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Trump Attack on Syria Violated International Law

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Please understand, I am no fan of the United Nations, the globalist pipe dream for world government supported by every president since its inception except Ronald Reagan and possibly Donald Trump. Still, it was created in San Francisco, is housed in Rockefeller donated property in New York City, and we were signatories of its charter which prohibits what Trump just did to Syria. This begs the question.

Is an attack warranted under international law on a sovereign nation that has not attacked the United States and, if not, why shouldn’t we be viewed as an aggressor nation by our initiating one?  A giant irony is that we punished Syria for violating international law by our also violating international law.  Who says two wrongs do not make a right?

Consider the following United Nations Charter violations by the United States when we attacked Syria:  Article 2, Sec. 4, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state….”  Even our threat of the use of force is a violation.  The only exception to the use of force is self-defense as stipulated in Art. 51. “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Donald Trump made no case to the United Nations prior to attacking the sovereign country of Syria.  He has not, and will not, because he would have to justify such action on the basis that Syria had first shown actual aggression toward the United States necessitating our responding in self-defense.  This he cannot do.  Were U. S. citizens gassed we could respond in self-defense but we were not.  Such acts of aggression justifying self defense must immediately be provided to the UN Security Council who then decide “such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Other United Nation Charter rules also need satisfied.  Article 39 stipulates that “the Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”  Even before this takes place Article 40 must be satisfied which reads: “In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable.  Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned.  The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.”  So we see that in order for a state to use force in self-defense, it or some other state must have suffered an armed attack.  Such has not been demonstrated with respect to Syria.

There exists other complications; even had the UN ruled Syria an aggressor nation, which it has not, and sanctioned a coalition force against Syria, the President sought the support of no other countries to bomb with him.  The Syrian offense had already occurred so the mission was to punish the perpetrator, clearly not self-defense.  Syria had signed only one of two treaties prohibiting the use of gas and it contained no enforcement provisions and no one made the United States the policeman of the world.  Finally, although there is no doubt that chemical weapons were used on Syrians, the source of such, although presumed, has not been definitively proved.  Everyone remembers the “proof” presented to the United Nations by Colin Powel, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when it did not.  Assad maintains that his own men were gassed as well.

The Assad regime may well have gassed her own people, which Assad aggressively denies, but he has not attacked another country.  We, on the other hand, did just this when we bombed Syria.  Had the U.S. attacked, Russia or China either would have retaliated with immediate war and asked the United Nations to define the United States as the aggressor nation and insisted they define Donald Trump a war criminal.  That could have been followed by a “call upon the parties concerned,” the United States especially, “to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable,” which could include economic sanctions as has been used on other nations.

Did we think when we signed the UN Charter, creating the “world government,” that the rules did not apply to us, that we could just bomb whomever, whenever, and wherever we wished as with our drone strikes on multiple countries under President Obama.  Unfortunately for President Trump, but fortunately for us, the U. N. Charter does not allow a military attack on a sovereign nation just to punish them.

Someone needs to save the president from his ignorance of international law before he does a preemptive strike on North Korea. Another option, if we are not going to be subjected to world law, is to pull out of the United Nations, a move that I have long supported.
 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Trump Defies the Constitutional Separation of Powers with Syrian Attack

Harold Pease, Ph. D

Even though President Donald Trump believes it proper to bomb Syria, a country that has done us no harm, he has no constitutional authority to do so. Because weak Congress’s have not punished previous presidents, both Democrat and Republican, when they did the same, it does not make it constitutional. Despite compelling humanitarian reasons justifying the action, the gassing of children with sarin gas, presumed by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, we lack the treasure and ability to be the policeman of the world. Where would it end? Most of the world has dictators and tyrants as leaders. We would never be able to stop bombing someone.

The making and funding of war were clearly denied the president in the U.S. Constitution because he, as Founder James Madison argued, “had the most propensity for war.” The Constitution reads: only Congress has the right “to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.” War requires the blood of our young warriors, and this requires the permission of the people who are required to be the fodder for such. Only the people’s representatives can “provide and maintain a navy or make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces” and for “calling forth the militia…to repel invasions.” Only the people’s representatives can “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States….” Congress is directly responsible for any acquisition of property for military use. All of this is in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and belongs to the legislative branch alone.

The Constitution does not use the words “national security” but “common defense,” defined by eight parameters, clauses 10-17, just noted, with the word defense primary. Not a single Founder would have approved of our turning “common defense” into “common offense.”

Funding for war is yet another constitutional check and is entirely left with the House of Representatives. The Constitution says: “no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.” Two years is the designated time that a member of the House is elected and authorized to represent his people. So, neither Presidents Barack Obama nor Trump can expend monies for military activity without congressional approval. Article I, Section 7 requires that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives….” This clause is how the people, through their elected representatives, control a war happy president.

The only war power a president is allowed to have in the Constitution is as “Commander in Chief of the army and navy of the United States, … when called into the actual service of the United States,” which is done only by Congress, not by himself. No president has constitutional authority to engage in war without a declaration of war—even if done by other presidents before him. To commit our young to potential death unilaterally is not a presidential power, and doing so should be an impeachable offense. If the Executive Branch can effectively remove this power from Congress, giving it to itself, we are close to losing the rest of the Constitution as well.

In the Obama Administration, Congress was not consulted when American planes bombed Libya (2011, 2015), or his authorizing drone strikes in several middle-eastern countries (2013-2016) killing designated individuals—all such have traditionally been considered acts of war. Certainly these would be treated as such were they perpetrated on U.S. soil by another country. The Syrian chemical use in their civil war had already occurred, so the Trump bombing strike was to punish the perpetrator, clearly not self-defense.

The last four presidents, two of each major political party, have bombed the following 10 sovereign nations (some multiple years): Somalia 1993, 2007-2008 & 2011, Bosnia 1994-1995, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998 & 2001-2015, Yugoslavia 1999, Yemen 2002 & 2009-2011, Iraq 1991-2015, Pakistan 2007-2015, Libya 2011 & 2015, and Syria 2014-2016 & 2017. None of these were preceded by a declaration of war. Most of these American attacks had no specific congressional authorization. They were all justified under national security. Probably only Afghanistan can be viewed as self-defense. Where do we get authority to bomb other countries at executive will, certainly not from the Constitution?

To protect the Constitution, the House of Representatives in March of 2012, attempted to place President Obama on short notice that the next disregard of their power would be grounds for impeachment. We might wish to give Trump the same warning. Concurrent resolution H. Con. Res. 107 read, “Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article 1, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Until 1913 No One Paid Income Tax. Why Now?

Harold Pease. Ph. D

As a nation under the U.S. Constitution we are 228 years old. It may surprise readers to learn that for the first 124 of these years we had no federal income tax and handled our expenses quite well. Today those paying may be assessed a fifth to a fourth of their income. Prior to 1913 one kept what is now taken from them.

What would you spend it on were it not taken? Not on the basics such as food, housing, and utilities for they are covered in what you are allowed to retain. You would spend the extra fourth of your salary on thousands of items that are made by others as well as services you might like. This not only would enrich your life but it would provide jobs for others making those items or providing those services. Many middle class folks could purchase a new car every year with what they are forced to give to the federal government.

Would you spend it more wisely than the federal government? Certainly! Most of the money taken from you by the federal government is spent on perpetual war, foreign aid, grants to privileged portions of our society, and endless unconstitutional subsidized programs; the last two of which basically take the money of those who produce and redistribute it to those who do not. Even some non-tax payers get income tax refunds—so corrupt is the system.

Of course, those receiving and benefiting from these programs will defend them. But the fact remains that tax monies provide largely government jobs, which are almost entirely consumption jobs (jobs that consume the production of society but produce little consumable). Such jobs cannot produce for public consumption a potato, a carton of milk, or even a can of hair spray. They bring another guy to the table to eat, but not another to produce something to eat.

What largely brought about the give-away programs of the Twentieth Century was the now 104-year-old 16th Amendment—the federal income tax. All three 1912 presidential candidates Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, and their respective parties, wanted this financial water faucet that they could turn on at will. They could purchase anything—even people.

Prior to 1913 the federal government remained mostly faithful to her grants of power in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which left them with only four powers: to tax, pay the debts, provide for the general welfare and provide for the common defense. Because the federal government has the inclination to maximize their authority the last two power grants, general welfare and common defense, each had eight qualifiers to harness them more fully. Outside these qualifiers the federal government had no power to tax or spend.

General welfare then meant everyone equally (general) as opposed to “specific welfare” or “privileged welfare” as it is today, targeting those to forfeit and those to receive monies. The Constitution did not deny states, counties, or cities from having such programs, only the federal government. But politicians soon learned that the more they promised to the people, from the money of others, the easier it was to get elected and stay elected.

The problem with the federal government going off the list and funding things clearly not on it was that each time they did so the stronger the inclination to do so again. One minor departure begets another until one notices that what the federal government does has little or no relationship to the list. I ask my students what would happen if they took one lollypop to kindergarten and gave it to one child? What would the others say? Where is mine? Try taking away long provided benefits from a privileged group, as for example food stamps, and see how popular you are with that voting group in the next election.

So why does the government now need a fourth of everything you make and it is still not enough? Answer, because we went off the listed powers of the Constitution and every departure required more taxpayer funding. The solution to less tax is less government. A side benefit is more freedom. The productive classes would not be hurt as might be supposed. Seldom do they qualify for the federally subsidized programs anyway. The fourth taken from the productive classes would be spent by them creating a haven of jobs for those who wished to work and give them no excuse not to. The cycle of dependency would be drastically reduced. The federal government would no longer be an enabler to those not working. States would decide for themselves what assistance programs they could afford with some states offering more and others less as the Tenth Amendment mandates.

So, how did we cover the expenses of the federal government—even wars—our first 124 years? Products coming into the country were assessed a fee to market in the U.S. called a tariff. We got product producers in other countries to cover our national expenses and thus we were able to spend on ourselves every cent of what the federal government now takes, which inadvertently stimulated the economy. No one should be able to argue that our approaching $20 trillion national debt is fair, has really worked for any of us, and is a better plan. I personally like the idea of being able to purchase a new car every year.

 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Globalist Influence in the Trump Administration

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

The most globalist and influential political action organization in the United States is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The Donald Trump Administration is the most clean of CFR influence in many decades, perhaps since Calvin Coolidge. Traditionally this organization claims either the president or the vice president in every administration, and always the Secretary of State, and ambassadorships to the United Nations, Russia and China. Under Trump it claims none of these posts. Moreover, CFR members largely fill the majority of presidential cabinets. Normally, they have highly placed members in both major political parties and thus for almost 100 years they win every presidential election.

They are the moneyed elite capable of bringing to candidates the millions of dollars that are needed to win. They are in both political parties and they own the major media outlets. Thus their influence over presidential candidates for a hundred years is never really covered, but all presidential candidates know of their influence and power. No candidate for president gets to office without CFR approval, until now.

Over the decades they have been called the shadow government, the secret combination, the moneyed establishment, the eastern establishment and now just the establishment. They have hated only two presidential party nominees Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Donald Trump in 2016. The first they destroyed, the second they seek to remove or destroy.

President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to reference a secret influence over politics at the highest level. In his The New Freedom (1913) he wrote of his experience with a hidden force: “Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”

A hundred years later, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, identified the CFR as her source of direction when she addressed them in their new D. C. “sub-center down the street.” She told them: “I am delighted to be at these new headquarters. I have been often to the mother ship in New York City but it is good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council so this will mean that I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”

In the presidential campaign the establishment media portrayed Donald Trump as a joke—certainly not a serious candidate, not a real conservative, a flip-flopper on the issues, anti-women, anti-immigration, insulting to everyone, a braggart, only into himself, least likely to beat Hillary Clinton, only attractive to white males, and not in touch with reality with respect to the Middle East, and more. They were wrong. A third of these charges would have easily destroyed previous candidates. As president they work to obstruct everything he does. He is vilified in virtually every national press outlet.

Unfortunately Trump’s CFR record, although the best ever, is no longer pure. CFR Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster replaced General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser and Neil M. Gorsuch as U.S. Supreme Court justice, is imminent. Gorsuch was first listed as a CFR member in the 2007 Annual Report and thereafter for five years. He is not currently listed. Gorsuch must be questioned regarding this affiliation. Membership in the CFR is by invitation only following a period of observation making certain that your loyalty to the values of the organization are impeccable. Those values are empowerment of the United Nations, internationalism, world government, nation building and eradicating national borders—each out of harmony with the Constitution as created by the Founders.

Gorsuch may be promoted as an originalist on the Constitution but as a member of an organization that sees the Constitution as an obstruction to the New World Order, which the CFR promotes, the Senate must know which loyalty is primary and if not the Constitution he must be rejected by all Senators. Should a decision come before him that forces him to choose between two loyalties, internationalism and U.S. nationalism, which will he endorse?

Another concern surfaces; Ruth Bader Ginsburg also has CFR membership and thus two of the nine justices of the highest court in the land could have a higher loyalty. She has made no secret that she views international law (UN law) as constitutional. In fact her loyalty to the Constitution came into question in 2012 when the Egyptian government sought her advice in the writing of a new constitution. She recommended the South African or Canadian models and could not recommend the U.S Constitution. Two of nine justices who may have a higher loyalty than the Constitution is two too many.

Trump would be better off to avoid all globalist organizations and members in his administration. There are plenty of experts available without globalist sympathy. Still, he has done well in reducing globalist influence in those who advise him.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Is the “Deep State” Constitutional?

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Recent revelations, notably the March 8, Wikileaks dump of over 9,000 emails, is reportedly a dump far larger and worse than the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013. A dump disclosing potential spying of Americans by their own television sets, whether on or off, or by their automobiles. Sophisticated cyber technology “beyond what Snowden could have imagined,” capable of spying leaving the footprint of other countries (such as Russia) so our government remains undetected, has caused many to look to the Constitution for protection from their own government. Remember Snowden had revealed the National Security Agency’s “intercepting 200 million text messages every day worldwide through a program called Dishfire” (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, “The 10 Biggest Revelations from Edward Snowden’s Leaks,” Mashable, Jun. 05, 2014). Is the “Deep State” constitutional?

In the Constitution the words “national security” are not used but “common defense” is mentioned twice, first in the Preamble, which is but a statement of intent and is not generally seen as usable for codification of law, and next in Article I, Section 8 as one of the four powers of congress; the others being the power to tax, pay the debts, and provide for the general welfare. Sections 2-9 are the qualifiers on what is meant by “common defense” so as to limit government’s inclination to define everything as common defense, as it now does by using the words national security instead.

Unfortunately for big government advocates, collecting and storing data on its citizens is not cited or even alluded to. Nor has such authority been added by way of an amendment to the Constitution.

Fortunately for Americans this behavior is specifically forbidden in the Fourth Amendment which reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” (is the strongest possible language conceivable) “and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The amendment was specifically designed to prevent government spying on its own people.

Prior to the American Revolution the British government used what was called “a general search warrant” which allowed their agents to harass the people thought to be doing, or saying, something disapproved by the government. No such flexible interpretation was allowed in our government until recent times. In our day, computers, cellphone messages and phones are our “papers and effects.” Simply confiscating their messages and storing them, perhaps indefinitely, should be no different than the police walking into your home and taking any letters you have received or are about to send and housing them in police headquarters in case they should need them to use against you at a later day. As a first principle your house and papers are off-limits to the government.

Moreover, unreasonable was not to be decided by the police. All searches are unreasonable without probable cause that you are doing something harmful to others. Elected judges exist for assessing probable cause. Should they get cozy with the police they can be defeated in the next election. As initially interpreted there were to be few federal laws, hence few unelected federal justices. This was to be a state, county, or city matter. Judges rousted out of a good sleep in the middle of the night were not likely to be too happy about having to assess frivolous charges.

There exists no constitutional authority for a blanket extraction of all our electronic data. Judges swear an oath to preserve the Constitution. They are not to perform with a private view outside that document. Notice also the specific restrictive phraseology with respect to this power; they are to particularly describe “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”—evidence that something unlawful already happened. There is no authority for a “fishing expedition.” NSA spying on its own citizens without a search warrant is clearly unconstitutional.

So what of the government’s secret FISA court where since 1979 special federal (unelected) judges have only turned down 12 spying requests out of 38,169 made? Isn’t that based upon probable cause? Not necessarily! The request is more likely made because they lack probable cause and wish to find it by accessing your private records or conversations. The FISA court is hampered by three major flaws: judges therein are not elected and accountable to the people, the court operates behind an impenetrable double-door in a vault-like room in total secrecy, and the rules empowering the spying activities are far more permissive than those allowed other judges in other federal courts.

Moreover, the FISA court violates the Fifth Amendment in that the accused is, in a very real sense, forced to be a witness against himself—perhaps the only witness. It is his papers, emails, and phone conversations that convict him.

“No, federal government!” The power of the “Deep State” as practiced is a blatant violation of the Constitution. You may argue that you are only protecting us from bad people out there by gathering our private information without our consent or knowledge, but who protects us from you? Historically more terroristic acts happen under government authority than under private authority. Fortunately the Constitution protects us from you.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.