February 15, 1999
The Wisdom Fund

Face The Facts: Rogue State Par Excellence

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria? By any objective criteria, based upon generally accepted norms for civil society, the rogue state par excellence is not among this frequently cited group of states.

The rogue state par excellence has carried on a campaign of international terrorism and genocide, has refused to abide by international law or treaties, has violated norms of civil society, and has defied world opinion to a degree unmatched by the frequently cited "rogue states." Some recent examples:

On 20 August 1998, after two embassies, in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, had been blown up, this rogue state launched a missile strike on the El Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, thereby, destroying more than 50 percent of this impoverished nations's medicine producing capability. Today the London based Independent reports that an investigation of the missile attack by Kroll Associates has concluded that there was no evidence to link the facility or its owner to international terrorism.

Also, on August 20, 1998 this rogue state fired 75 cruise missiles into the east of Afghanistan. The missile strike was described as a blow at Ossama bin Laden's camp for training terrorists. A few huts were destroyed, and several civilians killed or injured.

Four months later, on December 16, 1998, on the pretext that Iraq was not cooperating with the United Nations Special Commission, this rogue state launched a massive attack on Iraq. Over a four-day period 300 strike fighters, bombers and support aircraft flew 600 sorties, more than half of them at night. Another 40 ships took part in the attack, with 10 of them firing cruise missiles. More than 600 bombs were dropped, 90 cruise missiles fired from the air and another 300 from ships at sea.

These attacks, in which this rogue state acted as judge, jury, and executioner, violated the United Nations charter, and Security Council resolutions. They were almost universally condemned.

Using its $265 billion per year military machine, its economic power, and $97 million appropriated for the purpose of toppling the Iraqi government, this rogue state has maintained crippling sanctions on Iraq whose military outlays were $3 billion annually at their peak, and about $1.2 billion recently. According to UNICEF statistics cited by Dennis Halliday, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest, these sanctions have been killing five or six thousand children every month since the 1991 Gulf War.

Also, as a result of at least one million rounds of ammunition, coated in a radioactive material known as depleted uranium, or DU, fired upon a retreating Iraqi army at the close of the Gulf War, three times more children are being born with congenital deformities than before the Gulf war reports the London based Guardian/Observer (Dec 21, 1998). In both Britain and the United States, veterans of that same war are coming forward with reports of sick and dying children.

Since mid-January of this year, this rogue state has been dropping bombs on Iraqi radar and missile sites, none of which violate any law or treaty. Frequently civilians are also killed and injured. This is done under the guise of protecting dissident groups in Iraq. The "no fly zones" imposed upon Iraq by this rogue state and its allies have no basis in law or treaty, and are a flimsy cover for violating the airspace of a sovereign nation.

Last year, reports the Washington Post (Dec 22), this rogue state announced its decision to use a commercial reactor for military nuclear programs which breaks a 53-year nonproliferation policy it has long urged upon other countries, most recently North Korea, India and Iraq, not to use nuclear power reactors to produce plutonium or highly-enriched uranium, two other key components of nuclear bombs.

About a week ago, reports the Associated Press (Feb 10) this rogue state conducted an underground nuclear test. It was the sixth such test by this rogue state since a 1992 global ban on test explosions of nuclear weapons.

This rogue state has violated the Chemical Weapons Convention since it was ratified (The Washington Post, Sep. 17). According to the Washington based Stimson Center "For the past 18 months, the [rogue state] has been the malignancy in the midst of the CWC."

Now this rogue state proposes to violate the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty. Its current budget proposal contains $6.6 billion for a national missile defense system using space-based sensors, and ground-based missiles, which experts believe won't work, but which is bound to accelerate the arms race.

While urging nonproliferation of weapons by others, this rogue state is the biggest exporter of weapons. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, global arms trade expanded by 8 percent in real terms in 1996 to $39.9 billion. Most of this expansion was due to increased demand by East Asia and the Middle East. Forty-four percent of these exports, or $17 biilion, were from this rogue state.

While championing democracy, this rogue state supports and sustains authoritarian regimes, and monarchies, against the wishes of their prople. It brands those who fight for democracy, or independence from foreign domination, as terrorists.

Last week this rogue state defied world opinion by voting against the U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for an international conference on July 15, 1999 on Israeli settlements in traditionally Arab areas that Palestinians claim are illegal. The vote was 115-2 with five abstentions.

While suing tobacco companies for damages due to smoking related illnesses (in a deal reminiscent of the Opium Wars fought by Britain to force China to buy opium, and to settle for peace by giving away Hong Kong), this rogue state used the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to force Thailand into buying imported cigarettes which the Thai government feared would hinder their efforts to control smoking, and consequently smoking related illnesses.

While bribery has become an acknowledged way of life in many countries, says the reknowned attorney Gerry Spence (Give Me Liberty!), in this state "bribery, made legal, is yet more evil, permitting the corporate core to buy and own the [legislature] and the presidency with pious immunity."

While millions lack health care, and subsist at poverty levels, while thousands sleep on the street, this rogue state's "federal government alone shells out $125 billion a year in corporate welfare ("Corporate Welfare," TIME, Nov 9, 1998, Special Report), this in the midst of one of the more robust economic periods in [it's] history. Indeed, thus far in the 1990's, corporate profits have totaled $4.5 trillion -- a sum equal to the cumulative paychecks of 50 million working [citizens] who earned less than $25,000 a year, for eight years."

This rogue state has more prisoners known to be awaiting execution than any other country according to "Rights for All," a 153 page report from Amnesty International. Prisons for adults also hold at least 3,500 child convicts in violation of an international convention on civil rights.

In this rogue state's prisons, says Amnesty International, "thousands of people are subjected to sustained and deliberate brutality at the hands of police officers. Cruel, degrading and sometimes life-threatening methods of restraint continue to be a feature of [its] criminal justice system."

Amnesty says that "inmates are physically and sexually abused by other inmates and by guards... Sanctions against those responsible for these abuses are rare, ... Prison guards restrain the inmates with electric shock stun guns, leg irons, pepper spray and restraint chairs. Some women prisoners have given birth while in shackles."

This rogue state, reports the Washington Post (Nov 6, 1998), "skirts -- or sometimes flouts -- norms of due process. The use of secret evidence to deport or exclude aliens who are accused of no crimes -- particularly when combined with laws permitting their indefinite detention -- remains the most egregious offense. All the more so since in some of these cases, the evidence -- when it finally emerges -- seems less than impressive."

"The rise in counterterrorism wiretapping and physical searching under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," says the Washington Post, "also presents difficulties, as do asset forfeiture proceedings against people who are accused of supporting terrorist groups but have not been charged with crimes."

This rogue state spies on its citizens. The ECHELON system developed by this rogue state, in partnership with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in Canada, and the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) in Australia, is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world's telecommunications networks.

Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, says a report prepared for the European Parliament (An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control), ECHELON is designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country. It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world.

These are just a few examples of this rogue state's campaign of international terrorism and genocide, its refusal to abide by international law or treaties, and its violation of the norms of civil society -- the very same allegations it makes against other states.

This rogue state has been able to do all this because its major media either remain silent, or participate in deceiving its citizens, whereby, the vast majority of them remain uninformed. The concerned, informed minority is denied access to the primary channels of communication.

By any objective criteria, based upon generally accepted norms for civil society, the rogue state par excellence is neither Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, nor Syria. Let's face the facts. During the final decade of this millennium, the rogue state par excellence has been, and is, the United States -- proclaimer of the right of all to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

[For background read: Michael Klare, "Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws;" William Blum, "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II;" and Howard Zinn, "Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology."]

["While the U.S. regularly denounces various countries as 'rogue states,' in the eyes of many countries it is becoming the rogue superpower."--Gary Wills, "Bully of the World," also see Samuel P. Huntington, "The Lonely Superpower," Foreign Affairs, Mar/Apr 1999]

["Now, in the vote at the UN, in the headlines of papers across Europe, in the planning of countries large and small, there is a growing consensus that the world's most destructive rogue nation is the most powerful country of them all."--Editorial, "Rogue Nation," The Nation, May 28, 2001]

Boomerang! How our covert wars have created enemies across the Middle East and brought terror to America

Robin McKie and David Smith, "US to deploy hyper-missiles: Anywhere on Earth could be targeted 'within two hours'," The Observer, November 14, 2004

Copyright © 1999 The Wisdom Fund - All Rights Reserved. Provided that it is not edited, and author name, organization, and URL ( are included, this article may be printed in newspapers and magazines, and e-mailed to others.
back button