Thursday, June 17, 2004

Iran Wrongly Accused on Nukes
More dodgy intelligence it appears. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency (IAEA) acknowledged wrongly accusing Iran of withholding information from a probe of its nuclear program, the Washington Post reports. The IAEA admitted that Tehran had indeed informed it about a key issue that had raised red flags - the importation of magnets for advanced centrifuges capable of producing weapons-grade uranium. Apprently it was mentioned face to face and in phone calls, but was not in writing. Good enough for a justification for war for Bush.

US Invokes Condemned Law Against Jamaican Invstors in Cuba
Jamaica's SuperClubs resorts company has decided to pull out of its 2 Cuban all-inclusive operations due to US pressure. A internationally condemned law, the Helms-Burton Act passed under Clinton but never invoked because of its quesitonable lawfullness, was used for the first time against investors in Cuba. The Bush Adminstration threatened to ban the top officers of SuperClubs, and their families, from travel to the US if they did not give up 2 of their reorts.

US Human Trafficking of Persons Report a SHAM
Human Rights is Again Used Cynically as a Political Tool
While the "cooked" State Department report on Terrorism got proper attention in the past week for the fraud that it was (and is being re-done), another report released a few days ago shows us more of the same arrogence, double-standards and politization we have come to expect. The report places Cuba and Venezuela as 2 of its top 10 worst countries in their performance against fighting child exploitation. Thailand is not included however, nor numerous other countries without even basic anti-trafficking laws on the books. Venezuela and Cuba both have strong laws protecting children and women against this practice, as well as devoted additional government resources towards preventing such abuse. The documentation cited in the reports are based on hearsay, totally one-sided or simply untrue. Take the Cuban case:

Basically, all the report says is that there is prostitution in Cuba - and some are underage. They say some of the "action" takes place in State-owned hotels and that the government denies the problem and has done nothing to solve it. Yes, there is prositution in Cuba, though it is mostly for foreign tourists. "Jineteras," as they are called, usually work on their own and the transactions are mostly much more fluid and humane than we think of. A fancy dinner may get you a date on your arm, while a paid of shoes may result in sex, but only if she think you are cute. Straight cash for impersonal sex is the minority of cases. Cuba has acknowledged the problem, with Castro, the state-run newspaper and everyday officials openly discussing it.

One of the Revolutionary Government's first acts was to ban prostitution, as US tourists had turned the country into a giant Red-Light district. The result has been that Cuba has the lowest rate of AIDS in the developing world. The Government has taken extraordinary steps to crack down on the prostitution rings that have sprouted up in recent years with increased tourism. There are countless cases of round-ups, stings and other law enforcement activity - directed primarly against the the pimps. Offenders are banned from the country and have been arrested. The girls are often placed in job-training classes or counseled. And they have taken the additional step of trying to keep out Cubans from tourist beaches and hotels. The US has critized all of these moves as draconian in other reports, but interestingly, fails to even mention them it in this one.

The US has a lot of balls making an annual report that talks about everyone but itself, when everyone can see that the US is among the worst nations in the world for child and woman exploitation? Prostitution here is widespread, ugly, unsafe, badly protected and the women are truly the victims. Human trafficking is reaching epidemic proportions. A hundred trafficked humans are held hostages in houses in South Central LA every day probably, awaiting immediate payment or a sex-payoff arrangement. 7% of US agricultural workers are between 10 and 17 years old and come mainly from human trafficking? The US as the largest producer of child pornography in the world? The US act is practically the only one in the world that imposes the death penalty on adolescents. The US refuses to sign the UN Convention on Children, making it nearly alone in the world. The US is the #1 provider of of sexual tourists that are deployed every day throughout the world.


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