Sweden’s UNSC Month Ends With Call To Be Frivolous on Cameroon and Ignoring Press Ban
6 months ago
By Matthew Russell Lee, Video I, II, CJR
UNITED NATIONS, July 31 – While Sweden has bragged about its month as president of the UN Security Council, there has been a grotesque dark side they have not acknowledged or addressed. Inner City Press on July 2 asked Ambassador Olof B. Skoog why the Council has not met about the worsening conflict in Anglophone Cameroon. Skoog cited to a previous closed door consultation with UNOWA chief Francois Longseny Fall – little to no leverage came out of that, and on July 31 Skoog said on Cameroon “we should be frivolous” to a briefing Inner City Press was banned from, see below – and to the luncheon with Secretary General Antonio Guterres on July 20. (Of that lunch, video here). But then after Guterres’ UN Security physically ousted Inner City Press from the UN on July 3 as it covered the UN Budget Committee meeting exactly as it has for years, and Guterres and his Global Communicator Alison Smale have banned Inner City Press 25 days and counting, Sweden did nothing. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II; UK Independent here. Not only was the Swedish Mission informed, in person at the UN Delegates Entrance and in writing — Skoog oversaw an Orwellian stakeout by Guterres’ West Africa envoy Mohammed Ibn Chambas after he had downplayed the “unrest” in the English speaking areas of Cameroon, a stakeout from which Inner City Press was banned by Guterres. Inner City Press e-mailed questions for Chambas to Skoof and his Deputy Carl Skau but none were asked. It was a fake-out at the stakeout: no other correspondent even bothered to ask a question. This was disgusting. So too the Press-less “end of presidency” press conference held on July 31. While none of those allowed in asked about Cameroon, Skoog himself brought it up, only to say “we should be frivolous” about it. Wouldn’t that be, MORE frivolous? Skoog hasn’t seen the UN’s disgusting data dump of new rape changes from a full day ago; he called on Al Jazeera on human rights, and a Reuters retiree. When a lone correspondent not in the in-crowd tried to ask a final (seventh) question, she got shouted down by Reuters. This is the UN then run – roguelike, to the point of having the Press roughed up and banned for critiquing it. We’ll have more on this. The Swedish Mission had committed as far back as June 22, when Guterres’ Security ousted Inner City Press for the first time during an Eid al Fitr speech by Guterres, to raise the matter to Alison Smale.(In fairness, Sweden’s spokesperson also wrote back to Inner City Press, here.) But nothing was done, even after the more violent July 3 outer and ban. Smale wrote to the Government Accountability Project that Inner City Press’ reporter was “uncivil” by saying loudly “I am a journalist!” while UN Security was twisting its arm; then Smale like Guterres and now spokesman Stephane Dujarric went on vacation, leaving Inner City Press int he street. From the bus stop in front of the Delegates Entrance it covered Sweden’s various Elements to the Press, from Lebanon and Syria to Myanmar. But it was a disappointing performance for Sweden, given its claims. The country’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven met and smiled with Guterres on July 6, right after Guterres had the Press roughed up and banned. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, a former UN official, has yet to do anything about this censorship. Ironically, Inner City Press early on July 3 asked Skoog about the Budget Committee and he referenced Cameroon’s Tommo Monthe, with whom Inner City Press had just spoken before UN Security grabbed its laptop, tore its shirt and twisted its arm. We’ll have more on this.