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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Moon thrown off orbit

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Walski's "Don't Panic" Note: Before you get hysterical and start thinking the end of the world is here - Don't Panic. The Moon Walski's referring to is not the one safely in orbit around Earth...

Nothing sucks more like coming back to work after an extended long weekend. Just like the weekend we just had, only having to come back to work yesterday, on a Wednesday.

Or so Walski thought.

Image hosting by PhotobucketMoon off UN orbit on capital punishment
(also reported by Taikor Jeff)

Coming to work on your first day on the job, and making a faux pas of international proportions definitely has to suck a lot more.

You see, the United Nations has been on the forefront of opposing capital punishment, and it is the policy of the world body not to support it. The policy, however, remains, despite the new UN Secretary General's opinion expressed when asked about Saddam Hussein's expedited execution.

Asked about the weekend execution of Saddam Hussein, Ban said the former Iraqi leader committed "heinous crimes and unspeakable atrocities against the Iraqi people and we should never forget the victims of these crimes."

But he said "the issue of capital punishment is for each and every member state to decide" and in conformity with international law.

Be that as it may, the various UN rights commissions remain opposed to the use of capital punishment, still upheld by 68 nations worldwide, including Moon's home country, South Korea (although there is talk that the Koreans are considering abolishing it).

Speaking of the Saddam execution, the clandestinely taken unauthorized video has sparked its own controversy.
(more Moon-ing in the full post)

The BBC reports that a guard present at the execution has been 'quizzed' over the unauthorized video. The Iraqi government has raised concerns over the unauthorized video, in which those present at the execution could be heard taunting Saddam. The official execution video did not contain any audio, and did not show the actual death of the deposed dictator. CNN, meanwhile, reports that at least two arrests are expected in relation to the video's release.

Escallating secterian violence is the main concern raised by the Iraqi government. The release of the video, it is claimed, has driven a wedge further through the already strained relations between the Sunnis and Shiites of Iraq.

The UN, meanwhile, has issued an appeal to stay the execution of Saddam's two co-defendents, half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and former judge Awad al-Bandar, who were supposed to have been executed this morning, but whose hangings have been postponed until after the holidays. The appeal was made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, apparently with the backing from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Faux pas, and all.

Bumpy first days at work, to say the least.

But hopefully, the newly sworn in Secretary General, despite the initial orbital glitch, can restore some credibility to an embattled United Nations, whose credibility has suffered tremendously in recent years. Blame, to an extent, had been assigned by some to out-going Kofi Annan for taking the world body to new lows.

However, Annan inherited the helm of a United Nations already sufferng from blatant bulldozing from the United States, a permenant Security Council member state. The 2003 invasion of Iraq is a good example - a move that is proving to be more and more costly to the U.S., both in monetary terms as well as the loss of life.

How effective Ban Ki-moon will be as the 8th Secretary General, is too early to tell. Iraq is only one of the many crises the UN has to contend with world wide, albeit the one getting most attention.

Orbits do decay over time. But to set right one that's a little off from the get-go will be a daunting task - especially having to contend with all the other heavenly bodies that tend to sway the UN body politic hither and yon.