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On Nuland & Feltman, UN Tells ICP It Might Be a Third Jeff, Or Geoff Pyatt

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up

UNITED NATIONS, February 7 -- The leaked audio of the US State Department's Victoria Nuland about Ukraine, best known for her "f*ck the EU" comment, continues to reveal more and more regarding relations between the US Administration and the United Nations, at least former US official Jeffrey Feltman.

  In the clip, Nuland told US official Geoff Pyatt that Jeff Feltman "got Serry and Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry can come in Monday or Tuesday" to Ukraine.

  On February 7 Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if as described Jeff Feltman "got" Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to sent Serry to Ukraine. Video here and embedded below.

  While saying he would not comment on others' leaked conversations, Haq then told Inner City Press he (and presumably the UN) is not convinced Nuland was referring to Feltman or rather "another Jeff" (or Geoff).

  Inner City Press, after intervening questions trying in essence to bolster the UN's position, by the United Nations Correspondents Association president Pamela Falk of CBS who also praised Ban Ki-moon during the briefing, asked Haq if he was really positing a THIRD Jeff / Geoff who "gets" Ban Ki-moon to do things.  

   Earlier today Inner City Press reviewed how the Nuland leak was covered, by Reuters and (better) by Gawker.

   Reuters managed to not even MENTION Feltman in its long story about the leaked audio.

   Despite that, or because of it, UN spokesperson Haq gave the first, tone-setting question about the Nuland audio to Reuters' UN bureau chief.

  Gawker to its credit ran a transcript, but calls the apparently little known Feltman "Felton."

   Inner City Press first reported in March 2012 that Feltman would switch from being a US Assistant Secretary of State to UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs. The US essentially owns this UN position (US Lynn Pascoe was Feltman's predecessor), just as France owns UN Peacekeeping through Herve Ladsous and three other Frenchmen in a row before him. The UK for now has Humanitarian Affairs, twice in a row.)

  As Inner City Press first highlighted yesterday evening, at Minute 2:40 of the leaked audio Nuland says she spoke to Feltman and "he's now gotten both Serry and Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday" and "have the UN glue this thing, f*ck the EU." Listen here.

  Significant here, particularly given Feltman's previous position with the US government, is that Ban, ostensibly Feltman's boss, apparently didn't tell Feltman what to do. Rather, Feltman "got" Ban Ki-moon to agree to something that was pleasing to the US, to help the US "f*ck the EU."

   The Reuters piece is typical of its UN coverage, just as for example it delayed six days in reporting on a UN finding that the US (and UK and French) favored Free Syrian Army recruits and uses child soldiers, until the last Geneva Two talks were over. (Click here for that.) 

  Reuters UN bureau chief has even essentially spied for the UN, giving a UN media accreditation official an internal UN Correspondents Association anti Press document three minutes after promising not to.  Another Reuters filing to this same official has been banned from Google's Search after a cynical use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by the Reuters bureau chief. Click here for that, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's
   Gawker runs this transcript:

Nuland: I can't remember if I told you this or if I only told Washington this, but when I talked to Jeff Felton [the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy, Robert Serry. Did I write you that this morning?

Pyatt: Yeah, I saw that.

Nuland: Okay. He's now gotten both Serry and Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.

   Transcripts are the way to go - but by calling Feltman "Felton," the point about his previous position with the US State Department, in Syria then Lebanon then covering the whole Middle East may be lost.

  There is another Middle East connection, through Serry. On January 29, Inner City Press had asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm that the Ukraine trip of Robert Serry, who would seem to have a full time job as the UN's Middle East process coordinator:

Inner City Press: In the Ukraine, Iím not sure if I missed some announcement on your part that Robert Serry met with President [Yevgeny] Yanukovich and I wanted to know: is that the case? Whatís the UNísÖ why was it him, given his title? And whatís the UN seeking to accomplish?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: The Secretary-General asked Mr. Robert Serry to travel to Kiev on his behalf to convey the United Nationsí solidarity with Ukraine and to encourage dialogue. He will be in Ukraine from yesterday until Thursday, tomorrow. As for his past experience, he has worked in the Ukraine before. He continues to be the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. That hasnít changed.

  Haq confirmed the assignment -- now we know by whom -- and later Ban explained that Serry had been his native Netherlands' ambassador to Ukraine.

  Since Nuland says she'd spoken to Feltman that morning and he had a "new name" for Ukraine, one is left wondering who the first choice, perhaps by Ban or some other operative, had been.

  The US State Department and Mission, despite Inner City Press' written questions to the latter since January 30 for an explanation of how the US can support the Free Syrian Army now that it is named in the UN report Inner City Press first quoted on January 29 as a recruiter and user of child soldiers, has not answered, despite the terms of the US Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008.

  When Ambassador Samantha Power spoke about Syria at the UN on February 6, only two questions were taken: Al Jazeera and Al Hurra, on whose Broadcasting Board of Governors John Kerry serves.

  Nor has a simple question been answered about why the proposed replacement for UN Reform Ambassador Joe Torsella, Leslie Berger Kiernam, had her name "withdrawn." So we are less than confident that the US will explain the dynamic between the State Department and Feltman as reflect in Nuland's leaked audio. Perhaps the UN or Feltman -- or even Serry -- will explain. Watch this site.


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