Saudi Arabia on UN’s Status of Women Panel
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Guess who won a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women? This is the Commission dedicated exclusively “to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Does the answer leap out at you when you find that the new appointee ranks 141st of the 144 nations rated by the World Economic Forum in its 2016 Global Gender Gap report? OK, quiz over. The answer is Saudi Arabia.).
The Saudi Kingdom is so dismissive of the rights of women that it’s the only country worldwide where woman can’t drive an automobile. In addition, every woman must have a male guardian who alone can approve her schooling, career, and travel, even to obtain health care. Her guardian is typically her father or her husband, but it could even be her underage son.
Only last month, a 24-year-old Saudi woman sought to flee a forced marriage by going to the Philippines in hopes of getting to Australia. She was held and then turned over to two male relatives for the trip back to Saudi Arabia where she will be dealt with. In the recent past, a Saudi princess won asylum in England when a British court granted her immigration status because she had produced a child with a man outside the reach of Saudi detectives. She was very fortunate.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer commented, “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist the town fire chief.” He called the election “a black day for women’s rights and for all human rights.” Add to all of this the fact that the vote to welcome the Saudi Kingdom for a seat on this UN panel was done in secrecy. Few know who approved such an appointment. Saudi Arabia will begin its four-year membership on the Commission in 2018.
One has to wonder what’s going on here. Has the UN lost its collective sanity? Why choose a country so obviously at odds with the stated purpose of the Commission?
We don’t know the answers to these questions. But consider the UN’s steady growth in power over all nations and all humans. None of this buildup toward world government is affected by the appointment. It may even cause many to dismiss the UN as a major global power that is not to be taken seriously. Critics of the world body’s powerful commissions, departments, offices, and missions will easily be led to believe that this appointment of an obvious abuser of women’s rights shows how inept the entire UN truly is.
If that’s why Saudi Arabia will get a place on this UN Commission, the UN has won by painting itself as a bumbling entity that threatens no one. Meanwhile, UN progress toward its goal of unchallenged rule over all of mankind continues.
Sensible lovers of freedom in America and elsewhere must continue to call for breaking the UN’s tightening grip on the planet. Americans who want the U.S. out of the UN are encouraged to continue spreading the whole truth about the world body. Let the cry to Get US out! grow louder and reach many more. Let an abuser of women’s rights proceed to have a seat on the Women’s Rights Commission. But don’t anyone forget what else must become more widely known about the United Nations itself. Educational tools telling the whole truth about the UN are available at shopjbs.org or call 1-800-342-6491.
The “28 Pages” Still Shielding Answers
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
It was 15 years ago that sensational attacks by Islamic militants in hijacked commercial airliners crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands perished and investigations were launched but many unanswered questions remain.In late June of this year, the New York Times published a front-page article written by two of its reporters about some of those unanswered queries. Specifically, were the 19 hijackers aided in their plot by the Saudi Arabian government? The Times article focused on 28 classified pages from the 2002 congressional findings that have been declared secret and kept from public scrutiny. The 28 pages have recently been brought to light, but what have they shared?
What we do know about two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, is that they arrived in the United States on January 15, 2000. Neither spoke English or had any appreciation of America’s ways. They were taken care of via arrangements seemingly made by Fahad al Thumairy, a Saudi consular official stationed in Los Angeles who also served as an Imam at a mosque where the two men were seen. Another man on the Saudi government’s payroll, Omar al-Bayoumi, arranged for housing and provided for other needs of the two.
Bayoumi helped the two hijackers settle in San Diego where the local imam was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had become an extreme radical with ties to Al Qaeda. Awlaki eventually fled to Yemen where he became heavily involved as an Al Qaeda recruiter, continually inciting Muslims within the U.S. to engage in Jihad. He was later killed in a drone attack at his base of operations in Yemen.
Questioned about Hazmi and Mihdhar, former San Diego-based FBI official Richard Lambert stated, “I have to believe something was planned for the care and nurturing of those guys after they arrived. They needed help getting settled and making preparations [for their deadly hijacking attack].” Thumairy lost his visa after giving unsatisfactory responses to questions about the two men and about his role as an imam. He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2003. And was questioned by American authorities in 2004. Unsurprisingly, Thumairy insisted that his assignment at the Los Angeles consulate had been routine. But he also denied knowing Bayoumi despite the fact that 21 telephone calls between the two over a two-year period had been discovered.
After the Times article appeared, 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser released further details bearing on the secreted 28 pages and the connections of the hijackers. Working with four other 9/11 widows who are collectively known as the “Jersey Girls,” Breitweiser told of a terrorist summit held in Malaysia in January 2000 attended by Hazmi and Mihdhar and leaders of Al Qaeda from several countries.
The leading “Jersey Girl” claims that Bayoumi shared his phone with Hazmi and Mihdhar. She unearthed information showing 32 calls to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, 37 calls to the Saudi Cultural Mission in Washington, and 24 calls to the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles by “someone” who had used this particular telephone. All of these calls were placed during the first five months of 2000.
So questions remain about Saudi Arabia’s connections with some of the hijackers. And, there are many more unanswered questions about the 9/11 attacks and the radical Islamists who conducted them.
Will the newly released 28 pages of secreted information provide some answers – even possibly showing that the Saudi Arabian government had a hand in caring for some of the 9/11 hijackers as they plotted their deadly attack?
However, cover ups have become a regular feature of the U.S. government’s conduct. In this case, it seems that the beneficiary is the Saudi Arabian government. Why their possible involvement in a sensational crime should be shielded is a question that needs to be answered.
No Longer Dependent on OPEC!
by JBS President John F. McManus
New procedures for extracting oil and natural gas from the earth have skyrocketed the United States to now producing as much as comes out of Saudi Arabia. And the U.S. could soon easily eclipse the Saudis. North Dakota’s Bakken shale field is only one region where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has made tremendous resources available. Other known locations where fracking can lead to production have yet to be tapped.
For decades, our nation has been yanked around by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Our nation’s need for energy continued to grow and our dependence on OPEC members to sell it to us has always placed the U.S. in a bind, financially and diplomatically. OPEC surely took advantage of our dependence, both in the prices Americans had to pay and in the conduct of our nation’s foreign policy. But all of that is changing.
Oil prices have been halved over the past year, much to the delight of America’s industrial sector and the millions who drive an automobile and use oil to heat their homes. Natural gas prices have likewise come down – or not risen as expected. And there seems now to be a virtually limitless supply of both types of energy within our borders.
As reported by the New York Times, Jason Bordoff, former energy adviser to President Obama and now director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, has noted that “with a global glut and prices cratering, the United States is in the driver’s seat.” All aspects of energy production have not completely changed however. The hurdle known as environmentalism remains. There are areas within the U.S. where fracking has been prohibited. Construction of the Keystone pipeline that would transport Canadian oil from its tar sands to refineries in the U.S. is still being blocked by the Obama administration due to environmental claims.
With much of the Middle East in turmoil, with U.S. supplier and OPEC member Venezuela unpredictable, and with needs for energy rising not falling, it behooves the U.S. to continue on its current path toward complete energy independence. Being independent of others for critical energy will strengthen our nation’s position financially and diplomatically. What remains to be seen is whether U.S. leaders will take advantage of this remarkable development to reassert political independence as well.
Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.