The following is my paper for the Claremont Colleges’ conference, Seizing an Alternative Toward an Ecological Civilization, with open registration to the public on June 4-7, 2015.
‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ political collapse: Seizing an alternative to OBVIOUS unlawful wars, bankster looting, lying corporate media
I’ve divided the paper into sections:
Obviously unlawful US/UK wars of the present (2 of 7)
This section is: Obviously unlawful US/UK wars of the present (2 of 7)
US/UK/Israel unlawful wars all started with lies:
“No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion.” - President Kennedy, June 10, 1963
Unlawful Wars of Aggression: The US/UK/Israel “official story” is that current wars are lawful because they are “self-defense.” The Emperor’s New Clothes fact here is that “self-defense” means something quite narrow and specific in war law, and US/UK/Israel armed attacks on so many nations in current and past wars are not even close to the definition of “self-defense.”
Addressing three nations and several wars again seems ambitious for one academic paper, and again, these are all simple variations of one method:
- Ignore war law.
- Lie to blame the victim and claim “self-defense.”
- “Officials” and corporate media never state the Emperor’s New Clothes simple and obvious facts of war law and war lies.
Proving unlawful wars with massive deception is easier when the scope is broadened to see the same elements in three cases.
Importantly, a nation can use military, police, and civilians in self-defense from any attack upon the nation. This is similar to the legal definition of “self-defense” for you or I walking down the street: we cannot attack anyone unless either under attack or imminent threat. And, if under attack, we can use any reasonable force in self-defense, including lethal.
Two world wars begat two treaties to end nations’ armed attacks forever. They are crystal-clear in content and context:
- Kellogg-Briand Pact (General treaty for renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy as official title)
- United Nations Charter.
Both are listed in the US State Department’s annual publication, Treaties in Force (2013 edition pages 466 and 493).
Article Six of the US Constitution defines a treaty as US “supreme Law of the Land;” meaning that US policy may only complement an active treaty, and never violate it.
This is important because all of us with Oaths to the US Constitution are sworn to honorably refuse all unlawful war orders; military officers are sworn to arrest those who issue them. Indeed, we suffer criminal dishonor if we obey orders for armed attack when they are not “self-defense,” and family dishonor to so easily reject the legal victory won from all our families’ sacrifices through two world wars.
Treaty 1. Kellogg-Briand: General treaty for renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy:
The legal term renounce means to surrender access; that is, to remove that which is renounced as lawful option. This active treaty (page 466 “Renunciation of War”), usually referenced as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, states:
The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”
Treaty 2. United Nations Charter:
It’s helpful to understand what the UN is not. The only area of legal authority of the UN is security/use of force; all other areas are advise for individual nation’s legislature’s consideration. The UN is not global government. It is a global agreement to end wars of choice outside of a very narrow legal definition of national self-defense against another nation’s armed attack.
The preamble of the United Nations includes to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war… to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and… to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used…”
The UN purpose includes: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace…”
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter…
Article 24: In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
Article 25: The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.
- The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
- The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.
Article 37: Should the parties to a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 fail to settle it by the means indicated in that Article, they shall refer it to the Security Council.
Article 39: The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Article 40: In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable.
Article 51: Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the judicial branch of the UN. Their definition of “armed attack” is by a nation’s government. Because the leadership of the CIA and FBI both reported that they had no evidence the Afghan government had any role in the 9/11 terrorism, the US is unable to claim Article 51 protection for military action in Afghanistan (or Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Iran [here, here, here], Russia, or claims about ISIS or Khorasans). The legal classification of what happened on 9/11 is an act of terrorism, a criminal act, not an armed attack by another nation’s government.
The US use of force oversees could be a legal application of Article 51 if, and only if, the US could meet the burden of proof of an imminent threat that was not being responded to by the Security Council. To date, the US has not made such an argument.
American Daniel Webster helped create the legal definition of national self-defense in the Caroline Affair as “necessity of that self-defence is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” The US attack on Afghanistan came nearly a month after the 9/11 terrorism. Article 51 only allows self-defense until the Security Council takes action; which they did in two Resolutions beginning the day after 9/11 (1368 and 1373) claiming jurisdiction in the matter.
In conclusion, unless a nation can justify its military use as self-defense from armed attack from a nation’s government that is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation,” all other acts of war are unlawful. The legal definition of “self-defense” ends when the attack terminates. In general legal definition, no party is allowed use of force under the justification of “self-defense” if the law can be applied for redress and remedy.
Another area to clarify is the US 1973 War Powers Act (WPA). The authorization by Congress for US presidential discretion for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq references WPA. This act, in response to the Vietnam War, reframes the Founders’ intent of keeping the power of war in the hands of Congress. It also expressly limits the president to act within US treaty obligations; the principle treaty of use of war being the UN Charter.
This means that presidential authority as commander-in-chief must always remain within the limitations of the UN Charter to be lawful orders. It’s not enough for Congress to authorize use of force; that force must always and only be within the narrow legal definition of self-defense clearly explained in the UN Charter. Of course, we can anticipate that if a government wanted to engage in unlawful war today, they would construct their propaganda to sell the war as “defensive.” The future of humanity to be safe from the scourge of war is therefore dependent upon our collective ability to discern lawful defensive wars from unlawful Wars of Aggression covered in BS-Emperor’s New Clothes claims of self-defense.
Governments have been vicious killers over the last 100 years, using “self-defense” to justify their wars. The US has started 201 foreign armed attacks since WW2, causing the world’s peoples to conclude in polling that the US is indeed #1 as the most threatening nation to world peace. These US-started armed attacks have killed ~30 million and counting; 90% of these deaths are innocent children, the elderly and ordinary working civilian women and men. These US armed attacks have war-murdered more than Hitler’s Nazis, and continue a long history of lie-began US Wars of Aggression.
The most decorated US Marine general in his day warned all Americans of this fact of lie-started wars, and W. Bush’s Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, chided Pulitzer-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, that government will continue with such actions to “create our own reality” no matter what anyone else might say.
The first round of US current wars, the attack of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, continues this history as a deliberate act of unlawful war, not defense that was “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” The burden of proof the US would have to provide is imminent threat of another attack in order to justify self-defense. US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, in his letter to the UN Security Council invoking Article 51 for the attack upon Afghanistan mentions only “ongoing threat;” which does not satisfy this burden of proof.
Article 51 requires self-defensive war coming from an attack by a nation’s government, which the CIA and FBI refute in the case of the Afghan government with the terrorism on 9/11. Self-defense ends when the attack ends. The US war began four weeks after 9/11 ended; making the US war one of choice and not defense. Article 51 ends self-defense claims when the UN Security Council acts. Resolution 1373 provides clear language of international cooperation and justice under the law, with no authorization of force.
This evidence doesn’t require the light of the UN Charter’s spirit of its laws, but I’ll add it: humanity rejected war as a policy option and requires nations to cooperate for justice under that law. The US has instead embraced and still embraces war with its outcomes of death, misery, poverty, and fear expressly against the wishes of humanity and the majority of Americans. These acts are clearly unlawful and should be refused and stopped by all men and women in military, government and law enforcement.
Some war liars argue that UN Security Council Resolution 687 from 1991 authorizes resumption of force from the previous Gulf War. This resolution declared a formal cease-fire; which means exactly what it says: stop the use of force. The resolution was declared by UNSC and held in their jurisdiction; that is, no individual nation has authority to supersede UNSC’s power to continue or change the status of the cease-fire. The idea that the US and/or UK can authorize use of force under a UNSC cease-fire is as criminal as your neighbor shooting one of your family members and claiming that because police have authority to shoot dangerous people he can do it.
The categories of crime for armed attacks outside US treaty limits of law are:
- Wars of Aggression (the worst crime a nation can commit),
- Treason for lying to US military, ordering unlawful attack and invasions of foreign lands, and causing thousands of US military deaths.
All 27 UK Foreign Affairs Department attorneys concluded Iraq war is unlawful: I wrote in 2010:
“All the lawyers in the UK’s Foreign Affairs Department concluded the US/UK invasion of Iraq was an unlawful War of Aggression. Their expert advice is the most qualified to make that legal determination;all 27 of them were in agreement. This powerful judgment of unlawful war follows the Dutch government’s recent unanimous report and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s clear statements.
“This stunning information was disclosed at the UK Chilcot inquiry by thetestimony of Foreign Affairs leading legal advisor, Sir Michael Wood, who added that the reply from Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office to his legal department’s professional work was chastisement for putting their unanimous legal opinion in writing.
“Sir Michael testified that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw preferred to take the legal position that the laws governing war were vague and open to broad interpretation: “He took the view that I was being very dogmatic and that international law was pretty vague and that he wasn’t used to people taking such a firm position.”
“UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith testified he “changed his mind” against the unanimous legal opinion of all 27 of the Foreign Office attorneys to agree with the US legal argument that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 authorized use of force at the discretion of any nation’s choice. This testimony is also criminally damning: arguing that an individual nation has the right to choose war violates the purpose, letter and spirit of the UN Charter, as well as violates 1441 that reaffirms jurisdiction of the Security Council in governance of the issue. This Orwellian argument contradicts the express purpose of the Charter to prevent individual nations from engaging in wars.
“Moreover, the US and UK “legal argument” is in further Orwellian opposition to their UN Ambassadors’ statements when 1441 was passed that this did not authorize any use of force:
“John Negroponte, US Ambassador to the UN:
[T]his resolution contains no “hidden triggers” and no “automaticity” with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12.
“Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK Ambassador to the UN:
We heard loud and clear during the negotiations the concerns about “automaticity” and “hidden triggers” — the concern that on a decision so crucial we should not rush into military action; that on a decision so crucial any Iraqi violations should be discussed by the Council. Let me be equally clear in response… There is no “automaticity” in this resolution. If there is a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter will return to the Council for discussion as required in paragraph 12.
“The Chilcot inquiry was initiated from public outrage against UK participation in the Iraq War, with public opinion having to engage a second time toforce hearings to become public rather than closed and secret. The hearings were not authorized to consider criminal charges, which is the next battle for UK public opinion.”
The UN Charter is the principle law to end wars; designed by the US to produce that result. That said, West Point Grads Against the War have further legal arguments of all the violations of war from US attack and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, including further analysis of the UN Charter and expert supporting testimony. Another resource for documentation and analysis is David Swanson’s War is a Crime. Ironically, Americans would never allow a favorite sport such as baseball or football to be similarly destroyed by such Emperor’s New Clothes lies to those rules/laws.
Lawful war analysis: Negroponte’s letter invokes a legal Charter Article of self-defense in contrast with the loss of over 3,000 lives on 9/11. The letter portends legal evidence of al-Qaeda’s “central role” in the attacks and claims military response is appropriate because of al-Qaeda’s ongoing threat and continued training of terrorists. This reasoning argues for a reinterpretation of self-defense to include pre-emptive attack while lying in omission that such an argument is tacit agreement of current action being outside the law.
Importantly, after accurately defining “self-defense” in war, the JAG authors/attorneys explicitly state on page 6 that war is illegal unless a nation is under attack from another nation’s government, or can provide evidence of imminent threat of such attack:
“Anticipatory self-defense, whether labeled anticipatory or preemptive, must be distinguished from preventive self-defense. Preventive self-defense—employed to counter non-imminent threats—is illegal under international law.”
However, despite the US Army’s law handbook’s accurate disclosure of the legal meaning of “self-defense” in war, they then ignore this meaning to claim “self-defense” as a lawful reason for US wars without further explanation (details here).
President George Washington’s Farewell Address, the culmination of his 45 years of political experience, warned of the primary threat to America as “the impostures of pretended patriotism” from people within our own government who would destroy Constitutional limits in order to obtain tyrannical power:
“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.”
Young Abraham Lincoln wrote eloquently to defend the US Constitution from unlawful tyrants within our own government. In Congress, he spoke powerfully and truthfully that the President’s claims for armed attack and invasion of a foreign country were lies. Although war-mongers slurred Lincoln’s name at the time, history proved him correct in asserting the President of the US was a war-mongering liar:
“I carefully examined the President’s messages, to ascertain what he himself had said and proved upon the point. The result of this examination was to make the impression, that taking for true, all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification; and that the President would have gone farther with his proof, if it had not been for the small matter, that the truth would not permit him… Now I propose to try to show, that the whole of this, — issue and evidence — is, from beginning to end, the sheerest deception.”
Lincoln also wrote that “pre-emptive” wars were lies, and “war at pleasure.”