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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Dubai’s Candid Camera

February 25th, 2010 - 12:03 am

Dubai authorities have provided a terrific display of their surveillance abilities, with the video footage released last week of 11 alleged assassins now wanted for the Jan. 19 murder in a plush Dubai hotel room of a top Hamas terrorist, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh — who was a big player in smuggling arms from Iran to Gaza.

But why stop with releasing video of al-Mabhouh’s alleged assassins? As an offshore banking center and top trading partner for Iran, Dubai is a crossroads for all sorts of interesting characters — such as the late al-Mabhouh, and “members of his group,” whom Dubai authorities say he met with shortly before he was murdered. If surveillance in Dubai is that good, may we please see more? — starting with footage of al-Mabhouh himself, and those mysterious members of his “group.” Imagine the possibilities for a full-length feature film. More in my column this week for Forbes.com, on Video Killer Thriller in Dubai.

UN Eco-Commissars on Bali – Again

February 21st, 2010 - 10:53 pm

For folks terrified of warmer weather, the UN climate commissars sure do have a strange affinity for the balmy climes of Bali.

Recall that in December, 2007, as the common folk shivered in the wintry vicinity of the UN’s well-appointed offices in New York, Bonn and Geneva, a horde of UN climateers decamped to the far side of the globe for a fortnight of conferencing by the Indonesian beaches of Bali’s ritzy Nusa Dua resort (and convention center). There, up close and personal, they braved the preview of a world beset by warm temperatures and ocean waters, as you can see in this virtual tour of the adjacent beach resort — complete with its freshwater pool, beachside cocoons, seafood buffets and winding paths beneath the palm trees.

Now they’re at it again. The UN Environment Program, which is based in Nairobi, is convening a set of meetings this week – not in Nairobi, or New York, but at the same Bali beach resort (and convention center) where they sacrificed all that time for the greater good in 2007. Never mind the UN’s continuing campaign — in the face of its crumbling “climate science” — to restrict and control carbon emissions. Yet again, we are asked to believe the UN deserves special exemptions from its own preachings. Its conferees are jetting to Bali for the greater good of all the little folk, whose job is merely to pay the bills for such pleasures, and live with any resulting rationing and regulation. According to the Jakarta Post, some 1,500 people from 192 countries are expected to attend this shindig — where UNEP claims that envoys of some 140 governments will be present. The pre-session events (the UN goes in for a lot of those on Bali) have already begun.

This gathering is on a somewhat different theme from the grand “global warming” jamboree of 2007 (or the UN anti-corruption convention at the same Bali beach resort in 2008). The main topic of discussion this time is supposed to be the “sound management of hazardous chemicals and wastes.” Unlike carbon dioxide, that actually is worth worrying about. But do you trust this crowd to handle it? These folks are the from the same UNEP (launched and initially run by Maurice Strong, who went on to godfather the Kyoto Treaty) that has been one of the big purveyors of UN climate alarmism. This is the same UNEP which, together with the UN’s Geneva-based WMO (World Meteorological Organization) established the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which under the leadership of UN climate guru Rajendra Pachauri is now embattled over one revelation after another of missing data, faulty data and cooked results in its politicized findings of climate ”consensus.”

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UN Climocrat Deserts the Sinking UNFCCC

February 18th, 2010 - 12:16 pm

Polar bears may be doing fine, but the climate commissars of the United Nations are feeling the heat, as their claims of scientific ”consensus” melt under them. Now we have the first big UN climocrat to desert the cooling/warming/sinking ship. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, has announced he will be resigning as of July 1, 2010.

De Boer’s departure can’t come soon enough. For almost four years, this ramped-up Dutch bureaucrat has been one of the chief purveyors of climate alarmism, carbon-emitting his way around the globe from Bonn to Bali to Copenhagen, pushing UN plans for a global “climate change regime.”

Who is this guy? If you’ve tuned in to coverage of any of those grand UN pow-wows, where potentates gather around the cracked-crab buffets and Bali beach cabanas to determine your carbon rations, de Boer has been one of the stern faces at the podium — lecturing us all on the need to avert apocalypse by re-engineering the economy of the planet as he sees fit.

No one elected de Boer to his high-level perch. He was appointed in August, 2006 as one of the parting gifts to the world of the same former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who presided as the UN’s chief administrator of the giant scam known as Oil-for-Food. De Boer is neither a scientist nor an economist. His UN bio tells us he has a “technical degree in social work for the Netherlands.” Just before Annan exalted him to climate chief of the world, de Boer held the job of — are you impressed yet? — Director of International Affairs of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment of the Netherlands. (That’s especially rich in light of de Boer’s apparent obliviousness that UN warnings about the impending deluge of Holland were, like the warnings about melting Himalayan glaciers, somewhat over-excited).

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Yes, you read that right. While beating, jailing, raping, torturing and murdering its dissidents, Iran’s Islamic regime is now campaigning for — what else? — a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The Tehran government that brought us the killing last June of Neda Soltan now aspires to a new perch at the United Nations where the ayatollahs can wrap themselves in the UN flag while condemning the free world and redefining “human rights” to absolve or ignore their own atrocities.

New members of the 47-member UN Human Rights Council will be “elected” by secret ballot of the 192-member UN General Assembly this May. The seats, which carry terms of three years each, are allocated among regional groups. Iran is a member of the Asian group, which now has five candidates running for four seats: Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar, Thailand… and Iran. Which means Iran, with its oil-fueled, terror-backed clout, has a good chance of winning a seat already; and if any one of the other four contenders drops out, Iran could be an automatic shoe-in, if the UN General Assembly follows its usual practice under such circumstances of filling the open seats by acclamation.

More details on this process in my column this week for Forbes.com: “Don’t Let Iran On the Human Rights Council.”

The last time Iran tried this stunt was 2006, when John Bolton was serving as President George Bush’s ambassador to the UN. I had a chance to hear Bolton talk about that this past Thursday, when we were both interviewed about Iran on Fox Business TV by David Asman. Asman asked Bolton how Iran was kept off the Human Rights Council in 2006. Bolton answered that this had entailed a big effort by the entire State Department, reaching out within the UN itself and enlisting U.S. embassies around the world to make the case to America’s friends, allies (and, I would guess, acquaintances) that it would be immensely damaging to let Iran win a seat. Iran lost.

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Climate Deranged – and How to Cope

February 10th, 2010 - 3:59 pm

I’m writing this from Washington, D.C., looking out at cars buried in snowdrifts and hemmed in by snowbanks, along a snow-covered street — where the occasional pedestrian toils past, like those lone stragglers in an apocalypse movie. I’ve lost track of whether Washington has already beat the record snowfall of 1898, or is just edging up on it. But if carbon emissions will warm this scene, we’re ready to exhale and switch on all the lights.

In Washington, where local authorities can’t even keep the streets open, this is of course the week the White House picked to announce plans to set up a new “Climate Service.”  This will presumably be enlisted along with the United Nations, the Environmental Protection Agency and Ted Turner’s UN Foundation to tell us all how to amend our lives to control the climate of the planet.

On the basis of what? Climate “science”? Thirty years ago, the budding climate-ocracy was sounding the klaxons over “global cooling.” Then it was “global warming.” Now it’s “extreme weather.” Hmmm. Would that be “extreme” as in the record Washington snowfall of 1898? That was back in the low carbon-emissions era when people were engaged in such useful projects as inventing better, cheaper incandescent lightbulbs, so everyone could enjoy well lit rooms – instead of regulating these lightbulbs away because Al Gore and the United Nations said the earth had a fever.

The climate is always changing, and it would be interesting and maybe even useful to understand how and why. But mankind is not there yet. The “consensus” packaged as “science” by the UN is unraveling as a fraud, and the eager interest of many governments in jumping aboard the climate train can increasingly be seen for what it is: a pretext for taxing and controlling your life, in ways likely to do nothing for the climate, but plenty for the crony climate-ocracy.

What’s the real answer to changes in weather? Here’s one place to start, right now, in Washington:

It’s called a snow shovel.

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UN Climate Cronies

February 7th, 2010 - 10:53 pm

With UN climate guru Rajendra Pachauri under fire for alleged conflicts of interest and the purveying of flawed “science,” another United Nations eco-official is stepping forward to defend UN climate findings.

His name is Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, or UNEP, based in Nairobi. If you are curious about potential conflicts of interest among the UN climate crowd, Steiner, along with Pachauri, is someone to watch.

Like Pachauri, Steiner is still talking about “overwhelming evidence” supporting the findings of Al Gore’s co-Nobelist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — despite the growing body of evidence that the IPCC’s findings were more a product of UN politics than of science. In recent remarks featured as a top item on the UN’s official news site, Steiner has just praised the IPCC and re-issued the UN’s usual apocalyptic warnings: “Any delay… risks of a magnitude…urgent international response” — etc.

Who is Achim Steiner? A German, born in Brazil, he is a longtime environmentalist, former head from 2001-2006 of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN(Sample of UN climate networking — take a deep breath, don’t even try to follow this, just roll with it: The IUCN has been phenomenally intertwined over the years with the UN cast of climate characters. When Steiner left the IUCN in 2006, he was succeeded there by a sister-in-law of a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke. This Holbrooke in-law, Julia Marton-Lefevre , in turn, had just finished serving as rector of the UN University for Peace,  in Costa Rica, which had been greatly beefed up in the years prior to her arrival by the so-called godfather of the Kyoto Treaty, Maurice Strong – first head of the same UNEP that Achim Steiner now runs).

Anyway, in December, 2005, Achim Steiner served as a judge on a panel in Dubai that awarded a $500,000 environmental prize to then-Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan. With a big smile, at a banquet in Dubai, Annan — then the UN’s top official — accepted this six-figure purse for his personal use. About three months later, Annan named Steiner, one of the judges who picked Annan for the prize, to head UNEP.

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Here comes the sickening North Korean twist to the tale of Robert Park, the young Christian missionary who walked into North Korea on Christmas Day. An American, of Korean descent, Park crossed over from China, on the frozen Tumen River, reportedly calling out messages of God’s love as he entered North Korea. Park trespassed into North Korea to call attention to the monumental trespass of North Korea’s regime on human rights and decency. He carried a letter asking Kim Jong Il to open his brutal prison camps and free the North Korean people, and he left behind statements and an interview spelling out that he did not want to be ransomed or released until North Korea’s gulag had been opened up, and shut down.

Park was seized by North Korean authorities, and in the six weeks since he offered himself up as a martyr for the cause of freedom in North Korea, his fate has been a mystery. Now, one of the propaganda organs of Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency, is offering to enlighten us about Park. According to the KCNA, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has decided to “leniently forgive and release him,” a decision reached by “taking his admission and sincere repentance of his wrong doings into consideration.”

This announcement is accompanied by another account from KCNA, claiming that Park has now confessed he was “taken in by the false rumors spread by the West.” According to North Korean authorities, Park has now decided that the horrific reports so richly documented in the West of atrocities, brutality, slave labor and repression in North Korea are all just “false propaganda.” KCNA treats us to an “interview”  with Park, in which he is described as saying he’s “very thankful for their love,” and has been convinced that “religious freedom is fully ensured in the DPRK,” that people there can read and believe anything they want, “wherever they want, whenever they want,” and he has “seriously repented.” This account goes on ad nauseum to proclaim that Park, in a complete flip, has come to see that North Korea “respects the rights of all the people and guarantees their freedom and they enjoy a happy and stable life.”

Quite likely the news will now focus on where, how and in what condition Robert Park is released from North Korea — if, indeed, that comes to pass. But that was never the point. We don’t know what Park has been through while he was held incommunicado by the expert torturers and mind-twisters of the world’s most brutal totalitarian state. But he did not go in there asking that the outcome be his own release.

Park walked into North Korea asking that the prison camps be opened, and that the 23 million or so North Korean people be genuinely freed. The test of that is not whether North Korean authorities are able within six weeks to produce their own revision of the man named Robert Park.

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