Arbitrary world government
By Ivan Vesely
In the great struggle of good versus evil, the Clinton administration decided in August of last year to bomb a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, which was believed to be the locus of black hats. It was self-evident to me until recently that the government could execute suspects only if they were convicted by an independent court and jury. Now I am not so certain. Why was not Clinton charged with attempted murder, not to mention vandalism, destruction of property, terrorism?
The unprecedented act by the U.S. navy was justified on the grounds that it was self-defense. Did Sudan attack the United States with its long range missiles or with its Atlantic fleet? Unless I missed something obvious, the answer is: none of the above. So what does the State Department mean by "self- defense"? Another justification was that it was a prevention of another terrorist attack already well under preparation. Let us set aside for now if this explanation is credible. Does the U.S. government have the right to bomb anybody when it believes it is disrupting a terrorist plan? Is it self-defense whenever a terrorist act is committed by the armed forces with a big bang rather than by a stealthy assassin? Or is it self-defense whenever the target is off the U.S. territory? If that is the case then according to the principle of reciprocity in international law, it means that other countries can bomb plants on U.S. territory when they believe that these are involved in manufacturing of illegal substances. The State Department should explain its position.
But let us return to the question of why Clinton was not prosecuted. The crime was committed in Sudan where Sudanese law applies so he cannot be prosecuted under American law. He cannot be prosecuted under Sudanese law either because, as a head of State, he has diplomatic immunity. Clinton did not go to a law school for nothing; he found a loophole and got away with murder. If this is the state of the law than the U.S. government can execute even U.S. citizens without a court order as long as they reside abroad. In essence it means that off American territory, the executive branch of the government can bomb and assassinate whomever it wants and whenever it wants without any oversight or accountability. It sounds like arbitrary world government.
The United States has been founded upon certain fundamental principles. The Founding Fathers saw them as self evident. American foreign policy in recent years violated almost all of them.
All people are created equal: But the United States proclaimed itself the leader of the world although nobody elected it to that role.
Democracy: The United States attempted first to deligitimize and then to remove from office democratically elected politicians. Examples are Radovan Karadzic, Nikola Poplasen (president of Republika Srpska elected after Dayton in internationally supervised elections), and Slobodan Milosevic (in the last elections he defeated Vojislav Seselj, who is more nationalistic and uncompromising).
Separation of powers: There is a mind-set that the foreign policy decisions of the President should never be questioned. When Senator Joseph Biden learnt that some people voiced doubts about the cruise missile attack on the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, he threw a temper tantrum. In an exasperated voice he demanded that we believe the president. Little does the Senator know about checks and balances! Little does he know that the very purpose of a senator is to question what the president does. He is implying that every foreign policy decision of the president should be blindly followed.
Freedom of speech: America's policy in the Balkans has been to jam radio stations in Republika Srpska; American troops with sub-machine guns stormed TV stations. As if that was not enough, American warplanes have also bombed TV stations in Yugoslavia. It is censorship by terror. These brutal acts were justified on the grounds that these stations broadcast "lying propaganda". The US government is implying that lying propagandists do not have the right of free speech.
Audi alteram partem: This principle predates the Founding Fathers by 2000 years. Fairness and common sense require it. It is essential not only for judicial proceedings but also for public discussion in a well functioning democracy. But did we hear the other side of the Yugoslav conflict in the past 9 years? Did we hear that there are 800 000 American Serbs, most of whom oppose Milosevic but also the American policy in Yugoslavia? Did we hear that the vast majority of the Greeks in America as well as in Greece oppose the U.S. policy in the Balkans? Did we hear from the Balkan scholars, most of whom hold views different from those of CNN and New York Times? No! We have only heard the anti-Serbian side. Apparently there is a mind-set that the crimes of the Serbs are so inconceivably inhuman and terrifying that they (the Serbs) do not even have the right to defend themselves against the accusations; it would merely be an attempt to justify their horrible crimes against humanity and we, of course, will not permit it.
Independent judiciary, innocent until proven guilty, fair trial: But
where was fair trial when the United States decided to bomb the pharmaceutical
plant in Sudan? The bombing of the American embassy in Kenya and Tanzania
by terrorists cannot be possibly construed as a military attack by Sudan
Where was fair trial when the United States determined that Milosevic oppressed the Albanians in Kosovo and deserved to be bombed? There was a massive campaign in the media and denouncements by US government officials with the objective to whip up anti-Serbian hysteria. Milosevic has been repeatedly called "war criminal". ("Mussolini and Hitler threw courtesy away and yelled at our statesmen as waiters in a cheap foreign restaurants might yell at kitchen boys.", Rebecca West: Black Lamb and Gray Falcon ). These charges are sheer lies but they have been repeated hundreds of times and in the minds of many they became the truth. The vicious propaganda succeeded in creating confusion and even anti- Serbian sentiment in a segment of the population. Most of these people know nothing about Yugoslavia except 15 seconds sound-bites on TV. We convict people by television. What America is imposing upon the rest of the world with its bombers is lynch mob justice.
No ex post facto law: The war crimes tribunal in the Hague was established after the alleged crimes took place.
The rule of law: The recognition of Bosnia violated the Montevideo Convention as well as the Helsinki Agreement solemnly signed by the United States in 1977. It also overturned the European order established after WWI (an old goal of all the fascists) by a series of treaties in accordance with the principles set forth by Woodrow Wilson
The Nuremberg Tribunal may have been ex post facto with respect to the Nazi crimes but not with respect to crimes that occurred in the nineties. It ruled that the ultimate war crime is a preparation and initiation of an aggressive war and that such a war is not justifiable under any circumstances. 1 The bombings in Sudan and Yugoslavia were war crimes.
With its attack on Yugoslavia the United Sates flagrantly violated the UN Charter, which prohibits "the threat or use force"; it violated the Helsinki Agreement, which prohibits "any action against the territorial integrity, political independence, or the unity" of any of the participating states; it violated the Vienna Convention, which prohibits the procurement of international treaties by "the threat or use of force"; it violated NATO's charter, which claims it is a defensive organizations and is only committed to force if one of its members is attacked. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it "NATO proclaimed to the whole world and to the next century an ancient law - the law of the jungle". International law has been replaced by demonization of representatives of foreign states in the media.
There has been an attempt in recent years to establish an international criminal tribunal, which could prosecute crimes against humanity committed by anybody. The United States was one of seven countries that in 1998 voted against it. Nevertheless the Security Council, under US pressure, established the Hague Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. The law (if we can use the term) will be applied to some but not to all. The Security Council, of course, has no authority to create such a tribunal. It could be established only by a treaty between sovereign nations. The decisions of the Security Council, manipulated by a few (or one) powerful countries, are not subject to judicial review. Instead the Council makes judges as it pleases. (Imagine that the decisions of the U.S. President could not be reviewed by the courts but the president would have the power to appoint courts at his discretion. We would be horrified. Yet we are forcing such a horrific system upon the rest of the world!) If the seat of the Hague Tribunal were New York, the U.S. courts probably would not tolerate a parallel justice system and the would be judges and prosecutors would end up in jail for kidnapping and conspiracy. This is not rule of law but legal anarchy. Not even Stalin attempted show trials with heads of foreign states!
In the last decade America has become known for its ability and willingness to throw bombs. Recently the U.S. has bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia. Historian Henry Steele Commager observed this about our ancestors: "Though the new nation had been born out of war ... its repudiation of the military was convulsive ... the military establishment of the United States stood at eighty in 1784, and was increased to 1,273 in 1790." Today America has become a nation of mad bombers! The only difference between the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the American invasion of Yugoslavia in 1999 is that the former cost far fewer lives than the later. The reason for this behavior is corruption by power.
The end of the Cold War did not bring about peace, harmony, universal democracy and the rule of law. Instead the United States became the latest tyrant!
1 Walter J. Rockler: "War Crimes Law Applies To U.S. Too", Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1999
This is Ivan Vesely's first contribution to Enter Stage Right. © Ivan Vesely, 1999
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