UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashed out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law.
Pillay slammed the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities which are sheltering 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
“There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” the South African told reporters.
Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said.
She spoke a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp which was sheltering some 3,300 homeless Gazans, killing at least 16 people.
Pillay said that under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, noting that due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.
“It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” said Pillay.
She also criticized Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s power plant, as well as water and sewerage systems.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from the Zionist entity and its international sponsor, the United States.
“We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on,” Pillay said on Thursday, calling into question domestic investigations by Israel into abuses.
“I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong,” she added.
GAZA CITY – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned an Israeli attack on one of its schools used to house thousands of internally displaced Gazans earlier the same day.
“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.
“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts,” the statement said.
“The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times … to ensure its protection.”
The statement went on to say that the incident was the sixth time an UNRWA shelter had been struck during Israel’s offensive on Gaza.
“UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted.
Gaza’s health ministry said earlier that at least 16 people were killed in an Israeli shelling on a UN school in Jabaliya camp. The ministry called on UNRWA to immediately condemn the attack.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an later that initial reports suggested Palestinian militants had fired mortar shells at Israeli soldiers from the vicinity of the school.
The Israeli army responded by firing back at the “origins of fire,” the spokeswoman said.
“The incident is still being reviewed,” she added.
Over 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far on the 23rd day of the Israeli offensive, bringing the three-week total above 1,300.
More than 200,000 people, or about one in eight Gazans, have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the assault.
A United Nations committee has approved a resolution calling on Britain and Argentina to negotiate a solution to their dispute over the Malvinas Islands, also known as the Falkland Islands.
On Thursday, the UN Decolonization Committee approved the new resolution, calling for a negotiated solution to the 200-year dispute.
This comes as the world body refuses to recognize the outcome of a 2013 referendum on the political status of Malvinas. According to the vote, the territory claimed by both Argentina and the UK, would remain a British colony.
The British government has so far rejected several UN resolutions and repeated calls from Argentina for negotiations on the sovereignty of the region.
Britain argues that it is up to the islands to decide. But Argentina says the English-speaking islanders are an implanted population kept stagnant for the purpose of occupying the territory.
Argentina’s foreign minister said the dispute is not with the people living in the Malvinas but with the British government.
“Argentina has no problem with citizenship. Our problem is that the United Kingdom is occupying Argentinean territory against international law and the United Nations expressly rejects applying to the Malvinas the principle of self-determination,” Hector Timerman said on Thursday.
Argentina and Britain fought a 74-day-long war in 1982 over the islands. The conflict ended with the British side claiming victory.
Located about 480 kilometers (300 miles) off Argentina’s coast, the Malvinas Islands have been declared part of the British overseas territories since the UK established its colonial rule on the territories in 1833.
Yesterday at 11am, the Syrian Mission to the United Nations convened a press conference featuring people from the US who observed the recent elections.
Five minutes into the opening comments of Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari, the UN webcast cut off. The thousands of journalists, political analysts, and others who view UN webcasts each day from all over the world were denied the ability to watch the press conference, and hear what was said.
This is not the first time this has happened when Bashar Jaafari is speaking. This occurred on June 7th earlier this year, and on numerous occasions throughout 2013. Reporters at Inner City Press reported that this is not accidental, but was ordered by Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations.
This comes in the context of other UN harassment of Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has met with Ahmad Jarba, a leader of violent insurgent groups in Syria, but has refused to meet with Bashar Jaafari. Though Syria pays over $1 million to the UN each year, it is not being treated as an equal member state.
Watch the important, UN Press Conference about Syria, that someone obviously doesn’t want you, or anyone else, to see:
The Zionist entity was elected as vice-chair of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, in a new human rights farce.
The committee deals with matters related to the Palestinian cause, like probing the Israeli occupation to Palestine, following the international resolutions on this cause and investigating the Israeli violations to the international law and human rights.
Mordechai Amihai, the Zionist entity’s former consul-general in Turkey, is to represent the Western European and Others Group in the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in September on the Fourth Special Political and Decolonization Committee.
Amihai was elected on Wednesday afternoon with 74 votes from UN member states.
Sixty-eight countries abstained from the vote, and 15 votes were declared invalid.
The minimum number of votes needed was 39, with Britain, the US and Canada showing strong backing for the colonizer entity.
The Arab Group of UN member states voiced opposition to the move. Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab states, described Israel as a “State that violated the United Nations Charter and international law.”
The Arab country said Israel’s “track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years, Israel was not qualified to preside over questions pertaining to Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping and the investigation of its own illegal practices.”
China and Russia have jointly submitted an updated draft international treaty on banning the deployment of weapons in outer space to a UN-sponsored disarmament conference.
The US and Israel have repeatedly voted against UN resolutions on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
The updated draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects, was presented at a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations.
The new draft treaty prepared by Russia and China is a revised version of the one the two allies had presented earlier, including definition and scope of the treaty, organizations as well as mechanisms to solve disputes, said Wu Haitao, China’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for disarmament affairs.
The Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) was first proposed by China and Russia in February 2008 as an international legally binding treaty that would outlaw the weaponization of space.
Wu said this new draft treaty is aimed at advancing the Conference on Disarmament toward negotiations for signing an international legal document.
Space assets like satellites are at increasing threat of being disabled from hostile countries as risk of cyber-warfare grows.
Beijing has warned of the growing risks of the weaponization of outer space with the rapid development of space technology, which the Chinese Ambassador said will “hinder the peaceful use of outer space, break global strategic balance and stability and hamper nuclear disarmament”.
The existing legislation on outer space cannot prevent the use or the threat of force against outer space assets, Wu said.
Telecommunications, GPS navigation systems, power etc could be easily switched off with the disabling of satellites in the backdrop of a militarized outer space.
China has stressed during the UN conference on the urgent need to sign a new international legal document to prevent the weaponization of outer space.
China and Russia are willing to include suggestions and ideas from other parties and continue to improve the draft treat in order to lay a foundation for the start of practical negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament, Wu said.
Over 290 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons have been on a hunger strike since April protesting their indefinite detention. Now UN’s Ban-Ki moon demands Tel Aviv to either charge administrative inmates or release them “without delay.”
“The Secretary-General is concerned about reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for over a month,” Ban’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.
The UN Secretary-General “reiterates his long-standing position that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay,” he added.
According to the spokesman, Ban has taken note of the recent concerns issued by different human rights bodies and “has responded, reiterating the United Nations’ well known positions.”
Meanwhile, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also expressed her concern over a legislative amendment before the Israeli Knesset to allow force-feeding of the inmates.
The legislation, if passed, “would permit force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners on hunger strike against their will under certain conditions, in contravention of international standards,” Dujarric added.
On Thursday, members of a UN Special Committee which monitors human rights violations of the Palestinians on the occupied territories called upon Israeli authorities “to heed the demand of the hunger strikers to end the practice of arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinians,” a committee said in a statement.
“It is a desperate plea by these detainees to be afforded a very basic standard of due process: to know what they are accused of and to be able to defend themselves,” the committee said.
According to the UN body, the Israeli government has detained “a large number of Palestinians for reasons not explicitly indicated.”
“Initial administrative detention orders of six-month periods can be renewed an indefinite number of times without producing charges,” the committee said.
The first protests among the Palestinian detainees started April 24, when a group of about 100 prisoners launched a peaceful protest, the UN Special Committee said. The inmates were “inspired” by their months and years in detention in Israel without being charged with any crimes. Now the total number of hunger strikers has reached 290. At least 65 prisoners have been hospitalized as a result of the strike.
According to the UN committee, among the inmates there are currently 11 Palestinian legislators, including eight held under administrative detention.
“Given that there are more than 5,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, we strongly appeal to the Israeli authorities to allow all Palestinian detainees, especially women and children, to be periodically seen by Palestinian doctors in order to avoid losing more lives,” the Committee said.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Israeli doctors said they wouldn’t begin force-feeding the detainees, a move that put them on a collision course with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Netanyahu reportedly asked the authorities to speed up the bill’s reading, saying that he is confident the force-feeding will eventually be carried out.
The Israeli PM is now citing controversial US policy of force-feeding of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, a move that prompted long hunger-strikes among the inmates. The Guantanamo policy has drawn criticism from the United Nations human rights office, which said it constitutes torture and is thus a violation of international law.
Moscow has accused a UN report on violence in Ukraine’s Odessa of being purposefully blind to hard facts and simply “carrying out a political order to whitewash” the actions of the coup-appointed government in Kiev.
The Russian foreign ministry believes that the report presented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is marked by a systematic and routine ignorance of any Kiev involvement in sparking the Odessa carnage, while placing all the blame unequivocally with the pro-Russian self-defense forces. The ministry statement remarks that not a single word was said about neo-Nazi elements who engaged in setting buildings on fire with people inside, shooting dead anyone who opposed them and finishing of the wounded in plain sight.
This especially concerns the events taking place in the House of the Trade Unions on May 2.
The foreign ministry believes that such “double standards” are a clear indicator of the international organization’s mission to pander to a select side in the conflict without any regard for hard evidence.
The United Nations spoke on Friday of the “alarming deterioration” of the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The report by the organization’s head for human rights, Navi Pillay, focuses also on the problems the Tatar minority currently faces in Crimea.
However Moscow said Pillay’s monthly report failed to mention crucial facts, starting with the burnings and the coordinated murders; the inaction by Ukraine’s law enforcement as well as the multiple arrests of individuals rallying for federalization; the multiple kidnappings and instances of torture, as well as lack of any credible evidence to back up those actions. In this interpretation, “the entire story is basically being delivered as Kiev’s official line would have been.”
The foreign ministry found it peculiar that “in some 30 pages of text, there is not one mention of any manifestation of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine.”
Russia criticized the authors of the report for violating the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, which clearly dictates that political neutrality must be exhibited whatever the situation. “When UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced Crimea referendum ‘illegal’ following the suit of Kiev and its Western patrons, it seconded that it accepts a nation’s right to self-determination established by international human rights laws only when it is politically favorable,” said the statement.
The icing on the cake, in Moscow’s view, could be seen in the venue where the UN findings were presented – and by whom: in Kiev, by the UN secretary-general’s assistant, Ivan Shimonovich, who has a “reputation for a lack of objectivity, making sweeping judgments” and “unsubstantiated claims”.
Shimonovich’s role in the presentation is seen as “an unambiguous indication” of the OHCHR’s bias and lack of independence and objectivity.
Iran has once again called for global nuclear disarmament, as preparations are underway for a review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The NPT, which went into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995, was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear arms with the end goal of complete nuclear disarmament.
One of the main concerns of the member states of the treaty has been the issue of fissile material, which led to the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. However, decades later, no substantial negotiations have taken place.
Iran’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani criticized the nuclear-armed powers for failing to disarm decades after the NPT went into effect.
“The Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the conference in Geneva, the negotiations on this topic were to be started from 50 years ago. Unfortunately, there has been diversity of views on the scope and goal of this treaty,” Dehqani told Press TV.
“The goal of this treaty must be nuclear disarmament, because it has to be considered as a step toward realizing the ultimate goal of the NPT,” he said.
Under the terms of the NPT, five countries, including the United States, Russia the United Kingdom, France, and China are nuclear armed-states. The NPT has many signatories, who often faced the most gridlock when it came to fissile material.
Although all five powers have agreed to the eradication of nuclear weapons, a specific timeline has yet to be proposed.
Israel, widely believed to possess between 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenals, refuses to either allow inspections of its nuclear facilities or join the NPT.
The Preparatory meeting for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is currently underway in New York and will last until Friday May 9.
Back in April 2011, I had a post on The U.S. House of Representatives Hearing on Climate Change: Examining the Processes Used to Create Science and Policy. John Christy’s testimony is worth revisiting, in two contexts:
- problems with the IPCC process, most recently highlighted in context of WG3 [link]
- the Steyn versus Mann and Mann versus Steyn lawsuits [link]
John Christy has a unique perspective on how the hockey stick became the icon of the Third Assessment Report (TAR) – he served as a Lead Author (along with Michael Mann) on Chapter 2 Observed Climate Variability and Change. Relevant excerpts from Christy’s testimony:
In simplified terms, IPCC Lead Authors are nominated by their countries, and downselected by the IPCC bureaucracy with help from others (the process is still not transparent to me – who really performs this down-select?) The basic assumption is that the scientists so chosen as Lead Authors (L.A.s) represent the highest level of expertise in particular fields of climate science (or some derivative aspect such as agricultural impacts) and so may be relied on to produce the most up-to-date and accurate assessment of the science. In one sense, the authors of these reports are volunteers since they are not paid. However, they do not go without salaries. Government scientists make up a large portion of the author teams and can be assigned to do such work, and in effect are paid to work on the IPCC by their governments. University scientists aren’t so lucky but can consider their IPCC effort as being so close to their normal research activities that salary charges to the university or grants occur. Travel expenses were paid by the IPCC for trips, in my case, to Australia, Paris, Tanzania, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Victoria, Canada. Perhaps it goes without saying that such treatment might give one the impression he or she is an important authority on climate.
As these small groups of L.A.s travel the world, they tend to form close communities which often re-enforce a view of the climate system that can be very difficult to penetrate with alternative ideas (sometimes called “confirmation bias” or “myside bias”.) They become an “establishment” as I call them. With such prominent positions as IPCC L.A.s on this high profile topic, especially if they support the view that climate change is an unfolding serious disaster, they would be honored with wide exposure in the media (and other sympathetic venues) as well as rewarded with repeated appointments to the IPCC process. In my case, evidently, one stint as an L.A. was enough.
The second basic problem (the first was the murkiness of our science) with these assessments is the significant authority granted the L.A.s. This is key to understanding the IPCC process. In essence, the L.A.s have virtually total control over the material and, as demonstrated below, behave in ways that can prevent full disclosure of the information that contradicts their own pet findings and which has serious implications for policy in the sections they author. While the L.A.s must solicit input for several contributors and respond to reviewer comments, they truly have the final say.
In preparing the IPCC text, L.A.s sit in judgment of material of which they themselves are likely to be a major player. Thus they are in the position to write the text that judges their own work as well as the work of their critics. In typical situations, this would be called a conflict of interest. Thus L.A.s, being human, are tempted to cite their own work heavily and neglect or belittle contradictory evidence (see examples below.) In the beginning, the scientists who wrote the IPCC assessment were generally aware of the new responsibility, the considerable uncertainties of climate science, and that consequences of their conclusions could generate burdensome policies. The first couple of reports were relatively cautious and rather equivocal.
In my opinion, as further assessments were created, a climate “establishment” came into being, dominating not only the IPCC but many other aspects of climate science, including peer-review of journals. Many L.A.s became essentially permanent fixtures in the IPCC process and rose to positions of prominence in their institutions as a side benefit. As a result, in my view, they had a vested interest in preserving past IPCC claims and affirming evermore confident new claims to demonstrate that the science was progressing under their watch and that financial support was well spent. Speaking out as I do about this process assured my absence of significant contribution on recent and future reports. Political influence cannot be ignored. As time went on, nations would tend to nominate only those authors whose climate change opinions were in line with a national political agenda which sought perceived advantages (i.e. political capital, economic gain, etc.) by promoting the notion of catastrophic human-induced climate change. Scientists with well-known alternative views would not be nominated or selected. Indeed, it became more and more difficult for dissension and skepticism to penetrate the process now run by this establishment. As noted in my InterAcademy Council (IAC) testimony, I saw a process in which L.A.s were transformed from serving as Brokers of science (and policy-relevant information) to Gatekeepers of a preferred point of view.
A focus evolved in the IPCC that tended to see enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations as the cause for whatever climate changes were being observed, particularly in the 2001(Third Assessment Report or TAR) which was further solidified in 2007, (the Fourth Assessment Report or AR4.) The IAC 2010 report on the IPCC noted this overconfidence when it stated that portions of the AR4 contained “many vague statements of ‘high confidence’ that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or are difficult to refute.’” (This last claim relates to the problem of generating “unfalsifiable hypotheses” discussed in my recent House testimony.)
My experience as Lead Author in the IPCC TAR, Chapter 2 “Observed Climate Variability and Change”, allowed me to observe how a key section of this chapter, which produced the famous Hockey Stick icon, was developed. My own topic was upper air temperature changes that eventually drew little attention, even though the data clearly indicated potentially serious inconsistencies for those who would advocate considerable confidence in climate model projections.
First, note these key points about the IPCC process: the L.A. is allowed (a) to have essentially complete control over the text, (b) sit in judgment of his/her own work as well as that of his/her critics and (c) to have the option of arbitrarily dismissing reviewer comments since he/she is granted the position of “authority” (unlike peer-review.) Add to this situation the rather unusual fact that the L.A. of this particular section had been awarded a PhD only a few months before his selection by the IPCC. Such a process can lead to a biased assessment of any science. But, problems are made more likely in climate science, because, as noted, ours is a murky field of research – we still can’t explain much of what happens in weather and climate.
The Hockey Stick curve depicts a slightly meandering Northern Hemisphere cooling trend from 1000 A.D. through 1900, which then suddenly swings upward in the last 80 years to temperatures warmer than any of the millennium when smoothed. To many, this appeared to be a “smoking gun” of temperature change proving that the 20th century warming was unprecedented and therefore likely to be the result of human emissions of greenhouse gases.
I will not debate the quality of the Hockey Stick – that has been effectively done elsewhere (and indeed there is voluminous discussion on this issue), so, whatever one might think of the Hockey Stick, one can readily understand that its promotion by the IPCC was problematic given the process outlined above. Indeed, with the evidence contained in the Climategate emails, we have a fairly clear picture of how this part of the IPCC TAR went awry. For a more detailed account of this incident with documentation, see http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/.
We were appointed L.A.s in 1998. The Hockey Stick was prominently featured during IPCC meetings from 1999 onward. I can assure the committee that those not familiar with issues regarding reconstructions of this type (and even many who should have been) were truly enamored by its depiction of temperature and sincerely wanted to believe it was truth. Skepticism was virtually non-existent. Indeed it was described as a “clear favourite” for the overall Policy Makers Summary (Folland, 0938031546.txt). In our Sept. 1999 meeting (Arusha, Tanzania) we were shown a plot containing more temperature curves than just the Hockey Stick including one from K. Briffa that diverged significantly from the others, showing a sharp cooling trend after 1960. It raised the obvious problem that if tree rings were not detecting the modern warming trend, they might also have missed comparable warming episodes in the past. In other words, absence of the Medieval warming in the Hockey Stick graph might simply mean tree ring proxies are unreliable, not that the climate really was relatively cooler.
The Briffa curve created disappointment for those who wanted “a nice tidy story” (Briffa 0938031546.txt). The L.A. remarked in emails that he did not want to cast “doubt on our ability to understand factors that influence these estimates” and thus, “undermine faith in paleoestimates” which would provide “fodder” to “skeptics” (Mann 0938018124.txt). One may interpret this to imply that being open and honest about uncertainties was not the purpose of this IPCC section. Between this email (22 Sep 1999) and the next draft sent out (Nov 1999, Fig. 2.25 Expert Review) two things happened: (a) the email referring to a “trick” to “hide the decline” for the preparation of report by the World Meteorological Organization was sent (Jones 0942777075.txt, “trick” is apparently referring to a splicing technique used by the L.A. in which non-paleo data were merged to massage away a cooling dip at the last decades of the original Hockey Stick) and (b) the cooling portion of Briffa’s curve had been truncated for the IPCC report (it is unclear as to who performed the truncation.)
In retrospect, this disagreement in temperature curves was simply an indication that such reconstructions using tree ring records contain significant uncertainties and may be unreliable in ways we do not currently understand or acknowledge. This should have been explained to the readers of the IPCC TAR and specifically our chapter. Highlighting that uncertainty would have been the proper scientific response to the evidence before us, but the emails show that some L.A.’s worried it would have diminished a sense of urgency about climate change (i.e. “dilutes the message rather significantly”, Folland, 0938031546.txt.)
When we met in February 2000 in Auckland NZ, the one disagreeable curve, as noted, was not the same anymore because it had been modified and truncated around 1960. Not being aware of the goings-on behind the scenes, I had apparently assumed a new published time series had appeared and the offensive one had been superceded (I can’t be certain of my actual thoughts in Feb. 2000). Now we know, however, that the offensive part of Briffa’s curve had simply been amputated after a new realization was created three months before. (It appears also that this same curve was apparently a double amputee, having its first 145 years chopped off too, see http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/23/13321/.) So, at this point, data which contradicted the Hockey Stick, whose creator was the L.A., had been eliminated. No one seemed to be alarmed (or in my case aware) that this had been done.
Procedures to guard against such manipulation of evidence are supposed to be in place whenever biases and conflicts of interest interfere with duties to report the whole truth, especially in assessments that have such potentially drastic policy implications. That the IPCC allowed this episode to happen shows, in my view, that the procedures were structurally deficient.
Even though the new temperature chart appeared to agree with the Hockey Stick, I still expressed my skepticism in this reconstruction as being evidence of actual temperature variations. Basically, this result relied considerably on a type of western U.S. tree-ring not known for its fidelity in reproducing large-scale temperatures (NRC 2006, pg. 52).
At the L.A. meetings, I indicated that there was virtually no inter-century precision in these measurements, i.e. they were not good enough to tell us which century might be warmer than another in the pre-calibration period (1000 to 1850.)
In one Climategate email, a Convening L.A., who wanted to feature the Hockey Stick at the time (though later was less enthusiastic), mentions “The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance” and was “probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2” (Folland, 0938031546.txt). This, in all likelihood, was a reference to (a) my expressed concern (see my 2001 comments to NRC below) as well as to (b) the prominence to which the Hockey Stick was predestined.
To compound this sad and deceptive situation, I had been quite impressed with some recent results by Dahl-Jensen et al., (Science 1998), in which Greenland ice-borehole temperatures had been deconvolved into a time series covering the past 20,000 years. This measurement indeed presented inter-century variations. Their result indicated a clear 500-year period of temperatures, warmer than the present, centered about 900 A.D. – commonly referred to as the Medieval Warm Period, a feature noticeably absent in the Hockey Stick. What is important about this is that whenever any mid to high-latitude location shows centuries of a particularly large temperature anomaly, the spatial scale that such a departure represents is also large. In other words, long time periods of warmth or coolness are equivalent to large spatial domains of warmth or coolness, such as Greenland can represent for the Northern Hemisphere (the domain of the Hockey Stick.)
I discussed this with the paleo-L.A. at each meeting, asking that he include this exceptional result in the document as evidence for temperature fluctuations different from his own. To me Dahl-Jensen et al.’s reconstruction was a more robust estimate of past temperatures than one produced from a certain set of western U.S. tree-ring proxies. But as the process stood, the L.A. was not required to acknowledge my suggestions, and I was not able to convince him otherwise. It is perhaps a failure of mine that I did not press the issue even harder or sought agreement from others who might have been likewise aware of the evidence against the Hockey Stick realization.
As it turned out, this exceptional paper by Dahl-Jensen et al. was not even mentioned in the appropriate section (TAR 2.3.2). There was a brief mention of similar evidence indicating warmer temperatures 1000 years ago from the Sargasso Sea sediments (TAR 2.3.3), but the text then quickly asserts, without citation, that this type of anomaly is not important to the hemisphere as a whole.
Thus, we see a situation where a contradictory data set from Greenland, which in terms of paleoclimate in my view was quite important, was not offered to the readers (the policymakers) for their consideration. In the end, the Hockey Stick appeared in Figure 1 of the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, without any other comparisons, a position of prominence that speaks for itself.
So, to summarize, an L.A. was given final say over a section which included as its (and the IPCC’s) featured product, his very own chart, and which allowed him to leave out not only entire studies that presented contrary evidence, but even to use another strategically edited data set that had originally displayed contrary evidence. This led to problems that have only recently been exposed. This process, in my opinion, illustrates that the IPCC did not provide policymakers with an unbiased evaluation of the science, whatever one thinks about the Hockey Stick as a temperature reconstruction.
Judith Curry comments: Christy’s assessment, when combined with the University of East Anglia emails, provides substantial insight into how this hockey stick travesty occurred. My main unanswered question is: How did Michael Mann become a Lead Author on the TAR? He received his Ph.D. in 1998, and presumably he was nominated or selected before the ink was dry on his Ph.D. It is my suspicion that the U.S. did not nominate Mann (why would they nominate someone for this chapter without a Ph.D.?) Here is the only thing I can find on the U.S. nomination process [link]. Instead, I suspect that the IPCC Bureau selected Mann; it seems that someone (John Houghton?) was enamored of the hockey stick and wanted to see it featured prominently in the TAR. The actual selection of Lead Authors by the IPCC Bureau is indeed a mysterious process.
The IPCC process is clearly broken, and I don’t see anything in their recent policies that addresses the problems that Christy raises. The policy makers clearly wrought havoc in context of the AR5 WG3 report; however there is a more insidious problem particularly with the WG1 scientists in terms of conflict of interest and the IPCC Bureau in terms of stacking the deck to produce the results that they want.
BRICS have slammed recent reports ahead of the G20 meet to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin or to place any restrictions on his participation at the G-20 summit in Australia later this year.
“The Ministers noted with concern, the recent media statement on the forthcoming G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014. The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character,” said a joint BRICS statement on Monday. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had said earlier that Putin could be barred from attending the G20 Summit in November.
BRICS Foreign Ministers met on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague on Monday to review cooperation among the bloc of five after the adoption of the eThekwini Action Plan of 2013.
The Ministers noted that the role of global governments should focus on “finance, security, information and production”.
“The BRICS agenda is not centered around any specific country or related issue and shares a common vision which drives it to also increasingly identify common areas for cooperation to assist with finding global solutions to global challenges,” noted the joint communiqué.
The BRICS meet convened by South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was attended by her counterparts Sergey Lavrov, Salman Khurshid, Wang Yi and Carlos Antonio Paranhos, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
The BRICS Ministers also discussed cybersecurity and challenges to peace and security, “notably the significant infringements of privacy and related rights in the wake of the cyber threats experienced, for which there is a need to address these implications in respect of national laws as well as in terms of international law”, said the statement.
BRICS would “continue to act as positive catalysts for inclusive change in the transformation process towards a new and more equitable global order” asserted the Ministers.
BRICS have opposed sanctions against the Syrian government and have argued for a negotiated settlement of the Iranian issue. They are also pushing for reforms of global financial institutions like the IMF.
The five nations also agreed that the challenges that exist within the regions of the BRICS countries must be addressed within the fold of the United Nations.
“The escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions, and force does not contribute to a sustainable and peaceful solution, according to international law, including the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter,” said the statement.
Only a few months after rejoining the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and a few days after being allowed to participate in JUSCANZ, an advisory group affiliated with the UN providing consultation on human rights to UN bodies including the HRC, Israel has been awarded for its constant contempt and human rights violations by the unanimous nomination of UN Ambassador Ron Prosor to chair the elections for the Human Rights Committee.
Prosor’s nomination has been described by Israeli representatives as “a sign of the popularity that the current Israeli ambassador enjoys in New York”. A prompt substitution of “popularity” for “strategic allegiance” is a more suitable reflection of the dynamics which the UN, the US and Israel seek to enforce through collaboration to further oppression in the name of safeguarding human rights.
Following the nomination, Prosor stated, “It is a great honour to chair the elections for the Human Rights Committee. The central role Israel plays to advance human rights across the world is the real answer to anyone calling for boycotts against Israel.”
Prosor’s words attempt to project the image of the allegedly isolated settler-colonial state necessitating international support as having overcome hurdles allowing it to establish a formidable facade of resistance against the growing boycott movement.
On February 10, the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power declared, “We have pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system.”
However, despite the human rights rhetoric spouted during the discourse, the only example provided of Israel’s international contribution to human rights was the humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake, which is expected to compensate for the criticism regarding the collective punishment cruelly inflicted upon Palestinians for decades.
The rhetoric clearly portrays the manner in which coercion has become an integral part of human rights discourse.
The US and the UN have constantly utilised human rights discourse and humanitarian concerns as a pretext to distribute violence as means of preserving the imperialist manipulation of freedom, a factor conveniently shunned to create avenues for structured charters attempting to address vestiges of dignity.
Depicting Israel’s inclusion and prominent participation in matters pertaining to human rights as an asset signifies the exerted domination to maintain oppression, as well as unconditional support for Israel’s protection.
In turn, the platform granted to Prosor gives precedence to the fabricated narratives which ensured the creation of the settler-colonial state upon the destruction of Palestine, in complicity with the UN and its approach to eradicating the protection of human rights.
Prosor’s choreographed appointment reaffirms the imperialist efforts to compromise Palestinian freedom from within an organisation which legitimises its own violations while revelling in its self-imposed impunity.