Thu Mar 9th, 2006 at 05:49:23 PM EST
Since coming into office in 2001, the Bush administration has consistently opposed to having the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, hold US military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice. The court was set up to prosecute individuals accused of the world's worst atrocities -- genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity -- in a belated effort to fulfill the promise of the Nuremberg trials, which tried Nazi leaders after World War II. The Bush argues that the court, could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. troops.
BushCo has aggressively negotiated bilateral agreements with other countries to insure immunity of US nationals from prosecution by the Court. Sadly, BushCo is willingly to play the school yard bully to dozens of other poor countries by cutting off foreign aid, foreign trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) for defying the US because of their support for the International Criminal Court.
Last fall, Mexico became a signatory to the ICC making them the 12th country from the Latin America-Caribbean area to be punished under the U.S. American Service-Members' Protection Act. This law prohibits US military assistance to countries that have not signed "Article 98" agreements. An "Article 98" agreement is the agreement between the US and those countries who pledge not to seek the prosecution of US citizens in the International Criminal Court.
Countries that refused to sign and ratify Article 98 agreements lost the military aid and those countries who were not willing to stand up to the US were not sanctioned. The following are the types of aid BushCo will cut off: International Military Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Excess Defense Articles (EDA) and non-drug Emergency Drawdown Authority funds (506(b)). Section 574 of the 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations law (P.L. 108-447), a provision that adds an economic-aid program, Economic Support Funds (ESF).
U.S. military aid is a key component to Mexican security in combating drug trafficking. The U.S. did warn Mexico that joining the ICC would lead to the cut of an $11.5 million program to help its justice system deal with drug trafficking. According to the Seattle Times, Mexico could lose almost 40% in US economic aid if it decided to defy the US.
It is interesting that last December, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) and his anti-reconquista rough rides of the House passed their fascist "getting tough" immigration policy, HR 4437 - the bill that would build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border - rather quickly. It just proves that ignorance can only be accompanied by bliss. And it is also interesting, Congress voted to give themselves a $3,000-a-year pay raise, which became effective just in time for the holidays.
The obvious question is, how was that possible, if this (un)free nation is in debt? Another question that could be asked, what programs got cut. Since October, when Mexico decided to defy BushCo, the relationship between Mexico and the US have been strained. One possible explanation, the US did cut foreign aid to Mexico. According to the Houston Chronicle, today, "the sanctions have been imposed without an official announcement." Not only will BushCo take their marbles and go home, but they don't have to tell anybody when they are going home. Mexico is not the only country try in Latin America that Bush decided to punish.
ICC-related sanctions have cut the roster of trainees from the hemisphere by almost 800 over the past few years, eroding the traditionally deep ties between the U.S. and Latin American militaries.
Worldwide, about two dozen countries have been sanctioned by the U.S.
Despite being cut off and suffering the consequences, Mexico will not back down and sign the "Article 98" agreement. President Vicente Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said
"Mexico will be irrefutable in supporting the protocols of the international court, whatever the cost. Nobody in the world should be immune from the action of justice."
One has to wonder, if the sanctions didn't force Mexico to sign the agreement, was HR 4437 the next move by BushCo? In July 2004
, the House attached an anti-ICC amendment, the Nethercutt Amendment, to the FY05 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (H.R. 4818). The Nethercutt Amendment was named after the Congressman who introduced it, the amendment would cut ESFs to all countries that belong to the ICC but have not signed the "Article 98" agreement with the US. The Nethercutt language has again been included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3057.
The Nethercutt provision in FY06 provides waivers for NATO Allies, key non-NATO allies, and other countries if the President determines that it is in the national interests of the US. Like the American Servicemembers Protection Act, the Nethercutt threatens to withhold military aid to countries that are party to the ICC. According to the Citizens for Global Solutions, Bush has not invoked any waivers yet.
And according the Chronicle, Bush will be meeting with Mexico's President Vicente Fox at the end of the month. Once again, the school yard bully is kicking sand, sign the agreement or the wall will be built.
[x-posted on ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!]