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Amb Power with Mashable Is Mostly Syria, Nothing on Spying or DRC, Haiti

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- When US Ambassador Samantha Power spoke Sunday at the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y, one expected her to fill in the African holes in President Obama's speech and its run-up.

As Inner City Press reported on Friday, Obama adviser Ben Rhodes' summary of Obama's UN General Assembly speech had no Africa at all: just Syria, Israel-Palestine and Iran. Since so much of the UN's actual work is in Africa, that's where Power would come in, right?

  Not right. Friendly-interviewed for 20 minutes by Pete Cashmore of Mashable, Power's first three country-specific references were all to Syria. She is, as one wag put it, selling that soap. It's an important topic, sure. But there are other topics.

  Amazingly, Power didn't mention the deadly attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya, for which Al Shabaab has taken credit, yes, on Twitter. This is a UN issue: al Shabaab said the attack was for Kenya sending troops into Kismayo in Somalia, as part of the UN Security Council approved AMISOM mission.

  Beyond Syria, Power mentioned an anti-corruption program in India, then her advocacy to Cuba's foreign minister at a UN meeting. She didn't say: the meeting was on regional cooperation and many countries, especially from Latin America, criticized the US for the NSA's spying exposed by Edward Snowden. Another topic that did not come up.

  Power did mention Sri Lanka, saying that activists there say they like the UN Human Rights Council. She mentioned Zimbabwe twice, about really one incident: a Zimbabwean activist met with her earlier in the day, along with others from Egypt and Ukraine.

  She mentioned Haiti, how social media allowed people to know where others are buried. She did not mention: some of those buried were killed by cholera brought to Haiti by the UN. There will be a protest on that topic on September 26; information is available on the website of the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info.

  Power did not off-hand know her Twitter handle, leading to question: who is tweeting for her? Upstairs in the "Social Media Lounge" -- beyond Mashable, the event was sponsored by UN-fan UN Foundation, with Southwest Airlines and, strangely, Caterpillar also listed among the "Presented By" on the agenda -- tweets of #2030Now and blogs were flying.

But the Democratic Republic of the Congo wasn't mentioned once. And for the UN Security Council's upcoming trip there, in which Ambassador Power will presumably participate, it is France which is allowed to pick and block how it is covered. THAT is the UN, that is censorship. And what will Ambassador Power do, about the DRC and Rwanda? About the UN's impunity for bringing cholera to Haiti? Watch this site.


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