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Exposed as Trolls, UNCA Scribes, AFP, Reuters & CBS Keep On, Tie to UK, Ban's Shabiha?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 9 -- On a night when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon blithely gave a speech in honor of UN Ambassador Samantha Power, while purporting to be an honest broker between parties on Syria, the group now known as Ban's shabiha resumed their anonymous social media trolling.

  Earlier today, Ban's insider journalists' campaign to impersonate the @InnerCityPress twitter feed, named one of two "Twitterati 100" covering the UN by Foreign Policy magazine, was exposed in MediaBistro's FishBowlNY.

  The reporter there saw the documentary evidence of Reuter's Lou Charbonneau and AFP's Tim Witcher having tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, joining Voice of America according to VOA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. VOA here, Reuters here, AFP here.

  But beyond a bogus anonymous comment on the story calling Inner City Press is "pro Syria, pro Rwanda and anti French," later on Monday another of the UNCA-linked troll accounts started up again.

  It was strange: earlier on Monday UNCA's clearly outgunned 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS had sent all UNCA members a desparate e-mail presenting herself and unnamed Executive Committee members as the victim, when they have been responsible for the trolling since February 2013.

  Rather than try to reign in her those who actually run UNCA, or who seemingly work more directly with the UN, Falk send that e-mail and let them continue. This ill-serves her own members.

  So did the faux "UN briefing" she and some on the UNCA board sponsored by Saudi supported Syria rebel boss Jarba. It was publicized only to those who pay money to UNCA. There was no right to reply. But it was called a "UN briefing."

  UNCA through its Executive Committee is decidedly one-sided and, at least as some see it, unprofessional. They give gifts (and documents, in the case of Reuters) to those they are supposed to cover. Last week, UNCA bigwigs gave a tie to departing UK Deputy Permanent Representative Parham, he thanked them and some notable others.

  Parham is a fine guy: but is this appropriate?

  UNCA gave a tie to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesman on his way INTO the job. An UNCA past president made campaign contributions to candidates ostensibly being covered. The current president for 2013, Pamela Falk, openly tweets at Western ambassadors: look! Look at the positive coverage I am giving!

  When Inner City Press asked, at a UN noon briefing, for a description of the UN's relationship with UNCA and details about the Jarba briefing, no answer was provided. It's that the UN uses UNCA or its Executive Committee. In 2012 this involved UNCA Executive Committee members from Voice of America, Reuters and AFP trying to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  In that campaign, Reuters Lou Charbonneau gave the UN's Stephane Dujarric an anti-Press internal UNCA document, three minutes after promising not to. Story here, audio here, document here.

Reuters' & UNCA's Charbonneau hand to Ban

And now, this new campaign: the counterfeiting of Inner City Press' twitter feed, just after it was named one of two "Twitterati 100" covering the UN (no UNCA member was named) by Foreign Policy magazine, by so far two fake social media accounts, targeted for example at Parham's boss Mark Lyall Grant, as Australian Ambassador (and Security Council president for September) Gary Quinlan.

Ban's UNCA Lunch of the Lost, Feb 7, 2013, credit Evan Schneider, UNPhoto. From left: OSSG's Del Buey; Denis Fitzgerald of Saudi Press Agency; OSSG's Nesirky; Melissa Kent of CBC; Sylviane Zehil of L'Orient le Jour; Tim Witcher of AFP; Ali Barada of An-Nahar; Ban Ki-moon, Kahraman Halicelik of Turkish Radio & TV; Pamela S. Falk of CBS; Lou Charbonneau of Reuters; Bouchra Benyoussef of Maghreb Arab Press; Yasuomi Sawa of Kyodo News; Masood Haider of Dawn; Unknown; Zhenqiu Gu of Xinhua; Stephane Dujarric of UN DPI

  It's nasty -- a Syria style tactic, you might say. Some, not without irony, see in UNCA's Executive Committee Ban Ki-moon's shabiha. Watch this site.


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