United Nations an Accomplice in Hezbollah Kidnapping:

After Hezbollah's kidnapping of a pair of Israeli soldiers spurred an Israeli counter-attack, many critics of Israel actions have suggested that the United Nations can serve as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah. To the contrary, the United Nations has a well-established record of collaboration with Hezbollah in the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been deployed since 1978, not long after Israel first entered Lebanon in pursuit of PLO terrorists. UNIFIL was created pursuant to Security Council Resolution 425, for the purpose of "confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area." Quite obviously UNFIL has utterly failed to achieve the Security Council's objectives, either before or after Israel's 2000 complete withdrawal from Lebanon. One reason is that UNIFIL does not interdict Hezbollah attacks on Israel. Instead, UNIFIL allows Hezbollah to set up positions next to UNFIL units, in effect using UNIFIL as human shields against Israeli counterstrikes. (Aluf Benn, Israel accuses UN of collaborating with Hezbollah," Haaretz, Sept. 11, 2005.)

UNIFIL's most notorious collaboration with terrorists involved the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli soldiers, and the subsequent cover-up.

On October 7, 2000, Hezbollah terrorists entered Israel, attacked three Israeli soldiers on Mount Dov, and abducted them Lebanon. The kidnapping was witnessed by several dozen UNIFIL soldiers who stood idle. One of the soldier witnesses described the kidnapping: the terrorists set of an explosive which stunned the Israeli soldiers. Clad in UN uniforms, the terrorists called out, "Come, come, we'll help you."

The Israeli soldiers approached the men in UN uniforms. Then, a Hezbollah bomb detonated—-apparently prematurely. It wounded the disguised Hezbollah commander, and three Israeli soldiers.

Two other terrorists in U.N. uniforms dragged their Hezbollah commander and the three wounded soldiers into a getaway car.

According an Indian solider in UNIFIL who witnessed the kidnapping, "By this stage, there was a big commotion and dozens of UN soldiers from the Indian brigade came around." The witness stated that the brigade knew that the kidnappers in UN uniform were Hezbollah. One soldiers said that the brigade should arrest the Hezbollah, but the brigade did nothing.

According to the Indian soldier, the UNFIL brigade in the area "could have prevented the kidnapping."

"I'm very sorry about what happened, because we saw what happened," he said. Hezbollah "were wearing our uniforms and it was too bad we didn't stop them."

It appears that at least four of the UNIFIL "peacekeepers," all from India, has received bribes from Hezbollah in order to assist the kidnapping by helping them get to the kidnapping spot and find the Israeli soldiers. Some of the bribery involved alcohol and Lebanese women.

The Indian brigade later had a bitter internal argument, as some members complained that the brigade had betrayed its peacekeeping mandate. An Indian government investigation sternly criticized the brigade's conduct.

There is evidence of far greater payments by Hezbollah to the UNIFIL Indian brigade, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for assistance in the kidnapping and cover-up.

The UN cover-up began almost immediately.

Lebanon's The Daily Star reported the story told by a former officer of the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), which is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). ("UN 'destroyed' evidence after abduction of 3 Israeli troops," The Daily Star, July 20, 2001.)

A few hours after the kidnapping, UNTSO learned that two abandoned cars had been discovered. One was a white Nissan Pathfinder with fake UN insignia; it had hit an embankment because it was being driven so fast that the driver missed a turn. The other was a Range Rover; it was missing a tire rim, and was still running when it was discovered.

Rather than using the very-recently-abandoned vehicles as clues to rescue the kidnap victims, the UN initiated a cover-up. The next morning, eighteen hours after the kidnapping, a team of OGL and the Indian UNIFIL began removing the contents of the cars.

The Range Rover was soaked with blood. Among the contents of the vehicles may have been a cell phone belonging to the terrorists. The UNTSO officer confirmed that the cars contained "extremely sensitive" items which included "current and relevant information that could have been easily linked to the incident."

A UNIFIL peacekeeper videotaped the removal of the contents, and attempted to tow one of the cars. According to a much-later U.N. report, there were fifty items taken from the car, seven of them blood-stained. (Report of the fact-finding investigation relating to the abduction of three Israeli soldiers on 7 October 2000 and subsequent relevant events, Aug. 2, 2001.)

The end of the UNIFIL videotape featured armed Lebanese men confronting the UN forces, and taking the cars away from the UN. The UN personnel did not resist, because, they later claimed, the cars did not belong to the UN anyway.

The UNTSO officer told The Daily Star that the UN ordered its personnel to destroy all photographs and written reports about the incident.

The U.N. did not provide the Israelis with the automobile contents, or the videotape, both of which might have helped the Israelis rescue the kidnap victims. Instead, the seized contents of the cars were taken to a town in Lebanon, stored in a safe, and some were eventually returned to Hezbollah.

Israel found out about the videotape, and demanded that the UN let Israeli investigators see it. Kofi Annan and his Special Envoy denied that any videotape existed. It is not clear whether Annan was lying, or whether he was misled.

Nine months after the kidnapping, July 6, 2001, the UN admitted that is had the videotape. Annan ordered an internal UN Report, which was led by UN undersecretary-General Joseph Connor. (Connor was later implicated in the Oil-for-Food scam.) The report revealed that the UN had two additional videotapes—one of which contained still photographs from the kidnapping itself. The UN investigation declared that there was no evidence that the UNIFIL forces had been bribed, or that the UN had deliberately misled anyone.

Even after admitting the existence of the first videotape, Annan refused to allow Israel to view it. He claimed that letting Israel see evidence about the kidnapping would undermine the UN's neutrality. Thus, Annan insisted on neutrality between innocent victims and terrorists who had used fake UN insignia and who had taken vehicles from UN staff a gunpoint.

The United States House of Representatives, on July 30, 2001, passed by a vote of 411-4 a resolution urging the UN to allow Israel to see the videotape. Annan relented, but only under the condition that the tape be edited so as to hide the faces of the Hezbollah perpetrators. He also agreed to give the Israelis some, but not all, of the items which the UN had seized from the getaway cars.

On January 29, 2004, the bodies of the murdered Israelis were returned to Israel by Hezbollah, as part of a prisoner exchange.

UPDATE: In response to one of the commenters, I've added the following analysis on two questions: 1. By what standard can the UN be considered an "accomplice" in the Hezbollah kidnapping? 2. Is anti-semitism the best explanation of UN behavior?

1. Regarding UN complicity in kidnapping, one can analogize from the rules that are used to decide whether a corporation is criminally culpable for the acts of its employees, or whether a government agency is liable under section 1983 for the acts of its employees. At the lowest level--the four bribed Indians--the trier of facts looks at the entity's efforts to prevent or punish the employee conduct in question, and whether the entity creates a culture in which the conduct is encouraged or tacitly tolerated.

For misconduct by higher-ranking employees, prosecutors and fact-finders tend to be more likely to conclude that misconduct is attributable to the entity. If you believe the UNTSO official who spoke to The Daily Star (not exactly a reflexively pro-Israel newspaper), or if you believe that reports of a vast bribery scheme are true, then you might well find culpability on the part of the UN.

But I think that my calling the UN an "accomplice" is supportable purely on the undisputed public facts about the UN's concealment and suppression of evidence — with some of the suppression being conducted at the direct order of the UN's chief executive. I believe the undisputed facts are sufficient to show, at the least, that the UN was an accessory-after-the-fact to the kidnappings.

Moreover, the activities of the UN's top staff in New York City, and of high-ranking UN officials in Lebanon, are also relevant evidence for whether there is UN corporate culture of tolerance for terrorism/kidnapping, which is relevant evidence for whether the misconduct of the Indian brigade can be attributed to the UN.

As some commenters have pointed out, there is a very long record of the UN being extremely lax towards crimes committed by its peacekeepers in many other places--for example, the rapes of women and girls in former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, West Africa, and the Congo. The global record suggests, again, a corporate culture of indifference (despite official statements to the contrary) towards employee on-the-job involvement in violent crime; the evidence of a global culture of indifference is more evidence which a fact-finder could use in concluding that crimes of the Indian brigade were attributable to the UN.

2. Anti-semitism. I don't think that anti-semitism is the root of the UN's problem with Israel. It's true, as some commentators have pointed out, that the UN is functionally anti-semitic; that is, the UN constantly condemns Israel far more often and more vehemently than it condemns other countries which (even if you believe the worst about Israel) violate human rights much more severely than Israel does. The Eye on the UN website provides copious documentation of the UN's functional anti-semitism.

Nevertheless, I think the UN's pervasive anti-Israelism, although anti-Semitic in practice, is not primarily motivated by hatred of Jews.

Hitler was genuinely committed to anti-Semitism. He harmed his own military interests by giving rail line priority to trains which were headed for the death camps, putting those trains ahead of military transport trains. Similarly, Hitler would have produced resources with which to fight the war if he had used Jews as slave labor (as many were used before extermination), rather than killing them en masse. Who else would harm their own self-interest in order to kill Jews. The answers include "the government of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the PLO." But only one of these has a UN delegation, and the UN had turned vehemently against Israel long before Iran's government was taken over by Islamonazis.

Way back in the 1950s, the Arab bloc at the UN had succeeded in perverting UNRWA so that UNRWA would perpetuate rather than solve the Palestinian refugee problem. The Arab dictators of the day may have personally despised Jews, but I think that the dictators were acting out of self-interest, not prejudice. They recognized that keeping the Arab-Israeli conflict festering was a good way to distract and divert the anger of their own nations' populations. In retrospect, we know that the strategy was only partially successful, since the fomentation of anti-Israel Jew hatred sometimes aroused local forces which the dictatorships were unable to control.

Arab government-incited anti-semitism had the advantage of building on historical prejudices against Jews. (It's true that, in the past, Arab Moslem regimes sometimes treated Jews better than did European Christians, but there was also a long record of atrocious abuse of Jews in the Arab world on which the post-WWII Arab dictatorships could build.)

But suppose that modern Israel had never been created, and that, after WWII, some other state for a stateless people had been born. Maybe sympathy for the Gypsies, who were also the victims of Nazi genocide, might have led to the creation of Gypsistan (or Romastan, according to the modern usage) in a part of Egypt. (The word "gypsy" comes from the "Egypt", based on the belief that the group originated there.) Or some other persecuted group might have established a homeland in the wastelands of Libya. In any case, I think that the establishment of a non-Arab state would likely have led to military confrontation, and if the attempt to exterminate that state by force had failed, then the Arab dictators would have found political advantage in fomenting hatred of that non-Arab state.

Although UNRWA was captured very shortly after it was born, the broader UN assault on Israel didn't get going until the 1960s; the assault peaked in the 1970s, and later receded slightly from its 1970s apex. The anti-Israel assault of the 1970s was merely one element in a successful Soviet strategy of aligning the new UN members, most of them former colonies of Europe, and most of them dictatorships, into an anti-Western bloc. Israel, having the misfortune of being located in the middle of a sea of dictatorships, was a natural target of this UN super-majority; but the same would have been true if Romastan were a pro-western democracy.

Today, the Islamic bloc at the UN continues to find local political advantage in anti-Israelism (as it would with anti-Romastanism), while the rest of the Third World finds it advantageous to go along. I don't think that the dictatorship of China, for example, cares one way or the other about Jews or Israel; but the Chinese dictatorship correctly discerns that voting with the Islamic bloc against Israel is a cost-free way to curry favor with Islamic states, and win their support on issues relevant to China.

Regarding Kofi Annan, and most of the rest of the UN's leading executives, I would say that, functionally, they are vicious anti-Semites, but that, in their hearts, they are not particularly prejudiced against Jews per se. Rather, their actions are explainable under the principles of organizational behavior. Annan is a career UN employee (the first one to become Secretary-General), and he has risen through the organization by shrewdly placating whoever needs to be placated. His anti-Israel actions are simply the result of his astute calculation of the balance of forces at the UN. If he could gain more power at the United Nations by denouncing Fiji or by defending Israel, he would do so.

So there is no anti-semitic conspiracy at the UN, in the sense of a conspiracy directed by people who are deeply motivated by hatred of Jews. Rather, the UN's criminal complicity in the kidnapping of Israelis, like the rest of the UN's anti-Israelism, is explainable as the logical result of a wide variety of UN actors behaving according to their self-interest.


Orin, in a post above, argues that, even though high-ranking United Nations officials destroyed and withheld evidence about the Hezbollah crime (for which the accomplices included four rank and file UN peacekeepers), the UN officials would not be guilty as accessories-after-the-fact, because they did not have the specific intent that is necessary for such liability.

If there actually were a prosecution, I don't know whether the law which would be applied would be Lebanese law, Israeli law, International Criminal Court law (if similar acts were perpetrated today), US law for the portion of the cover-up in the US (assuming the UN employees waived or lost their diplomatic immunity), or some other law. But for simplicity, let us look at a very straightforward example of how American juries are instructed to determine accessory guilt.

Here the Sixth Circuit Jury Instructions:

(1) _______ is not charged with actually committing the crime of _______. Instead, he is charged with helping someone else try to avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished for that crime. A person who does this is called an accessory after the fact.

(2) For you to find _______ guilty of being an accessory after the fact, the government must prove each and every one of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(A) First, that the defendant knew someone else had already committed the crime of _______.

(B) Second, that the defendant then helped that person try to avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished.

(C) And third, that the defendant did so with the intent to help that person avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished.

(3) If you are convinced that the government has proved all of these elements, say so by returning a guilty verdict on this charge. If you have a reasonable doubt about any one of these elements, then you must find the defendant not guilty of this charge.

It would appear relatively easy for the prosecutor to prove elements (A) and (B) of the offense. As for (C), let us presume that a UN official testifies honestly during his trial (perhaps in exchange for leniency):

Q: Why did you destroy and conceal the evidence?

A: To avoid embarassment to the United Nations.

Q: Did you believe that it would be embarassing to the United Nations if the public found out that four UN peacekeepers were accomplices in the crime?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you worry that if the Hezbollah perpetrators were caught, they might reveal, or the prosecutors might more easily discover, that UN peacekeepers were accomplices?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you destroy and conceal evidence with the intent of helping the Hezbollah perpetrators and the UN perpetrators avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: Because achieving my intent of helping the perpetrators avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished was indispensible to my ultimate intent of avoiding embarassment to the United Nations. Isn't that obvious? I mean, once I formed my intent of avoiding embarassment to the United Nations, I necessarily intended to accomplish all the steps which were requisite to my ultimate intent. I certainly had the common sense to know that one of the steps which I must take would be helping the perpetrators avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished.

CTD (mail):
7.21.2006 8:32pm
Eric Anondson (mail):
The umbrella you put away when the rain falls.
7.21.2006 8:44pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
Not surprised. One reason I call the UN building the "United Nazis Building". If there is one thing that most of the world's nations have in common, it is anti-semitism. Its part and parcel of the UN campaign to confiscate the 2nd Amendment via its small arms convention.

While the UN Small Arms Control Conference is consipiring to take away Americans right to keep and bear, they are getting down on their proverbial knees to stroke off the exact sort of "private militias" (Hezbollah, Hamas, Mahdi Army) that they claim to want to disarm. Of course, if they actually meant to disarm anybody but Americans with their small arms convention, the UN would have forced the disarmament of Hezbolla, as required under Resolution 1554, years ago.

Of course, UN Resolutions never get acted upon unless the US is doing the acting, and the US sure doesn't want to go back into Lebanon to do anything other than evacutate our own citizens (though, judging from the news coverage of what some of these alleged "US citizens" think of the US, I have my qualms about even that).
7.21.2006 9:28pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
I take some solace in the fact that even my liberal friends - most of them - acknowledge that the UN is a joke.
7.21.2006 9:28pm
@CTD: lol

@Mike Lorrey: Wow, you are totally right! Everyone who opposes US or Israeli policies is totally anti-semitic. It can't be for carefully considered reasons. Furthermore, UN resolutions are totally binding on US citizens, which is why the UN can take all our guns. Except for the part where the US freely ignores anything the UN does that isn't convenient. I love how people like you, who have argued since its inception that the UN is irrelevant and powerless, suddenly argue that the UN is on the precipice of taking our M-16s away, as soon as Limbaugh&O'Reillly and friends disseminate the PR to that effect. What's it like to be so easily manipulated?
7.21.2006 10:08pm
I would call the U.N. a collection of mostly gangster organizations that prostitute themselves---but I don't want to denigrate gangsters and prostitutes.
7.21.2006 10:25pm
Justin (mail):
The rhetoric on this website is astonishing. When did this website become little green footballs?

As a pro-Israeli liberal, I've become disgusted by the alliances the pro-Israeli groups have made with people like Bernstein and Kopel. The United Nations are accomplices to terrorism? Gee, and here I was thinking that their purpose was to promote peace. But that was all a ruse - they're intentionally trying to kill Jews and Americans, because....uhhhh...they're Jews!!! and Americans!!!!

And the evidence? That 4 (four) foot soldiers of the underfunded UN peacekeepers were given a bribe to look the other way, and that they were embarrassed and didn't admit it (and this is just taking what Kopel says at face value, which I'm dubious).

So from that we get "accomplices" and "well-established record of collaboration". Really now, is that the best you can do? Don't you know Kofi Annan runs Hezbollah in his headquarters in Geneva, along with his roommate Osama Bin Laden?

[While I have no idea about Prof. Bernstein, you'll be pleased to know that no pro-Israel group has made an alliance with me; I just think this stuff up on my own. Not that I'd be adverse to working with a pro-Israel group, if one asked. As for the rest of the points, I've added some elaboration to my post.

BTW, I think that, in general, you're a valuable critic, and a constructive part of the VC dialogue (at least on my own posts). But I think that you mistakenly jumped to a conclusion regarding my beliefs about why the UN acts as it does towards Israel.]
7.21.2006 10:39pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Kofi Annan is such a cool sounding name but all it means is "4th child born on Friday". At least he didn't make it up like Congressman Frizzle Gray of Maryland.
7.21.2006 10:44pm
Jeff R.:
If it were just the 4 foot soldiers, maybe. But the cover-up went quite literally all the way up to the top, with Annan never releasing the evidence or unedited tape, to say less of actually, you know, punishing the guilty within his organization.
7.21.2006 10:45pm
frankcross (mail):
Any chance this source is not a reliable one?
7.21.2006 10:52pm
gr (www):

If it were just the 4 foot soldiers, maybe. But the cover-up went quite literally all the way up to the top, with Annan never releasing the evidence or unedited tape, to say less of actually, you know, punishing the guilty within his organization.

Does the UN have the ability to punish peacekeeping soldiers? I'd be surprised if they could, for example, punish american peacekeepers.
7.21.2006 11:04pm
steve k:
To Justin and Luke: It's not the mere criticism of Israeli policies by the UN, it's their outrageous double standard. We're talking about continuing, overwhelming criticism of Israel while countries that truly deserve condemnation, near and far, get far less (or sometimes no) attention.

Is it anti-Semitism? Yes. For some reason only the world's lone Jewish country gets such blatantly unfair treatment. For all the UN's high-flown rhetoric, it has never been capable of putting together a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

Is the UN an accomplice to terrorism? Yes. When you spend more time than anything else you do condemning a country trying to protect itself from terror, while you can only half-heartedly speak out (forget doing anything) about the terrorists who wish to destroy this country, your actions make you an accomplice.
7.21.2006 11:12pm
BGates (mail) (www):
Justin, you're right. I can't imagine what kind of simpleton would think anyone wants to kill Jews just because they're Jews. Obviously the UN can't be an accomplice to terrorism. If it were, would it be keeping Hezbollah away from Israel? And where does Kopel get off calling people 'accomplices', just because they took bribes to aid the commission of a crime? (If they even took bribes - that's just taking what israelinsider reported at face value, which I'm dubious - I'd rather believe fellow anonymous website commenters like Justin.) Speaking of which, when did israelinsider become little green footballs?
7.21.2006 11:20pm
Untied Notions:
If anyone care's to be disabused about the U.N.'s fairness towards the Jewish Nation, click below:
7.21.2006 11:26pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Luke, to a first approximation, yeah.

I am somewhat surprised that the UN-haters have not brought up the extensive evidence that UN peacekeeping forces act like criminal gangs wherever they are, not just around Israel.

When the UN was set up, there were only about 50 countries and only a half-dozen or so that were important. Those half-dozen were largely of western orintation; even if they hated the west, they still operated more or less within parameters of conduct that made sense in the west.

Today there are about 200 countries, and still only about half a dozen count for anything. It is hardly surprising that the rest act like Tammany wardheelers. Who would expect anything different?

That most hold social views that are different from -- usually antagonistic to -- western values only adds to the unlikelihood that UN forces would behave like anything other than mafiosos on a spree.

It isn't only that the UN is antiJewish, though it is that, too.
7.21.2006 11:38pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Great Dave. This is a long-running story that simply doesn't get enough attention. For decades, UN refugee camps have been nurseries of terrorist organizations. Yet, there are still multitudes which believe they are the answer to the problem of world peace.
7.22.2006 12:24am
Gray (mail):
UN Contigents are just national armies with blue helmets or berets on and are only as competent or incorruptable as those national armies. While that can be grounds to criticize the UN peacekeeping system don't think that all UN units are the same.

Use NATO instead.
7.22.2006 12:47am
United Nations, in most cases, is powerless as a body that can bring politcal stability, as a health and human services organization it is invaluable just becasue no one else gives a damn about collateral damage that results from any armed conflict.

To disregard that function of the UN is an exercise in intellectual dishonesty, that alas, is quite frequently practiced by many intellectuals dining at Волох's well-mannered table.

For example, Professor Kopel's correlation between increase in semi-automatic weapons among civilians and decrease in probability of armed conflict will surely manifest itslef as soon as Israel enters South Lebanon. I would only hope that prefessor be on hand to oversee the results, but doubt that he would be able to make it on such short notice.
7.22.2006 1:00am
Justin (mail):
Yes, that's the UN, a bunch of administrators coming together from all the world to bring back the blood libel and the gas chambers - and what a great disguise, in an organization supposedly dedicated to peace which has no military of its own and no powers to control those military personnel that it borrows, by permission, from other nations.


But that's just because I'm an Anti-semite. Boy, will my Rabbi be upset!
7.22.2006 1:31am
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
The UN has no control over its peace keeping forces and no responsibility for their actions.


I assume then that the UN will be returning the Nobel Prize it received in respect of its peace keeping operations on the grounds that it's nothing to do with them.
7.22.2006 1:42am
chrismn (mail):
Don't you guys understand! The UN stands for peace!
It doesn't matter that the peacekeeping forces have sex with
minors wherever they go and don't actually ever keep the peace. The UN stands for peace!
7.22.2006 2:01am

Don't you guys understand! The UN stands for peace!
It doesn't matter that the peacekeeping forces have sex with
minors wherever they go and don't actually ever keep the peace. The UN stands for peace!

Here come da bullshit wave, duck and cover.
7.22.2006 2:16am
Justin (mail):
Ming, as previously noted, UN peacekeepers are controlled by the country of their military service, and are disciplied by such country. While UN administrators probably have the ability to request that a volunteer nation discipline a particular peacekeeper, that nation is free to do whatever he wants with them - unless the Hague gets involved (which, as you must know, only happens for crimes against war and humanity, and are laced with political peril).
7.22.2006 3:02am
David Kopel writes:

Regarding UN complicity in kidnapping, one can analogize from the rules that are used to decide whether a corporation is criminally culpable for the acts of its employees, or whether a government agency is liable under section 1983 for the acts of its employees.

I'm not sure I follow. Why draw analogies to other areas of law? The claim is that the UN was an accomplice to the kidnapping, and accomplice liability requires intent to further the criminal act. So the claim would have to be that the United Nations as an entity actually intended to further the Nezbollah kidnapping. Am I right that there is little or no evidence of that? Maybe I'm being too technical -- it's an occupational hazard of crim law professors -- but it doesn't seem like a case of actual accomplice liability to me.

[DK: A robs a bank, and, in the process of fleeing from the crime, comes to B's farm. B says to A, "I will help you conceal the evidence of the crime. I had no wish that you rob the bank, and, indeed, it is a matter of indifference to me whether the bank was robbed or not; I have no specific intention regarding the bank robbery. However, I will destroy or will give to you all the objects in my possession which incriminate you in the bank robbery. I will also destroy all my written records in which I recorded that I saw you committing the robbery. I possess photos of you robbing the bank, and, should I be forced to give those photos to the police, I will black out your face." Is B guilty as an accesssory-after-the-fact?
7.22.2006 3:43am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Justin, are we allowed to discuss the UN's failures, or does your rabbi (peace be upon her) require us to first make a ritual denunciation of Israel?
7.22.2006 8:08am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So Justin thinks that by being silly and by misrepresenting others' points he's making a case.


But let's drop the "accomplice" piece for a moment. What good was the UN to the Israeli soldiers in question? What good was the UN supposed to be to Israeli soldiers in those kinds of situations? I should say that I'm speaking of the ostensible purpose, not the wink/nod purpose.

Since, not "if", this is the way the UN acts, what good is the UN in matters pertaining to Israel?

As to the ability of the UN to discipline its peacekeepers or others working on its behalf, how handy. How handy.

Annan and company have no way to stop the miscreants from, say, sending them large checks from Oil for Food. Boy, what a problem. No way to discipline, or even control, their agents.

What good are these people?
7.22.2006 8:14am
Dave Kopel:
Is B guilty as an accesssory-after-the-fact?
Nice try at clouding the issue, but that's not the question Orin posed. Here's one for you:
Is the large farming collective to which B belongs guilty as an accesssory-after-the-fact?
7.22.2006 8:44am
I recall reading a few months back that "insurgents" in Gaza were using ambulances with UN markings and/or provided by the UN to move ammunition and terrorists around during battles. The issue was ignored by the MSM so it went away. Why doesn't 60 Minutes or Dateline interview Annan and ask him questions about this type of behavior? He'd probably tell them they were too cheeky.
7.22.2006 9:05am
To Apodaca,

Was Arthur Andersen guilty for shreding it's Enron docs? Should they have been?
7.22.2006 9:07am
David M. Nieporent (www):
So Justin thinks that by being silly and by misrepresenting others' points he's making a case.
So what else is new about Justin?

Yes, Justin, a well-established record of collaboration. For instance,

* In 1967, Nasser announced he wanted to attack Israel and demanded that UN "peacekeepers" in the Sinai get out of his way. Those UN "peacekeepers" immediately fought back and held their ground, right? Oh, hahaha, I was making a funny. In fact, they stood aside.
* UNRWA actively supplied anti-Israel, anti-semitic textbooks to Palestinian schools.
* While the UN allowed a terrorist organization, the PLO, to join and participate for decades, the UN refused to let Israel join any committees.
* The UN refused to condemn anti-semitism by name. (When they were condemning racism, they claimed Jews represent a religious group, not a racial group, and so it didn't fit. Then when it came time to condemn anti-religious bigotry, they tried to claim Jews were a race.)
7.22.2006 10:13am
MDJD2B (mail):
The United Nations (as far as I can tell) has no mechanism for disciplining or punishing miscreants, other than dismissing them administratively. If its bureaucrats take bribes, itere is no judiciary to prosecute them. If soldiers under their auspices take bribes, rape civilians, or fail to carry out thier mission, the UN has no authority to discipline them.

Even if the upper reaches of the United Nations Secretariat were as well-meaning and competent as any government or quasi-government body could be, its lack of authority would be a problem.
7.22.2006 10:29am
Thanks, Apodaca.
7.22.2006 11:38am
frankcross (mail):
Or, since the US is the major funder of the UN, and our President George Bush has sometimes spoken highly of the organization, perhaps we're really the guilty ones here.
7.22.2006 12:48pm
BBB (mail):
Apodaca, you completely missed the part about the UN helping in the coverup. Not just a few soldiers, the UN honchos. Think "officers of the farming collective". Sheez, just a simple reading of this incident shows that the UN was more concerned about maintaining "neutrality" than it was in helping a member-state recover kidnapped soldiers - simply because doing so would reveal their "peace-keepers" deceptive and criminal behavior.

Like has been said so many times before, it's not just the crime, it's the cover-up. They went into full cover-up mode from the get-go. Not just the UN soldiers, but their superiors all the way to the top.

What's so hard to figure out here? It's almost like there is a willingness to excuse this behavior because it doesn't fit within a pre-conceived view.
7.22.2006 12:52pm
BBB (mail):

Yeah, you know, because that John Bolton guy Bush appointed is all about helping the UN brush inconvenient stuff like this under the table. He's Kofi's lapdog!
7.22.2006 12:58pm
Jack Burton (mail):
It's pretty damn simple. The UN "peacekeepers" witnessed and possibly collaborated in a kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers. Since they were supposed to be "peacekeepers", they failed in their mission and are therefore worthless. If they won't keep the peace, their peacekeeping mission in itself is utterly worthless, and the Israelis have every right to brush them aside.
7.22.2006 12:59pm
"The United Nations (as far as I can tell) has no mechanism for disciplining or punishing miscreants, other than dismissing them administratively. If its bureaucrats take bribes, itere is no judiciary to prosecute them. If soldiers under their auspices take bribes, rape civilians, or fail to carry out thier mission, the UN has no authority to discipline them.

Even if the upper reaches of the United Nations Secretariat were as well-meaning and competent as any government or quasi-government body could be, its lack of authority would be a problem."

and like any good bureaucracy/ corporation when it finds that people who were its agents/ standard bearers were guilty of malfeasance it initiated a cover up.

far as i see it just the usual despicable, all to human bureaucratic nbehaviour, no antisemetism here.

As far as the indian peackeepres are concerned their un pay is probabely 10 times what they get nornmally, However a plush un assignment is a great way to build a retirement nest egg. make hay while they can!

So the UN is doing what all bureacracies do- be corrupt and protect your ass. i can totally understand it but still disapprove.

what i cannot understand is the dimwits who actually think a global bureaucracy like the UN can actually accomplish anything or be impartial.

BTW their health efforts are bogged down bythe same kind of ineptitude and stupidity and politics as the rest of the organisation.
7.22.2006 1:08pm
frankcross (mail):
BBB, what are Bolton's comments on the coverup? Has he harshly attacked it? Taken steps to correct the situation?
7.22.2006 1:22pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
How did BBB get that cool green margin? I want a cool margin!
7.22.2006 1:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
It's possible that all of the following are true:

a) The UN sucks

b) Improving the UN so that it would suck less is humanly possible

c) If such a thing were to happen, most of the human race would be better off, in the long run

d) Many of the people who yell "the UN sucks" are interested in destroying it, not improving it (probably many of them are like vic, who apparently believes "a global bureaucracy like the UN [can't] actually accomplish anything")

I think debates like this would be clearer if the anti-UN crowd was willing to more explicitly say "I don't just oppose this UN; I oppose the idea of an improved UN, or of any UN." Or if that's not actually their position, I'd like to know what their positiion is.

I think there's a very similar dynamic as far as the Bushist attitude toward the federal government. There's a certain Norquistian logic in sending someone like Michael Brown to confront Katrina, since one result is that certain people throw their hands up and say "a national bureaucracy like the federal government can't actually accomplish anything."

Is it bad to have a UN, or is it just bad to have a bad UN? Is it bad to have a federal government, or is it just bad to have a bad federal government? Is it inevitable that organizations like this are this bad (and therefore we should minimize, marginalize or destroy them), or is it reasonable to expect something better (and therefore we should endeavor to improve them)?
7.22.2006 1:47pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Just looking at the page source, for some reason the class of BBB's comment is "great", rather than "normal" like the rest of them. Not knowing anything about Eugene's style sheet, or administrative controls, I can't say anything more for sure. But I would guess that David or one of the other contributors chose to highlight it.
7.22.2006 2:59pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Uh. The UN is like Hamas. It has two wings. The political wing and the miscreant wing. The political wing has no control over the miscreant wing. It is not the fault of the UN they have no control. Now can we get back to negotiations?
7.22.2006 3:17pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
My advice.

Make all UN Peacekeepers subject to the ICC.

That would keep the US out of peace keeping missions except on a bilateral or trilateral basis.

Thus the most prized peace keepers in the world would not be subject to UN management.

Problem solved.
7.22.2006 3:25pm

What you are missing is the critical question of intent. Was the UN covering up the misconduct with the intent of minimizing its own embarassment? Or was it covering up the midconduct becaue it wanted to further the kidnapping? The second case is accomplice liability. The first case is not.

Also, your claim that "It's almost like there is a willingness to excuse this behavior because it doesn't fit within a pre-conceived view" is rather ironic. No one is excusing anything; we're just insisting on accuracy. Hmm, it's almost like there is a willingness to excuse the inaccuracy because it doesn't doesn't fit within a pre-conceived view.
7.22.2006 3:54pm
godfodder (mail):
As a typical "Bushist" I can tell you that no one opposes the idea of a functioning, reasonable, morally defensible multi-national body that addresses common diplomatic and military issues. Just look at NATO. Who opposes NATO? What is the difference between the UN and NATO?

(hint: NATO doesn't contain thuggish, soul-less regimes like North Korea. NATO doesn't allow itself to be hijacked by manipulative, dishonest regimes like Syria. People like me despair over the UN ever becoming something more than the impotent, surreal political theater that it has become.)
7.22.2006 4:28pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
jukeboxdog, I choose (d), with conditions.

The conditions are that international organizations can work, and work well, if they are merely technical. The International Postal Union, for example.

The League of Nations ought to have proved that international political organizations don't work as continuing bodies. They can work, more or less, for a while, for a specific purpose (think UNO vs. Hitlerite Germany), but since no two nations -- much less 200 -- have exactly the same desires, they always have to fall out about something.

Clauswitz in 'On War' said everything that can be said about this in is section about why coalitions fall apart. He had had plenty of experience with the problem.

As far as the UN as constituted goes, as opposed to some theoretical organization, about one-quarter of its member states are Muslim societies. These societies have no interest in the western norms in the UN charter and belong only because they can use the mechanism for their own purposes.

Annan (or any other secretary-general) cannot treat Israel fairly, because if he did, 49 states would quit and the UN would collpase. (Actually, more than 49, because several states that describe themselves as confucianist also have no interest in the ideas in the charter and would withdraw if the only reason for remaining were to advance western principles.)

As an institutionalist, Annan must always work to the detriment of Israel, although he may be clever enough to realize that it is to his personal benefit not to allow his supporters to eliminate Israel and -- as a result -- any need for Kofi Annan.

That he is also a corruptionist and a Jew-hater adds piquance but is not really relevant to the issue of having a UN.
7.22.2006 4:48pm
Scenescent (mail):
We have a reasonably high-profile peacekeeping force where I live, too. We call it the LAPD. And, along their history of maintaining the peace, members of the LAPD have helped the bad guys, killed the good guys, extorted, raped, bribed, took bribes, and then shielded all this behind comradely stonewalling and cover-up after cover-up. The situation is similar among the peacekeeping forces of New York, or Chicago, or any major city.

Now, it's easy to put all this on the shoulders of a few bad apples, but given the recurring nature of these issues, and the structural disparities and incentives of the situation, not to mention out-and-out racism on behalf of some peacekeepers who police communities of a different ethnic background than their own, it's quite likely that these bad apples may be an unavoidable feature of the system.

But few suggest dissolving these forces as irredemably corrupt and dangerous. For one, the vast majority of individual peacekeepers are, in fact, competent, dedicated, and righteous. And moreover, it's generally agreed that having even a flawed, partially corrupt peackeeping force is better than having no peacekeeping force at all.

So, what do we do? Well, we accept the necessity of such a force, and constantly fight to keep its demons in check. We seek rigorous internal controls, but when, as often happens, the institution is unable or unwilling to restrain or punish its own, civic institutions like newspapers and community groups take initiative to launch their own investigations and expose the truth and root out the troublemakers, much like, actually, the investigation David recounts in his post.

Now, I follow this tack not to resurrect tired debates on policing v. war-fighting as the ideal operating paradigm for anti-terrorism, but rather to answer the question implicit in David's post, "How can Israel possibly entrust its safety to the hands of these peacekeepers, who have been proven to be corruptable by evil forces?" And the answer is, the same way we do - with caution and vigilance, as a least-bad alternative.
7.22.2006 5:08pm
As a non-Bush voter and not a Democrat, the UN serves no useful purpose.

I do not believe the UN should be in existence.

Jukeboxgrad, all organizations reach a point of diminished functionality. The UN or the US govt or any large corporation is no different. Bigger is not always better.
7.22.2006 5:23pm
Warsong (mail) (www):
From the heart of Iraq:

For those of you who disagree with Prof. Kopel, I suggest you go to his website (see the sidebar) and read everything there. He is the only pro-gun member of the UN's IANSA, and, has written extensively on the Genocide that follows their machinations.

If you will notice, Prof. Kopel gives Links to everything he quotes, and, it is imperative that you follow and read each one, to verify that he's not just pulling statistics or quotes out of thin air.

If you don't believe that the United Nations is intent on World Domination (at whatever cost), I would suggest that you go to their Website, and, read everything in the section titled, "World Goverance."

I just had an experience with a "Crack Mortar Crew" imported by the local Terrorist group from Iran. Had I been 30 minutes ahead of schedule, I'd have been seated in the center of a carefully targetted barrage of 5 Mortars, that thankfully contained one 'flyer.' Had it not been a flyer, the two ex-pats I work with would not now be alive.

My contempt and disdain for the UN (and, for anyone who supports or enables them) knows no bounds.

Gordon Arthur DeSpain
7.22.2006 5:34pm
Katje (mail) (www):
I think the UN has a proven track record over the last several decades of showing that it cares more about its own publicity than it does about the issues generating it. I don't say this as a blanket statement meaning that all people within the UN are like this. Obviously, as does any organisation, it attracts people genuinely committed to helping solve the legitimate problems people suffer around the world, but they aren't the politicians whose names appear in the press - they're nameless workers sweating it out in the miserable pits of the world. But I digress:

Getting back to the UN politicians, I'm surprised anyone could believe they are committed to neutrality, peace, and human rights.

If the UN was truly committed to neutrality, we would see kudos or condemnations to any country equally for the actions they commit. If Ethiopia does something that helps improve human rights, or to help its people achieve representative government, or imposes governmental accountability to its citizens, they should be commended loudly and publicly. In the same vein, if Belgium does something that limits freedom of the press or free speech, or imposes obligations on certain citizens which may limit their rights under the law, they should be censured or condemned accordingly. These are exactly the types of things the UN should lend its name to - the promotion of activities and conditions that elevate humanity, and the denigration of any- and everything that abases humanity. Yet digging through world media nets the searcher any manner of stories similar to these that go unremarked by the UN everyday. Further, we see stories and press releases and meetings that go on all the time, wherein the UN elevates one party over another as having the Moral Highground, or voices frequent criticisms of a particular country (the US comes to mind), or pointedly ignores certain countries (like China, Russia, France) regardless of what they do.

If the UN was committed to peace, they would cease to send UN forces around the world under the auspices of "peace- keeping". There has not been a single instance where a place or situation has not been made worse by the presence of UN forces. Also, the UN would carefully review their commitment to neutrality before venturing to comment on whether one or either side occupies a higher legal or moral position in a conflict. Their top priority would be the preservation of common sense, and an acknowledgement that peace isn't always feasible, despite one's best efforts. Under that circumstance, the priority would be the speedy end of hostilities, the preservation of human rights (especially in the case of legitimate noncombatants) and a firm and enforceable treaty and drawdown.

The UN's position on Human Rights is appalling. How could anyone believe they are committed to, let alone have respect for, human rights when UN Human Rights Committees have hosted members of nations around the world with abominable records of human rights abuses? A review of their website shows a healthy supply of conventions, protocols, statutes and guidelines in support of all of humanity's best intentions, but no suggestion of how to enforce them. Indeed, when (as the US is also attempting now in Iraq) someone does try to enforce them, they are just as likely subject to censure for it. Furthermore, the UN has a spotty record of calling attention to abuses except in cases where it suits their political agenda to do so (ie. no condemnation of Russia for its human rights abuses in Chechnya, but endless grandstanding against US "abuses" at GTMO; no acknowledgement of China's treatment of dissidents or Christians, but a great outcry on Israel's "targeting civilians" which they aren't - but no comments to the terrorists, despite the terrorists deliberately using them as human shields). And of course there is no mention of the human rights abuses for which their own peace-keeping forces are well-known throughout the world. What about the human trafficking in Darfur, West Africa, Congo, Kosovo and everywhere else they've been stationed? Why the suppression of the stories of their intimate involvement with black-marketing, drug-running, prostitution, and smuggling? And the fact that they occupy the top rung of the bribery ladder in their areas of operation? Their support of human rights seems more to be a support of ensuring that there will be plenty of abuses to document for years to come.

As to the question of anti-Semitism? I agree with the author in his assessment - that it's more a rampant anti-Israelism, of which the anti-Semitism is basically an ipso facto. But I would extend it further to say that there is a sort of "Anti- Sliding Scale" that subjects different countries to varying degrees of negative support/endorsement based on their relative happiness and success. Countries that seem to come in for the highest amount of criticism tend to be ones that enjoy the highest amount of contentment and material comfort. Discussion?

(And jukeboxgrad: I think it's bad to have a UN. The UN's creators never took basic human nature into account. If the UN and everyone else were as high and noble as the UN's creators envisioned them to be, there would be no need for the UN. As it is, the organisation has been making itself obsolete for years by playing petty politics, grandstanding, pandering to socialist idealism, and ignoring or merely paying lipservice to their original intent. I don't think they could be reformed at this stage, and I really don't believe we would ever be able to find people who could reform the positions held by current round of crooks and fools. I suppose it could be possible to save the UN by marginalising it - making it an advisory body, or a study and research agency, rather than it holding its current position, but I don't think this would really be the answer either. But this is just my personal opinion, and I haven't been a UN fan for years.)
7.22.2006 5:39pm
BBB (mail):

Again I go back to the cover-up. It's the cover-up, and the way it was done, that speaks volumes. I totally agree that the UN, as an entity, did not want to help terrorists kidnap and kill soldiers of a member state. Some of their foot soldiers seem to have been bribed to facilitate that, but that is a moot point on the overall question of a top-to-bottom conspiracy.

But when they had the chance to make things right, they chose to cloak their true intentions. In tne interest of "maintaining neutrality" they allowed a capital offense to be, again, systematically covered-up. This is key point and it goes to the core of the question raised by this thread. Are they culpable? Are they guilty of collaboration with terrorist entities undertaking capital offenses against member states?

The answer IMHO is yes, and the reason for the affirmative is simple. Given a chance to do the right thing, even when all it meant was turning over evidence they collected of a capital offense to the wronged parties, they chose not to. Why would anybody excuse that? What is the difference between three or three hundred soldiers or three thousand soldiers? If the UN cannot find the moral center to do the right thing when the downside is so tiny and the upside is so obvious, can we count on them to do the right thing when the chips are down?

This evidence points to no.
7.22.2006 5:50pm
BBB (mail):
One last thing and then I promise that's it. LOL

If the UN, right now, had incontravertable evidence that Iran was 100% responsible for the attack on Israel, is there anybody here who believes they would spill the beans? Anyone?

If the UN, right now, found out that North Korea had sent a cargo ship to Iran with containers with the words "Nuclear Warheads Inside - Handle With Care" does anybody - anybody - really believe they would spill the beans?

Why should they? They are neutral you see. It's for the best really, trust them.
7.22.2006 5:56pm
davod (mail):

I never cease to be amazed at how far people go to support their pet causes. There is simply no legal or moral justification for the UN unit not doing its duty and protecting the Israeli soldiers. Their is no legal or moral justification for trying to hide the facts and evidence from the Israelis.

The fact that (because UN nations, includiung the US, maintain judicial control over their forces) the UN may not have the legal recourse to punish those who do something wrong does not preclude them from placing the facts before the Security Council and General Assembly.

Hiding evidence from a member nation which is a party is to a treaty where UN forces are operating seems to me to be on the face a breach of protocol.
7.22.2006 9:15pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I don't find your arguments as to why the UN is tough on israel convincing. I do agree that israel is critisized by the UN more for than arab regimes would be for the same acts but this is best explained by more general disparities in how different sorts of actors are treated and nothing special to israel. Certainly the arab countries had a significant role in bringing the israeli conflict front and center but the reasons they were able to persuade so many others, including many europeans, is exactly the same reason crazy hippies out here in berkeley are very anti-israel.

So what are the reasons for disparate judgement.

1) Higher standards for responsible upstanding parties.

Just as we would critisize an educated and intelligent person more for the same crime as a ignorant savage we tend to critisize western democracies more for their bad acts than totalitarian regimes or rogue stateless groups. This is the same motivation that causes (correctly) the US to recieve more criticism for waterboarding than many of the more extreme abusers who really torture.

1') Effectiveness of Criticism

We tend to critisize western democracies more because we think this criticism is more likely to work and will cause less harm. In diplomacy we know that if we censored N. Korea, Egypt and other totalitarian regiemes as much as they 'deserved' they might disengage from the international community causing even more harm.

2) A desire to hold someone accountable.

It is human nature to want to blame someone for the horrible suffering that happens in the middle east. It is unsatisfying to shrug and say, it's just a complicated mess and no one is at fault.

People want to pick out one actor and say they are acting badly and if they just 'did right' things would be better. The same way one might try to resolve a dispute between people. You can't blame the israeli or palestinian people at large because all of their actions are understandable. Of course each group hates the other since they are an emotionally salient cause of their suffering. However, the functioning israeli state creates the illusion of a single actor the same way we anthropomorphize countries in general (the US intends X). Blaming the fragmented terrorist groups isn't satisfying as it is like blaming 'the criminals' for crime. There is no one 'actor' who could just stop doing things and make them right.

3) Sympathy for the underdog

Israelis enjoys first world living standards and has an excellent military force while the palestinians live in squalor. There is a natural human tendency in this situation to blame the side that isn't suffering as much. True most of the palestinian problems are of their own making and the israeli success as well but many people are very uncomfortable blaming an ethnic group for their problems.

3') The US supports israel

It is very easy to thus spin this into a tail about empire, and oppression that resonates with many people's anti-US sentimates.

4) Misapplication of International Law

International law really doesn't support the same sort of moral inferences that regular law does primarily because it is not interpreted with the same exactness (by ICC) nor enforced uniformly. Nevertheless these arguments resemble convincing ones and give israel the short end of the stick. Since international law (in the public mind) is something that applies primarily to countries the palestinians get a free pass.

In short there are tons of good psychological reasons to explain this difference. There is no need to go digging for conspiracy stories.

[DK: I think that you've provided an excellent explanation of the motives of my Westerners who are anti-Israeli, as well as some of the reasons why some Western governments are anti-Israel. So if, for example, a Norwegian UN delegate has a harsh attitude towards Israel, you've provided some of the explanation. However, I think that my suggested motives (rational and amoral self-interest) may be more accurate than your suggested motives (good but sometimes misguided intentions) for the Islamic bloc, the non-Islamic dictatorships that join with the IB against Israel, and many UN staff.]
7.22.2006 9:20pm
Late to the discussion and Justin has had a bit of a pasting. Nevertheless, he is concerned that the corruption of 4 UNIFIL members is taken as sufficient to condemn the UN. I just consider it a straw that falls upon a well and truly collapsed camel.

Consider this current battle. We are expected to believe that UNIFIL hadn’t noticed the thousands of missiles being brought in and positioned. Didn’t notice the massive tunnels being built. It was in their reports to the UN? Ha. One reason to suppose that this was unlikely is the Lebanon UNIFIL spokesman on BBC explaining that their close relationship with Hizbollah was part of what they were tasked to do, get on with the various parties. And his relationship with Israel?

Australia refused to go into East Timor without a Chapter 7. No way were we going to be in a position where our soldiers stood there and watched innocents get killed. We also train our troops to cope with the behaviours of other UN troops that are going to appal and distress them. And we don’t provide troops merely to earn income for Australia.

UN “peacekeeping” forces are a joke even when they aren’t abusing the women and children they are sent to protect.
The UN runs refugee camps in Palestine where the UN’s role is nothing more than a front for terrorist organisation and arms build up. We all know this, why do we pretend there is some greater distant good that can come from this corrupt and biased institution.

And worse expect Israel, when its life is at risk to agree to more help for the terrorists from the UN.
7.22.2006 9:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Thanks to various people who have addressed my questions, one way or another.

godfodder: "no one opposes the idea ... "

I'd like to think you're right. But I didn't have to look very far to find this: "I do not believe the UN should be in existence." So I'm not so sure.

Interesting point about NATO. I wish I knew enough about NATO to make an intelligent response, but I don't.

warsong: "I'd have been seated in the center of a carefully targetted barrage of 5 Mortars"

I hope you don't mind if I express some curiousity about what exactly you're doing in Iraq. Your comment leaves the impression that you're part of US armed forces. On the other hand, here you declared yourself to be 58 years old, and here you indicated you wanted to go to Iraq subsequent to leaving a company that had employed you for 33 years.

I thought enlistment is not open to people over 35, so I'm having trouble making those various pieces fit together.

I realize we sent lots of mercenaries ("consultants"), but I thought they had mostly left.
7.22.2006 10:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Oops, wrong euphemism. I meant "contractors," not "consultants."
7.22.2006 11:37pm
BBB writes:

This is key point and it goes to the core of the question raised by this thread. Are they culpable?

OK responds:

Duh, of course the UN is culpable. But I the title of Kopel's post is "United Nations an Accomplice in Hezbollah Kidnapping," not "United Nations Culpable in Hezbollah Kidnapping."
7.23.2006 2:42am
David writes, in his latest update:

Because achieving my intent of helping the perpetrators avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished was indispensible to my ultimate intent of avoiding embarassment to the United Nations. Isn't that obvious?

OK responds:

Um, no. That's not how "intent" works.
7.23.2006 3:07am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
OK (not as in Orin Kerr), it's 3:30 in the morning, I'm half-drunk, totally beat, and still trying to figure out the green boarder thing. But one thing has got me... Isn't willful concealment of evidence of a felony a felony in itself?

Or is that not the argument? That the UN is guilty of something seem irrefutable. But, are they guilty of the same thing as Hezbullah - is that the question?

Jeeze, this is really splitting hairs. But I know that gives lawyers (and especially law profs.) a rise. :)
7.23.2006 7:50am

The "green border" thing is a VC feature that allows VC posters to mark a comment as "especially good." I gather David K. marked that post as "especially good."

Oh, and there is a common law offense of "misprison of felony" in some jursidctions. Feel free to googe it.
7.23.2006 10:35am
I certainly had the common sense to know that one of the steps which I must take would be helping the perpetrators avoid being arrested, prosecuted or punished.

Well, an alternative way to avoid embarassment would be to use a special-ops team to (1) obtain custody of the soldiers from the perpetrators, (2) assasinate all of the perpetrators, possibly in the process of the first step, and (3) dump the now re-kidnapped soldiers blinded and tied up, but otherwise alive and unharmed, so they will immediately fall back into Israeli custody. Assuming the Israeli soldiers didn't know that they were betrayed, that the rest of the cover-up works to prevent the government from finding out what happened, and that everyone in the op keeps their mouth shut, you've saved the UN from embarassment without letting the perps get away with it.

Of course, I'm fairly sure the UN doesn't have access to that kind of counter-ops team.

On other hand, it does leave a point open, in that I'm assuming it would be enough to avoid the definition of accessory after the fact. If my brother committed a crime, and I kill him and hide the body to keep the family from being embarassed by a trial, yes I could be charged with murder, but could I also be charged as accessory after the fact to whatever crime he committed? After all, I've kept him from being arrested or prosecuted. Common sense says no, but common sense is nowhere in the law.
7.23.2006 11:44am
Warsong (mail) (www):

Hmmmmm? I fail to find anything in that post concerning my age (65), nor, to my discernment, anything that points to a Military or Mercenary (contractor) connection. I'm a Contractor (as such), but, not employed by a Security companiy, nor, anyone that would allow us to bear arms.

We're disarmed non-combatants (for our safety) in a War where it is standard proceedure to attack, assault, rape, abduct and behead all non-combatants, especially those who would seem to be on your side.

I'm running a plant that could be considered "essential services," and, we're required to have it back up and running within seven minutes, even when recovering from a Mortar attack. Unfortunately, in this case, it took over one hour, and, there's still a bit of rancor floating around as a result. They don't seem to understand how one little Mortar can upset a whole Plant (one undershot, three overshot).

One bit of good news: The 'dangerous,' imported, Iranian "Crack Mortar Crew" accidentally took itself out, that night, when someone dropped a Mortar on the detonator while setting up a shot for the following day (score one for 'chance'). Subsequent events indicate that their replacement even more closely resembles the "Keystone Kops."


1. Was the UN aware that there were Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon? Any thought to the contrary is "excrementa Bovinus," and, this would be culpatory to everything that is happening in the evolving WWIII.

2. Were they aware that Iranians fired the "Cruise Missle" that sunk the Israeli Ship? No proof, but, it would be logical to reach this conclusion considering evidence of their knowledge and perfidy in all other events leading to this conflict.

2. Would this be grounds to eject the UN from the "united States of America? ...You bet.
7.23.2006 1:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warsong: "I fail to find anything in that post concerning my age"

I think maybe you didn't notice that in my comment (link) I provided a link to something you wrote (link) where you did indeed mention your age.

In other words, when I used the word "here," I didn't mean "here at VC." I meant "here at the referenced URL."

"I'm running a plant"

Thanks for the explanation.

" ... that sunk the Israeli Ship"

Not that it would change your underlying point, but in the interest of accuracy I want to point out that the ship didn't sink, as far as I know.
7.23.2006 4:30pm
Gob Bluth:
That sounds to me like the soft bigotry of low expectations. Me, I side with General Napiers:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

Check out the standard for accomplice liability under Iranian law:
"Britain and the United States are accomplices of the Zionist regime in its crimes in Lebanon and Palestine," Ahmadinejad said.
7.23.2006 5:52pm
AaronX (mail):
Back in 1981 when I was in Israel I met some UN soldiers, some grunts from Ireland, who worked in the north as a part of this UNIFIL force, I believe.

According to them, they came under fire from Hezbollah, or what later became known as Hezbollah, pretty regularly, mortars, rockets and heavy machine guns. They told me that those guys were "F-ing crazy", and they didn't have too much good to say about their experiences in southern Lebanon. They didn't want to talk about it much, you had to drag it out of them. I got the distinct impression that it wasn't much fun being between stuck between the IDF and these guerrilla forces.

They seemed most eager to get back home to the relative peace and safety of Northern Ireland. At the time, there were a number of dangerous border areas in Israel, but it was really bad there in the north especially at night.

Just for the record, as far as I know these guys served honorably, did their job and went home safely I hope. A lot of UN soldiers didn't make it home from south Lebanon back then.
7.23.2006 8:33pm
Warsong (mail) (www):

"I think maybe you didn't notice that in my comment (link) I provided a link to something you wrote (link) where you did indeed mention your age."

Ah, I see...forgot about the Link to my Website, but, as you might suspect, that was written some years ago. I'm still around, and, still complaining about injustice wherever I find it. Whether local Gun Control run amok, or, international organizations bent on Tyranny.

"Not that it would change your underlying point, but in the interest of accuracy I want to point out that the ship didn't sink, as far as I know."

When I wrote the post, I had just listened to a Fox report that referred to it as a sinking, in referrence to the suspicion that it was an Iranian Cruise Missle, fired by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

In reference to both of our posts, it seems inescapable that the UN can be connected to more than just this one event: the kidnapping of two Israeli Soldiers by Terrorists passing themselves off as UN Peackeepers, while UN Peacekeepers stood watch over them.
7.24.2006 9:38pm
Maker (mail):
Great &Amazing news.
Israeil's 30,000 IDF soldiers fighting with 500, 600 Hezbollah fighters.

25 Israeil Soldiers killded
3 Tanks, demloished
1 Navy Ship demloished
2 Helicopter demloished
11 Civilans Killed

At Hezbollah side,
1 Hezbollah fighter
300 Civilian
Massive civilan homes, infrastructure destroyed.

Great!... Israelis you are doing great:)
7.25.2006 5:27am
Tim Fowler (www):
Maker I think the chance that only one Hezbollah fighter (or 2, 3, or 4 or any of the other very low figures I've seen) has been killed in this conflict is almost zero.

Hezbollah has no reason to let people know how many of their fighters have died, and Hezbollah fighters don't wear uniforms. Its likely that a number of Hezbollah deaths are listed as "civilian" in the casualtee lists, and others aren't on the lists at all.
7.26.2006 11:26am
Bob Miller:
If the UN did not exist, the dictators of the world would have to create one.
7.26.2006 4:12pm