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Monday, October 31, 2011

UNESCO’s 194 “yes,” U.S. “no” to Palestine

Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett 
Without sensibility or scintilla of nonviolent aid toward lasting peaceful coexistence, U.S. officials continue unleashing violence and threat on the world. 

Today the UNESCO General Conference admitted Palestine as Member State. Palestine’s entry brings the number of UNESCO’s Member States to 195.
The vote garnered cheers in the UNESCO hall but since U.S. officials know better than the majority of nations in the world, they announced that the United States will punish the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for its vote to admit Palestine as a member.

For its membership to take effect, Palestine must sign and ratify UNESCO’s Constitution which is open for signature in the archives of the Government of the United Kingdom in London. The vote was carried by 107 votes in favor of admission and 14 votes against with 52 abstentions.

Admission to UNESCO for states that are not members of the United Nations requires a recommendation by the Organization’s Executive Board and a two thirds majority vote in favor by the General Conference of Member States present and voting (abstentions are not considered as votes).

The General Conference consists of the representatives of the States Members of the Organization. It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each Member State has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget.

The General Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programs and the budget of UNESCO. It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General.  

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon urged member states not to cut UNESCO’s funding.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said in her call on states to maintain funding, “‘This is about peace, identity, culture, heritage and freedom of expression’; therefore, “‘The EU urges all parties to pause for reflection before taking precipitate actions.’”

Hey, hey, LBJ-bama, how many kids did you kill today?

October 31, 2011 news suggests TORTURE, VIOLENCE, WAR are at core of U.S. domestic, foreign policies


According to Afghan and Western officials familiar with the site, U.S. Special Operations forces handed over detainees to ‘Department 124,’ which was rebuilt in 2010 by American money and has been visited regularly by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials. The UN in August “publicly revealed ‘systematic torture’ of prisoners at Afghan facilities,” Press TV reports.

“U.S. authorities have used the facility to interrogate high-level Taliban and al-Qaeda terror suspects.”


The start of this week finds new revelations that U.S. officials (Washington) continued to transfer detainees to facilities run by Afghanistan's intelligence service though officials from the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. military had received multiple warnings about systematic torture at Afghan jails, Press TV attributes a Sunday Washington Post story.

On the ground today in southern Afghanistan, at least four people died and two more suffered wounds when a car bomb exploded in front of the offices of a U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO). The bomb exploded in front of the office of the NGO International Relief and Development (IRD) in Kandahar. NATO and Afghan forces reportedly exchanged fire with the attackers.

Saturday in Kabul, 13 U.S. troops and civilian employees of the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) died in what has been called “the deadliest single ground attack against the U.S.-led forces in 10 years of war in Afghanistan.”

Death by remote

The U.S. deploys “assassination drones” to launch airstrikes inside Pakistan’s tribal belt. These unauthorized attacks have caused relations between Islamabad and Washington to deteriorate. Pakistanis have insisted that these airstrikes by the remote-controlled, unmanned aircraft violate their country's sovereignty. Rights activists have condemned the drone strikes as extra-judicial assassinations against civilians U.S. whim deems anti-American, without rule of law.

Today, U.S. assassination drones reportedly claimed the lives of at least four more people in the Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region. Pakistani sources said the U.S. drone fired missiles at a residential area and a vehicle, in North Waziristan’s Norak area near Mir Ali Tehsil. Several people were also injured in the attack.

Witnesses told Press TV that after the attack the U.S. drones continued to hover over the area, increasing panic and fear among local people.

Sources and notes

“UNESCO’s General Conference today voted to admit Palestine as a Member State of the Organization” (© UNESCO/Dou Matar, c.f UNESCO Constitution, Article XV, on ‘Entry into force’), October 31, 2011, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/general_conference_admits_palestine_as_unesco_member_state/

“U.S. pulls UNESCO funding after Palestine admitted as member — The United States has announced it will withhold funding for UNESCO after the UN's cultural body admitted Palestine as a member. The US sees UNESCO’s decision as counterproductive to the Middle East peace process,” http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15500946,00.html


UNESCO has 193 Member States and 7 Associate Member States. It is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board; the Secretariat, headed by the Director-General, implements the decisions of these two bodies.

The General Conference establishes the Organization's goals and priorities every two years and sets the budget. The Executive Board meets twice a year to follow program implementation.

UNESCO has its headquarters in Paris. It is housed in an outstanding, Modernist building inaugurated in 1958 and recently renovated. The Organization also has more than 50 field offices around the world.

The United States provides about 22 percent of UNESCO’s budget.


“‘US knew about torture in Afghan jails,’” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/207573.html
“Car bomb hits NGO office in Afghanistan,” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/207564.html
“Car bombing kills four in Afghanistan,” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/207567.html


“U.S. terror drones kill four in Pakistan,” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/207675.html



“Beginning in 1965, student demonstrations grew larger and more frequent and helped to stimulate resistance to the draft.

“From 1967 onward, antiwar sentiment gradually spread among other segments of the population, including liberal Democrats, intellectuals, and civil rights leaders, and by 1968 many prominent political figures, some of them former supporters of [Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th U.S.] president’s Vietnam policies, were publicly calling for an early negotiated settlement of the war.

“As his popularity sank to new lows in 1967, Johnson was confronted by demonstrations almost everywhere he went. It pained him to hear protesters, especially students—whom he thought would venerate him for his progressive social agenda—chanting, 'Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?'

“To avoid the demonstrations, he eventually restricted his travels, becoming a virtual ‘prisoner’ in the White House.”

On March 31, 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek reelection to the presidency.


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire

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