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UN Guterres For 15th Trip to Lisbon Uses Death of Kofi Annan Who Never Banned a Journalist As Guterres Has

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 7 – 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 trip took him through his real home, Lisbon. The questions are not been answered by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and Guterres has had Inner City Press banned from the UN for life, by his Alison Smale. But Inner City Press, even banned, on August 28 published the first in an exclusive and detailed series. Now on September 7, with no transparency from the UN Secretariat itself, Inner City Press can report that Guterres intends to use even Kofi Annan's death and the September 13 event in Ghana as a pretext to again fly to Lisbon. He'll turn it into a five day junket, leaving New York on September 11 (when he's arranged a Myanmar white washing CPPF meeting, also reported exclusively by banned Inner City Press, here), offer praise sure to be ironic of Kofi Annan who Rest in Peace never had a critical journalist roughed up and banned - then fly to Lisbon on the public dime, until September 16. How much will it cost? The UN refuses to answer. But it is not their money. And the climate of cover up includes Guterres not disclosing his own son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres' business links in Africa and elsewhere. We'll have more on this: it is what journalism is supposed to do, hold institutions and those who lead them accountable. Here from multiple member state sources and open source are the dates of Guterres' first 14 -- 30% of total UN trips - through Lisbon for each of which Inner City Press has asked, and not been answered, and live-stream Periscope of the UN's empty massion on 57th Street and Sutton Place for which it was roughed up and banned:

1/13/2017-1/20/2017    NY->Lisbon->Geneva->Davos Platz->Zurich

2/9/2017-2/20/2017            NY->Istanbul->Riyadh->Dubai->Abu Dhabi->Muscat->Doha->Cairo->Frankfurt->Bonn->Munich->Lisbon

2/24/2017-2/27/2017    NY->Lisbon->Geneva

3/25/2017-3/31/2017    NY->Lisbon->Amman->Baghdad->Arbil->Gaziantep

5/9/2017-5/22/2017            NY->London->Beijing->Strasbourg->Geneva->Lisbon

5/25/2017-5/29/2017    NY->Catania->Lisbon

6/20/2017-6/26/2017    NY->Entebbe->Lisbon

6/27/2017-7/4/2017            NY->Washington DC.->Geneva->Lisbon, (30/06/2017 - 04/07/2017 in Lisbon)

11/3/2017-11/7/2017    NY->Lisbon

2/12/2018-2/19/2018    NY->Kuwait->London->Munich->Lisbon

3/14/2018-3/16/2018    NY->Rome->Lisbon

5/11/2018-5/19/2018    NY->Lisbon->Vienna->Brussels->Washington DC

5/23/2018-5/31/2018    NY->Geneva->Lisbon->Paris->Bamako

7/6/2018-7/11/2018        NY->Lisbon->Addis Ababa->Kinshasa

  Do the member states paying for this - whom Guterres' Smale quotes without name as supporting the roughing up of and permanent ban on Inner City Press, agree with this? Do they know this? 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.
  The article continues: "wo years ago, things changed: he was in an interpreter’s booth recording a closed-door meeting of UN correspondents, without their consent. Then, DPI’s Media and Liaison Unit (MALU) made the decision to downgrade his accreditation from “resident correspondent” to “non-resident correspondent”, which means he was deprived of his own office space, barred from going to the UN on weekends and prevented from staying late hours and restricted from some areas in the building. Although Lee believes this was “bogus reason” for the treatment he received, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General, told IPS: 'Matthew has come up with his own version on his website. But in that case I know to be true what I saw with my eyes.'"
  What the IPS article - which we are appreciative of, including for getting these quotes - omits is that this supposedly closed meeting was in the UN Press Briefing Room, open to all journalists. And Haq, when he followed Dujarric in, reflexively took the side of the UN Censorship Alliance, saying of Inner City Press, "He lies a lot." Video hereIs that appropriate, under Smale's rules of procedure?
  IPS continues, " It seemed that the change in his accreditation pass had no effect. “After that, the problems with his behavior did not subside”, said Haq.

[That is, the goal is taking Inner City Press' work space and giving it to no-show, no question Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Yousseff was to make Inner City Press behavior or reporting "subside." Note as the article didn't and perhaps didn't have to that Farhan Haq previously worked for IPS - that and his father are how he got his UN job - and presumably was a member of UNCA. We'd asked but wouldn't get an answer, if the past is any guide.]

IPS: "On June 22nd, Lee had to be removed from the UN premises as he stayed long after his accreditation permitted him, and on July 3rd, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted."

 As Inner City Press has told IPS, "noted for the record

I'm appreciative of the detailed article, but for the record: "On June 22nd, Lee had to be removed from the UN premises as he stayed long after his accreditation permitted him." It was 7:15 pm, Antonio Guterres had just given a speech, video here;


... "on July 3, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted." There is video, and an NYPD criminal report (UN hasn't waived immunity), " video here;

and finally (for now)

... "on July 3, he was similarly found long after 9 pm within a restricted area of the complex. UN Security removed him from the premises, but he apparently resisted." There is video, and an NYPD criminal report (UN hasn't waived immunity).

 And so it goes at the UN - there's more but that's it for now. On August 20, when the belatedly listed Guterres' and Smale's roughing up and banning of Inner City Press, here, Guterres' spokesman Dujarric made it clear it is all about content. While insisting it is not about Inner City Press' "writing," he specifically cited Periscope broadcasts as a basis for the lifetime ban. That is censorship.  UN transcript here and below.

  But on closely inspection Smale's letter is even more ghoulish. After she for Guterres banned Inner City Press from entry from July 3 onward, in order to report on the UN Inner City Press had to seek answers other than at the UN Noon Briefing and UN Security Council stakeout position, from which Guterres and Smale also banned it. Inner City Press asks question in front of the UN Delegates Entrance, and has gotten about put online responses from, among others, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid, Burundi's Ambassador, and on August 20, for example, a diplomat on the North Korea sanctions committee (whose chair Karel van Oosterom refused to comment) and UK Mission political coordinator Stephen Hickey (whose Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen also recently refused to comment.)

 This stakeout is where Inner City Press asks questions only because Guterres and Smale have banned it since July 3. But in her August 17 letter, Smale justifies the ban imposed July 3 with this post-July 3 interviews, and says that UNnamed member states - and somehow correspondents - have complained.

 Is that Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom? UK Deputy Jonathan Allen? (We will FOIA.) Morocco, as with the retaliatory complaint Smale's MALU "passed on" to Inner City Press while admitting verbally it was frivolous but then using it to ban Inner City Press for life. This is Kafkaesque, and must be reversed. Smale in her August 17 banning letter writes, "We would also note your conduct at the entrances of the United Nations premises and nearby, including the use of profanities and derogatory assertions and language toward individuals accessing the United Nations, in close proximity to them. Video / live broadcasts of this are frequently published on the Inner City Press' website and other media platforms. This conduct gives rise to potential safety concerns for Member State diplomats, United Nations staff, and other individuals accessing United Nations premises, and are a matter of serious concern given the United Nations responsibility for the well-being of such individuals.
The conduct described above has generated multiple complaints to the United Nations from Member States, United Nations correspondents, as well as United Nations staff.”  We'll have more on this - requests under FOIA and otherwise have begun. Watch this site.

From the UN's August 20 transcript: Question:  On the Matthew Lee’s expulsion, in layman’s terms, what exactly… why exactly was he kicked out by the UN?

Spokesman:  Mr. Lee’s accreditation was — as a correspondent here — was revoked due to repeated incidents having to do with behaviour, with violation — violating the rules that all of you sign on to and accept when you receive your accreditation, rules that are, by far, self-policing.  We trust journalists to respect the rules.  The rules are clear, and they’re transparent.  You all respect them.  There were really just a number of incidents including incidents in which people in this building, whether they be diplomats, staff, journalists, felt harassed, and his behaviour was not in line with accepted regulations.  The removal of his accreditation had nothing to do with the content of his writing.  This room is full of people who have reported critically, toughly, sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly, on the United Nations.  And we continue to work with all of you who report on the UN in a straight and open manner regardless of what you write.  ...

Question (CNN):   Is there any compromise you see going forward on the Matthew Lee situation next year?  Is he capable of changing the behaviour you object to?

Spokesman: I don’t think that’s a question to be addressed to me.  Ben.

Question (Fox):  Just back on Matthew Lee, was he given a chance to respond before the actual decision was made?  And what were those allegations of harassment?

Spokesman:  The regulations, the DPI [Department of Public Information] regulations concerning the rules for accreditation are clear.  You, Ben and everybody else in this room by clicking “accept”, you accept them, and the rules are clear — it’s that the UN retains the right to remove the accreditation.  The process of how that’s done is all clear, and it’s there. The allegations include recording people without their consent, being found in the garage ramp late at night, using abusive and derogatory language towards people.  I think it’s pretty clear.  And, frankly, I think anyone who looks at his own Periscopes should come to the same conclusion." Well, here they are. This is censorship and must be reverse such that Inner City Press can cover the UN General Assembly High Level Week, the deadline for which is September 5. Watch this site.
Grand Inquisitor Alison Smale didn't even consider, or acknowledge, that Inner City Press had responded to the spurious complaints -- from the Morocco mission to the UN on 17 March 2017 and from DPI Deputy Maher Nasser, who blocks Inner City Press on Twitter, on 20 October 2017.

  Smale's misuse of the Morocco complaint, if not reversed, would set a precedent in that in Guterres' UN member states which don't like a particular journalist can file frivolous complaints and get the journalist banned. On 17 March 2017, after engaging in entirely legal live streaming from the UN Security Council stakeout, Inner City Press received this: "From: Marija D. Rokuiziene
Date: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: Turkish Lounge
To: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press
Cc: Hua Jiang <jiang1 [at]>, Hak-Fan Lau <lau [at]>, Tal Mekel <mekel [at]>
Dear Matthew,
It was recently brought to our attention by one UN Mission that recording was taking place in a restricted area of the second floor, at the Turkish Lounge near the Security Council.
You were mentioned by name in this regard, and we take the opportunity of this sensitive occurrence to remind you that the Turkish Lounge is not part of the stake out area and is off limits to media unless invited by the delegation, and that filming and/or recording of private conversations is not permitted.
Marija D.Rokuiziene
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-248"
 The complaint was entirely false, as Inner City Press immediately pointed out, in writing: "From: Matthew R. Lee
Date: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 1:29 PM
Subject: Re: Turkish Lounge - formal response and requests, please confirm receipt
To: "Marija D. Rokuiziene"
Cc: "matthew. lee", Hua Jiang Hak-Fan Lau, Tal Mekel
For your information, on Friday March 17 I was in the press area of the UNSC stakeout, after the 3 pm meeting. I took a photograph of the Polisario delegation, with Christopher Ross, going up to the 38th floor.
There were diplomats I recognized to be from the Moroccan Mission sitting in the so-called Turkish Lounge. I did not record any conversation or take any photo of them (although in the past, Moroccan Ambassador Omar Hilale has invited me to photograph him and his associate there).
After I took and tweeted photograph of Polisario and UN official Ross going up, a Moroccan diplomat / associate walked the UN Security officer at the turnstile my pass no longer works on; the officer came over and told me, seemingly apologetically, that the diplomat can said I shouldn't take photographs.
 I said I was within my rights to take photographs from the stakeout, but I nevertheless - in light of DPI's / MALU's previous punative acts with no due process, and ongoing restrictions after more than 1 year - left the UNSC stakout.
I consider this complaint by Morocco to be an attempt to limit coverage of the Western Sahara issue. Given DPI's / MALU's previous actions, if any of this is put in my / Inner City Press' history or file with MALU this must be included to.
This is a formal request to see my / Inner City Press' file. And this is, again, a request to be returned to Inner City Press' long time shared office S-303A, and a statement for the record that Akhbhar al Yom and its correspondent, assigned without tranparency 303-A after DPI's no due process eviction of Inner City Press, do not meet the stated rules of three days a day, have asked no questions, and should be in the bullpen and Inner City Press' office and resident correspondent status restored.
Please confirm receipt and provided the requested information / file as well as the list of those waiting for office space, the prioritization the UN has assigned and the reasons therefor.
Thank you.
Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press
Past (and future) Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017."  (The list was never provided; Inner City Press' office was given to an Egyptian state media whose essentially retired correspondent, a president of UNCA in 1984, rarely come in and has not asked a question of the UN in a decade.) This came as Morocco Ambassador Omar Hillale has used the Security Council UNTV microphone to berate Inner City Press and me for asking too many questions about this country, its occupation of Western Sahara and mistreatment of the people of the Rif. To allow a bad faith complaint to be used by Guterres' Smale - in bad faith - to then ban the journalist for life is a new low. It calls into question which state(s) Smale and Guterres have taken or encouraged complaints from. Cameroon? France? Smale's bad faith letter ruling must be reversed.

  The latter is equally bad in its way, since a DPI official mis-using his position as Nasser did was the subject of Inner City Press timely request to Smale that she recuse herself (which she refused to do - she has functioned, after all, as Antonio Guterres Global Censor). After receiving via DPI's Tal Mekel at 6 pm on Friday 20 October 2017 a letter clearly drafted by Nasser, Inner City Press immediately published a story about it. The Free UN Coalition for Access, an actual press freedom advocacy group which DPI's Hua Jiang had threatened my accreditation for posting a sign for on my then office door, put out a press release and flier. And on Monday 23 March 17 before 11 am I sent the following to DPI including Smale (who has never responded to one of my more than a dozen e-mails, while openly laughing and socializing with corporate correspondents who are her friends) and to Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed: "From: Matthew R. Lee
Date: Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 10:18 AM
Subject: Response to UN to threat to accreditation of Inner City Press, which is retaliatory, vague and contrary to freedom of the press
To: Tal Mekel , SGCentral , amina.mohammed [at], alison.smale [at]
Cc: nasser [at], funca, The Free UN Coalition for Access

Dear Mr. Mekel, and those UN officials copied below (SG Guterres, DSG Mohammed, USG Smale, etc) --

The UN threat letter sent to me after 5 pm on Friday, attached, coming as it does as Inner City Press pursues stories not only of UN corruption but, most pressingly, inaction amid mass killings in Cameroon and elsewhere is troubling.

It has the obvious effect of discouraging reporting. For example, while it flatly states that I “breached” a rule during a photo op on the 38th floor, it does not say how, or even what day or which photo op.

The effect is to discourage me from covering any of these photo ops / meetings on the 38th floor, since I have no way of knowing when I will be charged with a violation under which you “may” review my accreditation.

This vagueness is contrary to, for example, the US First Amendment, but also numerous UN-claimed principles of freedom of the press and due process.

As to Mr Nasser's misuse of the DPI / MALU threat process to try to win an argument he escalated on Twitter on October 19, saying I should be less negative about the UN when I noted how many clicks it takes to find sexual abuse and exploitation information on the new DPKO site he promoted - before he blocked me on October 20 -- great outreach there, now communications are broken off -- the audio linked to in the article is from the stakeout area by the Secretariat lobby elevators. It did not violate even this rule that the DPI and DSS mis-negotiated, not with the press corps but a subset of the UN Correspondents Association, whose members by the way do not obtain or even seek prior consent for recording, and membership in which is not and cannot be required to be a resident correspondent.

But to Inner City Press, the UN writes in fine Kafka-esque style: “we would like to remind you that filming and recording on the 38th floor are limited to official photo opportunities, and recording conversations of others in the room is not permitted. It has been brought to our attention that you breached that rule recently. Please kindly take note that any further violation of the guidelines and established journalistic standards could lead to a review of your accreditation status.” When was the breach? If a UN official says or does something embarrassing during a photo op, can the UN review Inner City Press' accreditation?

Your letter unless and until retracted means that publications which even link to audio that one participant in which is embarrassed of can have their accreditations reviewed: for example, if a UN official participating in a meeting on the 38th floor recorded it and, being disgusted by the UN's actions or inaction leaked it to the press, the press could be reviewed for publishing their audio recorded “without consent.”

This is, again, obviously contrary to, for example, the US First Amendment, but also numerous UN-claimed principles of freedom of the press and due process.

The outstanding request, to MALU, USG Smale, SG Guterres and DSG Mohammed, that Inner City Press resident corresponent access and work space S-303 which was wrongful taken without hearing or appeal 20 months ago as I pursued the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal which resulted this summer in six guilty verdicts, is below and incorporated herein by reference and I insist on a response to my two letters to then-new USG Smale in September. I was told there is an awareness of the need to show Inner City Press the “courtesy” of a response, but there has still been none, until the October 20 accreditation threat was the response.

The UN should care about, and not seek to hinder, reporting on for example the killings in Cameroon and even UN corruption. Threats of censorship are not the way to accomplish this. Inner City Press should be restored to its resident correspondent accreditation and shared workspace S-303, both of which were taken 20 months ago in retaliation for covering UN corruption in connection with Ng Lap Seng and, if there is some problem in your view with reporting and broadcasting what UN officials say, rules should be proposed that do not so blatantly violate the very principles of freedom of the press that the UN preaches to others. Inner City Press is more than willing to work in this regard."  So where is that, in Smale's hit job lifetime ban letter? To simply recite complaints, by your own deputy, while ignored the detailed responses that were filed at the time shows bad faith. Smale's letter must be reversed - and more. Watch this site.
Inner City Press had informed Smale, and Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is ultimately responsible for this, that Smale must recuse herself.

As part of its coverage of the UN in the past year I have heard from whistleblowers in Smale's Department of Public Information that she diverted funds intended for Swahili programming to her avowed focused, getting better coverage for Guterres particularly on social media.

But Smale did not recuse herself, and Guterres who refused my polite question to him on July 20 why this censorship was taking place and why he had been so silent as Cameroon killed Anglophones in the North-West and South-West regions of the country, did not make her recuse. Nor did he recuse himself, despite my timely request that the President of the General Assembly, and not the obviously conflicted Guterres and Smale, take charge of any review deemed necessary.

What is most troubling about the UN's August 17 dis-accreditation letter is how vague it is, and inaccurate the few times it gets specific.

The UN claims that on 3 July 2018 I “attempted to gain unauthorized access to a locked area of the UN.” But as I reported at the the time, and my Periscope video subsequently used by Fox News and The UK Independent shows, I was in the UN's much traveled Vienna Cafe. (Guterres' Assistant Secretary General Christian Saunders, whose involvement in a UN procurement scandal I previously reported, was also there: he oversaw the assault and the next day told me he doesn't like my articles.)

  On July 3 I was staking out -- that is, standing outside of - the UN Budget Committee meetings. In fact, I had been informed of the meetings by UN personnel and diplomats had invited me down in order to tell me, as a reported, what was going on.

Ironically it was with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe that I had just spoken when UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins and another officer who had still been identified by the UN approached me from behind, grabbed and twisted my arm, grabbed and damaged my laptop computer and tore my shirt. I recoiled and said, loudly, “I am a journalist, covering a meeting!” To Smale, this is incivility, enough to be permanently banned from the UN for.

Next, at the top of page 3 of the letter, Smale runs through a litany of supposed violations without providing any details, nor acknowledging that other correspondents more friendly to Guterres and her are allowed to do these things routinely. Smale pillories my “presence on UN premises outside authorized time periods as stipulated in the Guidelines.”

But those Guidelines, even as selectively quoted by Smale at the top of page 2 of her letter, make clear that I was permitted past 7 pm to cover an advised meeting - such as the July 3 UN Budget Committee meeting considering a $6.7 billion expenditure of public funds or the June 22 event in the UN General Assembly lobby featuring a speech in which Guterres bragged about fasting in Mali.

On June 22, not mentioned in Smale's August 17 letter but alleged as a “repeat violation” by Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq in a July 5 article, the same Lieutenant Dobbins and four Emergency Response Unit officers he summoned and then told not to give their names, pushed me out of the UN even as other non resident correspondents were allowed to remain in. There is video, here.

Days before that first roughing up of Inner City Press by UN Security but clearly green-lighted from higher up, Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a person who tried to speak with him on my behalf to get the UN to stop requiring me to have a minder or escort as they have since February 2016 that things would be getting worse for me. It seems clear Dujarric knew about or had already ordered the physical targeting of Inner City Press any time after 7 pm, even if an advised meeting or Guterres speech was taking place.

But a telling omission in Smale's letter is that as recently as June 26 dozens of non resident correspondents were allowed to stay in the UN past 7 pm drinking with Guterres on the North Lawn, ghoulishly in the name of press freedom with Smale. The event was not advised in the UN Media Alert, and I know that UN Security could not have been given a list of approved non resident correspondents since my timely RSVP to cover the event which had yet another canned Guterres speech was never answered. I was told by the organizer of that pro-Guterres event that the RSVP was ignored because it was open to all correspondents. Again, there is video in my contemporaneous coverage. Maybe this is why Smale and Guterres - and Dujarric - say livestreaming is a problem to be solved with Security violence and banning.

Since as Smale says there are thousands of those, many of whom write few articles and ask fewer questions, there is no way UN Security had a list of non resident correspondent to NOT beat up after 7 pm. They just decided / were told to start roughing up critical Inner City Press, sometime between June 22 until the July 3 assault which I reported on July 4 to the NYPD and was told, while a report was taken, that the UN asserts immunity. (That's the problem.)

Next Smale asserts I have been in locations not authorized by the Guidelines - without giving a single example. This does not comply with due process, to put it mildly. One wonder how it took the UN 45 days to write this (except for the desire to slow-walk things to try to prevent Inner City Press from covering the UN General Assembly in September). Even at censorship, today's UN is incompetent, particularly given the public money it requests and spends (that $6.7 billion again).

It is the “live broadcasts” -- reporting and commentary subject to protection under the First Amendment of the US Constitution and UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19 - that Smale next takes issue with. She cites, again without any example, profanities and derogatory assertions.

But Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric repeatedly used profanity, specifically the F-word, in the briefing room including telling me, “Matthew that's a stupid f*cking question.” Even more dispositively a former president of the UN Correspondents Association, Giampaoli Pioli who had ordered me to remove from the Internet an article about him arranging a UN screening for the Sri Lanka Ambassador of a film denying his country's war crimes after having had the Ambassador as his paying tenant in one of his many Manhattan apartment - the reason I quit UNCA - once called me an “assh*le” at the UN Security Council stakeout, during an advised meeting.

It happened at the Security Council stakeout so it was recorded, audio here. But DPI did nothing about this profanity and “derogatory assertion” by the president of UNCA, become their UN Censorship Alliance. So there is no rule, less enough of one to ban me for life.

There is another vague reference to refusing to obey UN Security officers, impossible to respond to and troubling in light of the video of Lt Dobbins and his colleague pulling me, and tearing my shirt. Is one not allowed to say, “I am a journalist?” What would Smale do?

  What Smale does NOT do is public financial disclosure. As Inner City Press first reported, and asked Dujarric to explain without getting any answer, Smale is not listed in Guterres' online roster of public financial disclosures, unlike for example official Natalia Gherman, who was awarded her UN post after Smale.

Not that Guterres has a good record on transparency. As Inner City Press has asked him without response, Guterres has yet to even order a UN audit of the China Energy Fund Committee / Patrick Ho - President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa UN bribery case that Inner City Press, alone from (then?) among the UN press corps, has been covering at the Federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, including with the Smale, Dujarric and Guterres reviled Periscope livestream.

 Guterres did not act on Inner City Press' 25 June 2018 letter to alleging nepotism in the handing of the management of the Security Council's website to the photographer husband of the chief of staff of the Department of Political Affairs, nor on Inner City Press now ironic request that he provide protect to the Press being target. It was Guterres, it turns out, who was and is behind the targeting.

Most Orwellian, halfway through page 3 Smale attempts to use questions I have had to ask at the UN Delegates Entrance since she and Guterres banned me from the UN Security Council stakeout from July 3 on. At that new stakeout, I have interviewed among others outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Prince Zeid (whose abuse of whistleblowers I have also reported) and Permanent Representatives such as those from Kazakhstan and even Burundi. So which unnamed member states is Smale claiming have complained to her and Guterres: Cameroon? The United Kingdom? France? Morocco?

In fact, one of the three specific (now in retrospect devious) warning letter Smale cites involved the Moroccan delegation falsely claiming I could not take photographs or record and live-stream at the UN Security Council stakeout. But the Guidelines permit that.

The DPI staff who passed along the Morocco complaint were orally apologetic but that's now for naught. The Kafkaesque file was being built. The last of the complaints is the most self-serving: Smale's own deputy Maher Nasser, in an abuse of position that I complained to Smale in writing about prior to her “ruling,” directed to a letter to me claiming I could not record him in an approved stakeout area. It's that he was embarrassed by what he said, and he since then has blocked me on Twitter, another strange practice for a UN official but once that Dujarric himself has engaged in.

Smale claimed in a July 19 response to the DC-based whistleblower protection group Government Accountability Project that Dujarric and the four other spokespeople his office would be answering my e-mailed question in respect to what she called my “journalistic endeavour.” This was repeated today to BuzzFeed's Hayes Brown, here. But they answer less than 20% of the questions - one a day, the easiest of the five I ask - and I am being banned from covering the UN Security Council, whose mishandling of Yemen and Myanmar, and non-handling or worse of Cameroon I have a right to cover and Inner City Press' audience have a right to follow online including in live-streams. Most pressingly, Guterres and Smale want to block me from covering member states in the UN General Assembly high level week in late September, the deadline for accreditation for which is September. A conflicted Secretariat has no right to ban a well-read media from covering this diplomatic dance of nations. This corruption and censorship must be reversed, and acted on, before September 5.

The final sin cited by Smale is that when Inner City Press was unjustly evicted from its long time shared office, for having asserted a right to cover events in the UN Press Briefing Room unless some official paper said it was closed - and nevertheless leaving as soon as requested by a UN Security officer - it did not move its years of files out fast enough. In fact, I was advised at that time that UN DPI's and the Office of the Secretary General's lawless crusade against Inner City Press might still be turned around; from February 19 until April 16, 2016 I did not enter or “occupy” the office, even when I could have. It was the UN which ultimately dumped my files out onto First Avenue then, as Guterres and Smale have now dumped me, with conflicts of interest and without due process.

Can this pseudo-legal permanent censorship order stand? I will do everything in my power that the answer is no, and that I can return to covering the UN the same as pro-Guterres state media from countries like Morocco and the Gulf, and corporate media which only want easy quotes and no critique. If freedom of the press means anything, this will not stand.

Forty five days
after Inner City Press' reporter was roughed up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Security officers as he covered the UN Budget Committee meeting on Guterres' $6.7 billion budget, a formal request for full reinstatement has been filed with President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak, below.  The filing says, " Before setting forth the legal basis, I remind you that the day you were elected President of the General Assembly, I asked you at your press encounter about the UN bribery case of John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng (to which the case of Sam Kutesa and Patrick Ho of CEFC has since been added). You replied, There will be no secrets. To give any meaning to this, you cannot stand by as an investigative journalist is roughed up and banned, and is threatened with not being able to cover the 2018 General Assembly High Level Week for the first time in 12 years, simply because the Secretary General doesn’t like my coverage and questions about corruption, use of public funds, under-performance in Cameroon, etc. The deadline for covering the upcoming UNGA week is September 5. I asked that you ensure all my rights – and S303 – are restored (well) before that time."

  The filing continues: "Dear President of the UN General Assembly,
I write to request that you restore of all my rights as an accredited journalist at the UN, specifically my reinstatement as a ‘resident’ UN journalist with full access rights to UN premises, consistent with the UN Media Guidelines1, as well as the return of my office. The decisions taken by the UN Secretariat in 2016 to downgrade my status as a non-resident journalist, and then in 2018 to withdraw my access rights and to forcibly eject and ban me from the UN premises since 3 July 2018 are ultra vires.
  Before setting forth the legal basis, I remind you that the day you were elected President of the General Assembly, I asked you at your press encounter about the UN bribery case of John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng (to which the case of Sam Kutesa and Patrick Ho of CEFC has since been added). You replied, There will be no secrets. To give any meaning to this, you cannot stand by as an investigative journalist is roughed up and banned, and is threatened with not being able to cover the 2018 General Assembly High Level Week for the first time in 12 years, simply because the Secretary General doesn’t like my coverage and questions about corruption, use of public funds, under-performance in Cameroon, etc. The deadline for covering the upcoming UNGA week is September 5. I asked that you ensure all my rights – and S303 – are restored (well) before that time.
The UN Secretary General does not have the delegated authority under the UN Charter to take decisions in relation to the conduct of the media or to institute sanctions on the media, just as he has no authority to take such decisions in relation to government representatives or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Under Article 97 of the UN Charter, the Secretary General’s role is limited to that of the “Chief Administrative Officer” of the organisation (he has responsibility for the administration of the human, financial and other resources of the organisation) and he cannot assume further duties unless “entrusted to do so” by the UN General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC or Trustee Council (Article 98 of the UN Charter)2. To-date, no UN General Assembly, Security Council or ECOSOC resolution has been passed conferring on the Secretary General the role as decision-maker on media accreditation, adjudicating disputes with the media, or instituting and monitoring sanctions against the media. As such any decisions on my accreditation, access and resident status cannot be taken by the Secretary General, and must rest with the General Assembly, the main decision-making organ of the UN.
By way of background, I am a journalist who has been reporting on the UN and its specialized agencies since 2004, accredited by the UN in 2005 and made a resident correspondent in 2006 until that was stripped from me as I pursued the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng case into the UN Press Briefing Room, inappropriately “lent  out” by the SG’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric. My articles, published at innercitypress.com3 are widely read around the world and, as is relevant here, at UN Headquarters in New York and other UN duties stations, by Member States, UN staff and by those with an interest in the workings of the organization. My articles are frequently critical of the UN establishment and its senior officials. The fact that I bear witness to inconvenient truths, effectively as a whistleblower undertaking protected activity, is no justification for my illegal censure and ill-treatment.
The decisions taken by the Secretariat in 2016 to downgrade my status to non-resident journalist, and then in 2018 to withdraw my access rights and to forcibly eject me and ban me from the UN premises are fundamentally flawed, retaliatory, unethical, tainted by conflict of interest and evidence of corruption.   My physical ejection was also criminal, and I have filed a criminal complaint with the New York City Police (reference #2018-017-2848_see attached) on 4_ July 2018, which complaint is still pending. Further, the Secretary General has a clear conflict of interest in my case stemming from my reporting, on an ongoing basis, allegations of corruption, fraud, serious misconduct and unethical behaviour at the top echelons of the UN, as well as on the continuing retaliation against UN whistleblowers. I have broken the news on many stories at which sadly reflect negatively on the performance of senior UN officials, including the Secretary General.
Many of the allegations of misconduct I have reported publicly at have been substantiated through ‘duly authorised’ UN investigations, including the UN’s gross institutional failure in responding to the child sexual abuse and pedophilia by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the abuse of authority by senior UN officials against Anders Kompass (see CAR Review Panel Report A/71/994). The material I have published on has been used by UN investigators as evidence in their ‘duly authorised’ investigations5. My articles continue to break the news on sexual abuse, perpetrated by UN peacekeepers and staff, against vulnerable people whom the UN is supposed to protect.
I drew the international community’s attention to the human rights violations in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon and your apparent silence in responding to these abuses, which was noted by many anglophone Cameroonians. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein belatedly issued a statement on 25 July 2018 condemning the abuses6.  I also reported the Secretary General’s apparent failure to initiate an audit of the China Energy Fund Committee / Patrick Ho / Sam Kutesa UN bribery case, which has resulted in a US criminal prosecution for bribery and international money laundering7.
  I closely cover UN public financial disclosures as you know, as discovered only yesterday that USG DPI Alison Smale, who purported to be doing a “review” of me without once speaking to me or given me an opportunity to be heard, is not listed on the Public Financial Disclosure website, despite being given her position prior to Natalia Gherman at UNRCCA, who is listed. You said, There will be no secret. USG Smale, on whom I have reported such as above (as well as what whistleblowers told me was diversion of funds meant for Swahili programming to “social media propaganda for SG Guterres”) has a conflict of interest in reviewing me. For the reasons in this letter, for the good of the UN and as required by law, you must take action (see below).
For years I have reported publicly the UN’s failure to protect its whistleblowers, including high profile cases such as Anders Kompass, Caroline Hunt-Matthes, Miranda Brown and Emma Reilly.  My public reporting of these failures by the UN to protect its whistleblowers have now been substantiated by the UN Joint Inspection Unit, in their recent report8 and recognised by the UK Parliamentary Committee on International Development’s Inquiry into Sexual abuse and exploitation in the aid sector9. I have also reported publicly that the ongoing retaliation against UN whistleblowers appears to violate the US law for the protection of UN whistleblowers (Section 7048 of the US Consolidated Appropriations Act), which stipulates that the State Department must withhold 15% of the US’ annual financial contributions to the UN unless the UN “implements” best practice for the protection of whistleblowers.
Given that I have publicly reported allegations of serious misconduct, wrongdoing and unethical conduct at the top of the UN and that these allegations clearly reflect negatively on the performance as Secretary General and that of UN senior officials (his subordinates), neither he nor his senior officials can bring an impartial and objective view to my case.
The International Code of Conduct of Civil Servants, to which the Secretary General is bound, states:
“Conflicts of interest may occur when an international civil servant’s personal interests interfere with the performance of his/her official duties or call into question the qualities of integrity, independence and impartiality required the status of an international civil servant.”
The failure to report and address a conflict of interest constitutes serious misconduct under the UN’s Staff Regulations and Rules. UN Staff Regulation 1.2 m states:
“A conflict of interest occurs when, by act or omission, a staff member’s personal interests interfere with the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or with the integrity, independence and impartiality required by the staff member’s status as an international civil servant. When an actual or possible conflict of interest does arise, the conflict shall be disclosed by staff members to their head of office, mitigated by the Organization and resolved in favour of the interests of the Organization.”
In the case of a conflict of interest by the Secretary General, the matter shall be referred to the President of the General Assembly. The UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services’ (OIOS) classifies ‘conflict of interest’ as ‘Category I’ ‘Serious’, the highest level of misconduct, “according to the relative seriousness of the contravention and risk to the Organization”10.
Further, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:
“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of his rights and obligations...”
I have not been provided with access to any such independent and impartial tribunal. Instead the Secretariat has wrongfully and unilaterally taken on the role of judge and executioner, with a clear lack of independence and impartiality. The Secretariat claimed in 2016 that it cancelled my ‘resident’ journalist status because of my allegedly not upholding the UN Media Guidelines; however, notwithstanding my categorial rejection of this claim, its decision is in any event tainted by conflict of interest and hence fundamentally flawed. While Mr. Antonio Guterres was not in office as Secretary General at the time the Secretariat took its tainted and fundamentally flawed decision in 2016 to rescind my resident status, he has perpetuated the wrongful decision, injustice and violation of my human rights: this must now be urgently corrected. The Secretariat has unlawfully appointed itself as the decision-maker in terms of determining the residency, access and accreditation rights of journalists, without having the delegated legal authority or mandate to do so. There are no legal instruments conferring such decision-making authority on the Secretariat, and as such the decisions taken to rescind my access rights and ban me from the premises are unlawful. With NGOs, the authority to grant accreditation and access is retained by Member States, through the Committee on NGOs. The Secretariat clearly has a conflict of interest in deciding on the rights of journalists, especially in cases where the journalist has been critical of the Secretariat’s performance.
I request that you, as the President of the General Assembly, the decision-making organ of the United Nations:
1) Immediately rescind the Secretariat’s ultra vires, fundamentally flawed, retaliatory, corrupt, unethical decisions to withdraw my status as a ‘resident’ UN journalist and ban from the UN premises – these unilateral decisions are tainted by clear conflict of interest;
2) Immediately reinstate me as a ‘resident’ UN accredited journalist and restore all of my access rights (consistent with the UN Media Guidelines), including to a suitable office in the UN premises, specifically S-303A which is barely used, by one who has asked no questions in a decade and barely came in, and to remove the taint;
3) Ensure that UN senior officials, including in the Department of Safety and Security, Department of Public Information, and the Spokesperson and Deputy Spokesperson desist from taking any further retaliatory actions against me. 
4) Failing that I request that you immediately lift the immunity of the Secretary General, as he holds responsibility as the ‘Chief Administrative Officer’ of the Secretariat for my physical ejection from the UN premises on 4 July 2018, detailed in the attached complaint to the NYC police, so that the NYC police may investigate my complaint.
Further, I urge you to put measures in place to ensure that the Secretariat acts with integrity, independence and impartiality, and that it upholds the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including on freedom of expression, to ensure that the injustice I have suffered is not repeated.
I believe that my reinstatement as a ‘resident’ journalist with full restoration of my access rights and office would be in the best interests of the organization and consistent with the wishes of Member States, many of whom continue to express strong concerns about my situation and more generally about the retaliation against journalists and whistleblowers.  I note your statement on World Press Freedom Day (3 May 2018)11:
“When journalists are silenced, people suffer. And when journalists are free to do their work, people are given tools that can help guide them to decent lives on a sustainable planet.
And, journalists are also crucial to what we do here – at the United Nations. They bring our work outside these halls. They communicate with people we sometimes cannot. They hold us to account, and call us to action.
So, on this day and all days, let us reassure journalists that they can count on us.
Let us recommit: to protect them, to include them, and to respect the role that they play both inside and outside these walls.”
The credibility of the UN will be further eroded if it continues to retaliate against and crackdown on a journalist for exposing wrongdoing and unethical behavior. 
The foregoing is sent without prejudice and under reservation of all rights.
Matthew Russell Lee



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