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Syria Presser Said “Hosted” by UNCA, Censored Financial Qs It Now Asks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- In a Syria elections briefing at the UN on June 18, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was twice declared to be the “elephant in the room.” Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari said ISIL “is the outcome of the American and British invasion of Iraq,” supported by “Saudi Arabia and... Turkish intelligence.”

  He is not alone in this. Iraq's President Maliki, whose re-election the US did not protest as it did Bashar Assad's, has said Saudi Arabia is supporting “genocide.” The US State Department spokesperson on June 17 called this “offensive.”

  Ja'afari recounted how he is now restricted to within 25 miles of Columbus Circle in New York City; Syria's embassy in Washington sits vacant and Syrians in the United States could not vote in the election.

Ja'afari moderated a panel of five Americans who had gone to Syria for the elections. The first question, which Reuters demanded in the name of the UN Correspondents Association after getting another attendee removed from the front row, was who funded these observers' trip to Syria. (Because the UN without explaining sets aside the first question for UNCA, its UN Censorship Alliance, in the resulting unclarity Ja'afari said the June 18 press conference was “hosted” by UNCA.)

  It's a good question -- but when Inner City Press reported on a financial relationship between UNCA's president and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, UNCA's executive board demanded that the article be removed from the Internet.

 When Inner City Press refused censorship, UNCA executive committee members tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN. After exposing this using the Freedom of Information Act, Inner City Press co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

  As the second to last question, Inner City Press thanked the panelists for a briefing more interesting than most at the UN, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, then asked for comparison to the election in Ukraine.

  One panelist noted an 80% to 90% turn-out for referenda in Donetsk and Luhansk. Then it was announced that the briefing had to end, for the UN noon briefing. Others said that the UN's webcast had not worked well during the briefing - this is after UN Television in the past turned off before Ja'afari spoke in reply in the General Assembly. The UN's Censorship Alliance - this is how it works at the UN. Watch this site.


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