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The Duplicitous Agenda Endorsed by the UN and NATO

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 4, 2019

To the undiscerning, the United Nations (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) perform different roles in the international arena. Yet both organisations have a common aim – the promotion of foreign intervention. While the UN promotes its humanitarian façade, NATO provides the militarisation of the UN’s purported human rights agenda.

NATO’s participation at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September provided an overview of the current collaboration the organisation has with the UN. Jens Stoltelberg, NATO’s Secretary-General, mentioned the organisations’ collaboration in “working closely to support Afghanistan and Iraq”.

Since the 1990s, the UN and NATO cooperation was based on a framework which included decision-making and strategy on “crisis management and in the fight against terrorism.” In 2001, US President George W Bush launched his ‘War on Terror’ which eventually expanded to leave the Middle East and North Africa in perpetual turmoil, as the coined euphemism morphed into the so-called Arab Spring.

While the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 were led by the US, it is worth remembering that the absence of the organisation at that time is not tantamount to the exclusion of warfare from NATO member states. Notably, the US invasion of Afghanistan invoked Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which stipulates that an attack on a NATO member state constitutes an attack on all member states.

“For NATO-UN cooperation and dialogue to remain meaningful, it must continue to evolve.” The statement on NATO’s website is a bureaucratic approach which detaches itself from the human rights violations created and maintained by both parties, which form the premise of such collaboration.

UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), upon which NATO based its collaboration with the UN, reaffirms, “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence as recognised by the Charter of the United Nations.” The resolution provides impunity for member-states and other collaborators with the UN, including NATO, to define what constitutes terrorism while eliminating foreign intervention as a terror act, despite the ramifications which last long after the aggression has been terminated or minimised.

The UN-NATO duplicity is exposed in Stoltenberg’s speech when he states, “NATO has also contributed to developing UN disposal standards to counter improvised explosive devices, which remain one of the greatest threats to peacekeepers.” Why are the UN and NATO selecting rudimentary forms of warfare over precision bombing which has killed thousands of civilians in the name of fighting terror or bringing democracy?

In 2011, the UNSC’s arms embargo was supposed to prevent the proliferation of weapons to the rebels in Libya – a contradiction given the UNSC’s authorisation for NATO to bomb Libya. France, however, defied the resolution by publicly declaring its proliferation of weapons to rebels in Libya, on the pretext of their necessity to protect Libyan civilians. NATO denied its involvement as an organisation in providing arms to the rebels, despite the fact that action was taken by a NATO member. With the UN endorsing foreign intervention and NATO implementing the atrocities, the UN can fall back on its alleged peace-building and humanitarian roles, of which there is never a decline due to the irreparable damage both organisations have wreaked upon exploited, colonised and ravaged countries. The cooperation lauded by NATO does not rest on a division of roles but rather on blurring the differentiation between war and humanitarianism, in order to generate both as a duplicitous agenda.

NATO maintains that the UNSC holds “primary responsibility” for maintaining international peace and security. What the statement evades is the individual interest of each member, as well as their collective framework as NATO members. To satisfy the UNSC, individual interests and NATO membership, a common denominator is imperative. For the perpetrators of foreign intervention, war constitutes the binding legacy.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Malaysian PM: Israel is the origin of modern terrorism

MEMO | September 29, 2019

The creation of Israel by seizing Palestinian land and expelling its 90 per cent Arab population is the root cause of terrorism, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his speech at the UN, reports Malay Mail.

The Malaysian PM stated that since the creation of Israel “… wars have been fought in many countries, many related to the creation of Israel. And now we have terrorism when there was none before, or at least none on the present scale.”

Making his comments at the General Debate of the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, he added: “Military action against acts of terrorism will not succeed. We need to identify the cause and remove it. But the great powers refuse to deal with the root cause.”

The prime minister added that “… Malaysia cannot accept the blatant seizure of Palestine land by Israel for their settlements as well as the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel. The Palestinians cannot even enter the settlements built on their land…”

He went on to add: “Because of the creation of Israel, there is now enmity towards the Muslims and Islam. Muslims are accused of terrorism even if they did nothing. Muslim countries have been destabilised through the campaign for democracy and regime change. Muslims everywhere have been oppressed, expelled from their countries and refused asylum.”

“Thousands have died at sea and in the severe winters. One cannot deny that in the past there were no massive migration. Now the wars and instability due to regime change have forced them to run away from their countries,” he added.

Dr Mahathir also said that the application of the rule of law has been selective.

He said: “Friends may break any law and get away scot-free. Thus, Israel can break all the international laws and norms of the world and it will continue to be supported and defended. The unfriendly countries can do nothing right. There is no justice in the world.”

September 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 4 Comments

Establishment & media sympathize with Greta’s ‘Fridays for Future’ movement… So how is that a ‘protest’ exactly?

RT | September 27, 2019

As hundreds of thousands of people – many of them schoolchildren – take to the streets in another demonstration over climate change, one must wonder: at what point does protest become the status quo?

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s solo school walkout last August was little more than a sideshow to newspaper editors and TV crews. But the teenage crusader’s ‘school strike’ snowballed, and the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement grew.

Now, after an emotional speech by Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, hundreds of thousands of climate strikers worldwide are packing the streets on Friday, demanding their governments declare a state of emergency, slash carbon emissions, penalize meat-eating and kill the car, to pick but a few of their proposals.

But these radicals – as they would have been called not so long ago – aren’t being met by the batons, tear gas and rubber bullets the state usually deploys to quash dissent (not that any peaceful demonstrations should be). Media outlets aren’t smearing those within their ranks as racists and downplaying attendance numbers, and the crowds occupying city streets aren’t risking injury and mutilation to do so.

The very idea of ‘protest’ implies some resistance, some injustice of state to be overcome. Climate protesters would argue that not enough is being done to heal our heating earth – and that’s a debate beyond the scope of this article – but government, media, and the world’s power brokers have aided Thunberg and co’s protest movement at every step of the way.

France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ protests began in opposition to a fossil fuel tax hike, and were met with all of the violence described above on a weekly basis. Thunberg, in contrast, was invited to address the French parliament in July. Likewise with her appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, her speeches before British parliament and the US Congress, and her most recent UN appearance. On every occasion, the world’s political leaders rolled out the red carpet and held the door open for her to lecture them.

Media coverage of Thunberg and the climate protests has been overwhelmingly favorable – with The Guardian comparing her speech on Monday to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for its historical significance, and New York Magazine calling her “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” The Yellow Vests, to continue the comparison, were described as a rabble of anti-semites and “notorious Holocaust deniers,” based on the actions of a tiny minority of protesters.

The school strikers and climate crusaders enjoy blanket support. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money, and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” Thunberg scolded leaders on Monday. However, even the world’s corporations have jumped on board the eco bandwagon, ever keen to virtue-signal their way to a few more dollars, even if their own green credentials are suspect at best.

If the protests are being framed as a David and Goliath story of children speaking truth to power and taking on the elite, why do the elite support them so wholeheartedly? An optimist would say that these leaders finally see the need for urgent climate action. After all, public outcry over the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s led to the adoption of a landmark chemicals ban in 1987, and three decades later, NASA revealed proof last year that the ozone layer is recovering.

A cynic would argue that the upper echelons stand to benefit in some way. And that’s true too. Several conglomerates of the world’s leading financial institutions, backed by neoliberal think tanks like the Atlantic Council, have already expressed interest in getting their hands on public funds to finance green industry ventures, particularly in the developing world. What some call a crisis, they call the “climate opportunity.”

Addressing climate change too presents control-freak politicians with boundless opportunity to push otherwise unpalatable legislation. More than 100 US Lawmakers in Congress support the ‘Green New Deal.’ Among them are a handful of presidential candidates and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the hotshot New York Congresswoman who welcomed Thunberg to the city last month following her carbon-neutral Atlantic crossing.

As well as measures to wean the US off fossil fuels and replace airplane and car travel with greener alternatives, Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal legislation comes bundled with a progressive wishlist of universal health care, minimum wage hikes, wealth redistribution, and government control of industry – traditionally anathema to American voters. All of this calls for higher taxes, and an expansion of federal government power.

Whether out of self-interest or benevolence, the climate protest movement enjoys the support of the elite, and taking Friday off school to demonstrate is about as safe as protest gets. Skipping school would normally earn truants a clip about the ears or a stern talking-to, but more and more teachers are getting on board with the strikes, and encouraging their students to take part.

When I was a teenager, we weren’t given the day off to protest the invasion of Iraq. Instead, we snuck off, changed into our baggy jeans and hoodies, and hopped on a bus to government buildings. Protest felt transgressive and anti-establishment.

Protest on a day off. Deny your parents and their generation the only meaningful chance in a busy week to spend some time with you. After all, as Thunberg said, adults have “stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

A protest stops being a protest when it’s pro-establishment. Once it reaches that tipping point, people begin to probe deeper and doubt the intentions of the protesters, and corporate support is a death knell for authenticity.

Most people who complain about climate protesters don’t hate Greta Thunberg for who she is. They just don’t like being browbeaten into thinking a certain way by the combined forces of activists, corporations, the media and the state, no matter how right or wrong that way is.

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

Heated Climate Change Debates rage on after Climate Action Summit at UNGA

By Sarah Abed | September 26, 2019

The 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is in full swing in New York this week with discussions and debates ranging from climate change to trade deals and the growing tensions in the Middle East.

A few days prior to the UNGA however, there was a climate strike on September 20th. Participation took place in dozens of cities around the world with the largest being in New York and led by Greta Thunberg a Swedish youth climate activist who began the “Fridays for the Future” movement last year.

On Monday, the UNGA was mostly focused on the Climate Action Summit and for the first time high-level meetings and discussions about Universal Health Care (UHC) were covered in what is considered to be the most significant political meeting on UHC thus far.

The Climate Action Summit was hosted by Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres who started his speech by saying that nature is angry and we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature because nature always strikes back and around the world nature is striking back with fury. Young adults and children demanded a response for climate change. A few took the stage including Greta Thunberg who started her first climate strike a year ago. When asked her message to world leaders she passionately began with “my message is we’ll be watching you”… she said we are in the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and economic growth, how dare you”.

Mr. Guterres gave a sense of urgency that we are in a race against time and must do everything in our power to stop the climate from warming before it stops us.

After the Climate Action Summit scientists and researchers have new data to study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The United Nations Environmental Program delegation was in NY for the UNGA and highlighted how governments, citizens, and civil society can take productive action when it comes to the environment, climate and sustainable development goals. UNEP highlights and updates are outlined on their site.

Philipino representatives delivered a statement on behalf of their country on Monday, during a meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) stating that President Rodrigo Duterte passed a UHC law earlier this year that provides free basic services to all.

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said that his nation will be spending $50 billion on water conservation in the new few years, signaling the high importance of water management and he also pledged to more than double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 400 gigawatts.

President Trump stated on Tuesday, that he is “ready, willing and able” to mediate the “complex” Kashmir issue if both Pakistan and India wanted him to get involved.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) took place.

Also on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke about global injustice and highlighted a number of problems which threaten global peace and security saying, “The international community is losing the ability to find lasting solutions to challenges such as terrorism, hunger, misery, climate change” he criticized world powers for failing to take appropriate action to deal with crises around the globe. He also called for world leaders to support his plan for a safe zone to be established in Syria, he said that if the “peace corridor” is extended to the Deir El-Zor-Raqqa area that 3 million Syrian refuges can safely return home.

During his speech President Erdogan held up four maps illustrating Israel’s disregard for borders and its gradual occupation of Palestinian land. He also held up a map showing the safezone he wants to establish in Syria on his southern border. Erdogan likened the suffering of the people of Gaza to that of the holocaust.

President Erdogan also called on UN members to help support Turkey’s efforts to ensure security in Syria’s Idlib. He has mentioned previously that with or without the US’s support he will establish a safe zone on his southern borders to push back US-sponsored and backed Kurdish militias and help Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey return home.

US President Donald Trump led the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom and introduced initiatives to end religious persecution on Tuesday, as well. During his press conference on Wednesday he proudly proclaimed that he is the first to lead a global call on this matter.

The launch of Hello Global Goals Collaboration took place on Tuesday with Japanese character Hello Kitty in the SDG Media Zone which has been a main feature of the UNGA high-level week conference since 2016. The SDG Media Zone brings together UN Member states, content creators, activists, influencers, media partners and highlights actions and solutions in support of Sustainable Development Goals. The SDG Media Zone offers impactful in-depth interviews, Ted-style talks, panel discussion and advances the 2030 Agenda, using impactful, dynamic, and in-depth conversations with decision makers, etc. Its events are live streamed on UN WebTV and focused on the main themes of the week including climate change, universal healthcare, financing for development and small island developing states.

On Thursday, a dialogue on Financing for Development (FFD) and a meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons is taking place.

On Friday, the UNGA is holding a meeting to review progress made in addressing the priorities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.

All of this relates to the 2030 UN Agenda, which is a plan of action for people, the planet, and prosperity and is supposedly meant to strength universal peace in larger freedom, however some think this plan has a sinister underlying agenda and should be looked into further.

Sarah Abed is a political analyst with BRICS.

September 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

US refusal to issue visas to Russian UN General Assembly delegates is ‘political move’ – senator

RT | September 24, 2019

The chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, has described the US’ refusal to issue entry visas to a number of Russian delegates to the UN General Assembly session as a political decision.

“The US deliberately took a move to delay the issuance of visas. This is obviously a political, not a technical decision,” he was quoted as saying. The Russian delegation had asked for visas 55 days ago, the senator noted. “Such actions by the American side require a ‘painful’ response from Russia,” Kosachyov told reporters.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the US has broken international rules by failing to issue visas to Russian senators, adding that a tough response from both Moscow and the United Nations is needed.

September 24, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Syrian government & opposition finally form constitutional committee, seen as cornerstone of peaceful resolution to 9yo war

RT | September 23, 2019

A committee that will write a new constitution for Syria, a key part of the political transition in a war-torn country, has finally been formed with the United Nations’ backing, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced.

The body will convene within weeks for the first time, Guterres told reporters on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in New York. He thanked Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the three countries that have been pushing for years to see the creation of the committee as part of the so-called Astana process.

Geir Pedersen, the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, said the breakthrough came on Monday following meetings with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and Naser al-Hariri, who represents the opposition’s Syrian Negotiations Committee.

The constitutional committee is expected to agree on Syria’s new basic law, which will hopefully secure its future as a nation respecting the religious, political, and ethnic differences of the many groups living there.

The 150-seat body will have equal representation from the Syrian government, the opposition, and civil groups. It will be based in Geneva under UN auspices.

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Peace vs. Climate

By Peter Koenig | The Saker Blog | September 23, 2019

Today, Monday 23 September, the UN in New York is hosting a special meeting on Climate Change. There were massive predominantly youth demonstrations of tens of thousands around the globe, many of them in New York, one of them led by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old climate activist, who is sponsored mostly by Soros and his clan to travel around the world and address world leaders to act on climate chance – preventing climate change, stop climate change. Others with the same objective, called “Friday’s for the Future”, originated in Germany, students striking every Friday – meaning literally not going to school, on behalf of stopping climate change.

The worldwide spill-over is apparently enormous. On Saturday some youth groups met with UN Secretary General, António Guterres, telling him that Climate Change is the world’s political issue number ONE. Mr. Guterres did not contradict, yes, it was a key problem and had to be addressed and world leaders needed to commit to take actions. The UN General assembly will further dedicate part of its program to Climate Change.

Wait a minute – Climate Change number ONE? – How about PEACE? – Nobody thought about that? Not even Guterres, whose mandate it is to lead the world body towards conflict solutions that bring PEACE – this is the very mandate that the UN has been founded on. Not climate, but PEACE.

Have these western kids, mostly from elite ranks, been brainwashed to the extent that they do not realize that the world has other priorities, namely stop the indiscriminate killing, by never ending US-launched and instigated wars around the globe?

Do they not realize that their brothers and sisters in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and in many more places of conflict and extreme poverty, are being killed left and right by the US-NATO killing machine, by famine, by war-related diseases, and by US vassal states, the very nations from where they, the rich kids, come to protest against climate change, but NOT against war? When do they wake up to reality? Maybe never, or when it’s too late – when even they are being bombed by the never-ending neoliberal greed-driven wars.

Do they know that these wars and conflicts, carried out directly or through proxies by US-NATO forces have killed between 20 and 25 million people since WWII alone, and between 12 and 15 million since 9/11? – Isn’t stopping this killing more important than vouching for a cause that arrogant human kind cannot stop – simply because climate change has been part of nature of the last 4 billion years of Mother Earth’s existence.

But it’s typical for mankind’s arrogance to believe and especially make believe to the masses that we, they, have the power to influence Mother Earth’s climate, and those who say Mother Earth, say Universe, because all is connected, and if we want to look very close we have to look at our sun which has enormous influence on our climate, much more than we want to admit; our sun, the source of life on earth together with water resources – that’s what we have to protect – and work for PEACE.

Screaming and hollering for something where mankind is important to do anything about is a waste of energy, but also a deviation from the real issue: How to stop war and achieve world PEACE. And even if we could influence climate, let’s just assume for a moment we could change the course of climate – do you, Greta and the Friday kids – and perhaps you too, Mr. Guterres – know that these wars that kill millions of people, are the largest Co2 / greenhouse gas producers by far – and this is pointing the finger straight to the US – NATO military complex – more than half! – And do you know, that up to now, none of the climate conferences – of these international glamour events, where politicians talk, promise but never follow their promises – that the military / war-caused Co2 pollution is never allowed to be addressed in these conferences? – So, what good do they do?

Do you also know, that the half a dozen or so huge climate conferences that cost a fortune for zilch, have brought absolutely no change to climate whatsoever? – First, because they can’t, since we are not the masters over Mother Earth – thank god! And second, because the politicians, especially in the western world, those that we call our leaders, are in bed with the corporate and finance key polluters? They are bought by them, the huge profit-making industries; profits they would not be able to make without the almost indiscriminate use of hydrocarbons. Our politicians, “leaders” (sic) would never even dare talking seriously about legislation that would prevent them from contaminating our atmosphere with greenhouse gases. No. Never. Not in the turbo-capitalist private sector dominated west.

At every one of these conferences Armageddon is being painted on the wall – in 5 years, 10 years, in 30 years in the best of cases – well, more than 20 years have passed since the first UN-sponsored Conference on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 – and we are still ticking, still propagating the same slogans – still spreading he same fear mongering – temps will rise by 3 degrees, by 5 degrees, but they are allowed only to rise by 2.5 degrees C – says WE, the masters of the universe. WOW! – Doesn’t that sound a bit arrogant, when you think about it?

But, in case you didn’t know, dear Greta crowd and Friday kids, and you Mr. Guterres too, PEACE is more important, frankly, than climate change. PEACE is and ought to be number ONE of our political agenda, of the UN agenda. Climate will happen with or without us; yes, it changes, it changes all the time. But get this, we humans, can’t stop it from changing. What this climate hype does, is allow and prompti a plethora of new taxes, polluter taxes to be collected from the common people, from you and me.

Corporations will be exempt from them. This means shuffling again trillions of dollars up the ladder from the poor to the rich, as always happens when the corporate finance dominated west wants to milk some more accumulated social capital from the working class to the upper echelons. – and climate is an excellent tool for it. Mr. Soros, you got it once again right. But you, Mr. Guterres, have been elected to lead the world through the UN system to PEACE, not to stop the climate from changing.

Trillions are being collected; they will end up in the banks, will become yet another derivative to be blown into a balloon that is predestined to burst one day – and the system collapses again. We know about these bubbles – but keep creating new ones. Does anybody dare to ask, or want to know what will be done with these newly collected trillions? How are they going to be applied to stop the climate from changing?

Nobody really cares. Once we guilt-driven Judeo-Christians have paid our dues, our conscience goes to rest – and we sleep well again, while nothing changes. Not climate change, nothing.

There may be better ideas, Mr. Guterres, if you want to do something for PEACE and for the environment, why not a special conference on banning plastic, the production of useless plastic – plastic as in plastic bottles – billions being used per day and less than 5% are recycled, the rest ends up in the sea, in stomachs of fish and birds, – in our own bodies in the form of microplastic. Stop plastic for packaging food and all sorts of consumables – packaged in plastic – unnecessarily so. Why? Because you would have to convert a whole plastic packaging industry, bottling industry – and you would have to convince the Nestlés and Coca Colas of this world to change their concept – perhaps going as far as abandoning their chief business, selling water in bottles. In addition to the use of plastic bottles, this has become, as we know, in many countries, including in the USA a socioenvironmental calamity.

You, Mr. Guterres, could request the western world to stop wasting 30% or more of our food. Yes, wasting, as in throwing it away, even though it would be perfectly fine to be used, But throwing it away brings more profit. – You could also launch a motion to prohibit all speculation with food stuff, grains – which would make food more affordable and could prevent many famines. Saving food for redistribution to those that need it, might – would – also contribute to peace.

How about this kind of an approach – an approach towards Peace and a protected environment. This would be something extraordinary – youth for PEACE and youth for a better distribution of food, and youth for a serious protection of our environment. Mr. Soros and his allies may not like it, because demonstrating against Climate Change, making a publicity hype of Climate Change – is clearly a deviation from ongoing wars that kill – millions and millions – in the name of profit and dominance – and eventually hegemony over the world’s resources and people.

Kids, ask the UN for achievable goals – for PEACE. It’s not easy, but it’s a worthwhile goal which we, mankind with a conscience are able to achieve.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.  Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 8 Comments

UN slams US and allied forces for war crimes & civilian targeting in Syria

RT | September 13, 2019

The UN Commission of Inquiry slammed war crimes committed against civilians in Syria by US and allied forces, in a new report that describes how nine years of war has left some parts of the nation “near complete destruction.”

Civilians continue to “bear the brunt of hostilities” at the hands of all parties in the conflict, declares the report by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, published on Wednesday. However, it singles out the US-led international coalition for repeated and indiscriminate targeting of non-combatants.

“International coalition forces failed to employ the necessary precautions to discriminate adequately between military objectives and civilians,” the report states, warning that “launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases where such attacks are conducted recklessly.”

US and allied forces are blamed for “widespread destruction of towns and villages in [Deir ez-Zor] Governorate” and the resulting displacement of thousands, many of whom ended up in the notorious Al-Hol camp, where disease and abysmal conditions reign.

In addition to failing to take precautions to minimize harm to civilians, the report cites the “dire humanitarian conditions” suffered by populations caught between the “widespread corruption, extortion, lack of services and security, and abuse of power” by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, as well as other groups like the Levant Liberation Organization (also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate), which it accuses of deliberately terrorizing populations living under Syrian government control.

While Syrian government forces are also criticized for their choice of targets, accused of attacking medical facilities and other protected civilian infrastructure in Idlib, and failing to respect a demilitarized zone drawn up with Russia and Turkey, the US remains an uninvited guest in Syria, adding insult to the injuries inflicted by its military.

Another UN body, the Human Rights Commission, released a report last week eviscerating the US, UK, and France for their part in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting local forces since 2015. The UN HRC declared that aiding and abetting a war crime – by selling weapons a nation knows will be used in the commission of atrocities – is also a war crime.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

New U.N. Report Highlights Human Rights Violations and Abuses in Yemen since 2014

By Sarah Abed | September 5, 2019

The second largest sovereign state in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, has been ravaged by war, deliberate starvation, and cholera for over four years. A 274 page U.N. report released on Tuesday, highlights the human rights situation including violations and abuses since September 2014.

According to the report, which took two years to complete, the United States, France, and Britain may be complicit in war crimes for their involvement in the war in Yemen by not only supplying the weapons being used by the Saudi and United Arab Emirate coalitions, but also providing them with intelligence and logistics support.

The report details the findings of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen. It was submitted as a supplement to A/HR/42/17. U.N. investigators are recommending that all states impose a ban on arms transfers to the warring parties in order to prevent them from being used to commit serious violations and war crimes.

“It is clear that the continued supply of weapons to parties to the conflict is perpetuating the conflict and prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people,” Melissa Parke, an expert on the independent U.N. panel, told a news conference. Parke continued, “That is why we are urging member states to no longer supply weapons to parties to the conflict.”

The report states, “The Group of Experts reiterates that steps required to address the human rights and international law violations in Yemen have been continually discussed, and there can no longer be any excuses made for failure to take meaningful steps to address them. The best way to protect the Yemeni population is to stop the fighting by reaching a political settlement which includes measures for accountability.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are two of the largest purchasers of U.S. British and French weapons. These weapons are being used to fight against the homegrown Houthi movement which controls Yemen’s capital. The report states, “The legality of arms transfers by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other States remains questionable, and is the subject of various domestic court proceedings.”

According to the U.N. report, Saudi and UAE coalitions are killing civilians in air strikes, and deliberately denying them food. The report put blame on all sides of the conflict, saying that no one has clean hands.

Kamel Jendoubi, chairperson of the Group of Experts on Yemen a creation of the U.N. Human Rights Council stated, “Five years into the conflict, violations against Yemeni civilians continue unabated, with total disregard for the plight of the people and a lack of international action to hold parties to the conflict accountable.” He also stated “This endemic impunity—for violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict—cannot be tolerated anymore.” Jendoubi concluded, “Impartial and independent inquiries must be empowered to hold accountable those who disrespect the rights of the Yemeni people. The international community must stop turning a blind eye to these violations and the intolerable humanitarian situation.”

Allegations of torture, rape, and murder of suspected political opponents detained in secret facilities by Emirati and affiliated forces have been received by the U.N. panel.

A secret list was sent by an independent panel to U.N. human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, identifying “individuals who may be responsible for international crimes” the U.N. report states.

In the appendix, was a separate list identifying more than 160 “main actors” among Saudi, Emirati and Yemeni government and Houthi officials.

Concerns have been raised as to the impartiality and legitimacy of a Joint Incidents Assessment Team set up by Saudi Arabia to review alleged coalition violations, after it failed to hold anyone accountable for air strikes that killed civilians.

The U.N. report comes just a few days after a recent airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition on a detention center in Yemen on Sunday, killed more than 100 people. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the attack may have amounted to a war crime. The coalition said it was targeting a drones and missiles facility but instead they leveled a building being used as a prison, in the city of Dhamar.

“The location that was hit has been visited by ICRC before,” Franz Rauchenstein, its head of delegation for Yemen, told AFP from Dhamar. “It’s a college building that has been empty and has been used as a detention facility for a while.” Rauchenstein continued, “What is most disturbing is that (the attack was) on a prison. To hit such a building is shocking and saddening – prisoners are protected by international law.” The remaining forty survivors are being treated in hospitals in the city south of the capital Sanaa for their injuries.

Last Thursday, airstrikes hit Yemeni government forces heading to Aden a southern port city, to fight UAE backed separatists. At least 30 troops were killed according to a government commander. The UAE has been known to arm and train separatist militias in southern Yemen. For weeks now, a rift between Saudi and UAE proxies has further complicated matters and civilians are paying the price.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers launched a new effort to end the U.S. government’s involvement in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen, shortly after the latest attacks. Lawmakers are also calling on the Senate to not remove an amendment to the annual defense policy legislation which would prohibit the U.S. from cooperating with Saudi airstrikes. Sanders stated, “We must use Congress’s power of the purse to block every nickel of taxpayer money from going to assist the Saudi dictatorship as it bombs and starves civilians in Yemen.”

Unfortunately, even with the release of this new U.N. report, the likelihood that nations perpetrating war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians will be held accountable is highly unlikely.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and analyst.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN calls out US, UK & France for complicity in Yemen war crimes

RT | September 4, 2019

The UN Human Rights Council slammed the US, UK and France for their complicity in alleged war crimes in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, warning that abetting such crimes by selling arms or other aid is also illegal.

“States that knowingly aid or assist parties to the conflict in Yemen in the commission of violations would be responsible for complicity in the relevant international humanitarian law violations,” the UNHRC’s Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen declared in a lengthy report published on Tuesday.

“With the number of public reports alleging and often establishing serious violations of international humanitarian law no State can claim not to be aware of such violations being perpetrated in Yemen.”

The 274-page report enumerated possible war crimes committed by both sides in the conflict, including airstrikes and shelling, landmines, “siege-like tactics,” attacks on hospitals and other vital infrastructure, arbitrary arrests and executions, torture, and forced conscription of children into combat. The writers claimed to have forwarded the names of top military and political individuals from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the Houthi movement to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The UK and France fall under special scrutiny as signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty, which bars the sale of weapons if a country believes they will be used to commit “mass atrocities.” However, even non-parties to the ATT may face “criminal responsibility for aiding and abetting war crimes” since after five years of fighting “there can no longer be any excuses made for failure to take meaningful steps to address” the humanitarian crisis and international law violations taking place in Yemen.

The UK Court of Appeal ruled in June that the government had “made no attempt” to determine whether Saudi Arabia was using its weapons to violate international law, and while Secretary of State Liam Fox said he would suspend licenses for export to the Saudi coalition, the Department for International Trade said it would appeal the ruling. A rare bipartisan-supported bill to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia by the US was vetoed in July by President Donald Trump, who complained it would “weaken America’s global competitiveness” and damage relationships with allies. And the French government hid the arms sales from its people entirely, then threatened the journalists who exposed the sales with arrest for publishing confidential information.

The UNHRC report also provided an update on the shocking scale of the humanitarian crisis, revealing that nearly a quarter of the Yemeni population was malnourished at the start of 2019, according to the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with 230 of 333 districts at risk of famine and 24.1 million people in need of assistance merely to survive.

Also on rt.com:

‘Comical & tragic’ when US officials say arms sales to Saudis are about ‘exporting human rights’

September 4, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US, Turkey must end illegal military presence on Syria soil: Damascus envoy to UN

Press TV – August 21, 2019

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari has called on the United States and Turkey to end their “illegal military presence” in the Arab country and crimes against civilians.

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on Middle East peace and security challenges in New York on Tuesday, Ja’afari urged Washington and Ankara to respect the UN Charter’s principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and refrain from using force against them.

“The United States and its allies, including the Turkish occupation forces, must be obliged to end their illegal military presence on Syrian territory and to stop their aggressive practices in support of terrorism and their crimes against Syrians, civilian installations and infrastructure,” he said.

He also criticized Turkey for sending a military convoy carrying ammunition into Syria’s Idlib Province in support of the militants holed up in the embattled region.

The Syrian envoy further highlighted the need for the world body to stay focused on the real root causes of the Middle East conflict, including occupation, acts of aggression and destructive interventions in countries’ domestic affairs — such as those aimed at overthrowing governments by force, investing in terrorism and fabricating crises.

“Success in dealing with the challenges facing the region requires upholding the principles of international law and the provisions of the UN Charter and stopping attempts to distort and manipulate its provisions,” he said.

Ja’afari also described Israel’s occupation of Arab territories as the main reason for the crisis in the region.

“The main cause of the conflicts in the Middle East and the inability to achieve peace and stability has been and continues to be the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, including the occupied Syrian Golan,” he said.

Ja’afari further expressed concerns about Israel’s accumulation of weapons of mass destruction, saying the regime should join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without delay and subject its facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s safeguards regime.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UNRWA Accusations: (Im)Perfect Timing

Photograph Source: diario fotográfico ‘desde Palestina – CC BY-SA 3.0
By Daniel Warner | CounterPunch | August 8, 2019

A damaging internal report has cast a dark shadow over the ethical behavior of top officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). As disclosed by Al Jazeera and AFP, the report cites “credible and corroborated reports” that members of an “inner circle” at the top of UNRWA, including Swiss Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, have engaged in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.” The report was sent to UN Secretary-General António Guterres in December.

As one would expect, reactions have been immediate. The Swiss Foreign Ministry has announced that it has “decided to temporarily stop payments to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).” Already in 2018, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis publicly criticized the role of UNRWA, saying it would be impossible to make peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority because “For as long as Palestinians live in refugee camps, they want to return to their homeland,” he said. “For a long time the UNRWA was the solution to this problem, but today it has become part of the problem. It supplies the ammunition to continue the conflict. By supporting the UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic,” Cassis stated.

The Jewish News Syndicate trumpeted over the scandal: “Revelations of rampant wrongdoing in the corridors of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) couldn’t have shamed a more worthy organization. Though normally it’s not nice to gloat over the misfortunes of others, the schadenfreude elicited by the news of inappropriate behavior going on behind the walls of this particularly vile organization was warranted.” An Israeli journalist, Ruthie Blum, tried to put another nail in the agency’s coffin: “Nothing short of shutting down UNRWA will be satisfactory since its very existence is a criminal scam…. In the meantime, let us take some comfort in the agency’s well-earned public humiliation.”

“UNRWA is currently running on fumes,” charged U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt at the UN Security Council in late May. “It is time to face the reality that the UNRWA model has failed,” he said. “Palestinians in refugee camps were not given the opportunity to build any future; they were misled and used as political pawns,” he added. The United States ended all funding for UNRWA in 2018. “The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation,” the State Department said at the time.

The schism between humanitarianism and politics is not as wide as most believe. Organizations like UNRWA walk a very thin line between assisting all in need and taking sides in conflicts. In response to the current story, UNRWA responded that it “is probably among the most scrutinized U.N. agencies in view of the nature of the conflict and complex and politicized environment it is working in.”

UNRWA was created in 1949 to deal with Palestinians who were displaced during the 1948 war at the creation of the state of Israel. It was established by General Assembly resolution 302 (IV), with the initial mandate to provide “direct relief and works programmes” to Palestine refugees, in order to “prevent conditions of starvation and distress… and to further conditions of peace and stability”. Today, it provides education, health care and social services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Since 2018, with the U.S. withdrawal, it has been in a financial crisis.

While the ethics report deals only with the internal workings of the organization, there is no question that one cannot separate the political from the ethical here. Why are questions being raised now about ethical issues within UNRWA? With continuing tensions between Palestinian authorities and Israel and the Trump administration peace plan still incubating, the report is a cold shower for any hopes of ameliorating the lives of millions of displaced Palestinians. Generations of Palestinians have been stuck in camps, with UNRWA doing all that’s been possible to alleviate their suffering.

Is the report part of a larger strategy? By publicly criticizing UNRWA now, is it hoped that Palestinians will be forced to sign an agreement that will have no promise for the right to return? When the U.S. stopped funding UNRWA, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority suggested it was “using humanitarian aid to blackmail and pressure the Palestinian leadership to submit to the empty plan known as ‘the deal of the century.” Are the latest revelations part of that strategy?

Any serious abuses within UNRWA should be scrutinized and punished. That should go without saying. And organizations like UNRWA, given the sensitivity of their activities, should be especially careful about their actions. That also should go without saying. But the timing of the current revelations certainly come at an opportune moment for those who want to pressure the Palestinians into a peace deal. And what about all the refugees who depend on UNRWA for basic services? Are they once again being forgotten as they have been for 70 years?

August 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment