By Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
Dee McLachlan, editor of GumshoeNews, set up her camera on a bayside picnic table in Melbourne, and encouraged me to unburden myself on the subject of “international law.” This talk has to do with Australia wishing to bomb Syria, but also with the famous Wesley Clark revelations. Below I will print the main points so you need not invest 12 minutes in the video.
The main points are as follows:
- “International law” is not the place we should look for guidance in the matter. International law reminds me of Aleister Crowley’s joke: “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.” Indeed, in any textbook of International Law you will see the list of four ‘sources’ of that law. One of them is — I kid you not – STATE PRACTICE. Think about it!
- From the day the United Nations Charter was written, in 1945, by “the great powers,” it was not meant to be a system for preventing war. Never mind that its Preamble says it’s intended “to save succeeding generations from the SCOURGE OF WAR, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.” (Sure the public bought that line, but ain’t no “Great Power” ever believed it or wanted it.)
- As there is no overarching ruler to enforce the nice principles of the UN Charter, or other ‘international laws’ such as the Geneva Conventions, we must stop talking to each other as if those constraints really existed. It is illusory; we have an intellectual obligation not to indulge in “PARALLEL REALITY.” I repeat: Great Powers have not the slightest intention of abiding by any rules. They have “other goals.”
- As regards Syria, it is misguided to say Australia should get in there “to stop the creation of refugees.” I don’t doubt that stopping the creation of refugees would be a lovely thing to do. But that is not WHY we would be bombing. So please don’t lie about the motive.
- General Wesley Clark, POOR BASTARD, told us in a Youtube video in 2007, that the US was planning to destroy 7 countries – really 8 all up as the bombing of Afghanistan had been going on since October 8, 2001. (Why? Because a guy reportedly hiding in a cave in Afghanistan had caused so much damage in Manhattan. Broken windows, white goop on the street, fugitives jumping, maybe a touch of thermite, you remember).
- Clark gave no reason for the other seven ‘coming attractions,’ namely: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and “finishing off with Iran.” Why should he give a reason? Nobody even demanded a reason. Why not? I think it’s because our brain avoids going there. We assume if the Good Nation is doing something it must be SOMETHING GOOD. If instead it’s for malicious purposes, we do not wish to know, thank you.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, an independent-minded theologian in the 1930s wrote a book entitled Moral Man and Immoral Society. I did not know of it till I had mostly finished writing my PhD thesis “The Moral Relationship among States.” Niebuhr came to his conclusions based on observation. I came to mine (identical) based on the sociobiology of Richard Alexander. Long story short: TRIBES DO NOT HAVE MORAL SCRUPLES when confronting an enemy tribe.
- I said above that there are four sources of international law; that is, some persons have agreed on a list of four! These are: treaties, customary law, state practice, and the opinions of jurists. ‘JURIST’ MEANS ANYONE WHO AT LEAST TRIES to work out solutions for intergroup rivalries, and makes an impression on scholars.
- Should the UN Charter count as the opinion of jurists? I think so. Should high flowing principles enunciated at Nuremberg count as new ideals, e.g. regarding “crimes against humanity? I think so. How else do we ever move ahead – and WE DO MOVE AHEAD. It matters a lot that people are trying to find a better deal for the ones on the receiving end of the bombs, and the receiving end of torture. (Hmm. I wonder if Martin Bryant and Dzhokar Tsarnaev have been tortured lately.)
- OVER TO YOU, MADAME FOREIGN MINISTER, Your Excellency. Cook something up. Move the Syria problem ahead. Become the greatest Australian this side of Ned Kelley and Albert Namatjira.
What’s the worst that could happen to you if you take a stand re bombing? A Dismissal? You could get Harry-Holted? Sure. These things happen. Look what happened to Edward Said. I recall him speaking on TV in 1991, before the Desert Storm fiasco. He was the only person making sense. He said “If America invades, all will be chaos for the Iraqis. SO DON’T DO IT.”
Be brave, Julie. And you won’t be alone. Here at Gumshoe, we’ve got your back. Plus everybody else will love you. Help the Syrians. Help Europe. Help Australia.
— Mary W Maxwell lives in Adelaide. She is co-author with Dee McLachlan of Truth in Journalism (2015), and can be reached at her website, ProsecutionForTreason.com. If you like GumshoeNews, kindly spread the word to increase our readership. We want NewsLtd to know there’s competition….