Freesteel Blog » The purpose of the site

The purpose of the site

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 at 11:17 am Written by:

With reference to which is a website and parsing system that has taken quite a bit of time to put together.

I have been told by colleagues that I am wasting my time. Instead I should be doing something to earn money. It’s a sad situation that when you invest a lot of effort into something that has the potential (though not the certainty) to improve the world, you barely get any encouragement. You have to keep justifying what you are doing. Even people who do say they support you don’t get very involved.

I have decided to outline some of the justifications for what I am doing below. These are not the reasons the project got started; I just did what I had the power to do. These ideas came much later. Hopefully people will think of other tangible uses in the future.

The United Nations is not supposed to be a democratic institution. It is an organization that has a mission statement and is, presently, the only planetary institution that has the potential to mitigate the self-destructive forces that have emerged from the affairs of the human species. That mission statement, written in 1945, reads:

To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind

To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small

To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained

To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom

Presently, the United Nations is staffed by the cream of the world’s diplomatic elite. These men and women know how tread lightly around the most powerful interests in society without causing offense, whilst sometimes persuading them to do the right thing.

Unfortunately this does not mean they achieve enough to guarantee survival.

If these men and women knew that there were people in the outside world, beyond their cosy culture of diplomacy, watching what they did, perhaps it would be easier for them to find their voices.

Example 1: In September 2003 the Security Council submitted its annual report for the period from August 2002 to July 2003 in document A/58/2. This was an important report, for it covered the period in which a permanent member of the Security Council bombed, invaded, and occupied a sovereign nation nowhere near its border in a manner seemingly inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations. Prior to this action, there was a great deal of debate in the Security Council as well as significant disputes over whether the nation in question had actually breached its Security Council resolutions. However, lacking the diplomatic words to describe the events in a way that wouldn’t offend, the issue was barely covered (between page 19 and page 20). Furthermore, no procedure was put into place to get to the bottom of the dispute, and the issue has never since been brought up for discussion. Out of the entire General Assembly, only the Ambassador for Brazil noted (paragraph 3) the deficiency of this particular report.

Example 2: The General Assembly rule of procedure (listed under the section Maximization Utilization of time available) states that

“condolences addressed to a delegation on the death of a prominent person or in the event of a disaster should be expressed solely by the President of the General Assembly.”

As a result, it is possible to compile a list of such condolences since 1994. Included are many natural disasters and tragic incidents that have happened over this time period when the General Assembly happened to be in session. The list includes a handful of notable terrorist attacks. However, tragic events involving massive losses of innocent lives resulting from the firing of cruise missiles are omitted, presumably because the people in the Assembly knew that there is no way they could mention such “sensitive issues” diplomatically.

Example 3: There have been a topics, such as the Question of the Falkland Islands, the United States bombing of Libya in 1986, and the Israeli bombing of an Iraqi nuclear installation which have been persistently on the agenda, but are systematically postponed for decades. Rarely do any delegates note the embarrassing nature of this situation.

If people from outside the culture of politics and diplomacy watched what was going on and read the documents with their own eyes, perhaps it would not be so easy for the Security Council to file incomplete reports; perhaps people would be generally appalled by what massacres are not worthy of official condolence; perhaps the items on the Agenda would be seen as having so little relevance to the visible crises, that it would become more politically awkward to not to mention them than to mention them.

There are problems. There will always be problems. But there is major evil in hiding those problems and actively protecting the very sources of those problems.

The international diplomatic community, like any elite crowd, operates, exists and thrives on respect. No respect should be granted by the mere holding of office. It should be earned. Do the ambassadors for your country conduct their affairs in ways that make you proud to be a citizen, or are they shameful? Only you can decide.

People, everywhere, need to learn how to explore for themselves these vast troves of recent historical official documents. In and of themselves, they do not provide answers. What they do is bring up questions. When you find evidence that goes totally against the official narrative, you have to ask “What does this mean?” and “Why is this inconsistent with what I know?”

There are questions. Thousands of them. Almost all will be outside the scope of the managed political message of the day. If all of us developed the habit of digging around into every different corner imaginable and started asking real Questions, the powers that be won’t have had time to craft and prepare their sets of answers to fit with the official narrative.

Why knows. They might be left with no alternative but to tell the truth.


  • 1. kgah replies at 14th March 2008, 12:05 pm :

    You write: “Presently, the United Nations is staffed by the cream of the world’s diplomatic elite”.

    This is not so. In another post I will try to demonstrate and say why your view may need some revision. But first I will read your post carefully.

    Congratulations. You have done a great service. I hope that it will help to show the ways in which the UN system (including the Specialised Agencies) can be improved.

    One thought just occured to me. Would you look up the many UN commissioned studies AND the studies done by Governments and academia on ‘UN Reform’ and set them as a Study in themselves as to the different ideas there are about the ‘UN’.

    Best regards,

  • 2. Dave replies at 22nd July 2008, 10:15 pm :

    The UN isn’t scrutinized nearly as much as it should be. Hopefully what you’re doing is simply the beginning of a wider shift towards observation of the organization’s actions. Keep it up.

  • 3. Lang replies at 16th August 2010, 6:13 am :

    It’s a shame that you don’t seem to receive the recognition you deserve. I commend you on your noble actions, and all the more so because it is not “something to earn money”.

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