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On Rwanda, Ladsous 1994 Protected Genocidaires, Seeks Drones & Lapdogs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 6 -- Nineteen years ago today above Kigali, a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down, setting off a 100 day genocide.

Several events by the UN this month will echo the “never again” tagline.

  But it is significant that the current head of UN Peacekeeping is Herve Ladsous, who as France's Deputy Permanent Representative in 1994 argued to the UN Security Council in favor of helping the genocidaires escape into Eastern Congo.

  Now, after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2001 accepted Ladsous as a last minute substitute for Jerome Bonnafont as the fourth Frenchman in a row to head DPKO, Ladsous has lobbied for drones to oversee Eastern Congo; he has stonewalled on at least 126 rapes committed by the Congolese Army, his partners.

  When Ladsous held his first press conference as head of DPKO on October 13, 2011, Inner City Press asked him about his past on Rwanda. Video here, from Minute 22:50.

  All Ladsous would say that day was that was history, that was the past. But is it only the past?

  Alongside Ladsous' public dodging, Agence France Presse on one of the management boards of which Ladsous once served and which is 41% funded by the French government, began to seek the expulsion of Inner City Press, first from the so-called UN Correspondents Association (more appropriately, the UN's Censorship Alliance) then from the UN as a whole.

  In fact, AFP's Tim Witcher has complained to the UN not only about Inner City Press calling him, in response to his hissing “lies and distortion,” a lapdog for Ladsous, but even about Inner City Press' question to Ladsous about Eastern Congo.

  Is that consistent with AFP's or any non-corrupt media's policies, to seek to get other journalists thrown out for the substantive questions they ask? We aim to find out.

We are also pursuing how and why Inner City Press' office was raided by the UN on March 18, and photos taken which were then passed, just after Ban's spokesperson's office was asked about the raid, to BuzzFeed, through an anonymous “Concerned UN Reporter” e-mail address.

As to Ladsous, once UNCA was conducting a kangaroo court proceeding against Inner City Press in May 2012, Ladsous on May 29 simple refused to answer any Inner City Press question. See YouTube video, here.

He has continued that, for example at the Security Council stakeout on November 27, December 7 and December 18, which he directed his spokesman to seize the UNTV microphone to try to avoid Inner City Press' question on the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army.

  In March 2013 after Inner City Press asked the question, without meaningful answer, to Ban Ki-moon, Ladsous's DPKO spoon-fed half an answer to AFP's Witcher and Reuters' Michelle Nichols (who absurdly but typically characterizes such spoon-feeding as a Reuters “scoop”). Is this, and the repeated filing of false complaints, consistent with Reuters' policy? Stephen J. Adler never answered.

  It was the next day, March 8, that Witcher cut into a conversation Inner City Press was having with another journalist and hissed, “lies and distortion.” Inner City Press replied, Lapdog, and sarcastically complimented Nichols on her scoop.

Cynically and in bad faith, the two went that afternoon and filed coordinated complaints, even claiming to be afraid from a verbal disagreement with Witcher instigated. Reuters more generally including its UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau jumped in. That the UN has no rules on false complaints, or due process, has only made it worse.

But Ladsous loves it -- since then he's again tried to hand “scoops” to AFP, finally falling back on the UN's own UN Radio. And the UN and its Department of Public Information (and Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office) have put up with this.

So what to make of their statements this month about “never again” and the Rwandan genocide? Not much. Watch this site.

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