The Economic Atom Bombing of Syria

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The United States, the European Union, the Arab League, Turkey, Canada and Australia have collectively taken measures since 2011, and the United States since 1979, to destroy Syria’s economy. The measures are illegal under international law, which prohibits states from using economic pressure, outside the framework of the UN Security Council, to coerce other states. With Syrians fleeing sanctions-induced economic collapse, joblessness, crumbling infrastructure and a public health care system in tatters, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Syria has spoken out. But is anyone listening?

June 23, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

Washington’s long war on Syria comprises three major elements: a proxy war waged by Islamist insurgents; an occupation of almost one-third of Syria by US and allied troops [1]; and a program of economic warfare. If we understand war to represent an attempt by one state to impose its will on another, then all three elements, including the economic…

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Lecture in Girona on the Universal Right of Self-Determination of Peoples

Alfred de Zayas' Human Rights Corner

NOTES FOR THE ASSESSMENT

 OF ACTIVITIES AND ALLEGATIONS

 RELATED TO THE PEACEFUL AND DEMOCRATIC EXERCISE

OF THE UNIVERSAL RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION OF PEOPLES

Introduction: The “right of self-determination of peoples”, hereinafter the “right of self-determination”, is a fundamental right protected at the highest level by the international legal order. It is enshrined in the first article of the Charter of the United Nations, the founding treaty of the Organization, and in other international legal instruments, including the UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is considered “jus cogens”, that is, fundamental norm of superior hierarchical rank, standing above any contradictory legal provision which would become automatically null, in accordance with the Charter and with Article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

 

It is therefore a direct and legally binding right applicable to all United Nations Member States…

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Media Statement: Syria

Alfred de Zayas' Human Rights Corner

The Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order urges all parties to the Syrian conflict to pause for a moment and give reason and law a chance.  An international investigation into all allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria (and elsewhere) must be conducted.  Only a thorough professional investigation can establish the facts and the responsibilities, which may necessitate referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

A fundamental component of the rule of law is due process, which encompasses conventional and customary rules intended to prevent arbitrariness and consequent miscarriages of justice.  No one is served by rushing to conclusions, least of all the war victims.  What is important is to expedite humanitarian aid to civilians and to obtain a cease fire.  Violating the fundamental rules of penal law, including the presumption of innocence, weakens the credibility and…

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Eight Reasons Why the Latest Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Allegations are Almost Certainly Complete Nonsense

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April 8, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

There is much ambiguity surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, said to have taken place late Saturday, but there are a few matters that are clear.

First, the reports are “unverified”, according to The Wall Street Journal [1] and British Foreign Office [2] and are unconfirmed, according to the US State Department [3]. What’s more, The New York Times noted that it “was not possible to independently verify the reports,” [4] while The Associated Press added that “the reports could not be independently verified.” [5]

Second, according to The Wall Street Journal, it isn’t “clear who carried out the attack” [6] assuming even that one was carried out.

Third, the “unverified photos and videos” [7] which form the body of (unverified) evidence, were produced by two groups which have an interest in fabricating atrocities to draw the United States more deeply into…

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