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Amid US-Russia Deal on Syria, UN's Whining Is High Pitched, BanKi-Leaks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- Amid complaints about the Syria deal the US and Russia cut in Geneva, the UN's whining can only be heard, like a dog whistle, by a trained ear.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tried hard to be relevant. He held press conference at headquarters, which has been increasingly rare for him. So what if he only took two or five questions? He got television face time.

  And US President Barack Obama in his prime time speech did finally get around to mentioning the UN, near the end of his speech. No mention of Ban Ki-moon, though: this was noticed.

  On Friday Ban got TV face time for comments in a "closed" meeting of the Women's International Forum, that his report, held back until Monday, will be "overwhelming" in showing the use of "chemical agents."

  Ban went on that Assad has committed many crimes against humanity and will face accountability. Click here for Inner City Press story, here for YouTube video.

  Some call it BanKi-leaks.

   But in terms of UN relevance, even Ban's gun jumping came too late. Whatever the report says, this deal has been cut. Perhaps Ban will say that his eleven hour leaking of the report helped bring Russia and Syria to the table. But that would be a weak claim, like the claim his UN didn't bring the cholera to Haiti.

  Even on the humanitarian front, on which certainly some good work is being done, the UN went out of its way not to confirm much less complain about threats to aid workers by extremist rebels, such as by ISIS in Jarabulus. When Inner City Press asked, it was disclosed that 11 UN staffers have been killed and others are still held hostage -- then no more information was given. Will it, now?

Look at what the UN dropped, in it race for relevance on Syria: in the Central African Republic, in one example reported by Inner City Press, slaughter and mayhem went on throughout the month of August with little to know UN action.

 Okay the Security Council's failure to pass a resolution was due to French diplomats being on vacation, and taking the Council's pen with them. (The country holding the pen on a Council agenda item are charged with drafting resolutions and statements.)

  Ban insisted he had not seen Ake Sellstrom's report and would have nothing to say until he did. Then he jumped the gun and told the Women's International Forum the report will be "overwhelming." (Lady's man, one wag commented.) But it came too late.

  How will Kerry's deal with Lavrov, and the UN's too-late role, be reviewed by non-Administration sources in Washington? How will those who waited for Obama -- or Obomber as some took to calling him -- for deliver a big blow react now? From the real world, we'll have more on this.

Footnote: The UN with little transparency gives a big room on the third floor, just above the Security Council, to a group called the UN Correspondents Association. It does not represent all resident correspondents at the UN.  It represents less then ten percent of the reporters who will cover the upcoming General Assembly, and is allowed or used by some in the UN to stealthy attack critical journalists.

But it has its functions: under 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS and first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, UNCA used the given room to hold a faux "UN briefing" for the Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba. The UN never clarified, despite requests from the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info, whether this was somehow a "UN briefing."

 Will they now sponsor and amplify Jarba's complaints or just move on to the next... project? Watch this site.


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