The uses of Power 9

Is it America’s moral duty to rescue victims of religious, ideological, racial, national, or tribal oppression, persecution, or genocide?

James Lewis writes at American Thinker:

Genocides happen when the civilized world shuts its eyes and does nothing while some gang of barbarians slaughters human beings by the thousands.  Civilized silence promises safety to the killers and demoralizes their victims.

Samantha Power, Obama’s U.N. ambassador, has made a career criticizing U.S. government passivity in the face of genocide.  She has written Pulitzer Prize-winning books like A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.

Now [she is] U.N. ambassador – a major power position in the Obama administration, the most powerful political job she is ever likely to have to do what she wants.

What has Dr. Power done about genocide? What has she actually done to stop, or even to complain in public about, groups and regimes that thirst after genocide, like Iran, ISIS, the Taliban, the Wahhabi priesthood of Saudi Arabia, the mass killing rulers of the Sudan? What about Boko Haram killing, enslaving, and selling children in Nigeria? What about the Kenya massacres? What has she done?

Samuel Totten studies genocide as a disease of dysfunctional politics and has now written a report on Samantha Power’s actions against genocide.

They are zero, just like her boss’s achievements.

But let’s be more modest. It may be hard to get things done in the real world. So let’s just ask: what has Samantha Power even said in her highly public position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?

Has Power even spoken out, in private or public, against the horrors we can all see today?

Like Obama himself, Dr. Power refuses even to call the real thing by its proper name. Somehow, after a career of assaulting previous administrations for their moral failures to even name genocide, she is now struck deaf and dumb.

Samantha Power is symbolic of all the simple moral failures of the Obama years. She has sold her soul for a mess of pottage.  Like her boss, Dr. Power talks a good game.

The Rwanda genocide happened because Kofi Annan, who was a U.N. “observer”, knew all about it but never made a public fuss.

Well, that’s not why it happened. It may have been why it wasn’t stopped, or prevented from happening.

The Armenian genocide of 1.5 million Christians happened because ethnic and religious genocide is what the Turks did during the four centuries of the Ottoman Caliphate, and nobody in the more civilized world wanted to even publicize it.  The same is true of the Holocaust and Stalin’s Ukrainian starvation campaign. …

Again, the disregard of powerful nations by their governments and/or their newspapers was not a cause of those atrocities but – at most – a license to let them proceed.

But perhaps James Lewis means that if the civilized powers made it constantly known, by interfering even in small incidents of persecution when they occurred anywhere in the world – and so demonstrating that they would not allow such things ever to happen – the big events, the starving of millions, the attempts at genocide would not happen because interference would be expected and feared.

He argues that the “civilized world” should at least speak up against the evil that states and rebel armies do.

The civilized world is not obligated to sacrifice precious lives, even for a profoundly moral cause.  We are not infinitely powerful.  But we have an elementary right and duty to tell the truth, and to act on it when we can.  Obama’s abandonment of millions and millions of people is a cruel defeat for elementary morality. Those who don’t get that are sociopaths, and those who twist it are liars.  Abandoning Afghanistan is not, as the delusional left will say, some sort of victory. The rise of barbarian sadistic regimes, those who routinely oppress all women and girls because they can, is not – repeat: not – a wonderful moral victory.

But Obama and his media lackeys will try to paint it that way.

Today we don’t even allow ourselves to think that the Cold War was a noble and civilizing effort by the United States and its allies against the kind of barbarism that we see today being practiced by ISIS – and we know about ISIS only because social media make it impossible for the left to censor it.  The left cares only about power, and the resulting millions of dead and wounded are simply the price to pay for Progress. …

Now Obama is willingly – maybe joyously – retreating from lands where we made a difference. We gave and sacrificed precious lives and treasure in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and elsewhere. It was the right thing to do after 9/11/01 for our national security, and it was the moral thing to do. Today Obama is  turning Afghanistan over to the barbaric Taliban, just as we seem to be turning Iraq over to ISIS and an Iranian proxy regime in Baghdad.

Obama is knowingly running away from the worst war ideology in the world: war-making Islam.

But why? Could it be because he thinks it is the best ideology in the world? There have been many signs that he loves Islam. And not, we suspect, because he is deluded into thinking it other than it is, but because it is as it is.

 Since he is constitutionally unable to tell the truth, he has to lie about it. Suddenly the Wahhabi torture theology of ISIS – identical to that of the Taliban – no longer makes for a “terrorist” gang. No, they are an “indigenous insurgency,” following the most shameful lie of the left today, the corrupt idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter. We should have realized that when Obama allowed the young people’s Green Revolution in Tehran to be killed and tortured into silence at the very beginning of this administration.

We have lost our moral bearings, and the left likes it that way.

Obama is a typical leftist horror story, just as merciless as Lenin, Chávez, and Pol Pot.  Since we’ve exhausted the English vocabulary for describing him and his gang, I suggest we borrow his own lies to describe him.

He is Obama the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Servant of the most ruthless war theology in history.

He is not my president, and in a moral sense, he is not an American president at all.

But say we did have a president who would tell the truth and speak out against Islam, its ruthlessly destructive ideology, its unjust law, its cruelty to women, its extreme bigotry in allowing no apostasy – would the Taliban or ISIS be deterred?

And if not, would most Americans say they must be stopped by force – American military force?

Samantha Power has a highly selective bleeding heart. She and Hillary Clinton worked passionately to get American bombs falling on Libya; ostensibly to protect the people from massacre by the tyrant Qaddafi when they knew he was not actually threatening them – only to stand back when he was killed as a result of their interference, and let real massacres rip; including the one at Benghazi of the US ambassador and three other Americans.

Perhaps Dr. Power’s silence since then could be read as a sign that she learnt a lesson about “the responsibility to protect” which she had invoked in the case of Libya. That would give her the benefit of any doubt about her character and intelligence. But whether her silence on the daily atrocities being carried out, in the name of Allah, in Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the Congo, and now the Cameroons – is the result of painfully acquired wisdom or merely conformity to Obama’s “policy” of complaisance, we cannot know.

The envoy and the tides of war 2

Kofi Annan, the UN’s and Arab League’s “special envoy” to Syria, tasked with ordering the incoming tide to go back … Oh no, sorry – that was King Canute’s futile endeavor. Easy to confuse it with Kofi Annan’s: to stop the civil war raging in Syria. Anyway, he has given up. He arrived, he chatted a bit, he went away.

Rick Moran writes at Front Page:

[Kofi] Annan’s futile efforts to stop the violence in Syria are added to other failures in his career that include an inability to stop the massacres in Bosnia in the 1990s, the Rwandan genocide where 800,000 were murdered, the tragedy in Darfur where upwards of 450,000 were killed, and Iraq’s oil for food scandal that hit close to home when his own son was accused of profiting from Saddam Hussein’s multi-billion dollar bribery schemes. Each of those horrific events occurred either while he was serving as Secretary General of the UN, or head of the world body’s peacekeeping efforts in Rwanda when he failed to act to prevent the slaughter of Tutsi tribesmen.

The writer’s heart is in the right place, but there’s nothing remarkable in such UN “failures” as keeping clear of massacres and profiting from helping the sort of despots who carry them out. That’s what the UN does. It’s what the corrupt, dim-witted men who run it do. The only remarkable thing is that the UN was set up to do the opposite, but as it never has and never will, pointing out the hypocrisy is almost as pointless as giving orders to the tides.

[Annan’s] mission was doomed from the start because the Security Council and the world community was unable to come together to address the tragedy. The lion’s share of the blame for that can be placed directly on Russia and China, whose vetoes of Security Council resolution after resolution gave Bashar Assad cover to carry out his war against his own people. But there is plenty of blame left for the United States, the European countries, and the Arab League, who clung for months to Annan’s moribund “peace plan” despite a mountain of evidence that it had failed almost as soon as it was negotiated last April.

Is there any good reason for the US or any Western power to intervene in Syria?

Rick Moran offers a fairly persuasive one:

The worst case scenario is to have President Assad eventually triumph which would strengthen Russia, Iran, and China in the region. Anything we can do to prevent that — including expending the same amount of energy in supporting the rebels that the Russians are using to prop up Assad — would be a welcome change in policy.

Yes. But who knows whether Assad’s successor, even if helped into power by the West, will be any less an ally and cat’s paw of Russia, China, and Iran? 

Posted under Arab States, China, Civil war, Commentary, corruption, Diplomacy, Iran, middle east, Russia, Syria, United Nations, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 4, 2012

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Why the UN must be destroyed 19

The UN must be destroyed because (to put it very mildly, coolly, and objectively):

  • It does no good to anyone
  • It does much harm to many
  • It is unreformable
  • It was a colossal mistake of wishful thinking from its beginning
  • It is kept going only because it is a gravy train for its bureaucrats and diplomats at enormous expense to tax-payers, especially Americans

A documentary film made recently by Ami Horowitz and Matt Groff, UN Me, exposes the worst incidences of its uselessness and corruption, violent and cruel actions, and refusals to do what it purportedly came into existence to do.

The following extracts are from an excellent article on the film by Bruce Bawer at Front Page. (It is well worth reading in full.)

UN Me begins by according us a few brief glimpses of the sheer sloth that characterizes the whole shebang. Old UN hands describe the short working days, long lunches, and frequent midday naps that characterize the everyday life of many of its functionaries. Wandering the halls of UN headquarters in New York shortly after 5 PM on a weekday, Horowitz … encounters a virtual ghost town: almost everybody has long since cleared out for the day. This institutional torpor is, he makes clear, emblematic of the whole worldwide enterprise. …

Horowitz reminds us that countries like Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and China have sat on the UN Human Rights Commission – and, later, on the Human Rights Council that was meant to be an improvement on that comically corrupt agency.

In 2010, Iran was elected to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

At one point in the film, Horowitz asks Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and director of the UN’s 2009 anti-racism conference in Geneva, why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of all people, was named keynote speaker at that event. That question, she replies in a small voice, is “not for me to answer.” (No, you don’t get far at the UN by providing honest answers to reasonable questions like that one.)

Horowitz informs us that Article 6 of the UN Charter actually “calls for the expulsion of any nation that consistently violates the principles of the charter.” Yet no member country has ever been expelled under Article 6. Shashi Tharoor, UN information chief, cheerfully explains that it’s best to have everybody “under the same tent.” …

The  film covers some of the more egregious scandals involving UN peacekeeping …  anecdotes about peacekeepers in various countries who, in their interactions with the people they were there to protect, acted like thugs, got rich trafficking drugs, spent their time whoring, and sexually abused minors. Peacekeepers in the Congo committed literally thousands of rapes. At least one ran a pedophilia ring.

We’re shown video of UN bureaucrats solemnly vowing that errant peacekeepers will be caught and punished. But in fact almost no UN peacekeeper has ever been held accountable for anything.

In Côte d’Ivoire, peacekeepers actually fired on peaceful, unarmed protestors.

They were standing together, men women and children, singing happily when UN sharp shooters fired on them. One of the few times the “peacekeepers”  have actually used their arms.

But was anyone punished? No; that’s just not the UN way. When Horowitz, in a sit-down interview with Abou Moussa, head of the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire, asks about the episode, Moussa gets up and leaves.

The film moves on to the absurdity that is the International Atomic Energy Agency – which, tasked with preventing nuclear-arms proliferation, has actually helped North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan to acquire nuclear technology, purportedly for peaceful purposes. Since, as the film notes, the IAEA can only perform inspections in countries that invite it to do so, it spends more than 80% of its $380 million annual budget inspecting facilities in – believe it or not – Germany, Japan, and Canada. …

Iran carries on towards making nuclear weapons. The UN and its agencies can do nothing about it, nor would if they could. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is one of the most honored, ecstatically applauded gasbags in the UN General Assembly, he who has homosexuals hanged and women stoned to death. Ahmadinejad is the perfect personification of the spirit of the United Nations Organization.  

Then there’s terrorism. After 9/11, the UN passed Resolution 1373, which was supposedly designed to fight terrorism. It would appear to be as toothless a measure as was ever ratified by a deliberative body. Horowitz interviews Javier Ruperez, whose title is – get this – Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council. Asked what the committee actually does to fight terrorism, Ruperez speaks blandly of the production of reports. Member countries, you see, are asked to file reports indicating whether or not they’re aiding terrorists. The directorate, or committee, or whatever it is also sends inspectors for, oh, a week or so to various countries to find out whether anything fishy is going on there. None of this, of course, actually accomplishes anything. Asked whether the UN has official lists of terrorist groups and of countries that support terror, Ruperez says no: “This is not the practice of the UN.” …

Another question: how does the UN define terrorism? This, Ruperez declares, is still a “pending matter.” …

The UN will not define terrorism because the General Assembly is dominated by terrorism-sponsoring states.

Next up: the Oil for Food scandal – which, as Claudia Rosett, the top-notch UN expert and eloquent UN critic, tells Horowitz, was absolutely “designed to produce corruption.” Allegedly, the objective of the program was to provide food, medical supplies, and so forth to the Iraqi people in exchange for oil; in reality, a bunch of UN big shots, up to and including Security Council representatives … lined their pockets with kickbacks. But, again, the UN did nothing – it was, as Rosett says, “the biggest scam in the history of human relief,” but nobody was fired or jailed. As always, the UN proved that nothing could be more alien to its institutional culture than the idea of accountability.

The Rwanda genocide gets its own sad chapter in UN Me. The head of the UN peacekeepers in that country, General Romeo Dallaire, actually wanted to do the right thing. But when he asked Kofi Annan, then in charge of all UN peacekeeping forces, for authority to take relatively modest action to prevent a looming genocide, Annan said no. Why? Because it was more important to protect the UN’s “image of impartiality” than to protect people from genocide. UN forces were even ordered to withdraw from a school where they were the only thing standing between Tutsi refugees – many of them children and old people – and Hutus with machetes. Result: a brutal massacre for which – yet again – no UN personnel were punished.

Live footage of what happened there is one of the most heart-rending scenes in the film.

While this nightmare was unfolding in Rwanda, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, then secretary-general of the UN, was on a European tour, which he refused to cancel in order to deal with Rwanda.

He had urgently to attend a string of universities bestowing honorary degrees on him for being such a benefactor of mankind.

When he did return to New York, he denied that Tutsi were being exterminated. …  Horowitz and Groff even got Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on camera smoothly asserting that in the wake of the Rwanda genocide, it’s best not to “allocate the blame to one actor or the other.”

Horowitz also interviews Jody Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was invited by the UN to examine the situation in Darfur and who ended up livid at the UN’s palpable discomfort with her undiplomatic conclusions and its failure to act on her urgent recommendations. …

At film’s end, Horowitz and Graff pose a simple question: what, given all these unpleasant facts, does the UN stand for? The answer, alas, is clear. It stands for itself – period. Like many other pointless bureaucracies, it is about perpetuating its own existence and enhancing its own image – and about seeking to squelch the truth about its fecklessness, incompetence, and absolute lack of a moral compass. It’s also … about providing hack politicians from around the world with yet another career steppingstone, once they’ve risen to the top of the ladder in their own crummy little countries and finished emptying their own citizens’ pockets.

Please watch the film!

Tarnished laurels 1

The Nobel Peace Prize has been so thoroughly debased that it could be considered a positive insult for a person who deserves honor to be awarded it.

What decent man or woman would want to be in this company?

  • Yasser Arafat, the grandfather of Islamic terrorism
  • Al Gore, who promotes the lie of manmade global warming for personal gain
  • Kofi Annan, who presided over the UN-Iraq food-for-oil scandal
  • Jimmy Carter – enough said
  • Rigoberta Manchu, another prize liar
  • Sean MacBride, Chief of Staff of the IRA,  also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize
  • Barack Obama, a leftist community organizer from Chicago

All of these have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

There have a been a few, a small minority, of  worthy laureates since the Second World War. Martin Luther King was one, Aung San Suu Kyi who continues to oppose the oppressive regime of Myanmar (Burma) is another. Amazing that the Norwegian committee could very occasionally get it right!

And now again – the committee has actually chosen to reward a worthy recipient: Professor Liu Xiaobo, who at great personal risk has opposed the Communist regime of China, and is therefore being punished with imprisonment.

He is a writer who has dared to call for democracy to replace communist one-party rule in his country. He participated in the Tiananmen Square protests. He has committed no violent acts and has harmed nobody.

China is outraged that he is being honored, and has pressed other countries to boycott the award ceremony, where Liu Xiaobo will be present only in effigy, his face seen in a portrait on his otherwise empty chair. No members of his family have been allowed to travel to Oslo to receive the prize on his behalf. His wife, Liu Xia, is being held incommunicado.

The New York Times reports:

China has been incensed by Mr. Liu’s award …   and the government has been waging an offensive to rebrand the prize as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power. …

Chinese officials [are] saying supporters of Mr. Liu are fundamentally opposed to China’s development and trying to interfere in the country’s politics and legal system.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, told reporters: “I would like to say to those at the Nobel committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves.”

“We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path,” she said …

Eighteen countries will obey China and boycott the event.

Nineteen governments have said their ambassadors will not attend a ceremony this week awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident, the Norwegian prize committee said on Tuesday … reflecting the strong pressure exerted by Beijing to boycott the event.

Those 19 countries are: China itself, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

Look at it, this list of countries who will do Communist China’s bidding. How disappointing to see Colombia on the list. And why is Serbia doing this? Or the Philippines? Or Egypt? Or Ukraine? And why Iraq and Afghanistan, countries for which so much American blood has been spilled to bring them the opportunity of freedom?

However, 44 countries will be sending a representative.

Invitations to the ceremony are routinely sent only to those 65 countries with embassies in Oslo, Mr. [Geir] Lundestad [the committee’s secretary] said  …  Those who accepted included “all the western countries” along with representatives from other countries including India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Japan, he said.

There’s at least one surprise on that list too: South Africa.

If it makes Liu Xiaobo’s name better known throughout the world, and his cause better appreciated, the prize, this time, has been well awarded.

But the only historically important fact about the Nobel Prize for Peace, demonstrating how valueless it has become as a result of the usual perversity and moral blindness of the Norwegian judges, is that it was not awarded to Ronald Reagan who, along with Margaret Thatcher, was chiefly responsible for bringing the Cold War – the terror that hung over the whole world for 45 years – to a quiet end. And that it did go to Mikhail Gorbachev, freedom’s defeated enemy.

Health derangement syndrome 1

If starving isn’t unhealthy, what does the word ‘unhealthy’ mean?

There are powerful persons who believe with fanatical conviction that (other) people should starve to death rather than eat something ‘unhealthy’.

As a result, millions are deprived of food.

Even Bill Gates protests about this state of affairs. We say ‘even Bill Gates’, because he usually goes along with the thinking of those who believe in government control of individual lives, aka socialists. (See in the quotation below a list of lefty organizations he supports.)  He doesn’t seem to realize that he is one of the greatest benefactors of mankind ever, through supplying billions of people with something they want: the products of Microsoft, which are put to trillions of productive uses throughout the world. Doing so –  as a model capitalist – has rightfully made him rich, and he has no moral obligation to redistribute his wealth in a secondary and much feebler attempt to do good. But he apparently thinks there is, perhaps out of some unwarranted feeling of guilt.

Whatever prompts him, he has undertaken to alleviate the chronic hunger of whole populations in Africa. And he has run into an impediment: the adoption, by stupid African rulers, of two Western ‘progressive’ notions: that people must be made to eat healthy food, and that genetically modified foods are unhealthy.

This article is from FrontPageMag:

The left-of-center philanthropist says starving Africans should be allowed to eat genetically modified foods.

Bill Gates took on the Famine Lobby while addressing a forum on the world food supply in Iowa. Speaking at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Gates took aim at the chorus of environmental leftists and organic food advocates who believe Africans should starve rather than eat genetically modified (GM) foods. “Some voices are instantly hostile to any emphasis on productivity. They act as if there is no emergency, even though in the poorest, hungriest places on earth, population is growing faster than productivity,” he said.

The opposition is significant, because Gates is left-of-center himself. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of $29 billion as of 2005, has focused on the “population” side of the “problem” in the past, sending billions of dollars in grants to such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood; Population Action International, Population Services International, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Resource Center. Gates has also financed such organizations as the [Soros supported] Tides Center, the Tides Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and has supported a gun control initiative in Washington state.

However, Gates announced he will issue a $120 million grant to increase food productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the planting of genetically modified seeds. In Des Moines, Gates cited a Stanford study from 2008 concluding African farmers will lose one-quarter of their productivity within 20 years if they continue to plant the same strains of corn. However, “If the seeds perform well, African farmers can expect to produce two-million more tons of maize in a year of moderate drought.” Radio Iowa reports Gates has “committed more than a billion dollars” in all.

In proposing this initiative, he is standing up to the Green Left, which has long favored environmental “purity” [over] human well-being. Greenpeace cooked up the term “Frankenfood” to demonize genetically modified foods a decade ago. …

Dire predictions aside, GM foods not only potentially increase food production but have replaced the need to spray crops with chemical pesticides, which sickened or killed Africans. Those farmers who spray can now streamline the process, saving them much time and money. The modified crops are more resistant to cold, drought, herbicides, pests, and disease. They also supplied nutritional gaps in the consumption patterns of the poor. For instance, so-called “golden rice” spliced Vitamin A into rice, which could stave off blindness among the world’s poor who eat little more than rice. …

Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” Given the environmentalist movement’s hatred of population – best exemplified by Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s justification of compulsory abortion in the United States – this may be the real locus of their disdain.

So deep is the Green Left’s hatred of GM foods that even an organization Gates founded has given genetically modified food a chilly reception. “The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”

The scare tactics and shunning of American and Euro-socialist leftists is theoretical and faulty – but their mania has reaped a deadly harvest among the world’s most vulnerable people.

In 2002, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa refused to accept tons of U.S. food aid for his starving nation, because the aid contained genetically modified food (maize, specifically). “Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health,” he said. The deluded president continued, “I will not allow Zambians to be turned into guinea pigs no matter the levels of hunger in the country.”

The levels of hunger were staggering. Nearly one-third of Zambia’s 10 million people faced famine. Some 14 million Africans faced starvation region-wide. Nonetheless, the president privately upbraided officials in the UN World Food Programme for distributing GM foods, which fed 125,000 people in five camps. The WFP reported some impoverished Zambians “resorted to eating little more than twigs and ash from the fire in a brown soupy concoction.” Desperate, rural villagers broke into the palace where the stockpiles were rotting and stole 2,000 bags of maize.

In response, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, signed a “statement of solidarity” with Zambia. Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace went further, alleging the humanitarian aid constituted a sick capitalist ploy. “There is a constant drip of pressure from the U.S. government and biotech industry to make sure Africa is softened up for GM,” he theorized. “Europe is closed to them and they need a market for it.”

Others offered more than ideological support. Zimbabwe joined the boycott, preventing GM grain’s importation. Angola followed suit in 2004. Lesotho and Mozambique milled all such grain so it would not be planted and “infect” other crops.

Not all were limited to the EU and Africa. In 2004, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez passed “possibly…the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.”

At home, the opposition has been remarkably well-heeled. National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.” However misled he is on other issues, Bill Gates deserves credit for standing up against the Green Left on this point.

But on another, closely related, issue he has so far failed to take the right stand:

The question remains, will he do so on the issue that seems closest to his heart: the eradication of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa? In a recent speech on the topic Gates admitted, “two tools helped to bring the death rate down: One was killing the mosquitoes with DDT.” Before Rachel Carson’s crusade – based entirely on scientific theories that never panned out – DDT use had nearly eradicated malaria. Now, according to one report, “there are approximately 350 to 500 millions cases of malaria, killing close to one million people” annually. “Every day, malaria takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa alone.” Yet instead of backing DDT use, Gates has sought to find a vaccine.

If Gates truly wants to put the well-being of Africans above political correctness, DDT is the best place to start.

Nuclear fallout 0

We take our title and the whole of the following from Mark Steyn who put it in ‘the corner’ of National Review Online:

Strange developments at the Iranian nuke talks:

A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.

The 47-year-old man died after falling more than 120ft to the bottom of a stairwell. He has not been named.

He worked for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an international agency charged with uncovering illicit nuclear tests.

A UN spokesman in the Austrian capital said there were no “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the man’s death…

Four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell from a similar height in the same building, it has been reported.

Hmm. I’d advise Mohammed El Baradei’s surviving colleagues to take the elevator, but then again the aunt of Kofi Annan’s discredited sidekick Benon Sevan fell to her death accidentally stepping into an empty elevator shaft shortly before she was due to be questioned about the Oil-for-Food scandal. If you work at the UN, get a gig on the ground floor.

And in any case, UN DELENDA EST!

Posted under Diplomacy, News, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 24, 2009

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