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UN Declares War in Congo Via Official Left Nameless by AFP, Reuters & BBC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 26 -- Should UN officials be allowed to declare war anonymously?

  Today Reuters from the UN in New York runs a quote that "'It is not simply peacekeeping, this is peace enforcement. It's a much more robust stance,' said the official, who declined to be named."

  Why did Reuters accept this request for anonymity from a UN official on a concept -- "peace enforcement" -- that not all UN member states, particularly troop contributing countries, have agreed to?

  BBC has the same blind quotes, without explaining or even mentioning that the UN official declined to be named.

   Agence France Presse goes further, or lower, allowing a "second UN official" to also go unnamed.

  After the UN failed in the Democratic Republic of Congo to protect civilians first in Goma then in Minova, where the DRC Army raped at least 126 women in late November 2012, a reserve spin war began.

  UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer Press questions about the Minova rapes, instead taking favored and compliant media out into the hall for a private briefing. Video here. These media included Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Voice of America.

  Now it's gotten worse. On January 25, 2013 AFP, Reuters and the BBC at the UN allowed an "unnamed UN official" to essentially declare war in the Congo.

  Why grant anonymity? Is this a whistleblower? Or a failing UN official?

 On the media, what are the policies on granting anonymity in cases like this for Reuters editors like Stephen J. Adler, Walden Siew, and Paul Ingrassia, for Agence France Presse, for BBC?

  In terms of the UN, isn't this "inter-governmental organization" owned and supposedly by its member states? Many of them, particularly troop contributing countries, have not agreed to Ladsous' "peace enforcement" push, nor in the C-34 committee on peacekeeping have they signed off on his proposal to use drones.

  But Ladsous, Inner City Press yesterday reported, ran a procurement for drones from November 28, 2012 to January 11, 2013, before he had any approval at all. Another UN official in the mix is Susana Malcorra, sent to the region as the Personal Envoy of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. But Malcorra promised to be more transparent, after defending the UN's blacking out of material about war crimes. We'll see.

  What right do high UN official have to declare war anonymously? And why do AFP, Reuters and the BBC serve as pass throughs in this way?

  Of note in this is the role of the decaying UN Correspondents Association. When Ladsous became the last minute replacement for Jerome Bonnafont as France's official to succeed their own Alain Le Roy atop UN Peacekeeping and Inner City Press reported it, AFP's Tim Witcher launched a process in UNCA to "take action" against Inner City Press.

  He, the BBC reporter and Reuters are all on the Executive Committee on UNCA, two elected without any competition after their terms expired.

  Ultimately he and Louis Charbonneau of Reuters supported Voice of America's June 20, 2012 request to the UN that Inner City Press accreditation be "reviewed."

  This led the New York Civil Liberties Union to ask public questions about due process for independent journalists at the UN, questions that the UN has yet to answer.

  Then in December 2012 when Ladsous went so far as to have his spokesman seize the UNTV microphone so Inner City Press could not ask Ladsous a question about the now 126 rapes in Minova by the UN's partners in the Congolese Army, UNCA did nothing. Video here.

  UN official Stephane Dujarric claims he told Ladsous' spokesman not to do it again -- but never told anyone until a January 17 meeting when he and another UN official, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal (we name officials) were Pressed by the new Free UN Coalition for Access on the UN's further decline in transparency.

  But now this UN machinery and its servile press allow a UN official to declare war anonymously. A new low has been reached. Could they go lower? Watch this site.

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