Category: International Law

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Toward Absolutist Capitalism

Naked Capitalism, By Lambert Strether, April 20

There are many excellent arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two of which — local zoning over-rides, and loss of national sovereignty — I’ll briefly review as stepping stones to the main topic of the post: Absolutist Capitalism, for which I make two claims:

1) The TPP implies a form of absolute rule, a tyranny as James Madison would have understood the term, and

2) The TPP enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence.

Zoning over-rides and lost of national sovereignty may seem controversial to the political class, but these two last points may seem controversial even to NC readers. However, I hope to show both points follow easily from the arguments with which we are already familiar. Both flow from the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, of which I will now give two examples. more

MoJo Explicator: Here’s What You Need to Know About the Trade Deal Dividing the Left

Kingdom of Shadows–the aftermath

I spent the last three days watching Bernardo Ruiz’s Kingdom of Shadows at the SXSW movie festival in Austin. I appear in the film, along with a nun from Monterrey, Mexico and an agent from the Department of Homeland Security in El Paso.

After screenings, we took questions from the audience, but sessions were too short to adequately address issues related to the subject matter of the film—the effect of drugs and drug prohibition on our societies.

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LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

The ugly ramifications of the Trade in Services Act (TiSA)

Wolf Street, By Don Quijones, December 25

Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.
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Scalia: Constitution silent on torture

AP – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is joining the debate over the Senate’s torture report by saying it’s hard to rule out the use of extreme measures to extract information if millions of lives were threatened.

Scalia told a Swiss broadcast network that American and European liberals who say such tactics may never be used are being self-righteous.

The 78-year-old justice said he doesn’t “think it’s so clear at all,” especially if interrogators were trying to find a ticking nuclear bomb.  Scalia has made similar comments in the past,

He doesn’t think, he doesn’t read, he doesn’t learn, and he doesn’t give a damn.. . What a guy.

Gagging in Australia

The Twitterverse and FB are alive with the sounds of Wikileaks latest release, the text of a gag order imposed on any revelation of an ongoing investigation into multinational bribery.

The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar payments to persons with high-level political connections in AMalaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in order to secure contracts for the production of Australian plastic currency banknotes for these countries.

Wikileaks
Including sealing an affidavit from senior Aussie diplomat.

Open Source: Latest Updates on Malaysian Plane Crash in Ukraine

NYT – On Friday, Open Source continues to follow the aftermath of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine to supplement the latest coverage of New York Times reporters on the ground.

Updates below mix breaking news reports with new information on the investigation into the disaster and the reaction to the tragedy gleaned from social networks.

NYT crowd sourcing   or the ultimate  blog- whatever. Continuous updates also from the   BBC.
The rush to judgment is on…

Current “Rules of this Site”

One Agonist tradition is that Agonists seldom know where the rules of the site are written, but often refer to them in the heat of battle.

Recently, in our last pre-SP-redux incarnation, Steeleweed published a set of Rules (click “Rules” on the top header row). So you know they exist and where to find them, at least for now – including “ad hominem” -brought up just today.

At this point. we welcome your comments and suggestions for changes to these Rules.

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Israeli forces manhandle EU diplomats, seize West Bank aid

Reuters, By Noah Browning

Israeli soldiers manhandled European diplomats on Friday and seized a truck full of tents and emergency aid they had been trying to deliver to Palestinians whose homes were demolished this week.

A Reuters reporter saw soldiers throw sound grenades at a group of diplomats, aid workers and locals in the occupied West Bank, and yank a French diplomat out of the truck before driving away with its contents.

“They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity,” French diplomat Marion Castaing said.

“This is how international law is being respected here,” she said, covered with dust.

The Israeli army and police declined to comment.

Locals said Khirbet Al-Makhul was home to about 120 people. The army demolished their ramshackle houses, stables and a kindergarten on Monday after Israel’s high court ruled that they did not have proper building permits.

Despite losing their property, the inhabitants have refused to leave the land, where, they say, their families have lived for generations along with their flocks of sheep.

Israeli soldiers stopped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivering emergency aid on Tuesday and on Wednesday IRCS staff managed to put up some tents but the army forced them to take the shelters down.

Diplomats from France, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union’s political office, turned up on Friday with more supplies. As soon as they arrived, about a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them, and soldiers told them not to unload their truck.

“It’s shocking and outrageous. We will report these actions to our governments,” said one EU diplomat, who declined to be named because he did not have authorization to talk to the media.

More at the link

What President Obama Said and Didn’t Say about Syria

syrianjihadists1Wishful thinking made me hear things not said in President Obama’s Rose Garden speech on Saturday afternoon.

Said: The U.S. government has made a “powerful case” that the Syrian government was responsible for the recent chemical attacks that killed over a thousand Syrians.

Not said: The case that the Syrian government is responsible for the attacks is certain or nearly certain.

Said: I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.

Not said: There is legal justification for the United States to carry out a military strike on Syria at this time. Whatever laws or international agreements Syria has broken with their chemical attack provide for a military strike as a consequence.
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Who promotes caution in the rush to judgment on Syria?


popeThe Vatican
:  “With great suffering and anxiety I continue to follow the situation in Syria. The increase in violence in a war between brothers and sisters with the multiplication of massacres and of atrocious acts that we have all been able to see in the appalling images of the past few days impels me once again to raise my voice so that the clash of weapons may be silenced. It is not conflict that offers prospects of hope for solving problems, but the capacity for encounter and dialogue.”  Pope Francis, L’Osservatore Romano, August 27  (Image)

bilxHans Blix, head of Iraq WMD inspectors team prior to 2003 invasion:  “If the aim is to stop the breach of international law and to keep the lid on others with chemical weapons, military action without first waiting for the UN inspector report is not the way to go about it.  This [military action[ is about world police, not world law. Salon, August 27 (Image)

zinniGen. Anthony Zinni, former head of the U.S. Central Command: “The one thing we should learn is you can’t get a little bit pregnant.   If you do a one-and-done and say you’re going to repeat it if unacceptable things happen, you might find these people keep doing unacceptable things. It will suck you in.”  Washington Post, August 27  (Image)