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As "Combating Nazism" Opposed by US, Ukraine & Canada, Quiet at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 22 -- Which meetings, votes and issues does today's UN promote, and which does it not?

  On November 21 while the UN sent many press handlers to the Security Council meeting about Ebola, down in the UN basement there was a vote on a resolution on "Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." The resolution text is here.

  A recorded vote was called for, and only three countries voted "No" -- the United States, Canada and Ukraine. Germany, notably, abstained. In the UN Meetings Coverage press release about November 21 session, the issue and vote was given a single sentence.

  Up in front of the Security Council covering the Ebola meeting, Inner City Press tried to monitor the Third Committee on UN Webcast. But the meeting wasn't listed on the side panel of the UN Webcast screen -- as if it were not taking place. And among Western wire services, which wrote multiple stories about other Third Committee votes, it went unreported.

  This is a trend at the UN.

 On November 19, Inner City Press asked at the day's UN noon briefing about a mis-translation. The next day, the office of the spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly replied:

"Dear Matthew, Following up on your questions at the press briefing yesterday, here are some elements.Regarding the translation incident, you may refer to an error of interpretation of the statement of the Representative of the Russian Federation. The error was promptly noted by the Secretary who asked the representative to repeat his position."

 Back on October 21, Ukraine was scheduled to speak at the UN about its “Committee on Information," but as UN speeches usually go longer than allowed, its turn was postponed until October 22.

That didn't stop the “UN Radio” Russian service from reporting breathlessly on the speech on October 21 as if it had in fact been given that day. As translated, UN Radio on October 21 reported

The representative of Ukraine accused Russia of using the information strategy of the Cold War

One of the main prerequisites of violence in Ukraine became a propaganda information. This was stated by the representative of the Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, speaking at a meeting of the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly.”

  The UN's Fourth Committee did meet on October 21 - but Ukraine didn't speak. Instead it was the first speaker on the afternoon of October 22. Its speech, delivered in perfect French including the word “rigolo,” linked Russia to Joseph Goebbels.

  In reply, the Russian mission's spokesman brought up the recent Human Rights Watch report of the Ukrainian government using cluster bombs in and against Donetsk, and the lack of clarity on who called the snipers shots in Maidan Square.

  Later in the Fourth Committee meeting, Bolivia slammed “powers” who use information technology to intervene and violate privacy, bringing to mind USAID's “Cuban Twitter” and, of course, the NSA.

  Then Jordan said it was first among Arab nations to enact an Access to Information law, in 2007. The Free UN Coalition for Access has been pressing for a Freedom of Information Act at the UN, click here and here for that.

  FUNCA covers the Fourth Committee, including on Decolonization, and the Committee on Information, where at least theoretically the UN's descent into censorship could be raised and resolved. The old UN Correspondents Association, a part of this trend toward privatization of briefings and even censorship -- ordering Press articles off the Internet, getting leaked copies of their complaints to the UN's MALU banned from Google's search, here -- was nowhere to be seen. We'll have more on this.


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