The West Marches East, Part 1: The U.S.-NATO Strategy to Isolate Russia

Andrew Gavin Marshall

The West Marches East, Part 1: The U.S.-NATO Strategy to Isolate Russia

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

17 April 2014

Originally posted at The Hampton Institute

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In early March of 2014, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in Ukraine, the New York Times editorial board declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “stepped far outside the bounds of civilized behavior,” suggesting that Russia should be isolated politically and economically in the face of “continued aggression.”

John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, lashed out at Russia’s ” incredible act of aggression,” stating that: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pre-text.” Indeed, invading foreign nations on “trumped up pre-texts” is something only the United States and its allies are allowed to do, not Russia! What audacity!

Even Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper…

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“Crimes against Peace”: Historic Class Action Law Suit against George W. Bush

The case for Aggressive War against George W. Bush and his Administration.

By Inder Comar

On March 13, 2013, my client, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a class action lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz in a federal court in California.

She alleges that these six defendants planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law by waging a “war of aggression,” as defined by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, more than sixty years ago. (The current complaint can be found here).

At the Nuremberg Trials, American chief prosecutor and associate justice of the US Supreme Court Robert H. Jackson focused his prosecution on the planning and execution of the various wars committed by the Third Reich. Jackson aimed to show that German leaders committed “crimes against peace,” and specifically, that they “planned, prepared, initiated wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances.”

For Jackson, the Nuremberg Trials were a high watermark of legalism. In his report regarding the negotiations of the treaty that would set up the Nuremberg Tribunal, Jackson wrote that the Tribunal “ushers international law into a new era where it is in accord with the common sense of mankind that a war of deliberate and unprovoked attack deserves universal condemnation and its authors condign penalties.” He concluded, “all who have shared in this work have been united and inspired in the belief that at long last the law is now unequivocal in classifying armed aggression as an international crime instead of a national right.”

The Nuremberg Tribunal agreed with Jackson. In its famous judgment in 1946, the Tribunal wrote,

“War is essentially an evil thing . . . to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The case against Bush is based on the conduct of members of the administration prior to coming into office as well as conduct taking place on and after 9/11. Years before their appointment to the Bush Administration, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz were vocal advocates of a militant neoconservative ideology that called for the United States to use its armed forces in the Middle East and elsewhere.

They openly chronicled their desire for aggressive wars through a non-profit called The Project for the New American Century (or PNAC). In 1998, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz would personally sign a letter to then-President Clinton, urging the president to implement a “strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power,” which included a “willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing.”

On 9/11, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz openly pressed for the United States to invade Iraq, even though intelligence at the time confirmed that it was al Qaeda, and not Saddam, that was responsible. Richard Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism, famously told President Bush that attacking Iraq for 9/11 would be like invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor.

We now know that the Bush Administration began a concerted effort to scare and mislead the American public in order to obtain support for the Iraq War. As alleged in the complaint, this included the famous phrase that “the smoking gun could not be a mushroom cloud,” which was used repeatedly by Administration officials on news shows as a way of equating non-action with the vaporization of a United States city. The Administration used bogus and false intelligence to make the case for weapons of mass destruction, and also falsely linked al Qaeda to Iraq, despite the fact that there has never been any evidence of any operational linkages between the two. These were not simple mistakes: this was an intentional campaign by Administration officials to use faulty data to garner support for a war.

The crime of aggression was completed when these officials failed to secure proper authorization for the war. So concerned with their invasion, the Administration dismissed any need for a formal Security Council mandate. Today, Kofi Annan, an official Dutch inquiry, the Costa Rican Supreme Court, a former law lord from the House of Lords (Lord Steyn) and a former chief prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials (Benjamin Ferencz) have all concluded the Iraq War was illegal under international law.

After months of briefing, the Northern District of California will issue its order any day as to whether it will recognize the crime of aggression, and whether my client may pursue a civil case against the Bush-era defendants based on that crime. In August of last year, the Obama Department of Justice requested that the district court immunize Bush and his high officials from civil charges on the basis that they were acting “within the scope of their authority.” This issue also remains pending before the court, but it should be noted that both Nuremberg, as well as the more recent Pinochet decision, reject the idea of immunity for leaders when they step outside the appropriate scope of their authority.

We need your support and attention to this case. We cannot let the crime of aggression disappear into history; indeed, even the International Criminal Court has now provided its own definition for aggression, with jurisdiction for this crime being enabled after 2017. We must affirm Jackson’s belief that, “law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, under God and the law.”

For most of the post-war period, this notion — that leaders must be held accountable for their decisions to go to war — has gathered dust. This must change, or else the legacy of Nuremberg, and its foundation for the post-war international legal regime, will be tossed aside in favor of the state of anarchic international relations that led to the Second World War itself. It is time to fulfill Jackson’s dream of a global order governed by law, not war. And it is time for accountability over the Iraq War and for the millions of people who lost their lives or who were affected by it.

Inder Comar is counsel of record for Sundus Shaker Saleh in her case against members of the Bush Administration. The case is Saleh v. Bush, Case No. 3:13-cv-1124 JST (N.D. Cal. March 13, 2013). The firm is providing case updates at witnessiraq.com and is representing Saleh pro bono.

Source: Global Research

The Dirty War for Europe’s Integrity and Soul

DESPOTISM

Mr Klaus Masuch is the ECB’s representative in the troika delegation that spreads panic everywhere it goes. It is early 2012 and the troika passes through Dublin. In the press conference after his meeting with Irish officials, Mr Masuch felt comfortable enough amongst mostly sycophantic journalists to relate a conversation he claimed to have had with a Dublin taxi driver. At which point Vincent Browne, the seasoned Irish journalist, asked his question: “Did you have a chance to ask your taxi driver what he makes of the fact that the ECB forced our government to guarantee private bankers’ debt that our public finances could ill-afford? Debts that the Irish people never consented to through their elected representatives? Did you ask him how he feels that he now has to struggle because your Central Bank forced our government to bailout private bankers so that non-Irish banks to which the money was ultimately owed would not need to be bailed out by Frankfurt, Berlin or Paris?” Clearly discomfited Mr Masuch began to whisper that he admired the Irish people for their resilience and for their grasp of the economic situation. “You have not answered the question Sir”, wailed Vincent Browne. “But I have.” “No you have not. Please answer the question. Why did Europe’s central bank, our central bank, force a small nation to take on private debts without their consent?” At which point Mr Masuch gathered his papers and left the room. If you want a visual depiction of Europe’s democratic deficit; if you want to see why a majority of Europeans are increasingly reporting to pollsters that they have no confidence in European institutions, google “Vincent Browne versus ECB official”, watch the clip, and weep! You may, I submit, be reminded of Berthold Brecht’s comment that: “Brute force is out of date. Why send out murderers when you can employ bailiffs.”

This is what the crisis is doing to our Europe: A clueless political personnel, in denial of the systemic nature of the crisis, is pursuing policies akin to carpet-bombing the economy of proud European nations in order to save them. 

The global financial sector has imploded twice in history. Once in 1929, then in 2008. In 1929 two things happened soon after. The first was that the common currency of the era began to unravel. It was the Gold Standard. The second was that, soon after, in Europe we ended up with Nazis in power and with a reinforcement of fascists everywhere in Europe.

Yanis Varoufakis, excerpt from The Dirty War for Europe’s Integrity and Soul

More insightful stories from the same author: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/

The Cancer Stage of Capitalism

The world economic meltdown that looms at the end of the millennium is not unexpected if the macro-indicators have been observed. But as we find ahead, the money-into-more-money sequences driving the carcinogenic circuits have no reference-body beyond themselves in the global market system which allocates and disposes of the wealth of nations. All the coordinates of global environmental, social and economic meltdown are in fact connected, and their common cause lies in proliferating mutant sequences of money-demand whose defining principle – as the dominant economic paradigm that houses them – is not to serve, but to feed on life-hosts.

Preface to The Cancer Stage of Capitalism by Prof. John McMurtry