Friday, November 9, 2007

ADAM HABIB AND THE UNITED NATIONS

The Freedom of Expression Institute may find that South Africa pays a heavy price when encouraging a diplomatic fall-out with The United States...

I wonder whether the US will support South Africa in its goal to get a permanent seat on The United Nations security council.
Interesting to also consider whether Prof Adam Habib might have helped to influence South Africa's appalling voting record at The United Nations.

On Jan 26th 2007, Prof Habib wrote the following in The M&G:
"Our role in the Security Council, temporary though it may be, is not to mindlessly follow the dictates of great powers, but to engage them and provide an example of responsible international leadership."

"An example of responsible international leadership"??? Is that Prof Habib's euphemism for South Africa's dismal voting record at The UN ? ( Remember South Africa used its inaugural vote at the United Nations (UN) Security Council earlier in January to vote against a resolution demanding an end to human rights abuses in Myanmar.)

If Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad takes up Adam Habib's case with Condoleeza Rice, South Africa will probably only alienate the US even further and might well negate her dream of a permanent seat on The UN security council.



The US has given detailed consideration regarding Prof Habib's recent attempts to gain entry to the US. As a result, the refusal to admit him does seem to suggest that the US might be indicating that it is extremely unhappy about the direction of South African foreign policy. It is quite clear that Prof Habib's inability to enter the US is more than an administrative mistake. The following excerpts from the case being brought on his behalf makes it quite clear that Prof Habib's visa application was considered at the highest levels:

AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION; AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS; AMERICAN-ARAB ANTIDISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE; BOSTON COALITION FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS, and ADAM HABIB, Plaintiffs, v. MICHAEL CHERTOFF, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; CONDOLEEZZA RICE, in her official capacity as Secretary of State, Defendants.


Oct 21st 2006
Upon arrival at JFK airport, neither Professor Habib’s wife nor any member of the HSRC delegation encountered a problem entering the country. Professor Habib, however, was detained for more than seven hours, questioned by U.S. Customs.
During his detention, Professor Habib was questioned about his political views and was asked whether he belonged to or had supported any terrorist organizations. 32. Eventually, border officials told Professor Habib that his visa had been revoked by the Department of State, specifically by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Affairs Tony Edson, and that he could either withdraw his application for admission or be deported to South Africa. Professor Habib chose to withdraw his application. He was escorted by armed guards to a return flight to Johannesburg. He arrived back in South Africa approximately 40 hours after he had left for the U.S.

On August 1, 2007, plaintiffs’ counsel wrote to Mr. Jones, asking whether he would be willing to pass along another inquiry to the State Department and expressing hope that “this problem will be resolved and that the State Department will act on Professor Habib’s visa before the New York conference date.” Mr. Jones agreed to convey the message and inquiry to the State Department.
On August 3, 2007, Mr. Jones’ colleague, Assistant United States Attorney Kristin Vassallo, called plaintiffs’ counsel and reported that the State Department was aware of Professor Habib’s August conference date and travel plans and that the Department was still processing the visa application.
47. On August 7, 2007, 48 hours before Professor Habib was scheduled to depart to New York, consular officials informed Professor Habib that officials in Washington were still processing his visa application and that it would not be adjudicated before his scheduled departure to the U.S. That next day, Professor Habib informed the ASA that he would be unable to speak at his scheduled panel on August 11, 2007. Professor Habib, who was in Italy at the time, flew back to Johannesburg, instead of to New York, as he had planned.

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