Phil Mirzoev's blog

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prosecution of genocide denial: repressive use of criminal law by state

All those laws against genocide denial (be it Holocaust denial in Germany or the newly introduced legal nonsense in France about Armenian denial) are just a glaring example of repressive use of criminal law, which is neither compatible with the legal logic or ethics of criminal law, nor with the norms of a modern civil free society. And I am telling this despite the fact that I myself neither deny those mass those massacres that took place in Armenia, Germany etc, nor consider the present history education in school enough and proper for future generations to draw all the due lessons from those terrible historical events and state crimes.
The more the misuse of criminal law is escalated and promoted by Western states and governments, the farther the freedom and the rights-based democratic foundations are eroded - be it the prosecution of 'genocide denial' or the ban of face veils or prosecution of Wikileaks. This is a crystal clear measure, a litmus test, showing what the real trajectory of Western semi-democracy is: states seem to take to repressive use of the criminal law club. What's next?
The very formulation of those anti-denial laws is absurd, cos you cannot make a state of disbelief or denial of anything a crime (at least if you don't live in a place like Ottoman Turkey of the 1900s or Germany of the 1930s). Even more to the point, the very (and the only) UN-chosen definition of 'genocide' is an artificial construct, a deeply ideological conception, which may not reflect the reality properly or even may be immoral in itself in the eyes of many. The very definition of genocide, at least in the highly arguably and dubious form it is now, could be a subject of disbelief and rejection. That means for example, that if I don't recognize the validity, essentiality and even moral relevance of the term 'genocide' (in the legal sense in which one should apply and consider now this notion), I can be technically considered as being in denial of Genocide. To put it more simply, I for example recognize the terrible mass killings of Jews, Poles, Gypsies by the Nazi butchers, and I reckon those terrible acts as one of the most terrible crimes in human history, but I consider them so NOT because I believe in the notion of genocide in the form it's now formulated, but because for me the main point is the CRIME of a STATE against human and people LIFE. For me - I took myself here just as an example - the crimes of Hitler wouldn't have been less heavy, atrocious and punishable even in the least bit, if his government had killed not only Jews but Germans too (like Stalin did to Russians) and if OFFICIALLY Hitler's government hadn't declared Jews as a kind of genetically inferior people. Yet, in the eyes of the present definition of the term 'genocide' those crimes should be considered qualitatively lighter if the above conditions had existed in reality. I don't fully believe in the term 'genocide' in the form it's now, I reckon it itself to be racist based in a way. So, I suppose, I myself could be in future prosecuted for 'genocide denial'
The genocide now just blurs the line between the responsibility of any state for mass killings and torture of its people, and the crime of technically discriminating against ethnicity/nation as such. So in my opinion the notion of genocide is still very much cynical (putting the value of human lives much lower than the value of formal ethnicity, which in itself is not a proved essential notion and can be reasonably put into doubt as such by some scholars and ordinary people) and ethically dubious to say the least.
There's a different aspect to this problem of 'genocide denial', concerning responsibility - an aspect of possible insult to a group of people, whose relatives died in the genocide etc - but that is absolutely another story: those questions can, should and MUST be resolved within the framework of the CIVIL law. There must be established sufficiently thought-out civil law mechanisms that should allow those, who consider themselves victims of some kind of ethnic or 'historic insult', to initiate civil proceedings against those, say, 'deniers' and claim a good compensation in the form of money, apologies etc etc. But they must PROVE it in a civil court in the first place.
To add one more point about the genocide definition: now as such, the UN formulation is not only ethically ambivalent and confusing, in my opinion, but damaging in practical terms, because it provokes and gives all the grounds and possibilities to the most fundamentalist's radical nationalistic core of people withing different nations to most cynically CAPITALIZE on the DEATH of thousands of, in essence, people (whom they, without asking them, include in the same imaginable ethnic body to which they relate themselves), who had time ago fallen victims of mass killings and tortures conducted by one state or another for a set of reasons not always fully known and even able to be known and cognizable at all (but, de facto, accompanied by the state impunity and the self-proclaimed right of those butcher-states to dispose of people's lives at will). Good thing for those radical nationalistic beneficiaries, is that those killed are SILENT and UNRESPONSIVE, we cannot resurrect those Jews, or Armenians and ask their opinion or judgement. This thing is quite devilishly exploited by the very right nationalists.
For example, in my opinion, those among Armenians who feel that they can capitalize on the notion of collective responsibility in direct or any indirect way, will be for as much of the world's attention to the issue of genocide as possible (of course, there are also millions of other Armenians, and, like me, non-Armenians who very deeply sympathize with the victims of Turkish butchery and want to make the history as true and clear, as possible, but for whom the tragedy is not an element of a potentially successful PR campaign and a tool to extract moral debts and exclusive position - something, what I call 'racism inside out').     
All in all it's beneficial to engrave in the stone of the world history the position of your ethnicity as an uncompensated victim, cos in this case the descenders (and also self-proclaimed 'quasi-descenders') of those who actually lived in the times of the actual genocide, can reckon on indirect compensation (but 'never-ending' at the same time, cos those killed can never be resurrected, nor can they be asked their opinion on whether their death has been redeemed) and sometimes on direct compensation.
The idea is that some nations can put themselves in a position of always having a positive moral account balance with the rest of the world and morals as such (not to be confused with justice) have always been used by human creatures to derive benefits and compensations.
Many Jews CAPITALIZED politically economically etc on Holocaust - the same story (don't get me wrong, it in no way reduces the terror and absolute hell on earth of Holocaust and the necessity to prevent and remember such apocalypses) That's the point of radical nationalistic stance and the 'beauty' of it, because one cannot ask those killed - neither Jews nor Armenians - about their opinion in the discussion, nor can one return the compensation to THEM. So in practice one group of people at one time is KILLED ruthlessly and another group of people, publicly stating their belonging to one metaphysical 'nation-body' with those killed, tries get the actual compensation and benefits, assessable material part of which sometimes is no trifling at all...
It's not meant to say, that among those who call themselves Armenians or Jews, there are not those who, as their first priority, want historical truth, memory and recognition of the facts of genocide, but such groups are not those who influence the decisions made in France about laws against Armenian genocide denial. Besides you don't need to be Armenian to be in favor of historical truth. I am not Armenian, but I am for good history text books and good memory of this tragedy, and better and more fair historical education in schools.
Just to amplify a bit on what I said in the beginning, one of the most unpleasant problems, about which few people like to talk about, is that the very UN-confirmed and used notion of GENOCIDE is itself racism based in a way - it puts the value of national belonging HIGHER that the value of human life, it puts the crime against nationality as such HIGHER than crime of a state-sanctioned mass killing of human beings. In other words, if Hitler or Ottoman rulers would give purely technical reasons for their crime (not specifically racist) then according to today's laws and legal views, the crimes were much less substantial. Excellent example of this is Russia, which in Stalin's times exiled, imprisoned and killed a huge number of different ethnic minorities (and not only minorities in the case of so called golodomor), but the main justification used by Russia - used quite successfully, mind you - is that 1. They also killed many Russians in the process 2. The primary cause was the state security, not specific racism-based or ethnic-inequality-based theories and philosophies.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Comments on the controlled explosion theory of the 911 attack

All those speculations about controlled demolitions serve only one purpose: to shift the focus of the public discussion from the main RATIONAL question: what did the US government (and its agencies) really know about the terrorist acts in preparation, and what could the government obviously do to prevent it but DID NOT do? In other words, DID THE US GOVERNMENT HELP THE ATTACKS take place in one essential way or another??!!
That's the right and by the way absolutely legitimate question, because 1. Bush-Cheney team, being extremely hawkish, would have had potentially every interest in and motive for helping such like attacks and the obvious political possibilities and opportunities it would give them; 2. The US government in general case has the technical and organizational capacity and ability to help such attacks indirectly and heighten probability of such attacks to one degree or another, taking them from the category of 'almost improbable' to the category of 'quite possible' 3. It stems from the evidence already known for the public that quite probably they had the best opportunity possible for helping the 911 attack because the CIA and FBI data had just before pointed unambiguously to some terrorists efforts going on to organize some large scale attacks in the US territory (volumes have been said already on this topic. Some FBI agents, like Coleen Rowley or Bogdan Dzakovic even gave very accurate predictive assessments as to when this kind of terrorist attacks were to be reasonably expected with an accuracy of up to a one-two months).
You cannot get inside the head of Bush or Chaney (or Hitler for that matter) to look at intentions, but you can, at least in theory, establish the objective degree of knowledge and whether or not some obvious measures that ought to have been taken to prevent the apocalypse were taken by the government... No presumption of innocence in this case, cos the Bush administration was an interested party: there's a preponderance of evidence to believe that the political consequences for the Bush/Chaney team from the 911 attack were highly positive. They were hawks they never hid it, they always liked playing the war card, and one didn't need to be Einstein to predict, that the 911 event gave almost infinite freedom and public all-clear for starting any wars (any that could be physically possible without immediate disruption of the economic fabric of the US).
In the modern semi-democracies like the US the Government actually DOESN'T NEED to act directly to get as a result some terrorist acts on their home territory. If the US highest figures in power would wish to bomb the US for their own political purposes, they would try to do it with the hands of real terrorists - of course not by paying and giving them special VIP invitations, but just refraining from putting some critical obstacles in their way (cos the concentration of publicly uncontrolled and informationally non-transparent power in the quasi-democracies is HUGE - that's why they are not the true democracies). Yes it would probably require involvement of some very high figures in federal security agencies (like CIA or something), but this is not a problem, considering the objective interests of those agencies (the more terrorism the more need for them), their absolute secrecy and non-transparency (even inside themselves), intrinsic immorality, iron immunity to any checks from parallel branches of power, historical addiction to impunity and the historical experience (Bush needed some cheap falsification of the presence of nuclear sites in Iraq, and hey presto CIA in less than no time gave him a heap of very bad quality stuff (suitable only for 10 year olds), but they DID with pleasure. Simple friendly request was apparently enough.
So in my view, if the Government structure(s) KNEW about these things being prepared and they didn't do something to prevent it which reasonably should have been done, it would already give enough grounds to accuse the government in HELPING the attackers and attacks. Together with additional 5000 American boys and girls sent to their death to Iraq and Afghanistan 'meat grinder' such accusations would more than suffice to make it sensible to organize a nation wide criminal process - something like a 21th century Nuremberg - against the crimes of the US government committed against its own people (not to mention the victims beyond the national frontiers).

For me all these talks about the involvement of the US highest rank state figures in the 911 attack confirm some important points that don't directly relate to the tragedy as such:

1. Despite sometimes naive quality and formulation of the Americans' 'conspiratorial'  suspicions of the their own government's involvement in the 911 massacre, or, better to say, involvement of the STATE, those suspicions show a very low level of trust of the people of America to their own state (or to the state that owns them).

2. Those who don't trust the state system in the US (whether intuitively or quite consciously and reasonably) are quite legitimate and RATIONAL in their disbelief. This is one of the manifestations of the complete obsolescence of the American 'democratish' model, which, in fact, not only doesn't give to the people nearly enough power and levers to control what the state is up to, but also in this modern age very fast neutralizes and incapacitates those 300-year old 'primeval' tools.

3. Once more it confirms the old truth told by John Acton: power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Any state system, when gets more much more practical control over the people than is itself controlled starts to pursue only its own interests, becoming the main enemy and TRAITOR of its own nation: these truths have been proved by history countless times. Time for reform of the democratish system, the goal of which is using outward democratic cover and procedure to legitimize the existing state, into a real democracy, the main characteristic of which is TOTALITARIAN control of the civil society over the state power-invested structures, ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY, and non-stop direct participation of the society in changing the state management mechanisms and laws. NO PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE can be granted to governments (in the form it is now anyway).

See also on the related topics:
The US has a hopelessly out-of-date political system: reform urgently needed
How to avoid ridiculously 'freak' wars like in Iraq and Afghanistan in future?!
Yes, Bradley Manning and Assange deserve the Nobel prize possibly more than Obama does! 
EU tribulations have political, not economic roots: no democracy - no legitimacy
Don't be afraid of the word 'socialism' in the 21th century, it can be helpful

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The International Tribunal in Hague couldn't care less about Assad

The fact that Hague Tribunal isn't doing NOW anything about #Assad just confirms for me once more that this institution is a sort of political concubine or or 'sex slave', which has nothing to do with the rule of law, but on the contrary slavishly follows the political decisions, fitting the law into the politics, not the other way around. The same thing happened in the case of Qaddafi when the Hague started to utter any sounds on this only AFTER Western military began targeting (unlawfully too) his living place directly with missiles... So Hague Tribunal is a very specific court which is designed not to independently start investigation and decide whether someone is guilty and administer punishment, but to kind of confirm a posteriori that a punished person is a criminal... Sadly it's just another 'sham institution' which corrodes the faith and confidence of the whole world in the West, in its intention and moral stand; which amongst many other things continues to ruin the image of the West in the eyes of the developed countries. It is very very sad because just a couple of decades ago the most progressive and educated people in the developed countries really really placed a huge amount of faith in Western political high moral principles and institutions purportedly designed to realize those principles in practice. This credit of confidence of the West was really a highly precious reserve, hugely powerful tool - a thing to keep and cherish. But by now all this 'gold reserve' has all but completely been frittered away, or, to be more accurate, just let go down the drain, alas...