11/14/13

We Have Legal Rights!

Arlene from Israel

It never ends: one crisis, one issue after another. Perhaps you are familiar with the curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

Yesterday, Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) announced plans for “evaluating potential” for 24,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria. Please be clear on this: it was not, as some news sources had it, announcement of concrete plans for those 24,000 units. It was initiation of a process to look into building in several places in Judea and Samaria. (Most controversial: 1.200 projected units in E1, an area between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.) Some might have materialized, some might not have. But even in cases where potential was positively assessed, it would have been a long time (years) until anything was built. This sort of process goes on all the time.

Doesn’t sound like a huge deal.

However, Peace Now, which is eager to obstruct any Israeli potential for building past the Green Line, got wind of this (which is usually the case) and released the information.

And then, naturally, Secretary of State Kerry decided to make a huge deal of it, declaring that we were interfering with the “peace process.”

This, please understand, at the same time that Fatah is accusing Israel — based on some concocted evidence — of having murdered Arafat, “just as the Jews murdered Mohammed.” But this sort of inciteful statement was not seen by Kerry as an interference with the “peace process.” Of course not.

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Prime Minster Netanyahu prevailed upon Ariel to “reconsider” all of the preliminary planning, which he described as causing “an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran.”

Ariel said he would “reconsider.”

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Here I would like to advance a few thoughts in order to clarify the situation. When it comes to Israeli building in Judea and Samaria, there are two essential elements — the legal and the political. And it is time for us to separate the two as we assesses situations such as the one described above.

I have some sympathy with Netanyahu. I know that stopping Iran is his absolute raison d’etre right now (and not improperly so). I know that — as long as we do not concede any land! — we can come back and build at a later date. Whereas we cannot undo Iran’s status as a nuclear nation if, heaven forbid, it should come to that.

Netanyahu may have been correct that Ariel’s timing was off, for tactical or political reasons. He may be right in wanting to avoid giving the international community an excuse to focus on housing instead of Iran and to deflect hostility towards Israel.

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But there are some provisos here. It would be terribly unacceptable, in my opinion, if Netanyahu were to stop the planning for building with the thought that there was going to be a quid pro quo: that he would get more cooperation from Obama on Iran if he did this. That was the thinking of the old Netanyahu, who had not yet confronted the full and bitter truth of the full hostility and duplicity of the Obama administration. We must hope he never falls back into that thinking.

Then, his statements should not imply an organic link between our behavior here, vis-a-vis the “peace process,” and what happens with Iran. That is a fallacious argument that has been floated continuously by Obama and should not be reinforced by Israel. This was the primary concern of Aaron Lerner, of IMRA. Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Strategic Affairs, denies that this was the case.

And lastly, the fact that we have a right to build must be made clear. OK, we will not do it now, for this and this reason. But let it never be said that we do not have the legal right. Legality is quite distinct from politics. And neither the Israeli electorate nor the international community has heard enough about this.

(It is the intention of the Committee promoting the Levy Report Campaign that from now on you should hear about it.)

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I will add here one other element that likely played a role in Netanyahu’s decision to make the statement he did. That “element” is Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beitenu), who has just been sworn-in for the second time as Foreign Minister.

In his previous incarnation — that is, when he was Foreign Minister before he went through a trial for corruption, which ended with a unanimous finding of not guilty — he was tough in his attitude towards the US and Obama. But something has shifted — something we might hope will not be permanent. Lieberman went to meet with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and came back saying it’s not good that we should fight with the US. Huh? My information is that Netanyahu felt a sort of support he thought he could count on disappearing out from under him.

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At the Knesset today, it should be noted, the prime minister said we would be building thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria in the coming months, just as was done in past months. “It was never easy, but we did it responsibly despite international pressure.”

www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Netanyahu-vows-to-build-thousands-more-homes-in-settlements-331657

Though not an explicit declaration of our legal rights, this might be interpreted as implying a right to build. He was, at the very least, attempting to clarify that stopping what Ariel had initiated should not be viewed as a freeze. Now it remains to be seen if this was a serious commitment or an attempt to reassure his coalition’s right flank.

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There are reports (including from Reuters), which I mention here but do not yet take seriously, that the PA negotiators have quit because of Israel’s position on housing. Abbas says he’ll find a new negotiating delegation if they don’t come back. Right… Most likely PA game-playing.

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Soldier Eden Atias, 18 (pictured below), was asleep in the front seat of a bus stopped at a station in Afula today, when he was attacked by a Palestinian Arab youth from Jenin, sitting in the seat next to him, who was in Israel illegally.

Atias – who had enlisted in the army only two weeks ago – was rushed to the hospital, but succumbed to the multiple knife wounds in his neck.

Credit: Facebook

Passengers grabbed the terrorist and turned him over to security personnel.

11/14/13

Egypt Marches to a Saudi Drummer

By: Felix Imonti for Oilprice.com

General El-Sisi may have found the solution to Egypt’s economic woes. It is called war.

During the weeks up to the coup, General El-Sisi had much to consider. With his access to the presidential palace and the trust of the Muslim Brotherhood, the general would have known the well-kept secret that Egypt was facing in a few short months a currency collapse and a famine that would very likely throw the country into a bloody revolution that his soldiers would be forced to quell.

Throughout the growing crisis, the Brotherhood offered no solid plan to revive the economy. Sixty billion dollars had been sent offshore for safety and nothing being done would lure any of it back. Qatar, Libya, and Turkey had contributed twelve billion dollars, but Egypt would require a billion dollars per month to remain solvent and there was no sign that would be forthcoming.

Something had to be done quickly and whatever was to be done would require the agreement of General El-Sisi. He was the Minister of Defense and the commander of the half million strong Egyptian military. He was the most powerful man in Egypt.

Regardless, a coup would not solve the economic stresses. Egypt needed a benefactor with a full purse and a willingness to spend. Only one country fitted that picture, Saudi Arabia; and the king has reason to favor the Egyptian general.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had watched Mubarak removed from office and replaced by Mohammed Morsi. He had seen the Muslim Brotherhood grow from a problem to a threat. The Brotherhood was not only active in Egypt. It was involved in Tunisia, competed with the forces supported by the Saudis in Syria, and had been seeking to overthrow the King of Jordan. The Saudi king had proposed that the Gulf Cooperation Council be expanded to include Jordan and Morocco in an alliance of the monarchies in an effort to blunt the spread of the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood.

One of General El-Sisi’s many admirers might go so far as to say that he had been chosen by a Divine Hand to save Egypt. The general had been based at the Egyptian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and knew many of the leaders of the Kingdom who could provide the desperately needed funds that would make a coup possible. On the other hand, the Saudis had found the one man who could break the Muslim Brotherhood after which they would be free to focus on the destruction of their other enemy, Iran and the Shia.

There is nothing new in the objective. It is the continuation of a war that the Saudis have been pursuing for four decades that dates back to the reign of the Shah. Saudi Arabia had manipulated the oil price on several occasions in order to inflict economic damage upon the Iranians.

Beyond the economic arena, they have battled each other through proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and currently in Syria. In spite of all of those efforts, the Saudis are still confronting their traditional foe and seeing Iran a more dangerous rival than ever before with the Shia control of Iraq and through the growth of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s asymmetric warfare skills, and penetration by Al-Qud of the Shia communities throughout the Middle East.

Seven hundred billion dollars in foreign reserves gives the impression of an economic powerhouse, but the Saudi future is dire. A twenty-five percent unemployment rate among the youth and little prospect for improvement present a potential source of social unrest. After depending upon the strength of the United States for seventy years, their American protector is no longer a reliable ally. Looming in the not too distant future, new technological improvements are increase quantities of recoverable oil that will force down world prices, unless Saudi Arabia can restrict Middle Eastern supplies to compensate for the increased worldwide production

King Abdullah called for the beheading of the Iranian snake in the midst of the Arab Spring and heightened conflict with Iran. He would have liked to have seen the U.S. accomplish it before Iran developed nuclear weapons, but it did not happened and appears that it never will happen. If the kingdom is going to become the dominant power in the region that will give it control over the flow and cost of oil, it must do so before Iran acquires nuclear weapons and before the American shield is withdrawn. The current willingness by the Iranians to negotiate a settlement over the nuclear program is treated in Riyadh as diplomatic theatrics intended to deceive an eagerly to be deceived United States.

The Saudi outburst at the United Nations when the Kingdom refused to take its Security Council seat that it had struggled to acquire was a tactic and not a tantrum. The Saudis were sending the message that the unsolved problems that have been long festering in the region would have to be resolved. If the others would not act, then Saudi Arabia would deal with the issues without the aid of the retreating United States or the impotent UN. What they were saying was that they are being forced to do whatever they are going to do; and their actions would come in many forms.

At the end of October, the newly formed Saudi supported Army of Justice, Jaish Al-Adl killed fourteen Iranian border guards in the Province of Baluchistan. The organization declared that the attack was retaliation for Iranian involvement in Syria.

Baluchistan was merely a pinprick compared to the confrontation at the beginning of August between President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the United States, Bandar Bin Sultan. The Saudi prince came with carrots and sticks to have the Russians drop their support of Bashar Al-Assad. According to the leaked news report, Washington was in full agreement with the Saudi offer.

What the prince presented was an agreement for Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to set production quotas and prices. Combined, they control forty-five percent of oil production.

The Saudis would not interfere with Russian gas sales to Europe and would guarantee Russia’s presence in the Port of Tardus in Syria. How the Saudis could keep their promises was a question that President Putin must have been asking and not liking the answer.

The stick in the prince’s bag was to unleash Chechen Terrorist that he claimed to control to disrupt the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Saudis threatened to escalate the conflict to the point that it would be too costly at home for Russia to bear, but the Russians were already bearing it. The Shia-Sunni conflict in the form of bombings and assassinations has come to the Dagestan and Chechnya regions several years ago.

In spite of the likelihood of violence at the Olympics, Putin shows no inclination to appease Prince Bandar. Instead, suspected potential women bombers are having saliva samples taken in order to identify their body parts and security measures are being intensified as the Sochi Olympics to be held in February.

Border raids in Baluchistan or terrorist attacks in Dagestan to disrupt the Olympics will create anxiety in Iran and Russia, but the actions will not force either to alter the strategy in Syria. In order to accomplish that, Saudi Arabia must put into operation tactics that will overwhelm the opposition. The first sign to achieve that was a statement on August 8, 2013 by the chair of the National Syrian Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba that Saudi Arabia was to form a national army outside of Syria.

All of this was announced more than two months before the United States agreed with Russia to a program of destroying Al-Assad’s chemical weapons and before Presidents Obama and Rouhani were chatting on the telephone. Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz was selected to organize the national army. His plan is to build a force of forty to fifty thousand troops and is prepared to spend several billion dollars on the project.

The ultimate goal is the organizing of the Army of Mohammed. It is to merge numerous smaller units into an army of two hundred and fifty thousand to be ready by March of 2016, but there are problems with the plan. The Pakistani military that has been training smaller size units on bases in Jordan cannot provide the instructors for a quarter million size force; and Jordan cannot accommodate that many troops.

If Al-Assad is the target of the Army of Mohammed, the Saudis are calculating that it will take two more years and an army double that of Syria’s to defeat the regime. If there is another enemy on the agenda, then we have to ask on which country are the bunker busting bombs that are included in a eleven billion dollar order placed recently with the United States to be dropped; and at what targets are the CCS-2 missiles with their nuclear warheads that the BBC says that Pakistan has supplied been aimed. Then, there are those quarter of a million troops in the Army of Muhammad to be send somewhere.

The Saudis have no doubt who their enemy is. A recent attack by tank supported Houthi troops against a Wahhabi madrassa in the Yemen town of Damaj near the Saudi Arabian border is a clear reminder. So is a bombing in the Shia majority Kingdom of Bahrain that is a near province of Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudis are certain that there is an Iranian hand stirring the pot of trouble.

The Saudi see the Houthis as a dangerous threat on the southern border that could give the Iranians through a proxy a direct route into the Saudi oil fields that are the sole source of the national wealth. It is a good reason for the Saudis to worry, especially because a large percentage of the workers in those oil fields are Shia.

In 2009, the Houthis crossed into Saudi Arabia. It was mainly with Pakistani forces that they were driven back. During the first Iraqi War, while Saudi and other armies were focused upon the Iraqi forces in Kuwait, Pakistani troops guarded the southern border and other troops have been held at ready in Pakistan to come to protect the vital oil fields and installations.

The Saudis have been supporting Pakistan with generous grants for decades. Now, Pakistan is facing an unusual convergence of problems that it making it impossible for the Pakistanis to provide their customary military support for the Saudis.

At the end of November, the chief of army staff General ashfaq Parvez Kayani will retire. His successor has not been named. Whoever he is, he will have to deal with the consequences of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Only the most optimistic are expecting the days to follow to be peaceful and that violence is likely to spill over the borders where it will be necessary for the army to be waiting to confront it.

Saudi Arabia will be vulnerable without Pakistani support. The skirmish in Damaj and the bombing in Bahrain have to be taken as a forerunner of what will be coming on a greater scale.

Saudi Arabia needs a replacement for the Pakistanis; and Egypt is the only choice. Large cash grants to Pakistan over many years have cemented those bonds of mutual dependents. Saudi Arabia has been generous as well with Egypt through the decades of Mubarak’s rule and with El-Sisi without receiving much in return. Now, both are in need and Egypt has debts to repay; and those debts are increasing by the billions.

Within a few days of the reduction of aid by the U.S. to Egypt, the Egyptians signed an agreement with Russia to purchase fifteen billion dollars in military equipment that includes MIG-29 fighters. By financing the purchases, the Saudis are demonstrating to the Egyptian how important they are in Saudi plans and are sending a message to Washington that the separation has begun.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Nadil Fahmy said in an interview that Egyptian and Saudi Arabian security are bound together. “The Egyptian-Saudi relationship is one of identity. No matter how much we agree or disagree regarding part of this relationship, it’s a relationship of identity. But the Egyptian-US relationship is one of interests, regardless of our work it is not a relationship of identity. Egyptian national security is directly linked to Saudi national security, and vice versa. Whether we agree or disagree, national security in the two countries is linked.”

Saudi Arabia has risen to the forefront in Egypt’s dealings with other nations and recognition of their dependence upon Saudi largess was reflected by the interim president of Egypt, Adly Mansour making his first state visit to Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah made it clear where the kingdom stands if Egypt is threatened. “Standing against any attempts to touch Egypt’s internal affairs, particularly by the terrorists.” “Terrorist” is the term used to describe the Muslim Brotherhood.

While the Egyptians were celebrating the generosity of their benefactors, there was a not so subtle warning that a subsidized lunch is not a free lunch. On Oct. 27, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy prime minister of the UAE and the minister of presidential affairs, said, “Arab support for Egypt will not last long, and Egypt must think about innovative, unconventional solutions.”

This warning came in the face of a ten percent inflation rate and a thirteen percent budget deficit. Heavy borrowing just to maintain spending without investing in the economy has pushed the national debt to eighty-nine percent of the GDP with an economic growth rate of a mere two percent. At least six percent is needed to absorb the increase in the labor force.

The violence and the political instability have blocked any investment in the economy. What Egypt requires is a powerful economic stimulus. The formation of the Army of Muhammad might be just what the economic doctor has ordered. Supplying, training, and commanding an army of a quarter of a million could see a vast infusion of capital into the Egyptian economy.

Saudi Arabia does not want two hundred and fifty thousand foreign mercenaries even if they are Moslem mercenaries inside of the Kingdom. The Saudis need to base them where there are facilities and control over them. The only place that fills the qualifications is Egypt; and what is a more “innovative, unconventional solutions” to Egypt’s economic strife?

Source: http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Egypt-Marches-to-a-Saudi-Drummer.html

By: Felix Imonti for Oilprice.com

11/14/13

Authentic or Modified

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

In our world of synthesized music, housing, and even printer generated weaponry there comes a point where it becomes difficult to tell the fabricated from the ‘real McCoy’. There was an article published explaining how somebody figured out a way to print out an entire automobile, something they called 3-D printing.

What’s next…3-D printed humans?

Digital music hangs in the air and comes to us via the internet; we take it for granted, just another App on our computer, Android phone or Kindle. Instead of going to the Record Store to purchase the latest album we download all or part of an album and have it charged to our account. Heck, it’s hard to find music on a CD or phonograph record unless you happen to be at some place like Half Price Books where they specialize in selling used material.

I grew up in the age when tape recorded music was taking the place of vinyl phonograph recordings; reel to reel, 8 tracks and cassettes. Most folks from my generation will recall a marketing ploy to sell recording cassette tape, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” We all rushed out to get the latest innovation; their marketing strategy worked.

The generation before mine had Player Piano Roll music, a chance to own and play your favorites there in the comfort of your living room; provided you had a Player Piano on which to play them. These offered a fair representation of the artist’s work while at the same time falling a bit short on Ella Fitzgerald’s challenge, “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

Some enterprising individual came up with a modern day solution, a means whereby piano roll music could be fed through a computer attached to a grand piano and render a performance which closely matched that of the original performance. There might be other versions of the contraption; but the one I’m familiar with is a 9-foot Yamaha Disklavier grand piano. It magically transforms piano roll music which has been recorded to a CD and then spits out a “note-for-note” performance as if played by the original performer.

While listening to Pandora Radio via my laptop this afternoon a favorite Gershwin tune landed on my ear, An American in Paris. This version was entirely a piano piece; four handed and clear as a bell. I could hear the genius of Gershwin floating within and throughout; but knew it wasn’t Gershwin playing because I had this recording on CD.

I went to my library and found the copy of this recording, Gershwin Plays Gershwin / The Piano Rolls. Inside the jacket of the CD was a small booklet explaining how the recordings were made, each a piano roll converted to digital on a CD and played on the Disklavier grand piano.

The last tune, An American in Paris, was an arrangement by Frank Milne and “played”, if that term applies to putting holes in a roll of paper fed into a piano, “played” by Milne and Leith; but if you read further, Leith was a pseudonym for Milne. Milne figured out a way to “play” all four hands of an original Gershwin piano roll so that when fed into the Disklavier it came out as a seamless performance which captures the mindset and magic as if George Gershwin had given a command performance.

“We have no evidence that Gershwin supervised Milne’s arrangement of An American in Paris but the arranger had previously worked with Gershwin on his late Duo-Art song rolls. Milne’s version of An American in Paris ingeniously evokes not only the full sonority of an orchestra but also the vitality of a live performance.”

Some might say this was a forgery based on the printed claim on the CD jacket, Gershwin Plays Gershwin; but as far as I know Gershwin never recorded onto CD, it was before his time. Whether it’s authentic or modified, real or Memorex; sit back and let your spirit enjoy the music of a bygone era.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

11/14/13

Sex Trafficking: A Billion Dollar Industry

By: Susan Knowles
Gulag Bound

sex-trafficking-victimMany Americans have no idea just how bad the sex trafficking industry has become. As the title of this article indicates, it is a billion dollar industry. Many feel that it is more of an international issue rather than an issue that plagues the United States. However, the number of individuals forced into the sex trafficking industry right here in the United States is staggering. The more one researches these facts the worse the statistics turn out to be.

There are two types of sex trafficking, domestic trafficking in the United States and international trafficking. It is projected that each year more than 200,000 American children are lured into becoming sex slaves. The average age is between 12-14 years. They are enslaved into becoming prostitutes by false promises and/or by force. More than half of the children caught up in this industry are foster care kids. These are the children most at risk of becoming abused or neglected.

Typically, when foster children disappear, there is no one coming to their rescue. State statistics in 2012 reported that close to 5,000 foster care children could not be located. That’s an appalling number of “lost” children that no one can seem to find. Homeless children and runaways are also at risk.

Children are bought and sold in such places as truck stops, wealthy neighborhoods, motels, or just about any place imaginable. One of the most frequented and largest events in the United States for sex traffickers is the Super Bowl. Both adults and children are typically brought in for “purchase.” The Miami Super Bowl in 2010 reported 10,000 prostitutes that were brought in for the game. In fact, South Florida is the 3rd busiest sex trafficking location in the United States. Additionally, 133 underage prostitutes were arrested at the Super Bowl in Dallas in 2011.

Some claim that sex trafficking at Super Bowls is overstated. Even one incident of sex trafficking is too many in my opinion. While we are all sitting back enjoying the rivalry between two NFL teams, a young child, a teenager, or an adult is losing his or her freedom and perhaps even their very souls.

The numbers for international sex trafficking are lower than those in the United States. While these numbers may be lower they are nonetheless deplorable. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year from many parts of the world but primarily from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. These children may be either documented or undocumented migrant workers working in legitimate, family-owned businesses, brothels, massage parlors, or in private homes for example. These victims are dehumanized, forced to work, and then to perform sex acts against their well or risk punishment to themselves or their families.

In some instances, and at some events where sex traffickers attend, menus are printed up with the children’s faces next to their price and what sex act they will perform. In other instances, children may be raped 5 to 10 times per night. Children typically are also given numbers instead of being allowed to use their name or any name for that matter. On average, two children are sold every minute. It is estimated that approximately 27 million people may be enslaved by sex traffickers around the world.

operation underground railroad
So, what can be done? There is an organization that you may recently have heard mentioned on the Glenn Beck Radio program. The organization is called Operation Underground Railroad. They are a nonprofit organization that rescues enslaved children of the sex trafficking industry. Their website estimates that there are almost 2 million children currently being held against their will.

Teams of individuals working to rescue children for this organization consist of former CIA, FBI, Navy Seals, Green Berets who put their lives on the line to do what is right. Once the children have been rescued they proceed to bring the sex traffickers to justice.

Their mission statement reads as follows:

Using cutting-edge computer technology and human intelligence, we contract undercover teams of former CIA and Special Ops personnel to go into the darkest corners of the world to help local law enforcement liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks. All public donations go directly to our child rescue missions.

Please go there and see if you would like to donate to this worthy cause or find another organization that works to stop sex trafficking and contribute. We have an epidemic on our hands that needs to be eliminated. Saving even one child is a start toward ridding the earth of this evil industry.


Video, “The Abolitionists
 

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Knowles-Freedoms-FlightSusan Knowles is an author, psychotherapist and former practicing attorney. Her latest book, a political fiction, is entitled, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember” available on Amazon.com. Her website is www.susanknowles.com where this article may also be found.

 

References:

Photo:

11/14/13

United In Tyranny – The United Nations Human Rights Council

By: Aeneas Lavinium
ICLA

An article published a few days ago at alarabiya.net[1] reported that Saudi Arabia had been elected onto the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Once again, the concept of human rights has been brought into disrepute at the United Nations. Saudi Arabia should not be judging human rights, it should be answering charges! This dysfunctional nature of the United Nations itself is clear for all to see.

The old discredited incarnation of the Council – the United Nations Human Rights Commission was discredited because states with appalling human rights records were members. On 15 March 2006 the BBC reported on its website:

“The existing body has been heavily criticised for having countries with poor human rights records as members…. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed what he called an “historic resolution… that gives the United Nations a much-needed chance to make a new beginning in its work for human rights around the world”.”[2]

One word change to the name and six fewer members is does not demonstrate a renewed commitment to human rights. So what happened? The lyrics of Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who come to mind:

“Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss”[3]

Nice repackaging but so much for the “new beginning”!

Saudi Arabia is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which itself is against human rights as defined by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This group of states were so opposed to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that it set up its own declaration to compete with it and undermine it. This was the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) that was signed in 1990. This declaration subordinates all human rights to the Islamic sharia and therefore is clearly at odds with the UDHR).

Back in 2007 Jackson Diehl writing in The Washington Post made the following astute observations relating to the newly constituted Human Rights Council:

“If the first year of the United Nations Human Rights Council is any indication, it’s grown sick and cynical — partly because of the fecklessness and flexible morality of some of the very governments and groups that claim to be most committed to democratic values….

The European Union includes countries holding eight of the council’s 47 seats. It has made no serious effort to focus the council’s attention on the world’s worst human rights violators.”[4]

The attitude of nominally democratic states comes as no surprise to the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA). We have for many years been highlighting human rights abuses by such countries in our interventions at Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Human Dimension meetings. With regard to the European Union (EU), we must point out that it is not a democratic organisation – executive power is held by the unelected European Commission and the European Parliament is little more than a rubber stamping body. Indeed the EU repeatedly highlights its profoundly anti-democratic credentials by its own actions – actions too numerous to go into here! The actions of EU member states such as the United Kingdom also indicate contempt for the principles of the UDHR. It could be argued the UK’s status as an observing member of the OIC[5], its decision to sign a memorandum of understanding with the OIC in September 2012[6], and its attendance at the OIC meeting in Cairo in February 2013[7] together represent an endorsement of the OIC’s view of human rights that formalised by the CDHRI. This may suggest that the United Kingdom itself is not really committed to the United Nation’s definition of human rights and that in the future it may be willing to concede that human rights are indeed subordinate to the Islamic sharia! Perhaps this all explains why Saudi Arabia’s membership of the Human Rights Council is countenanced by countries who claim to support human rights.

Terry Sanderson of the UK’s National Secular Society reminds us of the OIC’s desire to destroy one of the most fundamental components of human rights, the right to freedom of expression:

“The blasphemy law which is being proposed by the OIC on behalf of its members would be an entirely dangerous and regressive step if it were to be approved at the UN. It is quite clear that it would be used to persecute and oppress non-Muslim minorities in Muslim-majority countries, as the domestic blasphemy law in Pakistan does at present.”[8]

An article on the website of The Economist by B.C., that carries the rather appropriate phrase Theatre of the Absurd in its title, does not seem to hold out much hope for the UN’s ability to be a champion of human rights:

“Given that more governments (including some Western ones) violate human rights than respect them, I’m not sure that global, inter-governmental bodies in this field can serve any purpose. It may still be useful for groups of governments (like the Council of Europe) to band together to agree to observe certain standards. But for an organisation to work credibly for human rights at a global level, with no geopolitical or cultural bias, it needs to be as independent as possible from all govermments [sic], and hence from all violators.”[9]

The willingness of Western states to endorse the OIC, their lack of willingness to oppose human rights violators influencing policy at the UN, and their own deteriorating human rights records at home all suggest that human rights are now in serious danger across the board. It is therefore unlikely that the UN will be capable of getting its own house in order any time soon. The UN itself seems incapable of following and supporting its own principles; indeed by not acting to actively oppose alternatives to the UDHR it is undermining is own reason for being. In some ways this inability or unwillingness to act is similar to that experienced by the old League of Nations which failed to stop the rise of the illiberal movements that were eroding human rights in the 1930s. History does appear to be repeating itself in our institutions of collective security!

Currently the UNHRC is not about human rights, it is a forum for states to conspire to undermine them! The UN should act and act as a matter of extreme urgency to regain legitimacy in the field of human rights. The BBC stated in that article that we referred to earlier:

“There will be periodic reviews of membership, and any state accused of systematic human rights violations could be suspended.”[10]

Time to either remove Saudi Arabia from the UNHRC or reform the UN completely! Saudi Arabia’s presence on the Council undermines human rights globally. To have Saudi Arabia involved in anything remotely related to improving human rights is grossly offensive! Saudi Arabia’s membership of the Council tells the world that the UN does not give a damn about human rights. The United Nations itself is clearly in desperate need of root and branch reform. As things stand, the United Nations and its member states are united, but united only in tyranny!

Recommendations of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA):

(1) ICLA calls for the urgent dismissal of Saudi Arabia from the United Nations Human Rights Council on the grounds that it is guilty of systematic human rights abuses.

(2) It also calls upon the United Nations to reaffirm its commitment to the universal nature of human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) by repudiating all alternatives to it such as the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) (1990).

Only then can confidence be restored in the United Nations’ declared commitment to human rights.

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[1] Saudi Arabia wins U.N. Human Rights Council seat, 12 November 2013, AlArabiya.net, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/11/12/Saudi-Arabia-wins-Human-Rights-Council-seat.html

[2] UN creates new human rights body, Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 19:49 GMT, BBC.co.uk, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4810538.stm

[3] WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN LYRICS – THE WHO, Sing365.com, http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Won’t-Get-Fooled-Again-lyrics-The-Who/761EF79AAB42FA9C48256977002E72F9

[4] A Shadow on the Human Rights Movement, Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post, 25 June 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/24/AR2007062401373.html

[5] Organisation of the Islamic Conference Admits UK as Observing Member, Islam Today, 17 June 2011, http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-235-4102.htm

[6] Agreement signed to bring Islamic countries closer to UK, Murtaza Ali Shah, The International News, 27 September 2012, http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-134325-Agreement-signed-to-bring-Islamic-countries-closer-to-UK

[7] Baroness Warsi attends Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Summit, Gov.uk, 7 February 2013, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/baroness-warsi-addresses-organisation-of-islamic-cooperation-summit

[8] UK signs agreement on “religious freedom” with OIC, National Secular Society, 27 September 2012, http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/09/uk-signs-agreement-on-religious-freedom-with-oic

[9] Human and religious rights at the UN: Theatre of the absurd, B.C., 12 November 2013, Economist.com, http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2013/11/human-and-religious-rights-un

[10] UN creates new human rights body, Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 19:49 GMT, BBC.co.uk, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4810538.stm

11/14/13

Seattle Makes a Gesture to the Citizenry

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Cross-Posted at Right Wing News

Reuters / Matt Mills McKnight

Behold the American Gestapo enabled by small white boxes that create a surveillance network that would have done the Stasi proud. Adorned with antennas and attached to utility poles, these boxes are about to make privacy a thing of the past and Seattle is certainly the testing ground for the surveillance state on steroids. But the citizenry are not quite the sheeple that the government had hoped for and they overwhelmingly became enraged over this massive intrusion. So, in a gesture (akin to flipping the bird) of feigned goodwill to placate the masses, the powers-that-be have deactivated the surveillance system — for now:

Police in Seattle, Washington have responded to a major public outcry by disabling a recently discovered law enforcement tool that critics said could be used to conduct sweeping surveillance across the city.

Last week, Seattle’s The Stranger published an in-depth look at a little known new initiative taking place within the city that involved the installation of dozens of devices that would create a digital mesh network for law enforcement officers. The devices — small white-boxes equipped with antennas and adorned on utility poles — would broadcast data wirelessly between nodes so police officers could have their own private network to more easily share large amounts of data. As The Stranger pointed out, however, those same contraptions were able to collect data on internet-ready devices of anyone within reach, essentially allowing the Seattle Police Department to see where cell phones, laptops and any other smart devices operating within reach were located.

After getting caught with their mitts in the constitutional cookie jar, the police declared “my bad” and said they did not have any bad intentions. Really? Because I seem to remember the NAZIs making similar claims just before they exterminated millions. But wait, they are not done yet… they have only deactivated the system until a ‘proper policy’ can be adopted by the city. I bet:

“The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft policy and until there’s an opportunity for vigorous public debate,” Police Chief Jim Pugel told The Stranger for an article published late Tuesday.

“Our position is that the technology is the technology,” Whitcomb said, “but we want to make sure that we have safeguards and policies in place so people with legitimate privacy concerns aren’t worried about how it’s being used.”

Where vigorous debate is getting permission to ask a question if you can speak at all. More likely it will be the Politburo debating itself and deciding just how blatantly they will violate everyone’s rights. Comrades! Welcome to the new Amerika!!

What’s more, the claims of ‘deactivation’ are suspect to say the least:

The SPD told The Stranger previously that the system was not being used, but anyone with a smart phone who wandered through the jurisdiction covered by the digital nodes could still notice that their devices were being discovered by the internet-broadcasting boxes, just as a person’s iPhone or Android might attempt to connect to any network within reach. In theory, law enforcement could take the personal information transmitted as the two devices talk to each other and use that intelligence to triangulate the location of a person, even within inches.

When the SPD was approached about the system last week, they insisted that it wasn’t even in operation yet. David Ham of Seattle’s KIRO-7 News asked, however, how come “we could see these network names if it’s not being used?”

“Well, they couldn’t give us an explanation,” Ham said at the time.

“They now own a piece of equipment that has tracking capabilities so we think that they should be going to city council and presenting a protocol for the whole network that says they won’t be using it for surveillance purposes,” Jamela Debelak of the American Civil Liberties Union told the network.

Now just days later, the SPD has admitted to The Stranger that indeed the mesh network was turned on — it just wasn’t supposed to be.

“SPD maintains it has not been actively using the network — it was operational without being operated, having been turned on for DHS grant-mandated testing and then never turned off — so shutting it down won’t hamper any current SPD activities,” The Stranger reporter.

According to The Stranger, the SPD will begin disabling the system immediately, although Whitcomb said it involves “more than just flipping a switch.”

Naughty, naughty fascists! So, it was operational without being operated? The IT version of “I did not have sex with that woman?” Lame. And I strongly doubt that this system will be dismantled. It might be repackaged and redeployed in a manner not so obvious, but it will not go away. It’s the wave of a future ‘controlled’ America.

If this is Seattle’s gesture of good will to the citizenry, I’d hate to see what they do when they actually suppress the masses. I hate it when I find myself agreeing with the communist founded ACLU, but here I am:

“In a democratic society you should be able to move freely without law enforcement tracking your movements unless they have reason to believe you’re doing something wrong,” ACLU communications director Doug Honig said last week.

The gesture Seattle is making to the citizenry is not a mea culpa. These boxes in one form or another will now start showing up all over the country as our constitutional rights are trashed once and for all and a full blown despotic government descends.

11/14/13

US “Allies” Turn to Moscow?

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

If you work on the basis, as I do, that Barack Obama is pro-Moscow (mentors like communist Frank Marshall Davis and Soviet agent of influence Alice Palmer) this makes perfect sense.

obamby

From Israel’s Arutz Sheva:


Russian President Vladimir Putin called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, according to Al Arabiya. The overture hints that Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, is poised to shift alliances from the US to Russia.

The two leaders discussed ties between the two countries as well as regional issues such as the Syrian conflict and Iranian nuclear talks. Russian officials told AFP that the two leaders “expressed a mutual interest in furthering cooperation and maintaining contacts at various levels.”

The overtures between Russia and Saudi Arabia mirror recent announcements of cooperation between Russia and Egypt. The rapprochement between those two nations is anticipated to be sealed in a $15 billion arms deal largely funded by Saudi Arabia.

Analyst and attorney Mark Langfan in August predicted that US President Barack Obama had lost American ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and that the Saudis, in distancing themselves from Obama, would turn towards Russia.

Langfan furthermore predicted America’s loss of naval support from Egypt, saying the country would also turn to Russia following a partial suspension of US military aid.

Indeed the Russian replacement of America in terms of cooperation with Egypt and regional influence in general appears to be coming to fruition, as America began withdrawing warships from the Middle East last Friday, less than a week after Russia sent its most powerful warships to the Mediterranean.

The United States of America is being increasingly isolated from its allies in Europe and Asia.

If Obama was a paid up Russian agent, what would he be doing differently than he is today?