As the United States, with the aid of Western allies and the corporate media, escalates aggression toward Russia using Ukraine as the vehicle, it is necessary to take time to look at the bigger picture of the United States’ disregard for international law and the impact that is having globally as well as the push to expand NATO and how that is causing significant division within the alliance. Clearing the FOG speaks with Ajamu Baraka, a long time international human rights defender and the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace, about the United States as a rogue state and what that means for Black America. He also discusses the state of the antiwar movement in the US and the black misleadership class, plus what we need to be doing as US hegemony and the white supremacist-based American Exceptionalism that undergirds are being challenged.Continue reading
This executive summary presents an overview of key findings of a international group of legal scholars and practitioners who conducted impartial monitoring of the case of United States v. Steven Donziger, No. 19-CR-561 (LAP); 11-CIV-691 (LAK). This summary sets a brief background, the principle findings of the monitoring group and the Panel’s recommendations. The summary contains no footnotes; references to relevant sections of the fully-footnoted report are provided.
The Panel has determined that the conduct of judges and prosecutors in Steven Donziger’s case has led to numerous and serious violations of his rights with respect to liberty, arbitrary detention and fair trials under international human rights law, in particular Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the United States in 1992.Continue reading
Many politicians, academics, media pundits are wont of invoking the “rule of law”, a “rules-based international order”, “values diplomacy” etc. But what do all these benevolent-sounding slogans actually mean in practice? Who makes the rules, who interprets them, who enforces them? What transparency and accountability accompany these noble pledges?
In a very real sense, we already have a “rules based international order” in the form of the UN Charter and its “supremacy clause”, article 103 of which grants it priority over all other treaties and agreements. The norms established in the Charter are rational, but effective enforcement mechanisms are yet to be created.
We also have humanistic “values” that should guide diplomacy and peace-making – including the principle “pacta sunt servanda” (treaties must be implemented, art. 26 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties).Continue reading
Iraqi groups expressed dissatisfaction and opposition to the official announcement of the end of the US combat mission in the country on Thursday, December 9, weeks before the deadline of December 31. The groups pointed to the official declaration by the US that no troops will be withdrawn from Iraq immediately but that the remaining troops will shift their mission to assisting and training the Iraqi forces. The groups have reiterated their demand for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops.
Qasim al-Araji, Iraq’s national security advisor, tweeted, “today we finished the last round of dialogue with the international coalition..to officially announce the end of the combat mission of the coalition forces and their withdrawal from Iraq.”Continue reading
On Wednesday, November 24, MintPress News Editor in Chief Mnar Adley sat down to speak with Camila Saab, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.
Saab was on a diplomatic mission to Iran in June 2020, where he was tasked with securing deals for food, medicine and personal protective equipment. His plane stopped off in Cabo Verde — a group of islands off the west coast of Africa — for a routine refueling.
He would never finish his journey, as, on orders from the United States government, local authorities stormed the vehicle, forcing him off the plane — an event that would begin his 18-month detention. “I never imagined that Cabo Verde was going to kidnap a diplomat,” said the Italian-born former model and mother of two.Continue reading
On Aug. 29, the United States murdered ten Afghan civilians in a drone strike. The U.S. Air Force Inspector Gen., Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, was appointed on Sept. 21, to lead an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack. On Nov. 3, Gen. Said released the unclassified findings of his investigation, declaring that while the incident was “regrettable,” no crimes were committed by the U.S. forces involved.
The reality, however, is that the U.S. military engaged in an act of premeditated murder violative of U.S. laws and policies, as well as international law. Everyone involved, from the president on down committed a war crime.
Their indictment is spelled out in the details of what occurred before and during the approximately eight hours a U.S. MQ-9 “Reaper” drone tracked Zemari Ahmadi, an employee of Nutrition and Education International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that has been operating in Afghanistan since 2003, working to fight malnutrition among women and children who live in high-mortality areas in Afghanistan.Continue reading
Alex Saab is a Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and also its Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union. He was arrested and detained in the Republic of Cape Verde (“Cape Verde”) on June 12, 2020, following a request from the United States of America and remained in arbitrary detention until October 16, 2021, when he was illegally removed by the United States to Miami.
This operation carried out by the United States against a Venezuelan diplomat is marked by a series of violations of international law attributable directly or indirectly to the United States. Although the arbitrary arrest and detention of Alex Saab took place in Cape Verde, there is no doubt that the situation was the result of an operation sponsored by the United States, which violated international law, either directly or by proxy, through the authorities of Cape Verde.Continue reading
On the afternoon of Monday, October 18, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab will appear before a judge in Miami, United States, after having been illegally extradited from Cape Verde. This action has been classified by the Venezuelan government as a kidnapping by the US with the complicity of Cape Verdean authorities.
A spokeswoman for the US Justice Department, Nicole Navas, reported that Saab is scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 18 before Judge John J. O’Sullivan of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida. “Saab was extradited today from Cape Verde to the United States to be processed on the charges that were brought against him in July 2019,” stated Navas.
The US government accuses Saab of allegedly laundering the equivalent of over $350 million.Continue reading
Each year in September, the heads of governments come to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to inaugurate a new session of the General Assembly. The area surrounding the headquarters becomes colourful, delegates from each of the 193 member states milling about the UN building and then going out to lunch in the array of restaurants in its vicinity that scraped through the pandemic. Depending on the conflicts that abound, certain speeches are taken seriously; conflicts in this or that part of the world demand attention to the statements made by their leaders, but otherwise there is a queue of speeches that are made and then forgotten.
On 25 September, the prime minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, took the stage in an almost empty UN General Assembly chamber.Continue reading
This month, the Sanctions Kill coalition (Popular Resistance is a member) released its report: “The Impact and Consequences of US Sanctions.” The 35-page report was written in response to the Biden administration’s January call for a review of the US sanctions to determine if they ‘unduly hinder’ the ability of targeted nations to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, there is no word on whether that review has been conducted, but given that the State Department and Treasury are tasked with conducting it, the same institutions that impose sanctions, the Sanctions Kill coalition had no confidence their report would challenge the US’ current foreign policy path of escalating economic war on 39 countries, or a third of the world population.Continue reading
The Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter held its first ministerial meeting at Venezuela’s UN Mission in New York City on Thursday, September 23 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. The 18-country group adopted a declaration which outlines a policy in favor of respecting the UN charter.
The statement says, “The UN Charter and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal, and that all are indispensable, not only to preserve and promote international peace and security, the rule of law, the economic development and social progress, but also human rights and to achieve a more peaceful, prosperous, just and equitable world.”
The group’s members currently are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Laos, Nicaragua, Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Syria.Continue reading
Samuel Moyn’s vicious and unprincipled attack on Michael Ratner, one of the finest human rights attorneys of our time, was published in the New York Review of Books (NYRB) on September 1. Moyn singles out Ratner as a whipping boy to support his own bizarre theory that punishing war crimes prolongs war by making it more palatable. He disingenuously claims that enforcing the Geneva Conventions and opposing illegal wars are mutually exclusive. As Dexter Filkins noted in the New Yorker, Moyn’s “logic would favor incinerating entire cities, Tokyo style, if the resulting spectacles of agony lead more people to oppose American power.”
Moyn takes Ratner—the long-time president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) who died in 2016—to task for filing Rasul v. Bush to give people indefinitely detained at Guantánamo the constitutional right to habeas corpus to challenge their detention.Continue reading
One of President Biden’s first statements included an intention to review the United States’ sanctions, which are actually unilateral coercive measures, to determine if they ‘unduly hinder’ the ability of targeted countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. That review, to be conducted by the US Treasury and State Department, has not been made public, if it has been done at all. The Sanctions Kill coalition conducted its own report on “The Impact and Consequences of US Sanctions,” which was released last week. Clearing the FOG speaks with two of the authors, John Philpot and David Paul, about what sanctions are, why they are illegal and the findings of the report. They explain that the US’ sanctions are not just impacting the 39 targeted countries but are also restraining countries and companies that do business with those countries. Given the growing backlash against the US’ overreach, Philpot, an international lawyer, predicts the US will be held accountable for its crimes and required to pay reparations.Continue reading
Femi Falana, SAN, who heads up Alex Saab’s ECOWAS Defence commented “Contrary to some of the statements which have been made in the media, the legal process is far from over and His Excellency Alex Saab will not be going to the United States any time soon. The decision of the Constitutional Court on 7 September is leaves many legal ambiguities and my colleague Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro will be seeking clarification from the Court by way of an urgent submission this afternoon.”
Dr Rutsel S.J. Martha, Interpol’s former Head of Legal Affairs, highlighted the fact that no arrest warrant issued at the time of Alex Saab’s arrest on 12 June 2020, which despite the attempt by the Constitutional Court to brush this aside as an inconvenience, cannot be ignored as it is an absolute must, as required by Cape Verde’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).Continue reading
In recent decades, the US has increasingly used sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy. Some 39 nations and territories are under direct or indirect sanctions. Most of these sanctions are not authorized by the United Nations Security Council and many of them are enacted by the US alone. They are called “unilateral coercive measures” at the United Nations. These US decrees and legislation are “extraterritorial” when they assume the right to impose regulations, restrictions and penalties on nonUS countries, companies and individuals.
There are many types of sanctions: economic or financial restrictions, trade prohibitions, and blocking or seizing assets of individuals, organizations and countries. Greatly increasing the reach of sanctions, “secondary sanctions” target non-US entities which are interacting with the “primary” target.Continue reading