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Resources updated between Monday, September 04, 2017 and Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 8, 2017

September 7, 2017

United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva

The U.N. Human Rights Council has an election coming up in October, which can mean only one thing: A new slate of human rights abusers are poised to be elected to the U.N.'s top human rights body.

The council already currently includes such human rights luminaries as: China, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. They will be joined-at minimum-by the notorious Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola.

The election of these new states-both ranked by Freedom House in the lowest possible category of human rights protection ("not free")-is a done deal because of a deliberate U.N. process. Each of the five U.N. regional groups are allowed to put forward fixed slates, whereby the number of states running is equal to the number of seats that the regional group has been allotted. The result is a guaranteed spot. Angola and the DRC are part of the African regional group's fixed slate.

In addition, the Asian regional group is offering voters (the 193 member states of the General Assembly) a lose-lose proposition. The five states running for the four available seats in the Asian group are Afghanistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Qatar. Therefore, we know for certain that one of the two human rights paragons Afghanistan or Qatar-both ranked "not free" by Freedom House-will be elected.

The U.N. system is rigged to allow human rights abusers to sit in judgement about what counts as human rights abuse, and who's to blame, because there are no pre-conditions for membership on the council. There are no requirements that would entail actually protecting human rights. The only requisite is getting a minimum of 97 votes, a majority of members of the General Assembly.Since fewer than half of U.N. members are themselves fully free democracies, mutual back-scratching is the name of the game.

The U.N. procedure does ask candidates to promise to behave, through what it calls a pledging system. In practice, many states are elected without even producing a pledge. The pledges that are received from the worst of the worst are shameless. For this year's forthcoming elections, for instance Afghanistan, Angola, and Qatar are among those who have submitted pledges.

Qatar's pledge includes: "The promotion and protection of human rights is one of the policy pillars of the State of Qatar." It claims to have "a constitutional and legislative system that embodies the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and respects and protects everyone." It says "the state of Qatar ... respects freedom of expression and judicial independence."

More accurately, according to the latest State Department human rights report on Qatar: "The principal human rights problems were the inability of citizens to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections. ... The monarch-appointed government prohibited organized political parties and restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. ... Legal, institutional, and cultural discrimination against women limited their participation in society."

Afghanistan's pledge, produced as a slick 16-page color production that is short on words but has lots of color photos of dancing children, smiling women and flying birds, provides this assurance: "since 2001, Afghanistan has moved towards the progressive realization of human rights values and principles."

In fact, as the State Department
reports: "The most significant human rights problems were ... torture and abuse of detainees by government forces; widespread disregard for the rule of law and little accountability for those who committed human rights abuses; and targeted violence and endemic societal discrimination against women and girls."

Angola pledges it is "fulfilling its commitments to advancing human rights, consistent with its constitutional provisions, which broadly embrace the values and principles of democracy and ... fundamental freedoms."

The people of Angola might beg to disagree, that is, if they could get out of prison. As the State Department reports: "The three most important human rights abuses were cruel, excessive, and degrading punishment, including reported cases of torture and beatings; limits on freedoms of assembly, association, speech, and press; and official corruption and impunity."

The real question to be asked, however, is not why states that abuse human rights lie, feign interest in human rights protection, or want to legitimize their regimes via the U.N. Human Rights Council. The question is why the world's leading democracy, the United States, is willing to sit side-by-side with these countries as equals and effectively serve as their legitimizer.

The Trump administration took over membership on the Council after President Obama obtained a three-year term for the United States that began on Jan. 1, 2017. Joining the Human Rights Council was one of Obama's very first foreign policy decisions and the U.S. belonged for two terms from 2009 to 2015, when U.N. rules mandated a one-year hiatus. By running for a third term commencing just weeks before a new administration was due to take office, Obama fully intended to rule from the grave.

In light of the inevitability of the U.N.'s top "human rights" body empowering human rights offenders, the Bush administration refused to join the council, period. With this first Human Rights Council election since he came to office, President Trump has been handed the opportunity-and the responsibility-to resign, effective immediately.

Look Who Will Be Joining the U.N. Human Rights Council Article

Then UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) (left) being handed a Palestinian scarf by Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour (right) at the 2016 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Official UN Palestinian Committee Plots Anti-Israel Activities in General Assembly Development

September 6, 2017

Though North Korea's Kim Jong Un is grabbing headlines, the nuclear weapons evil facing the United States has multiple horns and available responses. Undoing the harm done by the Iran nuclear deal needs to share the top of the agenda.

In mid-October President Trump will bump up against a "certification" deadline imposed by the Iran Nuclear Agreements Review Act. The prompt was intended to ensure a much closer look at Iranian behavior and the Iran nuclear deal known as the "JCPOA."

Instead of sloughing off a threat that makes Hurricane Harvey look like an overflowing bathtub, this oversight duty must be taken far more seriously.

Obama's JCPOA is trumpeted primarily for one alleged achievement: it bought us time. In reality, it did precisely the opposite. It bought Iran time. Instead of ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran on our terms and our timetable, Americans paid to give Iran time to hone missile delivery systems (Obama omitted from the deal) and get itself to the brink of acquiring a nuclear weapon before the JCPOA's terrifying hourglass runs out.

On August 3, 2017 Iranian President Rouhani said Iran will be able to start enriching uranium to 20% in the Fordo facility in only five days, and reactivate the reactor in Arak because cement was never poured into its core. His remarks were repeated on August 22, 2017 by the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi.

The Iran deal was exceptional for one other characteristic: it claims to put vital aspects of U.S. national security in the hands of non-Americans, the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and our negotiation partners China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Iran.

After all, President Obama went to the Security Council to adopt the Iran deal formally, and purportedly bind the United States in international law, before he took the deal to Congress. The complex regime for reinstating the sanctions that Obama tore up is intended to put American foreign relations in serious jeopardy should we calculate the necessities of our well-being deviate from the calculations of others.

President Trump and Congress need to exercise their constitutional responsibility to move the center of gravity back where it belongs.

In August, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (and Fox News contributor) publicly provided the administration with options.

In July Senators Cotton, Cruz, Perdue and Rubio called for "a sober accounting of Iran's JCPOA violations as well as the regime's aggressive and destabilizing behavior."

So where is it?

A third rubber stamp of what candidate Trump called the "worst deal ever" is indefensible. Outsourcing our national security to the U.N. is not a plan.

The IAEA has so far produced six reports on Iran's implementation of the JCPOA. The agency has been careful to indicate, however, its reports are limited by "the modalities set out in the JCPOA."

Moreover, in late August U.N. Ambassador Haley pointed to "military sites" and "undeclared sites" which the IAEA had not asked to inspect and to which, therefore, it had not been denied access.

Even IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in March that he has no idea how many years it will take to conclude that Iran has no undeclared nuclear material and activities because "it depends very much on the level of cooperation from Iran." As recently as August 29, 2017, Iran's government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht unilaterally declared military sites off limits.

Step back and recall where Obama left off with "certifying" Iran's good behavior. In November and December 2015 the IAEA issued its final pre-JCPOA reports and found: "...the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities." Obama responded by simply shutting down any further investigation of Iran's pre-JCPOA activities.

So now, as then, we still don't know what we don't know.

What we do know is that the IAEA had already specifically itemized, in 2011 and 2015, Iranian "activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device..." and "specific to nuclear weapons."

And we also know that the pre-JCPOA certification scam consisted of Iran self-reporting. It reads, for instance: "Iran will provide to the Agency [IAEA] photos...Iran will provide to the Agency videos...Iran will provide to the Agency seven environmental samples..."

Moreover, the JCPOA continues to give Iran far more than it does the United States and its allies, since it granted for the first time an Iranian right to enrich uranium, and legitimized a regime that had correctly been an international pariah.

The windfall that Obama gave the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and close North Korean collaborator, via the JCPOA is a sunk cost. This Congress and this president have no excuses to continue sailing the American people into a storm from which they will never recover.

Trump must confront Iran (not just North Korea) as he tackles the nuclear threat Article

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, September 5, 2017

U.N. envoy Haley makes case for U.S. to potentially pull away from Iran nuclear deal Article

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein

The U.N.'s human rights leader doesn't allow his own staff freedom of speech Article

September 5, 2017

Police in Charlottesville, Virginia

The UN's Glass-House Syndrome Article

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Knesset members outraged at UN funding legal aid for terrorists Article

Prime Minister Netanyahu, left, with President Putin, Russia, August 23, 2017

Russia Threatened to Veto anti-Hezbollah Move Led by Israel and U.S. at UN Article

September 4, 2017

UN headquarters in New York

"An upcoming 'blacklist' of major international companies with business ties to Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem represents yet another attempt by anti-Israel actors in the United Nations to single out and demonize the world's only Jewish state, experts say.

The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had voted to approve the database of businesses last year, defying objections from the U.S. and Israel. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein submitted a draft of the blacklist to the countries where the businesses are based. He is expected to receive a response from those nations by Sept. 1, and the UNHRC will publish the database by the end of this year.

American firms on the list include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline and Airbnb, The Washington Post reported.

'[The blacklist] is the latest incarnation of the decades-long Arab boycott and yet another singling out of Israel by the U.N. Because Israel, the Jewish state, alone is singled out, the intent and impact is anti-Semitic,' Anne Herzberg, a U.N. expert and the legal advisor for the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor watchdog group, told

Similarly, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon described the list as 'an expression of modern anti-Semitism reminiscent of dark periods in history.'...

The blacklist also 'serves to undermine the credibility of the UNHRC in specific and to further taint the U.N. in general,' Hatuel-Radoshitzky said...

Herzberg said that while it does not appear Guterres is in favor of the of the blacklist, it might be impossible for him to stop its release.

'Due to the U.N. bureaucracy and the dominance of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, it would be difficult if not impossible for the secretary-general to halt the process,' she said.

According to Herzberg, such reports are often compiled by a 'narrow sector' of political activists and NGOs, many who are linked to terror groups and the BDS movement.

'Many U.N. officials were formerly employed by these partisan organizations and harbor extreme anti-Israel views,' she said..."

Upcoming UN 'Blacklist' of Companies Tied to Israel Invokes anti-Semitism Article