Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rehabilitation of Molotov/Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact


REHABILITATION?

From NAZI-SOVIET ALLIANCE to NON-AGGRESSION PACT

Yale's Timothy Snyder                  MSU's Grover Furr


"Bloodlands" v "Blood Lies": 
Both CANNOT have gotten the History right.
Right?

The events of the last several months in Europe have created a veritable 'Return of the Frozen Nazi Zombie Apocalypse' scenario.  These two diametrically opposed works considered here:  the former, as mendacious as it is improbable, even impossible, is a desperate attempt to save modern neo-feudalism (Fascism) from its well-deserved condemnation to Oblivion; the second, a staggeringly rigorous, comprehensively researched categorical refutation--really, a complete debunking--of the former.

Recent developments in Ukraine, Western Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics, are especially revealing of how the current militarized chaos there: from bi-lateral, NATO-Russian war games, to uni-lateral (Western, neo-Fascist-instigated) regime-changes, through armed putsches; civil aircraft shoot-downs; mass terror like the incineration of dozens of unarmed anti-putschist demonstrators in Odessa; the shellings of revanchist (anti-Fascist) 'Peoples Republics' of the Donbas, in the East on the Russian border; the popularly-chosen, bi-lateral return of Crimea to its original Russian (Soviet) tutelage;--all this has forced Ukrainian and Polish nationalists, relatively dormant since the Reagan/Bush/Clinton years and the busting and privatization of the USSR, to renew their "Victims' Tickets" by disenterring  moldy cadavers from the early 1930s' Ukrainian 'Famine/Genocide' (Holodomor), from the fanciful 'Katyn massacre', even from The (Nazi-European Jewish) Holocaust generally, and then explain how the well-established culpability of Nazi Germany in the grand atrocity of WWII is somehow mitigated by its association (in bloody combat?) with its abject antagonist, the USSR.  

The more History one knows, the more difficult unto impossible it is to carry on this argument that the Soviets were as much Fascists as the Nazis without catching a fat brain embolism.  Because, by having to refute the near-simple-minded axiom that Fascism=Anti-Communism, Communism=Anti-Fascism, while trying to remain uninvolved, floating in mid-air outside it, like Archimedes' lever trying to move the earth without having anywhere to stand, those who would rehabilitate Feudal-Nationalist and unrepentant Fascist mass-murders, like the dishonored dipso ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko's posthumously honoring of war criminal Stepan Bandera, must even further obfuscate unto obliterate those expressions of this essential antipathy between German Fascism and Soviet Communism, of which the 1939 Molotov/Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact (MRP) is a principal example, by depicting them as 'Alliances' or 'Mutual Defense Treaties.'  As with all attempts to demonstate that 'the spiritual' overrides 'the material', the religious idealist is going to wind up gravely injured, even seriously dead, at the hands of the secular materialist.

All this to say, if you watch Snyder's stuff on YouTube--which I would not be so cruel as to recommend, but should never be feared--to get through it, you'll have to forgive his unbearable, twitchy lugubriousness as resulting from a surfiet of however corrupted information and a dearth of decency and good sense.

Remember, the border that divided Eastern from Western Germany, that imaginary line Churchill would later call an 'Iron Curtain', that demarcation that runs between the Baltic and the Black Seas, is the oldest geopolitical definition in Human History, dividing the Frankish tribes in the West from the Slavic tribes in the East.  After certain Empires suffered fatal blows in WWI, notably the Austrio-Hungarian and Russian Czarist (Orthodox) holdings, and were replaced by popular however incipient, unformed democracies, this tribal frontier came to divide two very distinct cosmologies, two radically different value systems: the Feudal Private Capital of the Franks against the Communitarian Social and Public (Humanitarian) Value of the Slavs.

But since the anti-communist West has gone all-in to revise World History, especially that pertaining to post-WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution, so as to deny any good agency to the Slavic peoples, it is essential--or maybe just amusing, which is even more important--to revisit events like the MRP, and see just how openly, even brazenly mendacious the forces of Frankish Private Capital have always been.

First, the idea to rehabilitate the MRP seems to have most recently come from Vladimir Putin:


Question: Mr President, at a meeting with historians at the end of last year, you asked a rhetorical question: “What was wrong with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact?” Recently, Minister of Culture Mr Medinsky, called this pact a triumph for Stalin’s diplomacy from the point of view of the Soviet Union’s state interests.


Vladimir Putin: This is the sort of question that we could discuss all night long. But when it comes to assuaging fears, this also has to do with the internal state of those who have these fears. They need to step over their fears, move forward, stop living with the phobias of the past and look instead towards the future.
Concerning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, let me draw your attention to the historical events, when the Soviet Union… It is not even so important who was in charge of diplomacy at the time. Stalin was in charge, of course, but he was not the only person thinking about how to guarantee the Soviet Union’s security. The Soviet Union made tremendous efforts to put in place conditions for collective resistance to Nazism in Germany and made repeated attempts to create an anti-Nazi bloc in Europe.
All of these attempts failed. What’s more, after 1938, when the well-known agreement was concluded in Munich, conceding some regions of Czechoslovakia, some politicians thought that war was inevitable. Churchill, for example, when his colleague came back to London with this bit of paper and said that he had brought peace, said in reply, “Now war is inevitable.”
When the Soviet Union realised that it was left to face Hitler’s Germany on its own, it acted to try to avoid a direct confrontation, and this resulted in signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In this sense, I agree with our Culture Minister’s view that this pact did make sense in terms of guaranteeing the Soviet Union’s security. This is my first point.
Second, I remind you that after the Munich Agreement was signed, Poland itself took steps to annex part of Czech territory. In the end, following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the division of Poland, they fell victim to the same policy that they tried to pursue in Europe.
We need to remember all of this, not forget any of it. If you paid attention to what I said yesterday, I said that a truly effective security system must be built not on a bloc basis, but on the basis of an equal approach to security for all actors in the international community. If we could build our work on these principles, using the United Nations as a base, I think we would achieve success.

Timothy Snyder, who has become the academic archbishop of the renaissant Nationalists, tries to give Putin's words some sort of sinister, occulting intention.  But the the real obfuscation is all Snyder's:

--The rehabilitation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is not the reflection of a clear ideology, but it may be something worse: an embrace of nihilism as a defence of incompetence. To embrace the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is to discard the basis for common understanding in the western world for the sake of a momentary tactic that can destroy but cannot create.--
This last sentence is a shameless, near-total abandonment of even the most flaccid Human reasoning.

Yet the Law has always been thought of as the repository, even a conservatory of Reason.  Though what passes for International Law in the anti-communist West has degenerated into cynical word games--Words With Fiends?

An example of how the New Wordsmithies are pounding out fast and loose descriptions of Reality, then stretching them to fit, is here.  Whose fault are the New Cold War tensions?


Russia's 'abuse' of NATO? That's rich.  Here you go:

While seeking to boost military contacts with the Russians, Nato has also moved to rid its Brussels headquarters of what are believed to be dozens of Russian spies. . . .

But then, to cut the laughter and qualify matters a bit, we're given this: 

. . . Despite the decision to revive the emergency hotlines, Nato has cut most contacts with the Russians at its headquarters in Brussels and is in the process of emptying the offices of dozens of Russian diplomats and officers.

As it turns out, the chief adversary of the Human Rights of Russian and other Slavic peoples is that bullhorn for the Kingdom of Private Capital, International Law, itself.  Blowing out from Gestapo shithouses like Yale, the Insitute of Modern Russia in NYC or the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, they never met a beef they couldn't hang on the Soviet Russians.

My recent experience with this latest S/M fetish favored by the historically demented and morally withered, associations based in large private Universities and gathering up those who KNOW Putin and Russia overthrew Yanukovich, invaded Ukraine and shot down MH17; those who KNOW Bashar al-Assad, the duly elected (as recently as June 2014) president of Syria gases, barrel-bombs, then rapes and eats his own electorate; and those who can go on senselessly and endlessly about how Stalin and the USSR were, with the signing of the MRP, the allies AND the invaders of Nazi Germany, actually THE INSTIGATORS of WWII, intending not to Liberate but to Occupy and enslave Europe:  these submental tossers recently knocked out of me a meandering essay on the Illegitimacy of International Law, but I have excerpted just the part where Professor Furr's rides in and saves my seat in the course.  

Me Pierre d'Argent, UCL

[I am in the following addressing Professor Pierre d'Argent (great handle for a shyster, right?) of the Catholic University at Louvain.  'Me Money' had real sack in presenting his course in a frail English translation from the original French, but just insufficient skills to sell this bridge.]

Professor d’Argent,

I find your description of Law as both limiting and liberating a sort of boilerplate, the kind of definition, free of political differentiation, well suited to the demands of a course which must tread carefully through the mine field of conflicting geohistorical interests. No need to considered who are the ‘liberated’ and who the ‘limited’. As with all relevant historical distinctions over the last century, between Fascism and Communism, between Nazi Germany and the USSR, between Western Privatization and Eastern National Democracy, all are fuzzed out with the sweep of a Post Modern false equivalency.

But your idea of ‘International Law’, a Law for the 'International Community', has very glaring biases, based both on historical and practical misreadings.

Let's first take our concern, yours and mine, over the so-call invasion of Eastern Poland by the USSR in Sept 1939:  My dear friend and luncheon companion, Prof Grover Furr of Montclair State University here in New Jersey, states in his magnificent book “Blood Lies”, a debunking of the mendacious apologist for Ukrainian, Polish and German nationalist crimes, Timothy Snyder's “Bloodlands”, brings out an interesting legal nicety concerning Polish and Soviet actions in that fall of 1939:

I direct you to Chapter 7 of “Blood Lies”, The Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact: What Really Happened.

The INTRODUCTION states:  Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland on September 17, 1939?  Why ask? “We all know” this invasion occurred.  “You can look it up!”  All most all authoritative accounts agree that this historical event happened. . . .

(But then . . .) THE SOVIET UNION DID NOT INVADE POLAND IN SEPTEMBER, 1939.

The truth is that the USSR did not invade Poland in September 1939.  However, so completely has this non-event passed into historiography as “true” that I have yet to find a recent history book from the West that actually gets it correct.  And, off course, the USSR had never been an “ally” of Nazi Germany.  The Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact (henceforth “M-R Pact”) was a non-aggression pact, not an alliance of any kind.  The claim that the USSR and Hitler’s Germany were “allies” is simply stated over and over again, but is never backed up with any evidence.

. . . Furthermore, at the time, it was widely acknowledged that no such invasion occurred.

(But, as is often the case with this course, it is impossible to prove a negative, that a genocide did NOT take place or that Germany and the USSR were NOT allies.  So the burden of proof should be on those whose arguments are founded on these non-events.)

Finally, the “nicety” arrives: Under the heading THE USSR DID NOT INVADE POLAND—AND EVERYBODY KNEW IT AT THE TIME, we come to my favorite little known  fact:

. . . (Because the Polish Government and General Staff had fled into neutral Rumania) No State of Poland existed any longer.

Unless the Red Army came in to prevent it, there was nothing to prevent the Nazis from coming right up to the Soviet border.  Or—as we now know they were in fact preparing to do—Hitler could have formed one or more pro-Nazi states in what had until recently been Eastern Poland.

(Then Prof Furr writes) HOW DO WE KNOW THIS INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS IS TRUE? 

How do we know the USSR did not commit aggression against, or “invade”, Poland when it occupied Eastern Poland beginning on September 17, 1939, after the Polish government had interned itself in Rumania? (Then he lists 9 pieces of evidence to support his claim.)

Now we have finally arrived at the question of ‘International Law’ regarding this would-be Soviet invasion.

QUESTION OF THE STATE IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

Every definition of the state recognizes the necessity of a government or “an organized political authority.”  Once the Polish government [had] crossed the border into Rumania, it was no longer a “government.”

(Then . . .  and we’ll leave it here.) THE SOVIET POSITION WAS VALID UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

In a 1958 article in The American Journal of International Law, UCLA professor Ginsburgs determined that the Soviet claim that the State of Poland no longer existed was basically a sound one:

For all these various reasons, it may safely be concluded that on this particular point the Soviet argument was successful, and that the “above considerations do allow for any doubt that there did not exist a state of war between Poland and the USSR in September 1939.”
In spite of scattered protests to the contrary, the consensus heavily sides with the Soviet view that by September 17, 1939, the Polish government was in panic and full flight, that it did not exercise any appreciable control over its armed forces or its remaining territory, and that the days of Poland were indeed numbered.
De facto, then, one may well accept the view that the Polish Government no longer functioned as an effective state power.  In such a case the Soviet claim that Eastern Galicia was in fact a terra nullius may not be unjustified and could be sustained. {Terra nullius is a term from Roman law describing a territory from which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished all sovereignty.}

So in the case of Poland and the Soviet “invasion”, one sees how international law was applied to bring historical accuracy to an event which had before been used to criminal the victim of aggression and exculpate the aggressor.  When this legal relationship was inverted is an inquiry demanding more time and space than is here available.  But, surely, your assumption that the Soviets did, in fact, ‘invade’ Poland—just as, I’m sure, you freely use the expression “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan”—is an indication that ‘International Law’ and the ‘International Community’ have been fully appropriated by the NATO Powers to use against the East.

 If further example is necessary, let’s consider how the 79-day terror-bombing of Serbia (Newsweek magazine's term) by NATO could be, at the same time, illegal by UN and NATO standards, while being called 'legitimate', and, therefore, not deserving even of a cursory investigation, by the very legal institutions you cite as having co-signed the allegation that genocide was committed by Bosno-Serbian forces (thugs, as you call them, a term dripping irony, in this context):  the ICTY and ICJ. 

From the beginning, the charge of genocide in Bosnia was an expediency used to disqualify the Rep. Srpska leadership, President Karadzic and General Mladic, from taking part in the Dayton Peace talks as indicted war criminals.  As with the charge of genocide in Rwanda, level against just one party to the conflict, a charge the ICTR was never able to make stick, the Tribunal was ordered by its Appeals Chamber in The Hague to 'take judicial notice' of the genocide—i.e., to accept the mass killing that unquestionably took place in that martyred country, from 1990 until well-past 1994, as an act of genocide without ever having to prove it legally.  After all, the so-called 'brains of the genocide' were all acquitted.

But what these two expedient ‘false charges’ of genocide did was effectively to absolve the villains, the foreign aggressors, NATO and its proxy African mercenary army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, while indicting the victims of these military onslaughts, the Yugoslavs and the Rwandan revolutionary government of the single MRND party, for their own annihilations.

And as to your friendship with Lt. Lotin’s family, well, that is somewhat serendipitous for my argument and, as with the invasion of Poland, or with Belgian apologies, not so for yours.  And let me say here that it is not Belgian colonialism that I’m indicting; it’s Belgium’s support for, it’s aiding and abetting the real aggressors in Rwanda, the RPF.

First off, you really need to be informed that there were 13 bodies—not 10—identified as being Belgian paracommandos.  General Ndindiliyimana counted the bodies when he went with the unspeakable, craven Dallaire to view the scene of the standoff at Camp Kigali.  That day, 6 April 1994, Lt. Lotin and his peripatetic platoon found themselves in more dubious locations than they could really explain and fell into the suspicion of the Rwandan Army and Presidential Guard.  Many suspected them of being in on the missile strike against President Habyarimana.  Some thought Lotin et alia had been sent not to protect PM Agate but to eliminate her.  The question of whether the RPF or the Crisis government actually murdered her has been thoroughly answered by my friend and renown international defense attorney Christopher Black.  You can find is solution to Agate’s murder here:


And I’m not sure how to link files to these comments pages, but I also can send you the KIBAT report mentioned in Chris’s article.  But here is the salient paragraph regarding Lt. Lotin.

The Ghanaian commander approached the Belgian officer in charge and asked him what their mission was. The Ghanaians, also inexplicably, had no prior notice that the Belgians were coming there even though they were in radio contact with the UN command. The Belgian officer, Lt. Lotin, refused to answer, stating simply, "We are coming to see the Prime Minister." The Sgt, then accompanied the Belgians to the door of Agathe's residence. They knocked on the door but Agathe refused to answer the knock or open the door. Did she know these men had been involved in the murder of the president? Why had they been sent to her house secretly? Were they there, or did she think they were there, to kill her also? A clue may be found in a cryptic entry in the official Belgian Army history of the events known as the KIBAT (for Kigali Battalion) Report. On page 13, at paragraph 'k', the report states that the Belgian officer radios to his superior that the "Rwandans believe that the Belgians want the skin of Agathe."(26)

So to wrap up:  what you in the Humanitarian Law, Human Rights wing of the International Community have done is effectively to have covered up the real crimes of your clients (as all good lawyers should) while shifting culpability onto the victims of this neo-colonial campaign of population management.  As they say in Africa, “As long as the lions don’t have their own historians, History will be written by the hunters.’  The same adage applies to the Law.  And I fear you are teaching the Law of the Hunters.

Respectfully, M. Collins

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Illegitimacy of International Law--CM/P's commentary on the latest online craze from CULouvain


CUL, Belgium

International Law Course
Catholic University of Louvain
Professor Pierre d’Argent


I just completed a very strange course through the entrails of what is pretentiously called ‘International Law’—as practiced in the anti-communist West.  The course, given online by a Belgian Catholic University, was presented in English, but in no English I had ever experienced before. 

—Well, that’s not exactly so:  I taught English conversation, composition and presentation to Francophones for 15 years in Paris.  Many of my charges were writers, lawyers, actors (who would play lawyers), high-ranking officials at various government ministries (incl. Justice), corporate executives and ordinary business people.  I had the rudimentary advantage in taking this law course of being familiar with the common misconceptions French speakers have about how English, especially the idiomatic unto argotique American version, is formed.

But, as I discover, the languages, both national and professional, are used by the purveyors of this false Humanitarian Science more to obfuscate their own crimes than to cast light on and thereby adjudicate the real crimes against the Human Species.  So we quickly shifted from discussing misplaced modifiers and dangling participles to fencing (or perhaps mud-wrestling is more apt) over analyses of History.

Here are some of the Comments I contributed to this eight-week online and singularly post-lapsarian Western-reactionary course:

The Last Shall Be First

As a Post Script to the course, I laid in this comment, taken from Ramsey Clark's Forward to John Laughland's Travesty:  The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice (Pluto Press, 2007) 
John Laughland

I will lay it here as a Preface to this Commentary because it well describes the biases I held going into what is being fobbed off in the West as Internation Law and Justice:

Ramsey Clark                           Slobodan Milosevic


The Illegitimacy of International Law


From the Foreward to John Laughland's Travesty, by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark:


". . . A review of the United Nations Charter reveals that it grants no power to the Security Council, or elsewhere, to create a criminal court. The Charter itself included the Statute of the International Court of Justice. It was deliberately denied any criminal jurisdiction.
Examinations of the history, background, drafting and approval of the UN Charter will convince everyone that there would never have been a United Nations if the five permanent members established in the Charter: the United Kingdom, the United States, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China, thought there was any possibility that it could create a criminal court.
The only way a criminal court can be created by the UN is after an amendment to its Charter empowering it to do so. This is a cumbersome procedure never yet accomplished.
A study of international law reveals the only other way to create an international criminal court is by a multinational treaty. This is how the International Criminal Court, long overdue, finally came into being on 1 July 2002. Its tragically deficient statute has now been ratified by 120 nations, but not the United States, which undermined the statute before approval and has refused to ratify the treaty. The United States has obstructed justice by coercing 80 nations, at the latest count, to enter into bilateral treaties that prohibit the surrender of any US citizen, or soldier for trial by the International Criminal Court.
If the Security Council can usurp power to create a criminal court, what limitation is there on its power to do whatever it chooses?
But the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was not only conceived in sin, it violated the first purpose of the United Nations, and principal hope for the human species, 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'. It also violated the first principle of the Charter, the 'sovereign equality' of all nations.
Yugoslavia was created after the First World War to bring peace to the Balkans. . . .
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its bloc, the US, Germany and other powerful states, acted to break up Yugoslavia, to balkanize the Balkans, to ignore its sovereign equality, to dominate and exploit the small pieces and demonize its former federal leadership by selective, discriminatory, illegal and often false charges of international crimes.
Unbelievably, the US, which heavily bombed Belgrade in 1945, again sent aircraft, which bombed Yugoslavia from Novi Sad to Nis to Belgrade in 1999. The US was joined by Germany and NATO, if only in minor roles, to bomb all of Kosovo until Yugoslavia was no more.
The ICTY was empowered only to indict the victims of US and NATO assaults, not the aggressors. The Court was 'war by other means', the corruption of international law and justice to pursue enemies. . . ."
It is this deformed, corrupted and militarily instrumentalized version of International Law and Justice that our Course has been trying to pass off as the gold standard. [cm/p]



War or Peace?
(30 May 2015)
In the 1920s and 1930s, the USSR worked diligently within the system of International Justice that existed then—an outgrowth of the League of Nations after WWI—to ban aggressive war by creating legal instruments that would make all such violations of territorial sovereignty punishable as 'Crimes against Peace'.

WWII quickly called all this international litigation against war into serious doubt. The stark tensions between Fascism and Communism that define the History of the 20th Century (and continue to the present day) shattered what consensus there had been for abolishing aggressive war. And their defeat in 1945 at the hands of the Soviet and Popular Chinese armies was a mere bump in the road to global domination for the forces of Private Capital and neo-feudal privilege (Fascism).

So, today we find institutions purporting to be expressions of International Justice, courts like the UN ad hocs (for Rwanda and Yugoslavia), along with the Rome Court (ICC), in The Hague, and the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, all serving as extensions of or apologists for aggressive war, and proud practitioners of 'Victors' Justice'. Even the UN, which was born of the unspeakable horror of WWII, has become a paramilitary unit for Western (i.e., US, UK, EU and Israel) recolonization, aiding and abetting the bloodthirsty expansionism of Private Capital.

The German Fascists always fancied the way the US handled the conquest of its own Western frontiers—i.e., the systematic liquidation of all superfluous (Native) peoples in their path. Germany's operations to conquer and occupy the territories to the East, begun (in earnest) with their invasion of the USSR (Russia) in June 1941, was a truly faithful knock-off of the American pioneers' own way of creating essential 'living space' (lebensraum)—though the Nazis' claim to extinguishing 40 or 50 million Slavic, Jewish and Gypsy souls really makes the Wild West look tame.


Is International Law Freedom from National Law?
(31 May 2015)
                       
In as much as International Law has come to supercede the laws of individual nations, to suppress the protection by sovereign states of their National Capital (resources of all kinds, including human energy) and thereby allowed Private Capital unrestricted access to, and the unfettered exploitation of, the entire globe, by giving legal title to all Public or Social property over to this vast, but highly concentrated, slush-fund that, itself, knows no nation: International Law has been a primal contributor to the exsanguination, the commercialization and general wasting of all life on the planet.

And no one, no matter how rich or materially privileged, can escape this dehumanized and devalorized existence.

But as a Public Defender (aka, Asst. DA) once told me: “You get the Justice you pay for.”


To Live Outside the Law Takes Power
(31 May 2015)

  What do you think of the following sentences? Do you agree?

*International law is a naive endeavor better left to scholars to fiddle with. 

*International law has a very limited impact in international relations. 
*International law always reflects power and is the pursuit of power through more civilized means. 


*Always and at the same time, International law—like any law—limits power and gives reasons for the exercise of power.

All these statements—as if made by four blind gropers—give a partial description of the elephant that is ‘International Law’.  But History has shown that Real Power is not expressed in the establishment of legal frameworks or the application of universally agreed upon statutes; Real Power is demonstrated by those states or blocs or interest groups who live comfortably OUTSIDE all international laws and norms—those who feel they have no need even to subscribe to certain global legal institutions.

For instance: Israel, which constantly attacks Iran for its supposed pursuit of nuclear weapons, is not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while Iran is. And, more generally, since its inception in the late 1940s, the Hebrew State has acted in contravention of dozens of international covenants barring aggressive military action against and occupation of other sovereign states and peoples. Its continued Outlaw status is underwritten by the financial, commercial and military support of the US, the EU, and the global cabal of Private Capital.

There isn't time to list all the international judicial bodies that the US has supported, like the ICC or Rome Court, while remaining a non-signatory to the treaties and conventions that found them. Even the 'UN (really, NATO) courts', the ICTY and ICTR, for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, respectively, euphemistically known as the 'ad hocs' because they were established ILLEGITIMATELY by Resolutions of the UN Security Council, which, unlike the General Assembly, hasn’t the competence to create judicial institutions, have served to promote, protect and defend Western militarism in pursuit of neo-colonial expansion.

Suffice to say, to live OUTSIDE the law one must not only be honest (vis Bob Dylan), but one must be the biggest bully on the block.



Welcome to The Hague
by Duci Simonovic


The Hague, a Dutch seaside resort just down the E19, southwest of Amsterdam, has become the favored site for International Judicial bodies. It might be the rents—or maybe its part of the tradition of the Treaty of Westphalia's formally recognizing the Dutch Republic—but whatever the reasons, there has been a great gathering of International Courts in Den Haag.

For example, both UN ad hocs, the ICTY and ICTR, are headquartered in an old insurance company office building there (Though the Rwandan Tribunal's trial chamber is in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa, its appeals chamber is in Holland alongside the Yugoslav tribunal). And the principal UN judicial organ, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) shares space in the hundred year old, Andy Carnegie endowed, Peace Palace with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).  Just down the way is the International Criminal Court (ICC) or Rome Court.

The Peace Palace in The Hague

    The Yugoslav Tribunal--The Hague     The Rwandan Tribunal--Arusha, Tanzania

However, just a cursory glance at the dockets of these 'international judicial bodies' will show you that all their fancy accoutrements are merely perfume to cloud a singular want of impartiality. The Yugoslav tribunal has tried, almost entirely, Serbs; the Rwanda court in Africa has judged exclusively members of the deposed (MRND) government and defeated (FAR) military of the martyred Rwandan president, Juvénal Habyarimana, while overlooking the crimes (well within their statutory purview) of his murderers in the current (RPF) government in Kigali: the latter, in a sort of misguided shorthand, are referred to as 'Tutsi', the former as 'Hutu'. And those called to answer before the bar of the ICC have almost exclusively been Africans and Arabs targeted by the West for regime change (with extreme prejudice in the cases of Rwanda and Libya): for example, Omar al Bashir of Sudan, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire.

If Lady Justice be blind, it seems 20/20-clear that her International version keeps a pretty keen look-out for the geopolitical interests of her sponsors.


Separate But Equal?

(2 June 2015)

International Law is said to be the Law of Nations because the world has come to be seen as a 'polis' where the citizenry is gathered up into individual nation-states considered to be equal to one another in their national sovereignty. However, in practice, this concept of separate but equal is called into question. The very structure of the UN, with its Security Council holding a privileged authority over the General membership, and the five ‘permanent members’ with their power of the veto making majority-rule improbable in the UNSC, is testament to the practical impossibility of Separate But Equal.

And the basic antagonisms that arise from this inherent inequality make legal restrictions all that much more necessary. As with all law, the Law of Nations or International Law is 'class-based', and Power will out.

2 responses
    mmxashi02 (2 June 2015)
                      


International law is a law of nation[s] because it comprises all customs of the world and treaties, practice of state's, international imposes an obligation, and responsibility in all nations and its uniform law which internationally accepted by the state's

 [uh]

cirqueminime: I'm sure someone out there will understand your comment, but, sadly, I don't.

AlyssaRy (2 June 2015)                              


I completely agree. Reading about international relations on the news sometimes feels like watching a playground bully using his size and strength to boss the other kids around.


Standing on Shaky Ground

(3 June 2015)


So far this first week I have encounter statements made seeming to express 'données', facts that are so widely considered true they require no qualification or evidentiary justification. In legal terms, the course expects us to 'take judicial notice' of certain events, like the 1939 invasion of Eastern Poland by the USSR or the 'genocides' at Srebrenica and in Rwanda, all without Historical or legal (evidentiary) foundation.

As someone who has dedicated a good deal of time to the study of these and other similar expedient histories, I find it disturbing that this course would foist such material, such biased and unfounded history, the produce of the vilest anti-communist (read: Fascist) propaganda, onto a class full of innocent, linguistically-challenged novices.


The Flouting of International Law

(4 June 2015)

The current troubles in Syria, Palestine, and Ukraine, present fine examples of the flouting of International Law in the name of a 'Greater Good'.

While the international consensus in favor of Palestinian Statehood (a controversy that bubbles beneath the military turmoil throughout the Middle East and Northern and Central Africa, the vast area known as Israel’s ‘deep security zone.’) grows and grows, the real outlaw powers, namely the US, UK and Israel, continue to use Terrorism (read: Arab Terrorism), and The War thereon, as means for diverting world attention from their criminal occupation and military decimation of the Palestinian territories and people.

No sooner does the French Assemblée Nationale vote to support Palestinian statehood—and then receive support from various EU organizations—than a couple of wily Islamic terrorists attack the offices of a 'satirical' French weekly and murder a dozen cartoonists—a magazine that in all its vulgarity had never strayed from the French government line on policy issues.  Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was cynical enough actually to analogize the Charlie Hebdo massacre with ‘French anti-Semitism’ (read: Support for a Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders).

Then came the corruption scandal with FIFA, which at the time was considering granting Palestine a position in this global football association—nothing says ‘nationhood’ like a national football team in the World Cup. But Palestine was sweating FIFA to kick Israel out of the club for bombing its sports infrastructure and assassinating its key players. So, what better time to dredge up some 24-year old financial funny business. And, moreover, FIFA had recently granted a World Cup to Russia—just saying.

But Israel and the US have flouted international law for a very long time. The famous ICJ ruling against the US's mining of Nicaraguan harbors and Israel's building of the separation wall were handily swatted aside by the outlaw-symp Western media. Justice is no match for savvy propaganda.

A favorite anecdote is how, during the ICJ hearings on the 'Fence', Israel parked a blown-out city bus in front of the Peace Palace courthouse. The court ruled the 'Fence' illegal, but the World knew it was a 'legitimate' response to Palestinian terrorism.

As far as legality, Ukraine and Crimea and their respective separations from and reunions with the Soviet Union, then Russia: it is very important to clock just from whence the violent aggressions originated. There are those in Kiev today, with growing support from the feral Ukrainian and Polish nationalist communities, who would have us believe the instigators of WWII, the original invaders, were the Soviets, and the original ‘freedom fighters’ and eventual Liberators were the Nazi collaborators and various other feudal nostalgics. The unspeakable Ukrainian Defense Minister 'Yats' Yatsenuk even described the Red Army's liberation of the death camps as an 'invasion of Ukraine, Poland, and Germany'. Seeing the USSR as the aggressors in WWII is the kind of toxic historical revision that will justify almost any illegal act and evil outcome—as well as being the last refuge for morally bereft Fascism.

But don't try it without having John McCain, Victoria Nuland and all the Soros-greased battalions of ‘color-revolutionary’ NGOs behind you.


The Politics of the Personality

(6 June 2015)

The International 'Polis', that global city from which we are constantly—and unsuccessfully—trying to escape, is inhabited by nations, states, organizations and associations that interact in this abstract macrocosm very much like ordinary people do in the small world. These international 'citizens', though not individual persons, are endowed with a legal personality, a set of rights and responsibilities very much like those of individuals. Their rights are a legal sanctioning of their interests; their responsibilities are restrictions on their behavior when interacting with other member-personalities in the Big Polis.

Given that all inter-personal relations are defined more by animosity than accord, the legal personality of a single nation or organization is meant to determine just relations between and among those other legal persons—not the legal persons who make up the nation or organization—with whom they are most likely to find conflict.

Just as domestic civil and criminal laws tend to circumscribe personal behavior in order to limit socially destructive interactions, so International law arbitrates antagonistic relationships among International Legal Personalities.  But, since 1947, how many times has Israel been responsible for damaging UN property and killing its personnel in pursuit of the elimination of the secular Arab world? Again, the outlaws seem more to define the laws by breaking them.

Parenthetically: My question is does the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision giving legal personality to corporations, and thereby equating corporate money with personal expression, constitute a mutilation of the principle of Legal Personality?


International Law Reflects Privilege Not Justice

(7 June 2015)

The problem with the idea of International Justice today is that the nations of the world have been split along socio-economic lines. There is one bloc—seemingly the most powerful bloc headed up by the West’s capitalist democracies (oxymoron?)—which is held together by its shared promotion of the interests of Private Capital uber alles. The other bloc is made up of countries that still cling to notions of Public and/or Social Capital and have, therefore, nationalized their natural—including human—resources and are resisting the demands of Privateers to sell their nations out on terms set down by the International Laws of Commerce and Finance dictating the unfettered flow of Private Capital. This very real class conflict will not be resolved soon—not to the benefit of the Privatizers, at any rate.

2 responses
jfernandopenagos (7 June 2015)
good point, but you must be more objective


rosiewalk           (7 June 2015)          


I think you are correct in pointing out that there has been a 'shift' (in      mentality as well as reality) toward the interests of ephemeral capital as opposed to national interests in certain blocs (those rabidly promoting the free-markets).  Not that there wasn't before, but the scope has shifted from a national to global one. I think the biggest indicator of this is the growing power and size of multinational corporate entities who are throwing their weight around the world stage with increasing impunity. International Law has to step up to this task, and rather than being a 'Law of Nations', become a 'Law of Entities', recognizing the power and influence of non-state bodies and adjusting legislation accordingly. Otherwise, the concept of Justice on the international stage is as doomed as you infer.


The International Laws of Grammar

(8-15 June 2015)
{Over these seven days a pointless discussion eventuating in an incomprehensible meta-discussion of the of English in the course.  Appeals for sympathy, empathy and just understanding were made of the non-native or ISL English speaker—which included most of the staff.  I have spared you this grueling back and forth—as much fun as pounding one’s head back and forth between two broken bottles—so as not to exacerbate the obfuscation that this whole argument over the language of the language of International Law has been purposefully intended to create.  Fortune cookie mantra:  Imagine how many times in any law court or classroom you might have heard the admonition: 
Never mind what he said—how he used his words—

YOU KNOW WHAT HE MEANT.

In my case:  I could count them on the toes of Peg Leg Bates’ left foot.  Suffice that Law is Language; Language is Law, that is all ye know etc.}



Self-Conscious of its Fecklessness

(10 June 2015)
           
The ICJ seems to shy away from making powerful, assertive judgments. The idea that there is no hierarchy of sources for International Law, that precedent is merely suggested, but never pushed forward as justification for a finding, seems to reflect a passivity, a self-conscious fecklessness that comes to the ICJ from a long experience of having its judgments flouted by the Big Outlaw nations that are its chief sponsors.


The subject/object tension

(10 June 2015)
I like the description I read somewhere in this discussion that State
Practice is the 'Objective' element of Custom, while Opinio Juris is the Subjective element that expresses the intention to arrive at a Custom. As usual, the tension between subject and object, as Hegel might have put it, is what contains the Customary Truth of International Law.



Laws are for XXXXXXX

(11 June 2015)
{Course censored my word choice:  SUCKERS}

There has developed a class of nation-states whose existence is predicated on the constantly recurring and growing demand for the produce of their principal economic engines: their Military/Industrial complexes.

Production for Destruction, the driving principle of Modern Waste Capitalism, has had its ticket-prices driven up by fey legislation against War. Like dope-peddling or human-trafficking, laws banning these business practices, so horribly wasteful to Humanity, have just driven the revenues of Organized Crime into the stratosphere.

So, while the Military Humanists create conventions to eliminate mass slaughter and International Jurists scramble around looking to prosecute the street-level merchants of death, the corner boys and bar girls: the Great Private Waste Combine continues to profit obscenely from breaking the very laws it so mawkishly and cynically promoted to hook all its 'sovereign' clients in the first place.

2 responses
 jobitre - endorsed by fannydeclercq STAFF
On the contrary, I believe without any semblance of governance or law the world would have been chaotic and dramatically insane. 


Profiteers have always profiteered; it is just that the scale of everything is huge now. Profit margins; huge. Corruption; huge. Businesses; huge. Injustice; global. What does that mean? That the scope of law has to be huge too. It has to be international. Even if it is ineffectual now, and growing slowly (perhaps too slowly to meet these injustices head-on), it is necessary for something, some form of large-scale law, to exist. As jobitre implies [above] - imagine if we had none at all?

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{here’s where the language-as-g-string-part of the course got
interesting, pants started coming down.}



fannydeclercq STAFF                      


Hi cirqueminime! We edited your title. Can you please be careful the words you are using. We kindly ask you to stay polite.


cirqueminime:
Do you know the meaning of the word you excised, ‘suckers’? This is another example of how the course's unfamiliarity with English—or, more precisely, with popular American idiom, is impairing THE Communication of a very important subject.

PT Barnum, American impresario: "There's a SUCKER born every
minute."

A classic WC Fields film: "Never Give a SUCKER an Even Break".

Synonyms: SQUARE, CHUMP, FOOL, GULL, MARK, PATSY,
FALL GUY, SOFT TOUCH, MUG.

The term is used here without sexual or scatological implications. It describes one party to an ordinary business transaction. Why is this course so REPRESSED?

Is it Belgium?




Secrets Best Kept in Private

(16 June 2015)

Besides the recent tempest over the secret negotiation over the TPP and with Iran over nuclear arms, there is nothing I know of in the way of secret treaties between the US and other national parties.

But the growing Privatization of government functions, like the maintenance of Security and protection of Diplomatic relations being carried out by private contractors, has, to a large extent, obviated the government's responsibilities for outcomes in these areas.

Where in the past the conduct of trade and commerce was controlled by intergovernmental agreements, secret or open, today large Private Interests have hired their own private militias to carry on the brutish, mean and short work of removing impediments, human or material, from the efficient execution of privately negotiated Business deals.

This 'Privatization' of government functions has effectively placed the new Privateers outside the authority of International Law.



Peremptory Norms—Yours and Mine

(17 June 2015)
  
Peremptory norms can be seen in the consistency of national domestic laws proscribing murder, mayhem, rape and robbery. No society worthy of the name would promote or protect such activity among its citizens. However, when affairs between or among societies devolve into violence and aggression, the application of these peremptory laws becomes a little squishier.

For example, the Western media, guided by Madison Ave. marketing firms like Hill and Knowlton or Ruder Finn, convinced the world that the Bosnian Serbs had Rape and Death camps throughout their territory. When evidence piled up against the existence of these violations of universally held peremptory norms—including UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's recanting of his 'Serbian Rape Camp' charge and Bosnian president Izedbegovic's deathbed admission that there were NO Serb Death Camps—rather than repair the damage done to Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs by this mendacious propaganda, the topics were merely dropped from the conversation—except where Angelina Jolie's movie projects were concerned.

The Universally accepted convention against genocide has been abused since its inception in the late 1940s. While the Nazi Holocaust of 6-11 million European Jews is still the legally protected justification for a great deal of International Humanitarian Law, the exponentially greater number of Soviets, Slavs, Gypsies and Judeo-Bolsheviks, (27 to 50 million) killed as a policy of Western Fascism is little more than a footnote to some attempt to equate Communist and Fascist evils.

This tawdry tendency can be seen in the relative prominence of the Serbian ‘ethnic cleansing unto genocide’ in and around Srebrenica over the concomitant murder and mayhem inflicted by Croatia's Privately contracted (MPRI) and US-backed ‘Operation Storm’, in which more than 200,000 Serbs and other unarmed civilians were killed or driven from their homes in the Serbian Krajina. The noise made about the 'genocide' of 8000 Muslim men and boys allegedly committed by Gen. Mladic and his Drina corps has drowned out the pleas for justice of the near-quarter million victims of NATO's Bosnian strategy, which, incidentally, was led by the noted Kosovo terrorist turned Prime Minister, Hakim Thaçi.

So, the real question is whose Peremptory Norms are being respected and protected? Yours or Mine?



Not since Rwanda 

(18 June 2015) 

{The question was something about do I follow UN Resolutions. Huh?}


I stopped following UN Resolutions when that broken and bowed body refused to investigate the assassination of two African heads-of-state whose plane was shot down by the current ruler in Kigali—someone they brazenly brought to power and continue to grant immunity from prosecution for the very crimes that Humanitarians as always going on ab out:  mass slaughter of innocents unto genocide.

And this particular crime, a military assault under cover of a Peace Treaty, was well within the statutory purview of its ad hoc court for Rwanda, the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, as created by its Res. 955 in 1995.




Curious Sequence 
(In the relationship of Domestic Courts to International Law)
(19 June 2015)


This relationship has elsewhere been very clearly discussed—and with great detail and documentation. I am truly humbled by my fellow students grasp of this subject—a rare occurrence, indeed.

But my curiosity was piqued when I considered your list and just how often the US-initiated or proposed laws or regulations, on both domestic and international levels, and often after having been concluded and even passed into statute, were abandoned then abolished.

Time and space shame me into this cursory response, but these instances of US expedience or hypocrisy come to mind:

On a domestic level, the 1998 violation of the Depression-era anti-trust banking law, The Glass-Steagle Act (1933), by the merger of Travelers Insurance and Citicorps Investment bank to form the conglomerate Citigroup, was still warm when its corpse was dumped into the potter's grave of History with Bill Clinton's signing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, shamelessly surnamed the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. This sequence of certain laws being violated then rescinded struck me as odd—i.e., expedient, unethical, even criminal. But then I've only played a lawyer on TV.

Certain international agreements seem to fit this dubious paradigm. Since 1972 the US has vetoed dozens unto hundreds of UNSC Resolutions (esp those critical of Israel), which, otherwise, had the support of an overwhelming majority of the rest of the world.

In this area, it should be noted, Russia has used its veto only twice. But this bears on the discrimination of 'International Law' against the nations practicing non-Private-Capital-based democracy, and is the subject for another discussion. I doubt Putin today would sign into law any proposed financial deregulations like the FSMA.

And even in areas outside the influence of the US/EU/Israeli axis of chaos, certain seemingly Humanitarian measures are, often at the last minute, denied US support. For instance, the UN Resolutions banning land mines, restricting trade in small arms, and curtailing certain forms of trafficking, esp. commerce in children, were victim's of American non-support. And the hand of the MIC was clearly visible behind these betrayals.

One is caused to wonder just what drives Western Humanitarianism? Is it real compassion with the suffering of our less fortunate fellows—those for whom considerations of gender-identity, for instance, are beyond the energies necessary for them merely to survive? Or is it more the effect any given measure might have on the bottom-line of the War Industries? After all, fiscal growth in the Private Sector depends on a growing, vibrant, and rapidly recurring demand for its principal products—that ordnance that, like cocaine, recreates with its use an exponentially larger demand. Economic circulation is stimulated far more strongly by the destruction of the social and public infrastructures of, say, Serbia, Iraq or Libya, than by the education of a few hundred little Pakistani girl-children.

And laws that retard or inhibit economic growth, especially for the most fortunate, will ALWAYS be IGNORED and then, if necessary, REPEALED and REPLACED. This can't be healthy for HUMANITY.


Effective Control and Effective Outcomes
(20 June 2015)


In cases like today's Syria and Ukraine, as in the cases of yesterday's Rwanda and Yugoslavia: those States who have effective control are often able to hide their roles as aggressors behind the significant roles in these conflicts played by non-State militaries: Private Military Contractors (PMC), a euphemism for 'mercenaries'.

In Yugoslavia, while the Bosnian mujahadins (sponsored ostensibly by Turkey and Iran, but, effectively, also by the US and Israel) were shelling the JNA's Drina corps around Srebenica that summer of 1995, in a brazen provocation meant to bring on the most violent response from the so-called Serb forces, a response which would eventually be termed a cold-blooded genocide; the Croatian military, manned and led by members of various PMCs, primarily MPRI (Military Professional Resources, Inc.), was mounting an operation into the Serbian Krajina to carry out the principal goal of all these 'Operations', the clearing out of superfluous populations—known as 'clearing out the brush' or, euphemistically, 'ethnic cleansing'. Because Private or non-State organizations were used to violate the laws and conventions of war, those States who reaped the geopolitical advantages from these crimes were able to hide their effective, as well as, in many instances, their overall control.

In Rwanda, the military force that invaded that country from neighboring Uganda in October 1990, an army of putative 'Rwandan refugees' returning to reclaim the (feudal) state they had lost in a popular (democratic) revolution in 1959-62, was really made up of 'deserting' members of the Ugandan National Liberation Army (NLA) and led by former officials of the Ugandan State and Military (the commander, Fred Rwigema, was Vice-Minister of Defense for Museveni, while his replacement, Paul Kagame, was Asst. Chief of Military Intelligence).

According to treaties defining refugee status, such service in the Administration or Military of another State invalidates previously held status as a refugee from one's original country. And the Rwandan Patriotic Front and Army were funded, supplied and trained by Uganda, but through state subventions from the US, UK and Israel. Most importantly, their status as non-State organs made the RPA immune from the conventions and laws of war and permitted them to slaughter 30,000 Rwandan civilians on just their FIRST WEEKEND in-country that October 1990 and, later, after a four-year occupation of and reign of terror over Rwanda, to assassinate two sitting African heads-of-State without triggering even a whisper of curiosity from the institutions of International Law. And the US avoided the use of the term 'genocide' with regard to 1994 Rwanda just long enough for the world community to be cajoled into believing that the 'clearing of the brush' from this most densely populated country on earth was the work of the deposed Rwandan government of the martyred president Habyarimana and that this once-Revolutionary State had actually committed genocide against itself.

In Ukraine and Syria, the Western powers, fronting the interests of globalized Private Capital, have even more brazenly flaunted their cynical, anti-democratic—one must say fascistic—tactics behind a by-now threadbare demonization of the Russian State. By openly ascribing expansionist aggression to a popularly supported government like that of the United Russia Party and its leader V. Putin (60-85% approval among the Russian people) harkens back to pre-Cold War times, to the days when Nazi Germany was inciting the hatred of the world against the Slavs, Gypsies and Judeo-Bolsheviks—a term which has recently returned to popular use.

That the death and destruction in Syria and Ukraine cannot be assigned to the effective control of the stateless terrorists who have been attempting to bring down (in the case of Syria) and keep down (Ukraine) the duly elected governments of those states has been greatly facilitated by hastily calling these conflicts 'civil wars' and, thereby, fuzzing out the influence of the 'Great Powers'.

But even more dire is the growing Privatization of these géostrategic conflicts with their more and more gruesome campaigns of population control. For only the West holds title to the terms 'Genocide' and 'Holocaust' and assigns them very discreetly. Among those victims who have failed to qualify for ‘official mourning’ are the (27-50 million) Soviets in WWII and the (5-9 million) civilians once living in Central Africa (esp Burundi, Rwanda and Congo/Zaire).

So, should not those to whom these conflicts bring effective (géopolitical) advantage be considered the ones with effective (as well as overall) control?



Humanitarian Genocides

(21 June2015)


It seems that since the end of WWII, the West has been in a constant and intensifying state of aggressive war against all those countries that would protect their national assets against invasion and occupation by international Private Capital. And each of these murderous adventures, whether called a defense of Democracy or a Police Action to contain Communism, has found ultimate justification for its immeasurable carnage as a counter measure to some prior, however ill-explained offense against Human Rights.

Afghanistan nationalized its gas, oil and opium, then carried out the Saur Revolution to bring real participatory democracy and universal suffrage out of the feudalism that ruled this cosmopolitan country; then Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Carter NSC and CIA armed and agitated the Northern Alliance, turning them into the global problem known today as the Mujahadin or Jihadists or al Qaeda or ISIS, all to, in ZB's own words, suck the USSR into its own 'Vietnam' and speed the collapse of the Soviet Union. This de facto invasion of Afghanistan by Western military intelligence was quickly shifted to an invasion by the West's great nemesis, the Russian Bear, and the soon-to-be Taliban became a counter measure to Soviet expansionism. The West is still waging that same war along the same géostrategic vectors: bombing Afghan women out of their burkas and into neo-feudal serfdom.

In Iraq, Western countermeasures ranged from punishing the invasion of Kuwait (an action Saddam first cleared with the Bush I State Dept's April Glaspie as the legitimate retaking of its southern provinces that were slant-drilling into its primal oil fields); to Clinton's first foreign policy gesture, the bombing of Baghdad (and the killing of a renowned woman artist) to counter an insulting threat made by that already war-ravaged nation against his predecessor; to the 'Shock-n-Awe' of Bush II's 2003 invasion in pursuit of illusory weapons of mass destruction.

In Syria and Ukraine today, sectarian opposition parties of the most unsavory types, radical Islamic terrorists out to get Assad and resurrected Nazi nostalgics in Kiev, are being financed, equipped, trained and led by Western (mostly Private) Military Intelligence assets as counter measures to the Russian-sponsored internecine wars in those two géostrategically key regions. As the death toll in Syria approaches a quarter million (well into Genocide territory) and the victims in the East of Ukraine, along the Russian border, go uncounted: the loss of all these martyred souls is blamed on Russian aggression, either active, as with the Crimean 'annexation', or passive, as with its honoring of ancient military support agreements with the pan-Arab Ba'athist govt. in Damascus.

The bottomless cynicism of the Private and Privatizing West shows no shame in its mawkish plaints about ‘Stopping Genocide’ in the name of ‘Humanity’. While all along, they double and redouble their investments in the destruction of all that remains—even to the very assets, the human and material resources, they pretend to treasure—on this moribund planet—now bereft even of its own true History.

FROM CUNNING LINGUINI-ISMS TO JIGGERY POKERY
(21 June 2015)
{Where the Red Team and the Brown Team are chosen up}

by The Prof:

Cirqueminime: I think you have an issue with what question 10 actually is about. I understand from your remark that the question would not be correctly phrased because the conditions for the exercise of countermeasures are not specified. 

However, if you read the question as it is (and I suggest that it is always better to read all options first in order to identify what the question is about), it seems pretty clear to me that the question does not relate to the conditions for the exercise of countermeasures, but to the entitlement, the right, to take countermeasures. Once that right exists, then the issue of the conditions for the exercise of countermeasures arises. The distinction between the two is clearly made in the course. The verb used in each of the options in question 10 is whether a certain State "may... take" countermeasures. 


More generally, I see your many remarks on my proficiency in English and the way the course is written. I candidly apologize to all native English speakers, including you, for any offense felt as a result of what you describe as an appalling command of the English language. I am not perfect and took the risk of setting up a course in a language which is not mine by birth. If you accept my apologies, fair play (which is not a French word, as we all know) should maybe entail reciprocal apologies for your rather excessive statements, as I do not think to appertain to the category of lousy Belgians incapable of putting two words of English together. 
Enjoy the course, and if not, I recommend you drop out because there is absolutely no need to continue to suffer the way you describe, nor to contribute in such an angry and vociferous way. 


Best regards,
Prof. Pierre d'Argent
STAFF

by cirqueminime:

We are, after all, talking about The Law here. The difference between 'responsible for' and 'responsible to' or the disagreements in the numbers of subjects and verbs can be as off-putting as mistaking an 'or' for an 'and' or a ‘now’ for a ‘know’ or a ‘no’.  Nothing arcane or counter-intuitive about that.

And the plea that "Never mind what he says, you know what he means" would not go over in any courtroom or law school I know.


I originally took your point made way above, cirqueminime, but come on now, are we maybe being a bit pedantic? You appear to be holding people to an excruciatingly high standard. This is not an English grammar course, after all.
 This course presents many, many concepts of exacting detail. That each and every detail may not be expressed in pure, absolutely correct English is not the point at all. Might I suggest you relax your quest that every idea be put forward in your conception of proper English, and focus more on the topics being presented?
 This has been a very, very well-presented course. I have learned far more than I had any expectation to have learned! It is free of charge. What a fabulous experience! And yes, I have missed questions, I have cursed the formation of exam questions, and I have wondered why material was presented in this fashion rather than that. On balance, this course has vastly exceeded my expectations.
 

by cirqueminime:

Uncritical love, Mr. Rizzo, is doomed to betrayal. In fact, your refusal to find fault with the course (given you seem to have found several--and why? Because it's free?), and your patronizing of Me d'Argent, are really insults to the course.

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Professor d'Argent, 
I can't imagine that even in my most feverish desperation over failing to grasp the sense of your course I would ever refer to your commannd of English as 'appalling'. I find your courage in taking on material as dense as International Law in a language other than your mother tongue comendable, to say the least. 


What I do find appalling is your historical bias for the interests of neo-feudal reaction and Private Capital. 
Your pronunciation was impeccable when you spoke of the 'Soviet Invasion of Eastern Poland in 1939or the 'Serbian genocide of Muslims' at Srebrenica in 1995. The fact that these events have gone unproven, even disproven, in the tribunals of History, makes your presumptions seem sinister. For if Real Evil is the perversion of Truth, you really should take a second or third look at some of your old class notes from Modern European History.


  And then there's the case of Belgium's role in Rwanda--but that's for another thread. 

Respectfully,
by The Prof:

Hi Cirqueminime,

I am happy to note that the linguistic issue seems to be a distraction and we finally reach substance. 
I have said from the start of this course that law is always, and at the same time, an instrument that limits power and that justifies the exercise of power. I do not think I have tried to mislead students in that regard --law is an instrument of liberation and, at the same time, an instrument of domination. For that reason, law is deeply political. I made that very clear. And it is true of any law, be it driven by a capitalist ideology or not. 
I understand you have your own political views and biases. I am not here to convince anyone to change their political views. I am just here to give a sense of what it takes to be an articulate lawyer when it comes to international law. 
Now, on two specific historical events you mention:

 **Do you contest the historical fact that the Soviet Union signed a secret treaty with Nazi Germany, that Germany invaded Western Poland on 1 September 1939 and that the Soviet Union followed suit 16 days later?   

**Do you contest the fact that over 8000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in July 2005 [sic, 1995] by Bosnian Serbs thugs? That killing was qualified as an act of genocide by the ICTY and the ICJ. 

Do you contest those facts or the qualification? If so, on what historical basis for the facts and on what legal basis for the qualification? 

Furthermore, I do not think I used the sentence you refer to and never attributed the genocide to Serbia. This is a distortion.

**What allows you to say that "these events have gone unproven, even disproven, in the tribunals of History"? 
What is wrong with mentioning those historical facts and what are the grounds for considering that those events did not exist, or for considering that mentioning them would be proof of the fact that I would have an "historical bias for the interests of neo-feudal reaction and Private Capital"? 
Your statement is baseless and, hence, indefensible. 


  ** Let me turn to Rwanda.
  First: Lt Lotin who was the platoon leader commanding the 10 Belgian paratroopers of MINUAR who were killed while protecting the prime minister was the brother of a friend. This has nothing to do with your comment, but just to warn you that history is not always an abstract issue. 


Second: I have always critiziced the decision of the Belgian government to terminate the Belgian participation to MINUAR. 


Third: in 2000, prime minister Verhofstadt apologized in the name of Belgium and asked for forgiveness in very clear terms:



Of course, this does not change history, but I would be happy to be directed at similar acts of apologies by other leaders in other countries, 6 years only after the facts, in relation to Rwanda or any other genocide or grave and widespread breaches of fundamental rights.


Four: there is of course Belgian's colonial past and the role it played in building up to the 1994 events, 34 years after independence. I am not contesting that, but what makes you think that because I am a Belgian (a fact which has been well beyond my control for the last 47 years) I would in anyway be an apologist for past colonial times? Or that Belgians would, in general, be colonial apologists? 


Five: week 8 has not yet been released. 
I understand from some of your other comments that you've been advising important players from Serbia and from Rwanda. From the comments of your fellow MOOC students, I am not sure the interests of your (past) clients or of your cause are well-served by your comments. So, from a professional point of view, my humble advice would be to reconsider your argumentative strategy.


Best regards,
PdA

by cirqueminime: 
                       

Professor d’Argent,


I find your description of Law as both limiting and liberating a sort of boilerplate, the kind of definition, free of political differentiation, well suited to the demands of a course which must tread carefully through the mine field of conflicting géohistorical interests.  No need to consider who are the ‘liberated’ and who the ‘limited’. 

As with all relevant historical distinctions over the last century, between Fascism and Communism, between Nazi Germany and the USSR, between Western Privatization and Eastern Social Democracy, all are fuzzed out with the sweep of a Post Modern false equivalency.
  But your idea of ‘International Law’, a Law for the 'International Community', has some very glaring biases, founded both in historical and practical misreadings.


Let's first take our concern, yours and mine, over the so-call invasion of Eastern Poland by the USSR in Sept 1939: 


My dear friend and luncheon companion, Prof Grover Furr of Montclair State University here in New Jersey, in his magnificent book “Blood Lies”, a comprehensive debunking of the mendacious apologist for Ukrainian, Polish and German nationalist crimes, Timothy Snyder's “Bloodlands”, brings out an interesting legal nicety concerning Polish and Soviet actions in that fall of 1939: 

Prof. Grover Furr, MSU                 Blood Lies

I direct you to Chapter 7 of “Blood Lies”, The Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact: What Really Happened.(p299)


The INTRODUCTION asks: 

Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland on September 17, 1939? Why ask? “We all know” this invasion occurred. “You can look it up!” Almost all contemporary authoritative accounts agree that this historical event happened. . . .


(But then . . .) THE SOVIET UNION DID NOT INVADE POLAND IN SEPTEMBER, 1939.(p300)


The truth is that the USSR did not invade Poland in September, 1939. However, so completely has this non-event passed into historiography as “true” that I [Furr] have yet to find a recent history book from the West that actually gets it correct. 

And, of course, the USSR had never been an “ally” of Nazi Germany. The Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact (henceforth “M-R Pact”) was a non-aggression pact, not an alliance of any kind. The claim that the USSR and Hitler’s Germany were “allies” is simply stated over and over again, but is never backed up with any evidence. 
. . . 

Furthermore, at the time, it was widely acknowledged that no such invasion occurred.
  

(But, as is often the case with this course, it is impossible to prove a negative, that a genocide did NOT take place or that Germany and the USSR were NOT allies. So the burden of proof should be on those whose arguments are founded on these non-events.)


Finally, the “nicety” arrives: 

Under the heading THE USSR DID NOT INVADE POLAND—AND EVERYBODY KNEW IT AT THE TIME (p309), we come to my favorite little-known legal fact:


. . . (Because the Polish Government and General Staff had fled into neutral Rumania {17 Sept. 1939}) No State of Poland existed any longer. 


Unless the Red Army came in to prevent it, there was nothing to keep the Nazis from coming right up to the Soviet border. Or—as we now know they were in fact preparing to do—Hitler could have formed one or more pro-Nazi states in what had until recently been Eastern Poland.


(Then Prof Furr writes:) HOW DO WE KNOW THIS INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS IS TRUE? (p310) 


How do we know the USSR did not commit aggression against, or “invade”, Poland when it occupied Eastern Poland beginning on September 17, 1939, after the Polish government had interned itself in Rumania? 

(Then he lists 9 pieces of evidence to support his claim.) (pp310-11)


Now we have finally arrived at the question of ‘International Law’ regarding this would-be Soviet invasion.


THE QUESTION OF THE STATE IN INTERNATIONAL LAW (p317)


Every definition of the state recognizes the necessity of a government or “an organized political authority.” Once the Polish government [had] crossed the border into Rumania, it was no longer a “government.”


(Then . . . and we’ll leave it here.) 

THE SOVIET POSITION WAS VALID UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW (p319)


In a 1958 article in The American Journal of International Law, UCLA professor Ginsburgs determined that the Soviet claim that the State of Poland no longer existed was basically a sound one:
 

For all these various reasons, it may safely be concluded that on this particular point the Soviet argument was successful, and that the “above considerations do allow for any doubt that there did not exist a state of war between Poland and the USSR in September  1939.”

In spite of scattered protests to the contrary, the consensus heavily sides with the Soviet view that by September 17, 1939, the Polish government was in panic and full flight, that it did not exercise any appreciable control over its armed forces or its remaining territory, and that the days of Poland were indeed numbered.

De facto, then, one may well accept the view that the Polish Government no longer functioned as an effective state power. In such a case the Soviet claim that Eastern Galicia was in fact a terra nullius may not be unjustified and could be sustained.    
{Terra nullius is a term from Roman law describing a territory from which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished all sovereignty.} 


So in the case of Poland and the Soviet “invasion”, one sees how international law was applied to bring historical accuracy to an event which had before been used to criminalize the victims of aggression and exculpate the aggressors. When this legal relationship reverted to its instrumentalized past is an inquiry demanding more time and space than is here available. But, surely, your assumption that the Soviets did, in fact, ‘invade’ Poland—just as, I’m sure, you freely use the expression “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan”—is an indication that ‘International Law’ and the ‘International Community’ have been fully appropriated by the NATO Powers to be pit against the East.


If further example is needed, let’s consider how the 79-day terror-bombing of Serbia (Newsweek magazine's term) by NATO could be, at the same time, illegal by UN and NATO standards, while being called 'legitimate', and, therefore, not deserving even a cursory investigation, by the very legal institutions you cite as having co-signed the allegation that genocide was committed by Bosno-Serbian forces (thugs, as you call them, a term dripping irony, in this context): the ICTY and ICJ. 


From the beginning, the charge of genocide in Srebrenica was an expediency used to disqualify the Rep. Srpska leadership, President Karadzic and General Mladic, as indicted war criminals, from taking part in the Dayton Peace Talks. 

No similiar charges have ever been leveled at the instigators and leaders of Croatia's "Operation Storm", though it has been called the largest campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' in the entirety of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.


Similarly, in the case of genocide in Rwanda, charges were leveled against just one party to the conflict, charges the ICTR was never able to make stick, so the Tribunal in Arusha had to be ordered by its Appeals Chamber in The Hague to 'take judicial notice' of the genocide—i.e., to accept the mass killing that unquestionably took place in that martyred country, from 1990 until well-past 1994, as an act of genocide without ever having to prove it legally as such. After all, the so-called 'brains of the genocide' were all acquitted.


But what these two expedient ‘false charges’ of genocide did was effectively  absolve the villains, the foreign aggressors, NATO and its proxy African mercenary army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, while indicting the victims of these military onslaughts, the Yugoslavs and the Rwandan revolutionary government of the single MRND party, for their own annihilations.


And as to your friendship with Lt. Lotin’s family, well, that is a somewhat serendipitous coincidence for my argument and, as with the invasion of Poland, or with Belgian apologies, not so for yours. 

And let me just say here that it is not Belgian colonialism that I’m getting worked up over; it’s Belgium’s support for, it’s aiding and abetting the real aggressors in Rwanda, the RPF. It was on orders from the RPF that Belgium pulled out of UNAMIR; it was to Kagame and minoritarian dictatorship in Kigali the Belgium apologized for getting the genocide wrong.


First off, you really need to be informed that there were 13 bodies—not 10—identified as those of the Belgian paracommandos. 

General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, former Chief of the National Gendarmerie (not my client, but my dear friend, whose acquittal on all charges I'd like to think I did something to bring about, and whose innocence after a dozen years was finally accepted by Belgium, allowing him to return to his family),  counted the bodies when he went to the military morgue with the unspeakable, craven General Dallaire to identify the fallen. 


That grim day, 6 April 1994, Lt. Lotin and his peripatetic platoon found themselves in more dubious locations than they could really explain and fell under the suspicions of the Rwandan Army and Presidential Guard. Many suspected them of being in on the missile strike that killed President Habyarimana. Some thought Lotin et alia had been sent not to protect PM Agate, but to eliminate her. The question of whether the RPF or the Crisis Committee standing in for the decapitated government actually murdered her has been thoroughly answered by my friend, the renowned international defense attorney and the General's lead counsel Christopher Black. You can find his solution to Agate’s murder here:

And I’m not sure how to link files to these comments pages, but I also can send you the KIBAT report (in French) mentioned in Chris’s article. 

But here is the salient paragraph regarding your friend Lt. Lotin.
--

The Ghanaian commander approached the Belgian officer in charge and asked him what their mission was. The Ghanaians, also inexplicably, had no prior notice that the Belgians were coming there even though they were in radio contact with the UN command. The Belgian officer, Lt. Lotin, refused to answer, stating simply, "We are coming to see the Prime Minister." The Sgt, then accompanied the Belgians to the door of Agathe's residence. They knocked on the door but Agathe refused to answer the knock or open the door. Did she know these men had been involved in the murder of the president? Why had they been sent to her house secretly? Were they there, or did she think they were there, to kill her also? A clue may be found in a cryptic entry in the official Belgian Army history of the events known as the KIBAT (for Kigali Battalion) Report. On page 13, at paragraph 'k', the report states that the Belgian officer radios to his superior that the "Rwandans believe that the Belgians want the skin of Agathe."(26)--


So to wrap up: what you in the Humanitarian Law, Human Rights wing of the International Community have done is effectively to have covered up the real crimes of your clients (as all good shysters should) while shifting culpability onto the victims of this neo-colonial campaign of population management. 

As they say in Africa, “As long as the lions don’t have their own historians, History will be written by the hunters.’ The same applies to the Law. And, I fear, you are teaching the Law of the Hunters to a lot of would-be Hunters. Us lions don't stand a chance.
Respectfully,  M. Collins
                       
Would this {huh?} be an example of a government in exile?
          
by cirqueminime:
In the case of Poland, the govt-in-exile in London was separate and apart from the official govt. of Poland that interned itself in neutral Rumania. Poland ceased to function as a State when its govt. and General Staff fled the German invasion in Sept l939. And, interestingly, Prof Furr writes:


THE POLISH GOVT.-IN-EXILE


At the beginning of October 1939, the British and French govts recognized a Polish govt-in-exile in France (later it moved to England). This was an act of hostility against Germany, of course. But the UK and France were already at war with Germany. The US govt. wasn't sure what to do. After a time it took the position of refusing to recognize the conquest of Poland, but treated the Polish govt-in-exile in Paris in an equivocal manner.


The USSR could not recognize it for a number of reasons:


*Recognizing it would be incompatible with the neutrality of the USSR in the war. It would be an act of hostility against Germany, with which the USSR had a non-aggression pact and a desire to avoid war. (The USSR did recognize it in July 1941, after the Nazi invasion.)


*The govt-in-exile could not exercise sovereignty anywhere.


*Most important: If the USSR were to recognize the govt-in-exile, the USSR would have had to retreat to its pre-Sept 1939 borders--because the Polish govt-in-exile would never recognize the Soviet occupation of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine. Then Germany would simply have marched right up to the Soviet frontier. To permit that would have been a crime against the Soviet people as well as against all the residents of these areas, including Poles, because they would have been abandoned to Hitler. And, as the British and the French soon agreed, a blow against them, and a big boost to Hitler as well.


THE POLISH GOVT. WAS UNIQUELY IRRESPONSIBLE


No other govt. during WWII acted as the Polish govt. did. Many govts of countries conquered by the Axis formed govts in exile to continue the war. But only the Polish govt. interned itself in a neutral country, thereby stripping itself of the ability to function as a govt. and stripping their own people of their existence as a state.


The reason I asked which govt-in-exile, tortoiseshell, is that Rwanda also had a govt-in-exile. The interim govt of Prime Minister Jean Kambanda came into being after the RPF assassinated President Habyarimana and eventually fled into Congo and has now become the FDLR (Forces démocratique pour la liberation de Rwanda).
          
by The Prof: 

            Mr Collins,


Stating that "No State of Poland existed any longer" after the Polish government fled is an isolated statement by one historian. It is legally flawed because having a government is not a "constitutive" element of statehood (see week 2) and because it does not take into account the changes brought about by the Paris treaty of 1928 (see week 8). 
Have you asked yourself if the Soviet Union (and any other State) recognized Poland as a new State in 1945, which should have been done if Poland supposedly disappeared as a State in 1939? 
To speak of Poland as a terra nullius that could be freely disposed of by the Soviets is really far from being legally convincing. But it suits Soviet imperialism and hides the fact that instead of combating the Nazi aggression, it consolidated it. Furthermore, it does not explain why the Soviet and German troops peacefully met in the middle of Poland in September 1939, why they jointly paraded in Brest-Litovsk and in other places, and why, if the Soviets supposedly came to rescue Poland from being completely invaded by the Nazis, the Soviets did not offer to the Polish government to return and jointly take charge of the territory that was not under German occupation. And I presume you also consider that the Katyn massacre is a fabrication. 
But this is history, and you very know your views are not shared by many scholars. 
Now, to put an end to those endless exchanges: do you want me to candidly admit that international law as it stands today reflects more the interests and values of Western liberal capitalists democracies than those of collectivists authoritarian regimes that have failed? Of course, I am happy to embrace that view. And to be totally open about it, I prefer it that way, than the other way around.


Best regards,
PdA
          
Prof,


I know it's pointless to argue History with an anti-communist, especially one as fervent and committed as you seem to be. For when one asks "Why would they do it?"  Why would the Soviets, in full flight from the Huns, stop off in Katyn woods and liquidate 22,000 Polish officers? Why would Vladimir Putin, the leader of a mass party [United Russia] with, at any given time, between 60% and 80% support of the Russian population (up to 87% at last report), go out of his way to murder relative unknowns or 'opposition' politicians whose parties don't even qualify for the ballot? or Why would Stalin punish the entire Soviet Union and jeopardize a life-or-death defense effort by keeping Ukrainian farmers from growing grain, forcing a 'genocide famine' on a principal agricultural region of the USSR? The only answer to questions like these the average anti-communist can come up with is that Communists—like their successors, the suicidal (Arab) Terrorists—are irrational. They are EVIL.


But what discomfits me most is that someone so learned and intelligent as you seems unaware that the positions you espouse are the same as those promoted by the greatest anti-communists of all time: the Nazis. 


Do you ever feel any sense of shame at perhaps being taken for a 'collabo'? That one day La Resistance, the partizans will break into your classroom, shave your head, and parade you through the Brussels streets with a little black mustache 'Sharpied' on your lip?


I don't know whether you chose it or it you, but this on-going campaign engaged in by 'scholars' like yourself and Timothy Snyder of Yale to defend the expansion of Private Capital at the expense of all rational and decent popular societies, even unto using the fey terminology of ethically bankrupt equivocators like Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt, terms like 'authoritarian', 'collectivist', 'totalitarian', to demonize experiments in non-exploitive society, has driven a stake through the Western imagination. 


For you and yours, the false equivalence between Fascism and Communism is the only sanctuary for your neofeudal longings. And, I suppose, it is demanded by your employers.


But these two entirely antagonistic ideas cannot be resolved into some 'Third Way', some 'Middle-of-the-road Liberalism'. And all the ghost stories like Katyn or the Gulags, or the fantasies about Nazis and Soviets dancing hand-in-allied-hand through concentration camp row, will not change the facts of History or Philosophy: Fascism is Anti-Communism; Communism is Anti-Facism: that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
 

If you think your 'Liberalism' sets you outside this vile and vicious steel cage death match, you are sadly mistaken. And the mortal damage being wreaked on the modern Western consciousness by the rebirth of the Nazi legions in Kiev (and elsewhere), mid-wifed by the liberal US and EU Business/Academic Complex, portends a new Dark Ages, not just for The West, but for the entire planet—lest, we pray, the Red Army liberate us once more.
          
by The Prof: 

Mr Collins,


Your lines could be a truly hilarious delirium, if it was not for the explicit threat of violence and the insult when you affirm that my positions are similar to those of the Nazis. This is totally unacceptable. 
PdA
          
Well, I'm glad to hear that, Me d'Argent. Perhaps you'll reconsider these positions, then. And where do you see the threats of violence? In the scene of your capture by the maquisards? THAT is delirious.
************
The Course ended around 5 July.  I passed with 76% overall.  Got 100% on the final--shoulda played the Lotto that day!  But my respect for this post-lapsarian version of International Law is about on a par with my respect for The Christian Crusade Against Communism and the NRA.