Accuracy in Media

Hollywood has come to the rescue of the United Nations. The new film, “The Interpreter,” is political propaganda designed to boost the image of the United Nations and make the U.S. look bad for opposing the International Criminal Court.

Most reviews have focused on the part of the plot involving an evil African leader, President Zawani, who is accused of genocide and travels to the U.N. in New York for a speech and is the target of an assassination plot. But the political dimension of the plot involves the opposition by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. to his trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the end of the film, after the drama, suspense, bus bombing and turmoil in the U.N. headquarters, it is announced that the U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to send the Zawani case to the ICC. That means the U.S. Government, a member of the Security Council, has caved in, abandoning its opposition to the ICC. In this version of Hollywood’s happy ending, the assassination plot is thwarted but the despot is going to get justice in the end, courtesy of the U.N. Viewers are left with the impression that the world body is good for something after all, and even the U.S. Government can see the light.

Nicole Kidman plays the lead role as the interpreter, the U.N. employee who announces, “I believe in this place. I believe in what it’s trying to do.” Nevertheless, inside the world body she takes up a gun, threatening to shoot the African leader when another assassination plot is foiled. She is convinced by a U.S. secret service agent played by Sean Penn to drop the gun and let justice takes its course. The U.N. will dispense that “justice” through the ICC.

This is depicted in the film as a way to atone for the anti-American sentiment in the world. The point is made by Sydney Pollack, the actor turned director of the film who is also featured in it. He makes some comment about the danger of the African leader being assassinated in the U.S. and therefore creating more anti-American sentiment in the world than there already is. Strangely, the film’s solution to this problem is to turn him over to the ICC, which has no death penalty. Which means that this genocidal killer will remain alive. How’s that for U.N.-style justice?

Arthur J. Pais, in an account published by, quotes Pollack as saying that he convinced the U.N. to cooperate with the film by telling Shashi Tharoor, the under secretary-general for communications and public information at the U.N., that “the character Nicole Kidman plays is someone passionately committed to diplomacy and believes in the principles of the U.N.” Pollack said, “I wanted it to be an argument about the words versus guns.” Not surprisingly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his approval. Also not surprisingly, Annan joined Kidman and Penn at the U.S. premier of the film.

A well-known Hollywood leftist, Penn opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He believes that the U.N. should solve problems posed by aggressive dictators, despite the obvious U.N. failure in that case. Kidman is a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the U.N. who received a “World Citizen” award from the U.N. Correspondents Association.

The film was not only done with the cooperation of the U.N. but the movie’s official website features an “Inside the U.N.” tour, where you can learn about all the positive things the U.N. has done, such as winning a Nobel Prize for its peacekeeping operations in 1988. Nothing is said about U.N. peacekeepers engaging in sexual abuse and Kofi Annan’s failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda when he was director of U.N. peacekeeping.

Video clips from “Inside the U.N.” show then-First Lady Hillary Clinton saying, “Human rights are women’s rights,” and British Prime Minster Tony Blair saying, “No nation can opt out of global warming or fence in its own private climate.” That’s another poke in the eye at the U.S., which refuses to ratify the global warming treaty.

There’s also a very short clip of President Reagan saying, “We should not confuse the signing of agreements with the solving of problems.” Reagan made those remarks in New York before the United Nations General Assembly Special Session Devoted to Disarmament.

The Reagan remarks, made on June 17, 1982, are worth reading in their entirety. Reagan also declared, “In the nuclear era, the major powers bear a special responsibility to ease these sources of conflict and to refrain from aggression. And that’s why we’re so deeply concerned by Soviet conduct. Since World War II, the record of tyranny has included Soviet violation of the Yalta agreements leading to domination of Eastern Europe, symbolized by the Berlin Wall?a grim, gray monument to repression that I visited just a week ago. It includes the takeovers of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Afghanistan; and the ruthless repression of the proud people of Poland. Soviet-sponsored guerrillas and terrorists are at work in Central and South America, in Africa, the Middle East, in the Caribbean, and in Europe, violating human rights and unnerving the world with violence. Communist atrocities in Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere continue to shock the free world as refugees escape to tell of their horror.

“The decade of so-called detente witnessed the most massive Soviet buildup of military power in history. They increased their defense spending by 40 percent while American defense actually declined in the same real terms. Soviet aggression and support for violence around the world have eroded the confidence needed for arms negotiations. While we exercised unilateral restraint, they forged ahead and today possess nuclear and conventional forces far in excess of an adequate deterrent capability.”

What did the U.N. do to stop Soviet aggression or the Soviet military build-up? The Cold War ended because of the efforts of men like Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. In fact, the U.N. was on the side of the Soviet Union. The U.N. General Assembly condemned the U.S. liberation of Grenada and the U.N.‘s so-called International Court of Justice labeled U.S. support for the freedom fighters in Nicaragua a violation of international law.

Consider another Soviet-backed initiative, the New International Economic Order (NIEO), which was launched in 1974 and designed to transfer money and resources from the U.S. to the Third World. A U.N. Treaty, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, was described by Reagan’s Ambassador to the U.N., Jeane Kirkpatrick, as the cornerstone of the NIEO. That’s why Reagan rejected it. Curiously, the treaty is now before the Senate and is backed by the Bush administration.

President Bush’s support for John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. has obscured the areas in which the administration has caved in to pressure from the world body and its supporters. In a case where life imitates art, the Bush administration recently chose not to block a U.N. Security Council resolution to refer war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan to the ICC. This was described by the Washington Post as a “dramatic policy reversal” for the Administration and “the first time in four years that the Bush administration had departed from its practice of opposing anything having to do with the ICC.” This is the same scenario depicted in “The Interpreter.”

Interestingly, Bolton opposed the Law of the Sea Treaty until the Bush administration endorsed it. It’s fascinating but entirely predictable that the major media and their liberal allies on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would create a firestorm around Bolton’s nomination, mostly because of his criticism of the world body, but ignore the controversy over the Law of the Sea Treaty, a measure that subjects most of the world to the jurisdiction of an international court and taxes U.S. corporations for the right to mine the seabed. It’s the same pro-U.N. bias that we see coming out of Hollywood.

The truth is that Bolton, if confirmed, may not be able to do much about the U.N. or even the U.S. mission to the U.N. That mission, incidentally, includes John Kerry’s sister Peggy.

If you were never informed that Peggy Kerry was employed by the U.S. Mission to the U.N., consider that fact to be additional evidence of how the major media keep us in the dark about what actually goes on up there. She campaigned for her brother last year. Why is there not a controversy over this?

One thing is certain: if Bolton is finally confirmed and tries to fire or transfer her, he will once again be accused of being a bully. You can bet the media will cover that.

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