Tag Archives | United Nations

Cuba estimates US embargo has cost island $116.8bn in damages in 55 years

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre by flippinyank via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution

US economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9bn in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8bn over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday.

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba’s Communist government.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.

Although many US allies join Washington in criticizing Cuba’s one-party system and repression of political opponents, the Americans have lost nearly all international support for the embargo since the collapse of the Soviet Union.… Read the rest

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The Oxymoron of Peace

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“Five centuries of European colonialism and global culture-trashing, and the remaking of the world in the economic interests of competing empires, cannot be undone by a single institution and a cluster of lofty ideals.”

Robert C. Koehler writes at Common Dreams:

“At the same time, values and ideas which were considered universal, such as cooperation, mutual aid, international social justice and peace as an encompassing paradigm are also becoming irrelevant.”

Maybe this piercing observation by Roberto Savio, founder of the news agency Inter Press Service, is the cruelest cut of all. Geopolitically speaking, hope — the official kind, represented, say, by the United Nations in 1945 — feels fainter than I can remember. “We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . .”

I mean, it was never real. Five centuries of European colonialism and global culture-trashing, and the remaking of the world in the economic interests of competing empires, cannot be undone by a single institution and a cluster of lofty ideals.

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Fear Of Agenda 21 Sweeps The Nation

Save America Foundation

Save America Foundation

Who would have thought that fear of the United Nations would bring right-wing Republicans together at last? Slate reports on the amazing Agenda 21:

State lawmakers in Missouri last week revived an effort to significantly curtail local planners’ ability to adopt the type of smart-growth policies long touted by urban developers, demographers, and climate scientists. The bill, which sailed through the state’s lower chamber this past Monday, represents the latest victory for a onetime fringe movement that has spent the past two decades slowly gaining traction among conservatives by warning of an actual, real-life U.N.-orchestrated global takeover.

The specific target of the Missouri legislation may be well-known to heavy consumers of conservative media, but most Americans have probably never heard of it: Agenda 21, a nonbinding resolution that was signed by President George H.W. Bush and 177 other world leaders at the end of the United Nations’ 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

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It’s World Press Freedom Day!

It’s what? Well the United Nations has dubbed May 3rd as “World Press Freedom Day.” Needless to say the gang at disinformation don’t take a free “press” (kind of an outdated term, right?) for granted, so we’re pleased to support the initiative:

press freedom

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The focus this year is on three inter-related themes: the media’s importance in developmentthe safety of journalists and the rule of law; and the sustainability and integrity of journalism

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Debating Poverty At The United Nations: Do The Media Hate The Poor?

United Nations, New York: One is always proud to be invited to speak at the United Nations, one of the few global institutions that is still taken seriously, and that can generate international resolutions and shape programs free of total domination by the big powers.  

When you are an outsider like I am, it’s a bit of an ego boost to think that the world might be listening to little old you, and that, at least for one session, you are among the chosen to hold forth on something serious in what critics deride as ‘The House of Babble.’

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I have been around the world body for years, even as recipient of a prize for a TV documentary from the UN Correspondents Association  (UNCA). In that case, the film offered a strong critique of the UN cockup in Bosnia, but then, the award was presented to me by the then (and sixth) UN  Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, who clearly hadn’t seen it

So, yes there is pretense and hypocrisy,  but there are also sincere and dedicated people—diplomats and international civil servents– working to improve the world.… Read the rest

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America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere

Dilma Roussef graffitiThe United States of America is shaping up as the evil totalitarian state of the 21st Century if this report from Foreign Policy‘s The Cable is correct:

The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable.

The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network. The stakes are high, particularly in Washington — which is seeking to contain an international backlash against NSA spying – and in Brasilia, where Brazilian President Dilma Roussef is personally involved in monitoring the U.N.

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United Nations to Adopt Asteroid Defense Plan

Ssc2005-01bThe Hollywood adaptation of this story is no doubt already in the works. In the meantime, Scientific American has the details of the UN’s plan to defeat an asteroid attack:

When a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the world’s space agencies found out along with the rest of us, on Twitter and YouTube. That, says former astronaut Ed Lu, is unacceptable—and the United Nations agrees. Last week the General Assembly approved a set of measures that Lu and other astronauts have recommended to protect the planet from the dangers of rogue asteroids.

The U.N. plans to set up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” for member nations to share information about potentially hazardous space rocks. If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.

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Documents Reveal NSA Bugged The United Nations

united nationsPerhaps most disturbing is how chipper they are about it. TechCrunch writes:

The NSA has been spying on the goings-on at the United Nations’ New York headquarters for nearly a year.

German news magazine Der Spiegel cites a multitude of documents that “stemmed” from Edward Snowden which purport (among other things) that the NSA first managed to crack the UN’s video conferencing system during the summer of 2012.

Some of the documents speak nicely to the sort of banality those involved ascribed to their actions — “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” one of them reads.

Also on that list of targets is the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union, though at this point it’s unclear what exactly the NSA has managed to dig up on either of those bodies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Der Spiegel notes that [the NSA's activity] “has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists.”

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UN: Colorado, Washington Pot Legalization Must Stop

Colorado and Washington – which voted to legalize marijuana in November – haven’t started (legal) sales of the drug yet and already the measures appear on precarious ground. There have been ambiguous signals from the Obama administration as to a future federal response and a public letter signed by former DEA chiefs demands the new state laws be quashed. Now, the United Nations is piling on.

The International Narcotics Control Board, a UN body charged with implementation of international drug treaties, has issued a demand to the U.S. government to “ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties on its entire territory,” the Seattle Times reports.  Specifically, drug liberalization laws in Washington and Colorado violate international drug agreements, the board contends. Attorney-General Eric Holder says he is continuing to review the Washington and Colorado laws as he works to formulate a response.

In an unrelated editorial, Daniel Wolfe of the Open Society Foundations, has compiled a list of “the 5 Ways the UN’s Drug Watchdog Fails on Health and Human Rights,” which was published yesterday at The Huffington Post.… Read the rest

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Craziest Conspiracy Theories Of The Year

Although billed by PolicyMic as 2012′s top 5 crazy conspiracy theories, I’m not sure it was in this year that most of these “theories” started, or that we won’t be hearing about them again in 2013 (except maybe the Mayan end times meme), but for the record their list is:

  1. Obama cooked the books.
  2. Obama continued to not be born in America.
  3. The Mayan apocalypse brought us to an end.
  4. The UN disarmed America as part of a “new world order.”
  5. The U.S. government re-armed as part of a “new world order.”

Read for yourself the reasons why at PolicyMic

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