Media Ignore the Illegality of US Sanctions

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Media Ignore the Illegality of US Sanctions

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Media reports on the Trump regime’s sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif ignored what’s most important.

The fourth estate consistently sides with wrong over right, operating as press agents for imperial and corporate power, opposing whatever conflicts with Washington’s rage to rule the world by brute force.

Imposing sanctions on Iran’s top diplomat, a widely respected international figure, further blackened the Trump regime’s eyes on the world stage, more evidence of its hostile imperial arrogance and contempt for the rule of law.

No nation may legally and unilaterally impose sanctions on other countries, entities, groups or individuals. 

The US uses them as weapons of war by other means, punishing other states and their officials for not subordinating their sovereign rights to its interests.

International law prohibits nations from intervening or otherwise interfering in the affairs of other countries — except in self-defense if attacked.

Security Council members alone have sanctioning authority. Article 41 of the UN Charter states that the SC is empowered to decide what actions may be used to enforce international law—including “complete or partial interruption of economic relations and…severance of diplomatic relations,” other than use of military force.

When Article 41 steps don’t work, Article 42 authorizes Security Council members to “take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security”— by use of “demonstrations, blockade,” or military intervention.

Under the UN Charter, binding international law, Security Council member alone may take these actions — not presidents, prime ministers, lawmakers, or judicial bodies.

When sanctions are unilaterally imposed by one nation on others, they have no legal validity. Countries going along with them are complicit in criminality.

They’re acts of political, economic and financial terrorism. Used in lieu of diplomacy, they’re Fourth Geneva banned collective punishment against citizens of targeted countries, especially those least advantaged.

Instead of condemning hostile US actions, establishment media support them, making them complicit in rule of law violations.

Commenting on US sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, the NYT went along with the Trump regime’s false accusation, disgracefully calling him the Islamic Republic’s chief “propaganda arm.”

The Times quoted Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s Big Lie, falsely saying Zarif “implements (Iran’s) reckless agenda…”

Recklessness and ruthlessness describe how the US and its imperial partners operate worldwide, polar opposite Iran’s nonbelligerent agenda, the Times failed to explain.

Pompeo’s mischaracterization of Zarif was also quoted, a pathological liar and war criminal, ignored by the self-styled newspaper of record in its own mind.

Imposing illegal sanctions on Zarif enhanced his stature on the world stage, at the same time providing more evidence of the Trump regime’s pure evil agenda.

The Times was silent about this reality. It unsuccessfully tried vilifying Zarif, citing unnamed internal opponents allegedly referring to him as Zarif the American because of his US education and command of the English language.

He received a BA and MA from San Francisco State University and a doctorate from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies, his dissertation titled “Self-Defense in International Law and Policy.”

He also studied at the University of Tehran, Islamic Azad University, and Colombia University in New York.

Iranian foreign minister since 2013, he was chief negotiator for the JCPOA nuclear deal, earlier serving as Iranian envoy to the US from 2002 to 2007.

He’s a visiting Tehran University professor at its School of International Relations. Time magazine earlier included him among its “100 most influential people in the world.”

A distinguished figure on the world stage, he received numerous honors at home and abroad.

The Times quoted an unnamed Trump regime official, saying he’s been afforded too much credibility internationally so “the United States has decided enough is enough,” the broadsheet adding:

“Trump (regime) officials maintained that talking to Mr. Zarif was pointless because, they insisted, he lacked true decision-making authority.”

The remark ignored his negotiating skills and influence that made bringing the JCPOA to fruition possible.

The neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post cited Pompeo’s Big Lie about Zarif and Iran, falsely accusing them of malign activities worldwide.

The broadsheet and other US establishment media fail to explain and condemn Washington’s imperial rage, its war on humanity at home and abroad, its war OF terror, not on it.

The Wall Street Journal claimed sanctions on Zarif (it failed to say are illegal and malign) “follow(ed)  Tehran’s latest missile-test launch, the seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and the shooting down of a US military drone.”

The Journal ignored the legality of Iran’s ballistic missile program, the legal seizure of the UK tanker for breaching maritime law, and that the downed US drone, provocatively and illegally in Iranian airspace, ignored multiple warnings to leave.

What establishment don’t explain is what’s most important to report. They lie, deceive, and support ruling class rage over the rights and welfare of ordinary people.

They cheerlead wars of aggression instead of denouncing them. They’re hostile to nonbelligerent Iran and other sovereign independent countries on the US target list for regime change.

They long ago abandoned what journalism the way it should be is all about — serving instead as a collective mouthpiece for monied interests and the imperial state.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.