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UN of Guterres Censors Press for Corruption and Cameroon Lawless Ban of Inner City Press A New Low

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT CEFC Video

UNITED NATIONS GATE, April 17 – How lawless is the United Nations of Secretary General Antonio Guterres? In the midst of Inner City Press' questioning in 2018 about Guterres' links to now convicted UN bribery Patrick Ho's China Energy Fund Committee and Guterres' failures on Cameroon and elsewhere, his UN Security twice roughed up Inner City Press on June 22 and July 3, 2018.

Then after Inner City Press filed a New York Police Department complaint against the UN and its Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, none of its written questions to UN Security chief Peter Drennen and Guterres were answered. There are no due process rights for journalists in the UN of Guterres. On April 15, a year minus a day since the UN accredited Inner City Press on 16 April 2018, Inner City Press submitted a formal application and letter for re-accreditation, including in light of the guilty verdict and sentencing against Patrick Ho of CEFC (video here), financial links to which Guterres has failed to disclose and has for 287 days sought to censor to conceal.

On the morning of April 17, without any reasoning or explanation, this: "Greetings Matthew LEE from ICP     INNER CITY PRESS,  Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M66561081, has been declined." Just as there was no hearing, no action on assault by UN DSS Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, and not appeals process, no reasons. Absolute lawless corruption.

The letter was sent to Guterres, his USG Alison Smale and her "personal assistant" Alison Corbet, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti and her staffer Eihab Omaish, his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and her chief of staff Nelson Muffuh, as well as to PGA Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, her chief of staff  Kwabena Oseidanquah, her spokesperson Monica Grayley and staffers Nadia Kalb and Raquel Martins and others still to be named  along with a simple request for confirmation of receipt. Even this they had not done, a full 38 hours later. From what's been submitted: "A year ago on 16 April 2018 I was re-accredited to enter and cover the United Nations, as for many years before. Then I asked more and more questions about the Patrick Ho / CEFC China Energy UN bribery scandal, about the Secretary General, about Cameroon - and on 22 June 2018 I was pushed out of the UN Visitors Lobby while other non-resident correspondents remained there.    On 3 July 2018 as I covered the UN Budget Committee meetings as I have for years, I was physically roughed up by UN DSS Lt Ronald Dobbins and another who refused to give his name. On July 5 I was told I could not enter the UN and this remains the case, with no hearing and no appeal.     Now just less than a year since I was accredited, before the above and other facts of record, I am submitting this formal application for accreditation which you grant to correspondents who report far less, and far less critically, on the UN than Inner City Press.    It is particularly imperative that Inner City Press be allowed to enter and attend the noon briefing as hundreds of my questions have gone unanswered despite USG Smale's assurance to UNSR David Kaye, and Spokesman Dujarric's on camera assurance.    

This request is submitted in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision limiting the impunity of international organization such as the UN, see JAMS v IFC, and in light of recent decision that for example the City of New York cannot strip a journalist's accreditation without a hearing and due process, discovery and disclosure.   

Beyond the hundreds of articles covering the UN since the arbitrary ouster of 3 July 2018, for the record:  March 29, 2019, Hong Kong TV documentary on Patrick Ho CEFC, Inner City Press in front of UN and SDNY  

April 3, 2019, Serbia's Espreso, "US journalist Metju Li [Matthew Lee] on a corruption scandal," etc; it is supplemented by a more than 6,533 signature petition that my resident correspondent accreditation and Inner City Press' long time shared office S-303 be immediately restored... While noting that the UN accreditation guidelines state "online media may include news outlets, blogs, vlogs and others," we and the Free UN Coalition for Access reiterate and will be advocating for greater access by new and social media, including for the UN to belatedly define what it means by "wire service." See also, on the need for a UN FOIA, this. It is also imperative that the UN institute due process protections, and content neutral accreditation rules, for journalists. But for now, this is a demand for the same access I have had to cover the UN and as state media with many fewer articles and questions have from your Office, and to restore my resident correspondent accreditation, and S303, forthwith, during this month you are handing such status to some (including as is relevant in S-303, Inner City Press' work-space) who rarely come in, publish little and ask no questions at all.  Thank you.  Sincerely,  Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press Past (and future?) Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017."

  How has the UN become so corrupt? Take for example the 18 March 2019 UN Photo with this caption: "Secretary-General António Guterres (centre right) poses for a group photo with the Executive Committee of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA).  First row from left to right: Betul Yuruk (Anadolu Agency); Giampaolo Pioli (Quotidiano Nazionale); Edith Lederer (Associated Press); Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet; Valeria Robecco (ANSA News Agency), UNCA President; Mr. Guterres; Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications; Maria Khrenova (TASS News Agency); Seana Magee (Kyodo News); and Oscar Bolanos (OMB News).   Second row from left to right: Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General; Sherwin Bryce-Pease (SABC South Africa); Farnaz Fassihi (Wall Street Journal); Widad Franco (NHK Japan Broadcasting); Melissa Kent (CBC/Radio-Canada); Nabil Abi Saab (Al Hurra TV); Luke Vargas (Talk Media News); Carole Landry (Agence France Presse); and Erol Avdovic (Webpublicapress)." We'll have more on this.

   For years Guterres received money as a board member of the Calouste Galbenkian Foundation, which despite its name is the 100% owner of Partex Oil and Gas. Partex has operations in Angola, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Oman and Portugal. It was to a Portuguese court that Guterres, while justifying no listing some of his income, disclosed in 2016 that he was paid at least € 2735 per month for his position with the Gulbenkian Foundation.

   But while a now deleted Foundation web page (archived here) stated that Guterres continued with Gulbenkian into 2018, Guterres did not list it on his most recent, and so far lone, UN Public Financial Disclosure, which covered 2016 ("Disclosing financial and other interests for the 2016 reporting year").

  So why did Guterres disclose his position with the Club of Madrid, but not with the Gulbenkian Foundation / Partex Oil and Gas?  Inner City Press has a right to re-enter and pursue these questions.


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