Tuesday, November 28, 2006

International - Law?

Quick, Before the World Gets Organized

Jump scale. Imagine you are a multinational corporation who wants
to dump nuclear waste in Mexico. Trade is free, so you do it, but the
Mexican government says, No. This is good. You keep your toxic waste
and sue Mexico for 15.6 million dollars. It’s called Investor-to-State
Dispute Resolution
. The next year you sue another government who
tries to regulate toxic waste in violation of free trade — ad infinitum
until the world gets organized. You’re like the farmer whose strategy
is not to plant. The free market is a shell game, watch the money trail.
Jump scale again. You are the most powerful nation on the earth. You’ve
been attacked by terrorists, not a state, a bunch of pissed-off, low-tech
fundamentalists who want holy war. It is an asymmetrical attack. The
UN Charter gives you the right to defend yourself from an immediate or
ongoing attack. But the attack, which killed thousands of civilians and
caused enormous devastation, was over in 30 minutes. A month later
you initiate military action against a small country thought to harbor the
enemy. You bomb cities, Red Cross centers, villages, homes and enemy
encampments. Your allies in various treaty organizations are obliged to
help you defend yourself. But are you really doing that? Some say you
are in violation of international law and much of the world is furious.
You could have joined with all nations in the United Nations Security
Council to form a world treaty to stop terrorism. You could have worked
to have the thugs who attacked you tried in a World Court. Instead you
form a posse of rich countries and declare war against one of the poorest
countries on the planet. Nevermind last summer you were negotiating
a pipeline deal with the government you are now going to annihilate.
There's a better way to get Asian oil. You don't want a United Nations
treaty against terrorism because you conduct terrorist operations in many
member states, where partisan loyalties and opportunism are rampant.
At home a radical coup is using national catastrophe to squeeze huge
corporate gains out of the public trust — two billion dollars, for instance,
to Ford Motor Company so they can go on making inefficient cars. Billions
to airlines who don’t screen baggage. That's good. You like oil dependent
industry. And war. Your father has major financial interest in the 11th
largest munitions corporation in the world. You wanted a Middle Eastern
war and have been given one on a silver platter. One thing you
don’t want is renewable energy. Another is peace. It’s too much trouble to
consider international justice, to gather viable evidence, present it to a
world judicial body you don’t control. The small country can prove to any
court’s satisfaction that you are dropping bombs on them. Your evidence
of the threat of resource-rich nations which you annihilate, is nonexistant.
You create Military Tribunals with no jury, no evidence necessary.
Your courts can sentence anybody to death. You are all law and all justice.
The last thing you want is for the world to get organized. International
Law is an ad hoc bunch of conflicting treaties, trade agreements,
international bodies and charters, no coherence and no authority that is
greater than the might you wield. Power trumps ethics. And that’s good.
The most important thing you have to do is fast track a bunch of free
trade agreements so you can make more money with your toxic garbage
— quick, before the world gets organized.

*photo from Kirton & McConkie website, a law firm which helps
people set up international businesses.

©Susan Bright, 2002, published in The Layers of Our Seeing, 4th edition
print date: 12/08/06.

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Great clip here from The Rag Blog.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, that was right on target, makes you ashamed to be an American when you realize how the rest of the world sees us, and hates us because of what we have come to stand for.

10:37 AM  

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