Friday, 8 November 2013

International Law of the Jungle (mini-Episode 3)

In my previous articles on this subject, I've shown why, in reality, there is no “international law”.  Just to remind you, what I said was:
“Let’s stop pretending: there is no ‘international law’; there can’t be, because there is no legitimate international legislator, no legitimate international tribunal and no legitimate international enforcer.  ‘International law’ is just an empty concept politicians invoke to try and ‘sell’ us positions and actions which have nothing to do with ‘law’ and everything to do with interest.  That ‘selling’ often works, because most of us are law-abiding people; politicians unscrupulously exploit our natural respect for the word ‘law’.  In reality, however, beneath the fig leaf of ‘international law’ there’s only the Law of the Jungle: the strong do as they please; the many gang up against the few; dictators get away with murder, however appalling, as long as they control oil reserves or have powerful allies; even outright genocide goes unpunished.  The ‘international law’ remained silent while genocide was perpetrated in Rwanda and Darfur; while thousands were butchered in Srebrenica and tens of thousands in Hama; while hundreds of thousands of women and girls were raped in Congo.  Some ‘international law’!  So next time you hear a politician referring to ‘international law’, you’ll know that s/he’s a liar”.
I spy with my little eye... French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius!
If we needed additional evidence, it was abundantly supplied by a recent incident.  It turns out that US security agencies have engaged in systematic espionage against several of its European allies.  This included spying on French diplomats and even hacking the German Chancellor’s mobile phone. Now, I’d say that – if there were such thing as “international law” – that would constitute the textbook example of “illegal”.  In fact, it’s certainly illegal according to common law: had those offences been committed by individuals (say— “News of the World” journalists), those individuals would end up in jail.

So what’s going to happen, now that “international law” has been so flagrantly violated?  Is the “United” Nations Security Council going to declare sanctions against USA?  Is the “United” Nations General Assembly going to “condemn” that nasty behaviour?  Is the “International Court of Justice” going to even debate the issue?  No, my friends, none of the above.  In the real world – in the unethical world we actually live in – “international law” is employed only by the powerful against the weak.  And that, my friends, is the very opposite of “law”!

I spy with my little eye... your mobile phone.
By the way, just so nobody gets too sanctimonious about USA’s behaviour: it turns out that Europeans also engage in espionage, whenever they can.  According to MI5, the U.K. is currently targeted by intelligence agencies of at least 20 countries.  Which, according to leaks from official sources, included European "sisters" France and Germany…  But don’t get on your high horses just yet, folks:  it transpired that the British government did a wee bit of espionage of its own: in 2004 former British Cabinet minister Claire Short alleged that U.K. agents had bugged the office of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan; foreign politicians and officials attending two international summits in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted.

Not above the Law of the Jungle
As former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner admitted on France Info radio
“Let’s be honest — we eavesdrop too.  Everyone is listening to everyone else”.
Everyone is spying on everyone else.  Yeah, it’s the “rule of law”, all right.  The “international law of the jungle”!

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