UNITED NATIONS, October 11 – The UN maintains a secret list of people banned from entering its premises. Even the Security officers who enforce the ban are not told the reason why a person is on the list: whether it was for actual violence, or writing articles questioning the Secretary General Antonio Guterres' misuse of public funds, for example.
Guterres or apparently his head of Global Communications Alison Smale, if only as a proxy, can put a journalist on the list without any review, any notice, any appeal. It is a dictator's dream come true.
Inner City Press was physically ousted twice by Guterres' UN Security this summer as it reported on his now-15 flights to his home in Lisbon with public funds, his trading away of Cameroon human rights abuses for favors in the Budget Committee, and now his son Pedro's undisclosed business links in Africa. Smale on August 17, without once speaking to me covering the UN for Inner City Press for 11 years, withdrew my media accreditation.
But it's gone further than that. For example, on October 11 I showed up for a film screening about sex trafficking, “Love Sonia,” to which I had been invited by the UN Office of Drugs and Crimes. UNODC's New York director personally put me on the list for a post screening reception and came and met me and took me to the UN gate to sign me in, since my ticket - which she said she'd seen - mysteriously disappeared.
UN Security refused to allow the NY director of UNODC to sign me in. “Even if he had a ticket we'd have to check,” one officer said. I was told that a supervisor would come out, and that UNODC would speak to them. But after one hour it never happened. Guterres' chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti left the building and I audibly told her, I'm invited but I'm being blocked. She did not even break stride.
The UN has given me nothing in writing that I am banned. Guterres' spokesman has stated it as a fact, without explanation or rationale, on October 9 and 11, while refusing to answer my e-mailed questions despite Smale's promise they would be answered to supposedly respect my "journalistic endeavours."
Another UN Security officer told me, No one is going to help you. You are on the list. I asked him, who else is on the list? He mentioned “demonstrators” and others. And yet Guterres thinks he can ban people without no notice, no due process, no review? This is disgusting. Watch this site.