WASHINGTON -- When the so-called mainstream media don't want you to know something, they simply spike the story -- meaning they just don't cover it. That's what's happened to the good news from Iraq. American heroes are in flak jackets and helmets, and their Iraqi counterparts are asserting rule of law for millions of grateful Iraqi civilians once tyrannized by al-Qaida terrorists and Shiite militias. In short, we are winning. That's the good news that isn't news.
Then there is the bad news that isn't news. That includes stories about the United Nations interfering in U.S. domestic politics. It also includes stories about Iranian nuclear ambitions and what the U.N. isn't doing about it. These accounts aren't as titillating as Scott "Brutus" McClellan's back-stabbing book on the Bush administration, which throws salt in the wounds of every family member of a fallen soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. Nor do these reports get the twisted attention paid to crude oil at $130 per barrel or $4.25-per-gallon gasoline because of Big Oil. So in case you missed these "non-stories," here's the short form of what didn't make the cut for the major newspapers or your big-network evening news programs -- and it's UN-believable.
First there's the strange case of Doudou Diene, the United Nations "Special Rapporteur" on "contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." He's really a lawyer from Senegal, traveling first-class on a U.N. ticket, and he arrived in the U.S. May 19 for a three-week "fact-finding trip."
According to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Diene is here to investigate and recommend solutions to alleged American human rights violations. His itinerary includes visits to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Omaha, Neb., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and meetings with federal and state lawmakers, legal analysts, politicians, nongovernmental organizations, activists and academics "to gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." No kidding. You couldn't make this stuff up.
Diene will submit his report and recommendations at the second U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in April 2009, dubbed "Durban II"; it's a sequel to the 2001 gathering. This week, the U.N. decided to hold next year's America/Israel-bashing gabfest in Geneva, Switzerland, instead of Durban because South Africa is being rocked by -- get this -- xenophobia and racial violence. If this were fiction, no one would believe it. It gets better.
It turns out that Diene -- widely discussed as the next U.N. high commissioner for human rights -- has "written extensively" about "Islamophobia" since the attacks of Sept. 11. In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, he described Islamophobia as today's "most serious form of religious defamation." Evidently, that's our fault, not the consequence of more than 1,000 suicide terror attacks around the world perpetrated by Muslim radicals.
To help make the phobia go away, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called for an end to the "racial profiling" of Americans of Arab, Muslim and South Asian descent, referring to the practice as "mistreatment of immigrants and non-nationals." Somehow, Diene and his colleagues seem to have missed the fact that a black American of Muslim descent is a leading candidate for president of the United States.
Apparently, the pursuit of phobias, discrimination and intolerance has distracted the U.N. from doing any real work, such as reining in Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. Security Council's toothless "nuclear watchdog," reported that they cannot determine whether Iran has or ever had a nuclear weapons program.
In carefully obfuscated language, the IAEA notes that "substantive explanations are required from Iran to support its statements on the alleged studies and on other information with a possible military dimension." The report also observes: "The alleged studies on the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle project remain a matter of serious concern. Clarification of these is critical to an assessment of the nature of Iran's past and present nuclear program."
The "green salt" reference pertains to crystals of uranium hexafluoride, a radioactive material that can be refined in a gas centrifuge to produce U-235, the essential ingredient for one type of nuclear weapon. According to the IAEA, Iran has at least 3,500 uranium-enrichment centrifuges operating at its Natanz underground nuclear facility. Since February, Tehran has not permitted the IAEA to conduct any short- or no-notice inspections of its nuclear sites.
Of course, none of this was deemed by the potentates of the press to be either a front-page or a lead news story. Neither was the Iranian reaction to the IAEA report. Ali Larijani, Iran's former "nuclear negotiator" and now the speaker of Parliament, said the U.N. report is "deplorable" and suggested "new limits on cooperation with the IAEA." His comments were greeted with chants of "God is great" and "death to America." That's not UN-believable -- just UN-reported.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.