Round about the cauldron go 0

We have spoken of the Three Harpies of the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice (see our post, A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011). They wanted America to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war “to protect civilians”, and they got their way, so the US is involved in a costly and ineffective engagement, along with ramshackle NATO; and Libyan civilians continue to be displaced, injured, and killed, often by the “protective” operations of the US and NATO – or the US in NATO, say, since the administration pretends that it has withdrawn from the fray.

Today we liken the three women to three witches, cooking up a lethal brew of global socialism, pro-Islamism, and anti-Americanism, in a steaming pot of self-righteous sentimentality.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a disciple of the Communist Revolutionary Saul Alinsky, is the most powerful of them by reason of her position in the administration. But she’s probably not the equal of the other two in gathering venomous ideas.

Samantha Power runs Obama’s “Office of Human Rights” and has written a book about genocide. It’s a long grope for a definition of the word. She believes, as the left generally does, that America should only go to war as an act of altruism, never to protect its own interests such as securing oil supplies or punishing attackers, and whenever possible as an instrument of the UN.

As for Susan Rice, the current US ambassador to that evil institution, here’s an account of her by Rick Moran from Front Page:

President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has long been an advocate for weakening American sovereignty in order to benefit the UN and its anti-American agenda. It is a policy known as “engagement,” where the United States subsumes its own vital interests, abandons its traditional role of leadership in the world community, and … pushes the process of “subcontracting American national security” to the UN.

Time Magazine refers to this policy — without a hint of irony — as “leading from the back.” … Her vision of what the US’s role in the world should be … includes an open hostility to the state of Israel, a dangerous reliance on the UN to keep Iran from going nuclear, as well as the world body’s inexplicable granting Tehran membership on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. …

While one expects a UN ambassador to be an advocate for internationalism, Rice slipped the bounds of reason and waxed poetic in her testimony about the importance of the United Nations to our national security. … Rice claimed that … “the U.N. promotes universal values Americans hold dear.” …

That statement is nonsense. It is beyond rhetorical excess and enters the sublime milieu of self-delusion. Unless she believes that America “holds dear” values like racism, anti-Semitism, corruption, sexism, child rape, and a host of other execrable hallmarks of United Nations actions and policies, then she is either naive or willfully blind to the true nature of the UN.

In one of the most extraordinary statements ever made by an American official about Israel, Rice bitterly complained last February about having to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel and its settlement policy. She deliberately undercut the impact of the veto by saying, “For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security … corroded hopes for peace and security … it violates international commitments and threatens prospects for peace.” During her testimony last week, Rice reiterated that sentiment, adding “Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate.”

What angered Rice was that the Security Council vote was 14-1, with countries like Great Britain, France, and Russia co-sponsoring the Palestinian-inspired condemnation. To Rice’s and the administration’s way of thinking, going against international “consensus” — even if inimical to US interests — was a blow to their strategy of “engagement.”

Rice’s statements before the committee on the UN’s massively hypocritical selections for the Human Rights Council can only be termed bizarre. The HRC features such stellar advocates for human rights as Angola, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — a rogue’s gallery of thuggish states. After acknowledging that it is difficult to find nations that have good human rights records to serve on the council, Rice seemed proud of the fact that US opposition had kept Iran off the HRC. She chalked that “success” up to the fact that the United States had agreed to join the HRC rather than refuse to participate in such a farce.

What Rice didn’t mention was that in order to get Iran to withdraw its application for membership on the HRC, Washington agreed not to raise a stink when the fundamentalist Islamic Republic that mandates stoning women for adultery wanted to join the Commission on the Status of Women. With no objection from the US, Iran was duly elected to the commission.

Instead of Iran joining the HRC, Libya got the slot. How this can be termed a “success” takes pretzel-like logic — something Rice appears to excel at. …

Rice’s thinking on terrorism has also heavily influenced administration policy. In 1996, she advised President Clinton not to accept Sudan’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden because Sudan’s human rights record was so wretched, she thought we shouldn’t have anything to do with them.

Refusing to contaminate her idealistic beliefs with the ample evidence that has been produced to the contrary, Susan holds fast to her conviction that the “cause of terrorism” is “poverty”.

Her steadfast belief that poverty, not radical Islamist ideology, is responsible for terrorism has upended 20 years of American anti-terrorism policy. Rice is the inspiration behind the Obama administration’s de-emphasizing military action against terrorists, while looking for ways to address the “root causes” of the violence. …

It is Rice’s solution to what she considers the “real” causes of terrorism that is of great concern. She supports the transfer of nearly $100 billion every year to UN’s Millennium Development Project for redistribution to poorer nations and their kleptocrat leaders. How this will address the problem of “poverty” in poor countries never seems to get explained. The history of aid to these nations is that the elites end up with most of it while precious little trickles down to the masses. Rice ignores this history — and the reality that America doesn’t have $100 billion for such a cockamamie scheme. …

What isn’t generally known is her advocacy for unilateral American action in cases where the UN fails to act. Along with Samantha Power, the president’s national security advisor, Rice is responsible for pushing through the Security Council a strong resolution authorizing military force against Gaddafi. But when it comes to Darfur and other potential hot spots where the UN refuses to act, Rice has advocated that America go it alone to prevent a humanitarian disaster. … She has … suggested that the US should contribute a percentage of its military to a UN force, under UN command, to intervene where humanitarian crises threaten disaster.

This goes far beyond what most would advocate for when it comes to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. But it is one more indication that Susan Rice casually sets aside the interests of her own country in order to cater to the whims and capricious agenda of a world body that has proven itself an enemy of the United States.

Because the left hates individual freedom, it hates America. It wants the UN to become the world’s governing body and redistribute wealth from the developed countries to the rest. And it’s making progress towards achieving its terrible aims. The thugocracies that have a permanent seat on its Security Council – Russia and China – are no longer restrained by Western powers. France and Britain are ghosts of the powers they used to be. And as Susan Rice represents an American leadership that does not like America, it looks as if Turtle Bay could actually become the capital of the whole-earth hell that the international left dreams of …

… unless the United States again, and soon, has strong wise men governing it, and they have the will to abolish the United Nations.

The UN must be destroyed!

Slavery now 0

Right now, in 2010, slaves are owned by Arab masters.

Here is a documented case, a report about slaves and their suffering in the miserable land of Yemen:

Officially, slavery was abolished back in 1962 but a judge’s decision to pass on the title deed of a “slave” from one master to another has blown the lid off the hidden bondage of hundreds of Yemenis.

The judge in the town of Hajja, which is home to some 300 slaves, according to residents, said he had certified the transfer only because the new owner planned to free the slave. …

A 2009 report by the human rights ministry found that males and females were still enslaved in the provinces of Hudaydah and Hajja, in northwest Yemen — the Arab world’s most impoverished country.

Mubarak, who has seven brothers and sisters, has never set foot outside the village where he was born into a family which was inherited as slaves by their local master.

Sheikh Mohammed Badawi’s father had bought Mubarak’s parents 50 years ago, shortly before Yemen’s 1962 revolution which abolished slavery. Mubarak has known no other life except that of a slave.

“Whenever I think of freedom, I ask myself, ‘Where will I go?'” he [said] as he stood outside a hut which serves as home for him and his family.

Black-skinned Mubarak does not know his birthday but he knows he has been a slave from birth 21 years ago. He has two children with a wife who was also a slave until she was emancipated by her master, a few years before they married.

“Sometimes I wonder what the fate of my children will be, having a slave father and an emancipated mother,” he said.

Mubarak and his family are just one case among many. …

In addition to “slaves whose owner can use them however he wants,” the [human rights activists’] report also refers to other groups subjected to slave-like conditions, although they are not bound by documents. … “former slaves who have been officially set free, but remain at the service of their former masters, who continue to feed them but never pay them wages. ”

One group includes “former slaves who have been officially set free, but remain at the service of their former masters, who continue to feed them but never pay them wages,” the report said. … Such people are still referred to as “the slaves of such and such a family, or the slaves of such and such a tribe.”…

The authorities do not want to get into a conflict with the powerful tribes, who form the backbone of Yemeni society, over the slavery issue …

Mubarak dreams of living a normal life, though he doubts being capable of coping with it.

“I dream of living like other people … (But) I have always known myself to do nothing but work on the farm and tend the cattle,” he said.

Ashram, enslaved for 50 years before being freed five years ago by his dying master, appeared to have gone through what Mubarak fears.

“When my master Sheikh Ali Hussein told me ‘I have freed you, Ashram,’ I was happy. I started wondering how to live, where to go, and how to make a living.”

Ashram decided to revert to his old life, becoming a “slave of the village,” he said. “I carry water daily to the houses from a well [so that] I will not die of starvation.”

Is anything being done by World Opinion about slavery? Has the International Court of Justice indicted the slavers and slave-owners? Is the United Nations in uproar over slave labor and the traffic in human beings? Does the General Assembly regularly raise the topic? Does the Human Rights Council condemn slavery in the strongest terms? Has the Security Council passed resolutions (supposed to be binding international law) to put a stop to it? Do Western ambassadors raise the subject of contemporary slavery wherever it is practiced, and propose in the UN what should be done to end it?

Not that we’ve noticed.

What about the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN “specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights”? What is it doing about slavery?

Ah, yes! That organization published a report titled Stopping Forced Labour, which was discussed by the ILO’s 175 member States at the 89th session of the International Labour Conference. It was a thing to be proud of. It asserted that –

Although universally condemned, forced labour is revealing ugly new faces alongside the old. Traditional types of forced labour such as chattel slavery and bonded labour are still with us in some areas, and past practices of this type haunt us to this day. In new economic contexts, disturbing forms such as forced labour in connection with the trafficking of human beings are now emerging almost everywhere.

“The growth of forced labour worldwide is deeply disturbing,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia in announcing the publication … “The emerging picture is one where slavery, exploitation and oppression of society’s most vulnerable members – especially women and children – have by no means been consigned to the past. Abusive control of one human being over another is the antithesis of decent work.”

Although they might vary outwardly, different types of forced labour share two common features: the exercise of coercion and the denial of freedom. It was in recognition of this affront to the human spirit that the ILO Declaration included the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.

“In light of these findings the entire world needs to re-examine its conscience and instigate action to abolish forced labour and the often terrible living and working conditions that go with it,” Mr. Somavia said.

But that was in May 2001. Maybe they’ve been quietly struggling to “abolish forced labour” ever since, but they certainly haven’t succeeded. (They have not been wholly idle. In 2005 they published another report on what they called “forms of slavery”, dealing chiefly with, and objecting to, the exploitation of illegal Guatamalan immigrants working as fruit-pickers in Florida, and of Romanian migrant workers in German abattoirs.)

Some charitable organizations have made it their business to free slaves held by Muslims in Africa. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is one such. They conceived the idea of buying slaves and setting them free. Though their motives could not have been higher, the dreadful (and surely predictable) result of their well-meant activity was a boom in the slave trade as more helpless Africans, especially women and children – often the same ones over and over again – were kidnapped in order to be sold to CSI.

We listen attentively for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bold denouncement of slavery, to be followed of course by the Obama administration’s effective action to eliminate it.

Any minute now, d’you think?

PS: The UN must be destroyed!

Protecting imaginary beings from defamation 0

Here’s a first-hand account of the goings-on in that devilish covern, the deceptively named UN Human Rights Council (read more here):    

The Inquisition is back, and this time it has set up shop at the United Nations. Consider the resolution “Combating the Defamation of Religions” passed by a comfortable margin last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (and passed by the General Assembly every year since 2005).

The resolution decries a “campaign of defamation of religions,” intensifying since 2001, in which “the media” and “extremist organizations” are “perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions” (read: Islam) and “sacred persons” (read: Muhammad). It urges UN member states to provide redress “within their respective legal and constitutional systems.” Capitalizing on cartoon riots and Western anxieties over the excesses of the war on terror, the language conflates peaceful criticism of Islam with anti-Muslim bigotry and seeks to stifle speech in the name of “respect for religions and beliefs.”

In my capacity as UN representative for the secularist think tank Center for Inquiry, I spent a surreal two weeks at the Council participating in the negotiations over the language of this resolution, sponsored by a 57-member intergovernmental body called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC.

After one of these sessions, I found my way into a private conversation with the chair of the negotiations, a delegate for the government of Pakistan. We were soon joined by the representatives of the US, Canada, and the European Union. There we were, “the West,” standing at the front of an empty conference room, gingerly trying to reason with this feisty, yet solicitous, Pakistani diplomat.

The American delegate noted that, “History shows that criminalizing speech doesn’t work,” when the chair interrupted her to propose a case he hoped would hit home. Suppose someone were to say that the Virgin Mary was not a virgin but a promiscuous woman? What could be the purpose of this statement, he asked, except mockery?

Canada pointed out that ‘defamation’ has a specific legal meaning—involving the spread of falsehoods that harm some individual—which is not applicable to cases of religiously offensive speech. For starters, religious personages like Mary and Muhammad are not alive, so they’re not, legally speaking, persons who can be harmed. Undeterred by the Canadian’s reductio ad absurdum, the Pakistani delegate responded that this is precisely why we need the authorities to protect them against insult: they are not around to defend themselves.

Never mind how one would demonstrate, in a court of law, the falsity of a scurrilous rumor about a far-distant and long-gone (and quite possibly never-there) religious figure. Ironically, all the world’s heretics could never do more damage to the reputations of gods, saints, and prophets than has already been done by their devoted followers. The odd thing about God is that no matter how much He is slandered, his livelihood never seems to suffer as a result. One of the perks of being a necessary being, I guess, is that you never lose your job no matter how unpopular you become. In that respect God may be the ultimate bureaucrat. I didn’t bring this up.

It would all be absurdist comedy if it didn’t have such grave consequences. Defamation of religions resolutions are far worse than useless; they are a direct threat to human rights. While they will have no impact on blasphemy in western democracies (which already censor themselves far too often), they serve to legitimize the suppression of peaceful political and religious dissent elsewhere—first and foremost in the Islamic states themselves.

 

Posted under Christianity, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 30, 2009

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