Posts Tagged ‘United States Foreign Relations’

International Law and the Use of Force: Drones and Real Anarchy Unleashed Upon the World

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Recently a number of articles have been published that are of particular interest with respect to the development and use of drones.

See

William Wan and Peter Finn, “Global race on to match U.S. drone capabilities, Washington Post, July 4, 2011

Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker, “War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs,” New York Times, June 19, 2011

Peter Beaumont, “Campaigners seek arrest of former CIA legal chief over Pakistan drone attacks: UK human rights lawyer leads bid to have John Rizzo arrested over claims he approved attacks that killed hundreds of people,” The Guardian, July 15.2010

Michael Tennant, “U.S. Begins Drone Strikes in Somalia,” The New American, July 14, 2011

In previous articles, The Trenchant Observer has pointed to some of the troubling issues in international law raised by the use of unpiloted aircraft or drones in situations removed from the active battlefield in an on-going armed conflict.

Now, with other countries driving to develop comparable military capabilities in the form of drones, some as tiny as bugs, the short-sightedness of U.S. military policy regarding drones has come fully into view.

Moreover, as far as is publicly known, the United States has done nothing to develop in cooperation with other countries new international legal regimes and norms that might help to control what appears to be a headlong rush toward real anarchy among the nations of the world.

President Barack Obama rarely, if ever, speaks of international law. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he spoke not of international law and legal norms, but rather of international “rules” or “norms”. The words “international law” are absent from his discourse.

One consequence has been an approach to international law that can be summed up as “If I can get away with it I can do it,” a formulation that goes back to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s famous dictum about “the bad man theory of law”.

The system of international law is different from the domestic system in which a “bad man” might focus on the law only in terms of what he might be able to get away with. For the nations that are subject to international law are themselves the creators of the norms of international law. They are at once the legislature, the sheriff and the potential offender. This creates a dual responsibility on the part of nation states and their lawyers: They must not simply interpret international legal norms in a permissive way that allows them to do what they want, but also act to safeguard and strengthen the system of international law, and the way international legal norms wiil be interpreted by other countries. This is sometimes referred to by international lawyers as the “double-function” (or “dédoublement fonctionnel”) of international lawyers and states: in choosing a course of action they must not only seek to pursue their own short-term objectives, but also the critically-important longer-term objectives of building a viable international legal order that will contribute to their own security.

It is precisely in this area, of the obligation to build future international norms and regimes, while not weakening those that exist, that the United States has utterly failed with respect to drones. In past eras, legal regimes to prevent the use of space for military purposes, or the seabed, were developed in order to shape the future environment in which force might be employed. This the Obama administration has failed to do with respect to drones, both as a result of a very short-sighted pursuit of immediate military advantages through their use, and as a result of the fact that President Obama does not seem to understand very deeply the function of international law in safeguarding the nation’s security.

To facilitate reflection on these issues and the legality under international law of the use of drones, a review of the following articles previously published here might be useful.

See

UPDATE: Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes, August 6, 2010

Targeted Killings: U.N. Special Rapporteur Alston Publishes Report to U.N. Human Rights Council, June 2, 2010

Targeted Killings by Drone Aircraft: A View From India, and Some Observations, May 20, 2010

Targeted Assassinations: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, International Law, and Strategic Implications, February 17, 2010

U.S. Targeted Assassinations Violate Citizen’s Right to Life and Due Process, Undercut International Law
February 3, 2010

As Thomas M. Frank (1931-2009), a distinguished international lawyer and professor of international law at New York University, and Edward Weisband once observed, we should be careful whether to observe and how to interpret international law, because “the law you make may be your own.”

See Thomas M. Franck and Edward Weisband, “The Johnson and Brezhnev Doctrines: The Law You Make May Be Your Own,” Stanford Law Review, Vol. 22, pp. 979-1014 (1970).

The Trenchant Observer

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REPRISE: Consorting with the Devil? The Debate over the Efficacy of Torture

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Given the renewed debate in the U.S over the efficacy of torture in the wake of Bin Laden’s death, the article republished below, written on April 24, 2009 and first published here on October 1, 2009, puts current arguments in perspective.

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CONSORTING WITH THE DEVIL? THE DEBATE OVER THE EFFICACY OF TORTURE

April 24, 2009–The current debate over whether the use of torture by the Bush administration produced valuable information throws into sharp relief the moral depths to which the United States has sunk–from leading politicians and policymakers to large portions of the press and millions of average citizens. One cannot but wonder whether the rampant corruption in the mortgage market, in stock analysts’ recommendations, and in financial behavior which has brought this country to a new nadir, might not be related to a general lack of ethical and spiritual moorings in broad swathes of the population.

Painfully few religious, business or other leaders have taken continued, strong public stands against our use of torture. With notable exceptions, journalists even today shrink from describing so-called “harsh interrogation techniques” including water boarding as “torture”. Fear of litigation should not completely muzzle the press. The lack of awareness of history reflected in news reports and analyses and debates among officials is astounding, and suggests that the education of even many of our most educated public servants and journalists has a glaring gap at its moral core. That is, even with the best educations at the best universities, this ethical gap and lack of a moral core has not been remedied.

The principle of due obedience, rejected at Nuremberg and accepted but only for a while in Argentina, is quietly accepted without reference to either of those precedents. Or to the facts and considerations that led to the adoption and ratification of the torture convention.

To a nation which cheered episodes of “24” depicting torture by U.S. agents, the correct principle seems to be: “If torture works, we should use it to protect ourselves.”

It is a matter of immense sorrow to note that our leading pundits make scant reference to the fact that the sons and daughters of the Enlightenment, including the drafters of our own Constitution, rejected torture on moral, not utilitarian, grounds.

Let us then, for the sake of argument, postulate that torture in some cases produces useful information. Assuming, arguendo, that this is the case, the question for debate is simply this: “Is the use of torture, if effective, state behavior that is morally justified?

In other words, let’s skip the efficacy debate, which debases all who defend torture on utilitarian grounds. Let us debate the central moral issue: “Is torture, even if effective, morally acceptable, and why or why not?”

In this debate, it is worth bearing in mind that the entire edifice of international human rights rests on the inviolability of the physical integrity of the human person. This core principle is deeply rooted in the religious belief that in each human being there resides a part of the divine. It is a stunning testimony to the depths to which our nation has sunk to listen to the debate over the efficacy of torture as if effectiveness were the essential question. Instead of spymasters and doctors and psychologists who have consorted with the devil, it is time for us to listen to others, to our religious and moral leaders, and to politicians and other leading figures who believe there is a moral framework within which our actions—both as individuals and as a nation–are to be judged. It is time for these leaders to stand up and to speak out loudly and clearly on the morality of torture. It is time for them to take an unequivocal position on the torture our government has adopted as a policy and executed in the bowels of hell. It is time for them to demand the full truth and details of what our government has done, acting in our name.

There is no more fundamental human right than the right to the physical integrity of the human person. This right was recognized at Nuremberg, and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, in 1948. It was specifically protected in the Geneva conventions on the law of war (humanitarian law), in 1949. The right is the cornerstone of numerous human rights treaties to which the U.S. is a party including the U.N. Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The right is also fully protected in the European Convention on Human Rights, which establishes the constitutional norms and fundamental law on the subject in the nations of Europe.

So let’s hear the debate on whether the underpinnings of these human rights conventions are to be ripped out by allowing torture, and on the ultimate issue of the morality of the use of torture by the state against the individual. In engaging in this discussion, let us also avoid any semblance of the sophomoric debates that took place in our government, in which the question of torture was addressed as if it were a tabula rasa, in blithe ignorance of the history, religious positions, and legal developments that had taken place in the past.

The Trenchant Observer

www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv
observer@trenchantobserver.com

See also

The Trenchant Observer, “Bin Laden and the Debate Over Torture–Revived, May 7, 2011 ;

Mark Benjamin, “The torture debate is back, but what about the criminal probe?” TIME, May 4, 2011;

The Trenchant Observer, “The Clock is Ticking: U.S. Application of the Torture Convention,” February 20, 2010; and

The Trenchant Observer, “Craig’s Departure, the Ban on Publication of Any Torture Photograph, and Reaffirmation of the Prohibition Against Torture,” November 25, 2009

Bin Laden and the Debate Over Torture–Revived

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Some former U.S. officials responsible for torture under the Bush administration have claimed that the trail to Bin Laden was uncovered by the use of torture. The Telegraph (London) reports:

Jose Rodriguez, the agency’s former head of counterterrorism, said vital information had come from bin Laden deputies Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Aby Faraj al Libbi, who were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

–Gordon Rayner, “Osama bin Laden dead: torture unlocked bin Laden hideout ex-CIA man says — Key intelligence that led the US to Osama bin Laden’s hideout was obtained under torture in secret “black site” prisons, a former CIA officer has claimed, The Telegraph, May 5, 2011.

John Yoo, the author the legal memoranda authorizing torture under the Bush administration, writes is on Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal:


Sunday’s success also vindicates the Bush administration, whose intelligence architecture marked the path to bin Laden’s door. According to current and former administration officials, CIA interrogators gathered the initial information that ultimately led to bin Laden’s death. The United States located al Qaeda’s leader by learning the identity of a trusted courier from the tough interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and his successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi.

Armed with the courier’s nom de guerre, American intelligence agencies later found him thanks to his phone call to a contact already under electronic surveillance. Last August, the courier traveled to bin Laden’s compound, but it took another eight months before the CIA became certain that the al Qaeda leader was hiding inside.
Armed with the courier’s nom de guerre, American intelligence agencies later found him thanks to his phone call to a contact already under electronic surveillance. Last August, the courier traveled to bin Laden’s compound, but it took another eight months before the CIA became certain that the al Qaeda leader was hiding inside.

–John Yoo (Op-ed), “From Guantanamo to Abbottabad,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2011.

The apologists for the torture policy of the Bush administration raise a hard question for President Obama, but not the one they think:

Why have John Yoo and other architects of the Bush administration’s policy of torure not been prosecuted, in accordance with U.S. law and the international legal obligations of the United States under the Convention Against Torture?

See Mark Benjamin, “The torture debate is back, but what about the criminal probe?” TIME, May 4, 2011.

The Trenchant Observer, “The Clock is Ticking: U.S. Application of the Torture Convention,” February 20, 2010.

The Trenchant Observer, “Craig’s Departure, the Ban on Publication of Any Torture Photograph, and Reaffirmation of the Prohibition Against Torture,” November 25, 2009

The claims of the torture apologists have been rebutted by a number of current and past U.S. officials, though that is really beside the point here.

On the fundamental moral issues involved in the debate over the efficacy of torture, see The Trenchant Observer, “Consorting with the Devil? The Debate over the Efficacy of Torture,” October 1, 2009 (written April 24, 2009).

Meanwhile, there appear to be few moral doubts about the efficacy of torture among the leaders of Libya, Syria, and many other countries.

Are we OK with their use of torture? If not, what can we say to them to urge them to stop?

The Trenchant Observer

www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

UPDATE: Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes

Friday, August 6th, 2010

UPDATE

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed suit against the Treasury Department for rules that require them to obtain a license before they can challenge the inclusion of Anwar al-Aulaqi on the U.S. list of individiduals who may be targeted for extrajudicial execution.

Spencer S. Hsu, “Civil rights groups sue Treasury over targeting of terror suspects for killing, Washington Post, August 4, 2010

The targeting of Al-Aulaqi raises questions regarding the bases of the international law governing the use of force. Beyond the question of whether the U.S. is or is not violating the most basic norms of iternational law, the Al-Alauqi case raises fundamental questions relating to our international legal strategy and our vision of the future world we hope to shape. On April 7, 2010, we wrote the following:

The United States has gotten itself into a terrible jam, having adopted the legal justification of the Bush administration for targeted killings.

The Washington Post reports today that,

A Muslim cleric tied to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner has become the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, who resides in Yemen, was previously placed on a target list maintained by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command…

Because he is a U.S. citizen, adding Aulaqi to the CIA list required special approval from the White House, officials said. The move means that Aulaqi would be considered a legitimate target not only for a military strike carried out by U.S. and Yemeni forces, but also for lethal CIA operations.

“He’s in everybody’s sights,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity….

–Greg Miller, “Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill,” Washington Post, April 7, 2010

If this death warrant is executed in circumstances that do not justify the use of force in self-defense, either at the international or at the domestic level with the permission of the territorial state, its execution may constitute a war crime.

Some lawyers have won the argument within the Obama administration that it is lawful to kill a member of a terrorist organization, particularly if he has been involved in past acts of terrorism, wherever he can be found.

This argument is based on provisions of humanitarian law or “the law of war” that distinguish between combatants who are lawful targets and non-combatants who are not.

It ignores, however, the fact that provisions of humanitarian law are themselves limited by key provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly Article 2 paragraph 4 which prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, except in the case of self-defense against an armed attack as provided in Article 51.

It is universally recognized that Article 2 paragraph 4 is a norm of jus cogens, or mandatory law from which there can be no exception. Humanitarian law grants no right to act beyond the limitations of this prohibition.

The use of lethal force to punish past actions, moreover, constitutes an armed reprisal, which is universally recognized as prohibited by international law.

In other cases, where the territorial state grants its permission to a foreign state to carry out a targeted killing, such a killing is legal under international law only if it meets the requirements of international human rights law. For the territorial state can cede to another state no greater rights than it itself possesses, and indeed it is far from clear that it can do even this.

Both Article 2 paragraph 4 of the Charter and international human rights law allow for the use of lethal force as may be required for self-defense or for self-defense and the defense of others by the authorities of the territorial state.

In both cases the requirement is that force be used only as a last resort against an ongoing or imminent use of force by the target, or after judicial proceedings and due process of law.

This element is initially self-judging in character, opening the door to abuse. However, just as police allegations that they have acted in self-defense are subject to judicial review, the self-defense justification of a state conducting targeted killings, and of the individuals executing the state’s orders, are subject to review by the courts of other countries exercising universal jurisdiction and potentially, at least in the future, by the International Criminal Court. Actions taken by a state in exercise of the right of self-defense are, moreover, to be reported to the U.N. Security Council under Article 51 of the Charter.

The use of force against an individual who has laid down his arms or ceased and desisted from active participation in attacks (or, in the language of humanitarian law, has withdrawn from combat or placed himself hors de combat) is an extrajudicial killing or assassination, and would also constitute a war crime.

The problem here is that the U.S. government has become so accustomed to being prosecutor, judge and executioner that it has forgotten that international legal norms are involved, whose content and validity are necessarily determined by others, and that the ultimate validity of the legal justifications for targeted killings are likely one day to be determined by the judges of an international court or a national court exercising universal jurisdiction.

Just as individuals who participated in the “harsh interrogation techniques” program carried out under the Bush administration would be well advised to carefully choose the countries they travel to, now but also particularly in five or ten years, those individuals currently involved in the targeted killings program should also be very confident they are acting in lawful exercise of the right of self-defense when executing their orders.

For if their actions do not satisfy the requirements of self-defense, they constitute the commission of unlawful assassinations, and probably war crimes. As established at Nuremberg, the argument that such actions were carried out under the orders of superiors, or “due obdience”, is not a permissible defense. Nor is the argument that the defendant believed he was acting in accordance with international law likely to be given any weight as a defense.

The United States has now become an official hit squad, which will go out and kill anyone on its list of targetable individuals.

Yet it is hard to see how the United States can kill its way to peace, in Afghanistan or in the struggle against terrorists in different countries throughout the world.

Whatever the short-term gains from the current approach, and it is far from clear that it does not create more terrorists than it kills, President Obama and his international lawyers need to rethink their approach to targeted killings.

They need to reexamine the issue, both in order to avoid extrajudicial executions and assassinations, and to shape the standards which will also guide other states in the future in deciding whether or not to put someone on a hit list and then to go out and kill him.

It is time to back off from the Wild West, and to return to civilization and the task of building out a viable international legal order.

(end of April 7, 2010 article)

See also the following articles by the Observer:

Targeted Killings by Drone Aircraft: A View From India, and Some Observations, May 20, 2010

Other articles by the Observer on targeted killings may be found by entering “Targeted Killings” in the Search box on the lower right side of the home page.

The Trenchant Observer

www.trenchantobserver.com
E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

Comments are invited.

Targeted Killings: U.N. Special Rapporteur Alston Publishes Report to U.N. Human Rights Council

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Predator Drone Firing Hellfire Missile

Predator Drone Firing Hellfire Missile

Today, Philip Alston, a highly distinguished human rights expert and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, published a report addressing international law issues raised by the policy of “targeted killings”.

See Philip Alston, “Study on Targeted Killings,” (Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, Addendum. (U.N. General Assembly Doc. A/HRC/14/24/Add.6)
May 28, 2010

See also the following:

Peter Finn, “U.N. official: U.S. should end CIA drone attacks in Pakistan,” The Washington Post, May 28,2010

Pankaj Mishra, “America’s exalted capacity for murder, “The Guardian (guardian.co.uk), May 21, 2010

Chase Madar, “How Liberal Law Professors Kill: Harold Koh Learns to Love Bomb Power,” Counterpunch, May 14-16, 2010.

For the most recent article on Targeted Killings (and links to earlier articles) by The Observer, see

“Targeted Killings by Drone Aircraft: A View From India, and Some Observations,”
May 20, 2010

The Trenchant Observer

www.trenchantobserver.com
E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

Comments are invited.

Targeted Killings by Drone Aircraft: A View From India, and Some Observations

Thursday, May 20th, 2010
Predator Drone Over Kandahar (Photo KirstTV Wigglesworth/AP)

Predator Drone Over Kandahar (Photo KirstTV Wigglesworth/AP)

…..

Quotation

“La guerre, c’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires.”

“War is too serious a matter to just be handed over to some military men.”

–Georges Clemenceau.

…..

The following article from India highlights the explosive growth in the use of targeted killings in the Afghanistan and Pakistan theaters, and alludes to their use in other countries as well:

John Cherian, “Predatory strikes,” FRONTLINE: India’s National Magazine (from the publishers of THE HINDU), Vol.27, No. 11 (May 22-June 4, 2010).

Fundamental questions exist about the permissibility of such attacks in situations where they are not conducted in strict compliance with the requirements of immediacy, necessity and proportionality in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense, in accordance with Article 2 paragraph 4 and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

In particular, the legal justification based on the distinction under international humanitarian law between combatants and non-combatants, which is used to justify such attacks against anyone believed to be associated with the Taliban or other insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, fails to take into account the fact that Article 2 (4) and Article 51 of the U.N. Charter are  norms of jus cogens, or mandatory norms from which there can be no derogation. In other words, these norms of jus cogens are superior to and limit any rights to use force that may be contained in international humanitarian law.

Consequently, targeted killings by drone aircraft are lawful only to the extent they meet the requirements for responding to an imminent or ongoing “armed attack” against “the territorial integrity or political independence” of Afghanistan or Pakistan, or if conducted with the consent of the territorial state they meet the requirements of international human rights law. International human rights law permits the use of force in self-defense or in defense of others by state authorities. It does not permit the widespread targeting and execution of criminals or terrorists without due process of law, when the requirements of self-defense are not met.

Three distinct bodies of law are relevant here: 1) the international law governing the use of force articulated in Article 2(4) and Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which has become customary law and jus cogens; 2) international humanitarian law; and 3) international human rights law. It should be recalled that each of these bodies of law has as among its essential purposes the avoidance or reduction of the killing and injuring of individual human beings. The original purpose of the distinction between combatants and non-combatants in international humanitarian law was to limit attacks on civilians and civilian targets in traditional battlefield settings.

It is noteworthy that, according to the article from India, a very large number of innocent civilians have been killed in targeted killings by U.S. drone aircraft.

See also earlier articles by The Observer on the subject of targeted killings:

Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes
April 7, 2010

Targeted Assassinations: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, International Law, and Strategic Implications
February 17, 2010

U.S. Targeted Assassinations Violate Citizen’s Right to Life and Due Process, Undercut International Law
February 3rd, 2010

The lawfulness of targeted killings by drone aircraft under international law should be of great concern to the United States, for perceptions of legitimacy of its actions involving the use of force are likely to have a broad impact not only on populations in the Middle East and South Asia, but also on the populations and governments of its coalition allies in Afghanistan, as well as on other nations throughout the world.

European allies in a coalition conducting such attacks may be particularly attentive to whteher or not they are conducted in accordance with international law. Article 25 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) or Constitution, for example, establishes the following:

Article 25
The general rules of public international law constitute an integral part of federal law. They take precedence over statutes and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of the federal territory.

German participation in coalition actions involving targeted killings by drone aircraft in situations where such actions do not meet the requirements of the right of self-defense against armed attack, or self-defense in compliance with international human rights law (when the attacking state is acting with the consent of the territorial state), would appear to present serious legal issues for the German government. Article 25 of the Basic Law includes both customary international law and the special norms of customary international law which have achieved the status of jus cogens.

A further point of interest is that the United States is using non-military personnel to conduct these attacks, whether C.I.A. agents, “contractors” on the ground gathering targeting information and therefore participating in the attacks, or private “contractors” acting as “pilots” of the drones from facilities thousands of miles away.

If some of the actions in which they are participating are not legal under international law, and it is suggested above that many may not be, then these individuals could potentially face criminal liability in the future for the commission of war crimes. While the U.S. has taken vigorous action to prevent its citizens from from being tried either under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court or the universal jurisdiction that may be exercised by national courts of any country when their domestic law authorizes them to do so, the historical trend is in the other direction. It is quite conceivable, if not likely, that within 10 or 20 years these individuals could become subject to arrest and trial when traveling abroad.

In any event, these targeted killings do not seem to be stopping the Taliban, which in Afghanistan still appear to be very present in Marja, the location of a much-touted recent American offensive, as well as in Kandahar province where a huge offensive by the United States and its allies is imminent or perhaps already underway.

The Trenchant Observer

www.trenchantobserver.com
E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation if possible. A Google translation will be sufficient.

Viagem de Clinton, Irã (Irão) e Armas Nucleares no Brasil

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

O OBSERVADOR INCISIVO

Ao contrário da Argentina, o Brasil lutou com os Aliados na Europa na segunda guerra mundial. O presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) desempenhou um papel de liderança no regresso ao Estado democrático do Brasil após mais de 20 anos de regime militar (1964-1985), que incluía anos da brutal repressão militar, especialmente depois de 1969.

Sob o regime militar, a doutrina de segurança nacional do Brasil levantou a possibilidade de que o Brasil iria desenvolver armas nucleares e que o Brasil e Argentina iriam entrar numa corrida de armas nucleares. Brasil se opôs ao Tratado de Não-Proliferação de Armas Nucleares de 1968 como discriminatório, mas finalmente se juntou ao regime de não-proliferação nuclear em 1994, quando ele ratificou o Tratado para a Proibição de Armas Nucleares na América Latina e no Caribe (Tratado de Tlatelolco)(1967). Agora, a América Latina é uma zona desnuclearizada.

Em 1998, Brasil ratificou o Tratado de Não-Proliferação de Armas Nucleares e tambén o Tratado de Proibição Completa de Testes Nucleares (CTBT) de 1996. O desenvolvimento de armas nucleares é também proibido pela Constituição de 1988.

Não obstante, o Brasil possui uma capacidade de enriquecimento significativo, reservas de urânio e tecnologia de mísseis.

Houve suggestões de que existem entre os militares (que controlam o programa nuclear) e até mesmo o Governo, incluindo o Vice-Presidente, que não abandonaram a idéia de, eventualmente, desenvolver uma capacidade de armas nucleares. Uma análise da história do programa nuclear brasileiro, de fato, sugere que os acontecimentos nesse país devem ser monitorados de perto.

Informações sobre um acordo de cooperação nuclear possível entre o Irã e o Brasil causaram preocupações dentro e fora do país. O Conselho Directivo da Sociedade Brasileira de Física manifestou a sua oposição a tal acordo. Visto que o Brasil tem assinado acordos de cooperação nuclear com vários países, o que seria importante são os detalhes, publicados e privados, de qualquer acordo que poderia ser assinado.

Naturalmente, em outro nível, a questão do timing pode ser de importância crítica para os Estados Unidos, Europa e outros países, enquanto o Conselho de Segurança considerar a adoção de sanções suplementares contra o Irã.

Além disso, o fato de que Irã assinou em setembro de 2009 um acordo de cooperação nuclear com a Venezuela é um factor adicional que os países preocupados com a proliferacão nuclear terão em conta quando considerem a importância de qualquer acordo Irã-Brasil na área da energía nuclear.

Alguns especulam que uma das preocupações do Brasil sobre a imposição de novas sanções sobre o Irã poderia ser que as limitações internacionais sobre programas de enriquecimento do Irã poderiam constituir um precedente para a imposição de restrições semelhantes no Brasil no futuro.

Ao mesmo tempo, se deve reconhecer que a oposição de Lula às sanções adicionais pode ser devido a uma crença verdadeira que tal ação seria contraproducente neste momento, e que ele e o Brasil talvez consigam mediar com suceso e persuadir os iranianos a chegarem a uma resolução com os Estados Unidos, França, Grã-Bretanha, Rússia e a AIEA sobre as questões nucleares em discussão.

O Observador Inciciso

(The Trenchant Observer)

www.trenchantobserver.com

E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

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Tags: Amorim, Armas Nucleares, de Tratado de proibição de testes, Hillary Clinton, Brasil, Brasil, irão, Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva, lula, Doutrina de segurança nacional, Tratado de Nnon-proliferação, TNP, armas nucleares, prolieracão das armas nucleares, proliferación de armas nucleares, sanções, Tratado de Tlatelolco, Conselho de segurança das Nações Unidas, ONU, Relações exteriores de Estados Unidos

Clinton’s Visit, Iran, and Nuclear Weapons in Brazil

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Unlike Argentina, Brazil fought with the Allies in Europe in World War II. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) played a leading role in the return to democratic rule of Brazil after more than 20 years of military rule (1964-1985), which included years of brutal military repression, particularly after 1969.

Under that military rule, Brazil’s National Security Doctrine raised the possibility that Brazil would develop nuclear weapons and that Brazil and Argentina would enter into a nuclear arms race. Brazil opposed the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as discriminatory, but finally joined the nuclear non-proliferation regime in 1994, when it ratified the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). Latin America is now a nuclear-free zone.

In 1998
, Brazil ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The development of nuclear weapons is also prohibited by the 1988 Constitution.

Nonetheless, Brazil has a significant enrichment capability, uranium reserves, and missile technology.

There have been suggestiions that there are those in the military (which controls the nuclear program), and even the government, including the vice-president, who have not abandoned the idea of eventually developing a nuclear weapons capability. An analysis of the history of the Brazilian nuclear program indeed suggests that developments in that country should be closely monitored.

Reports of a possible nuclear cooperation agreement between Iran and Brazil have raised concerns. The governing board of the Brazilian Society of Physics has expressed its opposition to such an accord. However, because Brazil has been entering into nuclear cooperation agreements with a number of countries, what would be important would be the details, both published and private, of any agreement that might be signed.

Of course, on another level, the question of timing could be of critical importance to the United States, Europe and other countries, as the Security Council considers the adoption of additional sanctions against Iran.

Also, the fact that Iran signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Venezuela in September, 2009 is an additional factor countries concerned with proliferation will take into account.

Some have speculated that one of Brazil’s concerns over the imposition of further sanctions on Iran could be that international limitations on Iran’s enrichment programs could constitute a precedent for imposing similar restrictions on Brazil in the future.

At the same time, one must acknowledge that Lula’s opposition to additional sanctions may be due to a genuine belief that such action would be counter-productive at this time, and that he and Brazil might be able to mediate successfully and persuade the Iranians to reach agreement with the United States, France, Britain, Russia and the IAEA on the nuclear issues in dispute.

The Trenchant Observer

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U.S.-Pak Military Deal: Quetta Shura Arrests, Karzai’s Electoral Coup, and the Rule of Law

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

REVISED February 25, 2010

On February 24, the Crhristian Science Monitor reported from Kabul that Pakistani military sources say they have arrested seven of the 15 members of the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura.

See Anand Gopal, “Half of Afghanistan Taliban leadership arrested in Pakistan,” The Christian Science Monitor (Kabul, February 24, 2010 dispatch).

If true, the report suggests the U.S. has obtained big gains, at least in the short term, from its deal with the Pakistani military.

Viewed from the perspective of this bargain, even acquiescence by the U.S., NATO and the U.N. in Karzai’s blatant maneuver to take over the Independent Electoral Commission has a certain logic, and can be understood as providing assurance to the Pakistani military that Abdullah and the forces of the Northern Alliance, who they view as too close to India, will not be allowed to win significant power through the elections to the National Assembly in 2010.

The gains against the Afghan Taliban are certainly important, and to be applauded.

However, can anyone still say, with a straight face, that we are fighting for “the rule of law” in Afghanistan?

To win the longer-term struggle in Afghanistan, the United States needs to “roll back” Karzai’s electoral coup with the Independent Electoral Commission, and get behind the project of free and transparent elections to the National Assembly later this year.

Support of NATO and other U.S. allies for continuing troop commitments in Afghanistan may depend on perceptions that the U.S. is interested in broader goals in Afghanistan–including protection of international human rights (e.g., women’s rights), good governance, and the rule of law–and not just getting out as quickly as it can.

The Trenchant Observer

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Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.

Karzai’s Electoral Coup, 1000 U.S. Military Deaths and… “What Is It, Again, That We Are Fighting for in Afghanistan?”

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“La guerre, c’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires.”
–Georges Clemenceau

“Une dictature est un pays dans lequel on n’a pas besoin de passer toute une nuit devant son poste pour apprendre le résultat des élections.”
–Georges Clemenceau

***

As the number of U.S. military killed in Afghanistan passes the 1000 mark…

The Observer is wondering about the coordination of U.S. military and civilian policy in Afghanistan. On February 23, 2009, it became known that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had signed a law that gives him sole authority to appoint the five members of the “Independent Electoral Commission” which will be charged with overseeing the upcoming Congressional elections. Also on February 23, Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commanding general in Afghanistan, appeared by video on Afghan television to personally apologize to the people of Afghanistan for the 27 (or 33) civilian deaths caused by allied error in an air strike on February 21.

Is anyone in charge of U.S. policy in Afghanistan?

Has anyone given thought to what the impact might be on an Afghan audience of the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan apologizing to the Aghan nation on the very same day it was widely reported that Karzai had carried out an electoral coup, preparing the way for the next electoral fraud?

They should.

It would be useful also if they would review the record of Hamid Karzai, and the role of the Independent Electoral Commission in the run-up to, during, and after the first-round presidential elections on August 20, 2009.

The United States, NATO and the United Nations appear to be surrendering their greatest weapon in the struggle for Afghanistan, their last plausible ground on which to argue that their war and development efforts in Afghanistan are aimed at furthering democratic government and the protection of international human rights. In a mind-boggling statement, a UN spokesperson said the following:

“We hope that this decree is in line with the Constitution and with what Parliament and civil society has called for regarding reforms of the electoral system,” UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters. –UN News Centre, “UN studying proposed Afghan electoral decree,” February 24, 2010

Are they destroying the foundations in Afghanistan for the only ideology, that of democracy and international human rights, that might effectively counter the ideology of jihad? Couldn’t this ideology be a real force in the struggle for the allegiance of the population of Afghanistan, and, in particular, the 44.5 % of the population that is 14 years old or younger?

Without this ideology to counter that of the jihadists and also Pashtun nationalism, the troops and the people are being called upon to fight to support Hamid Karzai and his colleagues in government, and “to diminish” the influence of the Taliban.

That is hardly a fair ideological match.

The question remains, “What will motivate the army and the police to put their lives on the line in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan?”

The Trenchant Observer

www.trenchantobserver.com
E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.

ADDENDUM: Elections for representatives at the district level will apparently not be held in 2010. Such elections would permit the formation of a genuine opposition in the Assembly, backed by popular support, a development promised in the electoral law but which Karzai appears to have been unwilling to accept.