Archive for November 23rd, 2009

Tough U.N. Critic Tapped to Represent U.S. on Human Rights Council

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

After all the dismal failures Obama has had for his appointees, I actually may have to agree with this one.

The California scholar and Obama donor tapped to be the first U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council is a fierce critic of the United Nations’ human rights record who some watchdogs say they hope will roll some heads on the controversial panel boycotted during the Bush administration.

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe has called the U.N. policy and record toward human rights abuses erratic, inhumane and dysfunctional, and has said its inherently flawed charter leaves human rights violators “immunized” from international interference.

In what would be a drastic shift from current policy, she recommended in her 2006 Ph.D. dissertation that the United Nations condition a country’s sovereignty on its human rights record. In other words, she argued that human rights abuses can justify invasion.

U.N. critics are cautiously optimistic she’ll bring that hard-nosed attitude to the council and be willing to confront the despots and alleged human rights abusers represented there.

“The council has been awful,” Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch in Geneva, told, saying he hopes the Obama administration doesn’t think it’s going to seek reform through “consensus” on the panel. “I’m confident that Donahoe, given her background, understands that and will take a vigorous approach to holding abusers to account.”

Watchdogs, though, are reserving judgment, in part because they are so disenchanted with the panel and in part because Donahoe does not have diplomatic experience.

“It’s great that they’ve picked somebody who at least from a substantive point of view understands some of the issues here,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy for Freedom House. “What we don’t know is whether she’s a skilled diplomat who can kind of turn the culture around at the U.N.”

The Human Rights Council, whose current membership now includes, among others, Bolivia, Egypt, Nigeria, Russia and Pakistan, was shunned by the Bush administration over its obsession with censuring Israel and seeming disregard for alleged human rights abuses in other nations.

Just a few months after the Obama administration announced in March that it would seek election to the council, it again released a report deeply critical of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip early this year, leading to condemnation from congressional lawmakers and the Obama administration.

According to a comprehensive assessment from Freedom House, 10 of the 18 condemnatory resolutions passed in the most recent two-year session targeted Israel. After the council was created as the successor to the equally controversial U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006, three of the four special sessions first called dealt with Israel. Meanwhile, member countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Cuba have escaped such official censure.

The decision to break the Bush administration’s boycott on the council was met with skepticism when the State Department announced in March that the United States would seek election to the council. Some accused the Obama administration of caving to the council and somehow legitimizing it.

But the administration argued that engagement can be more effective than isolation.

Donahoe also happens to be a top Obama fundraiser and the wife of eBay CEO John Donahoe. During the presidential campaign, she served as chairwoman of the National Women for Obama Finance Committee and was a prolific “bundler.”

She hosted one high-dollar fundraiser at her home in 2007, and by the end of the campaign had reportedly raised more than $1 million for the presidential candidate.

Donahoe will have to go through Senate confirmation. The White House did not respond to a request for an interview with the nominee who will attain ambassadorial rank if confirmed.

But Donahoe’s views on the United Nations were made clear in a recent 237-page dissertation. For her Ph.D. in ethics from the University of California’s Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Donahoe wrote her dissertation on the United Nations’ inconsistent track record on intervening to stop human rights abuses.

The 2006 paper, titled “Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Ethical Imperative Vs. the Rule of Law,” argued that the United Nations Security Council has never had adequate guidelines to address such abuses and suggested several reforms.

“Decisions with respect to intervention have been hesitant, too late, inconsistent, ineffective or all of the above,” she wrote. She cited the response in Rwanda in 1994, in Kosovo in 1999 and in East Timor the same year.

In an argument that would surely make a slew of U.N. members cringe, she wrote that the United Nations places too much value on state sovereignty, essentially forcing it to wait until it has permission from an alleged abuser to intervene.

As a solution, she said the United Nations could pass a resolution and amend its charter so that sovereignty is conditioned on a country’s ability to protect its citizens’ human rights. Donahoe generally argued that the U.N. charter’s conditions for military intervention — self-defense or Security Council authorization granted in order to stop a threat to international security — are too narrow.

She said that humanitarian atrocities should be counted as threats to international security, allowing the Security Council to meet the standard for legal intervention more easily. And she recommended a new set of standards for use of force.

Donahoe wrote that these changes would have “profound benefits,” since rogue nations would no longer believe they could “act with impunity against their own people.”

While these recommendations applied to the Security Council, the Human Rights Council can be a key venue to start applying pressure on the international community.

Neuer said that out of the 47 member countries, only 12 can be relied on to stand up for human rights. While the United States is just one vote, Neuer said the country’s new representative could round up enough members to call emergency sessions to “shame” countries like Sudan which he said have gotten a “free pass.” Even if U.S.-sponsored resolutions fail, he said, they would start to galvanize international attention and get countries on record on alleged abuses.

“The question is whether the administration is interested in doing that,” Neuer said. “The work means you’re going to shame abusers, to hold them to account. … It means upsetting the abusers, and making them walk out of the council with their tail between their legs and shamed with the mark of Cain.”

Donahoe comes to the international body with a largely academic background. Before her Ph.D, she earned her law degree from Stanford Law School, as well as a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Stanford University; a master’s in theology from Harvard University; and a bachelor’s from Dartmouth University.

She was most recently an affiliated scholar with Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. Before that, she worked as a teaching fellow at Stanford Law and worked with several human rights organizations.

Scott Sagan, co-director at CISAC, said in a written statement that given her background in ethical and legal dilemmas, Donahoe is eminently qualified to “help reinvigorate” the Human Rights Council.

Schriefer, while praising the administration for assigning Donahoe exclusively to the Human Rights Council, said Donahoe will have to show some political, not just academic, chops when she joins.

“She’s got her work cut out for her,” she said. “All the political players on the good side need to start getting as active as the political players on the bad side.”

Original Link.

Allen West on Fort Hood Massacre

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Gail Gartrell sent me this statement reported as being made by Lt. Col. Allen West:

This past Thursday 13 American Soldiers were killed and another 30 wounded at a horrific mass shooting at US Army installation, Ft Hood Texas. As I watched in horror and then anger I recalled my two years of final service in the Army as a Battalion Commander at Ft Hood, 2002-2004.

My wife and two daughters were stunned at the incident having lived on the post in family housing.

A military installation, whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or Coast Guard, is supposed to be a safe sanctuary for our Warriors and their families. It is intended to provide a home whereby our “Band of Brothers and Sisters” can find solace and bond beyond just the foxhole but as family units.

A military installation is supposed to be a place where our Warriors train for war, to serve and protect our Nation.

On Thursday, 5 November 2009 Ft Hood became a part of the battlefield in the war against Islamic totalitarianism and state sponsored terrorism.

There may be those who feel threatened by my words and would even recommend they not be uttered. To those individuals I say step aside because now is not the time for cowardice. Our Country has become so paralyzed by political correctness that we have allowed a vile and determined enemy to breach what should be the safest place in America, an Army post.

We have become so politically correct that our media is more concerned about the stress of the shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. The misplaced benevolence intending to portray him as a victim is despicable. The fact that there are some who have now created an entire new classification called; “pre-virtual vicarious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” is unconscionable.

This is not a “man caused disaster”. It is what it is, an Islamic jihadist attack.

We have seen this before in 2003 when a SGT Hasan of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) threw hand grenades and opened fire into his Commanding Officer’s tent in Kuwait. We have seen the foiled attempt of Albanian Muslims who sought to attack Ft Dix, NJ. Recently we saw a young convert to Islam named Carlos Bledsoe travel to Yemen, receive terrorist training, and return to gun down two US Soldiers at a Little Rock, Arkansas Army recruiting station. We thwarted another Islamic terrorist plot in North Carolina which had US Marine Corps Base, Quantico as a target.

What have we done with all these prevalent trends? Nothing.

What we see are recalcitrant leaders who are refusing to confront the issue, Islamic terrorist infiltration into America, and possibly further into our Armed Services. Instead we have a multiculturalism and diversity syndrome on steroids.

Major Hasan should have never been transferred to Ft Hood, matter of fact he should have been Chaptered from the Army. His previous statements, poor evaluation reports, and the fact that the FBI had him under investigation for jihadist website posting should have been proof positive.

However, what we have is a typical liberal approach to find a victim, not the 13 and 30 Soldiers and Civilian, but rather the poor shooter. A shooter who we are told was a great American, who loved the Army and serving his Nation and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) stating that his actions had nothing to do with religious belief.

We know that Major Hasan deliberately planned this episode; he did give away his possessions. He stood atop a table in the confined space of the Soldier Readiness Center shouting “Allahu Akhbar”, same chant as the 9-11 terrorists and those we fight against overseas in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation.

No one in leadership seems willing to sound the alarm for the American people; they are therefore complicit in any future attacks. Our Congress should suspend the insidious action to vote on a preposterous and unconstitutional healthcare bill and resolve the issue of “protecting the American people”.

The recent incidents in Dearborn Michigan, Boston Massachusetts, Dallas Texas, and Chicago Illinois should bear witness to the fact that we have an Islamic terrorism issue in America. And don’t have CAIR call me and try to issue a vanilla press statement; they are an illegitimate terrorist associated organization which should be disbanded.

We have Saudi Arabia funding close to 80% of the mosques in the United States, one right here in South Florida, Pompano Beach. Are we building churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia? Are “Kaffirs” and “Infidels” allowed travel to Mecca?

So much for peaceful coexistence.

Saudi Arabia is sponsoring radical Imams who enter into our prisons and convert young men into a virulent Wahabbist ideology….one resulting in four individuals wanting to destroy synagogues in New York with plastic explosives. Thank God the explosives were dummy. They are sponsoring textbooks which present Islamic centric revisionist history in our schools.

We must recognize that there is an urgent need to separate the theo-political radical Islamic ideology out of our American society. We must begin to demand surveillance of suspected Imams and mosques that are spreading hate and preaching the overthrow of our Constitutional Republic……that speech is not protected under First Amendment, it is sedition and if done by an American treason.

There should not be some 30 Islamic terrorist training camps in America that has nothing to do with First Amendment, Freedom of Religion. The Saudis are not our friends and any American political figure who believes such is delusional.

When tolerance becomes a one way street it certainly leads to cultural suicide. We are on that street. Liberals cannot be trusted to defend our Republic, because their sympathies obviously lie with their perceived victim, Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

I make no apologies for these words, and anyone angered by them, please, go to Ft Hood and look into the eyes of the real victims. The tragedy at Ft Hood Texas did not have to happen. Consider now the feelings of those there and on every military installation in the world. Consider the feelings of the Warriors deployed into combat zones who now are concerned that their loved ones at home are in a combat zone.

Ft Hood suffered an Islamic jihadist attack, stop the denial, and realize a simple point.

The reality of your enemy must become your own.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Lieutenant Colonel Allen B West (US Army, Ret)

Original Link.

9/11 Terrorist to Stage “Show Trial”

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This is going to blow up in Obama’s face.

NEW YORK — The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain “their assessment of American foreign policy,” Fenstermaker said.

“Their assessment is negative,” he said.

Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.

Fenstermaker was first quoted in The New York Times in Sunday’s editions.

Critics of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the men in a New York City civilian courthourse have warned that the trial would provide the defendants with a propaganda platform.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Sunday that while the men may attempt to use the trial to express their views, “we have full confidence in the ability of the courts and in particular the federal judge who may preside over the trial to ensure that the proceeding is conducted appropriately and with minimal disrupton, as federal courts have done in the past.”

Original Link.

Senate Dems Move Government Healthcare Takeover to the Floor

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This is going to bite them so badly in the next election.

WASHINGTON — For Republicans, the Saturday vote on health care in the Senate was the first skirmish in a longer battle aimed at frustrating White House ambitions and ensuring that Democrats bear full responsibility for legislation the GOP sees as increasingly unpopular with Americans.

With the 2010 election year looming, Republicans forced Democratic leaders to demonstrate that they can pull together a 60-vote majority for the bill. All 58 Democrats and the two independents allied with the party joined together, voting to avert a Republican filibuster that threatened to stall action.

“Our goal is to let the American people know what it does for them and to them,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” Among other things, the bill would raise Medicare payroll taxes for the wealthy and cut Medicare payments to health-care providers, while expanding eligibility for Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor. “We think if the American people know that, the bill will collapse of its own weight,” Mr. Alexander said.

The defeat isn’t likely to cause a fundamental rethinking in Republicans’ strategy of delaying the bill and pointing to what they see as its flaws. Even if a bill ultimately passes, Republicans hope to delay that moment until well into 2010 — when all seats in the House and one-third of those in the Senate will be contested — then make the case to voters that Democrats took their focus off the economy and an unemployment rate above 10%.

The danger for Republicans is that their delay tactics begin to look like political opportunism and they appear to obstruct a bill that contains some popular elements such as restrictions on health insurers.

In the give and take on the Senate floor, where the bill will be debated in December, Republicans hope to drive a wedge among Democrats, potentially peeling off centrists on key issues. Republicans also hope to force attention to their own proposals for changing health care, such as limiting medical-malpractice claims and enhancing the ability of small businesses to buy insurance.

Original Link.