By: Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, March 21, 2011
Attack on Libya is illegal under both U.S. law and UN charter; Manufactured pretext of “protecting civilians” completely collapses as Russia, Arab League and African Union condemn air strikes
As the contrived moral high ground behind the absurdly hypocritical “humanitarian” pretext of the attack on Libya collapses in the wake of Russia, the Arab League and the African Union condemning the US-led NATO bombings, so does any pretense of legality that the “no fly zone” resolution holds, because the obvious attempt to assassinate Gaddafi violates not only U.S. law, but the UN’s own charter.
Vladimir Putin’s characterization of the air strikes as a “medieval crusade” and his warning that the attacks prove why Russia has to build up its defenses against NATO is the most damning indictment of the campaign thus far. It follows an Arab League u-turn as well as an African Union condemnation, as all the lies and bluster about a “humanitarian mission” crumble within days of the assault being launched.
The Orwellian delusion that the “no fly zone” anything other than a cruel hoax became obvious within hours, as NATO rejected Libya’s proposal for independent third party countries to patrol the skies and instead launched an instantaneous bombardment of Gaddafi’s military facilities, strikes that have killed dozens of innocent people according to Libyan claims that have been confirmed by Russia.
From the very beginning, this war had nothing to do with “protecting civilians” and everything to do with toppling the leader of Africa’s richest oil nation.
Now western leaders have all but admitted that the sole focus of the campaign is to kill Gaddafi, as air strikes pound targets around the beleaguered Libyan leader.
Asked if Gaddafi could be assassinated to force regime change, British defence secretary Liam Fox said that the Libyan leader was a “legitimate target,” adding, “That would potentially be a possibility,” entertaining a notion that was soon backed up by force as RAF warplanes reduced Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound to rubble last night after a massive air bombardment.
Fox later said that a “bunker-buster” attack on Gaddafi’s residence was also being considered.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron have all gone on record to state that Gaddafi “must go,” “needs to go,” and has “lost his legitimacy”.
In addition, Salwa el-Deghali, of the national transitional council, called for, “More attacks on Gaddafi’s forces, and fast. We need these attacks until he is crushed.”
Does this sound like a mission to protect civilians or a mission to topple Gaddafi, especially given the fact that SAS commanders have been on the ground for weeks, again in violation of the UN resolution, directly supporting Libyan rebel armies?
The UN resolution that supposedly gave the air strikes their legal foundation does not authorize the use of military force to enact regime change, and yet that’s precisely what NATO and the United States is pursuing – the murder or removal of Gaddafi.
Once again we are reminded of the fact that the United Nations only abides by its own resolutions when it is convenient. The UN will flagrantly violate its own charter with relish if there is a pre-existing geopolitical agenda to accomplish.
International law codified under the UN prohibits state-sponsored assassination, except under conditions of warfare. By characterizing the attack on Libya as merely a “no fly zone,” and stopping short of declaring war on on the country, the UN along with the powers that signed the resolution, namely America, France, Britain and Italy, are in violation of their own resolution by targeting Gaddafi.
Indeed, killing Gaddafi would be a war crime because it clearly qualifies as an act of “treachery” under Article 23 of the Hague Convention IV of 1907. Even in times of declared war, assassinating a leader under false pretenses is illegal.
“A state that uses “treachery” to kill an enemy may be guilty of war crimes,” states the Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. “Article 23 of the Hague Convention IV of 1907 provides that “it is especially forbidden . . . to kill or wound treacherously, individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army.” Treachery is usually defined as a breach of confidence, such as an attack on an individual who believes that there is no need to fear the attacker.”
In addition, under U.S. law, employees of the United States are prohibited from engaging in assassination during peacetime. This law has of course been violated numerous times, most notably in 1986 when the Reagan administration attempted to kill Gaddafi by bombing army barracks where Libyan leader was known to be sleeping.
The attack on Libya is not only immoral, with the “humanitarian” pretext transparently a pack of lies, it is also completely unconstitutional having not been authorized by the U.S. Congress. As Francis Boyle, Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, points out, “Without authorization by the United Nations Security Council and express authorization from the U.S. Congress pursuant to the terms of the War Powers Resolution, for President Obama to establish any type of so-called ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya would be illegal and unconstitutional.”
Above all, since the assault was launched under UN auspices with the presumed “legitimacy” of the international community, it directly violates the UN’s own charter in that the entire scope of the mission is about regime change, supporting one side in a civil war, and has nothing whatsoever to do with “protecting civilians”.