The UN, Integrated Systems & American Intransigence To Accountability
In Wikipedia we find this, concerning an overview of the meaning ‘integrated systems’ “A system is an aggregation of subsystems cooperating so that the system is able to deliver the overarching functionality. System integration involves integrating existing often disparate systems. System integration is also about adding value to the system, capabilities that are possible because of interactions between subsystems.” The above we can understand in the engineering context of machinery and technology but also integrated human development. Today, a world of algorithms, fuelling the efficient matrix of cyber space leading to developing precision destructive technology (drones for example) used in the self proclaimed Full Spectrum Dominance design where American created war/conflict zones proliferate across the planet, continue to fundamentally undermine international law whilst threatening our very existence by marginalising the Unites Nations and its various agencies by an American, NATO confrontational primacy.
When a past Caesar reincarnated into successive Christian American Presidents, unto whom shall we give? Pentagon dominated America sees the world as does Irving Kristol: “insignificant nations, like insignificant people, can quickly experience delusions of significance.” and therefore must be dealt swift blows so as not to “embarrass America.”
Addicted to violence America’s coercive power is the sophisticated, persistent, and destructive doctrine causing untold misery to insignificant millions in insignificant countries. When (another) Caesar became a Christian, “the church, as an accommodation, developed the Just War Doctrine which accepted the necessity of going to war for a just cause. The Just War Doctrine dealt primarily with the conditions justifying resort to war: the jus ad bellum; it also held that the conduct of the just war, jus in bello, must conform to the principles of discrimination and proportion.” In Waldemar A. Solf’s ‘Protection of Civilians Against the Effects of Hostilities Under Customary International Law And Under Protocol 1’ (1986) American Presidents need no such “accommodation” the High Church of the Pentagon’s Doctrine is not a just war but Just War, when you like where you like, whether you like or not. Chomsky (2002): “One normal concomitant of easy victories over defenceless enemies is the entrenchment of the habit of preferring force over the pursuit of peaceful means. Another is the high priority of acting without authority. The incarnation of the god who comes to Earth as the “perfect man” with the mission of eradicating evil from the world needs no higher authority.”
Charles Tilly (in Chomsky 2002): “The central tragic fact is simple: coercion works those who apply substantial force to their fellows get compliance, and from that compliance draw multiple advantages of money, goods, deference, access to pleasures denied to less powerful people.”
Social Justice in a Grand Area
In The End of Poverty. How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime (2005), Jeffrey Sachs writes: “The self-professed quest by the United States for unchallenged supremacy and freedom of action has been a disaster, and it poses one of the greatest risks to global stability. The lack of U.S participation in multilateral initiatives has undermined global security and progress toward social justice and environmental protection. Its own interests have been undermined by this (planned) unilateral turn.” Sachs goes on in respect of UN marginalisation: “We have gotten the UN that has been willed by the powerful countries of the world, especially the United States. Why are UN agencies less operational than they should be? Not because of UN bureaucracy, though that exists, but because the powerful countries are reluctant to cede more authority to international institutions, fearing reduction of their own freedom of maneuver. The UN specialized agencies have a core role to play in the end of poverty. It is time to empower the likes of the UN Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, and many others to do the job-on the ground, country by country- that they are uniquely qualified to lead, helping the poorest of the poor to use modern science and technology to overcome the trap of poverty.”
I would add that many other agencies are also “uniquely qualified” to work alongside the UN Agencies and this discussion must become the catalyst for world transformation, and recognisable social justice through the ending of poverty and degradation of the planet’s eco systems: both of course inter-related. Also context, context, context. All countries have uniquely stabilising and destabilising factors (mostly destabilising) and this fact must be part of any viable integration plans in those countries.
The Pentagon dominated America is the greatest source of destabilisation in the world today. From 1939 to 1945 President Roosevelt’s State Department planners along with the Council on Foreign Affairs were planning post war dominance. In Power and Terror, conflict, hegemony, and the rule of force (2011), Noam Chomsky writes the “major concept that they developed was what they called the Grand Area. The Grand Area would be totally controlled by the United States.” Chomsky goes on, “In the Grand Area, the U.S. was to have “unquestioned power” with “military and economic supremacy” while ensuring “limitation of any exercise of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with its global designs.” [my emphasis] Would then American planning brook a truly representative UN? Of course not, and it is the fact that the world’s population having been increasingly tri-polar: meaning: “the U.S.-centered North American system, Europe based primarily on (then the 1970’s) Germany and France, and the Japan-centered developing Northeast Asian economy” (Chomsky 2011) has now rapidly diversified, and is resistant, more or less, to American ideology. China, India, Brazil, Russia are rising as regimes but so are their people who demonstrate agitate for greater freedoms. The UN will remerge with this global demand for social justice, as the youth of the Middle East rise with an unstoppable Arab Awakening of their own making.
Nato and Supplanting the UN
The marginalisation of the United Nations, according to Rick Rozoff’s 2009 paper ‘West Plots to Supplant United Nations with Global NATO’ began in 1996, with the 1995 appointment of Kofi Annan as UN Special Envoy to NATO. The affable Annan authorising, according to Rozoff, “the NATO bombing in Bosnia behind the back of Boutros-Ghali.” Annan was of course selected to replace Boutros-Ghali. Rozoff states: “in the last five years of the 20th century and the first five of the 21st NATO had evolved from a regional alliance based in Western Europe to a global force contending with the United Nations for the number and geographical range of the missions conducted.” Chomsky (2011) further states referring to an international meeting headed by “Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Clinton. They issued plans called NATO 2020, and they said NATO must be prepared to operate far beyond its borders without limit, meaning it must become a worldwide US military intervention force. So that’s NATO, no longer there to defend ourselves from the Russians, but their real purpose is to control the whole world.”
America’s self amplifying moral crowing, not matched by its actions, remains impervious to 27 years of UN Special Rapporteur findings. Recommendations of the Human Rights Council have been largely ignored by the US. A law unto itself, the US acts unilaterally, with disproportionate force in too many countries and with unusual CIA connivance and black ops, thereby undermining the vital work of the UN and its intent on multi agency integration. As the UN tries to add value to humanitarian space America and NATO undermine, this dia-morphic entity devaluing any idea of integration apart from the ideology of US hegemony that relentlessly integrates systems of ever greater projected destruction through American / NATO’s expansion thus constituting American maximalism , exceptionalism, and moral minimalism.
The ‘UN Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development’ are but words on a battered sign that the “American Military Machine” views in its dusty blood spattered rear mirrors as it roars by to kill again, and again, and again, laying waste to the Middle East and other regions, as it does unremittingly to international law. America still pursuing its dystopian vision of a now mythical Grand Area through Grand Larceny.
The Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lord Noel Baker wrote in a small but richly informative book titled Apocalypse Now? under the heading ‘The Prospect For Disarmament’: “The prospect for disarmament in the winter of 1979-1980 ought to be extremely good. But is it good? Is there any hope that the world can be de-militarised and that civilization can at last begin? If not, what should now be done to improve the prospect, and to strengthen the hope that Homo Sapiens can survive the “nuclear age”?” I will return to this book in Part 2.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in The Social Contract: “Not one of you is so ignorant as not to know that, when the laws lose their force and those who defend them their authority, security and liberty are universally impossible.”
Transparency Accountability and its absence
Unabashed, the American military, NATO, and their ever increasing and interwoven web of private contractors, mercenaries and intel agents go on to commit crimes against humanity with impunity. In his ‘A/HRC/11/2Add.5 Report Mission to the United States of America’ Special Rapporteur Philip Alston writes: “War crimes prosecutions in particular are “politically radioactive.” That sense continues to be reflected by [US] Government statements which indicate more commitment to “moving forward” [where to God’s sake?] than insuring transparency and accountability for policies, practices and conduct that led to illegal killings by Government personnel and their agents. But a refusal to look back inevitably means moving forward in blindness [my emphasis]. Political expediency is never a permissible justification for a state’s failure to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes.” Alston compels in the same Report for Commissions of Inquiry: “A commission is an especially attractive option in this [above] context because it is likely that extrajudicial killings resulted from a set of policy failures on the part of a variety of [US] Government actors and agents. In such complex circumstances, transparency may best be achieved through a commission rather than through prosecution alone.”
This is an imperative because the scapegoat mentality of the American military makes examples of the lower ranks whilst absolving themselves from ultimate responsibility and commission scrutiny. Alston goes on: “The commission could propose structural or long-term reforms that would better ensure the right to life and other fundamental human rights. Another option is the appointment of a special prosecutor who would be independent of the kinds of institutional and political pressures that could -and have-hindered effective investigation and prosecution by DOJ. Some have made proposals about the particular form a commission could take, and the merits of a special or independent prosecutor. I [Alston] do not endorse any specific proposal, although I do note that a commission and an independent prosecutor are not mutually exclusive.”
Further warns Alston: “Regardless of the specific form of the commission, it should meet certain fundamental requirements, including that it must: be independent, impartial and competent; have the powers necessary to obtain all the information it requires; have sufficient resources and personnel; and, report all of its findings and recommendations publicly and indicate what it intends to do in response. Any commission designed to provide the appearance of accountability rather than to establish the truth, or one that undermines the possibility of eventual prosecution, would fall short of the same international standards to which the United States often seeks to hold other countries.” (my emphasis)
Also, Alston notes: “The most credible response to the military justice system’s investigative failures and sentencing distortions would be the creation of a Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) position. Such positions have recently been instituted in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to ensure greater separation between the chain of command and the prosecution function. Rather than permitting commanding officers to decide whether to prosecute their own soldiers -a decision in which superior officers have a direct and potentially conflicting interest – a DMP makes independent decisions.”
Prosecution of warfare
Prosecutions of private contractors “are handled by U.S Attorney offices around the country. Prosecutors do not have an incentive to prioritize such difficult and expensive cases, especially when expected to conduct investigations within their ordinary operating budget. An office should be established within DOJ dedicated solely to investigating and prosecuting cases involving PCs, civilian Government employees, and former military personnel, and to provide appropriate funding.” Further and shockingly, we find in the Report Mission to the United States of America, Appendix C, A/HRC/11/2Add.5 that “Congress has adopted a series of statutes expanding and clarifying jurisdiction over offences committed by contractors and civilian Government employees operating in areas of armed conflict and in peacetime. To date, however, these legislative initiatives have been largely reactive to specific incidents such as abuses at Abu Ghraib and the shooting incident at Nisoor Square. [my emphasis] The result is legislation that closes particular jurisdictional gaps but leaves others. Nevertheless, these statutes together should permit the justice system to punish all or virtually all killings prohibited by human rights or humanitarian law.” and not just be restricted to specific incidents important though these are. It should not pertain that the above mentioned cases only came to judicial light because universal and concerted pressure coming from human rights groups and investigative journalists. It must said that America is not good at all at self-scrutiny. America protects its own but demands self-scrutiny from other states, which constitutes breath-taking hubris. America is good at some things: self deception and self denial.
Furthermore, “The USA Patriot Act of 2001 expanded the scope of “special maritime and territorial jurisdiction” over crimes committed overseas to include offences committed “by or against a national of the United States” on U.S. bases, facilities and diplomatic missions. This expanded jurisdiction applies to about 30 criminal statutes and is most likely to be of use in cases involving deaths in custody. Indeed, the only private security contractor ever successfully prosecuted in the civilian justice system was convicted under this statute after beating a detainee to death during an interrogation in Afghanistan.” [my emphasis] (Report Mission to the United States of America, Appendix C, A/HRC/11/2Add.5)
Moreover, “When the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) was enacted in 2000, it covered Department of Defence employees, former military personnel, contractors, and sub-contractors accompanying the military outside the United States. After it came to light that contractors to other Government agencies were implicated in the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Congress amended MEJA in 2004 to cover any federal employee or Government contractor whose “employment relates to supporting the mission of the Department of Defence overseas” [my emphasis] (except contractors who are nationals or residents of the country in which the missions take place). The intent was to cover the range of civilian employees and contractors operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, but there is some debate whether a court would agree that all such persons are “supporting the mission of the Department of Defence.” I [Alston] was briefed by a number of Congressional staffers on ongoing efforts to adopt new legislation that would definitely clarify MEJA in this regard. This is most encouraging. There was, however, also talk of including a so-called “intelligence carve-out” that would provide impunity for contractors and employees working for U.S. intelligence agencies. This would be wholly inappropriate, and Congress should adopt legislation that comprehensively provides jurisdiction over contractors and civilian employees.” [my emphasis] The above emphasis is relevant as it is the C.I.A that is responsible for operating drones strikes which of course constitute the crime of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. No American agency must be above the law. No American agency must be seen to be above the law. No American agency must be beyond scrutiny. (Report Mission to the United States of America, Appendix C, A/HRC/11/2Add.5)
Of machines and men
Machines as yet cannot organise themselves; human beings must find symbiotic organisation in inclusive loving ways because they can; because they/we must. Millions of men, women and children are in need and we must reach them, reach out to them in thought which elides with organised, concerted, consensual actions, for the right reasons, namely the upholding of Human Rights, and enshrined in the Laws governing the Prosecution Of War; and movement, sincerely undertaken, toward criminalising all wars. Independent Prosecutors, Independent Commissions, Independent Tribunals, Truth and Reconciliation processes will undoubtedly be the way forward if a country, in this instance America, is to come clean for systematic abuse and for the victims to seek and find justice, leading to reparation and compensation for the loss of murdered loved ones.
The support of the UN and clarification of its role would be greatly and swiftly facilitated if America did not actively seek to undermine the UN’s humanitarian influence and thereby taint its reputation in many predominantly Muslim countries which find themselves at the sharp end of American State Terrorism. Special Rendition, and incarceration without due process is costly and is being supplanted by the American military and CIA murdering suspected militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan because politically less toxic, less time consuming than indefinite detention or lengthy and costly judicial process. How can the UN integrate efficient inter-agency cooperation when the American intelligence community, the Pentagon, and Congressional Presidential decision making is built entirely around America’s perceived right to steal the world’s resources whilst suspected combatants or, and increasingly, innocent bystanders are killed. Mere collateral damage, so goes the euphemism, this unwarranted murder, on a daily basis, damages the very fabric of our now collapsing civilisation, because it is fundamentally and unequivocally immoral, quite aside from being illegal.
How can the UN be recognised as the legitimate body to help create sustainable development practice around the globe, when America does not allow the evolution of or predicate its foreign policy on right and legal practices? In a September 2012 paper titled ‘Inclusive and sustainable development: challenges, opportunities and partnerships’, Andrew Norton emphasises “the importance of sustainable governance transitions as a basis for development following fracture and conflict. Political arrangements need to be inclusive and durable enough to allow progress.” Governments’ transitions need therefore to be transparent and monitored by independent and trusted agencies that respect a developing country’s sovereignty, evolution of legislation and understanding acceptance of normative international and general law. That this takes time is not contested. That this transition must be made with the full cooperation of a nation and not coercion is also not contested. It is however not achievable when the United States and NATO forging unholy alliances with ruling elites in any given country would encircle the globe with terror and call it peace.
The UN “post cold war” and its commitment to “forge a greater coherence” in regard to “Humanitarian Space” and the “Integration of Agencies” has proven nigh impossible when the UN smelting factory is owned by the US and her pernicious foreign policy. And the anvil on which the new UN would hammer a new robust and coherent strategy for multi agency integration is fast sinking in the sands of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and beyond. So the “enhanced coherence” that should have seen the UN from 2008 onwards shape “integrated arrangements” that “should take full account of recognised humanitarian principles, allow for the protection of humanitarian space, and facilitate effective humanitarian coordination with all humanitarian actors.” is unravelling rapidly in a climate of distrust as to UN motive and its actual or perceived affiliation with the political expediency of its ultimate master and would-be nemesis the corporatised militarised United States of America and NATO members.
Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.