covering the July 3 meeting about the UN's $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget, as witnessed and essentially cheered on by Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Assistant SG Christian Saunders, tearing its reporter's shirt, painfully and intentionally twisting his arm and slamming shut and damaging his laptop. Video here. Columbia Journalism Review here.

On August 11, amid a now 41 day ongoing “review” of Inner City Press that has shifted from the initial charge of being in the building too long on July 3 covering the Budget Committee meeting to undefined “harassment” of unnamed off the record correspondents, the murky role of Alison Smale, a former bureau chief of the New York Times which speaks so much of attacks on the press from Washington, in attacking the Press at the UN is coming into focus. Smale never responded to a single one of Inner City Press e-mails since September 2017, even as she openly cavorted with retired corporate media, even on camera. Contrary to the wider NYT's purported celebration of aggressive investigative press, Smale has attacked the most investigative and, perhaps, aggressive of UN press. She retweets little but the NYT; she has said her focus is making Guterres look better. Why has she not recused herself from "reviewing" the critical Press? There has already been filed a detailed misconducted complaint filed with the Secretary General, and she has apparently given up on trying to respond to the second, detailed request for answers from the Government Accountability Project. Has Smale become, tongue firmly in cheek, akin to Aung San Suu Kyi, previously vaguely associated with freedom once, with the power to act, the totalitarian or merely elitist impulse becomes clear? While the NYT publisher finger waggles, what of Smale's elitist censoring, featuring a Kafkaesque star chamber in which the allegations of unnamed corporate and state media are taken as true, with no opportunity to be heard? Smale has among other things been blocking Press coverage not only of UN corruption but of the slaugher in Cameroon, for 41 days and counting. We'll have more on this.

Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq has told Fox News: “there have been a number of allegations from fellow journalists that Lee has harassed them over the years. 'A lot of journalists have not just been harassed but threatened by him and that’s a problem,' Haq said.”

   That last line is extraordinary. Without identifying a single one of these "lot of journalists," Haq declares their anonymous allegations to be true: "HAVE not just been harassed but threatened me him." This stands in contrast to the UN not accepting - in the case of Alison Smale and Stephane Dujarric, trying to not even acknowledge receiving - Inner City Press' written, on the record allegations complete with exhibits. It's called favoritism, and censorship.

  This same Farhan Haq recently answered one of Inner City Press' written questions, about why Guterres had taken no action on its documented exclusive May 24 report for which it received threats (and subsequent letter to Guterres and Smale) that through presumptive nepotism, management of the UN Security Council's website had been given to John van Rosendaal, the photographer husband of Kyoko Shiotani, the chief of staff of Guterres' Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, previously US Deputy Ambassador to the UN under Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Haq responded, "If there are allegations of misconduct they should be taken to the internal oversight offices and mechanisms. Unfounded allegations do not constitute a formal complaint." So how does Haq for the UN now deem anonymous allegations against Inner City Press not only as formal complaints, and as true?

    This is Kafkaesque. Inner City Press quit the UN Correspondents Association after finding it to be corrupt. Its president after having rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, who as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN accused of a role in the White Flag Killings, unilaterally granted Kohona's request to him to screen a Sri Lanka government war crimes denial film as an UNCA event, in the Dag Hammarskjold Library auditorium. This was done without approval of or even notice to all Executive Committee members of which Inner City Press was one. When Inner City Press reported on it, not only the UNCA president but only Committee members from Reuters, AFP and other outlets demanded that it take the article offline. Inner City Press offered the UNCA president as much space on Inner City Press as he'd want to reply, but he and UNCA wanted censorship, then as now.

   After Inner City Press quit UNCA, and faced counterfeit troll Twitter accounts and anonymous (but leaked) complaints to Guterres' now lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric from Lou Charbonneau of Reuters (now Human Rights Watch) here and censored from Google with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act here and Voice of America, here as obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it has not spoken to these individuals since.

   Whatever claimed harassment or threatens they are claiming to or for the UN is not based on any actual interaction, only Inner City Press' articles and, it seems, equally First Amendment protected Periscope broadcasts, even one that was inadvertent and deleted but ghoulishly monitored and captured by or for the UN. (More on this soon).

  The simple point: it is illegitimate to rough up a journalist for covering a Budget Committee meeting then ban him from his beat pending a review of the incident - then invent new charges, with unnamed accusers and not opportunity to respond with an eye toward continuing the ban. So what's next? Watch this site.

  On August 3, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq replied to  the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press a week after RCFP called the vacationing Guterres' chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti to express concern at the ban and to offer to facilitate the restoration of Inner City Press' access (that call was returned by lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, also now on vacation). Haq on August 3 said that the UN's "review" is nearly done, and he promised that Inner City Press will get notice of the results in the "coming days," with a reference to a "summary of the findings."

 On August 8, with still no results announced and Inner City Press still not contacted to be heard since July 10, Haq was asked, from the UN transcript: "Q: Farhan, can you confirm receipt of a formal complaint that has been submitted to the Secretary-General by Inner City Press on prohibited conduct?  Did you… have you received…?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe that has been received and is being reviewed.

Question:  What action will be taken into… in regards to that?  And will that hold up a decision that has been ongoing on the status of Inner City Press?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t believe it will hold up any decision.  I think, once a decision is made, we will convey it to Matthew, and then I will let you guys know."

  But know about what? For this investigation, Inner City Press in the 31 days has been contacted only once, for a Kafkaesque "interview" by two UN Security officers in a windowless room in the basement of the UNITAR building across from the UN. The officers refused to write down even Inner City Press assertion that Dobbins has animus, given an investigative piece Inner City Press had published using documents leaked to it showing irregularities in promotions in UN Security, including but not limited to Dobbins'.

 Since then, Dujarric who had initially said Inner City Press' reporter would be talking to various parts of the UN system shifted down to saying the investigation is only by the Department of Public Information. That means no investigation of or accountability for UN Security roughing up Inner City Press. It also involved a Department whose leadership Inner City Press has questioned for its lack of content neutral accreditation and access rules essentially investigating itself, without even the pretense of due process for Inner City Press which has not been contacted.

   Who is conducting the review? DPI chief Alison Smale, who has ignored Inner City Press' emails and 5000+ signature petition since she took office 11 months ago, is on vacation. The Officer in Charge is Hua Jiang, who work for the UN in Sudan where Orwellian investigations are the rule; Ms. Jiang refused to answer Inner City Press' questions, What am I being investigated for? Ms  Jiang  also previously threatened Inner City Press' accreditation if it did not take down a sign for the alternative Free UN Coalition for Access off the door of the office she and DPI evicted Inner City Press from in 2016, awarding it to an Egyptian state media whose essentially retired correspondent rarely comes into the UN and hasn't asked the UN a question in a decade. (But no investigation of that.)
   What could DPI be investigating? Haq said Inner City Press was charged with two offenses, being in the UN on June 22 and July 3. But why was Inner City Press in the General Assembly Lobby on June 22 at 7:15 pm? There was an event listed in the UN Media Alert at beginning at 6 pm. But Antonio Guterres did not arrive until 6:45 pm for this speech. The Access Guidelines say non resident correspondents can remain in past 7 for an advised meeting and one hour after. So Dobbins had no right to push Inner City Press out on June 22. But he did, and Guterres and DPI's Alison Smale and the others Inner City Press wrote to on June 25 did nothing about it.

  Why did Dobbins and his unnamed colleague use force, before talking, on July 3?

 Why was Inner City Press in the building at 10 pm on July 3? There was a meeting of the UN Budget Committee, advised to Inner City Press, exactly the type of meeting has covered for ten years including the last two as a non resident correspondent (reduced to that status for pursuing the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery scandal into the UN Press Briefing Room). In fact, Inner City Press many times been thanked for its coverage of such budget meeting, not only from around the world but by UN staff and diplomats in the New York area. "It's the only way if know if we'll have to come in for vote in the General Assembly," one said. DPI only puts the meetings in the Media Alert if there is a vote - contrary to its policy of listing UN Security Council consultation even if there is no vote -and there is no way to know, at 10 pm, if agreement will be reached at 2 am and a vote taken thereafter. These are things DPI should have asked Inner City Press about, if it has any thought of rendering another censorship decision. These are the ground Haq and Dujarric listed, later adding vague civility, with Dujarric misreprentating the number of times and location Inner City Press dropped the "F-bomb" (once, in the soundproof focus booth). Dujarric has dropped multiple F-bombs in the Briefing Room. And UNCA President Giampaoli Pioli at the UN Security Council stakeout loudly called Inner City Press an "as*hole." DPI was told of it, with audio here, and did nothing. Just as DPI's MALU told Inner City Press it could livestream Periscope video on the third and fourth floors, and all of the second floor except through the turnstiles, without an escort or minders. And as to 7 pm, other non resident correspondents routinely stay past that hour not even working  like Inner City Press but, as for example on June 26, drinking with Guterres. So it would be illegitimate to act on Inner City Press' "incivility," particularly without having given it any opportunity to be heard, in 31 days, on this or anything else they might pretextually come up with. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

   While the UN in the past ten years has become increasingly resistant to the critical Press, it has been under Guterres that the UN's response has been physical violence and outright banning. Earlier this year Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric started complaining about Inner City Press' coverage of Guterres, including for example its entirely legal Periscope live-stream from the sidewalk across Sutton Place from the UN mansion Guterres lives in, which showed that on the day Guterres told the world to turn off all lights for an hour for the environment, his were all ablaze.

   Trying to defuse Guterres administration retaliation, Inner City Press had an intermediary, whom we'll leave unnamed, convey to Dujarric on June 20 that Inner City Press had voluntarily suspended all broadcasts from near the UN mansion, for a month. Dujarric, who only the day before had given a private press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room to a three person crew from Al Jazeera (which complained when Inner City Press on Periscope called it a sleazefest), told the intermediary it was too late, "I wish you had been involved a while ago." There's worse waiting, Dujarric told the intermediary on June 20. Worse waiting to happen: not allowed in.

  On June 22 UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, with his own motive having been mentioned in Inner City Press' expose of irregularities in promotions in UN Security, arbitrarily singled out Inner City Press and made it leave the UN at 7:15 pm in the middle of an event, in the UN Media Alert, which featured a Guterres speech. Inner City Press live-streamed as it was pushed through the GA lobby, and did say “This is corrupt.” (That cannot be a violation of the UN's / UNCA's vague injunction to civility, in the midst of an impermissible ouster mid-coverage.)

   On June 25 Inner City Press wrote to Guterres, the chief of staff and Deputy SG and DPI's Alison Smale, saying that Lt Dobbins had improperly ousted it and had a personal animus. Inner City Press sent this and more to the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Service, recently further discredited in a UN Dispute Tribunal decision we're soon to write about.

  But Guterres offered no protection. In fact, his spokesman Dujarric and deputy Farhan Haq refused to answer any questions about the improper June 22 ouster, with Haq on July 3 saying it has been an appropriate enforcement of rules (which, in fact, allow non resident correspondents to stay in the UN past 7 pm if there is a meeting, and for an hour after the meeting).

  On July 3 as Inner City Press covered just such a meeting, of the Budget Committee, Dobbins and other approached and initiated violence. Inner City Press did not, as they perhaps hoped, respond with any physical resistance. But even saying “I am a journalist, this is corrupt” is now characterized an incivility to justify banning Inner City Press. Things got worse, indeed. And now we know Dujarric and Guterres are responsible, and both, now on vacation, should leave the UN.
On July 30 Guterres' sleazy basis for roughing up and banning Inner City Press for 27 days and counting was reported in the Columbia Journalist Review: Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has gone further, in an article published July 30 by the Columbia Journalism Review. Dujarric - who Inner City Press directed to the CJR reporter to - is quoted that " Lee Periscoped while shouting, 'Fuck you!' repeatedly. (Lee says he was complaining that Dujarrac had given the Al Jazeera crew a private interview, and excluded him.) 'He creates an atmosphere of incivility within our working environment,' Dujarrac says.

This is a lie. (We noted that Dujarric himself has repeatedly dropped the F-bomb on Inner City Press, telling it it asked a "fucking stupid question" and, while throwing it out of the UN Press Briefing Room, saying "Matthew it's fucking Friday night, I'm so fucking tired, I want to go home, just leave," Vine here.)  Inner City Press on June 19 when Dujarric gave a "private briefing" to Al Jazeera about Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo announcing the US pull out from the UN Human Right Council said in the hall that is was a "sleazefest." After closing the door of the focus booth it has been confined to work in for two years by Dujarric, and long after the Al Jazeera trio including James Bays and Whitney Hurst were done, said on Periscope, F-You. Periscope video - still online during this 27 day "investigation" - here. So Dujarric is a censor, justifying the beating up and banning of a journalist for something he broadcast in a soundproof booth to his audience.

 But Dujarric (and it seems Guterres' and Smale's) roles go beyond justifying the roughing up of the Press. It seems clear that the green light was given. Consider this, formally submitted to a UN Special Rapporteur: Dujarric told CJR that on June 19 Inner City Press supposedly repeatedly said f*ck you to an Al Jazeera crew (as noted, they must have heard and seized on it only by listening to my Periscope stream archive afterward) --

1) on June 20, Inner City Press was told by UN Media Accreditation there were concerns about “intimidating” Al Jazeera's three-person crew with its phone;

2) troublingly, on June 20 Dujarric told a person trying to be Inner City Press' intermediary that things were “going to get worse” for me. So far Inner City Press has reported once, on July 20, about that, here;

3) on June 22, UN Security Lieutenant Ronald Dobbins and four others who refused to give their names stopped me at 7:15 pm while Inner City Press was covering a speech by SG Antonio Guterres and pushed it out of the building, leaving other non resident correspondents inside.

Inner City Press now surmises that Dujarric, or higher, gave an order after June 19 to (physically) target it.

4) on June 25 Inner City Press wrote to Guterres, his chief of staff, his deputy Amina J Mohammed and USG Alison Smale informing them Lt Dobbins, with animus, had pushed it out of the UN during an SG speech, and implicitly requesting the vaunted 'protection of journalist.' They did... nothing.

5) on July 5 Dobbins and other officer got even more violent, grabbing Inner City Press' reporter's arm and twisting it, tearing his shirt and damaging his computer while Inner City Press covered the UN Budget Committee meeting in the same way it has for ten years, including the last two as a non resident correspondent (downgraded in connection with Inner City Press' coverage of the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery scandal in which Ng is now in jail).

On July 5 when Inner City Press came to work - after reporting the assault to the NYPD - it was told it was banned from entering the UN and has been since.

Inner City Press now believes that Dujarric / Guterres / Smale put out orders to have its reporter physically targeted, despite the rules saying he can stay after 7 pm if there is a meeting (true both times). Maybe they hoped Inner City Press would react in a way they could easily use to ban it. All he did was say loudly “I am a journalist” - but they still banned Inner City Press.

But they took a chance the officers would more seriously injure the Inner City Press reporter. It was beyond censorship, beyond reckless - it must be reported and acted on. (It has been reported, by Alex Newman, on July 31, here: the "UN spokesman had vowed to make things worse for him after watching a video Lee made. 'I get roughed up, banned, no due process, no end in sight.'") Inner City Press at noon on July 31 asked Guterres and his spokespeople and Deputy and Smale (and has asked the Rapporteur to obtain), "Given Spokesman Stephane Dujarric's quotes to Columbia Journalism Review, and the moribund nature of the supposed “investigation,” please describe all instructions given to UN Security, Lt Dobbins and others, after June 19 regarding Inner City Press, and also state whether any personnel of Al Jazeera or [  ] have been interviewed for the investigation" - watch this site.

   Amazingly, the UN is pointing to a vague language it negotiated with its UN Correspondents Association which Inner City Press quit after finding the organization took money from now convicted UN bribery Ng Lap Seng and had a president who rented one of his apartments to a Sri Lanka war crimes suspect: "Where unexpected circumstances arise, the approach will be to avoid confrontation, maintain civility and find the fastest, safest and most secure acceptable solution. Those Correspondents who violate the ground rules governing access, including the abovementioned standards of ethical behavior may have their accreditation withdrawn or suspended by the United Nations."

  But it was UN Security, Lt Dobbins on July 3 with another still unnamed, who initiated violent confrontation, grabbing Inner City Press' reporter's arm and twisting it, and tearing his shirt, as he sat typing up interview notes outside a Budget Committee meeting he had every right to cover, under the rules. Guterres' UN has become a Kafkaesque place of censorship where guards he had already been warned (in writing on June 25) were targeting the Press can physically assault a reporter whose saying "I am a journalist!" can then be used as a lack of civility or unacceptable comportment to ban the journalist. This is corrupt.

On July 20, with Inner City Press still banned from the UN after 17 days with no end in sight, prohibited from attending the day's US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley press encounter because it was in the UN, Inner City Press waited and politely asked Guterres and his chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti why it is still banned after 17 days, for being roughed up twice by Guterres' Security. (After the first physical ouster on June 22, Inner City Press on June 25 notified Guterres, his chief of staff, Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and Global Communications chief Alison Smale that it was being targeted by Lt. Dobbins; they did nothing.) On July 20, despite the quite audible questions including about related inaction on the slaughter in Cameroon which Inner City Press has asked about, Guterres got in his limousine and did not answer, as did UK Ambassador Karen Pierce. Video here.

The lack of accountability for censorship is growing: Guterres told his lunch companions "bonne vacances" and Smale has left on a three week vacation, bouncing back all e-mails with: "I am out of the office from 1.00 p.m. on Thursday, 19 July through Thursday, 9 August 2018. During my absence, the Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Public Information will be as follows: 19-25 July - Mr. Janos Tisovszky.... 26 July through 1 August - Mr. Ramu Damodaran... 2-9 August - Ms. Hua JIang" [sic]." We'll have more on this. On July 18, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq was asked by two journalists about the status of what he and lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the investigation of the "incidents" of July 3, and apparently not now of June 22. Video here, from the UN transcript: a follow-up to one that’s been asked here last week and the week before, and that’s a report on the current status of the investigation into the events on 3 July leading, ultimately, to the ouster, at least temporary ouster, of Inner City Press.  And did the Secretary-General receive any communications from any non-governmental organization (NGO) on… on this subject?  For example, I think it’s called the Global Accountability Project or something like that.

Deputy Spokesman:  The UN has received a letter from the Government Accountability Project, and I believe we’ll be responding to them in due course.

Question:  And… and the status of the investigation?  Could you…

Deputy Spokesman:  It’s ongoing... 2d Questioner: regarding Inner City Press, you said it’s ongoing.  Is there an idea of when… is there a date… any idea of when it’s actually going to come out and have a result?

Deputy Spokesman:  No.  I mean, once we’ve come to a decision, he’ll be informed of the decision." On what - the excessive use of force by UN Security? This is Kafkaesque - or now, Guterresian....

  Tellingly, six days after UN Security roughed up Inner City Press and four days after UNnamed official(s) instituted without any due process an ongoing ban on Inner City Press for having been roughed up, on July 9 Guterres' chief of Management, Saunders supervisor Jan Beagle, issued a self-serving "Administrative Instruction" which seeks to legitimate Dobbins' police brutality after the fact, and ensure it goes on in the future.


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