September 2007
By Alan W. Dowd

Another UN Farce
The new roster of the UN’s Human Rights Council, which replaced the widely discredited UN Human Rights Commission, proves again that the UN is not really serious about promoting, monitoring or protecting basic human rights. If it were, the Human Rights Council would not make room for governments that trample human rights—governments like:

-China, which operates a vast network of slave-labor camps populated by people sentenced for political crimes and religious activity; a State Department report on Beijing cites “restrictions on freedom of speech and the press…instances of extrajudicial killings; torture and coerced confessions of prisoners; and the use of forced labor, including prison labor;”

-Saudi Arabia, which Washington has condemned for “beatings and other abuses…arbitrary arrest and detention…denial of fair public trials; exemption from the rule of law for some individuals…significant restriction of civil liberties…severe violations of religious freedom;”

-Russia, cited for “significant human rights problems, including alleged government involvement in politically motivated abductions, disappearances and unlawful killings in Chechnya;”

-Cuba, cited for “frequent harassment, beatings, and threats against political opponents by government-recruited mobs, police and state security officials; frequent arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates…denial of fair trial, particularly to political prisoners…severe limitations on freedom of speech and press; denial of peaceful assembly and association; restrictions on freedom of movement.”

For good measure, the Council officially closed its investigations of Cuba and Belarus, both serial human rights violators.

Transactions with Tehran
To document and track major financial transactions between Iran and the rest of the world, the American Enterprise Institute has created “Global Investment in Iran,” an interactive web-based tool. According to AEI, the project has “documented more than 300 transactions” since 2000. The financial and material resources exchanged in these transactions are propping up a dangerous regime and enabling it to acquire a deadly arsenal. Some of the entries may surprise you.

                                    Transactions                 Total Value of Transactions
 China                                     31                                           $101.618 billion
 India                                      9                                             $79.942 billion
 France                                   66                                           $30.253 billion
 Germany                               71                                            $26.151 billion
 Italy                                      43                                            $25.467 billion
 United Kingdom                     37                                           $12.784 billion
 Australia                                2                                              $4.02 billion
 United States                         9                                             $3.791 billion
 Russia                                   9                                              $3.3 billion
 Canada                                 4                                              $2.9 billion

Find out more at http://www.aei.org/.


As a contributing editor to The American Legion, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.