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In DRC, UN's Radio Okapi Asks France Why Not Sanction Rwanda, Spin

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- The UN has its own radio stations, as well as allowing colonial powerhouses (or veto-holders) like France to choose which correspondents get to cover UN trips.

  And so today, this: French Deputy Permanent Representative Alexis Lamek gave an "exclusive" interview to the UN's Radio Okapi. The Okapi questioner asked in essence since the UN and everybody knows Rwanda is behind the M23 rebels, why doesn't the Security Council sanction Rwanda? Here, from Minute 3:48.

  Lamek's answer to this question wasn't that the UN doesn't know this, but rather to brag about the UN/SADC Intervention Brigade, which so far has only attacked the M23.

  One might think that a UN radio station would also focus on the acts of the UN's own partners, for example the two Congolese Army units which, while given logistical support by the UN, committed 135 rapes in Minova in November 2012. But this was not asked; the place of this issue in the trip is unclear.

  How can the UN get better if it refuses to examine itself?

  In the spirit of propaganda, the UN Mission MONUSCO announced that it took the three French-picked scribes to see some of its good works: a "CPAD Quick Impact Project, Training of 50 Women in Kinshasa."

  While we wait to see any actual coverage of that, it must be noted that MONUSCO -- under Roger Meece, not new envoy Martin Kobler -- had a "Quick Impact Project" scandal involving badly planned grain mills rusting in the jungle, a failed attempt to make up for peacekeepers doing nothing as Congolese women were mass raped in Walikale.

  In a belated first tweet from among the French picked scribes, US state media Voice of America thanked MONUSCO's "Laure" for helping "one woman at a time." Fine. But at that rate, how to make up for the 135 women raped by the UN's partners in Minova last November?

  Certainly there is some good MONUSCO news too. But to censor coverage or analysis of things that don't go as well is one of the reasons the UN does not improve. It has been on the DRC for more than a decade, and its results are decidedly mixed.

Both sides of the debate agreed on this point at a session at the New York City Bar Association on conflict minerals held Thursday night, as the Security Council mission and its scribes flew off toward Brussels. ("Leopold's Ghost" even came up at the session.) Click here for Inner City Press' story about the conflict minerals session.

Will conflict minerals be an issue during this trip? Who will the Security Council met with in Goma? This has been asked, but not yet answered. Watch this site.

Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson Martin Nesirky on camera admitted that the decision on which media would be allowed to go on and cover the UNSC's Africa trip was made "in consultation" with the lead mission for the trip: France. Inner City Press YouTube channel video here:

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

Inner City Press was told that Bernard would be providing information from the trip. Then not. Watch this site.


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