Saturday, August 07, 2004

UN: Some Terrorists Have a Point, Y'know

From Reuters:

A United Nations investigator has called on governments to stop whipping up exaggerated fears of terrorism among their populations, in an apparent reference to the United States and Britain.

And in implicit criticism of Russia and China, Greek Lawyer Kalliopi K. Koufa said in a report that the world community should be more alert to a growing trend to label as terrorists groups seeking to exercise the right of self-determination.

Fear of terrorism "out of proportion to its actual risk and generated by states themselves or other actors" can be exploited to make people accept "counter-terrorism measures that unduly curtail human rights and humanitarian law," the report declared on Thursday.

…But U.N. diplomats said it was clearly intended to cover such developments -- and could also be linked to the heavy security being enforced in Athens, under pressure from major powers, for this months's Olympic Games.

Although Koufa did not identify any offending governments, it was clear the major powers were the main target of her strictures, according to the diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity.

…"Fear of terrorism is heightened by repeated and often
exaggerated, if not unlikely, references to weapons of mass destruction potentially in the hands of terrorist groups or certain states, even though nearly all terrorist acts have been carried out by traditional methods," she wrote.

In responding to the problem, governments should ensure that
they were accurately reflecting "real risk....and (should) refrain from generating undue fear of terrorism," Koufa's report declared.

The U.N. investigator said the international community should be more attentive to the distinction between armed conflict and terrorism "with particular attention to conflicts to realise the right to self-determination and civil wars."

… U.N. diplomats said her phrasing left little doubt she was
thinking of Russia and its war against separatist forces in the rebel region of Chechnya, as well as China which has labelled as "terrorists" its own Moslem rebels in the north-west.

Blather. Terrorism is a tactic. Individuals who employ this tactic are terrorists. Organizations devoted to the use of terrorism are terrorist organizations.

The end goal of Chechens and Xinjiang terrorists may be territorial autonomy. Their tactics are separate from their goals, and in labeling them as terrorists we are condemning their tactics. When Chechen separatists captured a theater full of Russians and held them without food or water until the Russian military staged a rescue, that was terrorism. When Xinjiang separatists die alongside Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, they are not pursuing any goal but the defense of terrorists.

As to the vast majority of attacks being “conventional”, most attacks involve mortars or bombs. The vast majority of casualties however sprang from ramming hijacked airliners into buildings. Terrorists don’t stand on precedent.

Complaints about enhanced protection at the Olympics are especially ridiculous, since terrorists have hit the Games twice.

To all the multilateralists: this is why we didn’t go to the UN in September 2001.

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