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>ElBaradei criticises US, Israel over Syrian nukes

April 30, 2008 2 comments

>How’s this for having more front than city hall?

Mohamed AlBaradei, head of the comically ineffective International Atomic Energy Agency aka the United Nations Agency Helping To Ensure Rogue Nations Get Nuclear Weapons, has criticised the US and Israel for not giving them information (that they could then pass on to Syria) that their nuclear development facility had been rumbled.

VIENNA, Austria – The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency angrily criticized Israel on Friday for bombing an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and chastised the U.S. for withholding information on the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei also was not provided information about the site until Thursday, the same day U.S. officials briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about evidence including dozens of photographs taken from ground level and footage of the interior of the building gathered by spy satellites after the Israeli strike seven months ago.

ElBaradei was briefed by telephone by John Rood, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control.

I made a joke about it earlier on but it seems remarkable that the IAEA would be kept in the dark by the United States and Israel. What motivation could both nations have for doing so other than to ensure Syria didn’t find out ahead of the Israeli bombing? The IAEA, ElBaradei and the UN itself have been shown to be useless and feckless. Not that there’s anything new in that.

“The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the Agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the Agency’s responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts,” ElBaradei’s office said.

Additionally, “the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime,” it said.

ElBaradei did not criticize North Korea or Syria in his statement.

That is truly unbelievable. It reinforces ElBaradei’s real personal agenda to do as much damage as possible to US interests, which has been on display throughout his career.

The IAEA’s mission includes trying to keep nuclear proliferation in check, and it depends on member states for information in trying to carry out that task. It is currently probing allegations Iran tried to make nuclear weapons using not only its own research but intelligence provided by the U.S. and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board.

How can the IAEA board function when it has 35 nations involved? And how’s it going on its mission to try and keep nuclear proliferation in check?

Intelligence committee members also expressed anger Thursday over the seven-month time lapse before their committee was briefed.

Top U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters in Washington Thursday said they had high confidence in the judgement that North Korea had aided Syria with its nuclear program and the intention was to produce plutonium. But they claimed only low confidence for the conclusion that it was meant for weapons development, in part because there was no reprocessing facility at the site — something that would be needed to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel for use in a bomb.

The Syrian reactor was within weeks or months of being functional when Israeli jets destroyed it, a top U.S. official told The Associated Press in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The official said the facility was mostly completed but still had needed significant testing before it could have been declared operational.

US intelligence agencies have little credibility on the issue of declaring that a nation has the capability of developing nuclear weapons, as Iraq has shown, but if the Israelis think it is then I’m rather inclined to go with their view given the consequences of Syria having a nuclear weapon are rather dire for them.

Repeating its previous stance, Syria, in a statement issued Thursday denied the allegations.

Now there’s a huge shock!

How is the stable world going to ensure that the unstable world doesn’t become nuclear armed if the IAEA is not only useless but so politically aligned with interests in the Middle East?

(Nothing Follows)

>What will Australia’s position on UN corruption be now that we want to get a seat on the Security Council?

April 1, 2008 2 comments

>Australia’s new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has announced a policy of closer cooperation with the United Nations, which includes a plan to be appointed to the UN Security Council in 2013-14. As has been highlighted by others, it’s going to take a change of approach to foreign policy from the muscular, moral high ground position taken by the previous government to one of appeasement and ignoring human rights abuses by nations (and voting blocs) from whom we need votes.

Kevin Rudd has take a step down this path by embracing China in what can only be described as a most sycophantic way while poking the world’s largest democracy, India, and our largest trading partner and strong democracy, Japan, in the eye.

Australia’s most recent stint on the Security Council was 20 years ago. We got there with the support of African nations to which we had been giving significant foreign aid for many years. To people who don’t understand how the world works – if you want to get anywhere in the UN then you need to buy the votes of third world countries in order to get their support because it’s one country, one vote at the UN and the fact that the world’s most powerful nation – the US – and a busted arse dictatorship like Cuba both have equal weight is a travesty that democratic nations need to address in order to make the UN more accountable and results-focused.

The WSJ has an opinion piece on the recent resignation of Mark Wallace as US Ambassador to the UN. Will Australia’s new government take a strong position against UN corruption and risk its Security Council chances or simply go with the flow because it’s too big to tackle?

More than one American has tried to make the United Nations live up to its original ideals — Pat Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, John Bolton. We’d add to that distinguished list the name of Mark Wallace, an ambassador to the U.S. mission at Turtle Bay who resigned yesterday having tried for two years to make the U.N. a more transparent place.

Mr. Wallace’s biggest contribution was exposing the fraud and corruption in U.N. Development Program operations in North Korea. In the wake of his investigation, the then-new Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was shocked enough to order an external audit of all U.N. programs. It didn’t take long for Mr. Ban to backtrack on the extent of his original order, but his subsequent probe of the UNDP in North Korea confirmed Mr. Wallace’s findings, as did a Congressional investigation.

Along the way, Mr. Wallace faced hostility from bureaucrats who don’t think the country that provides nearly a quarter of the U.N. budget should demand more accountability. The UNDP’s shoddy oversight of its North Korea operations is rightly seen as a wake-up call for better governance throughout the U.N. system. Mr. Wallace has lobbied for making internal audits, now secret, available to all member states. He also wants the U.N. to make more information, especially on budgets, available to the general public. And he has pushed for a more effective Ethics Office and protection of whistleblowers.

His record is also a lesson to those American officials who think their obligation is merely to get along at these international institutions. Mr. Wallace was unpopular with certain high State Department officials, who didn’t want to risk their engagement with Pyongyang over corruption. He’s the one who had it right.

How can the UN be so corrupt when it has a very left-wing agenda and management structure? Aren’t those on the left meant to be the holier-than-though, compassionate crowd?

(Nothing Follows)

>UN peacekeeping head retires after eight years of achieving nothing

March 7, 2008 1 comment

>In news given little coverage by major media outlets, the head of the UN Peacekeeping Force will be retiring after eight years on the job.

In this article the two ‘highlights’ of his tenure are the ‘unprecedented growth’ of the force to 100,000 and the establishment of a code of conduct.

The thing has an astronomical 7.5 billion dollar budget yet manages to achieve absolutely nothing positive for the world, of which those in Darfur, East Timor and Lebanon are shining examples.

UNITED NATIONS: The French head of UN peacekeeping will step down at the end of June after presiding over an unprecedented growth of a force that now fields 100,000 personnel around the world, UN officials said on Thursday.

Marie Okabe, a UN spokeswoman, told a press briefing that Jean-Marie Guehenno, 58, confirmed to his staff on Thursday morning that “he will be leaving in mid-2008” after eight years in the post.

Guehenno’s contract expires at the end of June, another UN official said. When Ban Ki-moon took over as UN secretary-general in January 2007, Guehenno was one of the few senior holdovers from Kofi Annan’s administration to be asked to stay on.

“Eight years is a long run and it’s a very tough job,” said Beth Cole, an expert on peacekeeping operations at the United States Institute of Peace, a Washinton-based think tank.

“He (Guehenno) has presided over an explosive growth in operations and over a lot of very important innovations. He should be congratulated for his work,” she said.

Indeed Guehenno, a former French civil servant, oversaw an unprecedented growth of the department of peacekeeping operations (DPKO), which now oversees almost 100,000 personnel in 20 peacekeeping missions around the world with an annual budget of 7.5 billion dollars.

He also supervised a sweeping restructuring of UN peacekeeping to make it more efficient and more effective, UN officials said.

Peacekeeping was split into a department of peace operations, tasked with strategy, day-to-day direction and management, and a department of field support that consolidate the support functions of UN field personnel, procurement and financial management.

Last year, there were rumors that the United States was keen on having one of its officials take over DPKO.

But Cole said this was unlikely since the United States is not a major contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping.

In addition, she added, US national Jane Holl Lute was put in charge of the key department of field support last year.

Lute is the wife of Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, a three-star US army general tasked with overseeing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There was no word on who was likely to succeed Guehenno. “What we really need is a good manager who can continue to oversee the very important reforms that are being implemented,” Cole said. “Demands are so huge both in terms of personnel and in terms of funding.”

“My particular hope if that the person they find would have some mission experience,” she added.

Guehenno is also credited with turning UN peacekeeping into a professionalized service, notably by giving it a doctrine and a focus on conduct and discipline.

But UN peacekeeping missions around the world have also been plagued by cases of sexual abuse of women and corruption by a minority of the blue-helmeted soldiers, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Haiti.

Cole conceded that the sexual exploitation issue “has been particularly difficult for DPKO” but added: “I think they handled it pretty well.”

Of Guehenno, she concluded: “He did as well as he could with the tools that he had and we need to have a bigger tool box in that shop.”

Guehenno joined the United Nations in 2000 after a long and distinguished career in the French government, including in the foreign ministry.

He also served as head of cultural affairs at the French Embassy in Washington from 1982 and 1986.

It should come as no surprise that a man from the Quai d’Orsay should be such an ineffectual leader of UN peacekeeping operations or that the wife of a three-star US army general is somehow qualified to oversee the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations

>Should the United Nations take military action against China over climate change?

February 29, 2008 9 comments

>David Archibald’s latest paper destroys the myth that CO2 is to blame for the warming we’ve seen since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid 19th century. He puts the warming effect from anthropogenic CO2 at around 0.1C, which is the conclusion I came to some time back.

However, that’s not the point of this post. I provide it as background because it includes the following graph:

The question that needs to be posed is this…

Given that Climate Change presents an existential threat to the earth’s climate system, that there’s a consensus of scientific opinion that the consequences will be dire and that the cost of not taking urgent action are significant then should the United Nations take military action against China in order to save the world given the huge increase in CO2 output projected for them?

Naturally, it’s a deliberately provocative question but why shouldn’t it be asked?

If the projection in the above graph is correct and ‘the science is settled’ then the world is doomed.

In order to preserve world peace – the UN’s primary objective – it must be incumbent on it to gather together those nations whose governments are keen to take action against anthropogenic global warming and stop China, militarily if necessary. That would be a pretty amusing spectacle, really; blue helmeted UN soldiers doing what they normally do – running away from a fight – while the UN’s European half-brother, the EU, expends more time fighting with itself than tackling China.

If China – and India for that matter – will not reduce carbon emissions then why shouldn’t they be subject to strong international action?

The situation really does show the apparently contradictory positions that the United Nations manages to navigate with no sense of cognitive dissonance.

In Australia the recent release of the Garnaut Report suggests that if Australia slashes its economic wrists by working towards a 90% reduction in CO2 by 2050 then it will be seen as a great world leader, a visionary country and an inspiration for recalcitrants such as China to follow.

I didn’t notice China follow Australia’s lead with the whole democracy thing, or take much notice of any of our world leading occupational health and safety standards, or take our side on ending North Korea’s concentration camp status, or even reform their economy by floating their currency.

You do have to give them credit for taking our lead on one important thing, though. They have hired a bunch of Aussies who worked on the Sydney Olympics to help make their upcoming version of the games a propaganda triumph.

The reason that people would think that another country would follow Australia’s lead – on moral grounds – has always eluded me.

(Nothing Follows)

>The new Cold War – UN vs USA

December 29, 2007 Leave a comment

>Since the fall of the Soviet Union the organisation that has been most virulently anti-freedom, anti-free market and anti-US has not been the EU, or China, but the United Nations.

No organisation has done more damage in the name of supposedly doing good in the history of the world than the UN, as the following article from Investor’s Business Daily notes. If the UN held one hundred percent of its members to even one-quarter of its Charter then the world would be a better place.

Forget radical Islam, the new Cold War is the United Nations versus the United States. Like the USSR, the UN can’t win this war but is doing terrific damage along the way.

The U.N. voted 178-1 to hike its spending 10% next year to an all-time high of $4.2 billion. The lone standout in voting against the record rise in spending? The U.S., which again finds itself alone at the U.N.

The U.S. has tried for some time to rein in the runaway United Nations and its various extremist political factions and bureaucracies, but to no avail. Now, the U.S. has become an outcast in the very organization it founded and has funded for 60 years.

Last Saturday, the U.N. announced its “marathon talks” had resulted in a $4.17 billion basic budget — even though the U.S. dissented. By the way, our dissent is meaningless, since we’re still obliged to pay just under a quarter of that budget, or roughly $922 million.

But we in fact pay much more than that each year.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, we spent more than $5 billion on the U.N. and related activities, ranging from food programs to peacekeeping. That’s a rise of 67% during George Bush’s first term alone. So much for stingy Americans.

Too bad we’re not getting our money’s worth. In fact, the U.N. has become such a massive, unwieldy, corrupt organization that, at this point, it seems beyond repair.

To list the U.N.’s multitudinous sins here would require something the size of a phone book. Suffice to say, in recent years the U.N. has been involved in a variety of policy debacles and outright crimes.

These include the oil-for-food scandal, the largest financial scandal ever; charges that U.N. peacekeepers abused and prostituted young girls in Africa and the Balkans; did nothing about the genocide of millions of people in Darfur and Rwanda; turned its back on democratic Taiwan in favor of communist China; allows Iran to expand its illicit nuclear enrichment program; and so on.

Why such a bad record? Part of the problem is the U.N., which was started after World War II with the best of humanitarian intentions, has been hijacked by a variety of left-wing and anti-Semitic agendas, pushed by an aggressive pack of anti-U.S. and anti-democratic nations that tend to vote as a bloc in the U.N.

According to Heritage Foundation fellow Brett Schaefer, these U.N. voting blocs include the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77 developing nations (which has 130 members — not 77.) All these groups are, in fact, anti-American, anti-West and anti-free market.

“So, where the U.N. actually could have a role in advancing economic policies that enhanced freedom, that enhanced opportunity, that enhanced economic development,” former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton recently explained, “the mind-set of the U.N. itself as played out in its conference rooms and corridors is actually exactly to the contrary.”

The U.N., in short, has become a major way for nondemocratic, noncapitalist countries to siphon wealth from the wealthy countries — without doing anything that remotely looks like democratic, pro-market reform in their own countries.

The U.S. goes along mainly because there are many people out there — call them UNICEF-Americans — who actually believe the U.N.’s propaganda about saving “the children.”

But, in fact, if you’re a child in the Third World, you have righteous cause to curse the U.N. and the nongovernmental organizations it empowers to control your life. Where the U.N. goes, democracy doesn’t necessarily follow. Nor does development.

Just look at the Palestinian problem, which has festered for more than a half a century due to the U.N.’s never-ending solicitude for the Arab world’s hatred of the Jews.

Again in 2006, Israel topped the list of countries subjected to human rights criticism — not China, not Zimbabwe, not Venezuela, not North Korea, not Sudan, not Cuba, places where millions have been murdered, imprisoned and denied the most basic of human rights and freedoms. (The U.S., by the way, came in fourth.)

This sick fixation on Israel and the U.S. has ruined the U.N. Yet, in 2009, it’s planning to hold its “Durban II” conference. The last conference of the type, held in the summer of 2001, was a monthlong hate-fest against both Israel and the U.S. Perhaps not coincidentally, just days after it ended the 9/11 attacks occurred.

We’ve had enough, thank you. The U.N. wastes billions each year, while corruption flourishes. It’s time for the U.S. to pull out.

Let the tyrants and bureaucrats go home. Maybe we can form a new organization based on the 89 countries classified as “fully free” by the nonpartisan human rights group, Freedom House. That would give us almost half of the U.N.’s 192 current members — a good start for a new beginning.

A good summary of the UN and the fact that it’s run by tyrants, thugs and murderers who enjoy picking the pockets of major financiers in the form of ‘aid’, which props up their terrible regimes.

If you support the United Nations then you really are a Moral Idiot.

(Nothing Follows)

>United Nations states that CO2 emissions are not that dangerous

November 30, 2007 Leave a comment

>The United Nations is promoting a CO2 reduction position for the Bali negotiations that allows the world’s largest emitter, China, and sometime in the not so distant future top emitter, India, off the economy-limiting hook.

In pushing this position the UN demonstrates that emitting CO2 is, in fact, not dangerous. Why else would they not impose the same requirement on all countries?

Substitute CO2 emissions for mercury or lead being pumped into rivers and the ocean. Does it make sense to allow China and India, or any other country, a position in which toxic waste is pumped willy nilly into the water system?

Of course not.

Obviously, emitting CO2 can’t be that bad…

China and India should be spared the full burden of fighting climate change, the United Nations said on Tuesday in an agenda-setting report published just days ahead of an intergovernmental conference to agree to a successor to the Kyoto protocols.

The report of the UN Development Programme recommends that countries such as China and India should be required to reduce their emissions by only 20 per cent by 2050, while the rich industrialised countries shoulder a cut of 80 per cent.

The report will provide ammunition for developing countries wishing to avoid adopting stringent targets on emissions. China, India and others have argued that rich countries should carry more responsibility for the climate because most of the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere came from the growth of their industry.

But the White House made it clear at international meetings on climate change in September that it would not sign up to any agreement that did not include China and the other developing nations going through rapid industrialisation.

Heated discussions over the share of the burden that each country should take for cutting emissions are likely to be the main focus of UN talks on climate change beginning next week in Bali, Indonesia. The talks, the most important since the Kyoto protocol was drafted in 1997, will mark the first negotiations on a potential successor to the treaty, the main provisions of which expire in 2012.

The report estimates that the world needs to spend about 1.6 per cent of gross domestic product each year until 2030 in order to prevent emissions rising to dangerous levels. Developed countries should aim to cut their emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, the UNDP report said.

In a sign of the scale of the task facing ministers at Bali the report also risked opening old wounds by questioning whether the carbon-trading system established at Kyoto was less effective at reducing emissions than a straightforward carbon tax – such as the one proposed on Tuesday by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, in Beijing.

Kevin Watkins, lead author of the report, said: “Cap-and-trade is not particularly working. We need to develop the strategy into a carbon tax.”

Emissions trading finally started under the Kyoto protocol in 2005, and last year the market was worth about $30bn, according to the World Bank. Most of the transactions took place under the European Union’s emissions trading system, which was designed to help EU member states meet their commitments to cut emissions under the protocol.

Mr Watkins told the Financial Times: “If the rich countries can cut emissions by 80 per cent we have a 50:50 chance of [limiting] temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [which scientists say is the limit of safety].”

The UN’s report came as internet search company Google supplied fresh evidence of investor enthusiasm for low-carbon technology by saying that it would branch out into renewable energy.

>Phoning overseas in North Korea earns you the death penalty

November 28, 2007 Leave a comment

>The concentration camp known as North Korea demonstrates its terrific respect for human rights, as codified in the United Nations’ Charter.

The blathering multiculturalists who tell us that all cultures are equal and that we have to respect others’ values are quiet when North Koreans execute people for making overseas phone calls but if foreigners ever come to Australia then the same group noisily protests that it’s a woman’s ‘right’ to wear the veil or dress up like an organic mailbox by donning a full burqa.

A North Korean factory chief was executed by a firing squad in front of a stadium of 150,000 people after being accused of making international phone calls, an aid group reports.

The man had been caught calling overseas on 13 phones he had installed and hidden away in a factory basement, the South Korean aid agency Good Friends said in a report on the North’s human rights.

A massive crowd of 150,000 filled a stadium and watched the man die.

Despite an overall decline since 2000, public executions have recently been on the increase and officials accused of drug smuggling, embezzlement and other crimes are the main targets.

In the same incident, six people were crushed to death and 34 others were injured as people stampeded out of the stadium.

So what caused the stampede? Ironically, more people were killed exiting the event than were actually being executed in the first place.

Most North Koreans are banished from communicating with the outside world because of the country’s regime that seeks to prevent any possibility of challenge to leader Kim Jong Il.

The North has carried out four other similar executions to various other factory chiefs in the past few months, the group reported.

“It is aimed at educating (North Koreans) to control society and prevent crimes,” Good Friends head Venerable Pomnyun said.

No wonder the left doesn’t make much noise. “…control society…” is what they’re all about and they all have a totalitarian streak a mile wide.

The group has not said how it obtained the information and has given no details of how many executions have taken place.

The report comes just a week after a UN General Assembly Committee adopted a draft resolution expressing concern at reports of maltreatment and human rights violations in North Korea.

Hands up anyone who thinks that the UN is anything other than morally bankrupt when it treats regimes like North Korea not only with kid gloves but also to handouts of millions of aid dollars – in cash.

The country has blasted the report, however, saying it is inaccurate and biased.

They say they do not violate human rights but the regime has long been accused of imposing the death penalty for political reasons, torturing border-crossers and restricting freedom on expression and religion.

People eat bark off the trees to survive but they don’t violate human rights. No worries.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: United Nations