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Ban Thanks Qatar for Kidnapping's End, AFP Doesn't Ask Why, Channels Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 -- When the release of UN Peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martys Brigade was credited to Qatar by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the obvious question raised was and is:

what are Qatar's relations with the kidnappers and kidnapping?

  It is not surprising that UN's in-house UN News Service would leave this questions unasked, and instead flash back to a rare press availability -- back in March -- by UN Peacekeeping's reclusive chief Herve Ladsous.

 (This is become a cult of personality: for this kidnapping, it was UN Peacekeeping's Edmond Mulet, not the missing in action, air brushed in, Ladsous who briefed the Security Council.)

  On Qatar, Ban, the ultimate boss of UN News Service, named the petro-state's former ambassador to head his "Alliance of Civilizations," and Qatar is bidding big money to acquire the headquarters of the UN system's International Civilian Aviation Organization as well as UN Women.

But tellingly, when ostensibly independent Agence France Presse got around to typing up Ban's thanks to Qatar, it did not ask the obvious question either. Instead, with a UN dateline, and as is typical using anonymous diplomatic -- read, French -- sources, AFP reported

  "'This time the rebels felt under pressure and took more convincing to free the soldiers,' said a UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Qatar's role was important.'"

  What was Qatar's role IN the kidnapping? AFP doesn't ask.

UNDOF, by UN Photo /
Wolfgang Grebien; Ladsous not seen

 Instead AFP runs a quote from a spokesperson for Ladsous, on whose behalf AFP's Tim Witcher has filed complaints against Inner City Press, first within the UN Correspondents Association (which Inner City Press left, once it became the UN's Censorship Alliance, and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access), then on March 8, 2013 with the UN.

  Witcher claimed that by asking a question, Inner City Press "abused" Ladsous, who is the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping.

 Once this and Ladsous' role in the Rwanda genocide as France Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo were noted, Ladsous began refusing to answer any Inner City Press questions, video here.

  Now when peacekeepers are killed, as in the past week in Abyei and Congo, Ladsous does not even like his predecessor Alain Le Roy hold any question and answer stakeout. His spokespeople issue selective information, here, to AFP. And AFP does not ask even the most basic questions.

AFP's Tim "Faceless No More" Witcher, photo by UNTV

Footnote: Since the campaign involving AFP's UN reporter and UNCA Executive Committee member Tim Witcher has evolved into ever more frequent use of anonymity, it's worth noting that Witcher's byline rarely appears. They call it the resentment of the faceless.

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