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Archive for April 23rd, 2008

UDHR under Attack Part 4.5 – an example of what it means

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


Eleven Editors-in-Chief and one Cartoonist are expected to be indicted, in their absence, in a Jordanian Court – in the wake of the Muhammad Cartoons. The charges enumerated are blasphemy, insulting a prophet and attempt to cause a rift in Jordanian national unity.

Prosecutor Hassan Abdullat has chosen to strike one of the original charges brought against the 12 Danes – that of crime against the Crown.

Töger Seidenfaden, editor-in-chief of Politikken and Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist from Jyllands-Posten who sparked the Cartoon Controversy with his image of Muhammad wearing a bomb for a turban are among the 12 to be indicted.

Orders for arrest

It is the newly formed Jordanian movement The Prophet Unites Us that has brought the legal action against the Danish journalists. Its Secretary General, Zakaria al-Sheikh, editor-in-chief for the news paper al-Haqiqa, tells Politikken that he expects order for the arrest of the 12 editors-in-chiefs and of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who created the movie FITNA, a 15 minute movie depicting alleged exhortations to violence in the Qu’ran.

The Prosecutor is demanding that Interpol issue orders for the arrest the implicated journalists.

The Prophet Unites Us was formed in February 2008 after 17 Danish news papers had published Kurt Westergaard’s cartoon a second time. The cartoon was originally published by Jyllands-Posten as a comment in a debate on Freedom of Expression.

Working for boycotts

The movement organizes some 40 Jordanian media-outlets and organizations. It also works for a boycott of Danish products.

The indictment is based on the Jordanian blasphemy law, which forbids any insults of prophets. The issue of crime against the Crown was raised because the Royal House of Jordan is considered to hail from the prophet Muhammad and because king Abdullah, following the first caricature crisis said that any insult to the prophet is an insult to him. (my translation -original Swedish article here)

With all due respect to the Prophet (pbuh) and every honest, devout Muslim out there – this is silly. However it is also the writing on the wall that gives an indication of the attitude behind the way the OIC has hijacked the Human Rights Council, the UN, the UDHR and ultimately Freedom of Expression.

The Jordanian attitude described by the article above would be extremely offensive, if it wasn’t so ridiculous. Denmark has never been, nor will it ever be the jurisdiction of Jordanian Court, nor does King Abdullah have any say in what happens to Danish citizens.

I could have understood this whole thing, and even agreed with the prosecutor, if the images had been published in Jordan, but they weren’t and they won’t be.

However with the amendment to the UDHR/Human Rights Council, chances are that we will see more legal actions like this.

G-d Save the Queen!

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Posted in General, Human Rights, OIC, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UDHR under Attack part 4

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


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Yesterday’s attack by the Islamists, led by Pakistan, had the subtlety of a thin-bladed knife slipped silently under the ribs of the Human Rights Council. At first reading the amendment to the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression might seem reasonable. It requires the Special Rapporteur:
“To report on instances in which the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination …” (My emphasis.)

“might seem reasonable…” But why would it seem reasonable?

Because, contrary to what many believe, there are actual limits on Freedom of Speech – or rather, there is a general consensus, that if you say certain things there may be legal repercussions, because certain things might be hateful or incite to hatred, and that in turn is a violation of the UDHR articles

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Article 14.
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

While those articles can primarily be said to deal with how a Government may or may not treat its citizens – they are also clear indications of what we, as a Society, consider to be comme il faut between citizens.

While the amendment to the “job-description” of the Special Rapporteur seems reasonable enough, it isn’t, because it requires the Special Rapporteur to regard as non-violations those violations that may be committed by nations against their own citizens. As Ketutar said in a comment to my entry yesterday:

“… still violations of human rights, but CRITICISING and PROTESTING against violations of human rights have become violation of human rights…

I.e – Criticizing one’s own government where that government tries to infringe on Civil Liberties has become “illegal” – exactly what Freedom of Speech an Freedom of Expression was once instituted to safe-guard – the People’s right to criticize its Government without risk of reprisals.

The consequences of this “amendment” to the UDHR article 19 are far-reaching. Not only does it make it impossible for citizens in religiously rigid societies, such as many Islamic Countries ruled by Sharia Laws, to voice their discontent with their Government. It also makes it possible for said countries to arrest, restrain, expel, gag any Human Rights Organizations that wish to monitor or investigate human rights violations in OIC countries, with impunity – this would include the UN and the Human Rights Council itself.

Freedom of Speech is the back-bone of any democracy, and where Freedom of Speech is restricted in regards to critical analysis of one’s government, there can be no democracy. The OIC has clearly told the world that they disagree with democratic principles and democratic government.

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The US-ual disregard for human life

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


USVeteran

(CBS) The Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire again Monday, this time in California federal court where its facing a national lawsuit by veterans rights groups accusing the agency of not doing enough to stem a looming mental health crisis among veterans. As part of the lawsuit, internal emails raise questions as to whether top officials deliberately deceived the American public about the number of veterans attempting and committing suicide.

CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.

In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans’ rights groups accused the VA of nothing less than a cover-up – deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans. “The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial,” said Veterans Rights Attorney Gordon Erspamer. The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s head of Mental Health.

In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it’s not outside the norm. “There is no epidemic in suicide in VA,” Katz told Keteyian in November. But in this e-mail to his top media advisor, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: “Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our metical facilities.” Katz’s e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 – a fraction of Katz’s estimate.

“This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans,” said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense. And it appears that Katz went out of his way to conceal these numbers. First, he titled his e-mail: “Not for the CBS News Interview Request.” He opened it with “Shh!” – as in keep it quiet – before ending with “Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?” Today we showed the e-mail to Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “This is disgraceful. This is a crime against our nation, our nation’s veterans,” Filner told CBS News. “They do not want to come to grips with the reality, with the truth.” And that’s not all.

Last November when CBS News exposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report. “Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate,” he said last November. But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later. He wrote: there “are about 18 suicides per day among America’s 25 million veterans.” That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, “is supported by the CBS numbers.” In an e-mail late Monday to CBS News, Katz wrote that the reason the numbers were not released was due to questions about the consistency and reliability of the findings – and that there was no public cover-up involved.

This really does not need any comment – it stands on it’s own – as an example of the usual US disregard for human life in general and US lives in particular.

If nothing else it’s a nice way to save money – dead people don’t need pensions and health care…

Follow up: VA Struggles With Vets’ Mental Health.
How we got the numbers behind the story.
VA Doctor on Veteran Suicides.
FYI: Suicide Risk Resources and Warning Signs.

Posted in Suicide, US, War | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

UDHR under Attack Part 3

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


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There has been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the UN system. For over a decade the Islamic States have been flexing their muscles. Yesterday they struck. There can no longer be any pretense that the Human Rights Council can defend human rights. The moral leadership of the UN system has moved from the States who created the UN in the aftermath of the Second World War, committed to the concepts of equality, individual freedom and the rule of law, to the Islamic States, whose allegiance is to a narrow, medieval world view defined exclusively in terms of man’s duties towards Allah, and to their fellow-travelers, the States who see their future economic and political interests as being best served by their alliances with the Islamic States.

I am not sure the shift is seismic – I think it’s a pretty predictable shift. Since the Nations that formed the UN and the the UDHR in the wake of WWII have abdicated from whatever moral high ground they might have had, by accepting and enforcing all sorts of restrictive laws that too are in and of themselves violations of the UDHR. Legislation like the Patriot Act and other “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the US and her allies in the “war on Terror”. Laws and Legislation that are specifically targeting Arabs and Muslims, as sure as the Nuremberg Laws were targeting the Jews.

It is not surprising then that when given a chance, the OIC will step in and do the same. Really. The leadership has not moved, it was abandoned way back, and the OIC picked it up.

It doesn’t make this stunt pulled by the OIC ok, moral or defensible in anyway, but it sure explains why there might be the misunderstanding that violating Human Rights is an ok thing to do.

If the West clearly says that it’s ok to violate Human Rights when Arabs and Muslims are involved, then how could the West possibly point at the OIC and say: “No, no, – we we the only ones who may torture, maim, kill and persecute your citizens…” and expect them to accept this?

Reverend Wright said one very true thing in the wake of 9/11 2001: “America’s chickens have come home to roost”. From the point of view of the OIC this macht übernahme in the Human Rights Council is just another chicken hatching.

End of Part 3

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UN | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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