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Now UN Says Video of Syria Rebels' Chemical Weapons Use Went to Sellstrom
By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- The day after video footage depicting Syria rebels' use of chemical weapons was described dismissively to Inner City Press by UN official Angela Kane, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky insisted it had nonetheless been given to prober Ake Sellstrom.

Then, despite Kane's comments being in the UN briefing room after her colleague said to ask her any pressing questions, Nesirky reproached Inner City Press for recording without telling Kane. Is that necessary, in a press briefing room? From the UN's June 4 transcript:

Inner City Press: your office on May 23rd said that information provided by the journalist Anastasia Popova had been received by the High Representative, and was being converted into a usable format and being sent to Mr. Sellström. And then, yesterday, speaking to Ms. [Angela] Kane, she said there was some problems with the material, that it was much shorter than she thought it would be, it seemed to me that it hadn’t been given to Mr. Sellström. Do you, are you aware whether it has been or not and is there a way to find out whether, and if not, why not?

Spokesperson Nesirky: There is a way to find out, Matthew; the footage of alleged chemical weapons use that was provided by Anastasia Popova has been passed on to the head of the mission, Mr. Åke Sellström. And, as I have said, he continues to conduct the mission’s work outside of Syria, and to analyse all information made available to it.

Question: Her colleague who was with her yesterday said that they tried, but technically it wasn’t feasible; maybe they, that he just mean he couldn’t, they couldn’t make it as good as they--

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, maybe you could go back and look at the footage that you’ve recorded on camera without actually telling Ms. Kane. What’s your next question?

Inner City Press: ...Sure, I do have another question. But since you brought this filming thing, I just wanna make it clear, it took place here in the briefing room, and I was told that, if you have a pressing question, ask her; so, I, I don’t think there was any, should be any surprise that you might be filmed in the briefing room answering a question.

So why is the UN so defensive?

Inner City Press on June 3 asked Kane about the footage provided by Russian state TV reporter Anastasia Popova. Video here and embedded below.

  Kane said "it's like two seconds each picture." The UN official with her added, "we tried to make it as documentary... we never managed, technically."

Inner City Press cited back to the UN's May 23 statement. Kane said, "I had nothing to do with the response." She added that Sellstrom, Ban's chemical weapons prober, has "received a number" of submissions.

 Her colleague said Popova's was "dozens of very short clips."

Back on April 30 at the Russian Mission to the UN, Popova, told Inner City Press that while she had information about the use of chemical weapons in Al-Asal, the UN panel headed by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro had declined to look at it.

  Inner City Press wrote the story, and on May 1 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ban's prober Ake Sellstrom would be willing to look at Popova's evidence. Yes, Nesirky said, to the surprise of some. And those some were again circling on June 4. Watch this site.

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