International law permits
justifiable self-defense. Targeted killings are prohibited, especially
premeditated ones like America and Israel repeatedly commit for reasons
other than claimed.
These incidents constitute cold-blooded murder. US drone killings and
rampaging death squads, as well as Israel's deplorable history and latest
ritual slaughter highlight the issue. International law prohibits anticipatory
self-defense. It amounts to using force to deter it.
Under the UN Charter's Article 2(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."
Only two exceptions apply. Article 51 permits "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."
In addition, a nation may anticipate self-defense in situations where
verifiable, compelling evidence shows imminent or already initiated
For example, if nations face hostile mobilized troops on their borders,
self-defense is justified if invasion seems likely. Or if specific provable
knowledge of impending terrorist attacks are known, preventive defensive
action is warranted.
However, anticipatory self-defense based on unproved allegations is
lawless. For example, attacking Iraq for allegedly possessing WMDs had
no basis in international law. Moreover, possession of any weapons proves
no intent to use them. In the case of Iraq, of course, allegations were
Key is that employing anticipatory (or preemptive) self-defense against
nations, groups, or individuals based on alleged threats is prohibited
and lawless if undertaken.
No matter. For America and Israel, it's official policy. Alleged national
security reasons are cited. Nearly always they're spurious.
In response to Israel's 1981 Iraq Osirik nuclear reactor attack (under
construction at the time), the Security Council ruled "the military
attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations
and the norms of international conduct."
If Israel and/or America attack Iran's nuclear facilities, the same
standard applies. Of course, US veto power will prevent saying or deterring
it unlike decades earlier. Back then, the IAEA head and Israel had no
evidence of unlawful weapons development, possession, or imminent use.
Anticipatory self-defense was lawless.
Unverifiable "inherent right" claims are spurious. Nonetheless, America
and Israel invoke them often. In his 2002 West Point Commencement speech,
George Bush said:
(N)ot only will the United States impose preemptive, unilateral military
force when and where it chooses, but the nation will also punish those
who engage in terror and aggression and will work to impose a universal
moral clarity between good and evil.
In other words, he unilaterally claimed whatever America says, goes.
No restraints apply. At the time, moreover, he suggested Washington
has choices unavailable to other nations. Rule of law provisions apply
to them. Washington makes its own.
In fact, America lawlessly waged multiple post-WW II wars. All were
illegal aggression. None were justified for any reason. It's equally
true for Israel. Today, both nations represent clear and present dangers.
Operating extrajudicially, they endanger humanity.
In 2010, Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary,
or arbitrary executions presented a report on the topic. It called using
them "highly problematic, blurring and expand(ing) the boundaries" of
recognized international law.
Asserting a "vaguely defined license to kill" subverts it. Alston called
targeted killings "intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal
force...." Legal frameworks are blurred. Laws of war and human rights
are discarded. Moreover, states employing this practice don't show justification
other than claiming vague threats.
Most often, they violate the right to life. Throughout its history,
Israel employed the tactic. In fact, it began during the Mandatory Palestine
period when Jewish terrorist groups targeted Jews, Brits and Arabs.
Future prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were involved.
For example, in November 1944, Lehi (Stern Gang) terrorists assassinated
Lord Moyne, Britain's Middle East minister of state, near his home in
In September 1948, it also killed UN mediator Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem,
five months after Israel was established. Yitzhak Shamir personally
approved the assassination.
In July 1946, Irgun terrorists bombed the King David Hotel, massacring
92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others. Future prime minister
David Ben-Gurion approved it as head of the Jewish Agency at the time.
Before and after May 1948, many thousands of targeted killings occurred
or were attempted. Using them is official Israeli policy. Mossad assassins
murdered Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
On February 14, 2005, compelling visual and audio evidence revealed
real time intercepted Israel aerial surveillance footage of routes he
used on the day his motorcade was attacked. Israel was involved.
At first, Syria was spuriously blamed, then Hezbollah. Fingers were
bogusly pointed the wrong way to absolve Israel. It was typical Mossad,
whether by car bombs, shootings, poisoning, slit throats, or other means.
Targets get no reprieves.
Assassinations, including US citizens, didn't begin under Bush and Obama.
CIA operatives used them for decades. In his book "Nemesis: The Last
Days of the American Republic," Chalmers Johnson said:
"(W)e will never again know peace, nor in all probability survive very
long as a nation, unless we abolish the CIA, restore intelligence collecting
to the State Department, and remove all but purely military functions
from the Pentagon."
The Agency acts as judge, jury, and executioner. Imperial Rome had its
praetorian guard. The CIA works the same way as a private unaccountable
army. It operates extrajudicially against targets ranging from alleged
terrorists to heads of state.
Among its original missions, one vaguely permitted "other functions
and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as
the National Security Council may....direct."
As a result, it became a covert, unaccountable force unto itself. It's
engaged in mischievous, illegal operations. They include overthrowing
democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign heads of state
and key officials, propping up friendly dictators, and extraordinarily
renditioning targeted subjects to torture prison hell, or simply disappearing
Accountable unto itself, it does what it pleases outside the law. Its
bag of dirty tricks defines imperial America. In the process, the republic's
life was shortened. Johnson said "the company" menaces democracy. Neither
can coexist with the other.
Along with US Special Forces, it's involved in death squad killings.
It also operates predator drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia,
and wherever Washington designates targets to kill.
Allegedly targeting militants and terrorists, independent experts believe
noncombatant civilians are killed 98% of the time. Official reports
suppress dirty truths.
US citizens are also targeted. Attorney General Eric Holder said:
The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader
of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is
at war even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.
In fact, senior administration officials said Obama and future presidents
(on their own authority) may order them killed anywhere, including at
home. Holder noticeably added that America's "authority is not limited
to the battlefields in Afghanistan" or anywhere else.
They're where presidents say they are. Anyone anywhere may be killed
for any reason or none at all. They can also be arrested, thrown in
military dungeons uncharged, denied due process, sent abroad to torture
prisons, or simply disappeared.
Constitutional protections no longer apply. Unilateral executive authority
replaced them. Planet earth is America's battlefield. Since last year,
drone attacks killed at least three US citizens abroad.
The FAA Reauthorization Act authorizes up to 30,000 unmanned homeland
aerial vehicles (UAVs) by 2020. They'll be used for spying and who knows
what else. Not only will privacy rights be compromised, so will life
and liberty protections. This army in the sky will be used repressively
A Final Comment
Ron Paul's the only presidential candidate openly expressing alarm about
Obama's assassination policy. On February 24, 2010, he said:
"What have we allowed ourselves to become? Are we no longer a nation
of laws? Have we become instead a nation of men who make secret arrests?
Are secret prisons now simply another tool of the federal government
"Is secret rendition of individuals now permitted, out of misplaced
fear? Have we decided that the writ of habeas corpus is not worth defending?
Is torture now an acceptable tool for making us safe? Unfortunately,
the single answer to all of these questions from the leaders of our
country and to many of our citizens appears to be yes."
When nations no longer observe fundamental international laws and their
own, tyranny follows. Governing extrajudicially, American and Israeli
leaders, as well as complicit officials in both countries, operate lawlessly.
Rule of law protections don't apply. As a result, no one's safe, including
Israeli Jews and US citizens.
A shroud of secrecy, mass deception, scoundrel journalism, extrajudicial
killing, torture, permanent war, homeland repression, universal spying,
and leaders doing what they damn please with impunity threatens life,
liberty, humanity, and planet earth.
In his 1961 inaugural address, John Kennedy highlighted "the common
enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself." He asked
for "a grand and global alliance" against them, and said "history (will
be) the final judge of our deeds...."
On June 14, 1956, Senator Kennedy gave Harvard's Commencement speech.
This writer heard it. Politicians today speak differently. He was reasoned,
scholarly, effective, and impressive.
He said when freedom is threatened, politicians and intellectuals "should
be natural allies, working more closely together for the common cause
against the common enemy."
He ended quoting what an English mother once wrote the Provost of Harrow,
saying "Don't teach my boy poetry; he is going to stand for Parliament."
"Well, perhaps she was right," said Kennedy, "but if more politicians
knew poetry and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would
be a little better place in which to live on this commencement day of
On November 22, 1963, state-sponsored assassins took him. Decades of
global lawlessness, permanent wars, state terrorism, and tyranny followed.
History's verdict is clear. America's "common enemies" won. Kennedy
couldn't have imagined how decisively, or most anyone a half century
Given today's bipartisan rogue governance, humanity's threatened. At
issue is will there be another or much time left at all! The prospect's
real and frightening.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
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