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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Talking about your tax dollars, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter uses a comic touch to send a serious message. Here’s a Youtube link to his three-minute speech, in which he holds up a mirror to Congress — and they grant him an extra 30 seconds for the punchline.

There’s More! UN Invective: The Prequel

March 29th, 2007 - 11:04 pm

Thanks to UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO, we now have it on the record, and on video, that it is “inadmissible” at the UN Human Rights Council to speak up in defense of genuine human rights, or to point out that the Council does almost nothing but demonize Israel (see previous post). Following up on that video clip, which became a Youtube chart-topper, Geneva-based UN Watch has now posted “The Daily Invective” — a compilation of video clips showing what kind of testimony IS admissible at the UN Human Rights Council. Another must-see, it takes only a few minutes to watch, and includes outrageous insults and lies by the representatives of Cuba, Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Iran, a Libya-sponsored NGO and the Permanent Observer of Palestine.

For all these, Council President Luis Alfonso de Alba gravely gives thanks (he thanks Cuba twice). Then we get to Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, who dared to utter before this assembly the blunt, un-thankable and “inadmissible” truth.

Just how warped is the United Nations? Have a look. To the credit of the blogosphere, the video clip linked below has been widely making the rounds, so I ask pardon if you have seen it already. But it bears watching, saving, emailing and watching again. It shows the head of Geneva-based UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, speaking the truth to the President of the “reformed” UN Human Rights Council, Mexico’s Luis Alfonso de Alba. And then it shows Alfonso de Alba, in the style of satraps from time immemorial, expressing his displeasure and warning Neuer that any statements “in similar tones to those used today will be stricken from the records.”

Here’s the clip, with a transcript included. The photo nearby shows former UN Satrap-General Kofi Annan congratulating Luis Alfonso de Alba last June on his assumption of the throne of the new “reformed” UN Human Rights Council.

Ban Ki-moon’s Arafat Moment

March 27th, 2007 - 11:41 am

The new UN Secretary-General didn’t have to, but he did it anyway. No, I’m not talking about Ban’s visit in Austria last month with former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, who was complicit in Nazi war crimes — though as a gratuitous sign of where the UN is going under new management, that was quite bad enough. This week Ban made a point of laying a wreath on the grave on Yasser Arafat. Here’s an editorial from The New York Sun, which yesterday carried a photo of the wreath-laying moment, and today makes the point that the UN Secretary-General should not be paying homage to a corrupt terrorist.

What’s next? A UN pilgrimage to the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung?

Pyongyang Weather Report

March 27th, 2007 - 3:38 am

Are they kidding?

I’m not sure how long this link will hold, but there is something supremely fitting about today’s weather report for the Citadel of Kim Jong Il:

“Widespread Dust”

(Here’s a pasted copy of the text):

Current conditions as of 3:00 pm KST

Widespread Dust
Feels Like: 57°
Barometer: 29.72 in and falling
Humidity: 57%
Visibility: 3.11 mi
Dewpoint: 42°
Wind: WNW 6 mph
Sunrise: 6:31 am
Sunset: 6:55 pm

With many declamations about the inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology, and the usual sighs of self-congratulation about having accomplished something on paper, the UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved a resolution that amounts to the third limp wrist-slap since last July for Iran’s terrorist-sponsoring nuclear-bomb-building regime.

The best comment I’ve seen so far comes from Vic Comras, writing on the CounterTerrorism blog, who lays out some of the main reasons why this is a resolution “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing,” and sums it up:

“It is difficult to understand how these new measures, which include something less than a travel ban, something less that a financial assistance and investment ban, and something less than an arms embargo are going to dissuade Iran from continuing on its presence course.”

Axis of Bomb-Building Brats

March 23rd, 2007 - 6:01 pm

It’s tantrum week for the Axis of Evil. North Korea’s Kim Jong Il is in a snit because he wants $25 million in unfrozen bank funds and he wants the money … NOW! Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is having a fit because he wants dozens of visas so he and his retinue can jet to UN headquarters for a sanctions vote in New York and he wants those visas … NOW!

You might think that the United States, with its unilateralist, imperialist, hyper-militarized, muscle-flexing, cowboy superpower ways would tell these totalitarian nuclear-bomb-loving thugs to take a hike, or at least take a number and get in line. But no. While they sulk, our own State Department has been hustling like crazy to get Kim his money and Ahmadinejad his visas. Is this a foreign policy with a future?

Commenting on my previous post on North Korea, a reader sent in a good question, asking:

“If the DPRK has a massive counterfeiting industry in place, why don’t they just print more money rather than quibble over the $25mm in Banco Delta Asia?”

Not being privy to the inner councils of Pyongyang’s nuclear extortion racket, I have to speculate on exactly why North Korea is so fixated on getting back that $25 million. Obviously, for cash-hungry Kim Jong Il it’s a nice chunk of change, and all the easier to spend because it will be in authentic currency, not North Korean counterfeit. But from what we can see, I’d guess that it’s not only a matter of the money, but the message. North Korea is busy demonstrating to the world that Kim Jong Il can dictate terms to Uncle Sam. Kim wants his $25 million, and he wants it NOW!

Unfortunately, when Kim says “jump” these days, U.S. envoy Chris Hill asks, “How high?” Hill, currently in Beijing, has been stressing not only that he wants the funds handed over to North Korea, but that he wants it done pronto. Asked about this at a Tuesday “walkthrough” with reporters, Hill said that handing over the plunder to Pyongyang fast enough to keep Kim happy is “not a political issue” but simply a matter of “figuring out things like moving accounts to other accounts,” and that “we” — by which, presumably, he means the U.S. — “would like the money transferred as soon as possible.”

Note: North Korea has so far provided nothing but paper promises about giving up its nuclear bomb racket. When IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei went to Pyongyang last week, all he was able to bring back were some North Korean talking points –which he faithfully repeated to the press. There is no serious sign yet — zero — that North Korea is genuinely planning to abandon its passion for nuclear weapons (Kim has promised to do that before, raked in the rewards — and lied). Meanwhile, the U.S., with Hill leading the charge, has given in to North Korean demands for bilateral talks, entertained North Korea’s nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan last month at the Waldorf Hotel in New York, set in motion the arrangements for free fuel to be shipped soon to Pyongyang, and is now hustling for Kim Jong Il –arguably the nastiest tyrant on the planet — to get his $25 million back.

That brings the strange scene in which the U.S. Treasury has cut off Banco Delta Asia from the U.S. banking system for handling Kim’s crime-tainted cash. But Hill is falling all over himself to make sure that the prime culprit, Kim Jong Il, gets the money back right away. The bottom-line message is that U.S. penalties for colluding with North Korea’s rackets are at most arbitrary, and overnight becoming a thing of the past.

As long as Hill is willing to grovel, and Condi Rice is willing to let him, and President Bush is willing to approve this performance, Kim Jong Il’s focus on the money is a tactic much more profitable than simply printing up more counterfeit currency. Beyond the convenience to Kim of raking in genuine coin, there is the spectacle of a U.S. negotiator hopping to Kim’s commands. This is a bonanza for Pyongyang.

And Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now getting ready to shrug off another round of U.S.-driven sanctions at the U.N., is surely watching this U.S. crumble, and taking notes.

In Kim Jong Il’s pleasure palaces, they ought to be whooping it up right now over Kim’s favorite French cognac. As the latest step in the Bush administration’s ever more astounding grand giveaway to North Korea, Treasury has now removed its objections to Macau releasing to Kim Jong Il’s regime some $25 million in North Korean funds frozen at the Banco Delta Asia since 2005. That amounts to paying nuclear blackmail, which is a great recipe not for security, but for spawning nuclear extortion rackets around the globe. The administration is assuring us, however, that this is just fine, because North Korea’s government has promised to do good things with the loot.

Specifically, as quoted in the Washington Post, Treasury official Daniel Glaser told the press in Beijing Monday that “North Korea has pledged within the framework of the six-party talks that these funds will be used solely for the betterment of the North Korean people, including for humanitarian and education purposes.”

Come again? He’s talking about the same North Korea government that has been counterfeiting U.S. currency, peddling narcotics, swapping weapons technology with Iran and pouring resources into maintaining one of the world’s largest armies and building intercontinental missiles and nuclear bombs during a decade in which an estimated one to two million North Koreans have starved to death.

But don’t blame Treasury, which has been doing plenty in the way of financial pressure to try to stop everything from Kim’s counterfeiting rackets to his rogue nuclear program — and been slapped down for its pains. This payoff to Kim is what comes of the White House turning over all North Korea policy to the State Department, and Condi Rice turning over all State Department policy to Jimmy-Carter-wannabe Chris Hill, envoy to the Six-Party talks. Hill, who is also in Beijing right now, not only wants to make sure Kim Jong Il gets the frozen millions back, but on Monday told reporters “We want it to happen as soon as possible.” Clearly Hill prides himself on getting things done, but what he’s doing at this point is not diplomacy. It could better be described as doing Kim Jong Il’s dirty laundry.

UN in North Korea Quiz

March 16th, 2007 - 5:57 pm

OK. Hypothetically: You are running a UN office in Pyongyang, pumping millions of dollars every year into North Korea to help “develop” the economy of Kim Jong Il’s bomb-building totalitarian state. Someone who has been working for you in Pyongyang tells you he just got passed a stack of counterfeit $100 bills not by some shyster in a back alley, but when he cashed his paycheck at the North Korean totally-government-controlled state bank where your UN office keeps its accounts.

You:

a) Write an urgent report back to NY headquarters, warning that there are serious signs here that the North Korean government, already believed to be a state sponsor of counterfeit U.S. banknotes — something last believed done by the war-time Nazi government of Adolf Hitler — may be deliberately passing counterfeit U.S. currency to employees of a UN agency.

b) Write the report above, and copy the message to U.S. authorities, whose currency is at risk.

c) Do all of the above, plus immediately alert the press, so the UN in fulfilling its public duties can be sure people are on guard against this problem.

d) Maybe write a memo-to-self on a post-it, and throw the bills in the office safe, leaving the rest to one of the North Korean government-selected minders you have hired to handle the office accounts.

Here’s the story.