US reverses position on arms trade treaty
Story here. Under the Bush Administration, the US wanted no part of it (thank you, John Bolton!). The position now will be that we expect a consensus decision ... but does that mean unanimous (as in we also agree) or just "a large majority."
"gun guys" on the UN
Most amusing. The (anti)Gun Guys, a/k/a Freedom States Alliance, a/k/a Joyce Foundation, have a post complaining about the US refusing to participate in a UN conference directed at the international arms trade.
What's amusing is the illustration, I assume of illegal arms being rounded up somewhere in Africa. I see several AKs, SKSs, Mausers, Enfields, a possible Sten, and several H&Ks. Not one American-made rifle in the lot.
Hat tip to read Jack Anderson....
At Opinio Juris, Kenneth Anderson has a response to a NY Times hit piece on NRA and the UN.
"The movement toward a small arms and light weapons treaty got going in the wake of the landmines ban treaty; it was a natural follow-on for the then-ascendent global civil society movement. But I recall sitting in meetings of landmines advocates talking about where things should go next; I was director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division, with a mandate to address the transfer of weapons into conflicts where they would be used in the violation of the laws of war, and small arms were the main concern. I was astonished at how quickly the entire question morphed from concern about the flood of weapons into African civil wars how to use international law to do an end run around supposedly permissive gun ownership regimes in the US. ....
I dropped any personal support for the movement when it became clear, a long time ago, that it is about controlling domestic weapons equally in the US (or, today, even more so) as in Somalia or Congo. Yes, there is a logic, a coherency, to the idea that one needs a set of universal rules that are more or less the same for every place. One can choose between that idea and the one that I urged, that it was both substantively wrong and disastrous strategy to think that the rules for a profoundly broken place, lands of civil wars and failed states, should or could be the same as for a functioning democratic society. The small arms and light weapons movement long ago made its choice about that, and I dropped it at that time."
Hat tip to Joe Olson....
UN suspends food shipments in Darfur due to inability to protect
"Claiming banditry against food trucks as the root cause, officials with the United Nation’s World Food Program announced today they are cutting rations to the people of Sudan’s Darfur region."
UPDATE: Bob McCarty also has an interesting post on Students for Concealed Carry.
Dave Kopel's take on Fred Thompson vs. the UN
Dave Kopel has blogged his reaction to the Fred Thompson vs. UN defenders controversy.
As usual, Dave's research is deep. After Thompson criticized UN disarmament proposals, and said that the UN report had denied there was any human right to self defense, two journalists attacked his claims, apparently using material borrowed from a UN Foundation webpage. Dave (and a Knoxville newspaper that he cites) take the defense apart.
UN may downgrade disarmament program
Kofi is gone, and a new broom sweeps clean. The new UN Sec. General, Ban Ki-Moon, is floating a proposal to downgrade the Department of Disarmament Affairs. And considering putting an American in charge of it, to boot. "Having an American as head," the ambassador told the meeting "is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop."
We're not to next international right stage yet, but it may be moving that way.
UN, guns, and guitars
Alphecca posts on the latest UN plan to bring about world peace by turning guns into guitars.
[I think they're a bit late -- Ted Nugent already has a few of those]
You couldn't make this stuff up...
So much for international organizations....
As far as I can deduce, a fellow wrote the Wharton School of Business, as a rep. of the World Trade Organization, and got put on a panel relating to investment in and development of Africa.
He proceeded to give a presentation to the effect that the only hope lay in "full private stewardship of labor." He "acknowledged that the stewardry program was similar in many ways to slavery, but explained that just as "compassionate conservatism" has polished the rough edges on labor relations in industrialized countries, full stewardry, or "compassionate slavery," could be a similar boon to developing ones." He went on to explain that AIDs and other diseases would be wiped out as soon as major companies realized they were killing their possessions.
It says something for conferences of this sort that no one asked questions, and the audience seems to have been unsure whether they were being hoaxed or not. Wharton did eventually figure out it was a leg-pull.
Can anyone here do a good forgery of UN stationary? I'd like to attend a conference on genocide as a UN representative, explaining how it is necessary to keep the victims disarmed because they might kill the aggressors, contribute to civil unrest, and by survival contribute to global warming.
Page on Rebecca Peters of UN
Bruce Mills tipped me to an interesting webpage on Rebecca Peters, the person pushing gun control at the UN.
Among other interest data is the fact that she's been bankrolled by George Soros.
Women arming against UN "peacekeepers"
Chronwatch has an article on UN "peacekeepers" who commit rape and related crimes, and are let go, which forms an interesting contrast to their claims that arms ownership is bad for women since they might be victimized. An interesting quote:
Now consider the contrasting experience with women in Liberia. Some were abused, and some were not. The reason some were not is most instructive.
The first report states: “U.N. peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited local women and girls in Liberia.” The allegations ranged from “the exchange of goods, money or services for sex to the sexual exploitation of minors.” Repeating a now-familiar refrain, the article noted: “Currently, U.N. troops and employees accused of wrongdoing are sent home to be dealt with by their own government but are often never punished.”....
Counter to the stories of exploitation by both locals and U.N. peacekeepers, a number of women in Liberia found that by arming themselves and uniting into combat units, they were able to protect their personal sovereignty during that country’s civil war:
“Black Diamond, 22, says she joined the rebel forces after being gang-raped by the notoriously ill-disciplined and unpaid forces loyal to former President Charles Taylor in the northern Lofa county in 1999.
“ ‘There were many reasons, but that was the key one. It made me want to fight the man who caused all that, because if you are a good leader you can't behave like that,’ she is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
“Many of Black Diamond's female comrades have similar tales…”
Not only are the women able to move about in relative security––considering this is a war zone––they were respected as fighters as well. Most importantly, they had the means to defend the honor of their fighting comrades as well as other female victims:
“Liberia's Health Minister Peter Coleman has met many women fighters during the 14 years of warfare and says they are prized by their senior commanders.
“ ‘They don’t get drunk and they take their mission very seriously,’ he said.
“ ‘I saw a woman shoot another officer because he raped a woman.’”
Via Dave Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy.
Newspaper response to UN denial of self defense right
Don Kates emailed me the attached article from the Bangkok Times. The link no longer works, but I've pasted it in extended remarks below.
Claremont Institute takes on UN self-defense stance
The Claremont Institute has taken the UN to task for the report I noted a few days ago. Richard Samuelson points out that Grotius and Vattel, the fathers of international law, recognized self-defense as fundamental, indeed Vattel referred to the right as "a perfect one, since it is given to satisfy a natural and indispensable obligation: for, when we cannot use constraint in order to cause our rights to be respected, their effects are very uncertain."
UN report proclaims self-defense is not a right
A report (pdf format) submitted by Barbara Frey, Special Rapporteur, whatever that is, to the UN Human Rights Councils's Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, whatever that is.
Re-reading it, I think the point is that the Special Rapper wants to class self-defense as something less than a "right" (i.e., as a manner of criminal defense) because if it were recognized as a "right" it would be something governments would be bound to guarantee -- and that leads right to Prof. Glenn Harlan Reynold's argument that a right to arms should be guaranteed as an international right. How could governments "guarantee" such a right (in the sense of doing something more than saying "you can plead this as a defense if prosecuted" -- as might be expected the UN document treats "rights" as something more than "the government must leave you alone" -- while outlawing the items a person needs to exercise that right? This leads to the anomaly that the report claims that the right to life is a "right," but the right to keep from having your life taken is not. I suppose it equates to -- you have a "right," however unenforcable, to be protected by government, but not to defend yourself if it fails to do so. As might be expected from the source, the concept of "right" is rather ineptly socialist: rights are what you may ask the government to do for you. (And of course strongly of the legal positivist school: rights are not something that pre-exist government, and any official declaration of them, derived from a deity, morality, or man's nature. Rather, in this view they are created by the document, or government, that acts to write them down. Created, as opposed to guaranteed).
"20. Self-defence is a widely recognized, yet legally proscribed, exception to the universal duty to respect the right to life of others. Self-defence is a basis for exemption from criminal responsibility that can be raised by any State agent or non-State actor. Self-defence is sometimes designated as a “right”. There is inadequate legal support for such an interpretation. Self-defence is more properly characterized as a means of protecting the right to life and, as such, a basis for avoiding responsibility for violating the rights of another. " [Not quite sure what babble means--More in extended remarks below]
Dave Kopel on the UN matter
Dave posts on it at the Volokh Conspiracy.
"If a few hundred votes had changed in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different. There would now be a legally binding international treaty creating an international legal norm against civilian gun ownership, a prohibition on the transfer of firearms to "non-state actors" (such as groups resisting tyrants), and a new newspeak international human rights standard requiring restrictive licensing of gun owners. With a Presidential signature on such a treaty (even if the treaty were never brought to the Senate floor for ratification), the principles of the anti-gun treaty would be eroding the Second Amendment, through Executive Orders, and through the inclination of some courts to use unratified treaties as guidance in interpretting the U.S. Constitution."
Cam Edwards on UN gun summit
UN conference on small arms
Blogcritics has an insightful post on the issue.
Oxfam, a coalition of 12 UN Non-Governmental Organizations, releases surveys indicating that people fear gun violence. In case you're wondering what Oxfam thinks might be suitable controls, "even in Britain and Canada, more than one in three people (39 and 36 percent respectively) worried about becoming an armed violence victim." and "In both Britain and Canada, six in every ten people thought it was too easy to obtain a gun in their country and more than five out of ten South Africans also agreed."