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The US On The World Stage -
A Rogue Nation?
Richard Du Boff Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) 12-31-1
1. In December 2001, the United States officially withdrew from the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, gutting the landmark agreement-the first time in the nuclear era that the US renounced a major arms control accord.
2. 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention ratified by 144 nations including the United States. In July 2001 the US walked out of a London conference to discuss a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the Convention by providing for on-site inspections. At Geneva in November 2001, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton stated that "the protocol is dead," at the same time accusing Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria of violating the Convention but offering no specific allegations or supporting evidence.
3. UN Agreement to Curb the International Flow of Illicit Small Arms, July 2001: the US was the only nation to oppose it.
4. April 2001, the US was not re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission, after years of withholding dues to the UN (including current dues of $244 million)-and after having forced the UN to lower its share of the UN budget from 25 to 22 percent. (In the Human Rights Commission, the US stood virtually alone in opposing resolutions supporting lower-cost access to HIV/AIDS drugs, acknowledging a basic human right to adequate food, and calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.)
5. International Criminal Court (ICC) Treaty, to be set up in The Hague to try political leaders and military personnel charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Signed in Rome in July 1998, the Treaty was approved by 120 countries, with 7 opposed (including the US). In October 2001 Great Britain became the 42nd nation to sign. In December 2001 the US Senate again added an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would keep US military personnel from obeying the jurisdiction of the proposed ICC.
6. Land Mine Treaty, banning land mines; signed in Ottawa in December 1997 by 122 nations. The United States refused to sign, along with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Egypt, and Turkey. President Clinton rejected the Treaty, claiming that mines were needed to protect South Korea against North Korea's "overwhelming military advantage." He stated that the US would "eventually" comply, in 2006; this was disavowed by President Bush in August 2001.
7. Kyoto Protocol of 1997, for controlling global warming: declared "dead" by President Bush in March 2001. In November 2001, the Bush administration shunned negotiations in Marrakech (Morocco) to revise the accord, mainly by watering it down in a vain attempt to gain US approval.
8. In May 2001, refused to meet with European Union nations to discuss, even at lower levels of government, economic espionage and electronic surveillance of phone calls, e-mail, and faxes (the US "Echelon" program),
9. Refused to participate in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-sponsored talks in Paris, May 2001, on ways to crack down on off-shore and other tax and money-laundering havens.
10. Refused to join 123 nations pledged to ban the use and production of anti-personnel bombs and mines, February 2001
11. September 2001: withdrew from International Conference on Racism, bringing together 163 countries in Durban, South Africa
12. International Plan for Cleaner Energy: G-8 group of industrial nations (US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, UK), July 2001: the US was the only one to oppose it.
13. Enforcing an illegal boycott of Cuba, now being made tighter. In the UN in October 2001, the General Assembly passed a resolution, for the tenth consecutive year, calling for an end to the US embargo, by a vote of 167 to 3 (the US, Israel, and the Marshall Islands in opposition).
14. Comprehensive [Nuclear] Test Ban Treaty. Signed by 164 nations and ratified by 89 including France, Great Britain, and Russia; signed by President Clinton in 1996 but rejected by the Senate in 1999. The US is one of 13 nonratifiers among countries that have nuclear weapons or nuclear power programs. In November 2001, the US forced a vote in the UN Committee on Disarmament and Security to demonstrate its opposition to the Test Ban Treaty.
15. In 1986 the International Court of Justice (The Hague) ruled that the US was in violation of international law for "unlawful use of force" in Nicaragua, through its actions and those of its Contra proxy army. The US refused to recognize the Court's jurisdiction. A UN resolution calling for compliance with the Court's decision was approved 94-2 (US and Israel voting no).
16. In 1984 the US quit UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and ceased its payments for UNESCO's budget, over the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) project designed to lessen world media dependence on the "big four" wire agencies (AP, UPI, Agence France-Presse, Reuters). The US charged UNESCO with "curtailment of press freedom," as well as mismanagement and other faults, despite a 148-1 in vote in favor of NWICO in the UN. UNESCO terminated NWICO in 1989; the US nonetheless refused to rejoin. In 1995 the Clinton administration proposed rejoining; the move was blocked in Congress and Clinton did not press the issue. In February 2000 the US finally paid some of its arrears to the UN but excluded UNESCO, which the US has not rejoined.
17. Optional Protocol, 1989, to the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolition of the death penalty and containing a provision banning the execution of those under 18. The US has neither signed nor ratified and specifically exempts itself from the latter provision, making it one of five countries that still execute juveniles (with Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria). China abolished the practice in 1997, Pakistan in 2000.
18. 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The only countries that have signed but not ratified are the US, Afghanistan, Sao Tome and Principe.
19. The US has signed but not ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects the economic and social rights of children. The only other country not to ratify is Somalia, which has no functioning government.
20. UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, covering a wide range of rights and monitored by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The US signed in 1977 but has not ratified.
21. UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948. The US finally ratified in 1988, adding several "reservations" to the effect that the US Constitution and the "advice and consent" of the Senate are required to judge whether any "acts in the course of armed conflict" constitute genocide. The reservations are rejected by Britain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Estonia, and others.
22. Is the status of "we're number one!" Rogue overcome by generous foreign aid to given less fortunate countries? The three best aid providers, measured by the foreign aid percentage of their gross domestic products, are Denmark (1.01%), Norway (0.91%), and the Netherlands (0.79), The three worst: USA (0.10%), UK (0.23%), Australia, Portugal, and Austria (all 0.26). ___
Copyright, Richard Du Boff Reprinted for fair use only. http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DUB112B.html
Global poll finds most think
America brought terror attacks on itself
Rupert Cornwell in Washington
21 December 2001
Did America somehow ask for the terrorist outrages in New York and Washington?
Not surprisingly, nearly all leading Americans think not. But most people of influence in the rest of the world, and nearly 80 per cent in the Middle East and Islamic world, believe that, to a certain extent, the US was asking for it.
This is the most striking finding of a poll exploring global attitudes to the United States and the events of 11 September, which brings out an important subtext of the tragedy and its aftermath - the difference between how Americans think they are seen, and the way the rest of the world sees them.
The survey by the Pew Research Centre, the Princeton Survey Research Associates and the International Herald Tribune newspaper, was conducted among 275 people of influence in politics, media, business and culture.
Forty of them were in the United States, while 235 were in 23 other countries, and they were asked to reflect the views of their compatriots.
In America, only 18 per cent considered that "US policies and actions in the world" were seen as a main cause of the attacks. Elsewhere, that rose to 58 per cent, and to 81 per cent in the Middle East and the area around Afghanistan.
While 70 per cent of the Americans questioned believed that the United States was seen to be considering its partners' interests, an almost identical proportion elsewhere said that Washington was seen as acting unilaterally.
All the Americans felt that no one would regard the US as having overreacted to the terrorist attacks. By contrast, 40 per cent of those interviewed elsewhere reckoned the war was seen as an overreaction, a figure rising to 60 per cent in the Islamic world. Only minorities, even in Europe, thought their people would support the anti-terrorist offensive being extended to countries such as Iraq and Somalia.
But the most interesting themes that emerged were a barely disguised resentment at America's massive power in the world, and a gulf between Americans' views of how the world sees them and the world's actual feelings.
From its closest allies, in Europe, to the Middle East, Russia and Asia, a uniform 70 per cent said people considered it good that after 11 September Americans had realised what it was to be vulnerable.
Most striking, though, is the gulf in perceptions. In countless speeches, including by President Bush, American spokesmen have portrayed the war as a battle between good and evil, with the terrorists bent on destroying America's way of life. Its position as a beacon of freedom and democracy, Americans believe, is the reason the rest of the world most admires their country.
But this is not so. The biggest appeal of America lies in its technological prowess, large majorities of those interviewed in the rest of the world said. A majority of Americans said people believed the US was admired because "it does a lot of good around the world".
Muslims Forbidden to Deliver
Bin Laden to U.S.: Fatwa
CAIRO, Nov. 21 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) - Muslims are forbidden from delivering Osama Bin Laden to the U.S., not even in return for the fortunes of the whole world, professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, Aly Gomaa, told IslamOnline Wednesday in Cairo.
Gomaa said that according to Islamic legislation, it is "illegal" to deal with "accusations as if they were established facts, then act accordingly."
"Once a Muslim is proved guilty of committing a sin or a crime, the September 11 attacks for example, he should be tried, according to the solid evidence against him, before a Muslim judge," he explained.
"It is not legal [from an Islamic perspective] to try a Muslim before a non-Muslim judge or according to legislation other than that of Islam," he added.
Abdul Sattar Fathallah, also a professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, told IslamOnline Wednesday that bin Laden is still only accused by the U.S., and no crimes have been proven against him.
"A defendant is innocent until proven guilty, right?" asked Fathallah adding, "So, it is not legal for any Muslim to help deliver him to the U.S. administration it is against Islamic jurisprudence."
Meanwhile, in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, a Taliban official said Wednesday Osama bin Laden did not have the capability to carry out the deadly September 11 attacks in the U.S., and the $25 million bounty the U.S. has offered will not lead to his capture, news agencies reported.
"The U.S. has not provided any information about his [bin Laden's] involvement in the attacks. He has not the telecommunications means to conduct such activities. Being our guest we are duty bound to protect him"Ý and not hand him over to the U.S. authorities, said Mohammed Saeed Haqqani,security chief at the border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar - one of the last remaining provinces still under Taliban control. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell boosted the reward for bin Laden from five million to 25 million dollars Tuesday, with the bounty advertised in radio broadcasts to Afghanistan, and leaflets distributed on the ground.
State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher has said that more than 22,000 tips have been received about bin Laden since September 11, but none have yielded results.
"All good Muslims would reject the opportunity to cash in on the bounty for bin Laden's capture," Haqqani said. "Being good Muslims we have a strong faith, that's why it is not tempting to us."
Haqqani referred to the hypocrisy of the U.S. in harboring Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie who is wanted by Iran for blasphemy of Islam.
An Iranian fatwa [Islamic Ruling] condemning Rushdie to death was issued after the writer blasphemed Islam in his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses".
"It is not clear that Osama has been involved in crimes but it is a hard fact that Rushdie committed a crime against Islam. Why are people taking care of him in your country?" Haqqani said.
Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda group have been accused by the U.S. of masterminding the attacks on September 11.
World opinion opposes the attack
David Miller 21 November 2001
According to Tony Blair and George Bush respectively, 'world opinion' and the 'collective will of the world' supported the attack on Afghanistan. Yet analysis of international opinion polls shows that with only three exceptions majorities in all countries polled have opposed the policy of the US and UK governments. Furthermore there have been consistent majorities against the current action in the UK and sizeable numbers of the US population had reservations about the bombing.
The biggest poll of world opinion was carried out by Gallup International in 37 countries in late September (Gallup International 2001). It found that apart from the US, Israel and India a majority of people in every country surveyed preferred extradition and trial of suspects to a US attack. Clear and sizeable majorities were recorded in the UK (75%) and across Western Europe from 67% in France to 87% in Switzerland. Between 64% (Czech Republic) and 83 % (Lithuania)of Eastern Europeans concurred as did varying majorities in Korea, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe. An even more emphatic answer obtained in Latin America where between 80% (Panama) and 94% (Mexico) favoured extradition. The poll also found that majorities in the US and Israel (both 56%) did not favour attacks on civilians. Yet such polls have been ignored by the media and by many of the polling companies. After the bombing started opposition seems to have grown in Europe. As only the Mirror has reported, by early November 65 per cent in Germany and 69 per cent in Spain wanted the US attacks to end (Yates, 2001). Meanwhile in Russia polls before and after the bombing show majorities opposed to the attacks. One slogan which reportedly commanded majority support doing the rounds in Moscow at the end of September was 'World War III - Without Russia' (Agency WPS 2001). After the bombing started Interfax reported a Gallup International poll showing a majority of Moscow residents against the US military action (BBC Worldwide Monitoring 2001)
The questions asked by a number of polling companies such as MORI, Gallup and ICM have been seriously inadequate. They have failed to give respondents a range of possible options in relation to the war. When polling companies do ask about alternatives, support for war falls away quite markedly. In the UK prior to the bombing all except one poll, which asked the question, showed a majority against bombing if it caused civilian casualties. After the bombing started UK polling companies stopped asking about concern for civilians. From the start of the bombing to the fall of Kabul on 13 November there were only four polls on British opinion (by ICM (2001a, 2001b) and MORI (2001a, 2001b)) compared with 7 between the 11 September and the start of the bombing on October 7. None has asked adequate questions about alternatives to bombing. ICM did ask one alternative questions about whether bombing should stop to allow aid into Afghanistan and 54% said it should (Guardian October 30). Where questions about aid or alternatives to bombing are asked the results have been consistent: Clear and sometimes massive majorities against the bombing. In an ignored poll, the Scottish Sunday Mail found that fully 69% of Scots favoured sanctions, diplomacy or bringing Bin Laden to trial. Only 17% favoured his execution and a minuscule 5% supported bombing (21 October). The Herald in Glasgow also found only 6% favoured the then current policy of bombing alone (3 November). It is well known that Scottish opinion tends to be to the left of UK opinion, but not by more than a few points on average. Although the Press Association picked up on the Herald poll it was not reported in the British national press. Between the start of the bombing and the fall of Kabul, (with the exception of the single question in the Guardian poll showing 54% in favour of a pause in bombing) not a single polling company asked the British public any questions about alternatives to war.
It is not altogether clear whether the lack of options given to poll respondents is due to the media or the polling companies. Certainly both UK and US polling companies have been guilty of misrepresenting their own data almost without exception overemphasising support for the war. For example Mori claimed that their polling in late October had 'extinguished any lingering doubt' that support was 'fading' (Mortimore 2001). Of course this completely ignores all the poll data which would give an alternative view and the fact that the polling questions have been inadequate. Furthermore, according to Bob Worcester of MORI, (in an address to an London School of Economics meeting on the media and the war on 15 November) the text of press reports on their polls are 'approved' by MORI itself before they are published. This is clearly a matter of good practice and should be applauded. But the benefit is fairly marginal, if MORI are content for the press to distort the level of opposition by concentrating on the 'overwhelming' support for the war and relegating opposition to the war to the end of reports.
It comes as a surprise to many in the UK and US to discover that opinion is so markedly opposed to or ambivalent about the current action. One key reason is that the polls have been systematically misreported in the media. Both television and the press in the US and UK have continued to insist that massive majorities support the bombing. Senior BBC journalists have expressed surprise and disbelief when shown the evidence from the opinion polls. One told me that she didn't believe that the polling companies were corrupt and that she thought it unlikely that the Guardian would minimise the opposition to the war. This was days after the Guardian published a poll purporting to show that 74% supported the bombing (Travis 2001, 12 October). What the BBC journalist hadn't noticed was that the Guardian's polls had asked only very limited questions and failed to give respondents the option of saying they would prefer diplomatic solutions. In the poll on 12 October one question was asked but only if people thought enough had been done diplomatically. Given that the government and the media had been of the opinion that enough had been done and alternative voices were marginalised, it is surprising that as many as 37% said that enough had not been done.
Furthermore the Guardian's editorial position has offered (qualified) support for the war and it did not cover the demonstrations in London and Glasgow on 13 October. As a result of a 'flurry' of protests this was raised by the readers' editor at the Guardian's editorial meeting on 14 October and the editor agreed that this had been a 'mistake'. But, the readers editor revealed that it is the papers 'general policy' not to cover marches (Mayes 2001), thus condemning dissent to the margins of the news agenda and leaving the field open for those with the resources to stage 'proper' news events.
Elsewhere in the media, almost every poll has been interpreted to indicate popular support for the war. Where that interpretation is extremely difficult journalists have tried to squeeze the figures to fit. One Scottish newspaper was so concerned at the low numbers supporting bombing that they phoned me to ask how best to interpret the findings. Another paper, the Sunday Mail showed only 5% support for bombing and 69% favouring conflict resolution. Nevertheless the closest they got to this in their headline was that Scots were 'split' on bombing (21 October 2001).
TV news reporters have routinely covered demonstrations in Britain and the US as if they represent only a small minority of opinion. The underlying assumption is that demonstrators only represent themselves rather than seeing them as an expression of a larger constituency of dissent. Thus BBC reporters claim that 'the opinion polls say that a majority of UK public opinion backs the war' (BBC1 Panorama, 14 October 2001) or in reporting the demonstrations in London that 'Despite the strength of feelings here today those opposed to military action are still very much in the minority' (BBC1 News 13 October 2001 21.50). These reports are at best naïve, at worst mendacious, and a clear violation of the legal requirement of the BBC to be balanced.
In the US dissent has been markedly harder to find in the news media (Solomon 2001). The pictures of dead children featured in the rest of the world press been hard to find (Lucas 2001) and the debate on the use of cluster bombs and the 'daisy cutter' bombs (a weapon of mass destruction) which were debated in the mainstream UK media in late October were almost non existent on the television news in the US. * CNN continued to report under the heading 'America Strikes back' which is of itself a woefully partial version of what was happening. Polling companies in the US have given their respondents little choice of policy options. Where they have asked a variety of questions answers opposing US policy have been downplayed in media reports. The New York Times reported on 25 September that 92% of respondents agreed that the US should take military action against whoever is responsible for the attacks'. But the text of the report belied the 'support for war' headline indicating that fully 78% felt that the US should wait until it was certain who is responsible', before responding. As Edward Herman, leading critic of US foreign Policy has written of the inadequacy of polls which do not ask about extradition, civilian casualties, or whether they would support action which breaches international law (Herman 2001). One little reported poll for Newsweek in early October showed that '58 percent of respondents said the U.S. government's support for Israel may have been the cause' of the attacks, thus indicating that America may have struck first rather that simply striking back as CNN would have it.
Furthermore there is evidence that dissent in the US is being underrepresented in responses to opinion polls. In a Gallup poll 31% agreed that the attacks on the US had made them 'less likely to say things that might be unpopular?' (http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr011008c.asp). And opposition to the war is pretty unpopular in media coverage of the war. When Bill Maher, host of the Politically Incorrect chat show criticised remarks by Bush describing the WTC attackers as 'cowards', the White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said: 'There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that' (Usborne 2001). His show lost advertisers and was dropped by some networks.
The most fundamental problem with the polls is that they assume the public has perfect information. But, notwithstanding some dissent in the press, the media in the UK, and even more emphatically in the US, have been distorting what is happening in Afghanistan especially on civilian casualties and alternatives to war. To ask about approval of what is happening assumes that people actually know what is happening. But given that a large proportion of the population receives little but misinformation and propaganda (especially on TV news which is most peoples main source of information) then it is less surprising that some should approve of what they are told is happening - that the US and UK are doing their best to avoid civilian casualties, that Blair exercises a moderating influence on Bush. When they are asked their own preferences about what should happen (rather than approval questions about what is happening) then there is much less support, even in the US. In other words there is no world support for the attack on Afghanistan and public opinion in the US and UK is at best dubious and at worst flatly opposed to what is happening. If Bush and Blair were really democrats, they would never have started the bombing.
David Miller is a member of the Stirling Media Research Institute.
*Author's observation. The author spent 10 days in the US between 26th October and 4th November and compared the news in the US with the debates taking place in the media in the UK.
Agency WPS (2001) 'What the papers say. Part I', October 1, 2001, Monday 'RUSSIANS WON'T SUPPORT PUTIN IF HE INVOLVES RUSSIA IN RETALIATION' Zavtra, September 27, 2001, p. 1
BBC Worldwide Monitoring (2001) 'Public poll sees threat to Russia from US military action' Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1137 gmt 9 Oct 01. October 9, 2001, Tuesday,
Gallup International (2001) 'Gallup International Poll on terrorism in the US', <http://www.gallup-international.com/surveys.htm>http://www.gallup-international.com/surveys.htm
ICM (2001a) ' ICM RESEARCH / GUARDIAN POLL OCTOBER 2001', published in the Guardian, 12 October. <http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2001/guardian-afghan-poll-oct-2001.htm>http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2001/guardian-afghan-poll-oct-2001.htm
ICM (2001b) ' ICM RESEARCH / THE GUARDIAN AFGHAN POLL - OCTOBER 2001', published in the Guardian, 30 October. <http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2001/guardian-afghan2-poll-oct-2001.htm>http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2001/guardian-afghan2-poll-oct-2001.htm
Herman, E. (2001) 'Nuggets from a nuthouse', Z Magazine, November.
Lucas, S. (2001) 'How a free press censors itself', New Statesman, 12 November, 14-15.
Mayes, I. (2001) 'Leading lights', The Guardian, Saturday review, 20 October: 7.
MORI (2001a) 'First poll on the Afghanistan War: Britons fully support Blair but fear retaliatory Strikes' Poll for Tonight with Trevor McDonald, 11 October, 10.20pm, ITV. <http://www.mori.com/polls/granada.shtml>http://www.mori.com/polls/granada.shtml
MORI (2001b) 'War of Afghanistan Poll' for the Mail on Sunday, 4 November 2001
Mortimore, R. (2001) 'Commentary: Britain at war' 26 October, <http://www.mori.com/digest/2001/c011026.shtml>http://www.mori.com/digest/2001/c011026.shtml
Solomon, N. (2001 'TV news: a militarised zone', Znet, 9 October, <http://www.zmag.org/solomonzone.htm>http://www.zmag.org/solomonzone.htm
Usborne, D. (2001) 'Jokers and peaceniks face patriotic wrath', Independent on Sunday, 30 September: 7.
Yates, N. (2001) 'War on Terror: the World questions America', The Mirror, 9 November.