links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
Somalia:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Israel has not celebrated the day but for months there is an on-going soul-searching activity in Israel that on the one hand blames itself and the US advise at the time of not to seem to be those that start a war. Yes, Israel starts to see publicly now that it was a pawn in a global chess game. But what is more important – Israel sees it did not take advantage of the outcome of that war in order to solve the Palestinian problem. Simply said it could have been the liberator of the Palestinians from their unfaithful brothers, but opted to become their new oppressors.

The oil games created and paid for Al-Qaeda. The Jinny unleashed from the Saudi Arabian oil-barrels turned against the US, and the US now, while Washington is under siege by the army of an extremist Republican Congress, it is the newer Al Shabab that carries the torch of Al-Qaeda with other tentacles in Yemen and all over else. Will the Republicans see that they act in cohoots with the oil interests and are stabbing the US in the back?
Washington like Jerusalem, are the source of their own destruction. Oil is the medium that feeds the fire.

===================================

from CNN:

Abu Anas al Libi was being detained by the U.S. military in a “secure location outside of Libya,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said late Saturday night.

Al Libi is an al Qaeda leader wanted for his role in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

He was captured in one of two raids nearly 3,000 miles apart this weekend.

U.S. forces captured al Libi in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. In the second raid, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs in southern Somalia targeted a leader of Al-Shabaab, which was behind last month’s mall attack in Kenya. The SEALs came under fire and had to withdraw before they could confirm whether the leader was dead, a senior U.S. official said.

Further:

          Abu Anas al-Liby

 

 

 

 

In Tripoli, American forces captured a Libyan militant who had been indicted in 2000 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The militant, born Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai and known by his nom de guerre, Abu Anas al-Liby, had a $5 million bounty on his head; his capture at dawn ended a 15-year manhunt.

In Somalia, the Navy SEAL team emerged before sunrise from the Indian Ocean and exchanged gunfire with militants at the home of a senior leader of the Shabab, the Somali militant group. The raid was planned more than a week ago, officials said, after a massacre by the Shabab at a Nairobi shopping mall that killed more than 60 people two weeks ago.

The New York Times writes: “With President Obama locked in a standoff with Congressional Republicans and his leadership criticized for a policy reversal in Syria, the raids could fuel accusations among his critics that the administration was eager for a showy foreign policy victory.” 

Are we supposed to see in the Republicans’ digging under the US might something positive rather then the un-American activity that they perpetuate? We rather congratulate the President, the FBI, and the CIA, for picking the coincidental date of October 5-th and see in this a sign that the US is learning lessons from events 40 years old.

His capture was the latest blow to what remains of the original Al-Qaeda organization after a 12-year American campaign to capture or kill its leadership, including the killing two years ago of its founder, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.

Despite his presence in Libya, Abu Anas was not believed to have played any role in the 2012 attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, senior officials briefed on that investigation have said, but he may have sought to build networks connecting what remains of the Qaeda organization to like-minded militants in Libya.

His brother, Nabih, told The Associated Press that just after dawn prayers, three vehicles full of armed men had approached Abu Anas’s home and surrounded him as he parked his car. The men smashed his window, seized his gun and sped away with him, the brother said.

A senior American official said the Libyan government had been apprised of the operation and provided assistance, but it was unclear in what capacity. An assistant to the prime minister of the Libyan transitional government said the government had been unaware of any operation or of Abu Anas’s capture. Asked if American forces had ever conducted raids inside Libya or collaborated with Libyan forces, Mehmoud Abu Bahia, assistant to the defense minister, replied, “Absolutely not.”

Disclosure of the raid is likely to inflame anxieties among many Libyans about their national sovereignty, putting a new strain on the transitional government’s fragile authority. Many Libyan Islamists already accuse their interim prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, who previously lived in Geneva as part of the exiled opposition to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, of collaborating too closely with the West.

Abu Anas, 49, was born in Tripoli and joined Bin Laden’s organization as early as the early 1990s, when it was based in Sudan. He later moved to Britain, where he was granted political asylum as a Libyan dissident. United States prosecutors in New York charged him in a 2000 indictment with helping to conduct “visual and photographic surveillance” of the United States Embassy in Nairobi in 1993 and again in 1995. Prosecutors said in the indictment that Abu Anas had discussed with another senior Qaeda figure the idea of attacking an American target in retaliation for the United States peacekeeping operation in Somalia.

After the 1998 bombing, the British police raided his apartment and found an 18-chapter terrorist training manual. Written in Arabic and titled “Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants,” it included advice on car bombing, torture, sabotage and disguise.

Since the overthrow of Colonel Qaddafi, Tripoli has slid steadily into lawlessness, with no strong central government or police presence. It has become a safe haven for militants seeking to avoid detection elsewhere, and United States government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information, have acknowledged in recent months that Abu Anas and other wanted terrorists had been seen moving freely around the capital.

The operation to capture Abu Anas was several weeks in the making, a United States official said, and President Obama was regularly briefed as the suspect was tracked in Tripoli. Mr. Obama had to approve the capture. He had often promised there would be “no boots on the ground” in Libya when the United States intervened there in March 2011, so the decision to send in Special Operations forces was a risky one.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Intervention by Wole Soyinka, Member of UNESCO’s International High Panel, at the 2012 Conference on the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, United Nations Hdqrs, New York, Sept. 21 2012

RELIGION AGAINST HUMANITY.

To such a degree has Religion fueled conflict, complicated politics, retarded social development and impaired human relations across the world, that one is often tempted to propose that Religion is innately an enemy of Humanity, if not indeed of itself a crime against Humanity.  Certainly it cannot be denied that Religion has proved again and again a spur, a motivator, and a justification for the commission of some of the most horrifying crimes against humanity, despite its fervent affirmations of peace. Let us however steer away from hyperbolic propositions and simply settle for this moderating  moral imperative: that it is time that the world adopt a position that refuses to countenance Religion as an acceptable justification for, excuse or extenuation of – crimes against humanity.

While it should be mandatory that states justify their place as members of a world community by educating their citizens on the entitlement of religion to a place within society, and the obligations of mutual acceptance and respect, it should be deemed unacceptable that the world is held to ransom for the uneducated conduct of a few, and placed in a condition of fear, apprehension, leading to a culture of appeasement.  There are critical issues of human well-being and survival that deserve the undivided attention of leaders all over the world. Let us recall that it is not anti-islamists who have lately desecrated and destroyed – and with such fiendish self-righteousness – the tombs of Moslem saints in Timbuktoo, most notoriously the mausoleum of the Imam Moussa al-Khadin, declared a world heritage under the protection of UNESCO and accorded pride of place in African patrimony . The orientation – backed by declarations – of these violators leaves us with a foreboding that the invaluable library treasures of Timbuktoo may be next.

The truth, alas, is that the science fiction archetype of the mad scientist who craves to dominate the world has been replaced by the mad cleric who can only conceive of the world in his own image, proudly flaunting Bond’s Double-0-7 credentials – Licensed to Kill. The sooner national leaders and genuine religious leaders understand this, and admit that no nation has any lack of its own dangerous loonies, be they known as Ansar-Dine of Mali, or Terry Jones of Florida, the earlier they will turn their attention to real issues truly deserving human priority. These cited clerics and their ilk are descendants of the ancient line of iconoclasts of Islamic, christian and other religious moulds who have destroyed the antecedent spirituality and divine emblems of the African peoples over centuries. Adherents of those African religions, who remain passionately attached to their beliefs, all the way across the Atlantic – in Brazil and across other parts of Latin America – have not taken to wreaking vengeance on their presumed violators in far off lands.

These emulators are still at work on the continent, most devastatingly in Somalia, with my own nation Nigeria catching up with mind-boggling rapidity and intensity. Places of worship are primary targets, followed by institutes of education. Innocent humanity, eking out their miserable livelihood, are being blown to pieces, presumably to relieve them of their misery.  Schools and school pupils are assailed in religion fueled orgies, measured, deliberate and deadly. The hands of the clock of progress and social development have been arrested, then reversed in widening swathes of the Nigerian landscape. As if the resources of the nation were not already stretched to breaking point, they must now also be diverted to anticipating the consequences – as in numerous nations around the world – that would predictably follow the cinematic obscenities of a new entrant into the ranks of religious denigrators, who turns out – irony of ironies – to have originated from the African continent.

In sensible families, while every possible effort is made to smooth the passage of children through life, children are taught to understand that life is not a seamless robe of many splendours, but prone to the possibility of being besmirched by the unexpected, and unpredictable. A solid core of confidence in one’s moral and spiritual choices is thus sufficient to withstand external assaults from sudden and hostile forces. That principle of personality development is every bit as essential as the education that inculcates respect for the belief systems and practices of others. The most intense ethical education, including severe social sanctions, has not eradicated material corruption, exploitation, child defilement and murders in society, not even deterrents such as capital punishment. How then can anyone presume that there shall be no violations of the ideal state of religious tolerance to which we all aspire, or demand that the world stand still, cover its head in sackcloth and ashes, grovel in self-abasement or else prepare itself for earthly pestilence for failure to anticipate the occasional penetration of their self ascribed carapace of inviolability.

It is time to demand a sense of proportion, and realism. Communication advance has made it possible for both good and evil to transcend boundaries virtually at the speed of light, and for the spores of hatred to travel just as fast, and as widely as the seeds of harmony. The world should not continue to acquiesce in the brutal culture of extremism that demands the impossible – control of the conduct of millions in their individual spheres, under different laws, usages, cultures and indeed – degrees of sanity.

What gives hope is the very special capacity of man for dialogue, and that arbiter is foreclosed, or endures interminable postponements as long as one side arrogates to itself the right to respond to a pebble thrown by an infantile hand in Papua New Guinea with attempts to demolish the Rock of Gibraltar. I use the word ‘infantile’ deliberately, because these alleged insults to religion are no different from the infantile scribble we encounter in public toilets, the product of infantilism and retarded development. We have learnt to ignore, and walk away from them. They should not be answered by equally infantile responses that are however incendiary and homicidal in dimension, and largely directed against the innocent, since the originating hand is usually, in any case, beyond reach. With the remorseless march of technology, we shall all be caught in a spiral of reprisals, tailored to wound, to draw virtual blood. The other side responds with real blood and gore, also clotting up the path to rational discourse.   What we are witnesses to in recent times is that such proceeding is being accorded legitimacy on the grounds of religious sensibility. It is pathetic to demand what cannot be guaranteed.  It is futile to attempt to rein in technology: the solution is to use that very technology to correct noxious conceptions in the minds of the perpetrators of abuse, and educate the ignorant.

I speak as one from a nation whose normal diet of economic disparity, corruption, marginalization, ethnic and political cleavages has been further compounded by the ascendancy of religious jingoism.  It is a lamentable retrogression from the nearly forgotten state of harmonious coexistence that I lived and enjoyed as a child. One takes consolation in the fact that some of us did not wait to sound warnings until the plague of religious extremism entered our borders. Our concerns began and were articulated as a concern for others, still at remote distances. Now that the largest black habitation on the globe has joined the club of religious terror under the portentous name, Boko Haram – which means ‘The Book is Taboo’ -  we can morally demand help from others, but we only find them drowning in the rhetoric and rites of anger and/or contrition. Today it is the heritage and humanity of Timbuktoo. And tomorrow? The African continent must take back Mali – not later but – right now.  The cost of further delay will be incalculable, and devastating.

The spiral of reprisals now appears to have been launched, what with the recent news that a French editor has also entered the lists with a fresh album of offensive cartoons. To break that spiral, there must be dialogue of frank, mature minds. Instant, comprehensive solutions do not exist, only the arduous, painstaking path of dialogue, whose multi-textured demands are not beyond the innovative, as opposed to the emotive capacity, of cultured societies.  So let that moving feast of regional dialogues – which was inaugurated by former President Khatami of Iran in these very chambers – be reinforced, emboldened, and even-handed. The destination should be a moratorium, but for this to be strong and enduring, it must be voluntary, based on a will to understanding and mental re-orientation, not on menace, self-righteous indictments and destructive emotionalism. Perhaps we may yet rescue Religion from its ultimate indictment: conscription into the ranks of provable enemies of Humanity.

Wole Soyinka

Sept. 21, 2012, United Nations Hdqrs,  New York.

======================================


WOKE SOYINKA was awarded the The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986.

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1986, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1987:

Wole Soyinka Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theatre group, “The 1960 Masks” and in 1964, the “Orisun Theatre Company”, in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor. He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.

During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire. For this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969. Soyinka has published about 20 works: drama, novels and poetry. He writes in English and his literary language is marked by great scope and richness of words.

As dramatist, Soyinka has been influenced by, among others, the Irish writer, J.M. Synge, but links up with the traditional popular African theatre with its combination of dance, music, and action. He bases his writing on the mythology of his own tribe-the Yoruba-with Ogun, the god of iron and war, at the centre. He wrote his first plays during his time in London, The Swamp Dwellers and The Lion and the Jewel (a light comedy), which were performed at Ibadan in 1958 and 1959 and were published in 1963. Later, satirical comedies are The Trial of Brother Jero (performed in 1960, publ. 1963) with its sequel, Jero’s Metamorphosis (performed 1974, publ. 1973), A Dance of the ForestsKongi’s Harvest (performed 1965, publ. 1967) and Madmen and Specialists (performed 1970, publ. 1971). Among Soyinka’s serious philosophic plays are (apart from “The Swamp Dwellers“) The Strong Breed (performed 1966, publ. 1963), The Road ( 1965) and Death and the King’s Horseman (performed 1976, publ. 1975). In The Bacchae of Euripides (1973), he has rewritten the Bacchae for the African stage and in Opera Wonyosi (performed 1977, publ. 1981), bases himself on John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera and Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. Soyinka’s latest dramatic works are A Play of Giants (1984) and Requiem for a Futurologist (1985).
(performed 1960, publ.1963),
Soyinka has written two novels, The Interpreters (1965), narratively, a complicated work which has been compared to Joyce’s and Faulkner’s, in which six Nigerian intellectuals discuss and interpret their African experiences, and Season of Anomy (1973) which is based on the writer’s thoughts during his imprisonment and confronts the Orpheus and Euridice myth with the mythology of the Yoruba. Purely autobiographical are The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972) and the account of his childhood, Aké ( 1981), in which the parents’ warmth and interest in their son are prominent. Literary essays are collected in, among others, Myth, Literature and the African World (1975).

Soyinka’s poems, which show a close connection to his plays, are collected in Idanre, and Other Poems (1967), Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) the long poem Ogun Abibiman (1976) and Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988).

==========================

Since 1087:

Soyinka has strongly criticized many Nigerian military dictators, especially late General Sanni Abacha, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of his writing has been concerned with “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it”. During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998), Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the “Nadeco Route” on motorcycle. Living abroad, mainly in the United States, he was a professor first at Cornell University and then at Emory University in Atlanta, where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Abacha proclaimed a death sentence against him “in absentia”. With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation. He has also taught at Oxford, Harvard and Yale.

From 1975 to 1999, he was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ife. With civilian rule restored in 1999, he was made professor emeritus. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In the fall of 2007 he was appointed Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 29th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

{GREAT – BUT  WHEN LOOKING AT THE US – IT IS RATHER:    }

You Didn’t Build That – WE Did.

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

29 August 2012

Reader Supported News | Perspective

id you hear the one about the guy who became a millionaire without anyone’s help? The guy who oversaw his own birth, who hunted, grew and gathered all of his own food since he was a baby? The guy who found teachers to teach him, and paid for them from his own pocket? The guy who went to work every day on roads he paved all alone, burning oil that he drilled and refined on his own, in a car that he built with his own hands?

You haven’t heard of that guy? I haven’t either.

Here in New Hampshire, a lot of the “free staters” who quote Ayn Rand novels say they don’t need government, equate taxation with theft, and believe they carry enough guns and ammo to defend their home from intruders to not have to pay taxes for police salaries. They even talk about mixing their own concrete and fixing the potholes on their own street instead of paying taxes for road repair.

A society like that exists already: Somalia.

Somalia is a libertarian paradise where nobody pays taxes because there are no national institutions or national infrastructure. Since there’s no police protection or gun regulation, guns are cheap and plentiful. There have been 14 different governments in a mere 18 years. According to UN data tables, Somalia’s average life expectancy is just 50.8 years, with only 1.8 years of school on average for each child. Famine has plagued the nation ever since Al-Shabab decided to block all humanitarian aid. In January 2010, instability in Somalia led to an outbreak of violence that killed 260, wounded another 250, and left 80,000 others displaced. But hey, I’m sure Somalis are looking on the bright side – there’s no big, bad government to steal tax money from them.

What the most selfish Americans don’t realize is that there is nothing stopping a large band of raiders from taking their property, other than groups of armed men and women paid for with their tax dollars, ready to respond with a phone call. They don’t realize the taxes that they consider theft already pay for prisons that would jail those bandits under charges of armed robbery, thanks to laws put in places by lawmakers who were paid for with the help of other people’s tax dollars.

In America, we all need each other. CEOs aren’t making 231 times as much as their lowest-paid employees because they work 231 times harder than those employees. The only reason the guys in suits have their jobs and their salaries is because ordinary people like us are patronizing that CEO’s business, giving him the money s/he needs to pay and train employees and buy raw materials.

Selfishly proclaiming “I built this” without acknowledging the vast network of people and infrastructure that helped make your success possible is both selfish and ignorant. The first step to America restoring her place in the world and pulling herself up by her bootstraps is Americans realizing that we all need each other to make that happen.


Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary “We’re Not Broke,” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can contact Carl at carl@rsnorg.org, and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 23rd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The 2012 Knight Award Winners.

May 22, 2012
Contact: Sonja Matanovic, Communications Director
Reporters Exposing Somali Pirates and Domestic Violence in Afghanistan to Receive Prestigious Journalism Award
A Kenyan journalist investigating the Somali pirates and an Afghan broadcaster exposing violence against women will receive the 2012 Knight International Journalism Awards, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced. The award recognizes excellent reporting that makes a difference in the lives of people around the world.
Kassim Mohamed is an investigative reporter covering Kenya and Somalia, a nation plagued by lawlessness and piracy. He has chronicled the ensuing chaos in great detail—and at great personal risk—for the Nairobi-based Star FM radio station and The Starnewspaper.
His in-depth interviews with Somali pirates have shed light on a lucrative industry that endangers international sea routes. During one investigation, the pirates took him hostage. After they freed him, he wrote a groundbreaking story on the struggles of the pirates’ wives. He has received death threats.
A Kenyan of the Somali ethnic community, Mohamed covered the beleaguered Somali refugees living in Nairobi. He wrote about gangs that terrorized a Somali neighborhood in Nairobi as the police apparently looked the other way. After the story appeared, the police arrested 65 gang members.
Afghan broadcaster Sami Mahdi has revolutionized Afghanistan’s media landscape. In a country where the Taliban once starved people of information, Mahdi is one of the most reliable sources of news. More than that, he has engaged Afghans in a way no other newscaster has.
As the director of news and current affairs at 1TV, Afghanistan’s fastest-growing independent news station, he has pioneered programs such as “Kabul Debate Live,” a televised town hall meeting. In this show, he invites political leaders to appear before a live audience. For the first time, citizens can ask questions about critical issues, while viewers can phone or text in their concerns. It is one of the few ways Afghans can demand accountability from those in power.
Mahdi is unafraid to take on taboo subjects. In an effort to stop violence against women, he launched the show “Niqab” (Mask). Afghan women, hiding behind a mask, talk to a live audience about rape and domestic violence. The masks encourage women to speak without fear of reprisals.
The winners of this year’s award, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be honored at ICFJ’s Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13. “These fearless journalists expose abuses despite the risk of violence from Somali pirates and the Taliban,” says ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “As a result, they have changed minds—and policies.”
Seasoned journalists and Knight International Journalism Fellows nominated the candidates. They include:
  • Elizabeth Ballantine, ICFJ director and director, The McClatchy Company;
  • Jacqueline Barnathan, executive editor, CBS Newspath;
  • Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington bureau chief, CBS News;
  • Rob Doherty, U.S. general manager, Thomson Reuters;
  • Doug Mitchell, consultant and project manager, National Public Radio and former Knight International Journalism Fellow;
  • Rob Rehg, ICFJ director and president, Edelman, Washington;
  • Andrew Stephen, British journalist;
  • Susan Talalay, ICFJ advisory board member and former director, Knight International Journalism Fellowships;
  • and ICFJ’s Barnathan.

The International Center for Journalists, a non-profit organization, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition. For 27 years, ICFJ has worked directly with more than 70,000 journalists from 180 countries.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More atwww.knightfoundation.org.
1616 H Street NW Floor 3 | Washington, DC 20006 US

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Somalia interests us for quite some time. While other African States came into existence in the post W0rld War II decolonization process within the lines established by the colonial power, and with an inherited administrative system, and  for the better or worse,they  managed somehow to make a go with it, Somalia was actually created by incorporating different colonial systems into one attempted State that had thus many added different fault lines besides the usual divisions into tribal loyalties – in land and trans-boundary. Here you have even different colonial languages and no single Administrative Center.

Being a failed State near the Sea, and having had to start to fight illegal fishing that was interfering with the local fishermen, fighting fishermen started by safeguarding their tribal waters and ended up turning to piracy when this evolved as a profitable secondary line of business.

While the outside World, after having invaded the Somalia region in the past as the Horn of Africa was suspected of becoming an Al Kaeda hub in the post 9/11 era, now it is the piracy pest that endangers World Shipping in the  whole Indian Ocean region stretching from the Maldives to Seychelles and Madagascar and the shores of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa.

We will start by looking at the news, then we intend to introduce a book that we feel ought to be obligatory reading for all those that gather at meetings that deal with Somalia. Not having read the proposed book, we see that much of what is being released from the new Conferences on Somalia, does not live up to what it will take to have an effect in that part of the World.

————————-

From the Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom at the Security Council Briefing on Somalia Piracy - 22 February 2012:

Mr President,

I thank the Secretary-General for his report and both Patricia O’Brien and Yuri Fedotov for their comprehensive briefing this morning. We are grateful for the work of the UN and its agencies on counter-piracy programmes, and particularly the efforts being undertaken by UNODC and UNDP with States in the region and in Somalia itself.

The United Kingdom remains strongly committed to the fight against piracy. We believe it is vital to break the Piracy business model. We need a comprehensive approach that tackles piracy directly and its root causes on land. Piracy will be one of the main focuses of discussion at the London Conference on Somalia which my Prime Minister will host tomorrow.

Despite the significant reduction in the number of successful attacks in the last year, the threat of piracy remains serious. We strongly support efforts to bolster prosecution and prison capacity in regional states and in Somalia. Several states already play a vital role in bringing suspected pirates to justice, supported by the international community.

The report highlights serious capacity constraints in Somalia. Prosecution by regional states has, therefore, been instrumental in the efforts to counter-piracy. We believe this continues to be the most effective way to prosecute pirates over the short term. We support, in principle, the report’s implementation proposals to increase capacity through ‘specialised anti-piracy courts’ in Somalia but continuing our work to build the capacity of regional states also remains essential.

Mr President,

The Report reaffirms the preference of regional States that we should build capacity in a way that does not prevent facilities and expertise being used to prosecute in other areas of the law. We agree that this would help create a more sustainable solution to the piracy problem.

A long term solution that enables Somali pirates to be prosecuted and imprisoned in Somalia is necessary. The report notes the preference of the Somali authorities for new courts to be established within Somalia rather than extra-territorially. This approach is in line with the existing work of UNODC and UNDP to build capacity in Puntland and Somaliland and we fully support that approach.

Mr President,

The report rightly highlights the problem of prison capacity. In this regard, we welcome recent efforts to ensure that convicted pirates serve out their sentences in Somalia, and in particular the commitments made by Puntland and Somaliland for post-trial transfer. We hope that agreement on the legal and practical framework for transferring pirates to UN-constructed prisons in Somalia is reached quickly. We are grateful for the commitment of Seychelles to transfer convicted pirates to Somaliland.

—————————————————-

Mr President   ……. The threat of piracy, the effects of the famine in Somalia, and terrorism are all symptoms of one central problem: The breakdown of the Somali state. Tackling piracy and its causes cannot be separated from this. We need to tackle the factors on land that feed the piracy at sea including deterrence, security, rule of law, and development.  It is crucial that the international community mobilizes in an integrated way.

—————————————————–


And the UK is ready to take on the problem in the name of the better organized world – but it will be able to do so only after the Presidential elections in the US.

It cannot be ecpected that President Obama, and his Administration, can take up the demon of Afro-Arabian pirates, or the undoing of the Islamic world by Islamists and pseudo-Islamists bent on revenge-taking against former colonial powers, and against their own brethren governments – something that some may call a late awakening of pent hatred with historic roots.

Building towards an involvement in the greater region that stretches from the Maldives, the Seychelles, to Aden and the Horn  of Africa’s Greater Somalia, the UK follows up with a call for joint action towards the later part of November 2012 – that is after the US elections:

1.    On February 22, 2012, the Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK  announced a Conference on Somalia to be held in London on November 23, 2012.

The conference will be hosted at Lancaster House. The conference will be opened  Prime Minister Cameron, with key note speeches from; US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed;  President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni; Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi; French Foreign Minister, Allan Juppé; President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki; Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu; and Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister, Hamad Bin Jassim. Opening remarks will be released through a press pool organised by the BBC and CNN.

2.    After the early morning opening remarks, the conference will be split into three sessions: political process, security, and stability and recovery. The conference will end same day at 15.30.

3. The UK’s primary objective in Somalia is to seek a lasting political solution that will bring peace and security to the country, and reduce threats to the UK. With engagement from attendees at the highest level, the conference will agree a series of practical measures to support Somalia.

4.    The Somalia Conference will be followed by press conferences at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, led by the Prime Minister with statements from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping; the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; and President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

————————————————–

What above means is that the PIRACY hurts us and we are ready to put the Somalis in jail for being pirates – how many of them? Why are they pirates? How many more parts of African States could fall off their own structures into failed regions because they actually never belonged into States that the UN designed for them based on foreign administrative concepts?

——————————————–

Brigadier  General Dr. Walter Feichtinger is Head of the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management (IFC), Austrian National Defense Academy. With him there is a group of other military scientists and academic social scientists and historians, that look at Peace as something that is not self evident but rather has to be groomed.

First I saw an April 2010 booklet of the IFK titled “PIRATES AND ISLAMISTS – WHO IS INTERESTED IN SOMALI?”

Then a full volume, Volume #^ in a series, came to my attention when I went to a meeting of the IFK.  The Volume is in German and the title simple – “SOMALIA.”

The authors are listed as Walter Feichinger and Gerald Hainzl as editors, and inside are chapters by many other researchers: Volker Mathies, Thomas Zittelman, Markus Virgil Hoehne, David Petrovic, Georg Sebastian Holzer,Martin Pabst, Thomas Peyker, Frank Reininghaus, Bruno Guenter Hofbauer, Stefan Lampl,  and Annette  Weber, All of this in just 299 pages.  This volume was released the end of 2011 by the Boehlau Publishrs of Vienna, Koeln, and Weimar.

Comments in the book that convinced us to recommend the reading of this multi-source study before one tacles the problems od Somalia:

1. Looking at the Al-Shabab fighters – the “Radical” groups look for their base in religion, but are not religiously motivated. They rather see in religion the path to obtain power.

2. The Republic of Somaliland is completely independent since 1991 and like it this way, Puntland is also independent of the rest, but they would prefer to be part of a Somalia if that eill be possible some day.

What still carries the name of Somalia is the city of Mogadishu where sits a UN sponsored government, and the rest that is outside any government ruled land.

3. The old division of the Horn included the rule of Ethiopia 0ver Somali Ogaden, the UK held onto the North East Somaliland and the North-East parts of Kenya that is populated Somalis. then there were an italian Somaliland and a French Somaliland that stretched into Djibouti which is now separate of Somalia. All this developed a North-South antagonism and an Ethiopian-Somali conflict/

4. Between 1963 – 1977 there was a US-Aethiopia alliance that brought to life a Somali-USSR counter-alliance. With the Aetiopian revolution of 1974 and the establishing of a marxist regime there, this turned the US towards Somalia in order to balance the Soviets. It would be unrealistic to think that any of this presented real interest in the Somalis – and don’t wonder thus that they were ready to ditch any foreign power as a result.

5. Somalia’s coast was seen a fre for all and hundreds of illegal fishing boats operated in its waters all the time. The Somalis developed a system to get rid of some og these boats and saw that by robbing those boats good money can be made beyond fishing. With the backing of local War Loards, Piracy was thus born.

6. In the 1990s,a clan leader, Mohamad Farah Aidid thought a return to the idilic past when pastoralists lived in a reasonable democracy. The democratic autonomy ideal returned as a justification for violence.

7. There are 8-9 million people in the Somaliland, Puntland, the remaining Somalia. There are further 4 million people in the neughboring counties of Ethiopia, Djibuti and Kenia, and an additional 1 million in a further away diaspora that stretches to Europe and America, australia, New Zealand, and Asia. some have done very well in the diaspora and support the people back home.When they come home they demand modern conditions, and Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland sports modern establishments. There is no way that the Diaspora – village oriented – will agree to the unification of the separate parts of Somalia. The West and Africa will have to accept the notion that you cannot force people to live in one country if they feel that this is nottheir heritage.

8. The one year that the anti-piratery ATALANTA project was active in the waters of Somalia, made it clear that the PAG – Pirate Action Group needs a new set of rules of engagement. Take their fish catch and their food and water beyond what is needed to get back to the nearest shore — do not take them as prisoners – you might not know what to do with them when you haul them in.

9. A pirate is a pirate only when he commits an act of piracy = otherwise he might just be a fisherman or transfer refugees. The same person might have different roles on a given day,

10. Most African States include parts that would prefer independence or at least a “leave me alone approach.” Taking for granted  the secession attitude of the African Union will do nothing for the struggling Somalis who in major part where basically camel herders living in an un-hospitable dry land as nomads. The clashes with agriculturalists where normal – clashing with unwanted government is worse. The colonial powers did not touch this aspect of the local life as they were interested only in the shore areas as bases for navigation and trade.

I will stop here in order not to write a new version of the book – will rather recommend – you read it by yourselves.

========================

The other books in the Walter Feichtinger / Boehlau IFC  series so far are:

#1 –  Islam, Islamism, and Extremism. (This book was seemingly withdrawn)

#2 –  Private Security- and Military-Corporations. (These as it happened in Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Afghanistan, They fly planes, interrogate prisoners etc. – but at what price?)

#3 –  crisis management in Africa.

#4 –  No Enemy in Sight. (This is a book about wars inside society rather then with a foreign enemy.)

#5 –  Global Security – EUropean Potentials. (see the novel spelling when dealing with the European Union!)


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

TWO NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS of JANUARY 10, 2012:

–  The Corporate Candidates

The Republican presidential hopefuls with backgrounds in ordering layoffs and lobbying Congress can’t relate to struggling voters.

–  Violence Continues in Syria

The Arab League is failing to do all it can to encourage a peaceful solution. It needs to get tougher with President Bashar al-Assad.

===============================

The Corporate Candidates

Published: January 9, 2012

The more Mitt Romney pretends to empathize with the millions of Americans who are struggling in this economy, the less he seems to understand their despair. And the rest of the Republican field seems to have no more insight into the concerns of most voters than he does.

Mr. Romney claims his background as a businessman provides him with an understanding of the economy and the ability to fix it. His opponents — particularly Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Rick Perry — say their political experience provides the same advantage. In truth, none have offered anything but tired or extremist economic prescriptions, providing little evidence that they can relate to those at the middle or bottom of the ladder.

The problem with Mr. Romney’s pitch is the kind of businessman he was: specifically, a buyer of flailing companies who squeezed out the inefficiencies (often known as employees) and then sold or merged them for a hefty profit. More than a fifth of them later went bankrupt, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. This kind of leveraged capitalism, which first caught fire in the 1980s, is one of the reasons for the growth in the income gap, tipping the wealth in the economy toward the people at the top.

Mr. Romney doesn’t like to talk about the precise nature of his business experience. Instead, he prefers to claim his occupation as a leveraged buyout king actually benefited ordinary workers, even casting himself as one of them. “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired,” Mr. Romney said, astonishingly, on Sunday. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” Mr. Romney, the son of privilege and power, has never known personal economic fear, and said laterthat he was referring to his early days at Bain Capital, the investment firm he would later run.

He has, however, been responsible for issuing many a pink slip while leading Bain. The firm bought Dade International, a medical supplier, and collected eight times its investment but laid off 1,700 workers, The New York Times has reportedReuters reportedlast week that a steel mill in Kansas City, Mo., was shuttered less than a decade after Bain bought it, and its 750 laid-off workers got no severance pay.

Mr. Romney dismisses these layoffs, and thousands more, as the cost of capitalism. He claims that, over all, Bain’s investments produced a net gain of 100,000 jobs. But his campaign and his former firm have refused to provide any documentation for that number, showing exactly how many people were laid off and how many hired as a result of Bain’s investments during his period there. The claim cannot be taken seriously until he does so.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry have sharply criticized Mr. Romney for his buyout work, but some of those attacks ring hollow. Mr. Gingrich himself was on an advisory board for Forstmann Little, another private equity firm with a business model similar to Bain’s. Mr. Perry simply seems opportunistic. He criticized Mr. Romney for ruthlessly practicing modern-day capitalism a day after he called Mr. Obama “a socialist.”

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum have avoided talking about their own financial histories, having become multimillionaires by peddling their influence to big corporations after leaving Congressional office. For voters worried about the economy, neither a past record of buyouts nor lobbying should inspire any confidence.


————————-


Violence Continues in Syria

Published: January 9, 2012

The Arab League is failing the Syrian people. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria grudgingly agreed to the league’s peace plan last month, but his brutal 10-month crackdown against mostly peaceful protesters shows no signs of easing. To have any chance of stopping the bloodshed, the league — backed by the international community — needs to get tougher with the butcher in Damascus.

We always suspected that the manipulative Mr. Assad would pay only lip service to the plan. He promised to end the violence, withdraw troops from residential areas and talk to the opposition. He also agreed to allow the league to monitor progress. But Syrian activists say that in the two weeks since 100 or so monitors arrived, at least 400 more civilians have been killed, in addition to the 5,000 dead already counted by the United Nations.

Independent accounts are hard to come by because Syria also reneged on its promise to allow greater news media access. Still, the reports are credible enough to unnerve many Arabs; last week, the Arab Parliament, which advises the league, questioned whether the monitoring mission should be abandoned since Mr. Assad seemed clearly to be using it as cover for further repression.

Yet the Arab League’s official response has been pathetically weak. Meeting in Cairo on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani of Qatar, the chairman of the league’s committee on Syria, and other officials did little more than plead with Mr. Assad to end the bloodshed and let the monitors operate freely.

This won’t work. The only meaningful course is for the Arab League to enforce theeconomic sanctions it approved in November. These include a freeze on Syrian government assets in Arab countries and a ban on transactions with Syria’s central bank.

In addition, Arab League members should insist that the United Nations Security Council — stymied for months by Mr. Assad’s enablers, Russia and China — condemn his behavior and impose tough sanctions of its own that would also bring pressure to bear on his allies. And they should lean on Turkey, which promised sanctions against Damascus, to follow through.

League officials have agreed to continue the monitoring mission (at least until they reassess later this month) and boost its size. There is also talk of United Nations-led training for monitors, who are very inexperienced.

In theory, these are good ideas. But they assume that Mr. Assad is not playing for time and playing the Arab League for a fool as he clearly is. People across the Arab world are horrified by the bloody events in Syria and fears of broader war. Their leaders and the major powers must do all they can to peacefully stop the violence.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 7th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Obama’s Americans call on Ahmedinejad’s bluff  by saving his Iranian fishermen from the hold of Somali pirates – right there on Iran’s frontage or doorstep.

ABOARD THE FISHING VESSEL AL MULAHI, in the Gulf of Oman — Senior Iranian military officials this week bluntly warned an American aircraft carrier that it would confront the “full force” of the Iranian military if it tried to re-enter the Persian Gulf.

Are the American ships there to keep the oil-transport lanes open? Then if there will be no exports from Iran, there will be a diminished need for US chaperons against Somali pirates!   The US will have to guard only the Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, oil transports!

=========================================

The New York Times
January 7, 2012
The New York Times

Pirates were operating where vital shipping routes  cross.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times - American sailors with captured Somali pirates near the mouth of the Gulf of Oman, after the pirates’ Iranian hostages were freed.

“It is like you were sent by God,” said Mr. Fazel Ur Rehman, On Friday,  a 28-year-old Iranian fisherman, with a warm greeting for the carrier task force near the enytance to the Iranian/Arab Gulf . in the Gulf of Oman, huddled under a blanket in the AL MULAHI vessel’s stern:  “Every night we prayed for God to rescue us. And now you are here.”

In a naval action that mixed diplomacy, drama and Middle Eastern politics, the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis broke up a high-seas pirate attack on a cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman, then sailors from an American destroyer boarded the pirates’ mother ship and freed 13 Iranian hostages who had been held captive there for more than a month.

The cocky senior Iranian military officials this week had warned bluntly an American aircraft carrier that it would confront the “full force” of the Iranian military if it tried to re-enter the Persian Gulf – and see now – Ahmedinejad had to rely on the US Navy to get his fishermen back safe from Somali pirates he seemingly loves so much.

The rapidly unfolding events began Thursday morning when the pirates attacked a Bahamian-flagged ship, the motor vessel Sunshine, unaware that the Stennis was steaming less than eight miles away.

It ended Friday with the tables fully turned. The captured Somali pirates, 15 in all, were brought aboard the U.S.S. Kidd, an American destroyer traveling with the Stennis. They were then shuttled by helicopter to the aircraft carrier and locked up in its brig.

This fishing vessel and its crew, provided fuel and food by the Navy, then set sail for its home port of Chah Bahar, Iran.

The rescue, 210 miles off the coast of Iran, occurred against a tense political backdrop. On Tuesday the Iranian defense minister and a brigadier general threatened the Stennis with attack if it sought to return to the Persian Gulf, which it had left roughly a week before. The warning set up fears of a confrontation over the vital oil shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz.

None of that tension was evident at sea. The Sunshine, a 583-foot cargo ship carrying bulk cargo from Calais, France, to Bandar Abbas, Iran, continued its journey.
The freed hostages, Iranian citizens, greeted the American sailors with wide-eyed relief.

Mahmed Younes, 28, the fishing vessel’s captain, said he and his crew had been captured roughly 45 days ago by pirates in a skiff, who boarded their 82-foot dhow and forced it to an anchorage in the northern Somali port of Xaafuun. There, the pirates took on provisions and more gunmen.

In late December the pirates, using their hostages to run the dhow, set back out to sea, hunting for a tanker or large cargo ship to capture and hold for ransom.

For several days, Al Mulahi roamed the Gulf of Oman, unmolested under its Iranian flag, the pirates and former hostages said. They saw several ships. But the pirates’ leader, Bashir Bhotan, 32, did not think any of them would command a high ransom. They let them pass.

“The pirates told us, ‘If you get us a good ship, we will let you go free,’ ” Captain Younes said. “We told them, ‘How can we get you a ship? We are fishermen, not hunters.’ ”

On Thursday morning, six of the pirates set out in a fiberglass skiff and found their quarry — the Sunshine, 100 miles from the shore of Oman. One of the pirates, Mohammed Mahmoud, 33, later said this was the type of vessel they would hope might fetch a ransom of several million dollars.

Brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade and several Kalashnikov rifles, they rushed alongside, threw a grappling hook and tried to lash a ladder to the Sunshine’s side. They hoped to scale the gunwales and seize the bridge.

Their plans unraveled immediately. As the Sunshine radioed for help, and tried to deter the boarding by spraying the pirates with fire hoses, the pirates were unable to board.

“Our ladder broke,” Mr. Mahmoud said.

Then an American helicopter appeared.

Neither the pirates nor the crew of the Sunshine had known it, but three Navy ships — the Stennis; the U.S.N.S. Rainier, a supply ship; and the U.S.S. Mobile Bay, a guided-missile cruiser — were steaming in formation a few miles away. The carrier was taking on provisions from the Rainier and had several helicopters in the air when the Sunshine radioed its distress call.

Aboard the carrier, Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller, who commands the carrier strike group, looked at the chart and radar images of the Sunshine’s location with something like disbelief. The Sunshine and the Stennis were only a few miles apart. “These might be the dumbest pirates ever,” he said.

=======================================================================

HONG KONG — Under growing pressure from the United States, some of Asia’s largest economies are reluctantly looking for options to reduce the amount of oil they buy from Iran, a move that would further tighten the economic vise on an increasingly defiant nation that announced plans for a new round of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz.
 www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/world/…

Pressed by U.S., Asian Countries Look for Ways to Reduce Purchases of Iranian Oil

By  and 
Published: January 6, 2012

The decision by South Korea and Japan to try to accommodate Washington’s demands follows reports that China has already reduced its purchase of Iranian crude in the past month in a pricing dispute with Tehran. Whatever the motives, the combined loss of sales threatens an economy already reeling, where the currency has plummeted in value, inflation has surged and the general public has expressed growing anxiety about the prospect of war.

China, Japan, India and South Korea together import more than 60 percent of Iranian oil exports, and they all depend on Iran and other Persian Gulf producers for the preponderance of their oil and natural gas needs. As tensions in the gulf have escalated and alarmed Asian governments and businesses, companies and traders from those countries have been putting out feelers to places like Russia, Vietnam, West Africa, Iraq and especially Saudi Arabia to export more oil to them, according to oil experts.

For Tehran, which relies heavily on oil revenues to prop up an economy battered by years of sanctions, the potential cutbacks by its Asian customers follow a decision by theEuropean Union to move toward a ban on the import of Iranian oil. Taken together, the Western efforts represent the most serious economic pressure yet on Iran after years of conflict over a nuclear program that the West charges is aimed at building weapons.

But if the goal is to force Iran to relent, the campaign has so far had an opposite effect: Iranian officials have equated targeting their oil market with economic war andthreatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, where about one-fifth of the world’s oil passes to get to market.

The Iranian military, fresh off 10 days of naval exercises near the strait that ended this week, vowed to hold a new round of war games soon. The defense minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, in comments reported by the semiofficial Fars News Agency Thursday, said the military’s exercises would be “its greatest naval war games” and would occur “in the same region in the near future.”

The United States, however, is keeping the pressure on.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is scheduled to visit Beijing and Tokyo next week, and the tightening sanctions on Iran will be high on his agenda. United States officials said that Mr. Geithner will press China at least to resist importing more Iranian oil to replace exports that would otherwise go to Europe. The trip is part of a concerted effort by Western diplomats to persuade Asian countries to go along with new European sanctions, American and European officials say.

“It’s a global chess game,” said Daniel Yergin, the energy historian. “The major buyers are prudently beginning to make alternative plans to reduce their reliance on Iranian oil.”

The Asian efforts to wean themselves from Iranian crude are in response to legislation enacted by Congress at the end of last year requiring the administration to phase in sanctions in stages by late June that would make it very difficult for others to buy Iranian oil, by barring transactions with Iran’s central bank.

The sanctions exempt food, medicine and other humanitarian trade and include a presidential waiver for any country or company in cases in which the impact would harm the national security interests of the United States.

More significantly, the legislation exempts from sanctions countries that “significantly reduce” imports from Iran. The legislation does not define this term, leaving it to the administration, according to officials. The debate over the definition, now under way, has given the administration some leverage to entice allies like Japan, South Korea and even China to make some reductions, thus intensifying pressure, without having to take the hit of cutting off imports all at once.

But Japan and South Korea have expressed some alarm at the demand that they reduce their reliance on Iranian oil, fearing that such a move could undermine their economies. Japan, the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil, depends on Persian Gulf countries for four-fifths of its oil imports, which come through the Strait of Hormuz. Osamu Fujimura, the chief cabinet secretary, announced on Friday that Japan had expressed concern to the United States about the dangers to the Japanese and global economy from limits on Iran’s oil exports.

Yasushi Kimura, the president of the JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation, Japan’s largest refiner, announced on Thursday that his company had opened talks with Saudi Arabia and others, whom he did not name, about possible alternatives.

The South Korean government announced on Thursday that it was looking for ways to limit its imports of oil and oil products from Iran, but pointedly stopped short of suggesting that it could stop these imports altogether.

China, which imports about 11 percent of its oil from Iran, has actually reduced its daily purchases of Iranian crude, although estimates of the cutback range from as little as 15,000 barrels a day, or 3 percent of Chinese imports from Iran, to considerably more than that. It was hard to know if Beijing was making a political statement or merely trying to buy the oil on better terms.

“The Chinese have definitely cut back on long-term contracts, but we don’t know exactly why,” said Andy Lipow, a Houston refining and trading analyst. “They may feel they will be able to buy cheaper on short-term markets if Iran were to lose its European customers.”

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said it would increase production if needed to make up for any decline in exports from Iran, its longtime regional rival.

“Saudi Arabia and OPEC have always delivered what the market required,” said Sadad Ibrahim Al-Husseini, former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state oil company. “There is enough supply from other OPEC countries” to compensate for losses of Iranian supplies, he added.

Mr. Husseini stressed that Middle Eastern oil markets were not yet in crisis mode, noting that insurance rates on tankers had not yet gone up in part because a tightening of European sanctions is at least a month away and a blockade of the strait is considered unlikely. “The market is still comfortable Iran cannot pull off its threats,” he said.

But oil analysts have warned that the international oil market remains tight, even with Libyan oil quickly coming back on line. Any disruption in the Middle East would probably bring a sharp increase in prices, which would put the shaky world economic recovery at risk, they say.

A senior government official in the Persian Gulf said Arab countries in the region were not panicking about the latest Iranian threats, while at the same time, encouraging the United States “to take a firm stand.”

“The last thing we want is some kind of military intervention,” said the official, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly for his government. “But it should be left on the table.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry took a cautious position this week on Iran, reiterating China’s broad objection to all sanctions that have not been approved by the United Nations and expressing hope that no military action of any sort will take place.

“We hope to maintain peace and stability in the gulf region,” said Hong Lei, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, at a regularly scheduled news conference on Wednesday.

But China is worried about the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, said Patrick Ho, the chief executive and secretary general of the China Energy Fund Committee, an influential group in Hong Kong and Beijing with links to the Chinese government. “It is the lifeline as far as energy is concerned for China,” Mr. Ho said.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

NGOs say: Families in the Horn of Africa walk for days, even weeks, in the harsh sun, desperate to find food. Sometimes the children are too weak to keep going. The lucky ones make it to camps – but too often there isn’t enough food to eat there, either. Children are literally starving to death. In village after village, millions of families in the Horn of Africa are facing unimaginable suffering. For families to get the food and water they need to survive, President Obama must bring global attention to the devastation in the Horn.

(The following is for tomorrow’s – October 27, 2011  - special ceremony to mark World Food Day that we received from Louis Belanger spokesman for OxfamInternational.org)  Military action in Somalia risks pushing more people ‘beyond the reach of aid agencies’
New York – Nearly two weeks after the government of Kenya announced it was sending its troops into Somalia, the CEO of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, will warn that military action risks worsening the effects of famine on the Somali people, and pushing more people “beyond the reach of aid agencies,” in a keynote speech to the UN for a special ceremony to mark World Food Day and the food crisis in East Africa.
Stocking will tell the audience of UN representatives, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, aid agencies and private sector members, that the fate of the 750,000 Somalis threatened by death due to famine is in the hands of the international community.
Ahead of the ceremony, Stocking said: “Somalia is at a turning point, and the next three months are critical if three-quarter of a million lives are to be saved from the ravages of famine. Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies have increased our efforts to provide relief and prevent more deaths, but the situation now risks going beyond our reach. The international community must make a dramatic change in approach to ensure humanitarian aid can be safely distributed throughout Somalia.”
=============================

We really would like to understand what turned the Horn of Africa into the cursed land it is today. We know that climate change is hitting the people of the region with draught, we know that colonialism has splintered the Somali people into many parts and we know that today they are infested by Al-Qaeda cancerous fingers and their home grown Shabab is not any better – but what is the link between those seemingly separate realities? Is there the possibility that that colonialism broke up the society and helped destroy the environment so that when climate change hit the path to desertification was already established and the society broke down further allowing the Islamists to dig the region into further disaster? Is there an escape from this?

Somalia is the home of the Indian Ocean  pirates – and these are not new social pirates but rather the old style thieves and hostage takers. The region is thus a multi-danger to 21st Century civilization.

Now, we hear of one area that tries to break out from the misery and is helped by the diaspora of successful Somalis that live in Europe and the United States of America. People helped carve out on the northwest shore of the Horn the Somaliland region that is able to rule itself in an orderly way – has trade with the rest of the World – albeit in major part with Dubai and other Islamic States, but for reasons of African prejudices, are not allowed to separate from the rest of the Somali mess.

Why cannot the UN allow them to establish an independent Somaliland that is separate from the failed State of Somalia? Will the Islamic World be ready to help the rest of the World find a solution from an ousing wound that came about in an area the two met?

The Landesverteidigungsakademie (LVAk) / Institut für Friedenssicherung und Konfliktmanagement (IFK) of the Austrian military has now published its sixth volume in its series of publications that deals mainly with the Islamic World – this sixth book deals with Somalia. It is a very timely publication and I hope the BOEHLAU Publishers will make available eventually an English translation.

The authors are Brigadier General Dr. Walter Feichtinger and Dr. Gerald Hainzl.

Further participants at the official book-presentation were Max Satner of the Austrian Red Cross, Sissy Mayerhoffer, head of the Humanitarian department at the Austrian Broadcasting and TV = ORF and a consultant on the issues to business, and Ambassador Georg Lennkh who was for many years international secretary of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, then Austria’s Foreign Ministry’s man on Africa.

Somalia was a hodge-podge – There were French, italian, British, Ethiopian, and Kenyan Somis – now you should add Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese and US interests.

If God does not stand up for the Somalis – Allah will.

Before I will be able to do an in depth review of the book – let me at least point out an article in today’s news – this because of the further fact that Somalia is this year’s poster-country for the UN Food and Hunger day that happens to be today.

Giving food (a fish) to the hungry will save them for a day – we think more is needed here then plain teaching them to fish. We think they know how to fish, and had they only been allowed to fish…..

————————–———–

For several years, the American-backed Kenyan military has been secretly arming and training clan-based militias inside Somalia to safeguard Kenya’s borders and economic interests, especially a huge port to be built just 60 miles south of Somalia.

But now many diplomats, analysts and Kenyans fear that the country, by essentially invading southern Somalia, has bitten off far more than it can chew, opening itself up to terrorist reprisals and impeding the stressed relief efforts to save hundreds of thousands of starving Somalis.

Somalia has been a thorn in Kenya’s side ever since Kenya became independent in 1963. Somalia has become synonymous with famine, war and anarchy, while Kenya has become one of America’s closest African allies, a bastion of stability and a favorite of tourists worldwide.

Kenyan officials said it was becoming impossible to coexist with a failed state next door. They consider the Shabab, a ruthless militant group that controls much of southern Somalia, a “clear and present danger,” responsible for piracy, militant attacks and cross-border raids.

When Kenya sent troops storming across Somalia’s border on Oct. 16, government officials initially said that they were chasing kidnappers who had recently abducted four Westerners inside Kenya, two from beachside bungalows, and that Kenya had to defend its tourism industry.

But on Wednesday, Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government’s chief spokesman, revised this rationale, saying the kidnappings were more of a “good launchpad.”

“An operation of this magnitude is not planned in a week,” Mr. Mutua said. “It’s been in the pipeline for a while.”

Many analysts wonder how Kenya will be able to stabilize Somalia when the United Nations, the United States, Ethiopia and the African Union have all intervened before, with little success. They argue that the Kenyan operation seems uncoordinated and poorly planned, with hundreds of troops bogged down in the mud during seasonal rains.

Kenyan military officials also publicly said the United States and France were helping them, but both countries quickly distanced themselves from the operation, insisting that they were not taking part in the combat.

“The invasion was a serious miscalculation, and the Kenyan economy is going to suffer badly,” said David M. Anderson, a Kenya specialist at Oxford.

The Shabab, who have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, have killed hundreds in suicide attacks in Somalia and are now vowing to punish Kenya, much as they struck Uganda last year for sending peacekeepers.

For the New York Times article by please read further:
 www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/world/…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

TRAGEDY OF SOMALIA SHAMES THE WORLD, TURKISH LEADER TELLS UN

The Turkish Prime Minister has called for urgent action to help Somalia alleviate its humanitarian crisis and to build peace and stability, stressing that the world cannot let the cry of the Horn of Africa nation go unheard.

“Today the international community is watching the suffering in Somalia like a movie,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the high-level debate of the General Assembly yesterday. “However, we should urgently face this situation which is a test to our humanity.”

Mr. Erdogan said he witnessed the poverty and suffering of the Somali people during a visit to the country last month.

“The tragedy of Somalia, where tens of thousands of children died due to the lack of even a piece of bread and a drop of water, is a shame for the international community…

“No one can speak of peace, justice and civilization in the world if the outcry rising from Somalia is left unheard.”

Turkey has launched an aid campaign for Somalia, collecting $300 million within the last two months. It also organized an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that resulted in more than $350 million in pledges, and has undertaken various projects, ranging from transport and agriculture to education and construction of roads, hospitals and schools.

And by re-opening its embassy in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Turkey has shown the world that claims of security challenges cannot be an excuse for delaying assistance, said Mr. Erdogan.

In addition to alleviating the humanitarian situation, it is also necessary to act urgently to support efforts to build peace and stability in Somalia, he added.

“As Somalia takes its well deserved place within the international community, the world will become a safer and more stable place,” Mr. Erdogan said.

The Prime Minister also voiced Turkey’s “unconditional” support to the recognition of the State of Palestine, and called on Israel to take the necessary steps towards peace rather than building new barriers.

Turkey, he noted, has never pursued hostile and confrontation policies against any other country, but has always acted on the basis of cooperation and friendship.

“However, Israel has made a grave mistake against a country and its people,” he said, referring to the May 2010 incident in which nine people were killed during Israel’s interception of an aid flotilla headed for Gaza that originated in Turkey.

An independent panel of inquiry examining the flotilla incident released a report earlier this month in which it found that Israel’s interception of the vessels was “excessive and unreasonable,” while the flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the naval blockade.

“Our demands from Israel are known,” said the Prime Minister. “Our position will not change unless Israel takes the necessary steps to redress its mistake and meet our demands.”

Turning to Cyprus, he said that Turkey will continue to support a comprehensive and lasting solution to produce a united country, in line with the UN-backed negotiations, but will not let the future of the Turkish Cypriots remain uncertain forever.

“At this critical juncture, we can also not accept any attempt by the Greek Cypriot side to act as if they are the sole representative of the island or have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots,” he stated.

The attempts by the Greek Cypriot side to unilaterally determine maritime jurisdiction areas and to engage in oil and natural gas exploration activities in these fields are “extremely irresponsible” both in terms of timing and possible outcomes, the President added.

Mr. Erdogan also discussed the Cyprus talks and the flotilla report, among various other issues, in a meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Martin PlautAfrica analyst, BBC News reports on August 26, 2011.

Abuja attack: Car bomb hits Nigeria UN building.

In Friday morning’s attack, a car crashed through two security barriers and rammed into the building’s reception before exploding, witnesses said.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed by the number of injured and have appealed for blood donations.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for the establishment of Sharia law in Nigeria, also said it carried out a car bombing at police headquarters in June.

A UN official in Nigeria, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said the UN had stepped up security at all its buildings in Nigeria in the past month after receiving information that the UN could be targeted by Boko Haram.

The attack on the UN headquarters indicates a growing sophistication by Boko Haram.

The vehicle broke through two security barriers, probably indicating that it was reinforced to withstand the impact. Then its driver detonated the bomb after crashing it into the UN reception area.

Earlier this month, the commander of the US Africa Command, General Carter Ham, said he had several sources of information showing that Boko Haram had contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in north-west Africa. He said it also had ties with al-Shabab in Somalia.

There have been other, independent, reports of Nigerians fighting alongside al-Shabab.

Together these reports indicate where Boko Haram is getting the expertise needed to carry out its current wave of attacks. What began as a radical group in northern Nigeria is now part of a much wider Islamist movement.

President Goodluck Jonathan reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment” to combating terrorism, and said his administration would “spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice”.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We wonder why the following is called a conflict – it seems to be rather an entanglement between various warlords with various ideas on how to use a geographic space that borders with important international waters. Sending US troops and being exposed to potential losses of US manpower never made sense here. Relying on contractors is not a bad idea – these are military for hire.

Following this logic, why does the US have to do the work of US and other National Oil Companies – even as disguised as International Companies? Could they not run their own hired guns for that purpose? Why hire the US government military for this purpose? Look at Iraq and Afghanistan these days? It clearly made sense to remove Saddam Hussein, like it makes sense today to remove Muammar Gaddafi and perhaps Bashar al-Assad as well. That could be the job of specialized US National Military units. But after that? Why stay involved? If some company like the Dutch Trading Company or the British India Trading Company of yore want to push their luck, and organize their own military expeditionary forces – let the tea drinkers and the spice users pay for it when they buy those products – let the oil users pay for it when they pull up to the gas pump. Just think of this when reading the following article!

———————

U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict.

from MOGADISHU, Somalia, by  JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT.

Published by The New York Times : August 10, 2011 – in print August 11, 2011.

PLEASE SEE:
 www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/world/…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

SmithSchool rates each county's actions

A map of countries of the world rated in terms of national actions and commitments on climate change. Annex I countries are rated based on submissions pertinent to the Cancun Agreements.
‘Very good’: meet IPCC recommendations, Annex I: 25 – 40% reduction by 2020, Non-Annex I: submitted NAMA, 15-30% below BAU by 2020, or vocal in pressing for action. (we express our astonishment at this definition but are ready to look at the results the way these are interpreted by the New York Times – but please – very poor should be viewed as worse then poor!)

The New York Times link tells ud that The Smith School at the University of Oxford has released a report on international efforts to address climate change. Australia is rated “Poor” but we prefer to see in this map the data that The USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Myanmar, are at the bottom of the list – Very Poor or bellow. This clearly just does not justify the title that takes it out on Australia.

Lets be fair – Australia has now its second Administration that is puting on the line its popularity with their political system – and does indeed come up with internal legislation to help reduce globally CO2 emissions by starting work at home.

Please see:  Permalink | | Email This Article Email This Article
Posted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Charts, Database, Chile, Copenhagen COP15, European Union, Global Warming issues, Policy Lessons from Mad Cow Disease, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from Washington DC, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UN Commission on Sustainable Development

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 africommons.wordpress.com/2011/07…

Somaliland, now on maps part of Somalia, tries to become the 55th African State. They had an official invitation from South Sudan at the July 9th Independence Day events in Juba.  Our website has a space for Somaliland for quite a while as we look at peoples – not just lines on old colonial maps.

Somaliland’s President Silanyo Official Guest for Saturday’s South Sudan Independence Ceremony.

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress)—President Ahmed Siilaanyo received an official invitation from the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir to attend the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan on the 9th of July, 2011. South Sudan is set to become the 54th nation in the African continent after long fought civil against Northern Sudan’s rule that saw thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.

The invitation of Somaliland’s president Ahmed Siilanyo to South Sudan’s historic day has been welcomed with delight in Somaliland by both the government of Somaliland and its citizens.

Somaliland believes it could use the south’s independence as a precedent as it seeks more support for its case for international recognition and become the 55th nation in the continent after South Sudan. Some foreign observers and politicians believe the Juba government will recognize Somaliland which will pave the way for other regional powers to follow.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Posted by Washington Post at 12:55 AM ET, 05/02/2011 – one hour after President Obama’s announcement.

Osama bin Laden has been killed in a CIA operation in Pakistan, President Obama announced from the White House, just before midnight, Sunday, May 1st 2011, ending a years-long manhunt for the leader of al-Qaeda and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington.
 
 www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post…

link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/DME6KX/407JV1/1VSGWV/19MO8T/LV834/MQ/h  

The pursuit of bin Laden

By David Ignatius

When Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in the 1990s, he argued that if Muslim terrorists hit hard enough, the United States would retreat. The relentless pursuit that led to bin Laden’s death Sunday proved that narrative of American weakness was wrong.

America’s difficulties in the Islamic world since Sept. 11, 2001, have come, if anything, from misplaced response or over-reaction to al-Qaeda’s attacks. But the idea that the U.S. would run away — an analysis that bin Laden based on America’s flight from Beirut after 1983 bombings and from Somalia in 1994 after bloody attacks on U.S. troops there — was convincingly refuted. Even after catastrophic mistakes in Iraq, President George W. Bush pressed on to sustain the American narrative of persistence in battle.

“We will be relentless in the defense of our citizens,” said President Obama in announcing bin Laden’s death from the White House, just before midnight. “Justice has been done.” They were statements that might have been in a classic Western movie about pursuit and retribution.

Obama Sunday night barely drew back the curtain slightly on the operation that led to the al-Qaeda leader’s death. He said it began eight months ago, when he was briefed on a possible lead. Over subsequent months, U.S. intelligence learned that bin Laden might be hiding in a compound in Pakistan. Last week Obama authorized a strike by U.S. Special Forces on a mansion in the town of Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

The fact that Pakistan didn’t (or couldn’t) stop the helicopter raid delivers another message. Critics of the CIA have argued that the agency’s operations against bin Laden over this past decade were fatally compromised by its combination of unilateral operations and cooperation with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. That assessment also proved mistaken — at least as measured by Sunday’s operation.

One question for careful analysis in coming days is whether some elements of Pakistani intelligence knew that bin Laden was, in effect, hiding in plain sight in a compound near a facility of the Pakistani military. And it will be crucial, in terms of the future, how the American operation plays in Pakistan and other Muslim nations.

Al-Qaeda had lost its momentum long before the death of its leader. It burned too hot; it made enemies everywhere it gained a measure of power — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, even in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The Islamic world increasingly turned away — not from Salafist Islam of the sort that al-Qaeda practices, but from the terrorist tactics that ended up killing far more Muslims around the world than Americans.

————–

BUT LET US NOT FOOL OURSELVES – THE FIGHT AGAINST AL-QAEDA and SALAFISM IS NOT ENDED – THE ARAB SPRING HAS NOT LED YET TO A FRUIT BEARING GARDEN OF PARADISE.

Also – it is important to remember what Israel did with the body of Adolf Eichman – his corpse was cremated and the ashes thrown overboard at sea. It is important not to leave a monument for posterity because there will always be some that will make of it a reason for pilgrimage to that tomb.

—————–

May 2, 2o11 -UPDATED:

Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea, a U.S. official says.

This is fine with the Muslim world as it was done in the prescribed time and the body was kept in one piece. It was done so, rather then being incinerated, which would have been in full  justice with the mastermind of 9/11 in the case. 

——————

Full Transcript of Remarks by the President on Osama Bin Laden
East Room

11:35 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.  The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world.  The empty seat at the dinner table.  Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.  Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.  Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together.  We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood.  We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country.  On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.  We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe.  And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.  We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense.  In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support.  And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan.  Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.  It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground.  I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan.  And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.  No Americans were harmed.  They took care to avoid civilian casualties.  After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.  The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.  I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.  Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.  Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.  So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was.  That is what we’ve done.  But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.  Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.  They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.  And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight.  It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.  After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.  These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war.  Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed.  We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.  We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror:  Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.  The American people do not see their work, nor know their names.  But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.  And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.  I know that it has, at times, frayed.  Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete.  But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.  That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are:  one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you.  May God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.
        

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Fareed Zakaria discusses CC with Jeff Sachs (Columbia), Pat Michaels (Cato, ex-UVA) & NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.
bit.ly/cCQO4Y

Pat Michaels says he is 40% funded by Petroleum Industry. There is no need to fight global warming.

Gavin Schmidt says he thinks we’re too sane not to do something about global warming.

Jeffrey Sachs says – if we do not act we will end up with a catastrophic planet.

Is it clear?

===============

Fareed Zakaria talks to Hirsi Ali who rejected Islam and Irshad Manji who wants to reform Islam.

Hirsi Ali, African Black, born in Mogadisho, Somalia and immigrated to Holland where she went to university and after 9/11 left Islam to become an atheist that says if you need a God take Christ. Her family says she risks hell for leaving Islam.

She says don’t lock 1.57 billion Muslims in a book written in the 7th century. She wrote “Nomad” about her leaving Islam.

She worked with Teo Van Gogh on a movie “Submission” about women in Islam, when he was killed. She was a member of the Netherlands Parliament, and now lives with security in the US and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

She says that most Americans are unaware of Saudi Funded proselytizing in America.

Irshad Manji
, with Pakistani African complexion, born in Uganda, with her family escaped to safety the US in Idi Amin’s days. She heads project Ifthihad at the Moral Courage Institute at NYU. She wants to reform Islam. Good popular cause backed by a good university, but who listens? She tells about a group of young boys in Detroit listening to her mother.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

UN REFUGEE AGENCY CALLS ON SAUDI ARABIA TO STOP DEPORTING SOMALIS.

The United Nations refugee agency today called on Saudi Arabia to halt deportations of Somali refugees and asylum-seekers to the conflict-stricken capital, Mogadishu, where dozens of civilians were killed in escalating clashes this week.

In June alone, more than 1,000 Somalis were reported from Saudi Arabia, according to local reports from Mogadishu, said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UHNCR).

So far this month, nearly 1,000 more Somalis are already estimated to have been forcibly returned.

Monitoring reports indicate that most deportees say they fled Somalia due to conflict, indiscriminate violence and human rights abuses, with most coming from southern and central Somalia, which includes Mogadishu.

A majority of those being sent back from Saudi Arabia are women, including a young woman who was detained on her way to a market and deported to Mogadishu with her two infants.

“UNCHR consider such deportations to be incompatible with UNHCR’s guidelines on international protection needs of Somali refugees and asylum-seekers,” Ms. Fleming said.

“Given the deadly violence in Mogadishu, UNHCR is urging the Saudi authorities to refrain from future deportations on humanitarian grounds.”

The spokesperson said that the agency is in contact with Saudi officials about introducing a joint screening procedure before deportation decisions are taken, characterizing this as “an encouraging measure.”

UNHCR has consistently called on governments to provide protection to Somali civilians fleeing violence and grave human rights abuses in their country.

“It is our view that involuntary returns to central and southern Somalia under today’s security and humanitarian circumstances in the country place people at risk,” Ms. Fleming stressed.

Fighting between Government forces and the Al-Shabaab militia in Mogadishu has claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, wounding scores more this week. The violence has also driven many more from their homes.

UNHCR today deplored the continuation of indiscriminate fighting in the Horn of Africa country, which has often targeted civilians and homes in heavily-populated parts of the capital.

More than 300,000 of the 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), out of a total population of nearly 8 million, are sheltering in Mogadishu. Most of the uprooted live in poor conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia.

This week’s events, UNHCR said, highlight the importance of assessing asylum claims from people coming from the area in the broadest possible way.

“Where refugee status is not granted, UNHCR is advising governments to extend complementary forms of international protection, which would allow Somalis legal residence until conditions improve for safe return,” Ms. Fleming stated.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The following are examples from today’s publication of the UN’s best friend – the $1 Billion UN Foundation’s UN Wire.

I see [Saddam Hussein] like Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Mesopotamia — an utterly ruthless, brutal man who sat with a revolver in his pocket and could use it to shoot you.”
Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix. Read the full story - www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

Blix faults U.S., British over pre-Iraq war intel
Former United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission chief Hans Blix testified Monday at a British inquiry that British and American intelligence officials gave too much credence to assertions of Iraqi defectors on weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 war. Blix said U.S. and British authorities ignored recommendations and findings from the commission and should have allowed more time for investigations. The Independent (London) (7/28) , The New York Times (free registration) (7/27)
 www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/pol…

 www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

—–
U.S. audit blasts Iraq reconstruction funds process
An audit by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction reports that 95% of the $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil and gas funds earmarked by the U.S. Defense Department for reconstruction cannot be accounted for. The audit report indicates sloppy record keeping and a lack of clear process leaves the Defense Department unable to detail the use of funds. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/The Associated Press (7/28)
 www.theglobeandmail.com/news/worl…

==================

Security Council mulls future of Darfur mission:
The security situation has deteriorated in Darfur and United Nations agencies are no longer able to gain access to many areas, the Security Council heard Tuesday. The council is expected to decide on an extension of a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission this week. CNN (7/28)
 edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa…

Kidnapped German, American aid workers in Darfur speak out:
Kidnappers in Darfur released two German aid workers Tuesday after more than a month in captivity. The two said they were well treated. Another kidnapped aid worker — an American woman — was able to speak with a journalist Tuesday and reported food, water and shelter to be scarce. The kidnappers have demanded ransom from the Sudanese government for her release. AlertNet.org (7/27) , AlertNet.org (7/27
 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

International terror networks taking root in DR Congo?
Intelligence analysts fear the conflict-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo may have a new security concern to contend with — international terrorism. Ugandan investigators believe Congolese group ADF-NALU was involved in the July 11 Kampala bombings alongside al-Qaida-linked Al Shabaab militants from Somalia. Interviews with recent defectors have provided evidence of foreigners visiting ADF-NALU camps on the mountains of eastern DR Congo. The Christian Science Monitor/Africa Monitor blog (7/28
 www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Af…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Excerpts from “At UN, Of Africa Days and Al Qaeda Evenings, Burundi and Bacardi Gold.”
By Matthew Russell Lee.

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 — With small countries in Africa dominating the Security Council’s July 15 schedule … one of the four countries already on the “Peace Building Commission” (PBC) agenda, Burundi, recently had a one party election marred by tossed grenades and now the threat of attack by Al Shabab.

Burundi has soldiers in Somalia {and this is the reason why it has become fair game to Al Shabab}. Inner City Press spoke this week with the UN’s envoy to Burundi Charles Petrie. He put a positive spin on the one party election, saying it was not as violent as it might have been.

Petrie said the opposition is weak, and the UN must play the counter-balance that civil society and opposition parties would in other countries. He should know: he was thrown out of Myanmar by the government, then served for a time in a humanitarian role on, but not in, Somalia. He was in the French military …. The Council should have heard from him but didn’t.

The same might be said of the UN’s new envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. He went into the Council’s quiet room on July 14, but was not heard from by the Council as a whole. He met with the Permanent Five, one by one. He stopped to speak to Inner City Press, about including Al Shabab on the Al Qaeda sanctions list under Council Resolution 1267 in the wake of the Kampala bombings {This again, because Uganda has military forces for peace Keeping in Somalia.}.

Later on July 14, at an ill-attended UK reception on climate change in the General Assembly lobby, Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about 1267 and the Shabab. He pointed out that they are already on the Somalia sanctions list, and who knew who is or is not truly affiliated with Al Qaeda. An Ethiopian diplomat added, not surprisingly, they are “definitely” with Al Qaeda.

But the Council sticks to its schedule. Guinea Bissau was the topic for July 15. The coup leader now heads the military; the UN “took note” of it. A Presidential Statement is to be drafted in the coming days.

Still and all, the Permanent Representatives of France, Japan and Mexico strode into the Council just after 10 a.m..

{Liberia is now becoming the fifth small African Country on the PBC operating table.}
* * *
{And further at the UN} - In Wake of Uganda Bombing, UNSC Statement Does Not Assign Blame, Even After Al Shabab Takes Credit.

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, updated — A day after the Kampala double bombing which killed more than 60 people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had yet to issue any kind of statement. In front of the Security Council on Monday morning, one non-permanent member’s spokesperson wondered under what agenda item the Council might issue a statement: Somalia?

Another spokesperson said moves were afoot for the issuance of a press statement, later in the day. Would it say who is responsible? After the bombing of trains in Madrid, the Council issued a statement blaming it on ETA. When Al Qaeda later took responsibility, the Council’s statement was never retracted.

Here, nearly all speakers including Uganda authorities are pointing the finger at Islamist Somali insurgents. They had vowed retaliation for the Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM peacekeepers’ shelling of a market in Mogadishu. Others pointed out the targeting of “Ethiopian Village,” given antagonism between irridentist Somalia and Ethiopia. Motive is certainly there– and, the media pointed out, opportunity.

As the draft text of the press statement was distributed to members, a Council diplomat told Inner City Press it did not assign blame, only the Council’s “standard terrorist attack language.” Might that change?

Update of 3:20 p.m. — Nigeria’s Ambassador, the Council’s president for July, read out a four paragraph statement. As Inner City Press predicted this morning, it did not assign blame. But in the interim, the spokesman for Al Shabab has taken credit for the bombings, saying they were months in the planning.

Inner City Press asked Nigeria’s Ambassador on camera why blame was not ascribed, and if this might not discourage countries from sending peacekeepers to Somalia. She declined the first, and to the second question said “there is a peace to keep in Somalia.”

Afterward, Inner City Press was told that Al Shabab’s confession came after the statement was circulated and concurrence obtained. They didn’t want to delay it. But wouldn’t it have been stronger if more specific? An Ethiopian diplomat spoke about Eritrea. If ten Taliban are coming off the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions list, does that mean there’s room for Al-Shabab?

In Kampala, the Ethiopian Village?

Incoming UN envoy on Somalia, Tanzania’s former Ambassador Mahiga, spoke to Inner City Press at the UN in New York last week, including about the peacekeepers’ use of “long range artillery” and the civilian casualties caused. Will Mahiga take this so-called “collateral damage” more seriously than Ould Abdallah did?

———————————–

From the above we see clearly that when it come to the need to blame an Islamic insurgency, the UN is very slow at pointing a finger. There clearly must internal UN be reasons for that.

Now let us see what Fared Zakaria and his high-brow participants in his circle of policy reviewers think about the situation:

His program included Jeffrey Gettleman, the New York Times Bureau Chief in East Africa Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya) who saw the situation on location in Somalia, and Ken Menkhaus of Davison College in New Jersey, who served as UN Political Advisor in Somalia 1993-94.
 www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/fareed.z…

 www.cnn.com/video/#/video/podcast…

—————-

THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH
THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH

Chaos and lawlessness rule in Mogadishu, Somalia. And Al Shabab, a Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda, is exploiting that power vacuum and exporting terror.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombing of World Cup viewers in Uganda and is practicing an extreme form of Islamic justice.

What exactly is Al Shabab doing in Somalia and what can we expect next? Is there anything the U.S. or its allies can do to help the country that is called “the world’s worst failed state?”

—————

Somalia is a country of 6-8 million people and at the end of the cold war they were the most militarized country in the world. Now there are 1-1.5 million people living outside Somalia and the country was destroyed – not by bombings but by small caliber guns. There is no central authority in the country and it has become ideal terrain for an Al Qaeda base.

In 1992 the First President Bush had there 20,000 troops and left to avoid worst disaster leaving behind total vacuum.

The locals are incapable of establishing a functioning government. Foreign funds that go to an interim government are dissipated but nevertheless there is a will on the outside to view this government as a transition – the question transition to what?

The Al Shabab is widely unpopular but viewed as an alternative to useless government. This Al Shabab practices the most tuthless of Islam justice – like the cutting off of arms for suspected thieves.

In this second level of vacuum move in the foreigners – be these the Al Qaeda people from Pakistan who want to see if they can move here as a new home base, and some more benevolent home comers from among the Somali diaspora that actually are ready to provide their skills in building government at locality levels like cities. These are very welcome by the elders who are ready to back their efforts with the elder prestige.

This latter is the hope – but this is a bottom up government – and who will say that this will lead to a National government in its present borders? Would it not make sense to let them rule according to the ethnic divisions of the country and resulting in two or three smaller States that can then go their own ways? Jeffret Gettleman has seen this function on the ground in several locations where the situation is thus much better then in the country at large.

The importance of this goes well beyond Somalia and the case that came to mind in this CNN/GPS program was Iraq.

With the Iraqi elections held 133 days ago and a Parliament that todate has met only for the grandiose time of 18 minutes, and with the upcoming holidays, the evidence that nothing else can be expected before September and the US troops starting by then to leave the country, is Iraq going to be next Somalia?

So – the conclusion is that government can be built only bottom up if the idea is to reach up to democracy – and then why insist on having a non-unified country when the only evidence at hand is that the people actually hate each other and belong to various groups with the only semblance of unity is the unity of cleptocrats?

This disaster of Somalia may turn out to speak not only of Africa, but also of Iraq and why not of Afghanistan?

These problem go well beyond the limited scope we started out with.

—————————
 ipsterraviva.net/UN/currentNew.as…

Somalia Centre Stage Ahead of AU Summit.
Joshua Kyalimpa -   ipsterraviva.netKAMPALA, Jul 18 (IPS) – The African Union summit opens in Kampala on July 19 amid heightened security following twin bomb attacks a week earlier. The official theme of child and maternal mortality will likely be overshadowed by discussion of the AU’s mission in Somalia.

The blasts, which killed at least 74 people and wounded 82 others watching the World Cup finals on big screens at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala’s Kabalagala neighbourhood, and at the Kyaddondo rugby grounds. The attacks came just two days after a spokesperson for Somalia’s al-Shabaab group, which is fighting against the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for control of the country, said Uganda would be targeted for its role in the conflict.

Questioning military solutions
Some analysts argue that a troop surge will achieve little, pointing to the difficulties faced by Ethiopia. Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia in December 2006 to push back the Union of Islamic Courts, an Islamist group with ambitions to establish sharia law in Somalia, from which al-Shabaab subsequently emerged.

But while the UIC’s bid for control was halted, this larger force was unable to fully capture the capital or impose itself in the countryside; the Ethiopians pulled out and were replaced by the Ugandan-dominated AMISOM.

Makerere University political scientist Yassin Olum believes it is time for Uganda to review its position in Somalia, with a view to withdrawing.

“We have to ask ourselves why other African countries are not sending troops to Somalia. Maybe they have realised it’s a hot potato or they view it as an internal matter,” says Olum.

Targeting the AU mission in Somalia

Uganda contributes the majority of the 5,000 troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has helped the TFG maintain a tenuous hold over parts of the capital, Mogadishu, but little more.

We are sending a message to every country who is willing to send troops to Somalia that they will face attacks on their territory,” said al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage following the attacks. He added that Burundi, the second-largest troop contributor to AMISOM after Uganda, “will face similar attacks if they don’t withdraw.”

Bahoku Barigye, spokesperson for AMISOM, told IPS that the mission’s mandate should be expanded from peace-keeping – its terms of reference originate in a U.N. resolution authorising a “training and protection” mission – to one of peace enforcement, for which more soldiers would be needed.

“We have troops guarding the airport, the presidential palace, the port and other key installations this leaves us with few men to defend the civilians,” says Barigye.

Security personnel in Uganda have so far made 20 arrests; two men have also been detained in neighbouring Kenya in connection with the bombings.

Despite previous commitments by members of the African Union to contribute to a force of 20,000 peacekeepers, there are only about 5,000 troops in the Somali capital in support of the weak transitional federal government. Over 3,000 of these are from Uganda, the rest are from Burundi.

Uganda undeterred

At a Jul. 14 meeting called after the Kampala bombings, the Inter Government Authority on Development, a regional bloc of countries in the Horn of Africa, agreed to send an additional 2,000 soldiers.

Uganda has indicated it will send in more of its own troops if other countries are not willing.

Addressing a news conference at his private home in Ntugamo, western Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni said, “It was a very big mistake on their side; we shall

Development goals overshadowed by conflict?
African civil society has voiced concerns that the AU summit to be held in Kampala from Jul. 17-19 could be dominated by the Somalia question.

The official theme of the summit is “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa,” but consideration of this development goal seems likely to suffer the same fate as previous themes on water and sanitation and promotion of agriculture: a formal declaration will be made, but the summit will be dominated by al-Shabaab’s bombing of Uganda, the leading contributor of troops to the AU’s mission in Somalia.

Civil society organisations organised a forum in Kampala ahead of the summit to enable civil society, ordinary citizens and key stake holders deliberate on the key issues and demand action, but now doubt they will get a platform to present their case to African leaders.

l deal with the authors of this crime.” He is also reported to have assured the U.S., which takes an active interest in Somali Islamist activity, that Uganda would not try to disentangle itself from the conflict in Somalia.

The U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, said, “We believe the Uganda mission is more important than ever now.”

The ambassador said the U.S. planned to increase assistance to Uganda and AMISOM.

Political scientist Yassin Olum says the Ugandan president needed more time to reflect on the matter before making statements.

“What this means is that we are no longer neutral in the conflict and we are fighting on the side of the Transitional Federal Government which is dangerous. This is not conventional warfare where you need more troops to defeat the enemy.”

Fred Bwire, a Kampala city resident, voices the attitude of many ordinary Ugandans towards the Somali mission. “What are we doing there? Our people are being killed for nothing. Why aren’t Kenyans – who are neighbors with Somalia – bothered?”

Hussein Kyanjo, an opposition member of parliament, believes the main beneficiary of Uganda’s continued involvement in Somalia is President Museveni himself. “He knows that the United States of America opposes the al-Shabaab and so he fights U.S. enemies to blind them to his dictatorial tendencies.”

Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s minister for security, responds that Kyanjo forgets that Uganda was suffered terrorist attacks long before it sent troops to Somalia.

“The Allied Democratic Forces – another rebel outfit with links to Al-Qaeda – killed many people in the past and my friend Kyanjo seems to have forgotten this.”

In their struggle against the government, the Islamist ADF rebels attacked police posts, schools and trade centres in the west of the country beginning in 1996; in 1998, it carried out several bombings in Kampala, killing five and wounding six others. Military action by the Ugandan army largely destroyed the group the following year.

————————————————

July 21, 2010 as per official UN NEWS we are not convinced the UN has the faintest idea of what to do about Somalia beyond calling for wasting some more money on it:

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE

21 July, 2010 =========================================================================

UN SOUNDS THE ALARM AS DIRE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION CONTINUES TO GRIP SOMALIA .

As Somalia remains in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, it is vital to ensure adequate funding to assist the 3.2 million people – or more than 40 per cent of the population – who rely on international aid, a senior United Nations aid official stressed today.

UN agencies and their partners have so far received only 56 per cent of the $600 million needed to fund critical areas such as health, water and sanitation, nutrition and livelihood support in Somalia, which is recovering from drought and years of chaos and is also in the throes of ongoing violence.

“My major concern at this time of the year is that there is a renewed emphasis on ensuring that we do address the funding gaps in Somalia to help us to sustain the achievements that can continue to be made in one of the world’s most difficult and acute humanitarian crises,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia.

He told a news conference in New York that the situation in the Horn of Africa nation is characterized by severe child malnutrition, loss of livestock and livelihoods, as well as ongoing displacement owing to continued clashes between Government forces and Islamist militant groups.

The conflict has led to Somalia being one of the countries with the highest number of uprooted people in the world – an estimated 1.4 million displaced within the country and almost 595,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

“Conflict is the driving cause behind displacement and most of it comes from Mogadishu,” he said, noting that 20,000 people were displaced in the capital in June, and an estimated 200,000 people have been displaced from the city this year.

In addition, fighting in Mogadishu since March this year has led to more than 3,000 conflict-related casualties.

“What I genuinely hope is that we try to find some way of reducing the impact of this conflict on the civilian population and all parties need to find more peaceful means of settling their disputes,” he said, adding that where that is not possible, to at least avoid the considerable collateral damage on civilians.

Despite the ongoing crisis, Mr. Bowden noted that the situation in Somalia “isn’t all bad news,” although it is one of the most complicated humanitarian situations the UN is facing.

Some major achievements include keeping the country free of polio amid a resurgence of the disease in a number of other African countries. This is thanks to the provision of clean water to 1.3 million people, as well as vaccination campaigns that were carried out, even in volatile areas.

“We are able to make progress in terms of managing humanitarian operations in extremely difficult circumstances, which include control of large parts of the country by rebel groups and active conflict in other parts,” he noted.

————————————

And Inner City Press from the UN continues its bleak reporting from the UN that really shows again and again that the UN will not lead the Somalis out of their misery.

See - www.innercitypress.com/un1soa0721…

Killing of Civilians by UN Supported Troops in Somalia Admitted But Not Acted On.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 21 — In the wake of the World Cup finals bombing in Uganda, there has been even less discussion of the civilians being killed in Mogadishu by the peacekeeping mission which the UN is supporting. But a memo leaked from within that AMISOM mission notes continued firing into civilian neighborhoods.
Inner City Press asked UN Humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden whether there is a special responsibility on the UN to ensure that the troops to which it provides logistical support through its UNSOA office are not killing civilians. “Yes there is,” Bowden said, adding that he’s “had discussions” with Ambassador Diarra of the African Union about “reducing civilian casualties.” ………..  it continues

On Child Soldiers Supported by UN in Somalia, UNSC Will Respond After 3 Years.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 16, updated — Days after the UN-supported Somali Transitional Federal Government’s use of child soldiers was widely exposed, the UN Security Council’s lack of seriousness on the issue was on display on Wednesday. Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa presided over a day-long series of speeches about children and armed conflict. At noon, Inner City Press asked her what she and the Council would do about their support of the TFG, which uses children as young as nine and 12 to wield AK-47s in Mogadishu.

This has not been raised to the Security Council, Secretary Espinosa replied, not even to the Working Group. …… more

——————–

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 8th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

June 8, 2010 – The Second UN Celebration of The World Ocean’s Day and a Look At The UN Law Of The Sea. Was There A Review of the Effects of Stealing From The Global Commons and The Rape of the Environment as We Witness Now Perpetually on our TV Screens? There Is A UN Law Of The Sea They Say! In 2001 Our “Promptbook” was Published on These Topics.

THESE DAYS  THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHES THE US LOSING THE GOLF OF MEXICO ENVIRONMENT TO THE GREED OF MINING FOR OIL AT UNBELIEVABLE DEPTH WITHOUT HAVING BEEN PREPARED TO AN EVENTUALITY OF A MISHAP.

THIS MINING FOR OIL GOES ON IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF SOVEREIGNTY CLAIMS OF ANYONE – IN EFFECT THIS HAPPENS AKIN TO PIRACY AT HIGH SEA – ROBBERY FROM THE GLOBAL COMMONS AS WE CLAIMED IN OUR PROMPTBOOK TO THE JOHANNEBURG SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WHICH YOU CAN READ RIGHT HERE ON www.SustainabiliTank.info.

THE UN IS CELEBRATING TODAY “THE WORLD OCEAN’S DAY” AND WE WOULD HAVE WANTED TO BE PRESENT AND POSE SOME RELATED QUESTIONS – BUT THE UN Department of Public Information, even now, after the Departure of UN Official Ahmad Fawzi, IS STILL LEARY OF HAVING PRESENT JOURNALISTS THAT ARE NOT UNDER THEIR CONTROL.

WE PROMISE NEVERTHELESS TO FOLLOW THE SUBJECT AND FIND OUT IF THERE WAS ANYTHING BUT PLATITUDES AT THAT PRESS CONFERENCE.

8 JUNE 2010, 11:00 am    Dag. Ham. Auditorium

Press Conference: by the Department of Public Information about World Ocean’s Day.

Participants: Professor David Freestone, Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University;

Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Georgraphic Explorer-in-Residence and Adviser to Disneynature on the film “Ocean”;

and H.E. Mrs. Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations.


Related Link: www.un.org/Depts/los/reference_fi…

8 June -  World Oceans Day

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as from 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day” (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171).  Many countries have celebrated World Oceans Day following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

——————

8 June 2009 – The first observance of World Oceans Day allows us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. The UN Secretary General declared:  “It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.”

Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.

Oceans are also affected by criminal activity.  Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods.  Smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of persons by sea are further examples of how criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans.

Several international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations address these numerous challenges.  At their centre lies the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and is the basis for international cooperation at all levels.  In addition to aiming at universal participation, the world must do more to implement this Convention and to uphold the rule of law on the seas and oceans.

The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources.  Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.

————

8 June 2010 – Programme Second observance of World Oceans Day

“Our oceans: opportunities and challenges”
Observance at United Nations Headquarters:
i. Message by the Secretary-General
ii. Press Conference
(DH Auditorium at 11:00) with:
-Prof. David Freestone, Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and
Jurisprudence, George Washington University;
-H.E. Mrs. Isabelle PICCO, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the
Principality of Monaco to the United Nations; and
-Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Adviser to
Disneynature on the film “Oceans”
iii. Roundtable discussion on “UNCLOS 15 years after its entry into force”,
sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of
Legal Affairs (Conference Room 1 at NLB, 15:00 – 17:30)
1. How effectively is UNCLOS operating, as the legal framework for the
oceans and seas?
Focusing on:
The right of States to establish Maritime Zones under UNCLOS
- Prof. Bernard H. Oxman, Richard A. Hausler Professor of Law,
University of Miami
Combating piracy, in particular the case of piracy off the coast of Somalia

-  Prof. Robert Beckman, Director, Centre for International Law, National
University of Singapore
The conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, including MGRs

-  Ms. Emma Romano Sarne, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of
the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
2. UNCLOS into the 21st century
Focusing on:
How to enhance the implementation of UNCLOS at the national level
- Professor Ted L. McDorman, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Is regional cooperation a way to enhance ocean governance?

-  Prof. Lucia Fanning, Director of Marine Affairs Programme, Dalhousie
University

Moderator
- Prof. David Freestone, Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law
and Jurisprudence, George Washington University

—-
iv. Screening of the Disneynature feature “Oceans”, co-sponsored by the
Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, and
the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations (18:00 – 20:00)
(General Assembly Hall)

—-
Observance outside United Nations Headquarters:


v. Empire State Building in New York City (Lighting, from white, blue to purple to
signify the entirety of the oceans from the shallows to the darker depths, to
mark the observance of World Oceans Day by the United Nations)

That is a time we will spend rather at the:

Oil Spill Forum, Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Responses to the Oil Spill:
a Panel and Public Forum
Tuesday, June 8, 7 – 9 PM

Wollman Hall, 5th Floor
The New School
65 West 11th, NY 10011

The ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico opens up many questions: What should BP’s role be in the cleanup?
What is BP’s legal liability?  Is greater regulation of offshore drilling enough, or should there be a complete moratorium?

How do we eliminate fossil fuel dependence and embrace renewable energy?  Should NYC act now to reduce our consumption of oil?  How do we make this change happen–public education, or street protests?    To succeed, we must answer these questions at the national, state, city, and personal levels.

Public brainstorming, starting with brief remarks from representatives of sponsoring organizations, moving into discussion groups to formulate possible actions, and finishing with feedback from all attendees.    This is your chance to learn how New Yorkers can get involved and make a difference!

Sponsors: Sierra Club NYC, MoveOn, Greater NYC for Change, and Tishman Environment and Design Center at the New School

For further information please contact beyondoilnyc@yahoo.com

——————————-

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE

8 June, 2010 =========================================================================

UN GETS SET FOR WORLD CUP KICK-OFF AND RENEWED PUSH ON ANTI-POVERTY TARGETS.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived today in Johannesburg ahead of Friday’s World Cup opening ceremony in the same city, beginning a five-nation African tour that will also take the UN chief to Burundi, Cameroon, Benin and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Ban held talks with South African President Jacob Zuma and later addressed the “Sports for Peace” gala dinner tonight alongside Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. In his speech Mr. Ban highlighted the unifying power of sport and underscored the importance of the MDGs.

As part of the UN-wide effort, agencies that include the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have started promoting 8 Goals for Africa, a song recorded by eight artists from across the continent. A video recorded for the song will be shown in public viewing areas in South Africa throughout the World Cup.

The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is holding community events in slum neighbourhoods that aim to promote sustainable urbanization; UNICEF is staging football festivals to raise awareness about the fight against child trafficking and exploitation; and the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is screening TV programmes about racism and tolerance.

Numerous other events and campaigns involving UN agencies, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), will also be held.

The renewed push on the MDGs is taking place just three months before world leaders are scheduled to gather at UN Headquarters in New York in September to chart the progress so far towards achieving the eight MDGs and discuss the ways forward.

At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders agreed to try to attain the MDGs – which include halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, tackling environmental degradation, and slashing maternal mortality – by 2015.

– –

But the UN Secretary-General also found the time to leave a message for the meeting on the seas:
BAN CALLS FOR GREATER AWARENESS OF THE VALUE OF OCEANS TO HUMANITY.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged governments and citizens across the global to acknowledge the enormous value of the world’s oceans to humanity and ensure that pollution of the bodies of water by human activity is brought under control.

“The diversity of life in the oceans is under ever-increasing strain. Over-exploitation of marine living resources, climate change, and pollution from hazardous materials and activities all pose a grave threat to the marine environment.

“So does the growth of criminal activities, including piracy, which have serious implications for the security of navigation and the safety of seafarers,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the World Oceans Day.

He said oceans played a key role in people’s daily lives and were crucial to sustainable development, and an important frontier for research, with scientists exploring them at greater depths than ever before to discover new forms of marine life, which had the potential to advance human well-being.

“But, if we are to fully benefit from what oceans have to offer, we must address the damaging impacts of human activities,” the Secretary-General said on the second annual commemoration of the Day.

He said that much action had been taken within the framework of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the so-called “constitution for the oceans.”

“But if we are to safeguard the capacity of the oceans to service society’s many and varied needs, we need to do much more,” he added.

The UN Scientific, Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also sent out a message to highlight the importance of oceans to mankind and galvanize the world to act to stop damaging them.

“The wastes of our society, flowing from the land, and through the atmosphere, from agriculture, industry and a growing urban population can be seen in the fragile coastal waters and measured even in the centre of the water masses,” the message said.

“We must collectively and unambiguously acknowledge the importance of the oceans to our existence on the planet. The ocean cleanses the air we breathe; it influences our weather, climate, and the water on which we depend.”

The message was accompanied by an “Ocean Call,” which appeals for priority to be given to programmes in coastal and ocean management, ocean sciences and ocean technologies.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), a programme of UNESCO, chose the World Oceans Day to kick off events to mark its 50th anniversary.

“IOC, in partnership with other UN agencies and hundreds of associated oceanographic and marine research laboratories, is playing a vital role in addressing some of the major challenges facing the world,” said UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova.

The challenges include identifying and protecting marine biodiversity, monitoring global climate change and coordinating tsunami warning systems.

– — –

SustainabiliTank.info honors UNESCO for their statement, but is appalled by the message attributed to Mr. Ban.

That message regards the ocean and all there is in the oceans as a function of what it can do for man. The Law of the Sea is hardly a “Constitution” it really does not even regulate the rights of the human species so it has “fully benefit from what oceans have to offer.” From his perspective, Mr. Ban’s message concludes nevertheless: “But if we are to safeguard the capacity of the oceans to service society’s many and varied needs, we need to do much more,” he added. And as the good diplomat he is, he made no mention of the miseries which are the order of the day – these days.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 28th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The interesting day was organized by an active excellent Media Relations Officer of the New York office of the US Department of State – Ms. Melissa Waheibi. She worked this out with the UN MALU (Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit) as we had to get a Temporary Media Pass to the UN.

Our UN hostess was Ms. Robin Dellarocca an Information Officer with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Strategic Communications Division, who was with us at the beginning and at the end of the day, as well as at that Noon Briefing. Most of the day we were accompanied by Ms. Isabelle Broyer, who is the new Chief of MALU within the UN DPI. She was previously Chief of Guided Tours Section in the UN Outreach that also belongs under the DPI, and she was very gracious and started the day by giving us the tour of the old UN – that is the tall building that blocks for the Manhattanites the view to the East River. The problem is that this building is being mothballed for a while because of the need to remove plenty of asbestos that was put into its construction back in the years  1949-1950  when the real estate firm of Wallace Harrison, the personal architectural adviser for the Rockefeller family, was the lead architect for the building. The final project derived from the drawings of Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier. Now, a so called temporary North Lawn building (TNLB), was created this year, and for all practical purposes the UN has changed a lot. We did not go to that building.

Our group numbered 11 people. Seven that had no UN Press Credentials, including our leader from the Foreign Press Center, New York, and four who were actually accredited journalists with the UN DPI. Our Event was called a “United Nations Seminar For Foreign Journalists.” These people come from all over the world and report about the US which in most cases, at least for those stationed in new York, includes interest in the UN. Many do not have a UN accreditation because of the difficult process of getting one, in a few cases their beet does not include the UN – they were all clearly eager to learn more about the UN. The fact that some UN Press-Card holders were also on the tour is a result from the simple reality that the UN DPI does not have such introductory tours for its own newly accredited correspondents – and those that participated in the Seminar were clearly interested in getting some minimal insight into the general workings of the UN. After all – not all journalists covering the UN believe that rewriting UN Press Releases is called journalism.

Eventually we settled around a large table in the office the DPI has for its liaison to the NGOs accredited with DPI, and later, when that room was no more available, we moved next door to class-room setting, and speakers from various departments from the UN and from some affiliates came to tell us about their ongoing activities.

Our morning covered three activities beyond the introductory welcome-tour: The Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); The Acting Chief, UN Resources – Promotion and Distribution Unit, UN Multimedia of DPI; and the Noon Briefing.

Our afternoon covered four sessions and closing:  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Deputy Director;  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO); The Chief of External Communications at the United Nations Development Programme who was specific on the Millennium Development Goals; and The Chief of the Security Council Secretariat Branch that introduced us to the work of the UN Security Council.

So what about the Noon Briefing?

Combining my notes with the official transcript

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

From the Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, May 25, 2010.

Today’s noon briefing was by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon everybody.

I understand we have a number of international journalists joining us today from the New York Foreign Press Centre.  So, welcome to you and welcome to everybody else at the briefing.

**Press Conference and Stakeout Today

A couple of press conferences today, immediately following Security Council consultations, Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, will speak to correspondents at the Security Council stakeout position.  And then at 12:30 p.m., here in this auditorium, there will be a press conference on the launch of several campaigns to combat violations of children’s rights.

**Secretary-General’s Remarks

This morning, the Secretary-General marked today the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with UNICEF’s new Executive Director, Anthony Lake.

The two Protocols — one on prostitution and child pornography, the other on children and armed conflict — have been endorsed by two thirds of all Member States so far.

Mr. Nesirky spelled out further, beyond the language of the official release, that in too many places children are still treated as commodities.

The Secretary-General urged all countries to adopt these instruments within the next two years in order to provide children with a moral and legal shield.  He said that in too many places children are seen as commodities, treated as criminals, instead of being protected as victims, and that in too many conflicts, children are used as soldiers, spies or human shields.  We have his full remarks in my office.

And this afternoon, the Secretary-General will address the pledging Conference for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.  And that’s at 3 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber of the North Lawn Building.

**Security Council

The Security Council heard a briefing by Ad Melkert this morning — that’s the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.  Melkert told Council members that the recent elections and the Government expected to be formed based on the election results offer a new opportunity to strengthen Iraq’s sovereignty.  It will also allow Iraqis to move with greater determination towards reconciliation.  He added, however, that a host of challenges remain, including the continued violence across Iraq, which so far this year has claimed 2,000 lives and wounded 5,000 civilians.

The Council is now in consultations on Iraq, after which Melkert intends to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout position.  We have copies of his remarks to the Council in my office.

And following the consultations on Iraq, the Security Council will hold an open meeting on the situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion.

**Israel-Palestine

The Secretary-General sent a message today to the UN International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, which is being held in Istanbul under the theme “Ending the Occupation and Establishing the Palestinian State”.

The Secretary-General’s message was delivered by Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.  In it, the Secretary-General expressed his satisfaction that, after a prolonged period of delay and setbacks, proximity talks are finally under way.  He also encourages the parties to avoid provocations or breaches of the Road Map or international law.  He welcomes the modest progress that has been achieved, with the Government of Israel facilitating a number of priority projects and widening the list of commercial goods allowed into Gaza.  We have copies of his message in my office.

And separately, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that Gaza’s agriculture sector is being hit hard.  OCHA says that more than 60 per cent of Gaza households are now food insecure, a situation that agriculture could have helped redress.  However, Israel’s import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the local agriculture sector and directly contribute to rising food insecurity.  There is more in a press release from OCHA in my office.

** Haiti

We have an announcement from the United Nations Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.

President [René] Préval and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, have agreed to establish an independent commission to investigate the incident in Les Cayes Prison on 19 January.  The Commission will be a joint United Nations-Haiti effort.  Further details on its composition and mandate will be soon provided by MINUSTAH.

**Press Conference Tomorrow

A couple of press conferences for tomorrow:  at 11 a.m., there will be a press conference to launch the updated 2010 United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report.  And at 12:30 p.m., Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sports for Development and Peace, will hold a press conference about the upcoming 2010 FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa, to take place from 11 June until 11 July, and the activities of the UN system around this event.  And finally at 1 p.m., there will be a press conference by Ambassador David Balton, the Chair of the Review Conference on the Fish Stocks Agreement, who will brief on efforts to strengthen international action to manage and conserve fish stocks on the high seas.

**Secretary-General on Africa Day

So I can also tell you that today is Africa Day, and in a message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General says that this year’s celebration has particular significance as it marks the fiftieth anniversary of independence of several Francophone African States and Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation.

The Secretary-General also notes in his message that by consistently reminding the international community of its responsibility to the most vulnerable, and affirming that we are all members of a global family of nations, Africa has helped to reshape the global agenda.

==================================

So questions, please.  Yes.

{ and there were four correspondents that asked questions – just only four }

===============================

**Questions and Answers

(A) Mr. Laolu Akande, Bureau Chief (North America) THE GUARDIAN of NIGERIA. His questions are usually about Africa and the African Union.

Question:  A couple of questions.  One, yesterday the Secretary-General announced that he was going to Nigeria. Do you have more details as to when he is going to go and, apart from the President, who else he is going to be meeting?

Then secondly, on the issue of child rights, I see that the Secretary-General has spoken about that already today.  There is a senator in Nigeria who just married an Egyptian 13-year-old girl.  I was wondering whether the Secretary-General will say something about that?

Spokesperson:  The second, I didn’t quite get that.

Correspondent:  There is senator in Nigeria…

Spokesperson:  Yes.

Correspondent:  …Senator [Ahmad Sani] Yerima, who just married a 13 year old Egyptian, and I was hoping that the Secretary-General will say something about that.

Spokesperson:  Well, on the first question, which is the precise schedule for the Secretary-General’s trip to Nigeria, we don’t yet have the precise layout and the full itinerary.  But we will let you know as soon as we do.  But it will be after the trip to South Africa.  As the Secretary-General mentioned, there is then a leg of that particular trip which takes him to South Africa, to West Africa, I beg your pardon, and Nigeria is part of that.  But exactly where, at what point in the schedule hasn’t been fixed yet.  So we will let you know as soon as we can.

On the second, I don’t think I need to say more than has already been stated about the rights of children.  I think the Secretary-General has been quite clear on that.

===============

(B) Mr. Masood Haider, who is registered with THE DAILY DAWN of Karachi, Pakistan, Leading English Newspaper of Pakistan, but when I looked it up already three years ago, I did not find there articles by Masood. On his personal google listings there is much material about him being the President of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), and articles on www.MaximsNews.com.  His questions always involve the Middle Eas and end up with an attack on Israel.

So, Masood.

Question:  …specifically about this particular senator, I know that he has made comments.  I want to know whether the United Nations considers itself as having a moral voice, you know, to speak, you know, when such violations of something that it thinks is important to talk about when there is direct violation even by the people who have the power.  Doesn’t the Secretary-General mean to raise the moral voice against such things?

Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General’s moral voice on this question is very clear.  But that doesn’t mean that we have to comment on the specific cases.  But I have stated what the general principle is and so has the Secretary-General.  And I think that that’s a fairly clear answer.  Yes, Masood.

MASOOD HAIDER:  Talking about the moral voice, the disclosure yesterday in the newspaper in London that Israel offered South Africa nuclear warheads in exchange for certain things, and how is that going to impact the nuclear negotiations going on over here at the United Nations on NPT, which Israel refuses to join nor was it disclosed how many weapons it has.  So the Secretary-General was asked this question yesterday, which he did not answer, I mean [inaudible].

Spokesperson:  Well, the Secretary-General did answer the question yesterday, and I have no need to elaborate on what he said.

Question:  But in his…  So what you are saying is it will not have any impact whatsoever on the NPT and the negotiations over there?  Or [inaudible crosstalk]

Spokesperson:  What will have, not have an impact?

Question:  …Middle East nuclear-free zone that he has been espousing?

Spokesperson:  It’s not just the Secretary-General that’s espousing this.  This is an agreement that goes back quite some way.  And it’s not simply the Secretary-General’s voice on this. That’s the first thing.  The second is that the Secretary-General spoke out very clearly yesterday about what’s required of the States parties who are taking part in this Review Conference; that there are people, everybody is watching; the world is watching, and that it’s clear that it’s not easy to reach an agreement.  And it’s clear that there are complications that you are alluding to.  But that doesn’t mean that the countries who are taking part in this Review Conference shouldn’t focus on making their best effort to reach a deal.  That’s what the SG, the Secretary-General, was talking about yesterday.  And I think that there is not much more that I can add to that.  Further questions?  Yes.

====================================

(C) Ms. Catherine Mercier, CBC Radio-Canada, Producer – United Nations.

Question:  Yesterday the Secretary-General in his press conference mentioned that he wanted to make this building the greenest building possible.  I was wondering if there was a clear plan, for instance, regarding the cafeteria, because it seems to me that even now it could be made much greener than it is.  Not using disposable cups for instance; there are no real glasses, real cups and many people of course it means like hundreds and hundreds of beverages every day.  So is there a clear plan or will there be one?  Maybe it’s a question for Mr. [Michael] Adlerstein, but I just wanted to hear you on that.

Spokesperson:  I’m pretty sure you are right that that is a question for others, not specifically for me.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find out, try to find out an answer to it.  But what’s important here is that the idea of transforming this building into a green building is one that will take some time to realize.  We’re not there yet, as everybody knows.  In the meantime, measures can always be undertaken to try to improve the environment or impact that everybody here, whoever it is and whatever we’re doing.  So there is always room for improvement.  So I am sure that folks in the relevant section, the relevant department, can look at measures that could be taken.  Okay.

=================================

Yes, Matthew.

MASOOD HAIDER  again

Question:  I just wanted to find out…

Spokesperson:  I said Matthew, and then I’ll come to you, Masood, again.  Sorry?

Matthew Russell Lee:  Okay, and then I, you can, then I’ll pass it back to you, Masood.  Unless you’re going environmental?

Spokesperson:  Yeah.  Are you going environmental?  Are you going green?

Masood Haider:  Go ahead, Matthew.

===============================

(4) MATTHEW R. LEE, of INNER CITY PRESS – The only real investigative reporter at the UN for years. His questions mostly do not get official answers but his postings are most enlightening.

Question:  Okay.  It’s reported that in South Sudan the UN has pulled its staff out of Jonglei state due to unrest.  Is that the case, and what can, what does the UN, doesn’t UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] have a protection of civilians mandate?  I mean, are they, what’s the relation between it being too dangerous for civilians staff, or are military personnel of UNMIS going to this location?

Spokesperson:  Well, I’ll try to get further guidance on this.  We’re aware of the reports and we’ll try to get further guidance.  This is always a difficult balancing act here — to get it right, to balance the need to be on the spot, to help the people you are there to help, but at the same time to balance that against your duty of care to the staff you have sent to do that job.  So it’s sometimes a dilemma to do that.  But that’s as a general principle.  I don’t know the full details of this particular case and we’ll try to find out more.

===============================

Masood.  What’s you question, Masood?

Question:  Okay.  What I am saying is, IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] has now got this thing from Iran.  Now, how will that impact the negotiations over here if it keeps a point of report that Iran in fact is on its way to comply, as the Brazilians and the Turkish people, Turkish [inaudible].  How will that impact the negotiations over here?

Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, as the Secretary-General said yesterday, he spoke to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. [Yukiya] Amano, and the communication that was received from the Iranians is being analysed and assessed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.  So we still don’t know what it said precisely, and we still don’t know precisely what it means.  And therefore it’s difficult to assess what impact it might have on Security Council consultations that are going on.  I’m sure that members of the Security Council, if you ask them, would have their views on it.  The Secretary-General has made clear two things:  one, that this is in general in the hands of the Security Council; and the second thing, that the proposal or the deal struck between Iran, Turkey and Brazil would represent a positive step if combined with the full compliance that the international community expects of Iran with existing Security Council resolutions.

===============================

Matthew.

Question:  Sure, on Sudan, I wanted, actually, two questions, both about sort of related to yesterday’s press conference by the Secretary-General.  One was this question of both Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari and Mr. [Haile] Menkerios going to the inauguration of Omer Al-Bashir, given his International Criminal Court indictment.  Was there some — and I have gone over the Secretary-General’s answer a number of times — had, did, particularly for Mr. Menkerios, who is solely a UN not AU employee, was this, did the Office of Legal Affairs, who essentially sort of authorized what seems to many to be a change of policy, even going back as far as, I mean, to have UN officials engage with an indicted, someone indicted for crimes of war is something new.  And who signed off on that?

Spokesperson:  It’s just not true that it’s new. It’s just not true.  The point is that both these gentlemen, Mr. Gambari and Mr. Menkerios, are appointed by the Secretary-General under a Security Council mandate to carry out a job in Sudan — in the case of Mr. Gambari jointly under the African Union, as you pointed out.  Their job is to interact with the Sudanese Government.  That’s their job, to ensure that the missions, the important missions, the large missions trying to do the work that you mentioned in the previous question; they interact.  That’s obvious.  And as the Secretary-General said yesterday, this is no more, no less than their participation in an event that carries political significance as well as being a ceremony.  It has political significance, but crucially, they have a mandate to be there and to interact with the Sudanese authorities.

Question:  [inaudible] keep contact at the high level such as the Secretary-General, I would assume Mr. Menkerios to a minimum necessary to carry out the operational functions, because, I mean, Human Rights Watch has said this is legitimizing, or really, minim… making a mockery of the fact that if somebody is indicted for war crimes and yet can meet openly and be celebrated by UN officials.  Is that, what’s the Secretary-General’s response to that?

Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, Human Rights Watch are entitled to their view, and they do extraordinary work. The second thing is they have a job to do, large missions to run.  They need to be able to interact with the Sudanese authorities and they have a mandate to do so.

Question:  To follow up on that, you say there is no change in policy, but were there any precedents before of such top-level UN officials coming close to someone who was indicted by the ICC?

Spokesperson:  Of course, when it’s been operationally necessary with President Bashir, that’s the case.  But when it’s been necessary for the operational reasons that we’ve talked about here before.  Yeah.

Question:  [inaudible]

Spokesperson:  I don’t think I need to repeat again — I already did once — I don’t think I need to repeat again what the Secretary-General said yesterday.  Okay.  Other questions?

Question:  I have a follow-up?

Spokesperson:  Yeah.

=============================

Laolu Akande joins the question about Sudan -

Question:  I’m sure you know that it’s a rather tough issue, but we have to ask the question.  Do you think by allowing those two top UN officials to go and be part of that inauguration, simple question, do you think that undermines the work of the Tribunal?

Spokesperson:  Absolutely not.  No.  The fact is Mr. Bashir was elected by the Sudanese people as the President in the recent elections.  That’s a fact.  And there is an inauguration.  That’s also a fact.  It’s a political event as well as a ceremony.  It involves the swearing-in, the inauguration of the Head of State of that country where we have two sizeable missions, with people doing difficult work to help the people of Sudan. And that’s the reason why they are there, and that’s the reasons why the need to interact with the Sudanese authorities.

=========================


Matthew Lee about Sri Lanka -

Question:  Last Monday, about eight days ago, when this International Crisis Group report came out about Sri Lanka, you’d said that the UN would study it and would have some response to the report, particularly to the part that said, that called for an investigation of the UN’s own actions pulling out of Kilinochi, ineffectively calling for a ceasefire and funding internment camps.  Is that response, is, when can we expect the responses, particularly the factual ones of just how much money was spent on the camps.  Is that ready?

Spokesperson:  Not yet.

Question:  [inaudible] I wanted to, maybe, this goes back to yesterday’s press conference by the Secretary-General.  I was, I’m still trying to understand, I sort of recited the, this, the critique of the ICG.  And he seemed to say, I totally reject it.  That…

Spokesperson:  No, I think, Matthew, that’s wrong.  What he was rejecting was the catalogue of allegations that you listed that were not in the ICG report.

Question:  There was only one that was additional.  So that’s the one that he… he was only rejecting that one?

Spokesperson:  Go through the list and maybe you will see what I mean.

Question:  But I want to, I am going to ask you about that allegation, because I want to know what he rejects about it.  Philip Alston has said that a number of LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] leaders who were, came out to surrender after having spoken with Vijay Nambiar, the Chief of Staff, were in fact — he believes, Alston believes — summarily executed by the Sri Lankan Government.  So the question is, and it’s a question that Alston himself has raised, at least in the corridors, what was Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar’s role in encouraging them to come out?  No, I don’t know what the role was, but it seems like it’s a fair question to say should there be an investigation to find out whether the Chief of Staff either, you know, God forbid, knew they would be killed or had reason to not tell them to come out if in fact they were killed.  So, what’s he rejecting about that, I guess, that’s the factual question?  And what’s the answer?  What did Vijay Nambiar know when he told them to come out?

Spokesperson:  The Chef de Cabinet { Mr. Vijay Nambiar from India }has talked about this publicly and made clear that this was, that he had no direct contact with the people who were being asked to surrender.  He had no direct contact with them.  He spoke to the Sri Lankan leaders and was conveying a message that was relayed to him not by someone from the Tamil community.  I will be able to give you the exact ins and outs if you need it, but he has spoken publicly about it.

Correspondent:  [inaudible] I really try to cover it very closely.  I’m not, I’m not…

Spokesperson:  Yes, yes he has.  He did so quite recently in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Question:  Can we get, I guess…?

Spokesperson:  Well, you can ask Al Jazeera.

Question:  Maybe, get, I mean…?

Spokesperson:  Have a look at what he said on Al Jazeera.  That’s probably not a bad idea.

Correspondent:  Actually, Al Jazeera is no longer shown in the UN.  It used to be on UNTV, but that’s not…

Spokesperson:  Now look, let’s not go down this road.

Correspondent:  No, I understand, but…

Spokesperson:  Do you know at the moment I can’t see any TV channels at the moment, Matthew?  In my office I can’t see any TV channels because of the technical work that’s going on in the building.  There are difficulties.  So we don’t need to go down that route.

Question:  Can I get a transcript of what he said?  I am assuming that the UN kept a transcript?

Spokesperson:  Just watch Al Jazeera, okay?  You can ask them, I’m sure they can help you.

Spokesperson:  Other questions?  No?  Okay.  All right, we have our guests waiting for us.  Thank you very much.

* ***

=============================

So what we just witnessed was that one investigative reporter (Matthew Lee) wanted to know about steps the UN has taken in Sudan and Sri Lanka.

In the case of Sudan the UN sent two high officials to participate at the reinauguration of President Bashir who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes. It seems that if needed the UN has to deal with Bashir, on a de facto basis – but by going to his party – this is nothing less then an acceptance de jure of his stolen election and a slap at the judges of the ICC.

In the case of Sri Lanka, the question is if the Chef de Cabinet to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was involved in delivering rebels to be executed by the government. If you do not ask these questions you will never know that it is difficult to get straigt answers – and only one journalist at the UN bothers looking for answers – seemingly most others are Press-Release mincers while doing that work in their UN cubicles.

A second active person clearly came there to look for loopholes to attack Israel. That is clearly his right but it reflects on the UN.

A third active Journalist was there because he gathers information on how to better Africa. This is Laudatory.

The Fourth Journalist, the lady from Canada, Catherine Mercier, was gratifying to us – she actually tried to find out if the UN is serious about its professed intent of appearing green – and the truth is indeed very far from the UN stated goals. In all these last, nearly 20 years since the Rio Conference of 1992, and the call for an Agenda 21,  the UN has done in its own buildings absolutely zero.

===========================

Further, in 2006 the UN used to show these Noon Briefings to the Press on Manhattan Chanel 78 on New York TV. That used to be an inducement to get into the Briefing room many more journalists. Mid – 2007 this was discontinued and when I asked about it from journalists and DPI members no-body knew of any other venue. Now, in this tour, I learned from the lady that spoke on UN Media Resources that the UNTV is being seen in Manhattan on Chanel # 150 on Time Warner Cable and it includes the Noon Briefings.

With this knowledge I followed up by watching the programs on this Thursday May 27th, and Friday May 28th. I was curious to follow up and see who, and how many of the Journalists show up and are active at Question time.

So, for Thursday May 27, 2010:

- There was a journalist from the Republic of Korea who had many questions relating to the Korea situation. He was told that the Secretary-General said that he expects the Security Council to take action to which there was an expression of wonder about the idea of a UNSG telling the Security Council what to do.

- Masood Haider was asking on the situation in Gaza at the time that in Istanbul there is an attempt to restart the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The answer was that any action that can increase tension while the proximity talks wer started have to be watched very carefully.

- Masood was joined by a correspondent from Lebanon who wanted to know about Israeli actions in Lebanon.

- Matthew Lee implied that the UN must have safeguards to guard it from itself as per a complaint from a member of the Somali delegation who complained about UN spending funds in Mogadishu. Same goes for the EU.

Matthew Lee had specific questions regarding a Sierra Leone UN paid person who declared he will run for elections in Sierra Leone while on UN pay. Thw answer was tat such a thing is clearly not right. The question was specific but the answer was generic.

Matthew continued with questions about the Security Council discussing the renaming of the mission to Congo – what are the priorities? He was answered that on Friday he will have a chance to ask the question from the guest.

- Matthew continue with questions about payments to a UN official in Congo who is under scrutiny.

We had thus again just 4 people – Masood and Matthew and two new participants. One that was seemingly on the Masood team, and a new face interested in Korea.

————–

For Friday May 28, 2010:

Today there were only questions from Masood and Matthew.

The topic for Masood was the Rio meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations under the chairmanship of President Lula, and with the Participation of UNSG Ban Ki-moon. Also about the bombing in Lahore.

Matthew’s questions dealt with the UN in Congo.


###