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UN Guterres Failure on Uighurs Gently Raised By Rights Groups Who Ignore His Censorship of Press For China

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UN GATE, Sept 18 – The UN has been so corrupted and dominated by China under UNSG Antonio Guterres that now its ostensible journalist award is controlled with Chinese state media. Would stories about CEFC China Energy's proven bribery at the UN, and bid to buy an oil company linked to Guterres through the Gulbenkian Foundation, even get through a first round of review with this Chinese "journalism" veto? Fat chance.

  Now, days after Guterres and his team have denied access even to enter to cover UN General Assembly high level week to Inner City Press which closely covers the UN bribery convictions at the SDNY court, China state media Xinhua shows smiling UN Correspondent Association officials on a tour of China without any reference to the abuse of Uighurs and Hong Kong, much less to bribery. See here.

 Now on September 17, this press release sent largely to the same scribes who like Guterres have been purchased by China: "Antonio Guterres should publicly and unequivocally condemn the Chinese authorities’ abusive policies in Xinjiang and call for an immediate closure of camps containing an estimated one million Turkic Muslims, a coalition of five human rights groups, including Amnesty International, said in a letter to the UN Secretary-General.  “In the words of Mr Guterres himself, human rights are universal regardless of race, beliefs or location. We are asking him to apply that principle to the one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims who continue to be arbitrarily detained by the Chinese authorities in so-called ‘political education camps’ in Xinjiang,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.  “Mr. Guterres’ private diplomacy on this issue is clearly not working. He must immediately speak out publicly against the persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang or he will forever be remembered for failing hundreds of thousands of people in this crucial moment.”  On Monday, Amnesty International together with the International Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists and the World Uyghur Congress, wrote to Guterres urging him to speak out against the Chinese government.  The coalition’s letter calls on Guterres to support the creation of a fact-finding mission to assess the scale and nature of crimes under international law and human rights violations in Xinjiang, and to meet with representatives from the Uyghur community. It also urges the UN Head to refrain from praising, without qualification, Beijing’s ‘Belt and Road’ investment initiative, in which Xinjiang is a centerpiece.  “There are many causes for serious concern about the state of human rights in China, but the egregious scale and severity of the situation in Xinjiang demands urgent global attention as more and more predominantly Muslim minorities are unlawfully detained,” said Kumi Naidoo.  “The mere fact that we are forced to make a public call on the UN Secretary-General to speak out about an abuse of this magnitude is a damning indictment of his leadership.”  Fat chance - Fat Tony has been bought by China, and censors Inner City Press for them.

 As to UNCA, the headline is "Members of United Nations Correspondents Association visit Fujian." The caption is "Lin Dongmei (1st R), associate director of National Engineering Research Center of Juncao Technology, introduces Juncao plantation to members of the United Nations Correspondents Association, at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Lin Shanchuan)."

  The UNCA officials are past president (and Sri Lanka war criminal landlord) Giampaolo Pioli, and his successor Valeria Robecco, along with another Italian hanger-on who oversaw the confiscation and attempted destruction of Inner City Press' live-streaming smart phone in front of UNCA's corrupt annual fundraising event. This while Inner City Press, investigative media, is banned by these thugs from entering the UN. What of this China tour, and those who signed off on or didn't complain about it? We'll have more on this.

  Here's from an announcement earlier this year by the pro-Guterres and now China controlled UN Correspondents Association, with its second vice president on the awards committee from Chinese state media: "2019 U.N. Correspondents Association Awards For Best Journalistic Coverage Of The United Nations And U.N. Agencies - NEWS PROVIDED BY United Nations Correspondents Association -  Winners Will Be Honored At Gala Event By The U.N. Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres... UNCA Awards Committee: Valeria Robecco (UNCA President), Giampaolo Pioli (Awards Chairman), ), Jianguo Ma (UNCA Second Vice President [from Chinese state media and Sherwin Bryce-Pease (UNCA Executive Member).

 In full disclosure, before Inner City Press quit UNCA after finding it corrupt and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access (FUNCA), and was then evicted from its UN work space (2016) then roughed up by Guterres' UN Security on 3 July 2018 and banned from any entry of the UN since, it was on the Executive Committee of UNCA. There, it was told by the already Permanent representative on the board of Chinese state media to NOT raise the issue of Taiwanese journalists. Guterres has gone further and covered up CEFC China Energy UN bribery and his own links. We'll have more on this.

  On the morning of September 10 banned Inner City Press asked a dozen UN officials and spokespeople in writing, "What are the SG's and USG Fleming's view of the ethics of UN Correspondents Association official taking a paid trip to China at this time, with regard to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and bribery by China Energy Fund Committee, which tried to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which has made payments to the SG?" Watch this site.

Before Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Security on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since then, it insistently asked for disclosure of how many of Guterres' publicly funded trips took him through his real home, Lisbon. The questions are not been answered by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who on 2 November 2018 simply bicycled away as Inner City Press asked about Guterres' failure in Cameroon and attempt to get even Park East Synagogue to oust Inner City Press from covering his October 31 speech about tolerance. 

 On May 14, Inner City Press asked Guterres and Dujarric, "May 14-1: On China, human rights and NYC, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that a state-owned Chinese shipping company refused to lease an office space in NYC to  Amnesty International USA? Cosco Shipping acquired Orient Overseas in 2017, and took ownership the company’s real estate investments, including the office building in question, called Wall Street Plaza.  Amnesty said the organization was told that it is “not the best tenant” for a building owned by a Chinese state-owned firm." More than a day later, no answer. One wonders the position of Mayor De Blasio and his International Affairs representative Penny Abeywardena...

  On May 15, Inner City Press asked Guterres and Dujarric, "May 15-1: On China and the UN, beyond the ban on Taiwan journalists, what is the SG's explanation and/or action on that former political prisoners in China who now reside in the United States were informed by the UN accreditation desk in Geneva that they could not enter the premises without a passport from a UN member state. As political dissidents who have fled from China, the visitors did not have valid passports from the country? Dissidents who flee their home countries due to persecution are often not issued passports from their countries of refuge but are rather issued other valid forms of identification."

  Eight hours later, no answer. But there's this, sent to Inner City Press by several outraged UN staffers: "Scheduled demonstration outside VIC Gate 1 on Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:00 -12:00 hours.   This is to inform VIC staff that on Thursday, 16 May 2019, between 10:00 hrs and 12:00 hrs there will be an authorized demonstration of approximately 100 demonstrators in Muhammad Asad Platz outside VIC Gate 1.  The organizers describe their demonstration message to "Support Taiwan’s participation to the World Health Organisation".  The UN Security and Safety Service, together with the host country police, will monitor this event for its duration.   Office of the Chief, Security and Safety Service United Nations Department of Safety and Security United Nations Office at Vienna." Yeah, Guterres' UN will monitor this event, and movement, for the duration. To (try to) save the UN, dump Guterres.

  While Guterres was in China banned Inner City Press in writing asked him and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric about China's crackdown in Hong Kong - no answer at all. Now even according to CNBC, tens of thousands of people marched on Hong Kong’s parliament on Sunday to demand the scrapping of proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial — a move which some fear puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.  Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Guterres said nothing. And when, CNBC reports, China censored its reporting from being broadcast in China, again nothing. Then again, Guterres has had critical Press roughed up and banned from the UN, for 298 days. He is corrupt.

  On April 27 from Beijing, from Guterres' second craven Belt and Road Initiative speech in as many days as he conceals his links with BRI briber China Energy Fund Committee which tried to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which has paid Guterres: "I can assure you, Mr. President [Xi Jinping of China], that the UN will do everything possible to help towards the success of the Belt and Road Initiative... the Belt and Road Initiative, with its huge volume of investment, is an opportunity we cannot miss." Guterres will do anything to conceal his own personal financing link to UN briber CEFC China Energy, through Gulbenkian Foundation whose payments to him he omitted from his public financial disclosure covering 2016.  From Guterres's April 26 singing for supper speech: "Convened by President Xi Jinping, we come together at this forum on the Belt and Road in the face of uncertainty and unease around the globe.      I want to recognize China for its central role as a pillar of international cooperation and multilateralism... United Nations country teams stand ready to support Member States in capacity and governance building, and in achieving a harmonious and sustainable integration of the Belt and Road projects in their own economies and societies in accordance with national development plans, anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The world needs to take profit of the Belt and Road Initiative to help close significant financing gaps for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the developing world, in particular, the need for about $1 trillion needed for infrastructure investments in developing countries.... The United Nations is poised to support the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Sustainable Development Goals, to share knowledge, and to make the most of the opportunities of this large-scale initiative for maximum sustainable development dividends.      Let us work together to restore trust by making good on the shared promise of the 2030 Agenda and our common commitment to leave no one behind.     Thank you."

Before 10 am on April 25, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, as well as Guterres' email address and that of his deputy and Alison Smale, "April 25-1: Now that SG Guterres is lavishing praise on China's "Belt and Road" please immediately provide the full transcript of Guterres' "interview with Chinese journalists" from which this propaganda came out: "UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the Belt and Road Initiative is a "very important opportunity" to the world. With such a huge volume of investment for international cooperation as the Belt and Road Initiative, it is a "very important opportunity for enhancing the capacity to implement the sustainable development goals and an important opportunity to launch green perspectives in the years to come," Guterres said during an interview with Chinese journalists at the UN headquarters before leaving for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. (Xinhua)." Immediately state how many staff of Xinhua and other Chinese state media the UN DPI/DGC has granted accreditation to to currently enter the UN. 

April 25-2: Immediately state how much Guterres and team's trip to China is costing, the size and composition of the UN delegation, and who is paying for it (given that even the PGA now discloses this information).  Again, state whether after the UN bribery conviction of Patrick Ho of CEFC, and CEFC's attempt to purchase the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid Mr. Guterres in 2016 (omitted from his online public financial disclosure covering 2016), he intends to raise corruption and UN bribery issues with China." More than seven hours later, no answer at all. But the UN South South Cooperation Office, which fronted for Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, was tweeting photos of its meetings in Beijing including Jorge Chediek and his (Chinese) deputy Xiaojun Grace Wang, here. China was bragging that Guterres would cravenly show up at its Belt and Road event, after Guterres refused to audit UN briber CEFC China Energy. CEFC tried to buy the oil company of Lisbon based Gulbenkian Foundation the payments of which to Guterres were not included in his public financial disclosure covering 2016. This was  days after Guterres' Alison Smale and Tal Mekel summarily denied Inner City Press application to re-enter the UN to ask questions, and after guards physically pushed Inner City Press out of the line for a press freedom event in the UN it was invited to and had a ticket for, then refused to provide the banned-by-Guterres list they said was the basis of their action.

 We'll have more on this. On March 2 with Guterres presumably in New York but not in the mansion at 5 pm - there were no UN security vehicles nearby - he nonetheless left all lights in the second floor blazing. This is pure waste, pure hypocrisy given what Guterres claims about his commitment to sustainability - all the more so because it was broad day light. On matters ranging from censorship and corruption to this, the hypocrisy gets worse and worse. .. How arrogant or out of touch a self-styled world leader is has been revealed in the Leader's contemptuous approach to freedom of the press and whose who even gently chide him on it, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No, this is not a reference to Donald Trump, but to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The Nobel Peace Prize winner who has sought the reversal of Guterres' outrageous 56 day and counting ban on Inner City Press even entering the UN is Jose Ramos Horta of Timor Leste, still serving Guterres' UN, who told Inner City Press on August 27, "Dear Matthew I did reach the very inner sanctum of the UN system reporting on your case to no avail. Apologies but I don't know what else I can do." Later on August 27 an independent journalist asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why things are not fixed with Inner City Press' access, since it "looks bad" given other attacks on press freedom. Video here. Dujarric tried to cut the journlist off, insisting to say this is about freedom of the press would be wrong. (Then why is it in the Press Freedom Tracker, here, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among others for example in the UK, Japan, Italy and Cameroon?) Dujarric changed the earlier reference to Inner City Press being in a "garage ramp" - something Guterres' Grand Inquisitor Alison Smale never asked Inner City Press about - to being in the "parking lot." (Inner City Press' pass worked to get there, many use it as a way to exit, and several senior UN official, anti-Guterres sources of Inner City Press ask to meet it and give it documents there. Maybe that's the reason.) Dujarric then said that Inner City Press creates a "hostile environment" for the diplomats, some times correspondents and always UN officials it covers. Seems clear the ban is entirely about freedom of the Press, freedom to question, and a Secretary General and vindictive team of holdovers who seek to retaliate against questions and coverage, including live streamed covering, with a lifetime ban with no appeal. Here is an example of Inner City Press' August 28 questioning at the Delegates Entrance, since Guterres and Alison Smale have banned it from the Security Council stakeout. Is this hostile?  Would Guterres, former NYT bureau chief Smale and former former Dujarric like to write Inner City Press' questions? Its articles? Perhaps to omit all refernce to Cameroon and what Guterres did and didn't do? On August 28 during an empty noon briefing Inner City Press was again banned from, it asked in writing Dujarric, Alison Smale, Amina J. Mohammed and others 13 questions including: "At yesterday's noon briefing you said I am banned because I was “found in the parking lot.” Since no one spoke to me about this, please state when and where, and explain how that is a violation if non resident correspondents' passes open those doors, unlike the bathrooms on the 4th floor, and how this Trumped up into so serious a violation as to ban me, including from the upcoming UNGA week. Also, again, name the diplomats (and UN staff and journalists) you yesterday publicly said I created a hostile environmental for. Honestly, that was not my intent. But I have a right to know. And it sounds troublingly similar to questioning and critique: free press. August 28-2: This is again a request to be informed -- including if the question is view as hostile - of the reason on the SG's Public Financial Disclosure page USG Smale is not listed, while Natalia Gherman who was named to her position later than USG Smale is listed and has made public disclosure - and for an explanation why Smale did not recuse herself as was clearly called for from banning me." While two other questions were answered on August 28, these were not touched. This is censorship.  For now, though, Nobel Peace Prize winner who has worked for the UN has been rebuffed. What they say Trump is, Guterres is as well and more so - only Guterres has actually roughed up and banned a critical journalist for 55 days, with total impunity. Hence this story. After having covered the UN since 2005 for Inner City Press, and pursued stories of UN under-performance from Sri Lanka to Darfur and Haiti to Yemen and most recently Secretary General Antonio Guterres' failure and conflict of interest on Cameroon, at 4 pm on Friday August 17 I got a four page letter from Under Secretary General Alison Smale, formerly the New York Times' Berlin bureau chief. We've put the letter on Scribd here, Patreon download here

The letter informed me, without a single opportunity to be heard and offer rebuttal, that “your accreditation is hereby withdrawn pursuant to the Guidelines.” It cited what it called three previous warnings. But on further inspection there is no there, there. See below. In the middle of the now 55 day ban, Jose Ramos Horta who has known and answered Inner City Press for years wrote to it, somewhat comedicly, "I am puzzled by such an extreme DPI decision of banning you for life from UNHQ for reporting purposes. Here in Timor Leste our Govt never ever barred a journalist from entering a public space and reporting even though our Media has never been friendly with Govt officials.I cannot imagine how serious an offense you may have committed that may have justified such an extreme action by DPI. Did you throw a bomb, rotten eggs, tomatoes, spaghetti at some guy? I shall try to reach the SG." And then, on August 27, "Dear Matthew I did reach the very inner sanctum of the UN system reporting on your case to no avail. Apologies but I don't know what else I can do." This is how arrogant and out of touch Guterres is, Lusophone or not. People would report this about Trump, whole profiles of those they say should have spoken out - Mattis, Kelly, members of Congress and the Senatre - and isolation and rage. But what about Guterres? Jose Ramos Horta, who has never had a problem being public, is a man of integrity, on the right side on this one when all is said and done. What about others? We'll have more, much more, on this - there has been other outreach, and more to come. One individual, even with a former NYT Global Communicator like Alison Smale, cannot be allowed to censor like this, to impose a ban on a journalist for the first time in 40 years, an active journalist Guterres and Smale and UNnamed others want to prevent or hinder Inner City Press from covering this UN General Assembly High Level Week and the UN going forward. We will not rest. Watch this site.

  In her lifetime ban letter, Smale also claimed that Guterres' spokesmen would answer Inner City Press' e-mailed questions. But this it false. Of the fourteen question Inner City Press e-mailed to them, and Smale, and Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and others on August 23 and 24, not one was answered. Not one. Including: "August 24-3: Given that Deputy Spokesman Haq told IPS “we respect his press rights, but we also want to respect other’s press rights. And some journalists feel their press rights have been impeded by his actions” - state, since this is the basis of me being banned, who these are, and how they feel their press rights have been impeded by my actions. Also all video and other evidence that Haq alluded to to IPS should be produced, today, since it is the basis of my being banned." Nothing has been provided, eight hours later, by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric who was drawing pay all day after having essentially ordered or passed on from his boss the order to rough up Inner City Press. From the IPS article: "Lee has been known for asking thought-provoking questions during daily briefings and at press stakeouts. He has reported on global conflicts such as those in Sri Lanka, Congo, Somalia, and others... However, the incidents with Lee started back in 2012, when he was warned by the DPI to treat his fellow journalists with respect." That's not the case. In 2012, the President of the UN Correspondents Association Giampaolo Pioli, who had rented one of him Manhattan apartments to one Palitha Kahona then unilaterally granted his request or demand for an UNCA screening of the war crimes denial film of the Sri Lanka government he represented at the UN, ordered Inner City Press to remove from the Internet its article about the conflict of interest. Inner City Press declined but offered to publish any response, at any length. Pioli and the UNCA board demanded removal of the article, and ultimately Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-founded FUNCA, the Free UN Coalition for Access. The UN claimed it was uninvolved - instead, then head of Accreditation Stephane Dujarric tried to condition Inner City Press' re-accreditation as a resident correspondent on more positive coverage of the Secretariat, specifically his fellow Frenchman Herve Ladsous, the head of Peacekeeping who famously said peacekeepers would rape less if they had more "R&R." So from 2012 it was the UN trying to strong arm positive coverage of its officials, and using the aura of "other correspondents" in UNCA as the leverage - making UN the UN Censorship Alliance.



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