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>Climate debt payments will go to world’s most corrupt countries

November 22, 2009 1 comment

>Ironically, if the United Nations has its way then there will be a massive wealth transfer from the light blue shaded countries to the dark blue as payment for so-called ‘climate debt’.

The Central Americans want money:

CENTRAL American nations will demand $US105 billion ($114.2 billion) from industrialised countries for damages caused by global warming, the region’s representatives say.

Central American environment ministers gathered in Guatemala overnight to discuss the so-called “ecological debt” owed to them and to set out a common position ahead of climate talks in Copenhagen next month.

Guatemalan environment minister Luis Ferrate said the $US105 billion ($114.2 billion) price tag was “an estimate” of the damage done by climate change across 16 sectors in Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

Ferrate minister said the region “had never faced” so much drought, aridity, flooding, and precarious food security.

A formal proposal will be presented in Denmark, officials said.

His Nicaraguan counterpart Juana Arguenal said that Central America would press industrialised countries to reach concrete decisions to reduce “greenhouse” gases at Copenhagen.

“We hope for a deal that is ethical and moral,” she said.

Why wouldn’t the Central American countries be asking for money from Brazil due to that country’s clearing of ‘the lungs of the earth’, The Amazon?

Thieves, the lot of them.

(Nothing Follows)

>Three blind IAEA watchdogs

July 5, 2009 1 comment

>Not content with appointing the unbelievably incompetent Hans Blix to head the IAEA and then following up with his even less competent but equally feckless successor Mohamed ElBaradei they’ve done it again and appointed Japan’s Yukiya Amano, a man whose first statement is that there’s no sign that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

The world’s top nuclear watchdog chose Japan’s Yukiya Amano as its next head on Thursday — and he touched on the devastation U.S. atom bombs wreaked on his country in pledging to do his utmost to prevent the spread of nuclear arms.

The decision by the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency board ended a tug of war on who should succeed Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who saw his agency vaulted into prominence during a high-profile 12-year tenure.

North Korea left the nonproliferation fold to develop a nuclear weapons program on ElBaradei’s watch and his agency later launched inconclusive probes on suspicions that those to nations were interested in developing nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei’s activist approach to his job often rankled with Washington — and it had a strong preference for Amano, seen by the U.S. as a technocrat amenable to pursuing a hard line on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

So how has that worked out for the US?

The incoming head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog said on Friday he did not see any hard evidence that Iran was trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear weapons.

“I don’t see any evidence in IAEA official documents about this,” Yukiya Amano told Reuters in his first direct comment on Iran’s nuclear program since his election, when asked whether he believed Iran was seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

There really must be something in the water at the UN. How is Ahmadinejad going to uphold his promise to wipe Israel off the map without nuclear weapons?

Current IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei told the BBC last month it was his “gut feeling” that Iran was seeking the ability to produce nuclear arms, if it desired, as an “insurance policy” against perceived threats from neighboring countries or the United States.

What a piece of crap ElBaradei really is.

He knows full well that Iran’s intentions are not to provide insurance against attack but to allow it to expand its influence in the region.

We seem to be living in an age where unserious people are calling the shots.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations

>The United Nations doesn’t live up to its own Global Compact

April 11, 2009 1 comment

>Here’s a post from a couple of years ago.

At this time of world turbulence what role will the UN play in helping stabilise things? Has anyone heard from them regarding the Somali pirate problem, for example?

I am beyond being shocked by the United Nations’ support for, and enablement of, international terrorism, dictatorial regimes, Third World corruption and human rights abuses while at the same time propounding the views outlined in its Global Compact.

The Global Compact’s ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption enjoy universal consensus and are derived from:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
  • The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
  • The United Nations Convention Against Corruption

The Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption:

Human Rights

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Straight off the bat, the UN demonstrates that it is profoundly anti-business. The left can’t see anything in other than a political context and therefore it can’t understand that business is, and must be, both apolitical and amoral. It is simply not the job of business to support human rights; it already has the two most morally important tasks that exist – the employment of people and generation of profits in order to deliver tax revenue to the state. It is up to individual governments to ensure that human rights abuses do not occur in their countries.

At this point the educated know-nothings posing as the left’s elite will bleat on about sweat shops and the like without admitting that workers in Third World sweatshops earned more than the average salary in their countries. When pressure came to bear on companies like Nike jobs were lost (from South America to China) and former workers were left with no income and no prospects. This is a clear example of what happens when the rubber of what appears to be a morally correct, compassionate position actually hits the road.

The greatest human rights abuses occur every day in Sudan, Somalia, Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba and, increasingly, Venezuela and other nascent South American dictatorships. None of these abuses, in which millions of people have been killed, tortured or imprisoned in the few years since the beginning of the new millennium have had anything to do with business. They are all down to corrupt regimes, religious intolerance and the predictable outcome of socialist policies.

How can business make an impact on the human rights abuses of Darfur? The violence of expansionist Islam? The gulag known as North Korea?

It can’t. Obviously.

Labour Standards

  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

These standards show how corrupted the UN has become in our lifetime by socialist doctrine. Twenty or thirty years ago it would have couched these policies in language that hid their true, socialist roots. Collective bargaining costs jobs. Simple as that. It costs tax revenue. It costs economic prosperity. The last thing business should be doing, if it is upholding its moral responsibility to employ people and generate profits, is supporting collective bargaining.

Cuba, North Korea, China etc etc all have forced and compulsory labour regimes yet the United Nations does nothing to deal with them. Furthermore, it propounds eliminating compulsory labour while at the same time advocating for business to compulsorily negotiate with labour organisations.

The issue of child labour is probably only in the list to pull at people’s heart strings, as it has been pretty effectively dealt with over the last couple of decades. Not to say it doesn’t go on at all, it does, but it’s hardly an endemic problem.

The UN and its supporters puts themselves in an awkward position when they attack Western Countries (and particularly the US) for having discriminatory employment regimes. The fact is that if a person is hired as a public servant, for example, then it doesn’t matter whether they’re black, white, yellow, Christian, Muslim, Jew, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat or think that Al Gore really cares for the environment – they are all paid exactly the same amount. The same goes for the left’s supposed bogeyman – big business – if you’re employed in a bank or a stockbroker or at Hewlett-Packard or at General Motors then you’re getting paid pretty much exactly the same regardless of your particular group. Is that how it works in the Middle East (Israel excepted)? In Africa? In South America?

Environment

  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

The ‘precautionary principal’ emanated from the environment movement and has as its fundamental position that unless a company can guarantee no harm will come from its products then they should not be allowed on the market. Of course, using this logic we wouldn’t have penicillin or antibiotics or antiseptics or a vast array of drugs and chemicals that have saved millions of lives while at the same time having adverse affects on a tiny percentage of the population. Also using this logic we shouldn’t drive, swim in the ocean, use herbal remedies or even exercise given the potential for fatal consequences. When an aeroplane crashes it’s a tragedy for those on board but the lessons learned save the lives of countless future travellers. We learn from our mistakes not by trying to avoid those we can only imagine.

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, as I’ve pointed out before, the scale of environmental catastrophe shocked even the regime’s most ardent critics. Free markets and private ownership have proven to be the most effective at protecting the environment because people have a financial incentive to ensure an ongoing supply of trees, for example, as distinct from the destruction of forests that takes place when governments pander to environmentalists and don’t do enough clearing to ensure fires don’t wreak massive damage, as happened in Canberra a few years ago.

What product is not more environmentally friendly now than twenty or thirty years ago? Cars certainly are. In order to match the massive fuel consumption of your average 1970 V8 you need to buy a dirty, great Hummer. Today’s V8s are more efficient – and thus better for the environment – than most four cylinder cars were back then. This didn’t happen through business consciously seeking to create more environmentally friendly cars but by competition to deliver cheaper to run products. Markets create efficiency, including environmental efficiency given a few decades to sort themselves out.

Anti-Corruption

  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

There is no more corrupt major institution than the United Nations, of which the Oil For Food scandal was just one example. If it’s going to lecture on corruption, extortion and bribery then it really needs to get its own house in order first. It turns a blind eye to rapes committed by its peacekeepers, actively supports the North Korean regime by giving it money allocated for aid and ensures a spotlight is not cast on people like Robert Mugabe for the destruction he has wrought to Zimbabwe. It is not for no reason that the United Nations was #1 in my 10 Institutions That Ruin The World list.

The major activities of the UN seem to be hand wringing while being ‘concerned’, ‘deeply concerned’ and ‘gravely concerned’.

This list of ten principles, if enforced, would immiserise more people by undoing the positive effects of globalisation while at the same time negatively impacting the environment.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations

>The United Nations – the world’s worst institution

January 12, 2009 4 comments

>In this time of conflict in the Middle East it’s timely to remind people of why the United Nations is my #1 institution that ruins the world. Originally posted in February 2007. How sad that the place is even worse now than then…

#1 – The United Nations

…And to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the United Nations in my number one institution that ruins the world. It’s not even close, either, the UN wins by further than Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.

The Preamble to the UN Charter states:

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

AND FOR THESE ENDS

  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS.

Now, if good people, earnest and strong in their belief to make a difference to the world, were to get together today to create a new organisation that actually does some good then you’d have to think that it wouldn’t have a much different set of goals than does the UN.

How has it come about that the UN is now such a hopelessly corrupt, racist and destructive institution? The short answer is that these traits are the end result of socialist ideology practised to their full extent. In that regard it is similar to the EU or USSR; power without accountability leads to totalitarian institutions.

In October 2006 the Heritage Foundation hosted a speech by Dr Nile Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre For Freedom, which provides some very succinct analysis of the decline of the UN.

Human Rights Failures

The United Nations has let down millions of the world’s weakest and most vulnerable people in Africa and the Balkans. The U.N.’s failure to prevent the slaughter of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 and the mass kill­ing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 are shameful episodes that will haunt the United Nations for generations.

There are echoes today of Bosnia and Rwanda in the killing fields of Darfur in the Sudan, a trag­edy that the U.N. initially refused to categorize as genocide. Over 200,000 people have lost their lives, many of them at the hands of the Janjaweed militias, backed by the Sudanese government. Sudan, a country with an appalling human rights track record, was an active member of the now-defunct U.N. Commission on Human Rights from 2002 to 2005. It used its membership to help block censure from the United Nations. Zimba­bwe, another African country with a horrific record of abusing the rights of its citizens, sat on the council from 2003 to 2005.

The commission reached its low point in 2003 when Libya was elected chairman with the backing of 33 members, with just three countries voting against. It was eventually replaced amidst much fanfare in 2006 by the new United Nations Human Rights Council. Unfortunately, the 47-seat body is not a significant improvement over its hugely dis­credited predecessor. The council’s lack of member­ship criteria renders it open to participation and manipulation by the world’s worst human rights abusers. Tyrannical regimes such as Burma, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe all voted in favor of establishing the council in the face of strong U.S. opposition. The brutal North Korean dictatorship also gave the council its ringing endorsement. When council elections were held in May, leading human rights abusers Algeria, China, Cuba, Paki­stan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were all elected.

The United States was right in its decision not to seek a seat on a council tainted by the odor of despo­tism and tyranny. While making every effort to push for reform within the U.N., the United States must seek the creation of a complementary human rights body outside of the U.N. system that would be com­posed solely of democratic states that adhere to the basic principles of individual liberty and freedom.

Who among you in the general population was aware that the UN Human Rights Council, and formerly the Commission, was run by the actual despots whose activities that it was meant to oversee? Makes it pretty easy to understand why nothing gets done in Africa, doesn’t it?

UNESCO and Hugo Chávez

The Human Rights Council is far from being the only U.N. body to serve as a platform for despots and dictators. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded its 2005 José Martí International Prize to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Cuban president Fidel Castro per­sonally handed the award to his leading imitator as an estimated 200,000 people in Revolution Plaza watched. The Martí prize is intended to recognize those who have contributed to the “struggle for lib­erty” in Latin America. Chávez is clearly not among this group, and the award was a major embarrass­ment to the United Nations, illustrating a long­standing lack of moral clarity within the world body on issues of individual freedom and liberty.

Founded after the Second World War, UNESCO was established “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world.”

What sort of organisation is it that recognises people like Chavez who drive their own people even further into poverty while strutting the world stage like a preening chicken? What sort of organisation is it that Chavez can turn up to a General Assembly and refer to the President of the United States as ‘the Devil’? Regardless what you think of people the UN is either a place of respect or it isn’t.

Peacekeeping Failures: The Congo Peacekeep­ing Scandal

The U.N.’s human rights failure has been compounded by a series of peacekeeping scan­dals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone. By far the worst instances of abuse have taken place in the Congo, the U.N.’s second largest peacekeeping mis­sion, with 16,000 peacekeepers.

In the Congo, acts of barbarism have been perpe­trated by United Nations peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world. Personnel from the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) stand accused of at least 150 major human rights violations. This is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg: The scale of the problem is likely to be far greater.

The crimes involve rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls across the country, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north­eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include U.N. military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France. The victims are defenseless refugees— many of them children—who have already been brutalized and terrorized by years of war and who looked to the U.N. for safety and protection.

The sexual abuse scandal in the Congo makes a mockery of the U.N.’s professed commitment to upholding basic human rights. U.N. peacekeepers and the civilian personnel who work with them should be symbols of the international community’s commitment to protecting the weak and innocent in times of war. The exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people in the world—refugees in a war-ravaged country—is a shameful episode and a massive betrayal of trust.

“…acts of barbarism have been perpe­trated by United Nations peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world.” Kofi Annan’s reponse? “Deep concern.” What is it with this guy and his varying levels of concern? No action but lots of concern, that’s for sure.

Corruption: The-Oil-for-Food Scandal

The scandal surrounding the U.N.-administered Oil-for-Food Program has also done immense damage to the world organization’s already shaky credibility. The Oil-for-Food scandal is undoubtedly the biggest scan­dal in the history of the United Nations and probably the largest financial fraud in modern times. It has shattered the illusion that the U.N. is the arbiter of moral authority in the international sphere.

Oil for Food became the hottest investigative issue on Capitol Hill in a generation. Investigators exam­ined huge amounts of evidence relating to corrup­tion, fraud, and bribery on an epic scale; French and Russian treachery; and the attempts of a brutal total­itarian regime to manipulate members of the U.N. Security Council.

Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food Program was subverted and manipu­lated by Saddam Hussein’s regime, allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials, to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam’s dictatorship was able to siphon off billions of dollars from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq—all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.

The 18-month, $34 million U.N.-appointed Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) documented a huge amount of evidence regarding manipulation of the $60 billion program by the Saddam Hussein regime with the complicity of more than 2,200 companies in 66 countries as well as a number of prominent international politicians. The three-member committee was chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The other two committee members were South African Justice Richard Goldstone and Swiss profes­sor of criminal law Mark Pieth.

According to the IIC’s report, “Oil surcharges were paid in connection with the contracts of 139 compa­nies and humanitarian kickbacks were paid in con­nection with the contracts of 2,253 companies.” Companies accused of paying kickbacks to the Iraqi regime include major global corporations such as DaimlerChrysler, Siemens, and Volvo. The Saddam Hussein regime received illicit income of $1.8 billion under the Oil-for-Food Program. $228.8 million was derived from the payment of surcharges in connec­tion with oil contracts. $1.55 billion came through kickbacks on humanitarian goods.

The 500-page report painted an ugly tableau of bribery, kickbacks, corruption, and fraud on a glo­bal scale. It amply demonstrates how the Iraqi dic­tator generously rewarded those who supported the lifting of U.N. sanctions on Iraq and who paid lip-service to his barbaric regime. Oil-for-Food became a shameless political charade through which Sadd­am Hussein attempted to manipulate decision-mak­ing at the U.N. Security Council by buying the support of influential figures in countries such as Russia and France.

The evidence presented was comprehensive, damning, and a wake-up call to those who naively believed that the Saddam Hussein regime could be trusted to comply with U.N. sanctions. Saddam’s multibillion-dollar fraud, carried out with the com­plicity of prominent political figures across Europe as well as thousands of international companies, was halted only by the liberation of Iraq by the Unit­ed States and Great Britain, in the face of deter­mined opposition by France and Russia. It is not difficult to see why powerful political interests in Paris and Moscow were so fundamentally opposed to a war that would open the archives of Baghdad to close scrutiny and subsequently cause huge politi­cal embarrassment.

The report should prompt widespread soul-searching within the United Nations, whose admin­istrators turned a blind eye to massive wrongdoing in a humanitarian program designed to help the weakest and most vulnerable in Iraq. The fact that the Baathist regime was able to get away with such a vast scandal under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats, and in some cases with their complicity, represents both spectacular incompetence and extremely poor leadership at the top of the world body.

The overall IIC investigation should not, though, be viewed as the final say on the Oil-for-Food scan­dal. It should be seen as an important but at times flawed and incomplete inquiry that left many ques­tions unanswered in relation to the role of senior U.N. officials, including Kofi Annan and his chief aide, Iqbal Riza.

According to the second interim report released by the Volcker Committee, Iqbal Riza, Kofi Annan’s chief of staff, authorized the shredding of thousands of U.N. documents between April and December 2004. Among these documents were the entire U.N. Chef de Cabinet chronological files for 1997, 1998, and 1999—many of which related to the Oil-for-Food Program. Riza approved this destruction just 10 days after he had personally written to the heads of nine U.N.-related agencies that administered the Oil-for-Food Program in Northern Iraq, requesting that they “take all necessary steps to collect, preserve and secure all files, records and documents…relating to the Oil-for-Food Programme.” The destruction con­tinued for more than seven months after the Secre­tary-General’s June 1, 2004, order to U.N. staff members “not to destroy or remove any documents related to the Oil-for-Food programme that are in their possession or under their control, and to not instruct or allow anyone else to destroy or remove such documents.”

Significantly, Kofi Annan announced the retire­ment of Mr. Riza on January 15, 2005—the same day that Riza notified the Volcker Committee that he had destroyed the documents. Riza was immedi­ately replaced by Mark Malloch Brown, Administra­tor of the U.N. Development Programme. Riza was chief of staff from 1997 to 2004, almost the entire period of the Oil-for-Food Program’s operation, and undoubtedly possessed intricate knowledge of the U.N.’s management of it. He was a long-time col­league of Kofi Annan and served as Annan’s deputy in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 1993 to 1996.

The destruction of highly sensitive documents by Iqbal Riza was an obstruction of justice that demands congressional investigation. It gave the impression of a major cover-up at the very heart of the United Nations and cast a dark cloud over the Secretary-General’s credibility. It projected an image of impunity, arrogance, and unaccountability on the part of the leadership of the United Nations.

The Volcker investigation may have ended, but several other major inquiries will continue to gain momentum and reveal new findings relating to the Oil-for-Food scandal. These include the leading investigations on Capitol Hill, led by the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in addition to the Department of Justice inquiry. It will be many months, even years, before the full extent of the corruption and mismanagement within the United Nations is completely exposed.

An unelected, undemocratic organisation with a questionable history of openness and integrity (do some research on former Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali; you’ll be shocked at what he got up to) is managing a multi-billion dollar program and people are surprised that it’s completely corrupt? The French and Russians were the most vocal opponents of taking real action against Iraq and it transpires that they were the countries with their snouts most firmly in the trough? The French really are the pits; they have long been the worst country in the world in terms of inflicting damage through unprincipled self interest.

Questions About the U.N. Tsunami Relief Effort

The Oil-for-Food Program is one of several U.N. operations to raise major concerns over trans­parency and accountability. The U.N.’s much-vaunted tsunami relief operation has also sparked doubts regarding the U.N.’s ability to manage a huge humanitarian project.

The tsunami disaster which struck large sec­tions of Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Afri­ca on December 26, 2004, claimed some 231,000 lives and displaced 2 million people. It prompted an outpouring of humanitarian help from around the world, with an estimated total of $13.6 billion in aid pledged, including $6.16 billion in govern­ment assistance, $2.3 billion from international financial institutions, and $5.1 billion from indi­viduals and companies.

The huge international relief effort was co-coor­dinated by the United Nations and involved an astonishing 39 U.N. agencies, from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

When the U.N. took over the tsunami relief oper­ation in early 2005, the world body pledged full transparency, in light of its disastrous handling of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program. The U.N.’s Under-Secre­tary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, boasted in an opinion editorial that “only the UN has the universal legitimacy, capacity, and credibility to lead in a truly global humanitarian emergency.”Egeland had earlier criticized the U.S. contribution to the tsunami relief effort as “stingy.”

An investigation by the Financial Times, however, raised serious questions regarding the U.N.’s han­dling of the tsunami relief effort, in particular the way in which it spent the first $590 million of its $1.1 billion disaster “flash appeal.” The appeal included nearly $50 million from the United States. The two-month FT inquiry revealed that “as much as a third of the money raised by the UN for its tsu­nami response was being swallowed up by salaries and administrative overheads.” In contrast, Oxfam, a British-based private charity, spent just 10 percent of the tsunami aid money it raised on administrative costs.

Unable to obtain figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the FT approached several U.N. agencies directly to establish exact numbers for tsunami relief expendi­ture. Many “declined or ignored” requests for infor­mation, while others offered incomplete data. The newspaper found that of the $49 million spent by the World Health Organization as part of the tsuna­mi appeal, 32 percent had been spent on “personnel costs, administrative overheads, or associated ‘mis­cellaneous’ costs.” At the World Food Program, 18 percent of the $215 million spent by the agency went toward “staff salaries, administrative over­heads and vehicles and equipment. The Financial Times concluded that:

A year after the tsunami, pledges of trans­parency and accountability for the UN’s ap­peal appear a long way from being realized. This is primarily blamed on dueling UN bu­reaucracies and accounting methods plus what in many cases appears to be institu­tional paranoia about disclosure.

Australia was second only to the United States in terms of its relief effort and had the highest per-capita contribution of all countries. People would be thrilled to bits to find that this bureaucratically bloated catastrophe of an organisation was spending one-third of all donations on itself.

Peacekeeping

The United States should call for a Security Coun­cil–backed, fully independent investigation into the MONUC abuse scandal, to cover all areas of the MONUC operation. In addition, there should be independent investigations launched into allegations of abuse by U.N. personnel in other U.N. peacekeep­ing operations, including Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Burundi. Fully independent commis­sions of inquiry should handle all future investiga­tions into human rights abuses by U.N. personnel.

The United States government should pressure U.N. member states to prosecute their nationals accused of human rights violations while serving as U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. should lift diplomatic immunity for its own staff accused of criminal acts in the Congo, opening the way for prosecution. The Security Council should exclude countries whose peacekeepers have a history of human rights viola­tions from future operations. The U.N. should pub­licly name and shame those countries whose peacekeepers have carried out abuses in the Congo.

The U.N. should make publicly available all internal reports relating to the Congo scandal and outline the exact steps it plans to take to prevent the sexual exploitation of refugees in both existing and future U.N. peacekeeping operations. Serious con­sideration should be given to the establishment of an elite training academy for U.N. peacekeeping commanders. This effort should be backed by the U.N. Security Council.

Hold on. Isn’t living in a more peaceful world one of the UN’s Charter statements? It would be nice to see them actually DO something that ensure peace.

Human Rights

In an ideal world, membership in the United Nations should be restricted to free democracies. According to Freedom House, just 89 of the U.N.’s 192 member states are “fully free” (i.e., 46 percent). There can be little doubt, though, that any attempt to limit membership in the U.N. would be strongly opposed by the G-77 countries. U.S. interests are best served at present by building an alliance of democracies within the U.N. as well as developing human rights structures outside of the United Nations.

As human rights scholar Joseph Loconte has argued, Congress should appoint an independent Human Rights Ambassador to head a new U.S. Commission on Human Rights. It could be mod­eled on the U.S. Commission on International Reli­gious Freedom, a quasi-governmental group that monitors religious liberty abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

The United States should mobilize a “Democracy Caucus” to protect human rights and expand dem­ocratic freedoms. The new U.S. Human Rights Ambassador would lobby other governments in the fledgling Community of Democracies, founded in 2000 in Warsaw, to establish their own human rights commissioners and advisory bodies. They must be a morally serious coalition of the willing— operating both within and outside the official U.N. system—that offers a bright alternative to the exist­ing Human Rights Council.

Given the undeniable fact that democratic countries with free markets, free speech, freedom of the press enjoy better health, have longer life expectancies, a high standard of living and lower environmental impact than dictatorships and other totalitarian regimes, it makes complete sense that in order to achieve the goals of the UN’s own Charter its members should pursue a democratic path. How is it that representatives from undemocratic countries have an equal voting weight to democracies? How does that advance the world?

For being the most corrupt and ineffective international organisation, one that goes nowhere near to living up to its ideals, whose only priorities seem to be destroying Israel and damaging the United States, whose approach to African genocides is to be ‘deeply concerned’ and that gives an international stage to lunatics like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Mugabe and Castro, the United Nations takes the #1 position on my list of 10 Institutions That Ruin The World.

#2 – The European Union
#3 – Expansionist Islam
#4 – The Environmental Movement
#5 – The Mainstream Media
#6 – Education Institutions and Education Unions
#7 – Government
#8 – The Social Justice Movement
#9 – The Peace Movement
#10 – The Intelligent Design Movement, Discovery Institute


(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations

>Shock – IPCC head endorses Barack Obama

October 17, 2008 Leave a comment

>It is truly astonishing that the head of the UN IPCC would take sides in the US election and endorse Barack Obama.

By taking this stance, Pachauri reveals himself to be what everyone has suspected all along – a partisan left wing hack.

Why choose Obama when McCain is also calling for an emissions trading scheme?

The election of U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama would help clear the deadlock in United Nations talks to slow global warming, said Rajendra Pachauri, head of a United Nations panel of climate-change scientists.

“A critical factor in these talks is the position of the U.S.,” Pachauri, chairman of the UN panel that shared last year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, said today in an interview in Berlin. “If Obama is elected, and this seems more likely, this would create positive momentum” for the UN talks.

Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois vying with Arizona Republican Senator John McCain for the presidency, and his advisers have indicated policies will be implemented that will push climate- change talks ahead, Pachauri said without providing details. Last year’s UN meeting in Bali was a “positive step” that needs to be moved forward, helped especially by the U.S., he added. U.S. voters go to the polls on Nov. 4.

Negotiators from almost 200 countries will meet in December at a UN conference in Poznan, Poland, to discuss ways to limit carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. The talks are aimed at reaching an accord to replace the Kyoto protocol, which the U.S. has not signed, by next year at a Copenhagen conference.

Obama will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers should he win the presidential election, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 the government may do so.

There have been a few things that have made me shake my head over the last few days from Obama telling Joe the Plumber that he was going to spread the wealth to the massive electoral fraud being perpetrated by ACORN but this is right up there with them in the head shake stakes.

Obama + Brown + Rudd + EU + UN + Putin + Ahmadinejad + Chavez + Hamas + Hezbollah = trouble, big trouble, for the world.

(Nothing Follows)


>Russia plays hardball global politics

August 11, 2008 1 comment

>George Will deadset, grade A, 100% nails it with his commentary on Russia’s power play in Georgia.

Asked in 1957 what would determine his government’s course, Harold Macmillan, Britain’s new prime minister, replied, “Events, dear boy, events.” Now, into America’s trivializing presidential campaign, a pesky event has intruded — a European war. Russian tanks, heavy artillery, strategic bombers, ballistic missiles and a naval blockade batter a European nation. We are not past such things after all. The end of history will be postponed, again.

Another conflict and who does the world turn to for assistance? The USA. Not that they’re in much of a position to do a lot at present but surely it’s the responsibility of NATO to protect a European nation? The fact that Georgia is not a member of NATO shouldn’t be grounds for failure to act. After all, neither was Bosnia.

Russia supports two provinces determined to secede from Georgia. Russia, with aspiring nations within its borders, generally opposes secessionists, as it did when America, which sometimes opposes secession (e.g., 1861-65), improvidently supported Kosovo’s secession from Russia’s ally Serbia. But Russia’s aggression is really about the subordination of Georgia, a democratic, market-oriented U.S. ally. This is the recrudescence of Russia’s dominance in what it calls the “near abroad.” Ukraine, another nation guilty of being provocatively democratic near Russia, should tremble because there is not much America can do. It is a bystander at the bullying of an ally that might be about to undergo regime change.

Vladimir Putin, into whose soul President George W. Bush once peered and liked what he saw, has conspicuously conferred with Russia’s military, thereby making his poodle, “President” Dmitry Medvedev, yet more risible. But big events reveal smallness, such as that of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Richardson, auditioning to be Barack Obama’s running mate, disqualified himself. Clinging to the Obama campaign’s talking points like a drunk to a lamppost, Richardson said that this crisis proves the wisdom of Obama’s zest for diplomacy and that America should get the U.N. Security Council “to pass a strong resolution getting the Russians to show some restraint.” Apparently Richardson was ambassador to the United Nations for 19 months without noticing that Russia has a Security Council veto.

Is that not one of the great paragraphs in the history of political commentary?

This crisis illustrates, redundantly, the paralysis of the United Nations regarding major powers, hence regarding major events, and the fictitiousness of the European Union regarding foreign policy. Does this disturb Obama’s serenity about the efficacy of diplomacy? Obama’s second statement about the crisis, in which he tardily acknowledged Russia’s invasion, underscored the folly of his first, which echoed the Bush administration’s initial evenhandedness. “Now,” said Obama, “is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint.”

I wonder whether any of Obama’s swooning mainstream media commentators took the time to parse that statement. It’s time for Georgia to show restraint? Russia has provoked conflict in South Ossetia and invades Georgia and it’s Georgia that has to show restraint? With its 15,000 strong army? Seriously?

John McCain, the “life is real, life is earnest” candidate, says he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen “a K, a G and a B.” But McCain owes the thug thanks, as does America’s electorate. Putin has abruptly pulled the presidential campaign up from preoccupation with plumbing the shallows of John Edwards and wondering what “catharsis” is “owed” to disappointed Clintonites.

McCain, who has called upon Russia “to immediately and unconditionally . . . withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory,” favors expelling Russia from the Group of Eight, and organizing a league of democracies to act where the United Nations is impotent, which is whenever the subject is important. But Georgia, whose desire for NATO membership had U.S. support, is not in NATO because some prospective members of McCain’s league of democracies, e.g., Germany, thought that starting membership talks with Georgia would complicate the project of propitiating Russia. NATO is scheduled to review the question of Georgia’s membership in December. Where now do Obama and McCain stand?

More brilliance from Will – “…organizing a league of democracies to act where the United Nations is impotent, which is whenever the subject is important.”

Puffed up with its own self importance the UN certainly may be but effective in a crisis it clearly is not. Since WW2 when has the UN achieved anything positive in the heavy lifting stakes?

If Georgia were in NATO, would NATO now be at war with Russia? More likely, Russia would not be in Georgia. Only once in NATO’s 59 years has the territory of a member been invaded — the British Falklands, by Argentina, in 1982.

Russia is terrified of Georgia joining NATO hence the current action. Will European nations have the spine to admit Georgia as a member of NATO now that the possibility exists that it could bring it into conflict with Russia? It doesn’t seem likely, does it? Thus, Russia achieves its goal in the short term. In the medium term I expect to see more conflict in semi-autonomous Georgian regions and potentially the installation of a puppet government with the long term goal being to bring George back into the Russian empire.

What is it about August? The First World War began in August 1914. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact effectively announced the Second World War in August 1939. Iraq, a fragment of the collapse of empires precipitated by August 1914, invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

This year’s August upheaval coincides, probably not coincidentally, with the world’s preoccupation with that charade of international comity, the Olympics. For only the third time in 72 years (Berlin 1936, Moscow 1980), the Games are being hosted by a tyrannical regime, the mind of which was displayed in the opening ceremonies featuring thousands of drummers, each face contorted with the same grotesquely frozen grin. It was a tableau of the miniaturization of the individual and the subordination of individuality to the collective. Not since the Nazi’s 1934 Nuremberg rally, which Leni Riefenstahl turned into the film “Triumph of the Will,” has tyranny been so brazenly tarted up as art.

A worldwide audience of billions swooned over the Beijing ceremony. Who remembers 1934? Or anything.

It shows how good is Russia’s timing in invading during the Olympics. Who is going to be interested in a battle in the back blocks of the Balkans when there’s Olympic gold to be won?

Hosting the Olympics presaged the collapse of the Nazi regime and the Soviet Union.

Will the 2008 Olympics be the poison chalice that ends totalitarian rule in China? It seems unlikely but in 1980 so did the collapse of the Berlin Wall just a decade later.

“War is merely a continuation of politics” – Carl von Clausewitz.

It seems that the Russians have learned this lesson well.

(Nothing Follows)

>The situation in Zimbabwe proves UN fecklessness

June 15, 2008 1 comment

>The UN’s “Nothing to see here, move along” attitude to Zimbabwe (not to mention other countries like Sudan) demonstrate, at best, what a feckless institution it is and, at worst, how corrupt and morally bankrupt it is.

The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations reads:

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


AND FOR THESE ENDS

  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples…

A couple of Articles of the Charter read:

Article 4
1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.

Article 6
A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Here are the opening Articles of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3
Everyone has the right to live, have liberty, and security of person.

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

So how is it that Zimbabwe is still a member state of the United Nations?

Is this what the UN means by “…the right to live, have liberty, and security of person”?

Is this what the UN means by “…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person”?

Is this what the UN means by “…to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”?

The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, sounding ever more pugnacious, said Saturday that he was prepared to go to war if he lost a runoff election to the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on June 27.

Speaking at the burial of a former army general, Mr. Mugabe, who at 84 has held power for 28 years, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “These pathetic puppets taking over our country? Let’s see. That’s not going to happen.”

…The opposition party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti, was arrested Thursday at the airport in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, as he returned to the country after a self-imposed absence of two months. His lawyers had not been allowed to see him or been informed of his whereabouts until Saturday, when he was brought handcuffed to court by armed police officers.

The session was closed to the news media, but afterward one of Mr. Biti’s lawyers said his client was being accused of “treason and making malicious statements detrimental to the interests of the state,” charges that could bring the death penalty.

Inflation in Zimbabwe is now a mind boggling 100,000%. In Australia we get all jumpy when it hits 4%.

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now down to 37 for men and 34 for women. In 1985 it was 59. A 15% HIV infection rate does not explain such a human calamity.

So how does the UN deal with Zimbabwe?

From last week:

Western leaders expressed outrage yesterday as Robert Mugabe flew into Rome in defiance of an EU travel ban to attend a United Nations world food summit while millions of people are starving under his brutal rule in Zimbabwe…Mr Mugabe, 84, is subject to a travel ban to the European Union because of sanctions imposed after his rigged re-election in 2002 but Italian officials said that they had had no choice but to allow him to attend UN meetings in Rome, as he did in 2002 and 2005…Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa, is facing acute food shortages and the UN has issued a warning that near-drought in parts of the country could damage the maize harvest. Agriculture has collapsed since Mr Mugabe embarked on “land reforms” involving the expropriation of thousands of white-owned farms, which critics say he has handed over to his associates. Mr Mugabe, who will address the summit, is expected to blame his country’s crisis on sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.

From 2007:

Zimbabwe has been elected to head the UN’s commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) despite strong objections from Western diplomats.

They had said Zimbabwe was unsuitable because of its human rights record and economic problems. It is suffering food shortages and rampant inflation.

But Zimbabwe has dismissed such criticism, calling it an insult.

The country was chosen by other African nations. The CSD post rotates every year between the world’s regions.

A complete disaster is happening but as late as June 13, 2008, the UN was still to take any action against Zimbabwe at all:

The U.S. called on the United Nations Security Council to start an immediate discussion of the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

“We believe the time has come for the United Nations Security Council to take up immediately the issue to prevent further deterioration of the region’s humanitarian and security situation,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement issued yesterday in Rome where President George W. Bush was visiting.

It is long past the time when a new organisation made up only of democratic states be created. An alternative is to remove UN voting power from non-democratic members of the UN but, as that would require a vote by the UN General Assembly, it is an impossible outcome.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations