Category Archives: United Nations

Canadian Defense Department removes report on killing of Canadian soldier by Israeli forces

open quoteThe Defence Department has quietly removed from the Internet a report into the killing of a Canadian military officer by Israeli forces, a move the soldier’s widow says is linked to the Conservative government’s reluctance to criticize Israel for any wrongdoing.

Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and three other United Nations observers were killed in 2006 when the Israeli military targeted their small outpost with repeated artillery barrages as well as an attack by a fighter aircraft.

. . . .

The death of Hess-von Kruedener, a UN observer assigned to the Israeli-Lebanon border, has largely been forgotten.

The Israeli attack on the UN outpost began shortly after noon on July 25, 2006, prompting the UN deputy secretary general to almost immediately call the Israeli ambassador to the UN and complain.

Several hours later another artillery barrage hit the outpost. That was followed by another 16 artillery rounds hitting the base, destroying most of the buildings above ground and blowing the door off the underground bunker where Hess-von Kruedener and his fellow peacekeepers had taken refuge.

At one point, a general in charge of UN operations in Lebanon called the Israeli liaison officer and told him, “You’re killing my people.” Previously, the Israelis halted such attacks when protests were received.

Later that day, an Israeli fighter pilot directed a precision-guided bomb through the door of the UN bunker. The blast from the massive bomb killed the four men.close quote (Read more)

UN Soldiers can sexually and violently violate young girls with impunity

open quoteWhat do we do when those we entrust with our greatest hopes betray that trust? If the betrayers are United Nations peacekeepers, the answer seem to be nothing at all. There is distressing new evidence, most of it reported here for the first time, that foreign soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo can sexually and violently violate young girls with impunity so long as they wear that iconic blue beret or blue helmet.close quote (Read more)

Israel cuts contact with UN rights council, to protest settlements probe

open quoteIsrael’s Foreign Ministry orders envoy to Geneva to ignore all phone calls from rights council commissioner; ‘The council sparked this process’, says a senior Israeli official.

Israel decided Monday to sever all contact with the United Nations human rights council and with its chief commissioner Navi Pillay, after the international body decided to establish an international investigative committee on the West Bank settlements.

The Foreign Ministry ordered Israel’s ambassador to Geneva to cut off contact immediately, instructing him to ignore phone calls from the commissioner, a senior Israeli official said. close quote (Read more)

parallels between IAEA approach to Iran and mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction

open quoteThe head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.

Yukiya Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, took command of the IAEA in July 2009. Since then, the west’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.

At the same time, the IAEA’s reports on Iranian behaviour have become steadily more critical.close quote (Read more)

UN “peace keepers” from Urugway caught on taping raping Hatian teen

open quoteThe video is profoundly disturbing. It shows four men, identified as Uruguayan troops from the UN mission in Haiti (Minustah), seemingly in the act of raping an 18-year-old Haitian youth. Two have the victim pinned down on a mattress, with his hands twisted high up his back so that he cannot move. Perhaps the most unnerving part of the video is the constant chorus of laughter from the alleged perpetrators; to them, apparently, it’s just a drunken party.

ABC News reports that a Uruguayan navy lieutenant, Nicolas Casariego, has confirmed the authenticity of the video. A medical certificate filed with the court in Port Salut, a southern coastal town where the incident took place, says that the victim was beaten and had injuries consistent with a sexual assault.

The incident is likely to pour more gasoline on the fire of resentment that Haitians have for the UN troops who have occupied their country for more than seven years. There has been a dire pattern of abuses: in December 2007, more than 100 UN soldiers from Sri Lanka were deported under charges of sexual abuse of under-age girls. In 2005, UN troops went on the rampage in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest areas in Port-au-Prince, killing as many as 23 people, including children, according to witnesses. After the raid, the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders reported: “On that day, we treated 27 people for gunshot wounds. Of them, around 20 were women under the age of 18.”

WikiLeaks cables released in the last week reveal that the Timothy Carney, representing the United States government as the top-ranking diplomat in Haiti in 2006, warned that such raids would “inevitably cause unintended civilian casualties given the crowded conditions and flimsy construction of tightly packed housing in Cité Soleil”. close quote (Read more from guardian.co.uk)

See Also:

References: Report reveals shame of UN peacekeepers Sexual abuse by soldiers ‘must be punished’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/mar/25/unitednations

U.N. Faces More Accusations of Sexual Misconduct http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30286-2005Mar12.html

Peacekeepers ‘abusing children’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7420798.stm

Haiti probes Uruguayan UN peacekeepers in rape http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Crime/Story/A1Story20110903-297540.html

U.N. Grapples With Peacekeeping Abuse http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150798,00.html

U.S.: We will stop aid to Palestinians if UN bid proceeds

open quoteThe United States will stop all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if they proceed with plans to ask the United Nations for recognition of an independent state in September, a U.S. official warned Friday.

U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in the name of the Obama administration, that the U.S. would veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for recognition of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the June 4, 1967 borders and for UN membership. close quote (Read more from haaretz.com)

US rejects Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition

open quoteThe United States again Tuesday rejected Palestinian plans to seek recognition for an independent state unilaterally from the United Nations without reaching a peace accord with Israel.

“We don’t believe it’s a good idea, we don’t believe it’s helpful,” said US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in September, 2010, but collapsed shortly afterwards when Israel refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building in the occupied territories.close quote (Read more from news.yahoo.com)

Imagine my complete lack of surprise.

UN mulls internet regulation options

open quoteThe United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would attempt to create global standards for policing the internet – specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks.close quote (Read more from itnews.com.au)

Israel Threatens Abbas: Defer UN vote on Goldstone or face ‘second Gaza’

The request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations Human Rights Council last year to postpone the vote on the Goldstone report followed a particularly tense meeting with the head of the Shin Bet security service, Haaretz has learned. At the October meeting in Ramallah, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told Abbas that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote on the critical report on last year’s military operation, Israel would turn the West Bank into a “second Gaza.”

Diskin, who reports directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened to revoke the easing of restrictions on movement within the West Bank that had been implemented earlier last year. He also said Israel would withdraw permission for mobile phone company Wataniya to operate in the Palestinian Authority. (Read more from haaretz.com)

Ron Paul on Foreign Policy

There is no area in which Republicans have further strayed from our traditions than in foreign affairs.

Generations of conservatives followed the great advice of our Founding Fathers and pursued a restrained foreign policy that rebuffed entangling alliances and advised America, in the words of John Quincy Adams, not to “go abroad looking for dragons to slay.”

Sen. Robert Taft, the stalwart of the Old Right, urged America to stay out of NATO. Dwight Eisenhower was elected on a platform promising to get us out of the conflict in Korea. Richard Nixon promised to end the war in Vietnam.

Republicans were highly critical of Bill Clinton for his adventurism in Somalia and Kosovo. As recently as 2000, George W. Bush campaigned on a “humbler” foreign policy and decried nation-building.

But our foreign policy today looks starkly different.

Neoconservatives who have come to power in both the Democratic and Republican parties argue that the U.S. must ether confront every evil in every corner of the globe or risk danger at home. We need to “fight them over there” they say, so we don’t have to “fight them over here.” This argument presents a false choice. We do not have to pick between interventionism and vulnerability. The complexity of our world is exactly why the lessons of our past should ring true and demand a return to a traditional, pro-American foreign policy: one of nonintervention.

Moving forward, I suggest that we as Americans adhere to these five principles:

1. We do not abdicate American sovereignty to global institutions. The purpose of the United States is to protect the liberty of the American people. We should never allow the WTO, NAFTA, the U.N. or the Law of the Sea Treaty to transfer power from America to an international body.

2. We provide a strong national defense, but we do not police the world. America should be armed with defensive weapons capable of repelling any attack. We should spend all appropriate money to make sure that no country in world can credibly threaten us.

Unfortunately, our foreign policy is undermining our security. We have more than 700 military installations in 135 countries around the globe. We have 50,000 troops in Germany, 30,000 in Japan, and 25,000 in South Korea. Worse, we have our brave men and women bogged down occupying Iraq and Afghanistan in the midst of ethnic strife and civil war.

We spend more than $1 trillion per year on our foreign policy, and our military is stretched thin. We can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. We must bring our troops home from around the world, cut overseas spending and strengthen our national defense.

3. We obey the Constitution and follow the rule of law. The Constitution clearly states that only Congress can declare war. Congress abandoned that responsibility during the buildup to the Iraq war and must never make that mistake again. When wars are undeclared, they drag on with no clear plan or exit strategy. If we must fight, we should do so with overwhelming force, win as quickly as possible and promptly withdraw.

4. We do not engage in nation-building. Conservatives know government is a poor tool to solve problems. It then makes no sense that we would think that our government could build civil societies and solve the tremendously complex problems of a developing country. Nation-building does not work. It places a tremendous burden on our military and takes directly from the pockets of the American taxpayer. The best thing we as Americans can do is offer friendship while setting a good example of what a free and prosperous society looks like. Ronald Reagan wanted America to be a “shining city on the hill.” We should make that our goal.

5. We stay out of the internal affairs of other nations. America should conduct trade, travel and diplomacy with all willing nations. Intervention, however, always has unintended consequences and almost always gets us in trouble. For example, in 1953, our CIA helped overthrow Mohammad Mosaddeq, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran and installed the Shah of Iran, a ruthless dictator. The blowback from our actions was in large part responsible for the extremist Iranian Revolution of 1979, the taking of our hostages and the many problems we have had with Iran ever since. So much of our intervention makes no sense. We backed Saddam Hussein for much of the 1980s, and then twice went to war against him. In the 1990s, we bribed North Korea not to pursue atomic weapons with nuclear technology, and Kim Jong-il used that assistance to build several nuclear bombs.

Intervention simply does not serve our long-term interests.

The world is a dangerous place and we should be concerned, but intervention and militarism cannot solve our problems. The answers to our foreign policy problems lie in defending our soil, scaling back our global military footprint and trading with all willing partners. We have strayed far from this philosophy, but we can get back on track by looking to our Constitution, our traditions and the example of our Founding Fathers.

(Read more from washingtontimes.com)