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UNESCO Says US "Very Active" In Its Cultural Heritage Programs, FSA Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 5 -- Destruction of cultural heritage in Syria, as well as Iraq, Libya and Mali, was the topic of a UN briefing by UNESCO on February 5. Along with questioning if the Free Syrian Army is selling off the artifacts and about Ma'alula, Inner City Press asked if the US still participates with UNESCO despite the US law that cut off funding when Palestine joined UNESCO.

  Franscesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture, replied that yes, the US is "very active" He said "there are many ways," and said that since the US military has changed since the museum in Baghdad, "we can use them for training."

  He said, "they are not contributing directly to UNESCO at this stage but they are very active."

  On the Free Syrian Army selling antiquities, which was reported by Time magazine in 2012, Bandarin said "I'm not sure I can answer, these are rumors, difficult to check... Sometimes war are very disorderly, it can happen."

  It brought to mind the more recent stand-off in which while as Inner City Press first reported on January 29 the UN has found that the FSA recruits and uses child soldiers, and there is a US law against aid to child soldier recruiters, the US Mission did not answer and the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki simply today said the US does not support child soldier recruitment. OK - but how then support the FSA, given the UN finding?

  Inner City Press when first called on offered a generic thanks to Bandarin for his briefing. Then twenty minutes into the session a representative of the old United Nations Correspondents Association came in, and insisted on offering a "branded" thank you.

 Since UNCA "leaders" have tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN leading to the founding of the new Free UN Coalition for Access to actually defend the right to independent investigative journalism, Inner City Press then offered a thanks for FUNCA. As shown, it is UNCA which insists on putting its (censoring) brand on UN events -- and given the history, when it does, FUNCA follows suit. This is the UN.


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