Resources updated between Monday, April 22, 2013 and Sunday, April 28, 2013
April 26, 2013
China was elected to the Executive Board of the UN Children's Fund. The State Department report on China and human rights includes: "The government restricted the rights of parents to choose the number of children they have...[I]ntense pressure to meet birth-limitation targets set by government regulations resulted in instances of local family-planning officials' using physical coercion to meet government goals. Such practices included the mandatory use of birth control and the abortion of unauthorized pregnancies. In the case of families that already had two children, one parent was often pressured to undergo sterilization."
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was elected to the UN Commission on Social Development for a four-year term. Here's the State Department latest report on social development in the DRC. "The three most important human rights issues were...sexual- and gender-based violence; the lack of an independent and effective judiciary; and impunity throughout the country for many serious abuses, including unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrests and detention. Other major human rights problems included the following: severe and life-threatening conditions in prison and detention facilities; prolonged pretrial detention; arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home;...abusing, threatening, and obstructing journalists, human rights advocates...widespread official corruption;...recruitment of child soldiers; and use of forced civilian labor. Societal discrimination and abuse...enslavement of Pygmies; trafficking in persons; child labor; and lack of protection of workers' rights were also problems...[I]mpunity for human rights abuses remained a severe problem in the security services. Authorities did not prosecute or punish the great majority of abusers."
Tajikistan has been elected to the UN's top women's rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women. Here's what the latest US state department report has to say about women in Tajikstan, the newest UN role model and decision-maker on the rights of women. "Violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a widespread problem. The Swiss Development Corporation reported in 2011 domestic violence occurred in 62 percent of homes...[T]he corporation estimated the domestic violence rate against women might be as high as 76 percent factoring in all regions. Women underreported violence against them due to fear of reprisals or inadequate response by the police and judiciary, resulting in virtual impunity for the perpetrators. Authorities wishing to promote traditional gender roles widely dismissed domestic violence as a "family matter." Women and girls were even more vulnerable to domestic violence because of early and unregistered marriages." And here's more: "10 percent of men practiced polygamy. Many of these polygamous marriages involved underage brides."
April 25, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry seems to believe that Iranian elections are just like American ones. In fact, he would describe them as "normal." At least, that's what he told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last Thursday in his first Senate hearing since his confirmation. Here's Kerry: Iranians " are two months away from an election. The election is on June 14th and every bit of evidence we have - this very week or next week they declare who their candidates are - and there is an enormous amount of jockeying going on with the obvious normal struggle for attention between hard-liners and people who might want to make an agreement etc. We all know what life is like here in the Senate six months from a presidential election, so you can imagine what it's like there two months from theirs. And so I think this is a moment for us to be a little patient." According to Kerry, therefore, the struggle between "hard-liners" - the folks who want to annihilate the Jewish state and continue to be the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism - and the "people who might want to make an agreement" - might being the operative word, given that pro-Western Iranians are not permitted to be candidates at all - is just "normal" democratic give and take. Equally disturbing, is that Iranian election time is understood by the Obama administration as a time for patience, rather than a time to encourage and support dissent. A repeat of June 2009, when the President watched Iranians yearning for freedom die in the streets. The frightening new normal.
On July 7, 2011, U.S. UN Ambassador to Geneva, Eileen Donahoe, issued a statement on Richard Falk - the UN "expert" who thinks Boston had it coming: "Mr. Falk's continued comments and postings to his personal blog are deeply offensive, and I condemn them in the strongest terms. I am registering a strong protest with the UN on behalf of the United States. The United States has often been critical of Mr. Falk's approach to his mandate, including his one-sided and politicized view of situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. We hope that he will resign, recognizing that his continued status as a UN mandate holder is a blight on the UN system." What happened next? Richard Falk continued on as UN "expert." Falk produced a report for the UN Human Rights Council in May 2012, presented his report to the Council in June 2012, wrote another report for the General Assembly in September 2012, and presented his report to the General Assembly in October 2012. The Obama administration paid 22% of all his costs. On October 25, 2012, US UN Ambassador Susan Rice issued a press statement saying "Throughout his tenure as Special Rapporteur, Mr. Falk has been highly biased and made offensive statements, including outrageous comments on the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Falk's... continued service in the role of a UN Special Rapporteur is deeply regrettable and only damages the credibility of the UN." Then what happened? Richard Falk stayed on as UN Special Rapporteur, and the Obama administration paid 22% of his bills. Now it's April 23, 2013, and Susan Rice tweets: "Outraged by Richard Falk's highly offensive Boston comments. Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN. Past time for him to go." And the U.S. UN Mission issues yet another statement: "The United States completely rejects the provocative and offensive commentary by Mr. Richard Falk....regarding the recent terrorist attack in Boston, Massachusetts. The United States has previously called for Mr. Falk's resignation for his numerous outrageous statements, and these comments underscore once more the absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur." Do you see a pattern here?
UN "Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East." And the headline of the resulting UN Press Release read as follows: "With Syrian crisis threatening entire Middle East, UN official urges Israeli-Palestinian progress." The UN logic: Syrians are dying in the tens of thousands, and therefore, Israel must act. Whatever horror Arabs are perpetrating on each other, Israel is somehow responsible. The press release details the non-sequiter this way: "With a "grim" tragedy unfolding in Syria, the United Nations Political Chief told the Security Council today that at this moment of increased risk across the entire Middle East, rapid action was needed not only to address the impact of that crisis, but also to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front." The facts are exactly the reverse. Syrians aren't dying & MidEast risk isn't increasing because of what Israel has or hasn't done. It's because of what the UN has or hasn't done. While Arab dictators have pillaged their own countries for decades, a UN obsessed with demonizing Israel has been otherwise occupied.
April 24, 2013
Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, told delegates to the UN Committee on Information that he was very happy to have received their "new ideas." That was after he heard 24 mentions of the word Palestine, multiple praises for the UN Department's Palestine Section, Egypt and Lebanon condemn various (alleged) Israeli horrors, and Cuba denounce U.S. "aggressions." The subject of the meeting, by the way, was the free flow of information. In the enlightening exchange, Iran said it was very committed to freedom of speech and information flow; Cuba said there was no free speech in the United States. Lebanon said it was deeply committed to "lively social debate" (assuming it wasn't on Hezbollah holding its population as human shields.) China was a bit more straight forward, telling fellow UN members that "objective information" was its priority. Similarly, Venezuela thought a free press meeting was a good time to insist: "Media could potentially become harmful instrument."
April 23, 2013
UN "expert" Richard Falk - appointed by the UN Human Rights Council - says that Boston had it coming. Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, Falk spends his time responding to speaking invitations, collecting awards from around the country, spouting antisemitism, and supporting 9/11 conspiracy theories. To the likes of Falk, the real victim is the terrorist, not Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, Martin Richard, and Officer Sean Collier. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has become a lead champion of the UN Human Rights Council. The State Department has approached the experience of belonging to the Council as a game of whack-a-mole. When the unimpeded election of Colonel Gadhafi's Libya to the Council finally became too embarrassing, they had Libya temporarily "suspended." When the permanent bash-Israel agenda item of the Council comes up three times a year they sit mute, and send assistant secretaries of state to Jewish events across the country assuring the community they feel their pain. When Iran wanted a Council seat, they traded the country for a seat on the UN's top women's rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women. The question is what are they going to whack now? Richard Falk is emboldened by a UN "human rights" Council that is emboldened by the participation and support of the world's leading democracy. It is time to put an end to America's support for the Council now.
UN Human Rights Council "expert" Richard Falk has published a statement (in foreignpolicyjournal.com) saying Bostonians got what they deserved. He quotes W.H. Auden to make his point: "to whom evil is done/do evil in return." Richard Falk is the UN's "Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967." He has held the post since 2008, despite exposure as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. In his latest rant, Falk repeats the libel that pre 9/11 President Bush was seeking a "pretext" for war. And then he attacks Bostonians head-on. The police action in Boston was a "hysterical dragnet." Boston's dead were "canaries" that "have to die" because of America's "fantasy of global domination." Falk explains the attacks as justifiable "resistance." In his words: "The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world." He minimizes the crime and predicts worse if America doesn't change its ways to better accommodate the demands of "the Islamic world." Falk has been encouraged and protected in his UN perch by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, who hold the balance of power at the Human Rights Council. The Obama administration has been a major champion of the UN's top "human rights" body, with Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer even calling it "esteemed" at the most recent session in March. There is nothing about a "human rights" body that countenances the likes of Richard Falk which is "esteemed" and the United States should resign effective immediately.
Another "deserving" UN authority figure. The UN Committee on Information has elected Oman, represented by Ambassador Lyutha Sultan al-Mughairy, to serve as its Chairperson. The Committee is supposed to be concerned, among other things, with "the free circulation...of information." But here is just some of what the newly-released state department human rights report says about Oman. "The sultan has sole authority to enact laws through royal decree...The principal human rights problems were the inability of citizens to change their government, limits on freedom of speech...The government monitored private communications, including cell phone, e-mail, and Internet chat room exchanges...[I]t is illegal to insult any public official...The media generally does not operate freely...The government used libel laws and national security concerns as grounds to suppress criticism of government figures and politically objectionable views. Libel was a criminal offense, and the government strictly enforced laws with heavy fines and prison sentences. The government also prohibited publication of any material that "violated the security of the state."...Some books were not permitted in the country...The law restricts free speech via the Internet, and the government enforced the restrictions...Authorities monitored the activities of telecommunications service providers and obliged them to block access to numerous Web sites...All video-chat technologies, such as Skype, are illegal...The law details crimes that take place on the Internet, which "might prejudice public order or religious values"...Authorities have also applied the law against bloggers and social media users...The government limited academic freedom, particularly the publication or discussion of controversial matters such as domestic politics, through the threat of dismissal."
Zambia has been elected Vice-Chair of UN Committee on Information. Here is part of what the recently-released state department report on human rights has to say about Zambia. " The government was sensitive to opposition and other criticism and was quick to prosecute critics using the legal pretext that they had incited public disorder...Journalists were occasionally subjected to physical attack, harassment, and intimidation from progovernment and opposition political activists... Libel laws were used to suppress free speech and the press...[T]he government frequently threatened to deregister critical online publications and blogs."
The meeting of the UN Committee on Information got off to a roaring start. The new chair from Oman Chair told the committee that she wants the committee to have an excellent "exchange of views." Unfortunately, that's not what she values in her own backyard. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information highlighted their successful Palestinian journalists' training program (in how to slander). The G-77 states (130 countries) reinforced the message by instructing the UN that the "special information program on Palestine" was a priority. The UN staff was also proud of its new "UN Kids" program and children's tour of UN Headquarters - the brainwashing starts early. Cuba complained that UN press releases were "excessively long" - ie they don't want their lies reported. And our "ally" Pakistan contributed this to the UN Information Committee: "freedom of expression must not be abused."
The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met in Caracus, Venezuela on April 17 and 18 and manufactured a so-called "Caracus Declaration." The 1,500 word document, just published by the UN Department of Public Information, "solemnly declares" that Israel should be condemned for a long list of reasons, that the Palestinians deserve lots more cash from the international community, and that "liberation movements" in Palestine - aka terrorist organizations - are to be supported.
April 22, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry launched the latest edition of the State Department's Human Rights Reports. Euphemism was the order of the day. He talks about the "Arab awakening" - though more sleep, and less killing might be a good place to start. He also refers to "serious hurdles to sustainable democracy in Egypt." One vote didn't render Egypt a democracy - as Morsi's constitutional rewrite attests. And he says MidEast political structures are "outmoded." Dictatorships aren't out of fashion. They're wrong.
It's Earth Day and your taxpayers dollars are funding the following event at UN Headquarters in New York: "Panel discussion: "Discussions on different economic approaches, to further a more ethical basis for the relationship between humanity and the Earth." Let's start by adopting a universal definition of terrorism that directly contradicts the unethical proclivities of Islamic states and spells out that blowing up human beings in the name of self-determination is not "legitimate struggle." Mother Earth would counsel her children to ensure ethical relationships with each other.
Journal of the United Nations Development
According to the latest report on the annual activities of the UN's Department of Public Information, on the "Question of Palestine" (see paras. 35-38), the UN conducted a month-long training program for "young Palestinian journalists." During that time, it took them to the UN Annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - which is a re-hash every year as to why the creation of Israel is a catastrophe to be undone. It also took them to meetings of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People - created to implement the Zionism-is-racism resolution back in 1975 and still going strong. After making sure these young journalists were thoroughly educated in UN anti-Israel techniques, it introduced them to a host of new contacts, specifically "media industry leaders from Google, Twitter, Tumblr, the Huffington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters." And then the UN set their newly-trained attack dogs loose.
Report of the Secretary-General, A/AC.198/2013/2 Development
The UN is using its twitter account to push the Palestinian agenda, a new report reveals. A UN meeting on Monday will take up the Secretary-General's latest report on "Activities of the Department of Public Information: strategic communications services." The report says that the UN twitter account at the end of December had "1.2 million followers" and the "Twitter account is particularly popular on the following topics: human rights, combating racism, ending violence against women, access to water, the work of the Security Council, the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic and the question of Palestine." Interest is directly related to the amount of information the UN is conveying on a particular subject; evidently, UN obsession with "Palestine" and the distribution of a steady stream of information demonizing Israel is paying off in the social media world.
Report of the Secretary-General, A/AC.198/2013/2 Development
The UN "Committee on Information" starts its annual meeting today. Here's what they do according to their own website: "promote the establishment of a new, more just and more effective world information and communication order intended to strengthen peace and international understanding and based on the free circulation and wider and better-balanced dissemination of information and to make recommendations thereon to the General Assembly." Translation: undermine free speech, because the non-democratic majority at the United Nations will determine what counts as a "just world information order" and "better-balanced" dissemination. Members of the Committee on Information include disinformation expert, Iran.
General Assembly Committee on Information Development
The power of the United Nations today is amply demonstrated in a report being discussed this week on the "Activities of the Department of Public Information: news services." It says that the UN website had 17.2 million new visits and 29 million visits in 11 months of 2012. Furthermore, the UN "delivered video news stories six days a week through Associated Press Television to more than 1,000 broadcast points globally." According to the report "the coverage of the Assembly's vote on the status of Palestine held on 29 November 2012 received more than 118,000 video views from users in 174 countries and territories." (Here are the disturbing lowlights of that meeting.) The UN Youtube channel has a "cumulative total of video views exceeding 6 million." 18,000 images were added to the UN's photo database. 2.7 million views were registered by the UN photo site. In the last six months of last year, the UN produced 2,042 press releases. That's an average of 11 per day.
Report of the Secretary-General, A/AC.198/2013/3 Development