Friday, July 29, 2011

The Whistleblower: UN decades long involvement in Bosnian sex trade

The film will be released in LA and NY on Aug 5

After weeks of internal deliberations, the United Nations recently held a
pair of private viewings of a controversial new film, The Whistleblower, which
explores U.N.  complicity in sex crimes
in Bosnia over the past two decades.

Based on real
events and reviewed last month by Turtle
, the film recounts how U.N. peacekeepers became involved in the illegal
sex trade in Bosnia in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Top officials have
been concerned that the film's imminent release -- it hits theaters in Los
Angeles and New York on August 5 -- could harm the institution's international
The horrific incidents
depicted in the film occurred well before Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
and his leadership team arrived at the United Nations. But Ban's tenure is also
implicated in the story,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

FP on Obama, UN resolution and Palestinian Statehood

The article very accurately notes Obama cannot merely declare opposition to the upcoming UN resolution, but must put an alternative proposal on the table.

Amplify’d from

President Obama must act now to prevent the Israel-Palestinian conflict from descending into chaos.

-- or someone -- has got to give. With international momentum building for a
U.N. resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood, Washington is finally coming
to the realization that the Israeli-Palestinian status quo is unsustainable.

Barack Obama's administration signaled once again this week that it will oppose the Palestinian
application for full membership to the United Nations when the issue arises in
September. But if Obama wants to forestall a vote by the U.N. General Assembly,
he needs to do a lot more than recite the usual platitudes about the need to
revive peace talks. He needs to put his own plan on the table and take the lead
in resolving the seemingly intractable conflict. Time is not on anyone's side.

has made a convincing argument for why the world needs to move on the peace
process today. He has described how the shifting demographic balance poses a
problem for Israel, how technology will make it more difficult for Israel to
defend itself, and how the Arab uprisings and the fast-approaching U.N. vote
will pose new challenges. But he has not gone far enough. If Washington wants
to oppose action in the General Assembly, it must offer an alternative.

the very least, the president must lay out a U.S vision of what can be an
acceptable solution to the conflict -- much as Clinton did more than a decade
ago. That vision must include the issues of a shared Jerusalem, an agreed
solution to the refugee problem, and settlements.

See more at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FP's Toby Archer on Breivik

Toby Archer quickly has set the standard for journalism and reflection on Breivik. This is an informed piece.

Amplify’d from
We hope, and perhaps need, a man who would gun down teenagers in cold blood to be mad.

So when Anders Behring Breivik says that his killing spree on Friday, July 22, was "gruesome but necessary" -- as he reportedly told his lawyer -- we must not just dismiss him as mad, but ask why he thinks so. Having left a 1,500-page manifesto and a YouTube video -- all conveniently in serviceable English for the international audience -- he clearly wants to be understood.

To do so requires an appreciation of a transatlantic movement that often calls itself "the counter-jihad." As his writings indicate, Breivik is clearly a product of this predominantly web-based community of anti-Muslim, anti-government, and anti-immigration bloggers, writers, and activists -- no matter how much the movement's leading lights may deny this and denounce his actions.

See more at

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What is the difference between spirituality, religion, and church?

The response trades on an important insight found in Buddhist teachings.

The IRFWP link provides the entire response to this question.

Amplify’d from
Recently a Quora participant posted this question: "What
is the difference between spirituality, religion, and church?

have heard people say they are all the same (almost like a three in
one) and others say they are very different ideas."
This is an excellent and important question.
especially important in our current time because
a great many people have interest in and seriousness toward the
spiritual dimensions of life (both personally and communally), but
have come to have serious misgivings about what they perceive or
understand to be "religion," and "church." Heard
constantly "I'm spiritual, but I am not religious." If
pressed, the average person who describes him or herself so often is
incapable of explaining this declaration any further, but it becomes
clear that the core impulse in the declaration is that "religion"
is bad, but "spirituality" is good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

China’s ‘eye-in-the-sky’ nears par with US

Until now analysts have taken an unimaginative view of US-China relations obsessed primarily with economic development, essentially a materialist-dominated analytical foundation.

There is hope that shared need and interest in stability might trump the impulse to supremacy, but this requires a more complicated inquiry into how these two powers should relate

Amplify’d from

China’s rapidly expanding satellite programme could alter power dynamics in Asia and reduce the US military’s scope for operations in the region, according to new research.

China Launches New Communication Satellite In Xichang

“Starting from almost no live surveillance capability 10 years ago, today the PLA has likely equalled the US’s ability to observe targets from space for some real-time operations,” two of the institute’s China researchers, Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin, write in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

China’s rapidly growing military might has unnerved its neighbours, many of whom are US allies, while a series of disputes this year with Vietnam and the Philippines have added to the concerns.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Catholic Church explores Crystal Cathedral bid

Do Catholics have a better tradition of succession?

Amplify’d from
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, California, announced this week
that it is exploring the possibility of buying the controversy-vexed
church, which declared bankruptcy last fall.

"The Diocese of Orange does not currently have an adequate cathedral
to meet the needs of its 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County, the
11th largest diocese in the nation," the statement said.


The diocese's announcement came on the same day Chapman University, a
Southern California school, revealed that it had offered $46 million
for the Crystal Cathedral.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Obama's Libya missions with no congressional approval

Among the many questions President Obama dodged during his Wednesday press conference was this: “Do you believe the War Powers Act is constitutional?”

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to receive the approval of Congress within 62 days after introducing U.S. forces into three types of hostilities, including “into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces.”

Obama maintains that the United States is not engaged in “hostilities” in Libya.

Amplify’d from

Air Force and Navy aircraft are still flying hundreds of strike missions over Libya despite the Obama administration’s claim that American forces are playing only a limited support role in the NATO operation.

An Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that since NATO’s Operation Unified Protector (OUP) took over from the American-led Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 31, the U.S. military has flown hundreds of strike sorties. Previously, Washington had claimed that it was mostly providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and tanker support to NATO forces operating over Libya.

“U.S. aircraft continue to fly support [ISR and refueling] missions, as well as strike sorties under NATO tasking,” AFRICOM spokeswoman Nicole Dalrymple said in an emailed statement. “As of today, and since 31 March, the U.S. has flown a total of 3,475 sorties in support of OUP. Of those, 801 were strike sorties, 132 of which actually dropped ordnance.”

A White House report on Libya sent to Congress on June 15 says that “American strikes are limited to the suppression of enemy air defense and occasional strikes by unmanned Predator UAVs against a specific set of targets.” The report also says the U.S. provides an “alert strike package.”