20 April 2008

UN “experts” with vile credentials

The reputation of the United Nations is, for most I dare say, one of morality, peace and even handedness. Yet the UN more often than most know appoints so called experts who, in any sane interpretation, would be considered cranks. The sort of people who should be standing on a street corner with a cup whilst they blast out their unhinged nonsense.
David Aaronovitch writes about two of them in The Times. Professor Richard Falk, once Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University (I remember reading some of his articles when I was at university) has been appointed expert on Israel by the UN Human Rights Council. Remember this same council selects the likes of Cuba and Libya to be on it to judge the human rights of others. Imagine an organisation of convicted child abusers advising on how children should be protected. It is that hypocritical, that despicable and that fraudulent.
As Aaronovitch writes, Falk himself has taken to comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Falk believes “suicide bombers appeared as the only means still available” for the Palestinian “struggle” to go on. Falk also has written a chapter in a book called “9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out”, a book authored by David Ray Griffen. The book talks of how no plane ever flew into the Pentagon and how the World Trade Centre came down by a “controlled demolition” (though how they explain the two airliners flying into it is a little harder).

Of course the UN would give this intellectual with some severe problems a job.

Aaronovitch also writes about how the Swiss government convinced the Human Rights Council to appoint Professor Jean Ziegler to its advisory committee. Professor Ziegler has defended Mengistu, the former Ethiopian dictator who was responsible for the famines in the 1980s (Ethiopia once exported food until Mengistu collectivised the farms), Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro and Muammer Gaddafi.

However, given Switzerland’s proud history of sitting courageously on the fence being bankers to the Nazis whilst Europe burnt around it, I don’t expect a great deal from the Swiss. Being neutral in what was the defining war between good and evil (and evil and evil) in the 20th century is indifference to evil.
The UN of course is not indifferent to evil, just hypocritical beyond words. Of course it was created after World War 2 to stop another such war. However, imagine what harm it would have done if it had existed in advance of that. Would it have stopped the Nazi goosestepping advance across Czechoslovakia, then Poland? Would it have stopped the Japanese empire, which had already enslaved Korea advancing its racist brutal dictatorship along the Chinese coast, past Indochina and in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies? Hardly. Of course a review of the UN would only expose that it is fully constrained by appealing to the majority of states, which are typically quite corrupt and power hungry, and by not offending Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, two of which – China and Russia have been held predominantly by totalitarian or authoritarian regimes since the UN was formed. So the UN is the sum of its members, and many of its members are morally dubious, and some quite evil indeed. However that is another story.
You see some see the UN as being a repositary of virtue in international relations, or some authority that should be listened to or respected. However, it is none of the sort. The most recent appointments of an "expert" on Israel who is a conspiracy nutter, and an advisor on human rights who sympathises with Robert Mugabe continue to deny it any real claim to morality. Until the UN or its member states unite against such repulsive individuals having any role within it, it will remain a place where those who are great achievers and those who cheer on murderers are treated the same. Anyone who looks to that for inspiration or guidance will surely be lost.

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