Wednesday, March 29, 2006

some comments

The Bush administration has reaffirmed its commitment to the nearly unilateral repudiation of established international law. The New York Times reported on March 16th, "with the United States in virtually lone opposition, the United Nations overwhelmingly approved a new Human Rights Council on Wednesday to replace the widely discredited Human Rights Commission". The US was joined in it's opposition by Israel (normally in sync with US votes), the Marshall Islands and Palau. Belarus, Iran and Venezuela abstained from the vote. The language used by the Times would lead one to believe that despite the US vote, the commission was approved. What they failed to mention is that by casting a dissenting vote, the US has effectively vetoed this General Assembly resolution. With the election of council members set for May 9th, and the inclusion of the United States "a critical consideration for the panel's future", this body is rendered non-functional in any significant sense. The official US position, from the Times article:

"John R. Bolton, the United States ambassador, said the proposed council was 'not sufficiently improved' over the commission, which has been faulted for permitting notorious rights abusers to join. 'We must not let the victims of human rights abuses throughout the world think that U.N. member states were willing to settle for 'good enough,' ' Mr. Bolton said in a statement after the vote. 'We must not let history remember us as the architects of a council that was a 'compromise' and merely 'the best we could do' rather than one that ensured doing 'all we could do' to promote human rights.' "

But is the US in practice such an unyielding champion of human rights? It is interesting that violations of human rights perpetrated by the North are never even considered. It is absolutely unthinkable to mount a serious critique in this arena. The countless human rights reports condemning Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo bay are routinely dismissed as a joke. How about our "Third World" client states? How about our good friends the Saudis, who hold one of the world's worst human rights records? Indonesia, another perennial favorite, has re-established it's position on our list of states receiving military aid. Why not mention it's continuing crimes in West Papua? To return to this troubled corner of the globe,

"Police and rock throwing demonstrators clashed during a protest against the American mining company, Freeport-McMoRan, today leaving three policemen and one Air Force officer dead in the remote province of Papua, witnesses and officials said...The demonstration outside the university in Jayapura turned violent as several hundred students demanded that Freeport, which owns a huge gold and copper mine in the impoverished province, close its operations.
The students, many of whom support independence for Papua, also demanded that the Indonesian Army and police withdraw from the province. The army and the police in Papua, most of whom come from outside the province, are widely viewed as an occupying force, and the Freeport mine is protected by these forces. Protests against the mine have escalated since last month, when local people who live near the mine were prevented by the police from panning the mine's waste for gold. " (NY Times 3/16)

Freeport-McMoRan, making headlines again. See posts on Indonesia below and make your own connections.

Bush has also recently restated the administration's insistence on the sovereign right of the US to mount pre-emptive, defensive strikes. That such oxymoronic propaganda goes umentioned in any critical fashion is testament to the media's proper role in establishing doctrine.


Anonymous dejan said...

have you been getting any of my comments? i wrote several but when publishing, seem to have lost them. the blogger is really defunct with the comments.

9:50 AM  

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