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With Syria Rebel Jarba at UN's Backdoor, Ban's Office Tells ICP "Ask UNCA"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- What is the backdoor through which the Syria rebels try to get into the United Nations during this General Debate week?

The answer is the UN Correspondents Association, which plans on September 25 to host a faux "UN briefing" by "President of the Syrian Coalition," the Saudi-sponsored figure Ahmad al-Jarba.

UNCA's Executive Committee, described by some in the UN as heavy with "Gulf and Western media" such as Reuters, CBS, Al Arabiya and Agence France Presse, previously sponsored Jarba in July, and called it a "UN briefing."

  Now, with no pretense of hearing from another side, or sponsoring any non Western backed rebels, they want to do it again.

Inner City Press on September 23 asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky's office to explain whether an event in UN Room S-310 with Jarba could properly be called a UN briefing.

Ban's spokesperson's office replied, "Your question on briefings in Room S-310: please direct your question to UNCA."

But UNCA has yet to explain, for example, documents Inner City Press obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act from Voice of America and others showing that its first vice president, Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, gave UN accreditation official Stephane Dujarric an anti-Press internal UNCA document three minutes after promising not to. Story here, audio here, document here.

  UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS, who sent out both Jarba invitations only to those who pay money to UNCA, has not explained the organization's role in, well, spying for the UN.

 Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info -- and, as the UN works, soon had its accreditation threatened with suspension or withdrawal for merely hanging a FUNCA sign on the door of its shared office, an elevator corridor away from "UN briefing" room S-310.

  Shouldn't the UN answer about the use of a UN room, one story above the Security Council, to host a "UN briefing" by a Saudi-sponsored rebel, the one now dubbed as "Jarbucks" or perhaps better as "JarBUNCA"?

Back on July 26, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: currently, there is a meeting in the North Lawn Building of the Syrian coalition with members of the Security Council. Ive seen, although it wasnt sent to me, a notice of a press conference in the UN building by the Syrian Coalition in room 310 of the United Nations, and I wanted you to describe what this press conference is. Is it a UN press conference? Is it only open to individuals who have paid money in order to attend it? And I saw one of the speakers described as the Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the United Nations, and I wanted to know, is there such a thing? Is there official representation to the United Nations by the Syrian opposition and on what basis does the UN give a large room to the UN Correspondents Association for meetings of this type, which they only promote to members that pay them money?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, Ill have to check on that, Matthew. I dont have the information with me, but well check on that and get back to you.

Inner City Press: Okay, Id really like an answer soon, before the meeting takes place would be ideal.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, were going to try.

Neither before the meeting nor as of this writing on September 23, despite repeated further requests, has any answer given by the UN. Watch this site.


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