Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 9 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/9/20

Lies, The Bethlehem Doctrine And The Illegal Murder Of Soleimani

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   2 comments

From Consortium News

In one of the series of blatant lies the U.S. has told to justify the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning "imminent attacks" on U.S. citizens. It is a careful choice of words. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when legal adviser to first Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and then U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Bethlehem Doctrine says states have a right of "preemptive self-defense" against "imminent" attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine that here "imminent," -- the word used so carefully by Pompeo -- does not need to have its normal meanings of either "soon" or "about to happen." An attack may be deemed "imminent," according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes because of "intelligence" that indicates you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence saying you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

Drone 'pilots' launch an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for a raid in the Middle East.
Drone 'pilots' launch an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for a raid in the Middle East.
(Image by (U.S. military))
  Details   DMCA

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, U.S. and U.K. governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the U.S., U.K. and Israeli governments is classified information).

Twisting the Meaning of "Imminent"

So, when Pompeo says attacks by Soleimani were "imminent" he is not using the word in the normal sense in the English language. It is no use asking him what, where or when these "imminent" attacks were planned to be. He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.

The idea that killing an individual who you have received information is going to attack you, but you do not know when, where or how, can be justified as self-defense, has not gained widespread acceptance or indeed virtually any acceptance in legal circles outside the ranks of the most extreme devoted neo-conservatives and Zionists. Daniel Bethlehem became the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office's chief legal adviser, brought in by Jack Straw, precisely because every single one of the FCO's existing legal advisers believed the Iraq War to be illegal. In 2004, when the House of Commons was considering the legality of the war on Iraq, Bethlehem produced a remarkable paper for consideration, which said that it was legal because the courts and existing law were wrong, a defense which has seldom succeeded in court.

(b)
"following this line, I am also of the view that the wider principles of the law on self-defense also require closer scrutiny. I am not persuaded that the approach of doctrinal purity reflected in the Judgments of the International Court of Justice in this area provide a helpful edifice on which a coherent legal regime, able to address the exigencies of contemporary international life and discourage resort to unilateral action, is easily crafted;"

The key was that the concept of "imminent" was to change:

"The concept of what constitutes an 'imminent' armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats."

Colin Powell
Colin Powell
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
  Details   DMCA

In the absence of a respectable international lawyer willing to argue this kind of tosh, Blair brought in Bethlehem as chief legal adviser, the man who advised Netanyahu on Israel's security wall and who was willing to say that attacking Iraq was legal on the basis of "imminent threat" to the U.K. by Iraq's President Saddam Hussein, which proved to be non-existent. It says everything about Bethlehem's eagerness for killing that the formulation of the Bethlehem Doctrine on extrajudicial execution by drone came after the Iraq War, and he still gave not one second's thought to the fact that the intelligence on the "imminent threat" can be wrong. Assassinating people on the basis of faulty intelligence is not addressed by Bethlehem in setting out his doctrine. The bloodlust is strong in this one.

There are literally scores of academic articles, in every respected journal of international law, taking down the Bethlehem Doctrine for its obvious absurdities and revolting special pleading. My favorite is this one by Bethlehem's predecessor as the FCO chief legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood and his ex-Deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Craig Murray Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.


Longer bio (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA's Absence of Conviction

Assange Displayed Signs of Torture in Courtroom Farce

Talk of Moving UK's Embassy in Israel

Lies, The Bethlehem Doctrine And The Illegal Murder Of Soleimani

The UK's Macabre Final Election

Condemned By Their Own Words

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments


Stan Crawford

Become a Fan
Author 511938
(Member since Aug 15, 2018), 2 fans, 346 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

As the information comes out about this assassination, one learns that Soleimani was engaged in finding solutions to the Saudi/Yemeni conflict. That his schedule was known to US "officials," so this droning ambush could commence. click here

This War Crime objective was done to deflect MSN to IMPOTUS Impeachment and Bibi's corruption investigations. Keep the FED's buying back over 250 billion $'s a week in Treasuries, since they are so toxic from headlines. Heavily subsidized fracked oil must be above $60 a barrel to remain profitable.

This killing provides the illusion that Commander Bone Spurs MacPussy Grabber tough to his mentally-challenged base. The problems the tRump administration faced with Iran not being goaded into revenge with the lame attempts previously made to do so. tRump and his minions now claim those in disagreement with this action are sympathetic to Iran's cause and nothing can be further from the truth. When one bloviates that hundreds of American's/westerners have been killed by Iran and its proxies, they are ignorant to not recall the 1953 CIA coup that removed a democratic elected president Mosaddegh; to install the Shah where multitudes more were killed by SAVAK.

I'm not justifying any actions by all parties, but if the west had not caused this problem with its Imperialistic policies, then much of this conflict may have been avoided from the start. What really gets IMPOTUS furious is that Soleimani's funeral procession had more attendees than tRump's inauguration and political rallies combined.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 10, 2020 at 3:14:12 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (1+)
Help

Carol Jackson

Become a Fan
Author 61962
(Member since Mar 25, 2011), 2 fans, 817 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

In a reasonable society it is a crime for an individual or group to commit an act of violence against another individual or group. To commit such an act, and then claim the act was justified because you thought someone 'Might' be planning such an act against yourself, and not offering any proof, is an absurd assertion, and if someone is murdered then the perpetrator is a murderer.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 10, 2020 at 9:44:56 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment