Blog Roundup #60

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Heretik: “The Joint Task Force at Guantanamo admits there have been at least thirty six suicide attempts by twenty two detainees…. UN REPRESENTATIVES ON HUMAN RIGHTS have finally been invited to the prison. However, the United States says no detainees will be allowed to be interiewed alone.”

Democracy Arsenal: “I wrote about this last week, but the reports now are that the second wave of post-earthquake deaths from disease and exposure are already beginning. UN agencies will have to scale back their aid this week unless more donor money flows fast. If tens of thousands of Pakistanis die this winter because not enough help reached them, Pakistan’s number one international “partner” – the US – is the most likely target for blame.”

Agonist: “Big oil groups implicated in oil-for-food scandal – Financial Times – Well known international oil companies used traders to distance themselves from the illegal surcharges being paid under the United Nations oil-for-food deal in Iraq, the final Volcker report has concluded. But only one major oil company was shamed by the 623-page report: Texaco, part of Chevron, the US’s second largest energy group. The report states: “A more nefarious purpose for an oil trader, or oil company, to purchase oil from a contractor, rather than directly from Somo [Iraq’s oil company] was to maintain an apparent distance from the payment of illicit oil surcharges.”

Eccentric Star: “Pentagon Invites UN Torture Investigator to Guantanamo – (Reuters) “The United States on Friday invited three UN human rights investigators, including the one who examines torture allegations, to visit the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in a bid to show “we have nothing to hide.” The Pentagon said the invitations were extended to Austria’s Manfred Nowak, special investigator for the United Nations on torture, Pakistan’s Asma Jahangir, who focuses on religious freedom, and Algeria’s Leila Zerrougui, who looks into arbitrary detention.”

Friends of Ethiopia: “Economist: “It is a reasonable question: if Eritrea and Ethiopia are intent on fighting and the UN cannot stop them, the blue helmets might as well leave. Yet to blame the UN for the crisis is to miss the point. The peacekeepers were never intended to enforce peace. Rather, they were charged with deterring cross-border scuffles and reporting them when they occurred-and this they have admirably done.”

This Modern World: “I’m really sick of hearing the liberal-hawks-turned-peaceniks claim that they supported the war only because of Colin Powell’s breathtaking performance before the UN, and are shocked and saddened to learn they were lied to. You supported the war because you didn’t have the courage to buck what you perceived as mainstream opinion, didn’t want to align yourselves with all those dirty hippies marching in the streets. As it turns out, of course, the dirty hippies, i.e. citizens from all walks of life, turned out to be a lot more on the mark than you were.”

Red State: “Iran finds the U.N. Security Council statement condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his Hitler-like call for Israel to be “wiped off the map” unacceptable… Secretary-General Annan’s 27 October statement expressed dismay over Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map. Coming after Israel’s call to expel Iran from the United Nations, the diplomatic pressure may be “unacceptable” to Iran. Combined, Annan’s “intention” to adjust his agenda and the Security Council’s “condemnation” constitute only a good first step in the right direction.”