War on the Environment
U.S. Arab Disconnect
Edward S. Herman
Billionaire Phillip Anschutz
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
The San Jose Project
Labor Must Play Its Wild Card
Obama's Jobs Proposal
Court Allows U.S. Citizens to Sue Rumsfeld
The Filthy RIch
"Soft Power" in the Middle East
The World of Drones
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Assassination is as American as apple pie. The record-breaking case of assassination-targeting is Fidel Castro. The 1976 Church Committee report on “Alleged Assassination Plots on Foreign Leaders” listed “at least” seven attempts to kill Castro, but the book by Fabian Escalante, the Cuban former official in charge of protecting Castro, claimed that the number of tries ran into the hundreds. Duncan Campbell pointed out that Luis Posada Carriles was still living in Florida after his failed effort to murder Castro (among his other terrorist actions) and Campbell noted sardonically that Florida is “a place where many of the unsuccessful would-be assassins have made their home” (see “638 tries to kill Castro,” Guardian, August 3, 2006). It would be a mistake, however, to think that
It is, of course, well established that the
On the other hand, when
Even more interesting was the invasion of
Assassination rights follow in the same manner, flowing from military and economic power, arrogance, self-righteousness, and client status. As of early September 2011, it is not clear whether Moammar Kadaffi is dead or alive—or, if alive, will long survive—but it has been openly acknowledged that the United States and its NATO allies have more than once bombed Kadaffi’s compound in Tripoli in an effort to kill him, the first incident occurring as early as March 20, the second day of the war. This is by no means the first time that the West has tried to assassinate Kadaffi. The British and French both tried and the
Assassination of civilians violates numerous international prohibitions of such killing beyond military “necessity” and it violates a stream of U.S. executive orders that declare, for example, that, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” This is regularly ignored by
The rationales for ignoring law and executive orders can be funny. We can go after Kadaffi because he is “commander-in-chief” of the Libyan armed forces, hence a military target. One exposition of assassination law notes that “it seems fairly obvious that eliminating Qadaffi will go far toward bringing attacks on civilians to an end” (“Assassination under International & Domestic Law,” on the IntLawGrrls website, May 2, 2011). This might be especially true if his elimination would have ended NATO attacks on Libyan civilians, which, along with those of the NATO-supported insurgents, seem to have far exceeded those of Kadaffi and his forces.
Bringing a war to a quicker end has long been a rationalization for attacking civilians. During the bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999, the stepped up attacks on Serbian civilian structures and civilian occupants was explicitly designed to force a quicker surrender and the bombing of the Belgrade state broadcasting station (16 killed) was explained on grounds that the station served up state propaganda and was, therefore, a quasi-military target whose destruction would hasten an end to the war. Then, of course,
Israel’s Assassination Rights
Or for our pitiful little client in the
In 2006, the Israeli assassination program received the imprimatur of the Israeli Supreme Court, which found that the assassinations of “terrorists,” who had not been tried in any court of law, were legal. “We cannot determine in advance that all targeted killings are contrary to international law,” the court ruled. “At the same time, it is not possible that all such liquidations are in line with international law.” But the Court did make it illegal to carry out an assassination attack where more than one victim was unidentified and was possibly an innocent (“Israeli court backs targeted killings,” BBC News, December 14, 2006). Of course, the non-innocence of the properly liquidated targets had not been determined in a court of law, but this extra-judicial decision-making, which flies in the face of international law, was acceptable to the court.
The court also required that, if feasible, the terrorists should be arrested rather than simply assassinated. If the target resisted arrest, killing them would be acceptable and assassinating them where an arrest was not practicle was also acceptable.
This was a de facto “license to kill,” that would only put the killing establishment to some minor pains to keep the record clean and lawful. “Targeted Assassinations—a License to kill” was, in fact, the title of an article published in Haaretz on November 27, 2008 by Uri Blau, using some IDF internal documents that described how the Israeli Supreme Court’s assassination-approving decision would only slightly inconvenience the IDF’s assassination program. Blau shows that the Israeli military regularly carried out assassination operations, planned in advance as targeted killings, under the guise of planned arrests.
Blau cites evidence that top Israeli officers approved in advance the killing of Palestinians defined as “wanted.” This has been a scandal in
With its greater capacity to kill on a global scale, the
Based on press reports dating back to June 17, 2004, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK) estimated that by the end of August 2011, between 2,309 and 2,880 persons had been killed in the
The press reports which form the basis of this research tend to repeat the
A photographic exhibit in
A lawsuit filed in
During the same speech, Brennan previewed the
Brennan was lying about the sure-sightedness of this method of kill. Six weeks later the New York Times helped him get-off-the-hook when he “adjusted the wording of his earlier comment on civilian casualties,” no longer saying that “there hasn’t been a single collateral death” in the past year, but that “American officials could not confirm any such deaths.” In an amazing gloss on the argument,
Given the monumental scale of the violence and of the death and destruction caused by U.S. military attacks against multiple countries around the world (formally or informally; in uniform or by hired-hands), the reported deaths in Pakistan to date are relatively small when compared to the deaths of one to two million Iraqis caused by the United States and its allies from August 1990 to the present. But perhaps the most important point to note is the institutionalization, growth, and normalization of the work of the
These, along with the Pentagon, have made the entire globe a free-fire- zone in which people are assassinated without trial at
But that seeming paradox rested on the belief that it was the Soviets who needed to be contained, rather than the
Edward S. Herman is an economist, media critic, and author of numerous articles and books. His latest is The Politics of Genocide (with David Peterson).
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.