As UN Trashes Whistleblowers Emma Reilly Quotes Zeid's Colville and ICP Asks Guterres' Spox

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As UN Trashes Whistleblowers Emma Reilly Quotes Zeid's Colville and ICP Asks Guterres' Spox

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 – Today's UN system's attacks on whistleblowers extend from New York where Secretary General Antonio Guterres' armed Security officials ousted the Press on June 22 (video, new petition, Q&A) to Geneva where outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Zeid's Deputy Kate Gilmore and spokesman Rupert Colville deploy "hard talk" (and worse) against whistleblowers.

   Today in Geneva Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore - in typical UN fashion, a good friend of Zeid's wife princess Sarah - who Amnesty International decided it was worth paying to leave a few years back because she was so toxic to the organization) had what she terms a “hard talk.” Whistleblower Emma Reilly, of whose case Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN, posed the first question. Reilly noted that the UN's Central African Republic panel  found that Zeid went after whistleblowers with a “single minded determination,” and said that her own experience confirmed this. She referred to emails sent by the OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville to journalists that referred to  CAR whistleblowers Anders Kompass and Miranda Brown as “dishonest... disgusting... underhanded” and the “sh*ttiest” individuals he had encountered in a 30-year career, and even accused Anders Kompass - Sweden’s ambassador to Guatemala - as being “in the pay of the French.” Reilly noted that journalists reported to her that Colville regularly resorted to personal insults and questioned her sanity when “asked about OHCHR handing over names to the Chinese.”

  Reilly then asked if Gilmore agreed with the UN position that these emails, sent from a UN spokesman’s account during UN working hours in response to a request for comment from the UN, were personal. If so, she asked if the UN would lift immunity to allow her to sue the spokesperson in national courts.

   Gilmore avoided the question. We'll have more on this - and on Guterres' lead spokesman, who has moved beyond insults and exclusion of Inner City Press to bringing about physical ouster by armed UN Security officers who refused to give their names, and running off the podium as Inner City Press asks about it.  On June 29 after publishing the above, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I have a Human Rights Commissioner question.

Spokesman:  Go ahead.

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you.  There was a Q and A by Kate Gilmore, the Deputy High Commissioner of Human Rights, today in Geneva, and an issue arose in which… several whistle-blowers raised the fact that they have evidence, they say, that the spokesperson for, for Prince Zeid, Rupert Colville, has, from, on his UN computer during UN time, said that the whistle-blowers are the worst people he’s ever known, used a profanity.  And so they wanted to know, since it’s, it’s their understanding that this was then said in a personal capacity by the spokesman, not as a UN statement, whether the UN will, in fact, waive immunity so that they can take some kind of a legal action?  They’re very troubled that the spokesperson…

Spokesman:  I… I didn’t see the Q and A.  What I do know is that Mr. Colville does an outstanding, an outstanding job in promoting and defending human rights.

Inner City Press: Would you say it’s consistent with the whistle-blower protections…?

Spokesman:  I’m not going to, I’m not going to talk about things that I don’t know, most of the time." Really. The UN took most of its counter-terrorism money from Saudi Arabia, just as Secretary General Antonio Guterres smiled and took a $930 million check from Saudi's Crown Prince and said nothing about Saudi bombing of Yemen, and now assault on the port of Hodeidah there. On June 18 the UN in New York held a so-called background briefing for only some of the media which cover the UN day to day.  On June 19 Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson, the briefer and the UN's Global Communicator why, with no answer yet in 48 hours. Instead the response has been frivolous complaints about Inner City Press non- or anti-spoonfed coverage. And on June 22, Guterres' UN Security ousted Inner City Press from the UN without even its laptop, during an event at which Guterres gave a bragging speech.
Video here, story here, new petition here.

 Now Guterres is seeking to exclude civil society from his counter-terrorism conference, just as he excluded the Press from his ghoulish June 26 river-walk purporting to be committed to free speech, here. On June 27, during a visit to India, US Ambassador Nikki Haley issued a statement that "It is outrageous that the UN’s new Office of Counterterrorism would choose to make blocking civil society participation its first meaningful act. There is no reasonable explanation for why the UN would seek to censor this conference, except that it caved to political pressure from a handful of nefarious countries with no credibility on countering terrorism – like Russia, Syria, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela – and for which restricting access and blocking civil society participation is the norm. This decision is an abuse of the UN’s new counterterrorism office and a stain on the UN’s record on transparency and civil society inclusion. As a result, the United States will downgrade our level of representation at the conference." Some UN sources told the US was never that into it. And when Inner City Press asked at the June 27 noon briefing, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric claimed that NGOs will be prominent - on the second day. Dujarric said that he personally excluded Inner City Press from the briefing, claiming he has had issues before with Inner City Press and background briefing, saying Inner City Press live tweeted them. False: a recent Chatham House rules sales pitch by Jane's Defence, in the UN library, featured Jane's Defense telling Inner City Press to leave - and then apologizing in the hallway. For actual ouster with guns, no apology or more importantly reversal from those responsible, including Dujarric. We'll have more on this.

  Inner City Press was excluded from the background briefing even as the UN's head of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov gave an interview about the conference to "UN News" Russian language radio chief Elena Vapnitchnaia, introduced by Omar Musni. He spoke of work with Iraq, and of a speaker from Mali, as well as of Google and Facebook. Why was Inner City Press excluded from the briefing then, and why has none of the three officials asked, including USG Alison Smale who among other things is in charge of "UN News," even purported to offer an explanation?

  Inner City Press has criticized Guterres for his silence in taking the Saudi check, and which remains restricted for covering the bribery of the UN by Ng Lap Seng and South South News - which has placed people not only in UNTV but even in UN Department of Public Information - and now by Patrick Ho and the China Energy Fund Committee.

    Other than more targeted censorship, the only rationale for excluding Inner City Press which was one of only five media - including one which also works for UN Photo - covering the Small Arms and Light Weapons press conference on June 18, is that it is no longer a “resident correspondent.”

 This is due to Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who evicted Inner City Press from the UN Press Briefing Room and from its office, and from DPI's Alison Smale, who still has no content neutral rule while putting in Inner City Press' office a no-show Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom. And so on June 19, Inner City Press wrote to the person who took "RSVPs" for the briefing Ms Soares Pinto - who as it turns out work for Dujarric - as well as to Vladimir Voronkov (then in Russia, photos show) and to Alison Smale: "this is a request to be informed on what basis, or using which criteria, it was decided to invite some but not all journalists who cover the UN and Counter-Terrorism to the June 18 background briefing about the upcoming High Level Conference. I am a journalist who covers the UN closes, asks the Spokesperson many questions including about counter-terrorism. I would like to know why I was not informed of the background briefing about the June 28-29 Conference. Please confirm receipt, on deadline." And... nothing, more than 48 hours later, even from the person in Dujarric's spokesperson's office.

  Just as Smale has refused to answer detailed petitions with 5000+ signatures, she did not answer this. She has her husband playing piano at a World Cup event - this is today's UN. On the same June 19, Minutes before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced the US' withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, the doors to the UN Press Briefing Room opened. But nothing was announced. While many media had asked the UN for response, the spokesman for out of town, World Cup bound Secretary General Antonio Guterres arranged for a private “press conference” with Qatar's Al Jazeera. Inner City Press, evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room and its UN work space by Dujarric, was trying to cover the HRC announcement from a small focus booth on the UN second floor. Click here for Inner City Press' Periscope stream. And when UN Spokesman Dujarric led only Al Jazeera into the UN Press Briefing Room on June 19 for a faux press conference to provide Guterres' response to Trump leaving the Human Rights Council and Inner City Press live-streamed it, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio he led in -- James Bays, Whitney Hurst and cameraman Bradley McLennan who went in before Pompeo and Haley made the announcement - are trying to further restrict Inner City Press. How can one journalist, with the now required UN minder, live streaming three correspondents and a spokesman be threatening? It is like the fake injuries in the World Cup. We'll have more on this.


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