Tuesday, February 28, 2017

After Double Veto of Syria Chemical Weapons Draft, JIM's Answer to ICP, On UK Non Walk Out

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 28 – Before the double veto on Syria chemical weapons in the UN Security Council, the UK and France spoke. Then not only Russia and China but also Bolivia voted no. (Bolivia's Ambassador Llorenti told Inner City Press he and other Elected members were only consulted twice.) Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained. 

  Bolivia's Llorenti also noted the the Joint Investigative Mechanism had not given the names listed in the draft resolution, saying this showed a lack of due process. Inner City Press ran to the day's UN noon briefing and asked, did the JIM give these names? Later this answer was provided:  
"Regarding your question at noon, the JIM has the following information on its reports: The JIM's reports to the Security Council did not include any names of individuals, it only referred to the finding by its Leadership Panel that Syrian Arab Armed Forces helicopters were used to drop barrel bombs in three cases (Talmenes, 21 April 2014; Qmenas and Sarmin, 16 March 2015). The report also stated that the helicopter flights in the three cases originated from two government-controlled airbases (Hama and Humaymin airbases) and made reference to the 253 and 255 squadrons both belonging to the 63rd helicopter brigade and the 618 squadron based at these two airbases."
   Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about Bolivia's "two consultation" critique. Rycroft said the five new members could observe in late 2016, and were given two months on the Council before the vote. Inner City Press asked him why he (and France and the US) had not walked out as before when Syria spoke. He said, We decided to stay and listen but reserve the right to walk out in the future.
  US Nikki Haley, who spoke first after the vote (transcript soon) told the press her statement spoke for itself.
  Back on February 24, Haley said, "People died because of this, and the United States isn't going to be quiet." Video here, transcript below.  
Russia's Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov called it a provocation and vowed to veto the draft. Video here. 
Haley, transcribed: "I think what we saw in there was pretty amazing, because you had unity in the fact that we needed to be concerned about chemical weapons being used in Syria. You had an overwhelming vote to say we need an investigative mechanism that would prove that these chemical weapons were being done by the Syrian regime. Now you’ve got the results that have come out, and people don’t like what the results are. It is ridiculous. How much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? People have died by being suffocated to death. That’s barbaric.

"So what we’re going to do is – we were given all these reasons on why we shouldn’t propose the resolution. We were given all these reasons on why the timing was wrong. That is exactly why the timing is right. That is exactly why this resolution needs to happen. Whether people are going to veto it or not, you are either for chemical weapons or you’re against it. People died because of this, and the United States isn’t going to be quiet. Thank you." Watch this site.
On US inauguration day on January 20 at the US Mission to the UN the photos of Obama, Biden, Kerry and Samantha Power came down. As of February 24 they have not been replaced.

  But as elsewhere an "Alt USUN" Twitter account continues in a parallel online universe the views of Power, most recently promoting an AFP spoon-fed story about the UN Security Council's Syria chemical weapons draft resolution and calling it the "first test of US influence over Russia." Apparently in this view, if Russia casts a veto, it's a win for US Power. Call it a revived red line.
  Meanwhile, here is the video Inner City Press put on Twitter of Nikki Haley saying the draft will be put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.” 
@NikkiHaley says US worked on  draft & will put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.”

  The account previously called out new Ambassador Nikki Haley for only attending three of 13 UN Security Council meetings, on Ukraine, ISIS and Israel - Palestine.
  Fair enough. But how many meetings did Samantha Power attend? And after the Israel - Palestine meeting Nikki Haley took questions at the Security Council stakeout, not pre-screened by Power's spokesman Kurtis Cooper - who remains at the US Mission, tweeting, along with many others.
  In fact, Isobel Coleman who did nothing when the DC-based whistleblower protection group Government Accountability Project wrote to her about the UN's eviction of the investigative Press, here, still as of February 17 lists herself as the US representative on UN reform. Is it true?
   In the UN itself, Obama and Hillary Clinton nominee Jeffrey Feltman has gotten his UN contract extended. Inner City Press first reported, from multiple sources, that Feltman sought this so that his UN pension would hit the five year vesting dateline. The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric called Inner City Press' question, and by implication Inner City Press, "despicable." Or is that, deplorable?
  Meanwhile Voice of America, which was shown under the US Freedom of Information Act to have asked the UN to throw out the investigative Press, has now asked about Jared Kushner (video via here) and asked the UK about Nikki Haley's inexperience. Like we said, an alternative universe.

  Other former State Department officials like Bathsheba Crocker wring their hands about changes in foreign policy. But what did they do, when the UN killed 10,000 plus people in Haiti with cholera? They had their time to try to improve the UN, and largely failed. It's time to #MoveOn.