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White "UN" Copters Fly Over M23, How Will Reuters & VOA Report Complaint?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 -- As the French-led UN Security Council trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo begins today, the M23 militia have complained of white-painted helicopters flying surveillance flights over territory assigned to them under a deal reached in Kampala.

  M23 has announced that since the UN Mission MONUSCO says these flights are not theirs, M23 will in the future shoot at such helicopters or "engines of death."

  France was allowed to hand-pick the media accompanying the trip on the UN plane. Inner City Press went on such Council trips in 2010 and 2008, but this time France rejected Inner City Press' request -- made through the Office of the Spokesperson of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon since it is, after all, a UN and not French plane.

  Hand-picked by France to cover the trip, dubbed the Genocide Joyride given France's history of supporting the 1994 genocidaires and their escape into Eastern Congo, are Reuters and Voice of America, and a procedural Council reporter.

  So how will VOA and Reuters report what M23 says? Voice of America, just before the trip, ran an interview by DRC spokesperson Mende. VOA's type up of the interview called the FDLR a "Hutu militia group," when Mende said "Rwandese."

  Back in July, VOA's Scott Stearns asked the US State Department -- whose John Kerry is on VOA's Broadcasting Board of Governors -- a planted question about Rwanda supporting M23.

  This came at the same time as the Obama administration was bragging about support it is giving to rebels in Syria -- but VOA did not make this connection. Reuters' coverage of DRC and the UN is even more one-sided; Reuters has seen fit even to spy for the UN, and not explain it. Click here for that.

Now that the trip is been made public not only by MONUSCO but the UN in New York, here is the itinerary (and rejection) they sent out:

Dear Colleagues,

Below is the information regarding the upcoming Security Council trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia at the beginning of October.

If you are interested in participating, please RSVP directly to the Spokesperson's Office of the Secretary-General, Jerome Bernard by NOON, New York time, this Friday, September 20th...

The Security Council plans to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia at the beginning of October.

To help with planning for any such visit, the Spokesperson's Office asks UN correspondents to advise the Office whether they are interested in travelling on such a trip...

As usual, the Spokesperson's Office reserves the right to request pooling or to limit the number of places.

NOTE: The Spokesperson Martin Nesirky subsequently on camera admitted that the decision on who would go was made by the lead mission for the trip: France. This was sent to Inner City Press:

From: Jerome Bernard [at]
Date: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Security Council trip to Africa
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress [dot] com
Cc: Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info

Hi Matthew,

I am sorry but because of the very limited number of seats in the UN plane it won't be possible for you to travel with the Security Council for this trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

I am sure there will be other opportunities for travel in the future.

Best regards,

Jerome Bernard
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

  Jerome Bernard, who will be accompanying the trip apparently hand-picked by France (we note that he previously worked at Agence France Presse, on one of the management boards of which Ladsous served) will supposed tell reporters who France did not want on the trip what is happening. Right.

  When Inner City Press began to ask Nesirky about the incongruity of the UN allowing colonial powerhouse France to not only run UN Peacekeeping for more than a dozen years but also to hand-pick which journalists can cover its work, on a UN plane, Nesirky said others were not interested in Inner City Press' "travel arrangements or lack" thereof.  Video here

  We will however be reporting on this Genocide Joyride. The first leg, according to multiple non-UN sources, is Brussels (echoes of Leopold's Ghost?) on October 3 and 4, then to Kinshasa and Goma. But how will it be reported on? Watch this site.

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