The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Doctrine
A pretext for disarming Israel
By James Simpson (Organization Trends, January 2013 – PDF here)
Summary: The Left’s long love affair with global government continues, as does its hostility to the interests of America and America’s closest ally in the Middle East. Radical donors like George Soros and activists like Code Pink’s Jodie Evans will continue to press this agenda in the new year, especially with a president who no longer must face American voters.
The new year and the beginning of a second Obama term are good times to review the foreign policy agenda of left-wing activists, donors, and government officials. Several themes emerge from this investigation, none of them surprising but all of them disturbing for those who prefer American sovereignty to global governance from the Left.
“Responsibility to Protect”
The U.S. intervention in Libya has been widely interpreted as one of the first formal tests of a new United Nations doctrine known as “Responsibility to Protect” or R2P. R2P calls for intervention in civil wars when government leaders of the country in conflict fail to protect their civilian populations in harm’s way. It was first invoked by U.N. Resolutions 1970 and 1973 in February and March of 2011, respectively, during the Libyan civil war.
The doctrine holds that international armed forces are authorized to enter such conflicts for the specific purpose of defending civilians. When local government leaders engage in deliberate violence against civilian populations, they can also be charged with war crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Like many initiatives of the Left, R2P may have arisen out of good intentions, but it amounts to a pretext for world governance that justifies intervention based on whatever criteria the U.N. believes apply. As Aaron Klein observed in WorldNetDaily last year:
“The term ‘war crimes’ has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.”
The U.N. has been trying to implicate Israel in war crimes since its 2001 World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, where it called for the creation of a “war crimes tribunal” against Israel. As Jewish Ideas Daily reports:
“Since then, NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] have filed lawsuits throughout Europe and North America to have Israeli officials arrested and imprisoned as ‘war criminals.’ They were also heavily involved in the one-sided 2004 advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that declared Israel’s security barrier to be ‘illegal.’ The primary goals of all these cases are to play havoc with normal diplomatic relations and to criminalize all methods used by Israel to protect its citizens from attack.”
Now that the U.S. has actually invoked R2P as a pretext for invading Libya, and given President Obama’s snubbing of Israel on the world stage, fears are growing that the U.N. will use R2P to justify intervention in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, while the U.S., which can no longer be relied on to come to Israel’s defense, may actually support such a U.N. intervention. These scenarios may help explain why radical philanthropist George Soros supports R2P through grants from his various foundations to the World Federalist Movement (WFM). Journalist Klein explains: “The Responsibility to Protect doctrine has been described by its founders and proponents, including Soros, as promoting global governance while allowing the international community to penetrate a nation state’s borders under certain conditions.”
According to the main R2P website, the concept was first articulated by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001 and formalized in 2005. ICISS co-chair Gareth Evans, the former foreign minister of Australia, is generally credited with developing the idea.
On the U.N. website we are told:
“The three pillars of the responsibility to protect, as stipulated in the Outcome Document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit (A/RES/60/1, para. 138-140) and formulated in the Secretary-General’s 2009 Report (A/63/677) on Implementing the Responsibility to Protect are:
“The State carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement;
“The international community has a responsibility to encourage and assist States in fulfilling this responsibility;
“The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”
A key concept of R2P is the U.N. assertion that sovereignty is no longer a country’s right, but a responsibility. “Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility that holds States accountable for the welfare of their people,” according to the U.N.
During the 1994 Rwandan massacre, 800,000 of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority were killed over a period of three months by the Hutu majority. This horrific event is credited as the primary impetus for development of the R2P doctrine. Following the conflict, former Secretary General Kofi Annan supposedly asked the question, “When does the international community intervene for the sake of protecting populations?”
Ironically, Annan, who was head of U.N. peacekeeping forces during the conflict, did nothing to prevent the slaughter when he could have. Canadian Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, leader of the small U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time, repeatedly appealed to Annan for help but was restrained from doing anything. Ultimately his troops were ordered to leave. At a Rwandan memorial conference in 2004 Dallaire stated:
“I still believe that if an organization decided to wipe out the 320 mountain gorillas there would be still more of a reaction by the international community to curtail or to stop that than there would be still today in attempting to protect thousands of human beings being slaughtered in the same country.”
Two organizations specifically address R2P, and both are outgrowths of the World Federalist Movement: the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) and the Global Center for Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P). The World Federalist Movement’s goals can be found in its guiding document, The Montreux Declaration of 1947, which calls for the transformation of the U.N. into a world government requiring:
*Limited national sovereignty
*Enforcement of world law directly on the individual whoever or wherever he is
*The ability to raise taxes
*Supranational armed forces to guarantee security of world government
The Declaration justifies world government as essential to avoid another world war. The founding organizer of the Montreux meeting was Max Habicht, an advisor to world federalist organizations and a go-between for the Soviet World Peace Council, a KGB-controlled front group. He was also a League of Nations legal officer and early legal advisor to the U.N. Habicht specifically justified the arbitrary application of power by a world body. According to the World Citizens website:
Habicht’s main belief was that “enduring peace is only possible within a properly organized State and that lasting world peace requires the creation of a World Federal State. No political organization, whether it be a small town or a great nation, can ensure peace to its inhabitants without the means of deciding what justice is in a given conflict, and without imposing its own conception of justice by physical force. Such a Federal State would have a World Parliament to enact world law in order to secure and maintain permanent peace, an Executive to administer these world laws, an International Court of Justice with compulsory jurisdiction in all matters of dispute concerning world laws, a World Police Force to enforce world laws against those who commit, or threaten to commit a breach of those world laws. Peace can only be realized when important aspects of national sovereignty are given up and transferred to a common central government.
In its 2010 tax return, the WFM lists assets of about $2.8 million and acknowledges receiving annual contributions in the previous two years of between $3 million and $4 million. Its largest supporters include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($4.2 million between 2001 and 2010) and donor-advised funds at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment ($1.6 million from 2006 to 2011). WFM’s resources primarily support the International Criminal Court. In 2010, WFM provided $600,000 to the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.
Little documentation is available about the Global Centre for R2P, but it is larger than WFM, according to GCR2P executive director Dr. Simon Adams. Adams confirmed that the group’s main support comes from national governments. Those listed on its website include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Adams added that its primary U.S. foundation support comes from Humanity United and George Soros’s philanthropic network. Oddly, these groups do not list GCR2P as grant recipients on any of their recent IRS 990 forms (tax returns), but they do list WFM.
Adams stated that, while WFM assisted with the creation of GCR2P in 2008, the two entities have no relationship today. “The WFM played a role in helping the Global Centre for R2P get set up in 2008. Other than that we don’t have any direct relationship with the WFM. We work collaboratively with the International Coalition on R2P, but we are two very separate organizations with different focus—we work mainly with governments and U.N., they work mainly with civil society” (email communication, December 7, 2012). Adams did not respond to queries regarding the size of his organization’s budget.
While Soros funds GCR2P, Gareth Evans is the Board Co-Chair. Patrons include Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, and Lloyd Axworthy. Axworthy is the former foreign minister of Canada and helped launch the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty that first proposed R2P in 2001. Axworthy also serves as International President of the WFM.
Evans, Soros, Annan, and a host of other usual suspects also serve on the board of the International Crisis Group, another organization dedicated to the same basic goals. Funders include the Open Society Institute, Carnegie Corporation of New York, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. According to its annual report, the group received about $21 million in 2011. The International Crisis Group was also active in Egypt’s Arab Spring, where former board member Mohamed ElBaradei was first celebrated as a likely replacement for Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak
R2P’s most vocal American proponent is Samantha Power, who was, until very recently, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. She is also the wife of Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein. (Sunstein, you will recall, is the proponent of all kinds of radical notions, including the idea that animals should have standing in U.S. courts and that the First Amendment is overrated.)
In 2002, Power authored a critically acclaimed book on genocide, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. The book catalogued instances of genocide in the last century, from the Armenian genocide initiated in World War I to the 1990s Bosnian and Rwandan conflicts, and won a Pulitzer Prize. In April this year Power was appointed to chair President Obama’s newly created Atrocities Prevention Board.
Power has been accused of being anti-Israel, based on controversial comments she has made about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. She has since claimed she was misunderstood and has been defended by Jewish commentators. For example, in JewishJournal.com Rabbi Schmuleh Boteach called her actions “heroic” and quoted Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who characterized her as “a moderate on Israel.”
Yet her hostility to Israel seems unambiguous. She was asked in a 2002 TV interview how she would advise a U.S. president regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict if it appeared that “one party or the other was moving toward genocide.” She said that American leaders would have to risk “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.” It would involve “investing [billions of dollars] in the new state of Palestine…” and also investing billions of dollars in what would have to be “a mammoth protection force…” due to the “major human rights abuses which we are seeing there…” She has also described Israeli defensive actions against Palestinians as “war crimes” and made other highly inflammatory statements.
That is not the only time Power has had to dial back her comments. She has a reputation for saying what she thinks, then apologizing later. For example, she had to resign from candidate Obama’s 2008 campaign team when she blurted out in an interview that Hillary Clinton was Machiavellian, or in her specific words, “a monster.”
Susan Rice Controversies
Power is widely credited as the main proponent of the Obama administration’s decision to intervene in Libya. Ironically, in her book on genocide, Power was also the source for an extremely unflattering statement by Susan Rice, the current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. who recently had to withdraw her name from consideration as the next Secretary of State after controversies swirling around her made that job unobtainable.
Rice has been harshly criticized for participating in the Obama administration’s ongoing cover-up over the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a consulate analyst, and two U.S. Navy SEALs. In 1994, during the Rwandan massacre, Rice was a “rising star” on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council. Power writes, “At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice … stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, ‘If we use the word “genocide” and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November election?’ Lieutenant Colonel Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. ‘We could believe that people would wonder that,’ he says, ‘but not that they would actually voice it.’”
That comment set the stage for what seems to have become Rice’s specialty, i.e., manning the ramparts to defend her political superiors from the blowback of their disastrous policies. In 1998, when she was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya took the unprecedented step of sending a personal letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright after repeated requests for additional security in Kenya were denied. The ambassador feared an imminent attack and believed she was targeted for assassination.
And indeed, a few months later, 12 U.S. diplomats and more than 200 Africans were killed when U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by al-Qaeda. Susan Rice went on the air within 24 hours to spin the situation. She claimed that the missions “maintain a high degree of security” and that there were no calls or warnings that an attack was about to occur. A few selected excerpts from a PBS interview (Aug. 7, 1998) tell the story:
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Did you have any warnings?
SUSAN RICE: We had no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast. And beyond that, as we go through the investigation, we’ll look for other information that might have been helpful.
FARNSWORTH: Have you gotten any calls, any information from groups claiming responsibility?
RICE: We have not—the U.S. Government has not gotten any calls directly. A Cairo-based newspaper has received one claim. We have no further information at this stage, no reason to assume that it’s credible.
FARNSWORTH: Who was the group that claimed responsibility there?
RICE: I don’t have the name handy. It was not a well-known group.
So it’s no surprise that today Susan Rice is once again engaged in a high-profile game of dissembling and counterattacking in defense of the Obama administration’s indefensible inaction during the Benghazi consulate attack that left four Americans dead.
Crumbling Middle Eastern Policies
But Benghazi is only the most recent incident in a horrendous train of “coincidences” that have led to the collapse of virtually all of America’s already shaky alliances in the Middle East and North Africa. Supposedly, none of this is the administration’s fault either. The administration continues to double down, blaming a ridiculous 13-minute anti-Islam movie trailer on YouTube that no one in the Middle East had previously seen for the Benghazi attack and the recent unrest in Libya and Egypt.
In one of the most shocking demonstrations of this, almost a week after the Benghazi attack Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the father of former Navy SEAL Ty Woods, who perished in Benghazi, “We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” She had to have known that the film was irrelevant to the attack. Woods’ father concluded, “And when she said that I could tell that she was not telling me the truth. She’s more intelligent than I am, and she had to also know she was not telling me the truth.”
But the collapse of friendly regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and one that was at least cooperative in Libya, can only be seen as an intended consequence of U.S. foreign policy. Prior to the 2011 “Arab Spring” in Egypt, the U.S. government was sending millions of dollars in assistance to Egyptian revolutionaries through organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House. Both organizations received funding from the U.S. government during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, according to the New York Times (April 15, 2011).
Meanwhile, under the radar, between 2009 and 2011, Obama friends Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn made repeated trips to Egypt, while top Obama campaign fundraiser and Code Pink founder Jodie Evans, along with co-founder Medea Benjamin, made a visit to the Gaza Strip as guests of the terrorist group Hamas. Following that trip, Benjamin carried a letter addressed to President Obama from Hamas leaders, and delivered it to the American Embassy in Cairo. (“Hamas Delivers Peace Letter to President Obama,” by Medea Benjamin, June 4, 2009, at http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/06/04)
Upon her return to the United States, Evans appeared twice on the White House visitors’ logs. Evans has written about her talks with White House officials, including one official who told Evans, according to reporters at Breitbart.com, that she “wants to consult with Code Pink to ‘make our communications better’” During 2010, Evans reportedly visited Gaza seven times.
In 2011, Code Pink participated in organizing Arab Spring protests, took pictures of its activities, and posted them on the popular photo website Flickr.
The initial Egyptian protests were called “Day of Rage” in imitation of Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground “Days of Rage” in Chicago in 1969. Coincidence? Following the Arab Spring uprisings in fall 2011 another Obama associate, ACORN founder Wade Rathke, also made a trip to Egypt with fellow radicals of his Organizers Forum to witness firsthand the results of “democracy” in action.
The Global Government Connection
At the time, George Soros and Mohamed ElBaradei were serving together on the Board of the International Crisis Group. In the early months of the Egyptian revolt, ElBaradei was widely expected in the West to be the next leader of Egypt, but ultimately that job went to the Muslim Brotherhoood’s Mohamed Morsi. Separately, Soros funded a new weekly newspaper in Egypt titled “Wasla” or “The Link.”
Earlier, Soros had funded Serbian student groups in 2000 that ultimately brought down Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic, especially one group called “Otpor.” Otpor in turn has been very influential in the Arab Spring movement and is responsible for the clenched fist banners seen during the uprising.
Code Pink’s Evans and Medea Benjamin are good friends. Benjamin is also a Code Pink member and founder of Global Exchange, Code Pink’s parent organization. Evans and Benjamin are key organizers of the “Gaza Flotilla,” an effort to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is designed to deny weapons to Gaza’s Hamas rulers. In a 2010 action, activists provoked a skirmish with Israeli commandos who had boarded one of six flotilla ships that had refused to stop. Nine activists were killed in the resulting gun battle. In 2011, another flotilla was launched but was prevented from completing the trip when Turkey intercepted the vessels en route.
The Funders Behind Code Pink
Code Pink is the business name for a nonprofit called Environmentalism through Inspiration and Non-Violent Action. According to its publicly available tax returns, it received revenue of $200,620 in 2011 and $863,294 in 2010. Key funders include the Benjamin Fund, Threshold Foundation, and New Priorities Foundation. Also providing some funding is the Tides Foundation, the Barbra Streisand Foundation, and Global Exchange.
Medea Benjamin is president of both the Benjamin Fund and Global Exchange. The Benjamin Fund lists about $13 million in assets and $11 million in revenue in 2011. Virtually all of its income is derived from the estate of Rose Benjamin, presumably a relative. The two main beneficiaries of the Benjamin Fund are Code Pink and Global Exchange, which together receive over 80 percent of Benjamin Fund’s annual outlay of $1 million in grants. Global Exchange has received about $4.5 million in the past two years and spends most of its revenues on travel and salaries. Grants of $730,000 were provided in 2010 by the Benjamin Fund.
Benjamin and Evans were vociferous supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, even though Benjamin is a trust fund baby, that is to say, a one-percenter who uses a family endowment to foment hatred, division, and revolution. Benjamin and Evans are probably most notorious for helping to provide $600,000 in cash and “humanitarian aid” to “the other side” during the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
It is significant that Benjamin and Evans, leaders of these overtly anti-American, anti-Israel organizations, are so closely allied with the Obama administration. They are viewed as “flaky” lefties, but Jodie Evans was a top fundraising bundler during Obama’s 2008 campaign. In addition to her Mideast trips, Evans also visited the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009, and returned with a package which she delivered to Obama at a San Francisco fundraiser. This handoff was captured in a YouTube video. Evans, who says she “does a lot to not support the troops” and says America created “Hell on earth” in Afghanistan, claims she was contacted the next day by “Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff for a morning-after briefing.”
The International Solidarity Movement
Benjamin, Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn, are also members of another radical anti-Israel group, the International Solidarity Movement. ISM engages in direct action activities on behalf of Palestinian terrorists. Its members travel to Israel under false pretenses and covertly find their way to Palestinian controlled areas where they join forces with the terrorists to engage in “non-violent” activities against the Israelis.
One of ISM’s activists, Rachel Corrie was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, while attempting to stop it from destroying a Hamas-controlled building that had been a weapons warehouse. She has since become a martyr for the cause, but Lee Kaplan, a dedicated investigator who has studied the ISM for 10 years and even gone undercover to catalogue their activities firsthand, has video evidence that her death was an accident, likely caused by her reckless behavior in a very dangerous and chaotic environment.
Direct donations to the International Solidarity Movement are not tax deductible; so ISM does not appear in philanthropic databases. It accepts tax-deductible donations, however, through its fiscal sponsor, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. Muste lists payments to ISM of $13,321 in 2011, $1,500 in 2010, and about $13,400 in 2009.
For perspective, Muste’s other grant recipients include the War Resisters League, United for Peace and Justice, the Socialist Party USA, and a laundry list of other far-left groups. Muste himself was a radical activist whose American Workers Party merged with the Communist League of America (a Trotskyist group) in 1934. The resulting Workers Party of the USA merged two years later with the Socialist Party of America, an ancestor of today’s Democratic Socialists of America.
ISM is a fairly large group with 26 chapters all over the world, so it must receive the majority of its funding from other sources. Because much of its activity is illegal, these funding sources are difficult to track.
ISM also has connections to the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), which is closely tied to the Obama administration. Nine SEIU employees have been investigated as part of an FBI investigation in Chicago into the Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s possibly illegal support for Middle Eastern (Hamas) and Colombian (FARC) terrorist organizations (See http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2011/01/28/Is-SEIU-Working-With-Hamas-And-FARC). These individuals are from SEIU Local 73, which worked on the 2008 Obama campaign. Two of these union members were also active in Obama’s New Party in 1998 (See http://www.trevorloudon.com/2010/09/terror-suspects-were-active-in-obamas-socialist-new-party/).
Benjamin said that she had spoken with Eric Holder about this ISM investigation and had urged him to call it off. He apparently promised he would, but it is unclear if he has done so.
Calls are now being made to intervene militarily in Syria under an R2P pretext. Will Israel be next? Recently the Obama administration restrained Israel from finishing off Hamas groups that were launching relentless rocket attacks. The international community already views Israel as a pariah.
Given this administration’s demonstrated ties to individuals and groups hostile to Israel, and the President’s plainly disrespectful attitude toward our strongest Middle East ally, it is possible that R2P could be used as a pretext to prevent Israel from securing victory, if the Palestinians decided to attack in earnest. If that occurs, we may see the final Middle East domino fall.
James Simpson is an economist, businessman, and freelance writer. His writings have been published in Accuracy in Media, American Thinker, Big Government, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, FrontPage Magazine, and elsewhere.