August 9, 2022

In UN sell-0ut, Barclays pays for praise as Guterres restricts press for Periscope, Ng Echo

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By Matthew Russell Lee, From Inner City Press

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 – Days after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres closed protection security ordered Inner City Press to stop live-streaming on Periscope during a photo opportunity in which Guterres conveyed his “very, very warm regards” to Egypt’s censoring strongman Sisi, it has emerged that Sisi had journalists arrested for “filming without a license”.

Corruption and its cover up occur in both places. Inner City Press, while covering the UN bribery scandal of Macau based business man Ng Lap Seng was evicted by the UN and restricted still.

Now on March 5 the Mission of Bangladesh, whose previous Ambassador was shown at Ng Lap Seng’s trial to have been in league with the scheme to procure a false UN General Assembly resolution for Ng’s Macau conference center, has an event about “partnership,” with banks as sponsors including Barclays Bank. Here’s Inner City Press’ most recent reporting / filing on Barclays nd its “the Applications of Barclays PLC and Barclays US Holdings Ltd., organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands to acquire Barclays Bank.

It is noteworthy that on the very final day of the comment period of this Barclays Bank Cayman Islands application, the Federal Reserve has announced “The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced that it is seeking to permanently bar Peter Little, the former head of the foreign exchange (FX) spot desk at Barclays Bank PLC in New York, from employment in the banking industry and to impose a $487,500 fine on him. Little is alleged to have engaged in unsafe and unsound practices by using electronic chat rooms to coordinate with traders at competitor banks to influence FX pricing benchmarks and by engaging in manipulative trading. Little is also alleged to have failed to adequately supervise subordinate traders at Barclays who coordinated with and disclosed confidential information to competitors on Little’s behalf.”

Those problems are about the institution, which is here applying to interpose a Cayman Islands subsidiary. Is this to evade taxes? To evade disclosure? Barclays is associated with using tax havens to avoid taxes: for example in Ireland paying a mere 2%, versus a statutory rate of 12%. The compliance – or “managerial resources” – problems at Barclays go right to the top: Barclays’ Jes Staley had to apologize for trying to unmask a whistleblower. For the record, there’s also this, attempt to collect debt not owed… In fact, the whole operation is in question, militating for hearings: “The U.K. Serious Fraud Office’s charges against Barclays, “in theory at least, put the bank’s entire existence at risk: if it is found guilty its license could be revoked,” the Wall Street Journal says. That’s because the charges, stemming from the bank’s secret emergency fundraising from Qatari investors during the crisis of 2008, were made against the bank’s operating company, which holds its banking license, not its holding company. That’s an important distinction.'”

Barclays stands to gain de-regulation in the stealth provisions of S.2155 pending in Washington. And Barclays has paid to be celebrated inside the UN on March 5. This as Guterres and his “Global Communicator” have purported to award investigative Inner City Press’ long time UN work space to no-show Sisi media Akbhar al Yom, whose long retired UN correspondent Sanaa Youssef has not asked a question at the UN in a decade. In Egypt, reporter Mai El-Sabagh and cameraman Ahmad Mustafa, of website Raseef22, were arrested in Alexandria on February 28. Police in the city’s al-Attarin neighborhood arrested the journalists for allegedly filming without a license.

They were reporting a story about a tram. Reportedly, they are also under investigation for possessing “photographic tools.” Sisi and Guterres – warm regards indeed – but no photographs!

Inner City Press was told that a basis of its now two years of restrictions and censorship in the UN is its use of Periscope. It is a position that the UN has been unwilling to put in writing, despite requests from September 2017 through January 2018, because it is so clearly retaliatory. But Inner City Press was told that its live-streaming, from the 38th floor to the third floor from which it was evicted, is not appreciated by UN officials who themselves rarely use, and don’t understand, new media.

The UN cannot admit that it is for critical coverage of Guterres, failing for example on Cameroon, or his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed with her rosewood signature scandal, that it remains evicted and restricted. So they point to a new technology, live-stream video on Periscope, for which the UN has not promulgated any rules. Before streaming from the third floor, Inner City Press explicitly asked the Department of Public Information to provide an escort or minder and was told it was not necessary. Those in the chain at DPI include Hua Jiang and Darren Farrant, who don’t tweet much less Periscope, and Alison Smale whose last tweet was about Chechnya, a week ago, during a Security Council meeting about Syria. This the blind censoring those who see and want others to see what is happening in the UN. But today’s UN wants the Press to self-censor in order to be treated the same as no-show no-question media like Sisi’s Akhbar al Yom’s Sanaa Youssef, awarded Inner City Press’ office and letting it sit empty.

Inner City Press has conveyed its ongoing willingness to discuss rules about broadcasts, rules about media access – but it will no longer access targeted censorship favoring no-show sycophants. On February 28 when Guterres met Egypt’s new Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees on February 28, Inner City Press went through the UN’s tourist entrance and then UN Security on the 37th floor to cover it. Still, before Guterres expressed his warm regards for Sisi, who is arresting all opponents, the UN Security officer who has already checked Inner City Press’ microphone told it it could not record audio. This is censorship, and it is ongoing – they have not answered a petition with thousands of signatures. Meanwhile Guterres and his Global Communicator Alison Smale have purported to assign Inner City Press’ long time UN work space to Sisi’s no show state media, Sanaa Youssef of Akhbar al Yom. We’ll have more on this.

Six days before when Guterres met Ecuador’s Vice President María Alejandra Vicuña on February 22 it was supposed to be at 11:50 am. But another Inner City Press arrived half an hour before, by the time it was allowed in at 11:44 am the meeting was already underway. There was no handshake, and the Press was quickly ushered out. With Guterres was a single UN staffer: Katrin Hett. On the elevator down from the 38th floor, UN Department of Political Affairs deputy Miroslav Jenca was just arriving, and UN Photo missed the shot again. This is a pattern. The evening before on February 21 when Guterres met Cote d’Ivoire foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh on February 21, Guterres changed the time twice. First from 5 pm to 6:40 pm – for this, notice was provided – and then without notice moving it up to 6:34 pm such that both the Ivorian photographer and even UN Photo missed it.

It seems Guterres is only interested in accommodating those who can help him – he has been happy, for example, to have the investigative Press restricted for his entire tenure, with no explanation of what the rules are. No show state media in, investigative press, through the tourist entrance, minders required.

This is “Big Tony’s” United Nations, do as I say, not as I do. Big shots are getting over with sexual harassment, while directives go to underlings. The Global Communicator Alison Smale, censor in chief, is involved. At the February 21, restricted Inner City Press was the only media which asked any questions, on Justin Forsyth multiple abuser, now at UNICEF, about mis-statements about immunity in India, another no-answer on Tanzania. The only media asking, and the only media restricted by Guterres and Smale. We’ll have more on this. Amon-Tanoh, by the way, spoke well in the Security Council, before having the time(s) changed. Present on the UN side were Katrin Hett and Khassim Diagne, who’s said Paul Biya is doing a good job in Cameroon – when Biya’s been in Geneva for four and a half years, cumulatively. We’ll have more on this.

IMAGE: Matthew Russell Lee

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