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The Fraud of International Law Today
by Edward Spannaus
Above, the signing of the United Nations Organization charter of incorporation in San Francisco in April 1945. The founding of the UNO marked a victory for enemies of the nation-state in their unceasing effort to replace the sovereignty of nations with a supra-national body of law which is binding against individual nations.
What is called International law as it exists today is explicitly in violation of the fundamental precepts of the American philosophy of law as adopted by our Founding Fathers and embodied in the United States Constitution. It is important to emphasize this point at a time when international law is being cited by parties from every side in the contrived Iranian crisis and in the wake of the Soviet-backed coup in Afghanistan. During the 17th and 18th centuries, there arose in Europe a body of thought known as the "Law of Nations" which embodied the highest ideals of Neoplatonic humanism. In the 19th century this body of thought and writings became reduced and codified into something called international law. It is not at all irrelevant to our subject to note that the very term "international law" came into prominence only after its usage by the
degenerate Jeremy Bentham, and represented a shift from the humanist natural-law standpoint to the immoral utilitarian-positivist outlook. At the time of the First World War, so-called international law underwent a "revival" at the hands of circles associated with the Royal Institute of International Affairs of Britain. The immediate result of this RIIA project was the creation of the League of Nations—a short-lived effort to abrogate the sovereignty of nations. While the League of Nations itself perished in the cauldron of the Second World War, the idea of a supranational authority standing above the nation-state did not. The vision of a world existing under the rule of a British-defined international law is more or less precisely the same as the idea of an earlier world subsisting under a "Pax Romana" administered by the corrupt Roman oligarchy. Coexistence between sovereign republics and states dominated by an oligarchist antirepublican outlook is an impossibility, just as coexistence between the American colonies and British was impossible in the 1770s. A world governed by International Monetary Fund "conditionalities" and British geopolitical policies is inherently unstable and must tend toward the outbreak of war, for reasons ably described by candidate Lyndon LaRouche in his campaign white paper, "Why the United Nations Can't Stop War." Most clearly, the fraud of present-day international law is evident when the U.S. State Department can piously declaim against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and at the same time furiously plot its numerous contingency plans for inserting a U.S. military presence in the Middle East and especially in the oil fields; when the Carter administration can take its "case" against Iran to the Court of International Justice at The Hague secure in the knowledge that that impotent "court" will not delve into the overwhelming evidence that officials of the U.S. government willfully and deliberately planned and staged the hostage-taking at the U.S. embassy in Teheran; and when Jimmy Carter can manipulate the fate of the 50 U.S. hostages in a cynical attempt to appear a national hero when they are released on the eve of the Feb. 26 New Hampshire presidential primary. Some centuries ago, law among the nation had a far nobler purpose. Grotius and the Law of Nations With the exception of the Jesuits and their camp-followers, Hugo Grotius is universally recognized as the "Father of International Law." Grotius
(actually Huig de Groot) was a Dutch Erasmian who came from a line of Platonic scholars at Leyden University. His De Jure Belli ac Pacis, published in 1625, took natural law out of the hands of the Jesuits and the Schoolmen. Writing in the midst of the devastation of the Thirty Years War, his purpose was to reestablish the governance of natural law even during times of war, and to overcome the prevailing notion draw from Roman law that inter armas leges silent: "amidst arms, the laws are silent." Least of all should be admitted which some people imagine, that in war all laws are in abeyance. On the contrary war ought not to be undertaken except for the enforcement of rights; when once undertaken, it should be carried on only within the bounds of law and good faith. . . . Let the laws be silent then, in the midst of arms, but only the laws of the state, those that the courts are concerned with, that are adapted only to a state of peace; not those other laws, which are of perpetual validity and suited to all times. . . . Between enemies written laws are not in force . . . but unwritten laws are in force. Grotius took the old materials of the jus gentium—the ancient law of nations or of peoples of the Roman empire, but recast them entirely in the spirit of Neoplatonic natural law. Among the effluvia which Grotius emphatically discarded is the Roman notion of natural law as that law which is common to men and beasts, and the Aristotelian notion of justice as an arithmetic mean. (Interestingly, Grotius's attacks on Aristotle's "arithmetic" and "geometric" proportions of "justice" are eliminated from some English editions, on the grounds that this is "too boring" for the modern reader!) Most important for our purposes here is that Grotius develops his treatment of natural law and the law of nations strictly and solely from the standpoint of treating relations between sovereign nations. There is no positive law which binds a sovereign nation except that to which the nation itself has consented (treaties, for example). Above the sovereign nation exists only natural law, not any written or "positive" law. The obligations of natural law (or what Grotius called the "necessary law of nations") are morally but not juridically binding upon the sovereign state. This was the view of all the major writers on natural law and the law of nations—Leibniz, Pufendorf, Vattel, and a host of less well-known figures. Without question, this was also the emphatic view of the Neoplatonic humanist networks in Europe and America, centering around the Common
Above, Hermann Goering on the dock at Nuremberg.
wealth Party in England, the Leibniz and Colbert circles on the continent, and Franklin's networks in North America, which conspired to bring about the creation of a humanist republic on this continent by means of the American Revolution. Why a Sovereign Republic? In natural law, the modern nation-state, or in more general terms the republic, is the essential condition for fostering the moral and intellectual development of its citizens, of creating the most favorable conditions for enabling the population to advance from a condition of sheeplike docility to a condition of reason. This conception of the republic is at least as old as Plato, and received its leading development through the writings of St. Augustine, Dante, Nicholas of Cusa, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and, in the 17th and 18th centuries through the circles around Cromwell and Milton in England, Louis XI in France, and Leibniz of Germany and his collaborators throughout Europe. This conception of the republic is absolutely differentiated from the immoral individualism of a Hobbes, Rousseau, or a Locke. For these latter, the
function of the state is to allow each individual maximum "freedom" to do his own thing, to act out his most bestial, antihuman impulses, insofar as such acting-out does not go too far in upsetting the same "freedom" in his fellow-citizens, or upsetting the "freedom" of the oligarchy to maintain the population in such a bestial condition. Such hedonism could not be further from the ideas of the great writers on natural law, who viewed the nation-state as the instrumentality for realizing the moral self-perfection of the individual. Conditions of economic and technological advance are indispensable for the individual citizen to develop and realize his own intellectual creativity and to attain a sense of moral selfidentity as a productive contributing member of that society. Hence in Grotius, Leibniz, Vattel, etc., one sees the emphasis on the obligation of the state to foster industry and commerce among the community of nations, to develop and educate the citizenry, and so forth. It goes without saying that the sovereignty of the republican nation-state is indispensable if the nation is to be capable of fostering the moral self-perfection of its citizens, and of establishing itself as a member of the international community of nations dedicated to the same or similar efficient principles. (Any doubt on this point should be quickly resolved by referencing the situation of the American colonies, suffering under numerous restrictions on their economic development and trade relations, or that of any current-day Third World country subject under International Monetary Fund "conditionalities" governing all of its economic policies.) The Law of Nations and the U.S. Constitution It is thoroughly documented that the law of nations as described herein was incorporated into the United States Constitution and the jurisprudence of this country. Alexander Hamilton's views on what would today be called international law are elaborated at length in his arguments in the famous 1784 case Rutgers v. Waddington. In this case Hamilton defended two British citizens who had operated a New York brewery abandoned by its real owner during the British occupation of New York. The formal side of the question was whether the 1783 New York Trespass Act could override the established usages of the law of nations. In Hamilton's arguments, two substantive points shine through. (1) That the law of nations "is part of the law of the land," having been assented to by the
United States and by the State of New York in its own constitution, and (2) that the law of nations applies to sovereign states, and while the law of nations is obligatory upon such states, there is no external force which can enforce this law of nations upon a state's own citizens, save the courts of that country or state. Both Hamilton and the court relied most heavily upon Vattel (a Swiss follower and popularizer of Leibniz) as their principal authority on the law of nations. When the Constitution itself was created and adopted a few years after the Rutgers case, Congress was explicitly given the power "to define and punish . . . offenses against the law of nations." Precisely the same view was articulated by the chief expounder and enforcer of the U.S. Constitution. Chief Justice John Marshall in the 1825 case The Antelope, which involved the issue of the legality of the slave trade. That the slave trade "is contrary to the law of nature, will scarcely be denied," said Marshall, and the civilized nations regard this as a binding upon them. "But this triumph of humanity has not been universal." In the usage of the day, slavery is still regarded as legal among some nations, particularly those of Africa. As distasteful as this may be, the principles of the law of nations are not propagated by force, Marshall said. No principle of general law is more universally acknowledged, than the perfect equality of nations. Russia and Geneva have equal rights. It results from this equality, that no one can rightfully impose a rule on another. Each legislates for itself, but its legislation can operate on itself alone. . . . This [slave] trade, in which all have participated, must remain lawful to those who cannot be induced to relinquish it. As no nation can prescribe a rule of others, none can make a law of nations. . . . In numerous other cases as well, Marshall held that the law of nations was to be regarded as part of the law of the United States, and that it must be considered in construing the Constitution. Nevertheless, said Marshall, the law of nations operates through the sovereign, not directly. Once, referring to the rule of confiscation of enemy property in war, Marshall said, This rule, like other precepts of morality, of humanity, and even of wisdom, is addressed to the judgment of the sovereign; and although it cannot be disregarded by him without obloquy, yet it may be disregarded.
This notion of the sovereignty of nations—which continues to enrage our 20th century "international law" professors—did not leave civilized nations without recourse in the event of the rise of an abomination against humanity such as the hideous Pol Pot regime of Cambodia (Kampuchea). Both Grotius and Vattel, for example, sanctioned intervention against outlaw nations that were guilty of grievous violations of natural law. Such an action is not to be undertaken lightly, yet nevertheless such collective action against an outlaw nation may be necessary If a nation were to make an open profession of treading justice underfoot by despising and violating the rights of another whenever it had the opportunity of doing so, the safety of the human society at large would warrant all other nations in uniting together to subdue and punish such a nation. We are not overlooking the principle . . . that it does not belong to nations to set themselves up as judges over one another. — Emerich de
Vattel also wrote: But if a nation, by its accepted principles and uniform policy, shows clearly that it is in that malicious state of mind in which no right is sacred to it, the safety of the human race requires that it be put down. . . . To manifest a general contempt for justice is a wrong to all nations. Thus it is clear that the law of nations as understood and adopted by our Founding Fathers did not preclude intervention against a Hitler or a Pol Pot or a Khomeini, while safeguarding the principle of the sovereignty of nations. The European oligarchy could never tolerate such notions of sovereignty, and since the rise of the nation-state they have deployed their minions to undermine and destroy the idea of the sovereign republic answerable only to natural law. A highly telling and succinct statement of their view of the problem is contained in this 1936 statement by a professor at the University of London, Edward Jenks: The theory of sovereignty seems, in the present day, to be one of the greatest stumbling-blocks in the path of international progress. Its appearance in the international world is due preeminently to two men,
Bodin and Grotius. . . . Grotius set himself to discover a new source of authority which should supplement the inadequate influence of Divine Law and the conventional rule established by treaties. This new source was the Law of Nature. . . . But the theory on which it was founded was in fact, a toleration of anarchy; and, in due time, it collapsed, with the results that are painfully obvious. It is hardly too much to say that, ever since the Great War, the world has been struggling to escape from the theory of sovereignty in international affairs . . . and build up . . . a more wholesome theory of international society. The entire field of international law as it is taught and practiced today in fact rests on a rejection of the classic law of nations and natural law, and on an unceasing effort to replace the sovereignty of nations with a supranational body of law which is binding and enforceable against individual nations. This is of course the reason that the idea of the Nuremberg tribunal, absolutely correct in principle, was so readily acceded to by the British, as a means of establishing a precedent for supranational law, but one which left the financial controllers of the Nazi criminals untouched. (The hypocrisy of the British and the U.S. cothinkers is further shown by the British implementation of euthanasia and the American Earle Spring case, an almost-successful effort to extend the precedent for euthanasia in the U.S. despite the fact of euthanasia being a prosecutable crime against humanity under the Nuremberg precedent.) Between the 18th and the 20th centuries, a double-edged operation was conducted against natural law. On the one hand, the British- and Jesuitsponsored "Enlightenment" gave rise to the twin notions of the Rouseauvian "state of nature" and the "social contract," with its shift in emphasis from natural law to "natural rights." This was followed by the rise of positivism in jurisprudence, the key figure of which was Bentham's follower Austin. The only faction that kept the notion of natural law alive during the 19th century and up to the present time has been the Catholic Church, but whose educational institutions, especially in the United States, are Jesuit-dominated. So today the only institutionalized existence of a body of natural law is the synthetic Aristotelian version propagated by the Jesuits. The evil Jesuits were thus well situated to play a key role in the "revival of international law" which was orchestrated by circles associated with the
Royal Institute for International Affairs in London and with the founding of the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. Central to this operation was the effort to undermine the influence of Grotius. This was the central purpose of a project carried out in the 1920s by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which involved reprinting the series "The Classics of International Law." The project was the brainchild of Jesuit agent James Brown Scott of Georgetown University. In his proposal for the project, Scott suggested that the series could have the function of destroying the idea of Grotius as the "father of international law." and replace his authority with that of the Spanish Catholic writers: the Dominican Victoria and the Jesuit Suarez. Suarez is venerated as the highest authority by the Jesuit order; the plaque erected at his birthplace eulogizes him as the "distinguished commentator on Aquinas and Aristotle." Typically for a Jesuit, Suarez was a flaming radical and reactionary at the same time. He used his theory of popular sovereignty as a justification for tyrannicide (and he is acknowledged as having prepared the way for Rousseau); on the other hand, his world outlook is that "the natural law, in all its precepts, relates to the natural qualities of mankind, and man cannot change the nature of things." The Carnegie project of the 1920s was of course pivotal in the creation of the League of Nations; the same circles, the anglophiles associated with the Council on Foreign Relations and the schools of international law at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and elsewhere, were likewise central in the creation of the United Nations Organization in the 1940s. The creation of the United Nations was regarded as a triumph for the notion of limited sovereignty, and can be found described in just these terms in any modern textbook on international law. One such book, Phillip Jessups A Modern Law of Nations (1948), has this to say: Until the world achieves some form of international government in which a collective will takes precedence over the individual will of the sovereign state, the ultimate function of law, which is the elimination of force for the solution of human conflicts, will not be fulfilled. . . . Once it is agreed that sovereignty is divisible and that it therefore is not absolute, various restrictions and relinquishments of sovereignty may be regarded as normal and not
stigmatizing. . . . Of great significance is the contrast between the Covenant of the League of Nations, which left to each member freedom to decide whether it would participate in sanctions recommended by the Council, and Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, whereby the members relinquish the power of decision to the Security Council and are bound to take action on the basis of that decision. . . . Sovereignty in the sense of exclusiveness of jurisdiction in certain domains, and subject to overriding precepts of constitutional force, will remain a usable and useful concept, just as in the constitutional system of the United States the forty-eight states are considered sovereign. But sovereignty in its old connotations of ultimate freedom of national will unrestricted by law is not consistent with the principles of community interest or interdependence and of the status of the individual as a subject of international law. There we have as representative a statement as can be found of the principles of modern international law. In no area can the restoration of British law in the United States be clearer. In the last century the American System of law for which our forefathers fought a revolution, was abandoned in favor of the British system, which was defeated and thrown out from 1776 to 1789. That Benthamite and Jesuit-dominated "international law" could replace the natural law basis of our Constitution and the Law of Nations which was incorporated in it, is evidence of how far this nation has strayed from the principles which made it great. Cleaning up the scandal of modern international law will be a major step toward making this country the moral leader of the world once again.
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