Monday, July 14, 2003
The UN is like a tasteless bad joke, but it's real.
"The UN has refused to arrest a Zimbabwean police officer accused of torture who is currently working for it in Kosovo as a member of an international training team. This is who we should turn over international law enforcement to?!? This same organization that had states who sponsor torture on the Human Rights committee, and even heading it? Withdraw and kick 'em outta New York, I say.
The UN was informed in early June that the alleged torturer, Detective Inspector Henry Dowa, was working for it in Prizren, Kosovo, but it declined to take any action, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
Zimbabwean police thought to have done a good job by the country's government are often seconded to UN peacekeeping missions, where conditions are comparatively good and they are paid in dollars.
Mr Dowa has been named by several Zimbabwean torture victims as having directed and carried out beatings with fists, boots and pickaxe handles, and as having administered electric shocks to the point of convulsions, at Harare central police station throughout 2002 and in early 2003.
The charges have been backed up by medical examinations which confirm injuries consistent with torture.
Redress, an organisation that seeks reparation for torture survivors, had urged the UN to detain Mr Dowa until he could stand trial under international law. But the top UN official in Kosovo refused.
"We acknowledge the gravity of the allegations made about the officer," wrote Michael Steiner, the UN's special representative in Kosovo, to Redress.
"We have with regret concluded that the United Nations interim mission in Kosovo cannot pursue criminal prosecution of the officer in Kosovo on the allegations you properly brought to our attention."
"We have to dedicate our scarce resources to pressing and serious cases in Kosovo."
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Well you could claim that the council is merely an american puppet, or not.
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Im going to post a link to this now so that if we do actually end up having to bomb Iran or North Korea people will have a little more difficulty claiming it was because of the elections.
"After any war, there are always lessons learned. Everyone who was involved and survived it will learn lessons, and everyone on the outside who watched will learn lessons, or should.I certainly hope that both issues get resolved soon, but after chewing my lip bloody about Afghanistan and Iraq I believe that Bush is a lot more patient than I am. That's why I worry that if this isn't resolved within the next few months people are going to start shrieking that it's all about the election. In preemptive response to that I'll refer you to the Axis of Evil speech. Iran, Iraq, North Korea. Don't be surprised if we have a few words with Syria either.
Fourth and last: if the Americans paint a bull's eye on you, there are only two ways to survive: knuckle under, or have nuclear weapons.
And don't get caught trying to develop them until after you have working ones.
Which is why the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil are desperately trying to create nukes. And why, fairly soon, Bush is going to earn his pay by being forced to make a truly difficult decision, and maybe two.
The tricky part in creating nukes is coming up with enough U-235 or plutonium. Once you've got that, everything else is pretty straightforward. But creating and purifying fissionables requires a big and complex plant and a lot of power and time, no matter what kind of fissionable you're creating. The processes involved in creating weapons-grade U-235 are radically different than in creating plutonium, but both are large, slow, involve lots of specialized equipment and are difficult to hide.
Reuters reports that a South Korean who used to be in SK Intelligence has reported that North Korean diplomats in New York have informed the US that they've completed reprocessing 8000 fuel rods, which if true would mean they now have enough plutonium to create several fission weapons.
Of course, maybe this is a crock. Maybe the SK ex-Intelligence guy is full of it. Maybe NK is engaged in yet more brinkmanship. Maybe they're lying or bluffing. Maybe it's another translation problem.
But there's no question that they are reprocessing fuel rods, and soon Bush will have to make a decision about stopping it, and pretty much the only way to do so conclusively is to bomb the facility where it's happening. (Making a deal is no longer a viable choice; Clinton and Carter tried that and NK cheated.)
Iran, too, is trying to produce fissionables. They claim they're only trying to enrich uranium to be used in power plants, but no one believes that, and as David Warren points out, soon Bush will have to make a decision to destroy their facility as well.
Actually obliterating those facilities wouldn't be too hard. It could easily be done with cruise missiles, or maybe the B-2 might actually have a mission worthy of it. (But quite frankly, cruise missiles are a better choice.)
Of course, what with the gibbering fury of the North Korean government, if we actually bomb NK territory, anything could happen afterwards. Such an attack could set off a new Korean war, and that's something no one wants to see happen. And bombing Iran could have all kinds of interesting consequences too, not least of which is that it could abort any nascent revolution there. (The fact that Iran is the primary supporter of Hizbollah adds spice to the mix.)
So they're both going to be really tough calls, but at the rate things are going, it looks like we'll have to face one or the other of those decisions soon, probably by the end of September.
I'm surely glad I don't have to make those decisions. And I'm equally glad that Al Gore doesn't have to, either. But as Warren points out, that decision will be based very strongly on intelligence information about just how advanced their programs are. And that's another reason why it's going to be a tough decision.
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