Professional Scam Artists – part 78

“David Osborne Keeps Casually Peddling Worn-Out Charter School Disinformation” by Shawgi Tell (Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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David Osborne is a well-funded neoliberal demagogue who has authored several books advocating the elimination of the public sphere and public interest. He has long championed the narrow private interests of major owners of capital.

Osborne has spent much of his life openly attacking the public sector and pushing for its privatization (“reinvention” and “innovation”) as fast as possible. This includes aggressively promoting school privatization through the creation of poor-performing pay-the-rich schemes like charter schools.

In a November 2019 article in the Wall Street Journal, [1] Osborne nonchalantly repeats one of the biggest falsehoods about charter schools by claiming that they are public schools. My September 7, 2019 article, Are Charter Schools Public Schools? [2], highlights more than 20 ways charter schools differ profoundly from public schools.

A main reason neoliberals, corporate school reformers, and charter school promoters repeatedly assert that charter schools are public schools is so as to prevent the public from recognizing that they are actually privatized arrangements. Another related reason is so that they can siphon billions of dollars a year from public schools, which are themselves often under-funded, over-tested, and constantly vilified by neoliberals and their state. If a school is supposedly “public,” then it follows that it should get public money. This public money would disappear if charter schools, which are segregated and deregulated, were treated as the privatized arrangements they have always been. Neoliberals are not about to let that happen, especially in the context of a continually failing economy that is causing major owners of capital to panic in their frenzy to maximize profit as fast as possible.

In the rest of the article Osborne spends a lot of time attacking teachers unions and mischaracterizing the negative financial impact of privately-operated charter schools on public schools.

Osborne also conveniently ignores the fact that thousands of non-profit and for-profit charter schools perform poorly, exclude many students, have high teacher turnover rates, close frequently, are run by unelected individuals, over-pay administrators, spend a lot on advertising, and are rife with fraud, waste, and corruption. Osborne is silent on these and many other problems with unaccountable charter schools.

To date, crisis-prone charter schools have not solved a single problem in America, they have just produced more problems. Privately-operated charter schools have not reduced the “achievement gap,” segregation, unaccountability, or corruption. It is no surprise that more than 95% of charter schools are not started or operated by teachers.
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From Mint Press News:
Omar Shakir, center, a U.S. citizen and employee of Human Rights Watch, stands next to Kenneth Roth before being deported from Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, November 25, 2019. Ammar Awad | Reuters

“Israel’s Case Against Human Rights Watch Reveals How Its Normalizing West Bank Land Theft” by Miko Peled (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above article follows:

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In November 2019, following a long legal battle, Israel revoked the work visa and deported Human Rights Watch (HRW) director Omar Shakir. According to HRW, Israel argued that the state, “revoked the work visa of Shakir, a United States citizen, in May 2018 on the assertion that his advocacy violated a 2017 law that bars entry to people who advocate a boycott of Israel or its settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

HRW claims that this is not true and that the organization does not call for the boycott of Israel. On their website, they do claim, however, that, “Human Rights Watch urges businesses to stop operating in illegal settlements as part of their global duty to avoid complicity in human rights abuses.”

The case went all the way to Israel’s highest court which found that the position held by HRW regarding Israeli settlements constitutes grounds for deportation…

At a recent event in Ramallah to commemorate International Palestine Solidarity Day, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Hirsh of Neturei Karta, weighed in on the ruling, saying to a group of Palestinians and liberal Israelis that:

“The talk regarding the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank is irrelevant. This is because not only those settlements are a violation of international law, but the entire Zionist state is a violation of international law. Therefore the only thing that can stop the occupation is a global economic boycott of the Zionist state.”

The argument made by Judge Rapoport echoes what has been defacto reality in Israel since 1967: there is no West Bank, instead, the region is called Judea and Samaria, which are legitimate parts of the State of Israel.

Israel does not recognize that there are settlements that are “illegal” and ones that are legal because the official Israeli line is that Jews have a right to reside anywhere within the Land of Israel, and that includes Judea and Samaria…

The view taken by the Israeli courts regarding the deportation of Omar Shakir is, in fact, an honest assessment of the situation…

The concern within Israel is that, if HRW calls for a boycott of certain colonies, what will stop them from calling a boycott on the others? The argument made by HRW, and its denial of the claim that it calls for boycott, did not hold up in Israeli court and for good reason. It is an argument has no merit in the reality that exists in Palestine.

Trying to separate “Israel Proper” from the “occupation” is an exercise in futility. So the question is, why does HRW, and many other organizations for that matter, still treat some settlements as illegal and not others? Furthermore, Israel clearly states that a call for the boycott of any Israeli settlement is to call for a boycott of Israel, why call on business to cease working in Judea and Samaria but not in other parts of Palestine?

What is perhaps the most crucial question of them all, if indeed Human Rights Watch is serious about its claims of Israeli human rights violations, why does it not endorse the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions known as BDS?
O)

Benjamin Netanyahu

“Bibi’s Get-out-of-Jail Card… War With Iran” by Finian Cunningham (Strategic Culture)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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It seems more than coincidence that as the legal noose tightens around Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Israeli military have suddenly stepped up air strikes on Iranian forces based in Syria.

Playing the strongman role on national security and winning another term as prime minister would stave off prosecution over pending corruption charges.

If Netanyahu is ousted from office he will be immediately subjected to trial. A subsequent conviction on all charges could result in him facing up to 13 years in jail. A lot is at stake for Israel’s elder statesmen. At 70 years old, he is the longest-serving prime minister in the history of the Israeli state, having been elected four times already.

Therefore the longer he can hang on as premier, the longer he can postpone his day in court, as the leadership position affords a certain immunity while in office.
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“Hot Mic Moment Exposes Insane Sleaziness Of British Political/Media Class” by Caitlin Johnstone (Caitlin Johnstone.com)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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There’s a wildly under-appreciated clip of news footage from Thursday’s general election in the UK that, now that everyone’s had some time to emotionally process the emotional fallout from that depressing night, needs more attention.

Labour MP and chronic left-puncher Jess Phillips appeared on Channel 4 to talk about how devastated she was about the news of exit polls showing her party’s crushing defeat, except the cameras switched on before she was prepared and caught her in the middle of a joyful chuckle. It took several seconds and the overt reminders from the show’s hosts to put on a “straight face” and act emotional before she could conceal her cheery mood as Corbyn’s Labour leadership was trampled underfoot by odious empire lackey Boris Johnson.

“Good evening Jess,” said the program’s host Krishnan Guru-Murthy. “How are you feeling as these results unfold?”

Watching the stumbling improvisation that came next feels like walking into a room full of awkward silence when your supposed friends had just been saying mean things about you, or seeing your spouse conspicuously jump away from an attractive coworker when you drop by the office.
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Well, Faker Corbyn is gone. What did he accomplish? He accomplished disapointing a lot of left-leaning voters. He possibly accomplished wasting time and space that a genuine fighter for justice might have been able to use.

“France: Antitrust Bureau Fines Google $167 Million for Abuses” by ? (teleSUR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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France’s Authority of Competition Friday fined Google US$167 million for abusing its power over the treatment of advertisers, for it applied opaque rules and changed them at will.

“Google has abused its dominant position in the search advertising market by adopting opaque and difficult to understand operating rules for its advertising platform Google Ads and by applying them unfairly and randomly,” the regulator said.

The French bureau of competition is an independent antitrust institution that monitors anticompetitive practices, provides expertise on market functioning and reviews merger transactions.
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What was the most scary thing in the above linked-to article? Not the joke penalty meted out to censorious Google, but the fact that an estimated 90% of online searches in France (if I’ve understood this correctly) are made via Google. In the land of the yellow vests?!!! How does a politicized, progressive protester open the door to Google that way? And then there’s those progressives elsewhere who push the Brave browser (which incorporates Tor), even when they ‘know’ that Tor represents the weaponization of the privacy movement.

“The Trudeau Government Joins the Global Majority on Israel-Palestinian Relations” by Anthony Hall (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The Chief Executive of B’nai Brith Canada has condemned as anti-democratic a vote in late 2019 by Canada’s Trudeau government. In one of its first major international acts, Trudeau’s minority government sided with 166 other member states of the United Nations’ General Assembly. The Jewish organization expressed “outrage” at Canada’s position on a resolution dealing critically with the subject of Israel-Palestinian relations. “This vote reflects poorly on Canada’s record as a defender of democracy and justice. It stains Canada’s reputation,” said B’nai Brith’s CEO, Michael Mostyn.

Apparently Mr. Mostyn thinks nothing of invoking the principles of democracy and justice as justification for discounting as wrong and misguided the dramatic outcome of a free and fair vote by the world’s governments. In Mr. Mostyn’s view, all that is just and democratic adheres to the position of the five dissident governments that voted against the UN Resolution. The naysayers are Israel, the USA, Australia, Micronesia and Marshall Islands.
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Gerald Butts and David Walmsley

“Twelve Million And A Tax Break: What The Globe And Mail Wanted From Justin Trudeau” by Jesse Brown (Canadaland)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Through 2017 and 2018, as reporters for The Globe and Mail were busy covering the Justin Trudeau government, the newspaper’s management, including its editor-in-chief, repeatedly engaged with the Prime Minister’s Office in a very different way, campaigning through meetings and emails for millions in research-and-development funding and tax law changes that could benefit the paper’s owners, according to emails and documents obtained by Canadaland and the accounts of former government officials.

When approached by Canadaland at a recent event and asked if he had ever lobbied the PMO, editor-in-chief David Walmsley was unequivocal: “No, never.” Asked more specifically if he had ever lobbied the PMO with regard to a Globe application to the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), he repeated the answer.

“I don’t know why he’d say that,” Gerald Butts, the former principal secretary to the prime minister, says in an email.

“Mr. Walmsley discussed many topics with me,” says Butts, “including their SIF application, policy issues related to support for journalism, and about having government representatives attend their events. I did what I always did with requests of that kind, and directed them to the appropriate officials.”
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“China detaining millions of Uyghurs? Serious problems with claims by US-backed NGO and far-right researcher ‘led by God’ against Beijing” by Ajit Singh and Max Blumenthal (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The US House of Representatives passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act on December 3, legislation which calls for the Donald Trump administration to impose sanctions against China over allegations that Beijing has detained millions of Muslim-majority Uyghurs in the western region of Xinjiang.

To drum up support for the sanctions bill, Western governments and media outlets have portrayed the People’s Republic as a human rights violator on par with Nazi Germany. Republican Rep. Chris Smith, for instance, denounced the Chinese government for what he called the “mass internment of millions on a scale not seen since the Holocaust,” in “modern-day concentration camps.”

The claim that China has detained millions of ethnic Uyghurs in its Xinjiang region is repeated with increasing frequency, but little scrutiny is ever applied. Yet a closer look at the figure and how it was obtained reveals a serious deficiency in data.

While this extraordinary claim is treated as unassailable in the West, it is, in fact, based on two highly dubious “studies.”

The first, by the US government-backed Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, formed its estimate by interviewing a grand total of eight people.

The second study relied on flimsy media reports and speculation. It was authored by Adrian Zenz, a far-right fundamentalist Christian who opposes homosexuality and gender equality, supports “scriptural spanking” of children, and believes he is “led by God” on a “mission” against China.
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Adrian Zenz is ruined and the entire article is a keeper. But here’s an example of leftwing bias against Christianity and the idea of God. The authors note Zenz supports scriptural spanking, implying that that’s a bad thing. By scriptural spanking, I think that they just mean spanking. And, I’m sorry, but spanking – not beating or being cruel – is not evil. Maybe the world would be a better place if parents actually disciplined their children. It’s baffling to me how so much trouble we see is as a result of too free – which you are when you abuse that freedom – people with power getting away with murder, literally, and on a grand scale, as a result of a culture of impunity and the simple possession of inordinate power and freedom doesn’t lead to people connecting dots: wrongdoing + no consequences + serious widespread wrongdoing. Corporations are a good example of ‘too free’. Neoliberal capitalism just means liberated capitalists and capital, whereas workers had better watch their steps or police (police and governments, which are essentially the same thing) will set them straight, with extreme prejudice.

FILE PHOTO: Protest against the new citizenship law, in Lucknow, India, December 19, 2019. © Reuters / stringer

“What happens when US ‘religious freedom’ watchdog goes to India in search of ‘monsters to destroy’” by Nebojsa Malic (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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A busybody US committee for ‘international religious freedom’ has butted into India’s turmoil over new citizenship rules, exposing Washington’s hypocrisy and threatening to derail US attempts to cultivate New Delhi as an ally.

On Monday, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned “religious violence” across India and called on the government in New Delhi to “stop use of force on those exercising right to express concern” about India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC)…

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi insists that the CAA and the NRC are in no way aimed against Indian Muslims…

Enter the USCIRF, a busybody created in 1998, at the peak of “humanitarian interventionism” pushed by the Bill Clinton administration. It is one of those “independent” Washington bodies funded entirely by taxpayer money to crusade around the globe for US government interests – in this case, the “universal right to freedom of religion or belief.”

It is no secret that the US regards human rights – including religious freedom, apparently – as “lethal arrows” to be used against other countries as need be. Even the Trump administration, for all of the president’s lip service to “sovereignty,” believes this. If there is a dispute about weaponization of human rights in Washington, it is only about who gets to decide on the targets.

More often than not, those who find themselves on the receiving end of “human rights” objections are global rivals like Russia or China, or targets of regime change like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, or North Korea – but never allies or client states, such as Saudi Arabia. Even though it imposes a death penalty for leaving Islam, Riyadh is treated with kid gloves by USCIRF. The commission is also entirely silent on the persecution of Christians in, say, Kosovo – a province of Serbia occupied by NATO in 1999 where ethnic Albanians have since demolished or desecrated over 150 Serbian churches. But Kosovo is a US client state, so it’s not on USCIRF’s radar.
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I say it all the time: No one is honest.

The above linked-to article is, in fact, awful. It is biased. What is said about the busybody organization called “US Commission for International Religious Freedom” is spot on. Very evidently it is a tool of the US empire which doesn’t do genuine humanitarian intervention. But the author lies about the motivations for fascist Narendra Modi’s move here. RT, alas, is ruined. It is an alternative (and, still, a better one) to Western corporate media, but it is not a ‘progressive’ alternative.

From Axis of Logic:
This aerial photo shows the scene where Michel Vienneau was shot outside the Bathurst Via Rail station in 2015. This photo is one of more than 1,000 images provided by the RCMP after a two-year access to information battle. (RCMP)

“You don’t have to be a US cop to be crooked. It seems to come with the uniform.” by Karissa Donkin (CBC News via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

()()()(O)
The RCMP is apologizing for saying it didn’t have any records about its 11-month investigation into the death of Michel Vienneau, who was shot by a Bathurst Police Force member in 2015.

In fact, the police agency had more than 10,000 records about the Nova Scotia RCMP’s investigation into Vienneau’s death, which led to criminal charges against two Bathurst Police Force officers. The charges were dropped in 2017 after a preliminary inquiry.

More than two years after CBC News asked for the records through an access to information request, and more than four years after Vienneau’s death, the RCMP disclosed nearly 1,800 pages of documents and more than 1,000 images and videos related to the investigation.

That came only after an investigation by the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.

The RCMP blamed human error, saying the search for records wasn’t done properly…

“I think they have to be held more accountable,” [Ken] Rubin said about the commissioner’s office…

In its explanation, the RCMP said it relies on people to search its records.
(O)()()()

Here’s what I know. Police forces are perfectly accountable… to politicians in government and those who politicians take their marching orders from. And those deciders aren’t ‘the people’. Also, Being a police force (whose unions are rightwing), they generally have no problems getting budget increases regularly. That happens with the Toronto police force, and yet, their 911 system is awful and abusive. Over the years, I’ve used it a few times in my capacity as a security guard. It’s hit and miss. But, overall, it’s a miss. You’ll get someone on the line – unless that click that you hear fools you into thinking that your call was dropped and you hang up in frustration – but you won’t enjoy the experience. But when police chiefs talk with government reps, I’ll bet that those chats are just peachy.

“In midst of impeachment, Pelosi honors Trump with State of the Union invitation” by Patrick Martin and Andre Damon (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Less than forty-eight hours after voting to impeach President Donald Trump, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him to give the annual State of the Union address to Congress.

The House speaker might be expected to withhold such an invitation to a president who, like Trump, is accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and who theoretically might be removed from office within a matter of weeks.

Last year, Pelosi withdrew her offer to have Trump deliver the State of the Union address until after the deal which ended an ongoing government shutdown. She even suggested that Trump forgo the speech altogether and just send a written message, as every president before Woodrow Wilson had done.

The move underscores the element of fecklessness and deceit that has characterized the impeachment.
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“After Calling Out Obama for Starting War with Iran to Get Re-Elected, Trump Doing Same Thing” by Matt Agorist (The Free Thought Project)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Thousands of angry protesters stormed the US Embassy in Iraq this week after US airstrikes killed dozens of Iraqi militia men who were actually fighting terrorists. As they shouted “Down USA!” many of the protesters broke through the gate after hurling water bottles, setting fires and smashing security cameras outside the embassy. When news of the protest broke, Donald Trump, without proof, took to Twitter and immediately blamed Iran—for the thousand of Iraqis protesting in Iraq…

Prior to the strikes [by the US] on Sunday, Iraqi officials also warned that any strikes inside their sovereign borders would have dangerous consequences. They say that it has forced the Iraqi government to “review” its relations with the US, according to Antiwar.com.

Despite the US referring to Ketaib Hezbollah and other Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) forces as “Iranian forces,” the groups function to fight ISIS in Iraq and are part of the Iraqi government’s security forces. As Jason Ditz points out, the Trump Administration has at times spoken ill of the PMU, but must also have known that attacking them on Iraqi soil would be a bridge too far for Iraq’s government to cross.

Indeed, that appears to be the case. Now, we are watching Donald Trump saber rattle with Iran in an attempt to start a war that he was so hell bent on exposing a decade ago. When his predecessor Barack Obama was attempting to start a war with Iran, Trump accused him of doing so to boost his poll numbers and to get reelected. Now Trump is taking a page out of the previous warmonger and chief’s manual and appears to be doing the same thing.
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“Nikole Hannah-Jones, Shell Oil and mass killings in Africa” by Trévon Austin and Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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On Wednesday, December 11, Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead author of the New York Times ’ “1619 Project,” delivered a speech in Houston to inaugurate the Emancipation Park Conservancy’s lecture series depicting the “Black Experience.”

The appearance was part of a nationwide lecture tour in which Hannah-Jones is promoting the 1619 Project’s “reframing” of the history of the United States as an unending racial struggle of whites against African Americans…

Hannah-Jones’ appearance in Texas was sponsored by the Houston-based Shell Oil Company. This is the US subsidiary of the oil and gas corporate giant Royal Dutch Shell, which is confronting international public outrage over its involvement in massive human rights abuses in the African country of Nigeria…

Hannah-Jones is unsparing in her condemnation of the moral failings of the democratic revolutionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries. She can barely contain her contempt for those who failed to leap out of the historical epoch in which they lived and embrace the rhetoric of 21st century middle-class identity politics. But the unforgiving code of ethics she imposes upon the historic figures of the past does not seem to apply to herself. Her own personal moral compass does not seem to be in working order.

Shell’s history in Africa has long made it an international pariah. In the 1980s, it was described as “the worst corporate collaborator” of apartheid South Africa, systematically violating sanctions to provide oil that fueled the racist regime’s repressive apparatus. It also carried out mining operations in the country, including at its Rietspruit coal mine, where striking workers were beaten and forced back to work at gunpoint. Its support for apartheid provoked an international boycott movement against the oil giant.

Just two years ago, Amnesty International released an 89-page report titled “A Criminal Enterprise? Shell’s Involvement in Human Rights Violations in Nigeria in the 1990s.”

Shell used Hannah-Jones, who was only too willing to be used, as part of its public relations operation aimed at diverting attention from the company’s crimes as they face fresh exposure. Sponsoring an appearance by Hannah-Jones allows Shell to posture as an intrepid corporate fighter against racism. Moreover, the 1619 Project’s obsessive focus on race conceals the essential economic interests that underlie the business practices of Shell.

Shell executives obviously sponsored the event in the expectation that endorsement of the 1619 Project would counteract the impact of ongoing lawsuits; and they could not have been disappointed by the results of their investment. Everything went exactly as planned. Shell basked in a moment of public adulation as the event moderator, Melanie Lawson, a local media personality, prefaced her introduction of Hannah-Jones with a shout-out:

I want to take a moment first to recognize tonight’s presenting sponsor. And you might know this name, it’s a giant in our community, Shell Oil. And if someone is here from Shell Oil will you please stand or wave or all of the above? Do we have some Shell folks? There we go.

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“Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog/ By Scott Ritter Global Research, December 26, 2019 Truthdig 18 December 2019” by Scott Ritter (Voices From Syria)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Much has been written about the OPCW inspection process in Syria, and particularly the methodology used by the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), an inspection body created by the OPCW in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The FFM was created under the direction of Ahmet Üzümcü, a career Turkish diplomat with extensive experience in multinational organizations, including service as Turkey’s ambassador to NATO. Üzümcü was the OPCW’s third director general, having been selected from a field of seven candidates by its executive council to replace Argentine diplomat Rogelio Pfirter. Pfirter had held the position since being nominated to replace the OPCW’s first director general, José Maurício Bustani…

Bustani was removed from his position in 2002, following an unprecedented campaign led by John Bolton, who at the time was serving as the undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the U.S. State Department. What was Bustani’s crime? In 2001, he had dared to enter negotiations with the government of Iraq to secure that nation’s entry into the OPCW, thereby setting the stage for OPCW inspectors to visit Iraq and bring its chemical weapons capability under OPCW control. As director general, there was nothing untoward about Bustani’s action. But Iraq circa 2001 was not a typical recruitment target. In the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, the U.N. Security Council had passed a resolution under Chapter VII requiring Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including its chemical weapons capability, to be “removed, destroyed or rendered harmless” under the supervision of inspectors working on behalf of the United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM.

The pursuit of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction led to a series of confrontations with Iraq that culminated in inspectors being ordered out of the country by the U.S. in 1998, prior to a 72-hour aerial attack—Operation Desert Fox. Iraq refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors to return, rightfully claiming that the U.S. had infiltrated the ranks of the inspectors and was using the inspection process to spy on Iraqi leadership for the purposes of facilitating regime change. The lack of inspectors in Iraq allowed the U.S. and others to engage in wild speculation regarding Iraqi rearmament activities, including in the field of chemical weapons. This speculation was used to fuel a call for military action against Iraq, citing the threat of a reconstituted WMD capability as the justification. Bustani sought to defuse this situation by bringing Iraq into the OPCW, an act that, if completed, would have derailed the U.S. case for military intervention in Iraq. Bolton’s intervention included threats to Bustani and his family, as well as threats to withhold U.S. dues to the OPCW accounting for some 22% of that organization’s budget; had the latter threat been implemented, it would have resulted in OPCW’s disbandment.

Bustani’s departure marked the end of the OPCW as an independent organization. Pfirter, Bolton’s hand-picked replacement, vowed to keep the OPCW out of Iraq. In an interview with U.S. media shortly after his appointment, Pfirter noted that while all nations should be encouraged to join the OPCW, “We should be very aware that there are United Nations resolutions in effect” that precluded Iraqi membership “at the expense” of its obligations to the Security Council. Under the threat of military action, Iraq allowed UNMOVIC inspectors to return in 2002; by February 2003, no WMD had been found, a result that did not meet with U.S. satisfaction. In March 2003, UNMOVIC inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq under orders of the U.S., paving the way for the subsequent invasion and occupation of that nation that same month (the CIA later concluded that Iraq had been disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction by the summer of 1991).U.S. Again Cries ‘Chemical Warfare’ in Syria
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