On the 24th of July an article appeared on the weblog OpinioJuris written by two British lawyers named Mandelbaum and Borda and a German lawyer named Stegbauer, with the title,
“Legitimation Crisis Or Access To Justice? On The Authority of International People’s Tribunals.”
It appeared simultaneously on the Uyghur Tribunal website, the website of the NATO backed propaganda tribunal headed by the arch-NATO criminal and agent, Geoffrey Nice; who among other things is the British barrister hired by the UK and NATO to persecute President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia on concocted charges, whose “trial” served as propaganda to justify the NATO aggression committed against Yugoslavia.
The ‘tribunal’ is part of the propaganda matrix being constructed by NATO, led by the USA and UK, which has the objective of manipulating peoples minds to generate hatred and hostility towards China to, at the least, hinder its trade and development, at worst, to prepare the minds of people for war. In that sense this ‘tribunal’ is nothing less than a part of the preparation for war, and can be seen, under international criminal law, as part of a conspiracy to engage in the supreme war crime, the crime of aggression.
The propaganda continued at the Uyghur tribunal over the three days of “hearings” that took place from June 4 to 7 which were staged as a piece of theatre, even to the extent of the organisers requiring tickets to attend. It held a second set of hearings, a second act of this staged drama September 9 through the 13, again in London.
It took place against the backdrop of increasing US aggression against China, amplified by the huge American blunder of kicking in the teeth its longest ally, France, in order to drag Australia into using American nuclear submarines against China, the American and European provocations against China over Taiwan, the direct military threats of British and American aircraft carriers still cruising in the area threatening violence, and even the hostage taking of Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou by Canada, on US orders.
Geoffrey Nice not only is chair of the two tribunals dealing with China and persecutor of President Milosevic, he is also a co-author of the Caesar Report on Syria, produced by the NATO backed Centre For Justice and Accountability so-called, another propaganda outfit focused on slandering Syria, along with his friend, former US Ambassador For War Crimes, Stephen Rapp. He seems to be NATO”s ever eager go-to lawyer when they need some propaganda put out to justify their wars
One of Nice’s most notorious crimes in the Milosevic show trial at the ICTY was to deliberately mislead the judges and the world by stating that the Kosovo Field speech made by Milosevic proved Milosevic was for a Greater Serbia. But Milosevic produced the real speech proving that he had said the exact opposite of what Nice claimed, that he had called for interethnic tolerance. Nice was proved to be a liar. But the judges did nothing to him. He was allowed to continue spewing lies day after day throughout that show trial because NATO wanted the show to go on and Nice was their chosen circus ringmaster. So, it is no surprise that he was chosen to be ringmaster of this new propaganda circus.
A Prequel to the September hearings in London was another conference at Newcastle University in the UK held at the end of August, with some of the same actors, again on faked allegations of genocide in Xinjiang. It seems to have been part of the propaganda matrix being constructed against China and to wet the public’s appetite for the Nice London Tribunals hearings.
This ‘tribunal’ claims to be independent. Yet it is neither a “tribunal’ nor independent. It has no legal or other authority. It certainly has no moral authority when we look at its funding and the experts called upon to give their ‘evidence,’ for we see clearly the connections between it, the NATO governments and western financial interests.
This lack of credibility clearly is a crisis for this “tribunal” and so an article was required from lawyers to justify the unjustifiable. Mandelbaum, Borda and Stegbauer dutifully stepped in and provided their argument supporting their claim that the tribunal is about justice, and not propaganda. But on what does their argument rest except sophistry, the throwing of words in the air proving nothing?
Their sophistry begins with statement that this NATO backed tribunal is a “peoples’ tribunal. It is not. It is a British-US government propaganda operation. It was not created by a demand from the world’s people but by the CIA-funded World Uyghur Congress. And unlike other international ‘peoples tribunals’ it targets not a country that is attacking another country but accuses a national government of crimes against its own people. The organisers could have called a tribunal about the genocide against the indigenous peoples of Canada, now notorious, and not denied by the Canadian government, which has failed to bring anyone to account. But they are not interested in targeting other NATO allies, only the chosen enemy of the day, China.
They even claim to be cut of the same cloth as the Russell ‘Stockholm’ or Vietnam Tribunal and that when state actors do not act in the face of ‘crimes’ then the ‘people’ must. This is nothing more than another statement of the bogus ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine invented by the Americans at the Yugoslav tribunal and used ever since as a pretext to attack countries for other reasons. It is nothing less than fascism dressed up as law. Further, the Russell Tribunal did not hold hearings on American crimes against its own people. It was an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the war crimes committed by the USA in its aggression against the people of Vietnam.
The subsequent Russell tribunals on Palestine, Iraq were of the same character, an attempt to expose the war crimes of the USA to the world and they openly saw the role of the tribunals as propaganda, to inform people and move them to action against US imperialism and to bring peace to the world. Russell stated himself stated,
“Our purpose is to establish, without fear or favour, the full truth about this war. We sincerely hope that our efforts will contribute to the world’s justice, to the re-establishment of peace and the liberation of oppressed peoples.”
The International Action Centre in New York with Ramsey Clark, held a peoples tribunal in 1999 during the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia at which I spoke.
Again, its purpose was to try to stop a war, not, as in the case of the Uyghur tribunal, to start one.
For what is the Nice tribunal but an attempt to present slanders, proven to be false, against China in order to generate hostility towards China and for the purpose of conducting war against China, which will bring war to the world.
Indeed, the three writers recognise that the Nice tribunal they support has no legitimacy when they write,
“Peoples Tribunals verdicts and advisory opinions become normative through increasing social acceptance and recognition of the global community. The sociological legitimacy of Peoples Tribunals is thus based on ‘symbolic validation,’ that is, a public perception of legitimacy.”
But the Uyghur Tribunal has no legitimacy on any terms and it certainly has no public perception of being legitimate.
They go further along the road to fascism when they claim that when states fail to act then there is a ‘residual responsibility’ in the public to take action in place of the state. They write,
“In the final analysis, it is argued that, with the residual responsibility as enabling circumstance, Peoples Tribunals do not actually challenge the prerogative of State authorities, as portrayed by critics, but rather complement the very notion of an access to justice that underlies State authority itself. Or put another way, Peoples Tribunals challenge one set of State prerogatives – exclusivity in the areas of governance and justice-delivery – to reaffirm another set of State prerogatives – promoting access to justice for victims-survivors, in cases where States and the international community themselves fail to act.”
In other words, they call for vigilante justice. Isn’t that what it is when citizens decide to take the law into their own hands? We have seen what lynch mobs can do particularly in the United States, where the innocent are more often the ones hanged. Anyone who has seen The Oxbow Incident, a striking American film about men who think they have “justice’ on their side” as they hunt down and hang a man who was completely innocent of the crimes they hunted him for, knows the dangers of this type of thinking. But this is the atmosphere these days, an atmosphere odorous with the smell of fascism, the day of informers, and ruining peoples lives on mere allegations and slanders.
Their claim that somehow they stand in for the state is also laughable when we realise they organisers and participants are agents of the British, American and other NATO states.
So there we have it, another propaganda exercise masquerading as a search for justice and accountability, But it is about time these propagandists be held accountable for their actions, for manufacturing hatred and hostility towards a nation that has brought its people out of the poverty imposed on them by the west during the colonial period and which the west wants to impose again.
At the Nuremberg Trials the Nazi propagandist, Julius Streicher, was hanged for putting out propaganda about Jews and inciting hatred leading to genocide. At the Rwanda Tribunal the members of a radio station were convicted of genocide for allegedly making false reports on events that the prosecutors claimed instigated hatred that led to genocide. Hate speech is proscribed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other treaties. Is this not what Nice and his players are doing, trying to instigate hatred and hostility to justify war, to justify harming and killing Chinese? Is this not where it all leads? Is this not a crime against humanity? Are not they the real criminals?
For propaganda is a threat to peace itself. It is not only necessary to eliminate nuclear weapons and armies, it is also necessary to eliminate the psychological weapons that are used to justify, provoke and prolong war. Lenin once said that “disarmament is an ideal of socialism” and it was, we must not forget, the USSR that developed ideals of international peace and responsibility for wars of aggression. The successor state of Russia still relies on these principles.
On the second day of the creation of Soviet power the Decree on Peace was issued that made it a matter of state policy that aggressive war is a crime. Up until then it was assumed that nation states had an inherent right to go to war for their own interests. War propaganda is a way of preparing for aggressive war and consequently is a war crime. This was confirmed at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1946.
This was echoed in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of November 3, 1947 that denounced war propaganda;
“The General Assembly condemns all forms of propaganda, in whatsoever country conducted, which is either designed or likely to provoke or encourage any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.”
A Soviet draft definition of aggression presented to the General Assembly in 1957 defined war propaganda as ideological aggression. Their draft stated that a state has committed ideological aggression when it “encourages war propaganda, encourages propaganda for the use of atomic or other weapons of mass extermination and stimulates Nazi-fascist views, racial or national superiority, or hatred and disdain for other peoples.”
But before that the Supreme Soviet on March 12, 1950 passed a law on the defence of peace that stated:
“The Supreme Soviet of the USSR is guided by the high principles of the Soviet peace policy, which seeks to strengthen peace and friendly relations between the peoples, recognises that human conscience and the concept of right of the peoples, who, during one generation suffered the calamities of two wars, cannot accept that the conduct of war propaganda remain unpunished, and approves the proclamation of the Second World Congress of the Partisans of Peace, who expressed the will of the entire progressive mankind concerning the prohibition and condemnation of criminal war propaganda.
“The Supreme Soviet decrees,
To recognise that war propaganda under whatever form it is made, undermines the cause of peace, creates the threat of new war and is the graves crime against humanity.
To bring to court person guilty of war propaganda and to try them as having committed a most grave criminal offense.”
The western powers blocked a Russian UN resolution at that time to denounce war propaganda even though it was in accord with the principles of the United Nations Charter, which makes it a duty of all member states to preserve the peace. The west relied on arguments of “free speech” arguments that do not hold water since war propaganda is not designed to enlighten people but to twist their minds into thoughts of hatred and war.
Those who are taking part in the Uyghur Tribunal claim to be for justice but are in truth for injustice. They claim to be acting for victims of oppression but the truth is they are agents of western oppression. They claim to be for peace but are in truth advocates of war. They claim to be founded in law but in fact reject all law. Reject them. Better yet, ignore them. The facts, and history, will condemn them.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.