Talk:Michael H. Posner
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Michael H. Posner is the "Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor" (2009-). Prior to that he helped found Human Rights First in 1978 and is now their President.
"Since its founding in 1978, Human Rights First has supported and partnered with frontline rights activists around the world – in places like Guatemala, Russia, Northern Ireland, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Indonesia. It has also been a leading advocate for the rights of refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. In 1980, Michael played a key role in proposing and campaigning for the first U.S. law providing for political asylum, which became part of the Refugee Act of 1980. Human Rights First runs the largest program providing volunteer legal representation to asylum seekers in the U.S., representing more than 1,000 clients from more than 80 countries.
"While it protects those who flee persecution, Human Rights First has long fought to strengthen systems of accountability in countries where human rights violations occur, especially for the worst human rights crimes like torture, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Michael proposed, drafted, and campaigned for the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) – a U.S. federal statute that was designed to give victims of the most serious human rights crimes anywhere in the world a remedy in U.S. courts. The TVPA was adopted by Congress and signed into law in 1992.
"In 1998, Michael led the Human Rights First delegation to the Rome conference at which the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted. He participated actively in these negotiations as well as the ensuing phase of insuring signatures and ratification. The ICC is the first international tribunal to prosecute violations for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
"Michael has also been a prominent voice in support of fair, decent, and humane working conditions in factories throughout the global supply chain. As a member of the White House Apparel Industry Partnership Task Force, he helped found the Fair Labor Association (FLA), an organization that brings together corporations, local leaders, universities, and NGOs to promote corporate accountability for working conditions in the apparel industry. He continues to sit on the FLA’s Board.
"Before joining Human Rights First, Mike was a lawyer with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. He lectured at Yale Law School from 1981 to 1984, and has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School since 1984. A member of the California Bar and the Illinois Bar, he received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) in 1975, and a B.A. with distinction and honors in History from the University of Michigan in 1972." 
Coaching Israeli war criminals
The wikileaks documents reveal that Michael Posner traveled to Israel after the Israeli attack on Gaza between Dec. 2008 and Jan. 2009. Kathleen Christison, a former CIA-analyst and writer, commented that Posner's visit was mainly with coordinating a means with the Israelis of undermining the Goldstone Report. Christison goes on to write:
- Perhaps the most striking aspect of the several cables reporting on Posner's visit is the utter lack of concern shown for the awful human devastation caused by Cast Lead. Although countless commentators have written about Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli assault, Philip Weiss of mondoweiss.net best described what had happened there in a posting the day after the release of Goldstone's report. Weiss believed Goldstone had captured not just the bare facts of the assault and its effects on Gaza's 1.5 million people, but the nearly apocalyptic horrors that Cast Lead had visited upon Gazans. [...]
- It cannot be possible to direct the firepower Israel launched against Gaza for over three weeks on an "urban area" without knowing in advance that civilians would be killed in huge numbers. All estimates are that well over half of the 1,400-plus Gazans killed were civilians. At least 25 per cent of the dead were children - a conservative number in a population of which more than half are minors. Howard Zinn wrote in 2006, referring to both U.S. and Israeli military operations, that if one deliberately drops a bomb on a civilian target, the deaths of innocent people are "inevitable" and "if a military action will inevitably kill innocent people, then that action is as immoral as any 'deliberate' attack on civilians" [emphasis in original]. This is clearly a moral truth that escaped Michael Posner who, it's worth noting, spent a career in the field of human rights before becoming an assistant secretary of state.
- Advisory Committee, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business
- Scholar/Advisor, International Freedom Center
- Director, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights
- Advisory Board for the Reebok Human Rights Award 
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Biography", Human Rights First, Accessed December 2006.
End Page Excerpt
- Kathleen Christison, "U.S. Coached Israel on War Crimes", CounterPunch Newsletter, Vol. 18 No. 2, 16-31 January 2011. No online access
- [http://www.reebok.com/Static/global/initiatives/rights/text-only/awards/advisors.html Advisors], Reebok Human Rights Foundation, accessed January 21, 2008.