In today's Washington Post, Colum Lynch reports on UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann and the US government response to him. Lynch explains that D'Escoto Brockmann was in Tehran yesterday and stated that, among other things, the US was not cooperating with other nations in the UN. Lynch then notes Brockmann's comments from last week. Here, we'll drop back to the March 5th snapshot which included Donn Bobb's United Nations radio report:
UN General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann on Wednesday urged the Human Rights Council to investigate "massive human rights violations" in Iraq.
The Nicaraguan diplomat describes Iraq as "a contemporary and on-going example of how the illegal use of force leads inexorably to human suffering and disregard for human rights."
He says "it sets a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand."
"The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as it runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in..the United Nations Charter. All pretended justifications notwithstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations, constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations."
General Assembly President D'escoto suggests the Council consider appointing a special mechanism to report on Iraq.
Mr. D'escoto cites "reliable" estimates of over a million deaths in Iraq "as a result of the US-led aggression and occupation", saying " and still there is no rapporteur".
He says this was a serious omission that should be corrected.
As noted in that day's snapshot, D'Escoto was also calling for human rights to be seen in a more encompassing manner (the right to safe drinking water, etc.). Today Lynch offers the (bullying) response from the US government:
Mark Kornblau, a U.S. spokesman, challenged d'Escoto's claims on the number of dead civilians in Iraq, saying the former Sandinista foreign minister "has his facts wrong and seems like he is lost in some kind of time warp."
Alejandro Wolff, the second-ranking U.S. diplomat at the United Nations, said D'Escoto "has repeatedly abused his position to pursue his personal agenda, and in doing so he diminishes the office and harms the General Assembly. He is doing the United Nations a disservice by dividing the membership at a time when he should be a unifying force."
Kornblau wants to hiss "Sandinista!" and thinks that will distract everyone from the 1.6 million Iraqi dead? Really? Did John Bolton coach Kornblau on how to handle charges? That's really embarrassing and the kind of crap we would expect under the previous administration but there's really not a great deal of difference between Bully Boy Bush and Bully Boy Barack. Wolff wants to say nah-nah, I don't like the way he does his job! And the actual charges? They can't respond to those. These two people who are paid by the US tax payers feel their job duties entail launching personal attacks on foreign dignitaries but don't include responding to charges?
If you don't want to respond to a charge and you're being paid by the US tax payer, your only option is "No comment" when dealing with the press. You are not paid to launch attacks on others. You are a public servant and you need to conduct yourself as one. If doing so is too damn hard for you, you need to leave the public sector and work in the private one.
That Wolff has not already been moved to the private sector by the current administration goes a long way towards explaining how alike Bush and Barack are. Wolff is a holdover from the Bush administration and he obviously speaks for and to Barack or he wouldn't have been allowed to keep his job.
Kornblau has never been that smart (as his 2004 work demonstrates) but if he continues his smear attacks, Barack's going to discover what putting together Team Stupid really means. Latin America is not in love with Barack and more statements from his administration like the ones quoted in the Post today and relations that should be improving will be further strained. And what's Susan Rice doing during this? Talk about people unqualified for their jobs.
Meanwhile Tom A. Peter's "Violence is down, but many Iraqis still can't go home" (Christian Science Monitor) covers the internally displaced refugees in Iraq:
Nationwide, there are between 1.6 million and 2.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) -- refugees who left their homes, but not Iraq. According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), 288,000 have returned home.
Outside Baghdad, Diyala Province has created the largest number of IDPs, with nearly 18.6 percent of the displaced originating from the agricultural region once the breadbasket of the Middle East.
But the ethnic mix here made it an epicenter of internal fighting as the country slid deeper into civil war in 2007. In addition to sectarian fighting, many of the tribes in the area around Hadi Sadoun began feuding, while AQI worked to control the area to use it as a base of operations.
Now, in an effort to encourage returnees, the government of Iraq plans to compensate those whose houses were destroyed by insurgents. Depending on the scope of damage and the value of the house, residents will receive anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of their home's original value.
If the government pays the money, many residents say they'll return. So far, compensation has not reached the majority of those eligible. As part of the compensation program, an evaluation committee must visit the house of each applicant to determine how much they'll receive. Until recently, threat levels stopped most committees from making on-site inspections. As security strengthens, locals have become impatient with the government's reluctance.
Already this morning, AFP reports a Mosul car bombing in which 3 Iraqi soldiers and left ten injured.
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