The UN General Assembly: now in the hip pocket of the United States

Wayne Madsen

U.S. and NATO ensure a pro-West UN General Assembly

The permanent members of the UN Security Council have, through the organization’s history, used the virtually powerless General Assembly to push through resolutions when one or more of the veto-wielding member states have blocked them in the Security Council.

In 1950, the United States and its Cold War allies used the passage of the Uniting for Peace resolution in the General Assembly to circumvent a Soviet veto in the Security Council that prevented UN action in Korea to repel the North Korean invasion of South Korea. The General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority, voted in November 1950 to authorize UN action in Korea and, thus supported, two previous UN Security Council resolutions adopted in June and July 1950, that mandated a UN force for Korea to repel the North’s invasion force. The Security Council was able to adopt the two resolutions because the USSR was boycotting the Council over its refusal to seat the People’s Republic of China as a member. In order to put an official UN imprimatur on the allied forces fighting in South Korea, the U.S. pushed through the General Assembly the Uniting for Peace resolution, which authorized military action under the earlier Security Council resolutions, even after the USSR had resumed its seat in the Security Council.

When the General Assembly took up the Korea military authorization, it was too late for the Soviets. The USSR, along with the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic – two Soviet republics that had their own UN membership -- as well as Czechoslovakia and Poland, voted against the Uniting for Peace resolution in the Assembly. India and Argentina abstained in the lopsided 52-5-2 vote.

Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

Stephen Lendman

Life in Occupied Palestine is hard enough. Imagine how much worse in firing zones. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Palestinians inspect damage in a poultry farm after an Israeli air
strike in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Food was already
scarce because of the immoral & illegal blockade of Gaza.

(1) Israel designated about 18% of West Bank land closed military zones, aka firing zones. It's one among other ways Israel steals land.
(2) About 5,000 Palestinians in 38 communities are affected. Most are Bedouins. Land they've lived on for generations was theirs in peace until 1948. Everything changed when Israel began stealing it. It's now used for military and other purposes.
(3) Over 80% of affected communities are in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area. It's called South Hebron Hills.
(4) Over 90% of these communities are water scarce. Residents access less than 60 liters per capita daily. Over half of them get less than 30 liters per day. The World Health Organization's (WHO) minimum recommended amount is 100 liters.
(5) Oslo divided the West Bank into three parts. They include Areas A, B and C. A fourth for Greater Jerusalem.

Palestinians control Area A for internal security, public order, and civil affairs. The PA maintains civil control over Area B. It includes 450 towns and villages. Israel retains overriding authority for settler safety and its own interests throughout the Territories. It controls Area C entirely. It comprises over 60% of West Bank land. It includes its valuable water resources. Israel considers it sovereign territory.

Land theft is official policy. Israel's been stealing it for decades. It wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas. Palestinians are consigned for scrublands unfit to live on. Food insecurity in Area C is 24%. For Bedouins, it's 34%. Many live in firing zones. At issue is for how long. Stealing it destroys generations of normal life.

Wage cuts hit millions of US workers

Patrick Martin

Laid-Off Factory Workers Occupy Chicago
(Credit: Luis Moreno Photostream)

Once the election is safely over, the two parties can drop their populist phrases and their pretense of intransigent hostility and get down to business.

According to a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Friday, millions of American workers who lost their jobs after the Wall Street crash of 2008 have failed to find work, while millions more have gone back to work only after taking substantial wage cuts.

According to the BLS, some 12.9 million workers were displaced from their jobs between January 2009 and December 2011. The BLS study focused on those who had lost jobs they had held for at least three years, who comprised just under half the total, some 6.1 million workers.

Of these 6.1 million workers, 27 percent were still unemployed but looking for work, while 17 percent have stopped looking for work, effectively dropping out of the labor force. Of the 56 percent who had found new jobs, slightly more than half took jobs that paid less than their old jobs. For those who took new jobs with pay cuts, the majority lost 20 percent or more compared to their previous wages, on top of the loss of earnings due to part-time work or reduced overtime.

All told, only 1.1 million out of the 6.1 million workers had been rehired at full-time jobs paying as much or more as they earned before the crash. In other words, of the workers hit hardest by the slump, barely 15 percent have been able to regain a position comparable to what they lost.

There is the starkest contrast between these figures, which give a glimpse of the mass suffering and hardship in the working class, and the conditions facing corporate America, where most large companies are enjoying bumper profits, stock prices are back to the levels before the crash, and CEO salaries and perks have broken all records.

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