Doctors Accuse White House Of Lying

Doctors Accuse White House Of Lying To Justify “Collateral Damage” In Kabul Hospital Bombing

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/04/2015

By way of excuse for what President Obama called “a tragic incident,” (and The UN called a ‘war crime’) US officials have claimed that the Taliban were fighting from within the Kabul hospital (which was destroyed by a US air strike yesterday killing at least 19 including 3 children) using aid workers as “a human shield.” However, this justification for the ‘collateral damage’ has been vehemently denied by Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF) who have issued a statement dismissing the US claims, “the gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened…” but, the US strike has done one thing, as one local health official concluded, “this city is no longer for the living.”

In a statement, President Barack Obama offered condolences to the victims of what he called “the tragic incident” where as we detailed previously, the aid group MSF has said an air strike, probably carried out by U.S.-led coalition forces, killed 19 staff and patients on Saturday in a hospital it runs in Kunduz, leaving 37 wounded. The ‘reason’ offered by US officials, as Reuters reports,

The U.S. military said it conducted an air strike “in the vicinity” of the hospital, as it targeted Taliban insurgents who were directly firing on U.S. military personnel.

In Kabul, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said Taliban fighters had attacked the hospital and were using the building “as a human shield”.

But the medical aid group denied this.

“The gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened,”Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a statement on Sunday.  “In any case, bombing a fully functioning hospital can never be justified.”

Witnesses said patients were burned alive in the crowded hospital after the airstrike. Among the dead were three children being treated.

Frantic MSF staff telephoned military officials at NATO in Kabul and Washington after the attack, but bombs continued to rain down for nearly an hour, one official of the group said. The medical charity that was a lifeline for thousands in the city said it was pulling most of its staff out of the area because the hospital was no longer functioning. Some staff had gone to help treat the wounded at other hospitals, it added.

Taliban fighters in Kunduz were still holding out against Afghan troops, despite government claims to have taken control of the area.

The Afghan defense ministry on Sunday congratulated residents over the victory and military helicopters dropped 6,000 leaflets urging people to cooperate with the army.”If you see abandoned military vehicles or equipment anywhere turn them over to security forces,” the leaflets read.

A coalition military official in Kabul, who asked not to be named, said, “Our understanding is that the whole area is still contested.”

Corpses lie in the streets and people are too afraid to leave their homes, said one resident, Gulboddin. “You can hear the sound of gunfire all over the city,” said Gulboddin, who has only one name. “Some of the bodies are decomposing.

“Hospitals running out of medicine are struggling to treat growing numbers of patients, said public health official Sayed Mukhtar. “There is no electricity and hospital laboratories are not working,” he added. “This city is no longer for living.”

Which explains why the group has decided to leave the city… International medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that it has withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz

Kate Stegeman, the group’s communications manager, said some staff are working in other health facilities in the city, where troops have been battling Taliban insurgents.

“All critical patients have been referred to other health facilities and no MSF staff are working in our hospital,” she said, using the French abbreviation for the organization.

“Some of our medical staff have gone to work in two hospitals where some of the wounded have been taken,” she said.

*  *  *

The U.S. government promised a full investigation into the incident as the U.N. human rights chief said the bombing could amount to a war crime.

As Glenn Greenwald points out“it’s impossible to fathom what the U.S. media would be saying and doing if Russia did something like this in Syria. By contrast, the reaction to this airstrike by their own government will be muted and filled with apologia, ironically quite similar to the widely vilified caricature of Jeb Bush’s comments about the Oregon shooting spree: stuff happens.”

UN “Agenda” Just Corporatist Fraud

The UN’s 2030 “Sustainable Development Agenda” Is Basically A Giant Corporatist Fraud

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

“This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.”

– From the Preamble to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

*  *  *

“UN records reveal that the intergovernmental body has already marginalised the very groups it claims to be rescuing from poverty, hunger and climate disaster.

Records from the SDG process reveal that insiders at the heart of the UN’s intergovernment engagement negotiations have criticised the international body for pandering to the interests of big business and ignoring recommendations from grassroots stakeholders representing the world’s poor.

Formal statements issued earlier this year as part of the UN’s Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations on the SDGs, and published by the UN Sustainable Development Division, show that UN ‘Major Groups’ representing indigenous people, civil society, workers, young people and women remain deeply concerned by the general direction of the SDG process?—?whereas corporate interests from the rich, industrialised world have viewed the process favourably.

This allegation is borne out by UN records, which show that its own Major Groups representing the very people the global institution professes to be empowering?—?poor people in developing countries?—?are increasingly sceptical of the SDG agenda.”

– From Nafeez Ahmed’s recent article: UN Plan to Save Earth is “Fig Leaf” for Big Business

On September 25th, Pope Francis will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. To much fanfare, the Pope will celebrate the unveiling of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

A key plank of this agenda relates to the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals,” or SDGs. While this sounds all warm and fuzzy, several well meaning participants have become horrified by the extent to which multi-national corporations have influenced the entire process. So much so, that insiders are claiming the UN is actually marginalizing the very people it claims to be saving. The poor, the weak, and the voiceless.

In an invaluable piece of investigative reporting, Nafeez Ahmed writes the following:

UN records reveal that the intergovernmental body has already marginalized the very groups it claims to be rescuing from poverty, hunger and climate disaster.

At the end of this month, the UN will launch its new 2030 Sustainable Development agenda for “people, planet and prosperity” in New York, where it will be formally adopted by over 150 world leaders.

The culmination of years of consultations between governments, communities and businesses all over the world, there is no doubt that the agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an unprecedented vision of the interdependence of global social, economic and environmental issues.

But records from the SDG process reveal that insiders at the heart of the UN’s intergovernment engagement negotiations have criticised the international body for pandering to the interests of big business and ignoring recommendations from grassroots stakeholders representing the world’s poor.

Formal statements issued earlier this year as part of the UN’s Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations on the SDGs, and published by the UN Sustainable Development Division, show that UN ‘Major Groups’ representing indigenous people, civil society, workers, young people and women remain deeply concerned by the general direction of the SDG process?—?whereas corporate interests from the rich, industrialised world have viewed the process favorably.

Among the ‘Major Groups’ engaged in the UN’s SDG process is ‘Business and Industry.’ Members of this group include fossil fuel companies like Statoil USA and Tullow Oil, multinational auto parts manufacturer Bridgestone Corporation, global power management firm Eaton Corporation, agribusiness conglomerate Monsanto, insurance giant Thamesbank, financial services major Bank of America, and hundreds of others from Coca Cola to Walt Disney to Dow Chemical.

Despite claims that the UN’s previous Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have succeeded in halving global poverty since the 1990s, there is good reason to question this narrative.

Today, 4.3 billion people live on less than $5 a day. Although higher than the World Bank poverty measure at $1.25 a day, the development charity ActionAid showed in a 2013 report that a more realistic poverty measure would be under $10 a day.

Yet far from decreasing, since 1990 the number of people living under $10 a day has increased by 25%. Global poverty has not reduced?—?it’s got worse.

But all we know what has gotten better…a lot better. Corporate profits.

I asked Hickel why, despite so much internal criticism from UN stakeholders within the SDG process itself, these concerns had not impacted on the text of the SDG ‘Zero Draft.’ “In an early version of the Zero Draft, there was a commitment to replace GDP with an alternative measure of economic well-being. But somehow that disappeared from the final text,” said Hickel. “I don’t know what happened behind the scenes.” 

This allegation is borne out by UN records, which show that its own Major Groups representing the very people the global institution professes to be empowering?—?poor people in developing countries?—?are increasingly skeptical of the SDG agenda. 

The civil society statement also points to parallel efforts by Western governments to forge new ‘free-trade’ agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) along with proposed Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses.

Yep, sounds exactly like the “free trade fraud” being perpetrated on the global populace at the moment. The current status quo strategy is to put a “nice spin” on what are essentially corporatist takeovers. See:

U.S. State Department Upgrades Serial Human Rights Abuser Malaysia to Include it in the TPP

Forget the TPP – Wikileaks Releases Documents from the Equally Shady “Trade in Services Agreement,” or TISA

Julian Assange on the TPP – “Deal Isn’t About Trade, It’s About Corporate Control”

Trade Expert and TPP Whistleblower – “We Should Be Very Concerned about What’s Hidden in This Trade Deal”

As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP

These new trade and investment frameworks are being negotiated by governments in secret without public accountability. The UN’s civil society group notes that the ISDS clauses “empower corporations to sue governments for reducing the value of investments through regulations that promote human rights, the environment, and labor standards.”

Yet the SDGs offer little to protect vulnerable communities in the face of such corporate encroachment.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This whole thing is just corporatist PR.

On 25th March, the Indigenous Peoples Working Group told a Major Group dialogue hosted by the Trusteeship Council Chamber at UN headquarters that the SDG process “is in jeopardy of excluding Indigenous Peoples from the agenda.”

The SDGs make no clear reference to the human right to water, for example,effectively providing “an open door for turning water into a commodity.”

The UN workers group particularly opposes the emphasis on public-private partnerships, which it describes as “an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.”

As I have maintained for years, the moment you hear “public-private partnership” run for the hills. You are being screwed over in unimaginable ways.  See:

Meet Cyber P3 – The U.S. Military’s Public-Private Partnership to Create Corporate/Government “Cyber Soldiers”

Wall Street Teams Up with U.S. Intelligence Cronies in Bid to Form Fascist “Cyber War Council”

Bread and Circuses – The Shady, Slimy and Corrupt World of Taxpayer Funded Sports Stadiums

A Deep Look into the Shady World of the Private Prison Industry

In fact, despite overwhelming support from UN member states for a more robust and transformative approach, the report reveals that “a vocal minority, including the Vatican and Saudi Arabia, has once again blocked consensus.”

The failure of the SDG process to incorporate such criticisms from the UN’s own Major Groups representing marginalized communities, is a direct result of entrenched power disparities within the UN itself.

According to an expert report circulated to UN officials, a detailed analysis of SDG documents reveals that the entire process has been “fundamentally compromised” by corporations with a vested interest in continuing business-as-usual.

In addition to mis-framing the structural origins of poverty, the report shows thatthe very concept of “development” deployed within the UN’s SDG documents derives from a “specifically neoliberal and corporatist conception of how the world does and should work.”

Despite acknowledging “deep problems and contradictions when relying on GDP growth to tackle poverty”, the SDG agenda still leaves “undifferentiated, perpetual growth” as the prime basis of development.

Hidden between the lines of the SDG vision, then, is a great delusion?—?the unflinching blind faith of the rich industrialised elite in the unquestionable perfection and immortality of neoliberal capitalism as a ‘way of life.’

According to Brewer, by removing all discussions about power from the SDG process, “the increasingly unpopular neoliberal agenda remains fully in place.”

The total omission of corporate and banking power from SDG texts, despite their unprecedented prevalence in the UN process, “is very telling in its own right,” he told me. “We know that multinational corporations are the most powerful political actors, and that they are profoundly concentrated vehicles for wealth consolidation.”

This is why, Alnoor Ladha explained, TheRules.org did not engage in the formal UN civil society SDG process.

“The process is a sham,” he said. “They will co-opt our engagement and say they have consulted us. All of the civil society groups that have tried to reform the SDGs have been co-opted by the UN, including the more critical voices.”

In other words, the SDG stakeholder engagement process draws selectively on the input of civil society groups to promote its public legitimacy, while systematically ignoring the voices that challenge the wider political and economic structures in which the entire process is embedded.

The above represents only excerpts from Dr. Ahmed’s piece, which can be found in its entirety here.

UN torture panel criticises Vatican

UN torture panel criticises Vatican

Excerpt from Full Article: “As recently as March, the Conference of Italian Bishops told its members that they had a “moral duty” to help justice, but no legal obligation to report suspected cases of child abuse by clergy to police.”

THE United Nations has censured the Vatican’s handling of child sex abuse cases for the second time in three months.

The Catholic Church’s reputation has been seriously tarnished by worldwide revelations about pedophile priests, and by allegations that for decades its senior officials failed to punish them, or even covered up their crimes.

The UN Committee against Torture is “concerned by reports” that Catholic officials “resist the principle of mandatory reporting” of abuse allegations, it said in an eight-page report issued at its headquarters in Geneva.

As recently as March, the Conference of Italian Bishops told its members that they had a “moral duty” to help justice, but no legal obligation to report suspected cases of child abuse by clergy to police.

Victims’ groups have also pointed out that no bishop has ever faced Vatican punishment for shielding from prosecution a pedophile priest that was under his watch.

The Holy See was screened as a signatory, since 2002, of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrating Treatment.

In a public hearing earlier this month, the Vatican’s ambassador to UN offices in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, reported that 848 priests were defrocked and 2572 were demoted during 2004-2013 for sexual abuse offences.

UN experts mentioned cases of suspected pedophile priests who were transferred to other dioceses “where they remained in contact with minors and others who are vulnerable”, and “in some cases” continued to commit abuse.

They challenged the Holy See’s assertion that it could not be held responsible for the crimes committed by priests around the world, but only for those perpetrated within the confines of the Vatican City State, the smallest nation in the world.

 

 

Israel closes embassies around the world

(Reuters) – Israeli diplomats launched an unprecedented strike on Sunday, forcing the complete closure of embassies around the world as they escalated a dispute over pay, officials said. (source)

The industrial action has already threatened to postpone a visit by Pope Francis to Israel planned for May – one of 25 trips by foreign officials affected by a work slowdown the diplomats began on March 5 when wage talks broke down.

By escalating the action to a full strike – the first by the diplomatic corps since the country’s establishment in 1948 – the diplomats will close all of Israel’s 102 missions abroad, paralyzing most diplomatic work with other countries and the United Nations.

“We are completely shutting down the (foreign ministry) office and missions abroad. This is the first time ever,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Another ministry official told Reuters: “As of now, the foreign ministry doesn’t exist. It’s not possible even to submit complaints”.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Called the strike “irresponsible” and “a wretched decision and a display of a loss of control on union’s part.”

“We shall do whatever possible to minimize the damage to the country and its citizens,” Lieberman said.

Diplomats said the strike – involving some 1,200 foreign service employees – was open-ended and had been called after the Treasury had failed to present any acceptable proposals.

They are demanding an increase in monthly salaries, which they put at 6,000-9,000 shekels ($1,700-$2,600), and want compensation for spouses forced to quit jobs due to foreign postings. They say about a third of their number has quit in the past 15 years due to poor wages.

Yacov Livne, spokesman for the diplomats’ union, said: “the Treasury is determined to destroy the foreign ministry and Israeli diplomacy.”

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

““““““““`

Israel closes embassies all over the world as diplomats go on indefinite strike

(Source) Employees of Israel’s Foreign Ministry went on an all-out strike Sunday for the first time in the country’s history over a dispute surrounding workers’ salaries and conditions.

The dispute has been going on for nearly two years. Seven months of negotiations ended on March 4, when workers rejected a proposal by the Finance Ministry.

Israeli ambassadors abroad will not go to work, no consular services will be available, and Israel will not be represented at any international gatherings during the strike. Even the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership and management will be locked out.

The strike is indefinite and will affect everyone, including employers bringing foreign workers to Israel for work, immigrants, and anyone who wants to travel to Israel – including foreign dignitaries.

“Today, for the first time in Israel’s history, the foreign ministry will be closed and no work will be done in any sphere under the ministry’s authority,” a statement by the ministry’s workers’ committee reads.

It added that the strike would be “open ended” because of the “employment conditions for Israeli diplomats and because of the draconian decision by the Treasury to cut workers’ salaries.”

A number of visits have already been canceled or put on hold, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Mexico, Panama, and Colombia next month, as well as Pope Francis’ planned visit to Israel in May.

Avigdor Lieberman said the worker’s committee has “lost its head” in what was a “miserable decision.”

“This move has no benefit, and will only cause more damage to the ministry’s workers. I’m sorry that these irresponsible steps will come at the expense of the country’s citizens,” he said.

The diplomats are demanding an increase in their monthly salaries and want compensation for their spouses who have to quit jobs because of foreign postings. They say that one-third of Israeli diplomats have already quit over the past 10 years because of low salaries.

“The Treasury is determined to destroy the foreign ministry and Israeli diplomacy,” said Yacov Livne, a spokesman for the Israeli diplomats’ union.

Yair Frommer, the head of the worker’s committee, implied that the Treasury does not value the crucial work that diplomats do.

He said the Treasury will not be able to “prevent boycotts of Israel, will not foster business transactions that yield huge economic benefits and will not raise our voices at the UN Security Council.”