Democracy Now! reports that the United Nations has rejected claims in Haiti for compensation for people who died because of cholera that was found to have been brought to Haiti by U.N. personnel! The spokesperson pointed to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. I skimmed the Convention. Section 29 talks about settling disputes when agents of the UN have “immunity”.
There’s another section, though, Section 2 of Article 2. It read, ” The United Nations, its property and assets wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except insofar as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity.” So the U.N. if it wants to can waive immunity and allow a lawsuit. This happens with U.S. state governments which allow themselves to be sued in cases of outrageous incompetence or criminal conduct.
I never intended to see “Argo”. I assumed it was just another movie of how a crew of clever Americans outsmarted Middle Eastern brutes.
Then I saw the free ten minute “preview” of the movie and I thought I was wrong. It featured a two-minute history of Iran which talked all about the U.S. overthrowing the democratic government headed by Mossaddegh, restoring the Shah to full power and how the Shah maintained himself by torture. Hey, I thought, the liberals Ben Affleck and George Clooney created the movie. Maybe it shows some sympathy to Iranians. So I watched the whole film.
No, I was right the first time. “Argo” is all about showing American/Canadian ingenuity and Iranian simple-mindedness. It’s a “caper” movie with the CIA outrageously posing as a film crew supposedly scouting “locations” for a science fiction movie in Iran as a “cover” for their rescue of six U.S. diplomats. The diplomats had escaped the U.S. embassy and were hiding in the Canadian embassy. The Iranians are basically shown as savages As Sarah Gillespie points out in her fine review Farsi is generally translated with sub-titles only when Westerners speak it. Otherwise it’s just a scary babble.
It looks like a big win for the good guys. Efforts by the Dershowitz and the NYC politicians to ban discussion at Brooklyn College not only failed, but turned the moderates and even some conservatives against them and gave wide publicity not only to the event, but to BDS itself. The faculty union at CUNY denounced the attack. The New York Times used part of an editorial against it and even Mayor Bloomberg who said he’s “violently” against BDS spoke against cancelling the Barghouti/Butler event.
So the Anti-Defamation League (or more properly the League to Defame Justice) spent many thousands of dollars to publish a near full page ad in the New York Times signed by Abe Foxman, its National Director. It’s here: http://archive.adl.org/nytimes_ads/NYT-Ad-BrooklynCollege-2-8-13.pdf
To save your mouse the effort of a wasteful click I’ll distill his main arguments. He says boycotts of Israel are “in our mind hateful on their own”. Really? What about BDS against apartheid South Africa? Was that illegitimate? What about the Jewish-led boycotts of the anti-Semitic Russian Czar, Henry Ford, and Adolph Hitler? Were they hate actions?
CIA man Brennan and President Obama claim these assassinations by drone are all necessary because these are terrorists about to wreak havoc on the U.S. (though this week we learned from a memo that all you need to be is a “senior operational” figure in the terrorist group to be a drone target). Supposedly careful care is given whether to try an arrest.
But when have they ever tried to arrest someone rather than use drones? Is any amount or risk to U.S. forces enough reason to kill a man rather than arrest him?
Anyway why haven’t they demanded local authorities take action? Take Yemem, an AMERICAN ALLY. We send millions to their military. Why don’t we tell them where these terrorists are hiding and have one of their “elite” paratroopers, Seals, Eagles or whatever swoop down and capture them? How about requesting the same from Pakistan, another AMERICAN ALLY? Ever hear of extradition treaties? international law?
We know the rationale. “To get the job done we can only trust our own forces, not troops from the colonial (strike that), not troops from the local country.” But check out this link to an article in Esquire. John Brennan won’t even answer whether he thought the president could order a drone strike within the U.S. So we can’t even trust U.S. SWAT teams?
I’ve been holding my tongue about Ed Koch, who died a few days ago, but when even Democracy Now! had a favorable piece about the late mayor of New York I had to speak up.
He was an unabashed and unapologetic supporter of Israeli aggression and apartheid. In 1980 he declared Jabotinsky Day in honor of the revisionist Zionist (and pro-Mussolini) leader. When Israel was blowing hell out of Lebanon in 1982 and carpet bombing Palestinian camps Koch went to Lebanon with the Israeli army. His 100% support for the Israeli government continued long after he left office. In 2010 he denounced President Obama for his (one and only?) criticism of Israeli settlement building.
According to Wikipedia Koch also appeared in the documentary “FahrenHYPE 9/11” defending President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and blasting Michael Moore. Koch was quoted in the film saying of Moore’s film, “Farhrenheit 9/11“. He says, “It’s not a documentary, it’s a lie.”