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False Mediator, UN Pours Gas on Fires in Field As With Press, Emboldens Partners

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- The UN often says it will get involved to mediate, to try to make peace. But it rarely does.

  Often the UN pretends to be impartial but actually takes sides, usually the wrong side. Increasingly the UN is not an honest broker. It pours gasoline on a fire and then it walks away.

   In the Congo, for example, the UN has become so aligned with the Joseph Kabila government that it covered up, then once exposed allows three or more strikes for, at least 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army which UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous supports.

   In Sri Lanka in 2009, the UN had figures of the number of civilians the government was killing in the North - but it hid the numbers, and when exposed claimed that it was all about saving people, not counting the dead.

  But the UN saved no one. And recently Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accepted a whitewash report about Sri Lanka, and went ahead to praise it without releasing the report.

   Smaller scale, the UN's Department of Public Information on February 21 sent Inner City Press an invitation to a meeting the next day with the old UN Correspondents Association, to supposedly improve the climate in the UN press corps.

   The climate was poisoned in September 2011 when Tim Witcher of AFP asked UNCA to censure Inner City Press for accurate reporting on how Ban accepted Ladsous, and UNCA screened a movie denying another about Sri Lanka war crimes, without showing the film in chief. Click here for that.

   But DPI's February 22 meeting, at which for obvious reasons Inner City Press said openly, “you are on the record,” did not improve the climate: quite the opposite. DPI allowed UNCA president Pamela Falk to scream that Inner City Press is a “mugger,” and shout, “you call yourself a journalist?”

   Falk's first vice president, Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, was allowed to refuse to answer questions about his role in the 2012 UNCA move to throw Inner City Press out of the UN, and to tell Inner City Press, "the fundamental problem is your website."

   DPI, whose Media Accreditation boss Stephane Dujarric was in attendance, did not say anything about these attacks. But when Inner City Press three full days later reported on that, using verbatim quotes and audio, what was the UN's response?

   Dujarric sent Inner City Press a letter accusing its report of violating some rule. What rule? Dujarric claimed that all sides understood that the meeting would not be reported or recorded. But that is false:

  Inner City Press said clearly, on tape, “you are on the record,” and Falk said “he's going to write this up.” Here is the audio, which has been provided to DPI. Another attendee confirmed that Inner City Press said it was recording.

   But then the UN threw or drizzled gasoline upon the fire. Dujarric refused to substantiate his complaint letter. Eighteen days after a request for such went by.

  After a time, Reuters and AFP feeling emboldened struck again. They cut into a conversation between Inner City Press and another reported, Witcher hissing about “lies and distortions.”

  Then after Inner City Press replied, “Lapdog,” Witcher and Michelle Nichols of Reuters, who began the conversation cut-in, went and filed false complaints with UN Security.

  Inner City Press once informed - and asked to respond in writing - requested a copy of the complaint. The request was made March 11 to the Department of “Safety and Security,” whose Officer James twice demanded a response while saying, you will never get a copy of the complaint.

  On March 15 Inner City Press and the new and needed Free UN Coalition for Access wrote to the head of DPI to ask for a copy of the complaint, for due process rules and on other matters.

  The response came from Dujarric, he of the false complaint, saying he stands behind his letter, and not mentioning the request for due process rules.

  Next it was said Dujarric is going out of town -- then ten hours later, without any response on rules, that DPI has yet to receive the complaints from the Department of Safety and Security.

  Thus the UN invites those who challenge or criticize it to set-up meetings, then lies about what happens, emboldens other false complainer then stands and washes its hands, leave town.

  It is unacceptable at every level, and must and will be energetically opposed. Watch this site.

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