International Law

Major Political Donors Have Access to TPP Documents. Everyone Else? Not So Much. (1/15/2014)

WikiLeaks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Environment Chapter: "Toothless Public Relations Exercise"  (1/22/2014)

The U.S. Government Does Not Want Americans to Travel Abroad (8/12/2013)

Viking Love: The Economist Gets It Wrong (2/8/2013)

American Public Vastly Overestimates Amount of U.S. Foreign Aid (11/29/2010)

World Court rules US execution of Mexican national defied international law (1/23/2009)

...In the past, when humanity lived in more than one hundred countries, it was like living in more than 100 boats. All we needed were rules to ensure that the boats did not collide. Each boat had a captain or crew to take care of it. Today, with the shrinking of the world, 7 billion people live in 193 cabans on the same boat. We have captains and crews taking care of each cabin. But we have no captain or crew taking care of the boat as a whole. Kishore Mahbubani: the Great Convergence
"The U.S. Senate has not ratified a major multilateral treaty since 1997." GlobalSolutions.org
Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring." : Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950
"The pursuit of unilateralism has not only done lasting damage to American credibility, but it has also split the West and undermined virtually every major global institution devoted to advancing the rule of law, beginning with the United Nations and reaching down to the latest creation, the International Criminal Court." (from Geoffrey Perret's book 'Commander in Chief')
"A large majority of the public believe that the United States should accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the World Court, sign the Kyoto protocols, allow the United Nations to take the lead in international crises, and rely on diplomatic and economic measures more than military ones in the "war on terror." Similar majorities believe the United States should resort to force only if there is "strong evidence that the country is in imminent danger of being attacked," thus rejecting the bipartisan consensus on "preemptive war" and adopting the rather conventional interpretation of the UN Charter reiterated by the U N's lead even if it in not the preference of US state managers."....Not only does the US government stand apart from the rest of the world on many crucial issues, but even from its own population."  From Noam Chomsky's book Failed States. (pg 229)
"Recently the United Nations led the world in condemning our conduct in the torture of prisoners and depriving them of simple due process at Guantanamo Bay. The United Nations demanded that Guantanamo Bay be closed. At the same time further acts of torture at Abu Ghraib prison were revealed by Australian television, pictures that show even worse abuses and degradation than those broadcast in America several years ago. We have squandered our standing as a leader in democracy. In its place we have become the epitome of hypocrisy across the earth, a nation that preaches to other nations concerning human rights and that secretly commits unconscionable acts of torture itself. I love my country. But I am ashamed of what my country does under the rubric of national security. We can never be secure by becoming the world's most blatant hypocrites." From Gary Spence's book Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power
Q: "David Krieger directs the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara. In a recent article, he asked the question, Why are there still nuclear weapons? And he proposes some answers. What would you say?
A: "Simply that the nuclear-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it. The United States has violated the agreement much more than others. It's in the lead in violating the NPT”especially this administration, which has stated that it isn't subject to Article 6 and has developed new nuclear weapons systems. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is just one of a collection of treaties. The others have been dismantled and blocked by the Bush administration. in fact, the United States just entered into an agreement with India, ratified by Congress, that tears to shreds the central part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty." From Noam Chomsky's book What We Say Goes

Can the US reclaim the moral high ground ? Yale Law School Dean Koh's speech to Citizens for Global Solutions. See this (under 10 minute) video.


"I know very well that a world government may have both good and bad qualities. Nonetheless, it is the only conceivable machinery which can prevent war. I do not believe that a world government would be just in all its decisions; but with technology at its present level, even a poor world government is preferable to none, since our first goal must be to avoid total destruction through war." (1948) Einstein on Politics, Rowe and Schulmann. Pg 455.

 

The Declaration of Independence reads "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.", but Republicans have shown only contempt for international law and the results are evident in the  Pew Global Attitudes Project.

...the publics in many predominately Muslim countries, Latin America, and China see the United States as their greatest potential threat. For example, two-thirds of Chinese(66%) and nearly as many in Turkey and Pakistan (64% each), name the United States as the country that poses the greatest threat to their own country in the future. Majorities in Venezuela (54%) and Argentina (52%) also view the United States as a potential threat.

The Bush administration thumbed its nose at international law. Chertoff's vision spurned international law. Both Alito and Roberts dismissed international law as irrelevant to the United States. McCain's judicial plans are in lock step with Bush.

Bush made a number of disastrous decisions for the US. The results he promised: endless war, new arms race, torture, renditions, have cost the US the moral high ground and we have lost much of the prestige that we had painstakingly built over time. Programs to protect the environment and the people have been devastated so that military spending can proceed at ruinous levels. Congressional oversight has atrophied so that Constitutional checks have been all but destroyed.

The UN and its enforcement of constraints of international law could save us from the kind of failure brought upon us by the Bush administration, and  it might have saved us from some of the Bush devastation.

"American policymakers disdain for multilateralism manifested itselt when John Bolton, who notoriosly stated that there was "no such thing" as the UN, was appointed the American ambassador to the UN in 2005."

Kofi Anan, when Secretary General of the UN, warned that the Iraq war is illegal. Had his voice been heeded, the US might not have embarked on the disastrous wars brought upon us by the Bushies. It is clear the US standard of living declined as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The U.S, tried to use the UN Security Council to undermine the International Criminal Court but it came into force in 2011. 116 states were parties to the Statute of the Court, including all of South America, nearly all of Europe, and roughly half of Africa. The ICC came into force on July 1,2002, and has progressively gained legitimacy and acceptance all around the world." Kishore Mahbubani: the Great Convergence. pg 138

The US has not ratified The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 The only two countries that did not ratify the Convention on the rights of the child are the US and Somalia. A UN report documents the terrible violence against children that globally obtains today. "Every country in the world with the exception of two (Somalia and ... the United States) has ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)."

The US has not ratified the Convention on Forced Disappearances. (See Naomi Klein's book Shock Doctrine or this article in the Nation: America's Secret Ice Castles. 1/4/2010)

The US has not signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Rather than recognize the International Criminal Court, the Congress threatened to invade Belgium if any US citizens were prosecuted there.

The US has not ratified the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Although 184 countries have signed, the US has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty.

The US signed, but did not ratify, the Kyoto Protocol.

189 countries have signed the biodiversity convention, key document regarding sustainable development, but not the US. Almost half of the 4000 plant patents granted in recent years by the United States pertain to traditional knowledge from developing countries. (Stiglitz. Making Globalization Work. pg 126.)

"Bush administration officials have spoken out against an agreement, reached at a 1994 U.N. conference in Cairo, that calls for controlling population growth by expanding access to health care and being more responsive to women's needs. U.S. officials argue that certain phrases in the agreement - including "reproductive health services" and "reproductive rights" - condone abortion as well as sex and condom use among teenagers." Source here.

According to Francis Boyle the US is "in breach" of both the Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons conventions and US domestic criminal law. In February 2003, for example, the US granted itself a patent on an illegal long-range biological-weapons grenade.

More than 150 nations, but not the U.S., have banned antipersonnel mines forever. The U.S. should not be getting back into the business of producing and using these indiscriminate weapons," said Jody Williams, co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

US refuses to join ban on cluster bombs. (12/4/2008)  

Many civilized countries have abolished the death penalty. The US has not.

Torture is now standard US procedure. See UN comments on torture.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be a part of US law since it was signed in 1948, but it is recognized only selectively by the US.  (Full text of International Human Rights instruments.)

The US votes alone at the UN in favor of weaponizing space. It claims the right to control space.

Republicans threaten to cut off funding to the UN if it does not do as it is told. When Republicans say 'reform', they mean destroy. UN Charter.

U.S. Violates International Law by Failing to Enforce Laws Protecting Rights of Mexican Workers  

The US has reneged on agreements to aid underdeveloped countries...but it is a world class arms supplier. "In 1970 the United Nations adopted an international target for official aid, recommending that donor countries give 0.7% of their national income in foreign assistance. Today only four countries meet that target: the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Denmark is the most generous, giving aid worth more than 1% of GDP in 1999 (the latest year for which OECD figures are available)." from the Economist.

The US does not honor its commitments to the UN. Yet another reason to throw out the Republicans.

US failure to honor its international commitments is rarely mentioned by media.

Global Starvation Ignored by American Policy Elites

Axis of Genocide

See Kevin Philips book, Bad Money, which has an Appendix called Global Public Opinion and the Loss of Respect for the United States, 2003-2007.

See Globalization


China for years has been in the lead at the United Nations in trying to establish treaties that would preserve space for peaceful uses. The United States has blocked such efforts unilaterally—it goes back to Clinton, incidentally, but intensified substantially with Bush— increasing the likelihood of an arms race in space, which very significantly increases the risk of even accidental destruction. And it could mean terminal destruction. But the U.S. government proceeds, knowing the risks and just not caring about them." Noam Chomsky: What We Say Goes
Canada Scraps Refugee Agreement w/US Because It Tortures, Does Not Obey Int'l Law 

U.S. Is No Haven, Canadian Judge Finds
By ADAM LIPTAK
The New York Times - Dec 10, 2007
Professor Chomsky discusses why the UN does not vote with the US much of the time. This MIT World lecture is a video of about an hour and 20 minutes. Chomsky is widely recognized as one of America's leading intellectuals, but he almost never appears on mainstream media. See his book Manufacturing Consent for the reasons.

Conversation with Harold Koh, Dean of the Yale Law School, 55 minutes.

Bibliography

Destroying World Order: Francis Boyle
The Anatomy of Liberty, the Rights of Man Without Force: William O. Douglas

US ignores treaty to keep space weapons-free

(10/25/06) At the UN today, the First Committee of the General Assembly, which addresses disarmament issues, voted overwhelmingly for a Resolution to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space. There were 166 nations in favor of this sensible proposal with only one negative vote and one abstention. The United States opposed the resolution, while Israel abstained. A fallback resolution, to take "Transparency and Confidence Building Measures in Outer Space Activities", garnered the same vote, with one additional abstention, by Cote D'Ivoire. Who knows what carrots or sticks were offered for that additional abstention! (The text of the resolutions are posted at http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/political/1com/1com06/res/resindex.html)

In a statement from the floor, the US delegation "explained" its vote by insisting that "there is no arms race in space, and no prospect of an arms race in space. Thus there is no arms control problem for the international community to address." In light of the US abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and this month's new National Space Policy statement issued by the Bush administration stating that “Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power,†and that the United States will “develop and deploy space capabilities that sustain U.S. advantageâ€, coupled with an $11 billion dollar budget this year to develop space hardware, including laser attack weapons, it defies reason to think that the US is sincere in promoting the "peaceful" use of space.

The US, claimed in its statement that the existing "multilateral outer space arms control regime already deals adequately with the non-weaponization of space." But existing agreements only ban weapons of mass destruction in space; not conventional weapons like laser beams designed to destroy space assets.

Sadly, the US statement today was consistent with its flagrant assertion in its new space policy doctrine that it “will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space.â€

Army Manual to Skip Geneva Convention Detainee Rule

Although the US is a signer of the Geneva Convention, it has clearly not adhered to it at Abu Graib and other places.
The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

Close Guantanamo

Was Al-Zarqawi death used as cover for the release of the US State Dept Human Trafficking Report 2006?

The report admits that slave labor has been used by US Contractors and Sub-contractors in Iraq... indentured servitude paid for with US Tax dollars.

U.S. taxpayers financed human trafficking, report says:

A State Department report cataloging human trafficking across the globe includes allegations that American taxpayers financed such abuses.

Story from NPR.

Statement On Behalf Of Lt. Ehren Watada

By Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law (7 June 2006)

One generation ago the peoples of the world asked themselves: Where were the "good" Germans? Well, there were some good Germans. The Lutheran theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the foremost exemplar of someone who led a life of principled opposition to the Nazi-terror state even unto death.

Today the peoples of the world are likewise asking themselves: Where are the "good" Americans? Well, there are some good Americans. They are getting prosecuted for protesting against illegal U.S. military interventions and war crimes around the world. First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is America's equivalent to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Vaclav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, Wei Jingsheng, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others.  He is the archetypal American Hero whom we should be bringing into our schools and teaching our children to emulate, not those wholesale purveyors of gratuitous violence and bloodshed adulated by the U.S. government, America's power elite, the mainstream corporate news media, and its interlocked entertainment industry.

In international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, because of its formulation and undertaking of wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany. As a consequence, American citizens and soldiers such as Lieutenant Watada possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance in order to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by U.S. government officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism. If not so restrained, the Bush Jr. administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.

Bibliography

The Great Convergence: Kishore Mahbubani


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