Archive for the ‘media’ Category
So now dude is dead. Kilt himself. Now why did he go and do that? Gambling problem lead him to a suicide mission of killing some old man walking down the street collecting tin cans? Hmmm.
Then he goes back to recording and tells everyone who watches the video his telephone number? He wanted people to call him while he was killing more people? Now that don’t make sense.
one, I wonder if these killings are going to start that up again. The war against guns, meanwhile, folks is bombing up folks all over the place and buying guns like gangbusters on the black market, but I digress. But I do want to mention the guns and ammunition sales that were transacted between the US and the Rebels, but yeah, they don’t like their government and so they got good reason for the US to support them with guns, ammunition and a little gas from time to time. Seems like they should do the same for the anarchist and patriots here in the US who feel the same way, instead of taking their guns away from them, but boy was that a digression.
LINKS OF INTEREST:
Manhunt for Steve Stephens Ends In His Suicide In Erie, PA
Here’s What’s True and False About Man Accused of Posting Murder of Robert Godwin, Sr on Facebook
Man Accused of Murdering Robert Godwin Sr. Said He ‘Just Snapped,’ Joy Lane Speaks Out
Beyoncé, Media Hype, 2016 Super Bowl Madness
|Beyonce and her Girl Gang|
NB Commentary: I enter this discussion kicking and screaming and swearing to myself that I am not, and I mean, am not gonna fall prey to the hype. But today, I had to come forth with another blog post. I was compelled by the comments under many of the pictures posted of her and her girl gang at the Super Bowl and how some folks were actually seeing it as a Powerful Movement, a statement about Black Power, a high five to Malcolm X, and the insane indicators of it being an Illuminati ritual. But what really took me to the top of the clock was the actual lyrics, which in no way seem to reflect any of this, in fact quite the contrary. So here I am again, with something to rant on about That!!!
“Thank you for this. You know how you witness something and something inside you goes off and tells you that there is something wrong with this because inside of you, you can feel it going in all kinds of different directions. Well, thanks again, I really appreciate you posting those lyrics!!”
Bill Cosby, Hollyweird’s Manchurian Candidate
While Baltimore burns, the city has proven itself to be yet another staging ground in a long line of scenes involving “violent protests,” riots, and racial violence following an incident concerning police brutality, real or otherwise.
Although the issues that have set off the spark in most of these protests were entirely legitimate, government agencies, foundations, organizations, and NGOs immediately swooped in to divert the protests into racially charged fit throwing and often violent riots.
With a carefully orchestrated network that was capable of organizing large numbers of individuals on a moment’s notice, and a simultaneous media campaign that cleverly showed violence and riots but ignored peaceful or appropriately-directed violent acts, these organizations were able to turn what could and should have been a national movement into a racially-oriented hate-filled display of unrestrained destruction.
With this in mind, one might justifiably ask how these organizations might have such an effective network that operates in concert with a national corporate media apparatus in order to wreck legitimate movements and, out of those movements, create a counter-productive act of mindless fit-throwing?
The answer is the same as it has often been in Europe – the color revolution apparatus and George Soros.
Indeed, George Soros has been heavily involved in the social unrest and movement-wrecking activity that has taken place all across the United States in recent months. From Florida to Ferguson and now to Baltimore, George Soros’ Foundations have been involved in making sure that not only are American citizens unable to overcome racial divisions with mutual cooperation but that even the racially isolated participants are unable to accomplish anything of substance.
As Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times reported in January, 2015, regarding Soros’ involvement in Ferguson,
There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.
Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.
Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.
In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.
The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre.
“Our DNA includes a belief that having people participate in government is indispensable to living in a more just, inclusive, democratic society,” said Kenneth Zimmerman, director of Mr. Soros‘ Open Society Foundations’ U.S. programs, in an interview with The Washington Times. “Helping groups combine policy, research [and] data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable.”
Indeed, the Open Society Institute has been promoting “democracy” all over the world if, by democracy, one means the overthrow of governments unfriendly to Anglo-American banking interests and installing new and more corrupt leadership in its place.
Riddell continues by writing,
Other Soros-funded groups made it their job to remotely monitor and exploit anything related to the incident that they could portray as a conservative misstep, and to develop academic research and editorials to disseminate to the news media to keep the story alive.
The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.
Buses of activists from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference in Chicago; from the Drug Policy Alliance, Make the Road New York and Equal Justice USA from New York; from Sojourners, the Advancement Project and Center for Community Change in Washington; and networks from the Gamaliel Foundation — all funded in part by Mr. Soros — descended on Ferguson starting in August and later organized protests and gatherings in the city until late last month.
All were aimed at keeping the media’s attention on the city and to widen the scope of the incident to focus on interrelated causes — not just the overpolicing and racial discrimination narratives that were highlighted by the news media in August.
“I went to Ferguson in a quest to be in solidarity and stand with the young organizers and affirm their leadership,” said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, which was founded by Mr. Soros, and which receives $4 million annually from his foundation. She traveled to Ferguson in October.
“We recognized this movement is similar to the work we’re doing at DPA,” said Ms. Frederique. “The war on drugs has always been to operationalize, institutionalize and criminalize people of color. Protecting personal sovereignty is a cornerstone of the work we do and what this movement is all about.”
Ms. Frederique works with Opal Tometi, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter — a hashtag that was developed after the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida — and helped promote it on DPA’s news feeds. Ms. Tometi runs the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a group to which Mr. Soros gave $100,000 in 2011, according to the most recent of his foundation’s tax filings.
“I think #BlackLivesMatter’s success is because of organizing. This was created after Trayvon Martin, and there has been sustained organizing and conversations about police violence since then,” said Ms. Frederique. “Its explosion into the mainstream recently is because it connects all the dots at a time when everyone was lost for words. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is liberating, unapologetic and leaves no room for confusion.”
It should be noted that The Gamaliel Foundation, which is described as a “net-work of grassroots and interracial organizations,” is not only funded by George Soros, it was the Foundation where President Barack Obama began his career as a “community organizer” in Chicago. Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright who drew Conservative ire for a fiery sermon condemning America’s actions (his famous “Goddamn America speech), is a trustee of the Soros-funded Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, an organization that sent representatives to Ferguson early on.
In Ferguson, the use of clergy and ministers became a major part of the social movement as funded by Soros as well. Riddell reveals as much when she writes,
Representatives of Sojourners, a national evangelical Christian organization committed “to faith in action for social justice,” attended the weekend [Gamaliel’s weekend protest event in Ferguson]. The group received $150,000 from Mr. Soros in 2011.
Clergy representatives from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright serves as a trustee, also showed up. Mr. Wright was Mr. Obama’s pastor in Chicago before some of his racially charged sermons, including the phrase “God damn America,” forced Mr. Obama to distance himself. SDPC received $250,000 from Mr. Soros in 2011.
During Gamaliel’s weekend protest event, Sunday was deemed “Hands Up Sabbath,” where clergy were asked to speak out about racial issues, using packets and talking points prepared for them by another religion-based community organizing group, PICO.
PICO is also supported by the Open Society Foundations, according to its website.
The Washington Times article also serves to shed light on a number of other more profile “national” organizations funded by Soros that descended upon Ferguson, now explaining some of the reasons that the protest movement on the ground in MO became such a disgraceful failure. Riddell further demonstrates this by writing,
Mr. Fellows is co-founder of the Millennial Activists United, a key source of video and stories developed in Ferguson by youth activists used to inspire other groups nationally.
Mr. Fellows explained how he started his organization in an interview with the American Civil Liberties Union (another Soros-backed entity that sent national representatives to Missouri) in November.
“Initially, it would just be that we would show up for protests, and the next day we’d clean up the streets. A lot of the same people were out at the protests and going out to lunch and talking about what was happening. That became a cycle until a lot of us figured out we needed to have a strategy,” Mr. Fellows explained to the ACLU, which posted the interview in its blog.
“Then a lot of organizers from across the country started to come in to help us do the planning and do the strategizing. That helped us start doing it on our own and planning out actions and what our narratives were going to be,” he said.
MAU has listed on its website that it has partnered with Gamaliel network churches. They’ve also received training on civil disobedience from the Advancement Project — which was given a $500,000 grant from Mr. Soros in 2013 “to build a fair and just, multi-racial democracy in America through litigation, community organizing support, public policy reform, and strategic communications,” according to the Foundation’s website.
The Advancement Project, based in Washington, also arranged the meeting between community organizers in Ferguson and Mr. Obama last month to brief him on the situation in Ferguson and to set up a task force that examines trust between police and minority communities.
In addition, the Advancement Project has also dedicated some of its staff to lead organizations in Ferguson, like the Don’t Shoot Coalition, another grass-roots group that preaches the same message, links to the same Facebook posts and “likes” the same articles as DPA, ACLU, Hands Up Coalition, OBS, MORE and others.
It should also be noted that the Open Society Institute, one of Soros’ main NGOs, has worked closely with Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Google in making Baltimore one of their “test cities” for smart technology and new fiber cables. Rawlings-Blake has had pleasant things to say about Soros in the past.
While the above information addresses the involvement of #blacklivesmatter groups and similar organizations active on the ground inside Ferguson as a matter of historical precedent, these organizations and similar operations such as the Black Youth Project (funded by Soros) and the Open Society Institute and its subsididiaries have had a sizable presence inside Baltimore in the time leading up to the Freddie Gray protests and continue to do so as we speak.
For instance, Baltimore United Viewfinders has received a sizeable grant from the OSI for the purpose of working with a coalition of community partners and the Maryland Institute College of Art to use digital media to engage East Baltimore youth in peer-to-peer arts and social justice programming. Other organizations and individuals have received grants from the OSI to promote “social justice” and “democracy” through theatre and the arts while others operate on a more charitable basis, providing guidance in healthcare matters and community organizing skills. As one will see from the discussion of the methodology of color revolutions below as well as the discussion of the preparation that goes into these social phenomena, the structure of “community organizations” and “community influence” is important to the color revolution apparatus. The ability to take advantage of unemployed, under-educated, lonely, and hopeless youth is one of the greatest opportunities that the Soros color revolution organizations understand and firmly grasp.
The relevance of the Soros connection may seem confusing to many. Certainly, however, no one in their right mind will suggest that a man that has made his fortune bankrupting nations and impoverishing their peoples lies awake at night wringing his hands over concerns for black people in America.
Soros is most well-known for playing a major role in the funding and facilitating of the “Bulldozer Revolution” in Serbia that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” of 2003, the 2006 push to move Turkey toward a more Islamist governing structure, and even the Occupy movement in the United States among a great many others – none of which brought anything other than greater misery, impoverishment, and police state mechanisms to bear on the general public. The Occupy movement, being the only exception, still brought nothing to its participants except the opportunity to burn off excess anger and energy along with a few cracked protester skulls. It was otherwise an incredible waste of time.
Regardless, the methods being used by the Soros machine in terms of the #blacklivesmatter and other related campaigns across the country are much the same as those used in Europe to usher in greater austerity, police states, and fascism through government-coup and social protest – i.e. a coordinated media campaign to provide the general public with a false perception of events as well as a false narrative, the use of social media and slogans, and the deployment of “swarming adolescents” in the streets.
When media campaigns alone are not enough, there are other methods that are able to be implemented if need be. For instance, a Mother Jones report revealed the fact that in some areas where rioting began, there appears to have been a concerted effort on the part of the authorities to create an environment in which riots would be inevitable. For example, in an instance where it was reported that teens in Baltimore attacked police by throwing rocks, it was never mentioned that police had corralled these teens – who should have been on their way home – off the bus and into an area in between the mall and the high school. According to onlookers, it appeared that both the teens and the police were surprised at the situation – the police surprised at the lack of violence and the teens surprised that they were kept from going home. Eventually, rocks and bottles were reportedly thrown at police and the situation deteriorated from there. Of course, the entire story was never fully reported in the mainstream press. Still, while the rocks and bottles may have started from those in the crowd, others may justifiably wonder if there were not provocateurs already placed simply waiting to cause violence as soon as the tension had reached a boiling point. As it is, it is very likely that protesters and police alike were dupes in a devious game.
Consider also the fact that the Baltimore authorities, despite implementing heavy-handed tactics against high schoolers on their way home, allowed criminals, thieves, and violent thugs to prey upon innocent people, private property, and communities for quite some time without a serious effort to stop them. In fact, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake even openly admitted that the looters were allowed to riot when she stated that “We also gave those who wish to destroy space to do that as well.” The police were prevented from actually stopping the riots and were kept largely unequipped as well. In other words, the riots were both allowed and encouraged until they had reached a boiling point and the National Guard was called in.
Of course, the color revolution and destabilization is not merely some communiqué presented to a small group of people that organically takes on a life of its own. There is an entire science behind the application of a movement of destabilization both when it takes place overseas as well as when it takes place domestically. As Pottenger and Frieson of Color Revolutions and Geopolitics write,
Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences’ intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.
Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.
It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.
Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.
Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.
Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.
With this explanation in mind, consider the description provided by Ian Traynor of the Guardian regarding the “revolutions” and “mass movements” which was taking place in Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, and Georgia in 2004 and the time of the writing of his article. Indeed, Traynor’s depiction of the methodology used by the Foundations, NGOs, and government agencies stirring up dissent and popular revolt is equally illuminating. Traynor writes,
In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.
They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 – the two words “gotov je”, meaning “he’s finished”, a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.
In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime’s days are numbered.
Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists’ weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.
These slogans and symbols are the product of mass marketers employed by State Departments and intelligence agencies for the sole purpose of destabilizing and/or overthrowing a democratically elected or unfavorable (to the oligarchy)government.
The details and techniques of the manipulation of mass numbers of people have only continued to become more and more advanced and sophisticated, particularly with the advent of social media.
As Jonathan Mowat wrote,
As in the case of the new communication technologies, the potential effectiveness of angry youth in postmodern coups has long been under study. As far back as 1967, Dr. Fred Emery, then director of the Tavistock Institute, and an expert on the “hypnotic effects” of television, specified that the then new phenomenon of “swarming adolescents” found at rock concerts could be effectively used to bring down the nation-state by the end of the 1990s. This was particularly the case, as Dr. Emery reported in “The next thirty years: concepts, methods and anticipations,” in the group’s “Human Relations,” because the phenomena was associated with “rebellious hysteria.” The British military created the Tavistock Institute as its psychological warfare arm following World War I; it has been the forerunner of such strategic planning ever since. Dr. Emery’s concept saw immediate application in NATO’s use of “swarming adolescents” in toppling French President Charles De Gaulle in 1967.
In November 1989, Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, under the aegis of that university’s “Program for Social Innovations in Global Management,” began a series of conferences to review progress towards that strategic objective, which was reported on in “Human Relations” in 1991. There, Dr. Howard Perlmutter, a professor of “Social Architecture” at the Wharton School, and a follower of Dr. Emery, stressed that “rock video in Kathmandu,” was an appropriate image of how states with traditional cultures could be destabilized, thereby creating the possibility of a “global civilization.” There are two requirements for such a transformation, he added, “building internationally committed networks of international and locally committed organizations,” and “creating global events” through “the transformation of a local event into one having virtually instantaneous international implications through mass-media.”
The American people must quickly learn the formula behind color revolutions, destabilizations, and the agendas of the world oligarchy before it becomes too late for us all. They must learn that simply because “leaders” appear to them, attempt to speak the same language and articulate rage does not mean that these leaders are men of the people.
Protests are necessary. Directed rage may also be necessary. But the wanton destruction of communities belonging to you or your neighbors is not only counterproductive, it produces rage that will be aimed back at you, and justifiably so. The entire country is being played like a fiddle. Baltimore is not an isolated collection of dupes, it is a microcosm. It is time the American people wise up and become street smart before it is too late.
On the Death of Nelson Mandela
- The vicious system of apartheid—blatant, racist, brutal oppression and discrimination against black (and other non-white) peoples in South Africa, which Nelson Mandela struggled against—was part of a legacy of centuries of the most horrific plunder of Africa as a whole by the capitalist world. In South Africa after World War 2, apartheid further institutionalized and intensified that vicious oppression. Black (and other non-white) South Africans were locked down in prison-like “Bantustans,” without the most basic necessities of life (like clean water or decent shelter). They were treated as non-humans, subject to fascist “pass laws” that governed their every movement. On the backs of their labor, white settlers lived the lifestyles of northern Europe and global capitalism-imperialism accumulated massive profits.
- Nelson Mandela emerged as an opponent of the apartheid system in the 1950s. He joined the rising tide of courageous, widespread struggle among many different sections of people in South Africa that went up against the whips, clubs, guns and torture chambers of the regime. For this he was sentenced to a life of hard labor in prison, and he never backed down in his opposition to apartheid. The struggle against apartheid became a cause that inspired people around the world. Many people gave their lives in this struggle. And Nelson Mandela became the most prominent symbol of that struggle.
- But the powers-that-be are not praising Mandela because of his role as an opponent of apartheid, but because he conciliated with the forces of the old order, and played a key role in dismantling apartheid in a way that didn’t excavate, but in the main reinforced the historic and horrific oppression of the black and other non-white peoples of South Africa. Whatever Mandela’s intent, his outlook of “embrace the enemy” which is being so extolled by the powers-that-be in their eulogies, went directly against the need to uproot all the political, structural, economic, social and cultural relations that formed the foundation for that system.
- We have to have the honesty to confront the reality of the path Nelson Mandela charted. It did not lead to freedom for the oppressed people of South Africa. The vast majority of people in South Africa continue to suffer in the grip of global capitalism-imperialism. Today, two decades after Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, the situation for the masses of black people in South Africa remains horrendous. South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal societies. Over half the population of South Africa lives in extreme poverty. The only source of water for 1.4 million children is dirty, disease-ridden streams. Immigrant workers from poorer countries in Africa are subjected to violent attacks. Conditions for women, who played such a heroic role in the battle against apartheid, are abysmal—South Africa has the highest rate of rape in the world. And, perhaps the most heartbreaking consequence of all, people have been left demoralized—seeing all this as more proof that fundamental change in society is not possible. That is not the case.
- But it is the case that nothing short of uprooting exploitation and oppression can free the people of South Africa or anywhere else. The “wretched of the earth” have made revolution and started on the road to communism—a society free of all oppression—first in Russia and then in China. They achieved great things before these revolutions were turned back. And not only has this been done before, it can be done again, and even better this time. We urge everyone reading this to get their hands on the special issue of revcom / Revolution “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” and get into the work of Bob Avakian at revcom.us.
by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer
August 28, 2013
from GlobalResearch Website
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and deputy secretary general of the International Association
of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).
New York attorney Jeanne Mirer is president of the IADL and co-chair of the NLG’s International Committee.
Both Cohn and Mirer are on the board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign
The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.
“What we are talking about here is a potential response… to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney.
But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.
For the United States to threaten to and/or launch a military strike as a reprisal is a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter. The Charter requires countries to settle their international disputes peacefully.
Article 2(4) makes it illegal for any country to either use force or threaten to use force against another country. Article 2(7) prohibits intervention in an internal or domestic dispute in another country.
|NATO Using Chemical Weapons|
The only time military force is lawful under the Charter is when the Security Council approves it, or under Article 51, which allows a country to defend itself if attacked.
“The use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States,” according to Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell.
The United States and the international community have failed to take constructive steps to promote peace-making efforts, which could have brought the crisis in Syria to an end.
The big powers instead have waged a proxy war to give their “side” a stronger hand in future negotiations, evaluating the situation only in terms of geopolitical concerns. The result has been to once again demonstrate that military solutions to political and economic problems are no solution at all.
In the meantime, the fans of enmity between religious factions have been inflamed to such a degree that the demonization of each by the other has created fertile ground for slaughter and excuses for not negotiating with anyone with “blood on their hands.”
Despite U.S. claims of “little doubt that Assad used these weapons,” there is significant doubt among the international community about which side employed chemical weapons.
Many view the so-called ‘rebels’ as trying to create a situation to provoke U.S. intervention against Assad. Indeed, in May, Carla del Ponte, former international prosecutor and current UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that opposition forces used sarin gas against civilians.
The use of any type of chemical weapon by any party would constitute a war crime. Chemical weapons that kill and maim people are illegal and their use violates the laws of war. The illegality of chemical and poisoned weapons was first established by the Hague regulations of 1899 and Hague Convention of 1907.
It was reiterated in the Geneva Convention of 1925 and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court specifically states that employing,
“poison or poisoned weapons” and “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices” are war crimes, under Article 8.
The prohibition on the use of these weapons is an international norm regardless of whether any convention has been ratified.
As these weapons do not distinguish between military combatants and civilians, they violate the principle of distinction and the ban on weapons which cause unnecessary suffering and death contained in the Hague Convention.
Under the Nuremberg Principles, violations of the laws of war are war crimes.
The self-righteousness of the United States about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad is hypocritical. The United States used napalm and employed massive amounts of chemical weapons in the form of Agent Orange in Vietnam, which continues to affect countless people over many generations.
Recently declassified CIA documents reveal U.S. complicity in Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, according to Foreign Policy:
“In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people.
The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.”
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States used,
1. cluster bombs
2. depleted uranium
3. white phosphorous gas
§ Cluster bomb cannisters contain tiny bomblets, which can spread over a vast area.
Unexploded cluster bombs are frequently picked up by children and explode, resulting in serious injury or death.
§ Depleted uranium (DU) weapons spread high levels of radiation over vast areas of land. In Iraq, there has been a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects, probably due to DU.
§ White phosphorous gas melts the skin and burns to the bone.
The Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War (Geneva IV) classifies “willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health” as a grave breach, which constitutes a war crime.
The use of chemical weapons, regardless of the purpose, is atrocious, no matter the feigned justification.
A government’s use of such weapons against its own people is particularly reprehensible. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the purported attack by Assad’s forces,
“defies any code of morality” and should “shock the conscience of the world.”
He went on to say that,
“there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Yet the U.S. militarily occupied over 75% of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for 60 years, during which time the Navy routinely practiced with, and used,
○ Agent Orange
○ depleted uranium
…and other toxic chemicals and metals such as TNT and mercury.
This occurred within a couple of miles of a civilian population that included thousands of U.S. citizens. The people of Vieques have lived under the colonial rule of the United States now for 115 years and suffer from terminal health conditions such as elevated rates of cancer, hypertension, respiratory and skin illnesses and kidney failure.
While Secretary Kerry calls for accountability by the Assad government, the U.S. Navy has yet to admit, much less seek atonement, for decades of bombing and biochemical warfare on Vieques.
The U.S. government’s moral outrage at the use of these weapons falls flat as it refuses to take responsibility for its own violations.
President Barack Obama admitted,
“If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it…”
The Obama administration is studying the 1999,
“NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations,” the New York Times reported.
But NATO’s Kosovo bombing also violated the UN Charter as the Security Council never approved it, and it was not carried out in self-defense.
The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for “humanitarian interventions.” Humanitarian concerns do not constitute self-defense. In fact, humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region.
Moreover, as Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies and David Wildman of Human Rights & Racial Justice for the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church wrote,
“Does anyone really believe that a military strike on an alleged chemical weapons factory would help the Syrian people, would save any lives, would help bring an end to this horrific civil war”?
Military strikes will likely result in the escalation of Syria’s civil war.
“Let’s be clear,” Bennis and Wildman note. “Any U.S. military attack, cruise missiles or anything else, will not be to protect civilians – it will mean taking sides once again in a bloody, complicated civil war.”
Anthony Cordesman, military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, asks,
“Can you do damage with cruise missiles? Yes. Can you stop them from having chemical weapons capability? I would think the answer would be no.”
The United States and its allies must refrain from military intervention in Syria and take affirmative steps to promote a durable ceasefire and a political solution consistent with international law.
If the U.S. government were truly interested in fomenting peace and promoting accountability, it should apologize to and compensate the victims of its own use of chemical weapons around the world.