BEHIND THE SCENES
Journal of 23rd Year
Losing in Afghanistan
Whistleblowers & Court
U.S. Buys Press
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Tea Party Tale
Drones Over America
Paper of Power?
Politics of Genocide
Anatomy of Epidemic
FDR & New Deal
Zaps - 09/10
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The Global (In)justice System
One of the major fallacies of our time is the idea that we have entered a new era in which human rights are being attended to more than in the past, with new systems of international crime prosecutions brought into play and a greater recognition and acceptance of international humanitarian law and the "responsibility to protect" (R2P) against global misbehavior. The fact of the matter is that all of these supposed improvements are hugely politicized and actually serve the powerful while they carry out their own expansionist and pacification operations. As these operations are the prime source of injustice in the world, in reality the supposedly benevolent enterprises actually facilitate injustice rather than bring justice.
This is dramatically illustrated by the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), organized as a follow-up to the ad hoc tribunals set up for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. A basic feature of all three of these tribunals has been that they exclude from their jurisdiction the crime of cross-border attacks on other countries; that is, aggression, the "supreme international crime" in the judgment of the Nuremberg court, but a bit awkward for the United States, as that crime is part of its standard modus operandi. As clearly as Hitler's invasion of Poland, the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq was a supreme international crime and should have led to those leaders being put in the dock.
In fact, the head of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, could not even find that the U.S. invasion/occupation involved enough cases of "targeting of civilians," "willful killings," or "excessive attacks" to meet a "threshold of gravity" requirement for crimes of war. But he found both that and "genocide" in Darfur, which involved far fewer deaths and refugees than the Iraq invasion-occupation. So in Luis Moreno-Ocampo's system of justice—lauded in 1998 by Kofi Annan as ending the era when "no earthly court could judge powerful men who committed crimes against humanity"—the most powerful people continue to have impunity and only their targets are eligible for "justice."
A dramatic feature of the ICC's work is that all 14 of its indictees to date are black Africans. In the system of justice that it administers, not only is U.S. aggression out, but so is any finding of criminality in the white North. Also free from indictment are black African clients of the white North. Paul Kagame, head of Rwanda, and Yoweri Museveni, dictator of Uganda, are exempt on this basis, although both are mass killers in their own countries and on an even larger scale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In The Politics of Genocide, David Peterson and I quote an internal State Department report of September 1994 which asserts that Kagame's forces were killing 10,000 Hutu civilians per month but without the slightest effect on U.S. support for Kagame. Elsewhere, we have cited a UN report on the DRC which estimates that 3.5 million excess deaths had occurred in 5 Eastern provinces of the DRC between August 1998 to April 2002, "as a direct result of the occupation by Rwanda and Uganda." But Kagame and Museveni are U.S. clients and they are facilitating the West's exploitation of the DRC, so international (in)justice and the Western propaganda system adapt.
International justice established special tribunals for both Yugoslavia and Rwanda, but not for Iraq, Palestine, or the DRC. In the last three, the mass killers and ethnic cleansers were the great Northern powers and their client states. In the first two, the villains were governments that were on the great power (notably, U.S.) target list. Tribunals could only be established in the latter cases. The total number of civilians killed in Bosnia from 1992-95 was something like 65,000, whereas the excess deaths in Iraq resulting from the "sanctions of mass destruction" and then the invasion-occupation may be as large as two million. But not only did the 10- or 20-fold greater deaths in Iraq not produce a tribunal to deal with the war criminals, the UN and Security Council collaborated with the war criminals. In both phases of the death-dealing, they formally imposed and enforced the sanctions and then, after doing nothing to stop the invasion, actually gave the invading (and then occupying) power management rights over the invaded country.
The function of these tribunals has had nothing to do with justice, but, on the contrary, has served to provide a seemingly judicial, but essentially PR and propaganda cover for the U.S.-NATO wars on, and dismantlement of, Yugoslavia; and for U.S.-client Kagame and his RPF wars and subversion in Rwanda and the DRC. The United States may have targeted civilian facilities, used illegal weapons, and been responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 Serb civilians in its war on Yugoslavia, but there was no way any U.S. official would be brought before the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). NATO PR person Jamie Shea explained, "When [ICTY prosecutor] Justice Arbour starts her investigation, she will because we will allow her to." Likewise, Arbour's successor Carla Del Ponte declared that she was "very satisfied that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or of unlawful military targets by NATO during the bombing campaign," without even having opened an investigation on the subject. The State Department may have found that Kagame's forces were killing 10,000 Hutu civilians a month in April 1994 and ICTR investigator Michael Hourigan may have found solid evidence that Kagame was responsible for the shooting down of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane on April 6, 1994—the "triggering" event in the Rwanda death scene. But no Kagame or RPF official or soldier has yet been indicted by the ICTR and none will be. These are not judicial entities serving justice. They are political instruments serving political ends. This is a strong statement, but its truth can be found in books like John Laughland's Travesty, Michael Mandel's How America Gets Away With Murder, and Germinal Civikov's The Crown Witness (reviewed by me in Z Magazine, but nowhere else on the U.S. left).
In the case of Israel, we have witnessed a pair of Israeli wars of aggression on Lebanon, the murderous attack on Gaza and the deliberate starvation of that population, the steady violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention among dozens of other law violations over many years, and a long-term process of ethnic cleansing unmatched anywhere else in the world for duration and blatancy. According to B'Tselem's news release of its July 2010 report, "By Hook and by Crook: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank": "Some half a million Israelis are now living over the Green Line: more than 300,000 in 121 settlements and about one hundred outposts, which control 42 percent of the land area of the West Bank, and the rest in twelve neighborhoods that Israel established on land it annexed to the Jerusalem Municipality."
Not only are these processes uncontested by the leaders of the "humanitarian intervention" powers, they are aided and protected by them. Whereas, in the case of Yugoslavia, the R2P powers insisted on that country's allowing a large international monitoring operation into Kosovo prior to a bombing attack, in the case of Israel, the United States has vetoed any international monitors while it supplies the weapons for more effective ethnic cleansing operations. No monitors, let alone tribunals, here.
The Lockerbie case has been in the news recently, based on the claim that BP was a force in getting Britain to allow the release, on allegedly compassionate grounds, of the Libyan, AbdelBasset Ali Al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103. The news reports on this revival of the case all stress the BP and commercial factors influencing the British decision, along with the fact that Al-Megrahi was the only person convicted of that crime (a model is John Burns's "BP Faces New Scrutiny in Lockerbie Case: Confirms Role in Release of Only Man Convicted in '88 Bombing," NYT, July 16, 2010). Burns and his colleagues regularly ignore the context, which suggests that Al-Megrahi is innocent, that the 2001 trial in which he was convicted was a judicial farce and overwhelmingly politicized, and that a 2007 Scottish Review Commission had found six separate grounds on which the 2001 decision may have been a miscarriage of justice. There is a very good chance that the 2001 decision would have been overturned, which would have been awkward for British and U.S. officials. The deal precluded this embarrassment.
The bombing of Pan Am 103 followed by five and a half months the U.S. shooting down of Iranian Air Flight 655, with the loss of 290 civilian lives. It is of interest that this bombing resulted in no international sanctions or even reprimands and that the naval commander of the USS Vincennes, Captain Will Rogers, who carried out this action, was not only greeted as a hero on his return to the U.S., he got the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious service." Al-Megrahi was never treated publicly in Libya as a hero before or after his trial, but his welcome in Libya after his compassionate release made the U.S. mainstream media furious.
Although Iran and its agents in Syria and West Germany were initially believed and claimed to be the Pan Am 103 bombers (a convincing case and evidence was produced in support of this plausible line of thought), in 1989 and 1990 political changes in the Middle East (U.S. hostages in Lebanon, the Gulf War with Iraq) made a Western rapprochement with Syria and Iran important. Lo and behold, the case against Iran, Syria, and the PLFP in West Germany suddenly faded away, and the case was built against Libya, always a convenient scapegoat. This case against Libya was "circumstantial," but, more importantly, corrupt. The Scottish crime scene was violated by an immediate swarm of U.S. agents, the evidence was dealt with by both U.S. and British experts who had earlier been guilty of doctoring evidence, and the CIA's reluctantly disclosed Libyan witness was shown to be a liar, among other serious weaknesses with the case (see Paul Foot, "The Flight From Justice," Private Eye, May/June 2001, and John Ashton and Ian Ferguson, Cover-Up of Convenience, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2001).
Scottish law professor Robert Black, who had helped arrange for the trial, called the 2001 decision "the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for a hundred years." UN observer Hans Kochler found the decision "totally incomprehensible." But neither Kochler nor Black were cited in the New York Times and this travesty was institutionalized as valid international justice in the mainstream media. Al-Megrahi is still today "the Lockerbie bomber" who spent 10 years in a Scottish prison, while Vincennes Captain Will Rogers remains untouchable and a hero.
In the New World Order, with a single over-militarized superpower aggressively projecting power on many fronts, without any containing rival, and spinning out of control, the global systems of justice yield remarkably perverse results.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
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 scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated 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 on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.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 University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
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 branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, 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.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.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 in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.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.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.