Sunday, August 19, 2012

Waste Capital Wastes Democracy and Justice: Here, There and Everywhere

[This is an important article by Christof Lehmann, James Henry Fetzer, Alex Mezyaev and our own Chris Black, on the abuses of International Justice.  For those who might doubt that jurisprudence is key to geopolitics and the spread of global privatization, a glance at the Sunday (Aug. 19) NYTs Op/Ed by Russian ex-pat Misha Friedman, "For Russians, Corruption is Just a Way of Life," might be enlightening.  

As usual, in its halting, fact-enfeebled, propagandistic cover for Western global criminality, The US Newspaper-of-Record sheds more light on its own client-supported corruption than on any malfeasance on the part of its age-old antagonists, the Soviet Union and Russia: the only examples of Russian corruption cited by the Times' Quisling editorialist are both concerned with the Russian judiciary:  the case of imprisoned oligarch Mikhail Kodorkovsky, once Russia's richest business man now locked down for fraud and tax evasion, and the talentless agit-porn troupe, Pussy Riot, putatively convicted for hooliganism and inciting religious hatred but unarguably serving as agents of a foreign power trying to subvert the Russian government.  As with Democracy, the power of Waste Capital is likewise toxic to Justice.--mc]

The US/UN/NATO Race for Global Full Spectrum Dominance. (2/4)
Christopher Black, James Henry Fetzer,
Alex Mezyaev & Christof Lehmann

The Dismantling of International Law and a Return to Global Barbarism.

In recent decades, an unprecedented deterioration, one might say, a “collapse” of international law has occurred. This deterioration has been driven by the US and NATO, and their refusal to abide by the long-established legal principles of international jurisprudence in all its aspects: peaceful coexistence, human rights, military conventions and others, which were established over hundreds of years.

Many of these principles and laws were implemented after events of unspeakable human suffering. Unless this regression into global barbarism is opposed by all necessary popular, political, diplomatic, economic, legal, and, if necessary, military means; humanity will descend into a state of global barbarism and unimaginable atrocities. The most serious deteriorations over the past two decades have been:

The deterioration of the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Westphalia and of National Sovereignty.

The treaty of Westphalia xxii
was signed by the European powers in 1648, after a religious and political power struggle between European empires resulted in a war that lasted over thirty years. The treaty defines the sovereignty of nation-states and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations by outside forces. The treaty of Westphalia was one of the international legal covenants used as guidelines for the drafting of the Charter of the United Nations, and it is considered by many as the most important principle of international law with respect to the regulation of bi-lateral and multilateral diplomatic and political relations.

The principle of non-interference in domestic affairs and the principle of national sovereignty enshrined in the UN Charter are increasingly being challenged by those who argue, as do the Americans, that the “international community”, aka the Americans, has a “responsibility to protect” civilians in cases where their sovereign governments are not able to do so, or when the sovereign government is committing severe violations of other principles, like Human Rights. A resolution implementing this “responsibility to protect” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, in violation of the UN Charter (xxiii).

This false responsibility was first called “humanitarian intervention”, but the term, it seems, could only be used in propaganda when a crisis was already in full swing. The slogan “responsibility to protect” was coined to create strategic flexibility so “intervention” could be ordered even before the US had succeeded in creating a major crisis. The ”responsibility to protect” (R2P) also had the advantage of claiming moral authority while, of course, never addressing just how this “responsibility” fell to the USA or why it is applied only against its enemies and never its vassals and allies.

Although the guiding arguments for the primacy of Human Rights and the “R2P” may seem convincing at first glance, a closer analysis reveals that the erosion of national sovereignty brought about by “R2P” opens a Pandora’s box of serious problems.

The first instance of R2P, which was then still known as “humanitarian intervention”, being used to override national sovereignty was the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia during the reign of Clinton Administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

It is now a well-established and well-documented fact that the internal conflict in Yugoslavia was instigated by an alliance of Slovenian and Croatian separatists with ties to WWII German National Socialism, and had covert support from the German government and the German Intelligence Service, the BND (xxiv)
and the Vatican. The BND provided the first weapons, previously-owned Bulgarian AK 47 assault rifles, to the Slovenian and Croatian separatists.

As the conflict escalated and the country was broken up along ethnic and religious lines, the USA and other Western powers became increasingly involved, and this resulted in NATO’s “intervention”, in fact, its outright aggression against the Yugoslav Federal Republic, perpetrated without United Nations Security Council approval and in complete violation of the Charters of the UN and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  NATO member states collaborated with a wide variety of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s mujahedin.(xxv)
The USA financed, trained and armed the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK), which was heavily supported by al Qaeda brigades and was financed, to a large extent, by heroin trafficking from Afghanistan into Europe and North America. (xxvi)

The war on and the dismemberment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, according to the late French Brigadier General Pierre-Marie Gallois, had been planned and prepared by the European powers in unofficial meetings on a farm in Germany from 1976; more than a decade prior to the first public demands for secession from Yugoslavia by Slovenian and Croatian separatists. Brigadier-General Gallois was the French representative to these meetings and disclosed many of the details in a stunning interview. (xxviii)

According to General Gallois, one of the principle motivating factors for the covert and, subsequently, overt war on Yugoslavia was that Yugoslavia was the sole Russian ally in the Balkans and the last functioning socialist state in Europe. Other motivating factors were that Germany wanted to re-establish the geo-political influence in the region it had lost after the two World Wars of the 20th Century. Yet another factor was the need to define a post-Cold War role for NATO. In fact, as the late French Brigadier General pointed out, the war on Yugoslavia provided the model for the war on Iraq and subsequent wars.(ibid.)(xxx)

The sole correlation between Human Rights and the NATO intervention into Yugoslavia/Serbia, as well as its ongoing military occupation of Kosovo, is that humanitarian crises were cynically fabricated with the intention of creating a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention”, which meant, in fact, a military assault justified by the “R2P”, the euphonic responsibility to protect.

The United States, by preempting the function of the United Nations with an arrogant claim to this invented responsibility, degraded the principles of the Treaty of Westphalia and the UN Charter, both of which guarantee the sovereignty of nations and the concomitant right of peoples to self-determination.

It is nothing less than Western colonialism justified once more by the “white man’s burden”.  In a recent article, Dr. Henry Kissinger discussed whether nations like Syria and other Arab States would even qualify for the protection against interference into their internal affairs set forth in the principles of the Treaty of Westphalia. (xxxi)

Kissinger argues that almost all Arab States, with the possible exceptions of Iran, Turkey and Egypt, are nations whose borders had been more or less arbitrarily drawn by former colonial powers, and that it was, therefore, questionable whether they could rightfully be treated as nation states and be protected by the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia.  Iran, Turkey and Egypt, on the other hand, as Kissinger argues, have a long history as nations.

One of the authors of this artice, Dr. Lehmann has written an article in response to Dr. Kissinger, arguing that Kissinger´s interpretation is representative of the condescending, ethnocentric, colonialist attitude of Western nations toward countries the world over. It is also symptomatic of the social constructionism that guides Western foreign policy. While Kissinger questions the national sovereignty of almost all middle eastern States on the grounds that their borders were arbitrarily drawn by former colonial powers, he does not mention Israel, whose borders also were arbitrarily drawn by the same former colonial powers. (xxxii)

Neither does he mention the fact that the United States, itself, is also an artificial creation born from the extermination of the native peoples, the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France, and the acquisition of Florida from Spain, the War of 1812 against Canada, the war of conquest against Mexico in 1846, the war secession between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, known as the American Civil War of 1861-1865, and the expansion into non-contiguous territories like Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The most recent example of the successful erosion of national sovereignty to set up a pretext for the Responsibility to Protect is NATO´s abuse of UNSC Resolution 1973 on Libya (2011). (xxxiii)

As the UN Charter requires that resolutions have the concurrant approval of all permanent members of the Security Council, it can be argued that Resolution 1973 was not adopted. Russia and China abstained. An abstention is not a concurrent vote. It may have been that Russia and China expected that their abstentions would be enough to keep the resolution from passing.  Legally they were correct.  But regardless of whether Russia and China were taking a calculated risk, or whether Russia, which was then being led by President Dmitry Medvedev, was trying to appease the USA/NATO, thereby leaving China to take the blowback from the USA and NATO and isolate the GCC member states, along with Israel, only a future historical analyses will determine.

What is certain, however, is that both the political leaderships of Russia and China must have been aware that even though a UNSC resolution is arguably invalid unless all Security Council members vote in favor of it, it is a long-established political practice that only a veto is sufficient to block an intervention. Since the first Russian (then the USSR) abstention on UNSC Resolution 4 (1946) on Spain, an abstention has not been considered enough to prevent the adoption of a resolution even though this practice is not legal under the UN Charter.

The claim that the USA, France and the UK violated the UN Charter was further substantiated when the USA and its allies exceeded the terms of their own resolution and conducted a war of aggression against Libya. A repetition of this violation, directed against Syria, has so far effectively been checked by Russia and China vetoing Security Council resolutions on sanctions and a no-fly zone against Syria.

The Deterioration of the Geneva Convention.

The Geneva Convention (xxxiv)
is made up of four treaties and an additional three protocols that establish standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of participants in and victims of war. It was updated to its current version in 1949, following two World Wars of unspeakable violence, and so it is, like the Treaty of Westphalia, a reaction to the incomprehensible acts of violence and untold human suffering that have affected vast populations. The Geneva Convention defines the wartime rights of both civilian and military prisoners, affords protection to the wounded, and establishes sanctuary for civilians in war zones. It also specifies the rights and protections that are afforded to non-combatants. Since the onset of the US-led “War on Terror” in 2001, the Geneva Convention has been systematically undermined by the USA and other NATO countries.

The systematic erosion of the Geneva Convention includes:

• The illegitimate use of the term “unlawful combatants” (xxxv)
and the indefinite imprisonment of prisoners of war in places like Guantanamo without regard for the norms of the Geneva Conventions.

• The use of the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” (xxxvi)
in an attempt to legitimize unspeakable acts of torture, including water-boarding, sensory deprivation, religious chicanery, hours in painful forced positions while subjecting prisoners to white noise, blindfolding, extreme temperatures, as well as sheer physical brutality and even death.

• The use of the term “Extraordinary Rendition” (xxxvii)
to mean the kidnapping and disappearance of both combatants and non-combatants. As in Operation Condor, conducted against leftists and progressives by the USA and its vassals in South America in the 70s and 80s, people simply disappear.  Extraordinary rendition is a term used to cover up the fact that people are delivered to third countries where they are tortured or subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” or simply murdered. Extraordinary Rendition is also covered by provisions of the Nuremberg Principles.

• Summary executions of prisoners of war on the battlefield and the turning over of combatants and non-combatants alike to “irregular” allied forces, in full knowledge that the prisoners of war will be massacred, as has happened on several occasions in Afghanistan.

• The delivery of prisoners of war to criminal courts, that is, US military tribunals, to be prosecuted for “terrorism”.

And it does not stop there. A list of violations of the Geneva Conventions would fill volumes. The results of this systematic violation of international law are outrages like those reported at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

The renown social psychologist Phillip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University (xxxviii),
worked as a Defense expert for some of the soldiers who charged with committing atrocities at Abu Ghraib.  Zimbardo stated that the appalling acts of torture at that former Baghdad central prison were not the result of “a few bad apples among the troops”, as was claimed by former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but that they were the products of a carefully orchestrated situation, where high level military and political cadres had to know that the invariable outcomes would be torture and other abuse. (xxxix)

The obvious danger of these systematic violations of international law is that they create precedents and escalate the spiral of violence and abuse, rather than defuse a conflict.

The irony is that this systematic violation of international law is being carried out by those nations who wage wars while claiming to be in the vanguard of the rule of law, human rights, freedom, democracy and justice.

The Hague Conventions.

The Hague Conventions (xl)
consist of two treaties and regulate, among other things, the legality of war, declarations of war and surrender, the use of legal and illegal weapons, military conduct, command structures and command responsibility for the prevention and punishment of crimes committed by subordinates.

Article one of the first Chapter of the Hague Convention of 1909 states that the laws, rights and duties of war not only apply to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps, and require those forces to fulfill the following conditions:

To be commanded by a person who is responsible for his subordinates, to have a fixed distinctive emblem visible at a distance, to carry arms openly, and to conduct their operations in accordance to the customs of war. In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or part of it, they are included under the denomination “army”. They also include inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied, who spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without having had time to organize themselves in accordance with article one if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

The coining of the term “unlawful-combatant” is designed to try to evade the provisions of the Hague Convention, which clearly specifies that a population has the right to armed resistance against an aggressor’s military forces.

The use of mercenary forces, like the use of 20,000 mercenaries of the Al-Qaeda-associated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the attempted subversion of Syria (xli),
erodes the concept of  command responsibility. It provides the USA/NATO with a loophole through which they can get away with the most serious acts of terrorism, massacres and military barbarism, all while NATO´s military leadership, as well as members of the Ministries of Defense of NATO-member governments, enjoy “plausible deniability” of their command decisions. Or so they think, because it is clear in international law that the fact that US officers have real command responsibility, that is, effective command and control over these mercenaries, means they would be convicted for war crimes were they ever to be brought before an international tribunal.

While the USA reserves the right to exempt its citizens, including military personnel, from being subjected to the authority of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, it demands the prosecution of citizens of other nations, those in opposition to US/NATO hegemony, for this illegal use of Private Military forces.  This is a systematic circumvention of the Hague Conventions as PMCs (Private Military Contractors) are forbidden by the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries after 4 December 1989. (xlii)

The use of PMC mercenaries has increased greatly since the wars on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and their use is growing under the rubric of “private security contractors”, as if they were construction workers hired to carry out military tasks. These mercenaries do not obey the rules or customs of war.

On the other hand, members of the militia who legally resist US/NATO occupation are often being turned over to police authorities of the government that has been installed with the help of the USA/NATO, and can be sentenced to long prison terms or execution because the protection afforded under The Hague Conventions is being circumvented.

The Use of CIA Personnel for Military Operations. 

The USA is increasingly making use of unmanned aerial vehicles for both observation and kinetic military actions. None of the CIA´s “Gameboy Killers” in Langley, Virginia, is operating within a legal military command structure.  Whether a drone attack targets resistance fighters, so-called terrorists, or the “Gameboy Killers” at Langley blow away the bride and groom of a wedding party in Pakistan or Somalia, all of these drone attacks are abrogations of the Hague Conventions.

Chapter two of the Hague Conventions states that prisoners of war are in the custody of the hostile government and not in the hands of the individuals or units that captured them.

Both the use of private military contractors and the use of allied- or state-sponsored mercenary forces, including al Qaeda brigades, are breaches of The Hague Conventions.

In Syria we are, as of this writing, witnessing the wide spread torture and summary executions of captured Syrian military personnel. Western intelligence personnel have been captured after firing sniper rifles into peaceful demonstrations to enrage the demonstrators against the Syrian government and police. None of them was operating within The Hague Conventions and violations of many international laws and conventions have been committed by the assassins of peaceful demonstrators.

Extrajudicial Executions and Assassinations.

The corruption of US civilian and military legal systems and the violations of the US Constitution have resulted in the extraordinary situation that the American president not only has abolished the ancient right to habeas corpus, but he now claims the right of a tyrant, the right to effect extrajudicial assassinations, that is, to murder both US citizens and citizens of any other nation, anywhere in the world, whom he claims are a “threat”.

In fact, President Barack Obama takes pride in personally making life and death decisions by determining whether one or another individual shall be targeted for assassination.  Death has become his plaything, like an American Caligula.

Notwithstanding the audacity and arrogance of signing this practice into “law”, no executive order, and no approval by a corrupted congress can establish any basis in international law for this practice.  Each and every assassination is, in fact, nothing less than premeditated murder.

These extrajudicial executions and assassinations are a stark warning of what “human rights”, “civil liberties”, “freedom”, “democracy” and “justice”, have come to mean in the United States of America and to NATO in practice, as opposed to how they are preached.

Plausible Deniability for Acts of Barbarism.

It would be possible to write volumes about the problems that arise. The shortest way of describing what the US is doing by systematically circumventing international law is to sum it up as follows:

• The systematic circumvention of international law.

• The systematic circumvention of legal responsibility for illegal acts of war.

• The systematic circumvention of human rights, civil liberties and the systematic implementation of torture, the institutionalization of terrorism and massacres of civilian, military, combatants and non-combatants.

• A return to barbarism in war and to wars of aggression, that is, crimes against peace, unrestrained in their ferocity and cruelty.

All that, and more, under the pretext of freedom, democracy, the responsibility to protect, human rights or a war on terrorism. No act of terrorism is, in fact, shied away from, such as the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, the murders of Muammar Ghadafi, Presidents Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Juvénal Habyrimana, and countless others.

The Establishment of Illegal International Courts and Politicized Trials.

– A Pseudo-Legalistic Political Witch-Hunt and Victors Justice.

Whereas the systematic erosion of international law is one path to a return to barbarism, the establishment of pseudo-legal international courts that are being used by NATO and its allies for a pseudo-legalistic political witch-hunt and the implementation of victors’ justice against those who have become the victims to NATO ”interventions” is an equally dangerous route toward barbarism. In deed, it may be even be more dangerous than the outright violation of international laws and conventions because here the illegal aggression is disguised as legitimate justice.

The ICTY, ICTR, SCSL, SCL, and similar Special Courts and Tribunals are just such quasi-Judicial Institutions. Modern international law does not provide any legal basis for the creation of the above-mentioned institutions. Their utility is to provide ”legal” sanction to the already unlawfully achieved results of covert or overt illegal wars, aggressions, or interventions.

While these quasi-judicial tribunals are unlawful in the first place, their methodology for achieving ”desired results” is even more so, since new rules and regulations are written on an ad hoc basis to secure convictions, as was the case at the ICTY and ICTR and others.

The results of such ”International Criminal Justice” are:

* The conviction of mainly Serbs through rigged show trials and the demonstrative acquittal of real perpetrators who belonged to the NATO-allied, al Qaeda-associated Kosovo Liberation Army, also known as KLA /UCK, at the ICTY;

* The conviction of Hutus through the same rigged show trials at the ICTR, which acts to protect the criminals of the RPF, and its western allies, the very people who provoked and prosecuted the war in Rwanda;

* The conviction of Khmer Rouge members, while the leaders and military officers of the USA are granted complete impunity for the devastating carpet-bombing of Cambodia that destroyed the irrigation systems and led to a collapse of the society;

* And so on at the other tribunals.

These tribunals all are part of a system of show trials designed to demonize the former regimes of the countries concerned, to justify aggression, both direct and indirect, by the US et alia, against the countries concerned and to cover up the real role of the West in those wars.

The very creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is, in fact, another step towards the deterioration of international law because the UN Security Council, notwithstanding the signatory status of any given State to the ICC, which includes non-signatory States, can refer a case to the ICC Statute.

This creates the potential for situations where an State not signatory to the treaty may force another non-signatory State to be bound by the treaty neither of the two has signed. This state of affairs is an explosion of the most basic nature of international law.

Indeed, the USA refuses to be bound by the Rome Statute in any way and has stated that if any of its officers are ever arrested and charged by The ICC, it will use force to obtain their release. This is nothing short of gangsterism.

The results of such justice will invariably be highly politicized show trials and victors’ justice, and that is indeed precisely what has occurred at the ICC from its inception.

Part 1/4

Part 3/4 & 4/4 coming soon.

Treaty of Westphalia. Peace Treaty between the Holy Roman Emperor and the
King of France and their respective Allies. The Avalon Project.
UNGA Resolution 63/308 the responsibility to protect.
Newhouse John (1992), The Diplomatic Round, The New Yorker, 24 August
1992, pp. 63 – 65.
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia , Thursday 3
May 2012, pp. 28424 – 28506.
Chossudovsky Michel, German Intelligence and CIA supported Al Qaeda
sponsored Terrorists in Yugoslavia. Globalreasearch.
Chossudovsky Michel, Kosovo ”Freedom Fighters” financed by Organized
Crime. Globalresearch.
Interview with French Brigadier General, ret. Pierre Marie Gallois. (I)
Interview with French Brigadier General, ret. Pierre Marie Gallois. (II)
Kissinger Henry (2012) Syrian Intervention risks upsetting the Global
Order. The 4th Media.
Lehmann Christof (2012),  A Response to Henry Kissinger on Syria and the
Global Order. The 4th Media

UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011) Libya.
Geneva Conventions, ICRC.
Värek René (2005) The Status and Protection of Unlawful Combatants,
Juridica International,pp. 191-198.
Ruth Blakeley (2011): Dirty Hands Clean Conscience ? The CIA Inspector
General´s Investigation of ”Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” in the
Wat on Terror and the Torture Debate, Journal of Human Rights, 10:4,
Kweskin, Qureshi & Twu, The International Legal landscape Of
Extraordinary Rendition, University of North Carolina School of Law.
Philip G. Zimbardo Ph.D at Stanford University.
Mbugua Martin , Zimbardo blames Military Brass for Abu Ghraib Torture.
University of Dalaware.
The Laws of War, The Avalon Project. Yale University. 
Lehmann Christof (2012) Attack on Syria likely before March ? nsnbc.
The International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and
Training of Mercenaries, 4 December 1989. ICRC.
Ibid. Lehmann Christof (2012), NATO`s 25th Summit in Chicago in
Preparation of Global Full Spectrum Dominance, Interventionism, Possible
Preparations for A Regional War Directed against Russia and China, and
Developments in Global Security,  nsnbc.

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