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!

The fourth man 1

The president of the United States does not like the country he leads. He may sometimes feel the need to say or do something to suggest that he has America’s interests at heart, but the weight of evidence that he does not accumulates and becomes too massive to miss. Not only does he apologize for America abroad, he even has his envoys deplore its laws in talks with foreign regimes, as Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner did recently to the Communist Chinese. And he personally endorsed the criticism of the same laws – Arizona’s new legislation dealing with illegal immigration – made by Mexico’s President Calderon, when the two of them stood side by side on the White House lawn.

And now it emerges that he initiated or at the very least advocated the agreement that Iran made with Brazil and Turkey to have some uranium enriched for it – a ploy that his administration condemns as an effort to stall new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. The sanctions would be weak, and very unlikely to stop Iran making nuclear bombs, but the administration boasts of getting Russia and China to vote for them.

Obama performed this outrageous, underhand act last month in a letter to President da Silva of Brazil.

The New York Times reports:

Brazilian officials on Wednesday provided a full copy of the three-page letter President Obama sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in April, arguing that it laid the groundwork for the agreement they reached in Tehran.

“There continues to be some puzzlement” among Brazilian officials about why American official[s] would reject the deal now, a senior Brazilian official said. “The letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

So there was a fourth party to the agreement, which was announced one day before the US presented its draft resolution on Iran sanctions to the Security Council.

As it was the work of all four leaders, Prime Minister Erdogan and Presidents Ahmadinejad, da Silva, and Obama, it should rightly be called the Iran-Brazil-Turkey-US Agreement.

Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary-Contentions, points out:

If the mere fact of this new deal wasn’t enough to undermine international support for sanctions, the revelation that Brazil acted with the express written permission of Obama must be seen as a catastrophe for international efforts to restrain Tehran. Why should anyone take American rhetoric about stopping Iran seriously if Obama is now understood to have spent the past few months pushing for sanctions in public while privately encouraging third parties who are trying to appease the Iranians?

A success story 1

At last the day came when China and Russia agreed to support a US resolution in the UN Security Council that would make Iran regret it had defied the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, promise never to make nuclear bombs, stop threatening to destroy Israel, and utterly renounce its wicked ways.

As you can imagine, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton felt immensely triumphant – not so much because Iran would now be forced to do all that, but because getting Russia and China on their side had been really hard. It was especially great for Hillary, as she hadn’t achieved anything else to boast about since becoming Secretary of State.

What dire punishments, what unendurable difficulties, will the resolution impose on the Iranian regime?

Sorry, we can’t tell you. The draft of the resolution has not been made public.

However, some information about it comes from unofficial sources.

One report claims that it will ban Iran from building ballistic missiles. (Which it has already done, without permission.)

And what penalties will it impose if Iran disobeys? These:

It “calls on countries to block financial transactions, including insurance and reinsurance, and ban the licensing of Iranian banks if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe these activities could contribute to Iranian nuclear activities.”  And it “recalls the need for states to exercise vigilance over all Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, to prevent transactions contributing to proliferation activities.”

“Calls on them to”, and “recalls the need to”, but does not require them to do so.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, says it will give “greater teeth” to some sanctions already imposed which haven’t proved effective, and “add strong new measures to intensify pressure on the Iranian government to resolve concerns that its nuclear program is peaceful and not aimed at producing nuclear weapons.”

And that seems to be the most that can be hoped of it.

“The draft resolution is weaker than the original Western-backed proposal, especially on financial and energy-related measures. Rather than place sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, the proposed resolution simply notes the potential connection between Iranian energy revenues and funding for the country’s nuclear program and calls on U.N. members to be aware of it.”

The draft was introduced into the Security Council last Tuesday. (It was urgent, Ambassador Rice said, but she “wouldn’t speculate on when the resolution will be put to a vote”.)

On the day before, Iran announced an agreement it had made with Turkey and Brazil [?] to send some if its low-enriched uranium to Turkey (which has as yet no enrichment facility), in exchange for higher-enriched fuel rods – which Iran will use only in an innocent medical research reactor, built long ago for Tehran by the United States. (And meanwhile, of course, it will continue with its own high-enrichment program.)

But if Iran had hoped that this little ruse, this piece of side-play with Turkey and Brazil, would thwart the resolve of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, it was underestimating the stuff they’re made of! They pressed on, confident that Russia and China were right behind them.

That is, if those two powers stuck to their side of the bargain.

The US had had to pay a price for their co-operation.

First, various provisions had to be stripped from the draft before either of them would even consider giving their nods to it.

Chiefly, the one sanction that would really hurt Iran, aimed at its oil and gas industries, had to be removed. Both China and Russia had invested too heavily in them to allow anything like that.

Next, according to another report, they had to drop sanctions against three Russian organizations that had aided Iran’s nuclear program (and that until now the Russian government had denied were giving any support at all to Iran). And “penalties against a fourth Russian entity previously accused of illicit arms sales to Syria were also lifted” as part of the deal. So were “US sanctions imposed in October 2008 against Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport for … illicit assistance to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Now Iran may expect aid from Russia to resume or continue. (And so may Syria.)

Then China had to be paid. Part of China’s demand was that America should take no notice of certain nuclear-related transactions it has made with Pakistan, in particular its contracts to build two reactors in that country, which is already a nuclear power.

Pakistan in its turn is providing nuclear and ballistic missile technologies to both Iran and North Korea.

And North Korea has announced that it is developing a hydrogen bomb – a claim that the Obama administration refuses to believe. (North Korea recently torpedoed a South Korean ship, and warned that any retaliation will mean all-out war.)

So let’s say well done Barack, Hillary, and Susan! And thank you for keeping us safe.

Out of Africa always something familiar 0

It’s another real African story.

The Wichita Eagle of Kansas reports:

Up to half the food aid intended for the millions of hungry people in Somalia is being diverted to corrupt contractors, radical Islamic militants and local U.N. workers, according to a U.N. Security Council report.

Only half?

The report blames the problem on improper food distribution by the U.N. World Food Program in the African nation, which has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for nearly two decades, according to a U.N. diplomat. …

Because of the instability in Somalia, transporters must truck bags of food through roadblocks manned by a bewildering array of militias, insurgents and bandits. Kidnappings and executions are common and the insecurity makes it difficult for senior U.N. officials to travel to the country to check on procedures. Investigators could end up relying on the same people they are probing to provide protection.

Strange that we hardly hear a word about this, though surely it’s a much discussed issue in the UN?

There are of course UN sanctions against Somalia:

[A] U.N. diplomat told The Associated Press that “a significant diversion” of food delivered by the U.N. food program is going to cartels that were selling it illegally, according to the report by the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against Somalia.

Although WFP contracts are supposed to be subject to open tender and competitive bidding, “in practice the system offers little or no scope for genuine competition,” the diplomat quoted the report as saying.

The transportation contracts, with a budget of $200 million, constitute the single most important source of revenue in Somalia, the diplomat quoted the report as saying. … “On account of their contracts with WFP, these men have become some of the wealthiest in Somalia” …

Some 3.7 million people in Somalia – nearly half of the population – need aid. Earlier this year, the country’s main extremist Islamic [ie terrorist] group, al-Shabab, said it would prohibit WFP from distributing food in areas under its control because it says the food undercuts farmers selling recently harvested crops. [They have a point there - JB]

Omar Jamal, first secretary for Somalia’s U.N. Mission, told the AP on Wednesday that the problem is “the absence of law and order.”

We wouldn’t argue with that.

“Radicals, al-Shabab have to eat. And ever wonder where their foods come from? Of course, from WFP and UNDP,” said Jamal, also referring to the U.N. Development Program.

Someone really ought to do something about it -

Empower the Somali government to deal with corrupt contractors, Islamists and war profiteers awash in the country.”

Exactly how?

The terrorists who are doing so well out of all this misplaced philanthropy and endemic corruption have a complaint to make:

Al-Shabab [which] controls 95 percent of WFP’s areas of operation … accused the agency of handing out food unfit for human consumption and of secretly supporting “apostates,” or those who have renounced Islam.

Approximately 30 percent of the food goes to the distributors or “implementing partners,” between 5 and 10 percent goes to the armed group in control of the area, and 10 percent to the ground transporter, the diplomat quoted the report as saying.

The rest – about 50 percent of the food aid – is distributed to the needy population.

If they say so.

A couple of footnotes:

The U.S. reduced its funding to Somalia last year after the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control feared aid could be diverted to al-Shabab, which the U.S. State Department says has links to al-Qaida. The issue remains unresolved.

Finance Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman … said the Somali government would investigate the allegations of diverted food aid.

Sure it will. And what a difference it will make.

THE UN MUST BE DESTROYED!

Only the ayatollahs may be laughing 0

From Fox News, via The Religion of Peace which heads this story No Joke :

On Jan. 1, 2010, Hezbollah and its de-facto ruler Iran could have a direct line to the Security Council and gain access to all the confidential information to which Security Council members are privy.

In October the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for Lebanon to be the Asian bloc’s new non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a 2-year term.

Earlier today the Lebanese Government endorsed Hezbollah’s demand allowing it to keep its huge weapons arsenal. In doing so the Lebanese government is able to maintain its shaky unity government in which Hezbollah, a designated terrorist group by the U.S. state department, holds two ministries.

Critics worry that the Lebanese will essentially be sitting on the Security Council while ignoring Security Council resolutions that call for the disarming of armed militias, in other words Hezbollah.

Analysts point to the influence wielded by the Iranian-funded Hezbollah in Lebanon as a cause for concern over Lebanon’s acceptance into the Security Council. …

Hezbollah’s acceptance of joining the national unity government came with a promise of not having to disarm as well as receiving the power of veto following months of complicated negotiations.

While repeated calls to the Lebanese foreign ministry in Beirut went unanswered, Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.N., Nawaf Salam, was recently quoted in reports as saying that once on the Security Council, Lebanon would “work for a more just and democratic international system.”

Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi told Fox News that he had no comment as to what the organization wants from the Security Council and denied that his organization was bound by U.N. resolutions that called for disarming militias, telling Fox News that “the organization is not a militia” and to look at Wednesday’s announcement by the Lebanese government that leaves Hezbollah in full control of its arms. …

The group that controls the Lebanese foreign ministry: AMAL, the Lebanese Resistance Detachments … is strongly allied with Hezbollah. It holds influence over Lebanon’s foreign policy, which in turn gives Hezbollah enormous influence over what goes on at places like Lebanon’s United Nations Mission.

Posted under Defense, Diplomacy, Iran, jihad, middle east, Muslims, News, Terrorism, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 3, 2009

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No business like show business 0

Charles Krauthammer writes:

Sarkozy …  could not conceal his astonishment at Obama’s naivete. On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention.

Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action.

Obama refused. Not only did he say nothing about it, but, reports Le Monde, Sarkozy was forced to scrap the Qom section of his speech. Obama held the news until a day later — in Pittsburgh. I’ve got nothing against Pittsburgh (site of the G-20 summit), but a stacked-with-world-leaders Security Council chamber, it is not.

Why forgo the opportunity? Because Obama wanted the Security Council meeting to be about his own dream of a nuclear-free world. The president, reports The New York Times citing “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”

Diversion? It’s the most serious security issue in the world. A diversion from what? From a worthless U.N. disarmament resolution?

Yes. And from Obama’s star turn as planetary visionary: “The administration told the French,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “that it didn’t want to ‘spoil the image of success’ for Mr. Obama’s debut at the U.N.”

Image? Success? Sarkozy could hardly contain himself. At the council table, with Obama at the chair, he reminded Obama that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world.”

He explained: “President Obama has even said, ‘I dream of a world without (nuclear weapons).’ Yet before our very eyes, two countries are currently doing the exact opposite.”

Sarkozy’s unspoken words? “And yet, sacre bleu, he’s sitting on Qom!”

At the time, we had no idea what Sarkozy was fuming about. Now we do. Although he could hardly have been surprised by Obama’s fecklessness. After all, just a day earlier in addressing the General Assembly, Obama actually said, “No one nation can … dominate another nation.” That adolescent mindlessness was followed with the declaration that “alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War” in fact “make no sense in an interconnected world.” NATO, our alliances with Japan and South Korea, our umbrella over Taiwan, are senseless? What do our allies think when they hear such nonsense?

What they ought to think is that the time is over when they can rely on American strength to protect them and save them from bothering too much about defense. France and Britain have made appeasement the central tenet of their foreign and domestic policies. If  Obama’s display of idiotic complacency over the danger Iran poses to the world has woken them up, that’s one good result of the Showman President’s fecklessness.

A stupid response, unless … 0

Is Obama’s response to the launching of the long-range missile by North Korea merely (though very dangerously) stupid, or is it a sign that President Obama does not want to carry out his paramount duty, the protection of his country?       

Melanie Phillips writes:

Both Professor Eytan Gilboa and John Bolton, here and here have observed that the crisis over North Korea has a significance beyond itself. It is the first major test of Obama – and how he reacts will tell the world how he intends to deal with Iran.

So far he could hardly have performed more stupidly. Here’s Bolton:

Incredibly, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth revealed – just a few days before the launch – that he was ready to visit Pyongyang and resume the six-party talks once the "dust from the missiles settles." It is no wonder the North fired away. Once the missile shot was complete, the administration’s answer was hand-wringing, more rhetoric and, oh yes, the obligatory trip to the U.N. Security Council so that it could scold the defiant DPRK [North Korea]. Beyond whatever happens in the Security Council, Mr. Obama seems to have no plan whatever.

…Iran has carefully scrutinized the Obama administration’s every action, and Tehran’s only conclusion can be: It is past time to torque up the pressure on this new crowd in Washington. Not only is Iran’s back now covered by its friends Russia, China and others on the U.N. Security Council, but it sees an American president so ready to bend his knee for public favor in Europe that the mullahs’ wish list for U.S. concessions will grow by the minute.

Obama believes that offering a hand of friendship to the enemies of civilisation turns swords into ploughshares. If he is not persuaded otherwise, he will test that craven theory to destruction. Our destruction.

Kneeling to the mullahs 4

Iran has shown, with the launch of a satellite, that it now has ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe.

It has responded to Obama’s pathetic plea for its friendship with scorn and derision.

But still the ‘Great Powers’ (a complimentary lie as a description of all of them except the US) will do nothing to stop Iran from arming its proxies or developing nuclear weapons. 

Caroline Glick writes:

On Wednesday emissaries of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany convened in Wiesbaden, Germany, to discuss their joint policies toward Iran in the aftermath of the satellite launch. Some Israelis argued that Iran’s provocation forced these leaders’ hands. Their reputations for toughness were on the line. They would have to do something.

Unfortunately for Israel, the emissaries of Russia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the US are more interested in convincing the mullahs that they are nice than in convincing them that they are tough.

 

Far from deciding to take concerted action against Iran, the great powers did nothing more than wish the Obama administration good luck as it moves to directly engage the mullahs. As their post-conference press release put it, the six governments’ answer to Teheran’s show of force was to "agree to consult on the next steps as the US administration undertakes its [Iranian] policy review."

As President Barak Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have explained, the US is reviewing its policy toward Iran in the hopes of finding a way to directly engage the Iranian government. While they claim that the aim of these sought after direct negotiations will be to convince the mullahs to give up their nuclear weapons program, since taking office the new administration has sent out strong signals that preventing Iran from going nuclear has taken a backseat to simply holding negotiations with Teheran.

According to a report in Aviation News, last week the US Navy prevented Israel from seizing an Iranian weapons ship in the Red Sea suspected of carrying illicit munitions bound for either Gaza or Lebanon. A week and a half ago, the US Navy boarded the ship in the Gulf of Aden and carried out a cursory inspection. It demurred from seizing the ship, however, because, as Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained on January 27, the US believed it had no international legal right to seize the vessel.

In inspecting the ship the US was operating under UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which bars Iran from exporting arms. The US argued that it lacked authority to seize the ship because 1747 has no enforcement mechanism. Yet the fact of the matter is that if the US were truly interested in intercepting the ship and preventing the arms from arriving at their destination, the language of 1747 is vague enough to support such a seizure.

And that’s the point. The US was uninterested in seizing the ship because it was uninterested in provoking a confrontation with Teheran, which it seeks to engage. It was not due to lack of legal authority that the US reportedly prevented the Israel Navy from seizing the ship in the Red Sea, but due to the administration’s fervent wish to appease the mullahs.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 7, 2009

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