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Human Rights and
the New World Order

 
 
By Richard Moore

The phrase "New World Order" (NWO) is used widely these days, without an agreed general definition of what it means. As in "Common Sense and The New World Order" (New Dawn, September-October, 1995), this author uses the term to refer to the increasing centralization of global power under the control of transnational corporations and their agents: primarily the international financial community and a variety of commissions, treaty mechanisms, and multilateral military arrangements.

By this definition, the NWO is an observable phenomenon, already firmly entrenched and growing visibly more powerful each day. No conspiracy theories are needed to describe its nature or to observe its consequences. The daily news (despite its bias and selectivity) provides most of the information needed. In addition, many excellent analyses have been published which deal with this subject. This article contains only a few references, but the following pieces provide background material for those who would like further substantiation of the points made here:

  • The Nation, June 14, 1993, Charles Lewis & Margaret Ebrahim: "The Big Buy"
  • The Nation, September 6/13, 1993, Patrick Bryant: "NAFTA and Human Rights"
  • The Nation, December 6, 1993, Jeremy Brecher: "After NAFTA: Global Village or Global Pillage?"
  • In These Times, February 21, March 6, 1994, Noam Chomsky: "Time Bombs"
  • The Nation, March 28, 1994, Paco Ignacio Taibo II: "The Phoenix Rises"
  • The Nation, October 10, 1994, Ralph Nader: "Get Off the GATT Track"
  • The Nation, December 19, 1994, Richard J. Barnet: "Corporate States"
  • The Nation, December 19, 1994, Jeremy Brecher & Tim Costello: "Beating the Multinationals"
  • The Nation, February 6, 1995, Bill Weinberg: "Chiapas A Year Later"
  • The Nation, March 6, 1995, Ken Silverstein & Alexander Cockburn: "Mexico & The Banks"
  • The Nation, April 17, 1995, Allan Nairn: "C.I.A Death Squad"
  • The Nation, June 5, 1995, Gore Vidal & Allan Nairn: "Guatemala '46/'95"

A recap of the NWO will help set the stage for a discussion of its effects on human rights.

The NWO's ideological and economic agendas are globalized laissez-faire capitalism, hiding under the rhetoric of "free trade" and "increased competitiveness". Not to be confused with free enterprise, entrepreneurial capitalism, or classical free market economics, laissez-faire turns over control of domestic and international economies to an elite clique of multinational corporations. Free trade and fair competition are the last thing this clique wants - predatory monopoly capitalism (such as was prevalent with the 19th century Robber Barons: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Krupp, et al) - is their preferred mode of operating. The so-called "free trade" treaties are not about trade, but about opening up the world's economies, resources, and labor pools to unregulated exploitation by the multinationals.

The NWO's political agenda is the erosion of national sovereignty and democracy, with power being transferred by various treaties (such as GATT, NAFTA, and Maastricht) to various commissions and organizations. These entities exhibit few or no democratic characteristics, but are designed to represent the interests of the NWO corporate elite. See William Greider's Who Will Tell the People? (Simon & Schuster) for a brilliant investigation into the systematic corporate undermining of the American democratic process, the growing detachment of corporate loyalties from their traditional national home bases, and the shift of power to technocratic commissions beyond the jurisdiction of any democratic process.

The NWO's social agenda can be summarized as "no more entitlements," or expressed more poignantly, "Let them eat cake." This agenda is being implemented with alarming rapidity worldwide. In Britain and the U.S., for example, we see the dismantlement of social programs and regulatory agencies, privatization (at give-away prices) of service infrastructures to large corporations, increasing unemployment and impoverishment as a result, and an emphasis on more prisons and law enforcement to deal with the problems created by this (anti-)social agenda. In the Third World, we see even more draconian social disruption, impoverishment, and heavy-handed suppression, dictated by the International Monetary Fund's inhumane "guidelines", and facilitated by assistance to Third-World police forces by the U.S., Britain, and other First World regimes.

The propaganda branch of the NWO is the global mass media, with ownership increasingly concentrated in a small number of corporate conglomerates. These news, entertainment and propaganda vendors provide a highly biased and selective interpretation of world events, aligned with the interests and agendas of the NWO. Again see Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent) or Michael Parenti (Make Believe Media) for a treatment of how this propaganda machine operates, and to what ends. Or pay attention to your everyday news sources, and think about what's being left out of the stories you're being told.

Example: when Croatia launched its invasion of Krajina, forcing the greatest migration of refugees in Europe since World War II, where were the pictures and interviews with the refugees? Where was the condemnation of Croatia's overrunning of areas which were homelands of Serbs for centuries? Where was the concern with shelling of fleeing refugees, and with the rampages of drunken, revenge-hungry, fascist-minded Croation troops? Instead the cameras were focused on the plight of Muslims being forced out by the influx of the Serbian refugees, and the CIA chose that time to announce satellite evidence of Serb atrocities. Meanwhile Peter Galbraith (U.S. ambassador to Croatia), put forward the NWO's spin for these events on BBC (August 9), rejecting British and Serbian charges that Croatia was guilty of ethnic cleansing. Galbraith: "...ethnic cleansing is a practice supported by Belgrade and carried out by Bosnian and Croatian Serbs forcefully expelling local inhabitants and using terror tactics." Why doesn't a full scale military invasion by Croatia count as "terror tactics"? Galbraith went on: "...the Croatian military success could prove to be a positive step in resolving the conflict through negot-iations." How Orwellian can you get? - "War is Peace", classic Newsspeak.

Don't misunderstand: I'm not saying the Serbs should be portrayed as innocent victims, but the media treatment of the Krajina invasion was beyond merely "biased news" - it was blatantly slanted propaganda, intentionally distracting attention from the major news of the day. This one-sided demonization of one of the parties in a civil war serves to justify the establishment of the NWO's military agenda.

That NWO military agenda, as demonstrated in Iraq, Somalia and now Bosnia, is the creation of a multinational strike force, ostensibly under "international" control, but in fact controlled primarily by the United States, its client states, and closest allies.

The U.S. plays a central role in the NWO, but the NWO is not merely a disguise for traditional American imperialism. Being firmly under the thumb of corporations, the U.S. Government serves as a useful agent for NWO interests, and being the only super power, U.S. military muscle forms the invincible nucleus of the NWO's enforcement branch. But enforcement is not limited to traditional U.S. national interests, it extends to the more general interests of the global corporate elite. American taxpayers, being both misinformed and uninformed by the media, largely foot the bill for the NWO's global military operations - at least thus far.

Human rights, the subject of this article, are affected adversely by every one of these NWO agendas, as the above considerations already begin to reveal. There are four primary reasons why the NWO is - and must be - at its very core, anti-human rights.

NWO is Fundamentally Anti-Human Rights

First, the NWO is inherently socially amoral - its only imperatives are the expansion of corporate power, the accumulation of wealth, and the establishment of a global political system that facilitates those objectives. This single-minded (yet far-reaching) agenda includes no concern for human rights or welfare, and will naturally and without qualms tend to roll over any person, culture, or institution that stands in its way. You might be tempted to say this aspect of the NWO is neutral to human rights, but consider this parallel situation: if a murderer shows no concern for the life of his/her victims, he or she is considered to be a sociopath and is generally viewed with even more horror than one who kills out of hatred or passion. I submit the NWO's social amorality should be judged similarly as being dangerously sociopathic and anti-human rights. This amorality is an enabling factor: it unleashes the NWO to pursue its agendas irresponsibly, without any internally-imposed restraints.

Second, the NWO, like all flavors of capitalism, is insatiably expansionist - like a cancer, it must grow to survive. Corporate managers are taught explicitly: "If you stand still, you die." Capital must continually seek new realms for investments and create new markets for its products. The resulting development-oriented initiatives (such as land commercialization and oil/mineral exploitation) inevitably run up against competing uses for those same resources, as we see in Chiapas, Honduras, Somalia, Brazil, etc. The people (along with their rights) who stand in the path of the NWO must be killed or swept aside to make room for the never-ending growth. The murder and forced dislocation of people and cultures, and the dismemberment of their economic infrastructures, strikes directly at the very heart of human rights.

Classic examples of this were the British Enclosure Acts (sixteenth century) and the western expansion of the United States (primarily nineteenth century). The land-use patterns of the Native Americans (and earlier, the British peasantry) were inconsistent with maximal capitalist exploitation of those same lands. The people therefore "had to go", and (in the American case) were demonized by the media, massacred by the army, and pushed into concentration camps ("reservations") - despite their historic claim to the lands, their God-given right to life and livelihood, and the numerous treaties concluded with them, and later broken. In the British case, the peasants were pushed into urban centers to form a cheap industrial workforce. Both of these development patterns continue to operate identically today throughout the world, fueled by multinational investments and pressure applied to Third-World governments by international financial interests.

A clarification is needed here. The claim above, that the NWO expands in a harmful way, could be construed as a condemnation of all growing companies and entrepreneurial ventures, or even a Marxist tirade against the profit motive. Such a condemnation and tirade is not intended. We live in a world where corporate-facilitated economic growth, with its benefits and harms, is a permanent part of life. The point is that corporate expansionism and behavior have too few internal restraints - they must be held in check by appropriate regulation and democratically accountable governments. The NWO is rapidly succeeding in undermining those very checks and balances, through powerful lobbying and media propaganda.

Third, the NWO is inherently anti-democracy - this is a classic case of conflicting class interests, the two classes in this case being people and corporations. A government beholden to people is democratic, while a government beholden to corporations is essentially fascist. It is no accident that those nations most directly controlled by corporations - the smaller Third World countries - are frequently ruled by overtly fascist military dictatorships. People, if they have the power, naturally have a tendency to promote their own self-interest, which includes things like social welfare legislation, minimum wages, imposition of taxes on corporate profits, health and safety regulation of industry, collective bargaining, etc. For this reason, the NWO and its corporate constituency stridently oppose effective democratic governance. In some cases this means supporting overtly non-democratic forms of government, in other cases this means subverting so-called "Democracies" through bribery, election funding, intensive lobbying, media propaganda, control of political parties, supportive media coverage for favored citizen pressure groups, etc. This anti-democratic activism attacks human rights both directly and indirectly: it directly undermines the human right to control one's own government, and it indirectly undermines other rights, since corporate-dominated, undemocratic governments tend to undermine human rights generally.

Fourth, the NWO naturally opposes national sovereignty and promotes unaccountable internationalism - this is where the NWO stands out in comparison to earlier manifestations of capitalist power. Whereas, capitalists have traditionally supported strong national sovereignty in their home-base countries, the NWO stands apart from "parochial" national interests and actively promotes a technocratic, super-national, investment-friendly World Order. This attacks human rights by undermining the meaning and value of citizenship and by depriving people of life and livelihood through NWO-sponsored armed conflicts. It further attacks human rights indirectly by its strangulation of national budgets so that nations do not have the means to pursue beneficial economic development.

The NWO's Record of Human Rights Abuses

Beyond these inherent characteristics - which guarantee that an unchecked NWO must always be on a collision course with human rights - we can look at the actual record. We can examine specific programs, actions, and behaviors of the NWO, and observe the appalling consequences for human rights. These are even worse, it turns out, than what one might expect from a straightforward unfolding of the NWO agendas. The NWO's inherent sociopathic amorality seems to somehow encourage an almost demonic mentality in its operatives, leading to capricious torture, brutality, and murder on a colossal scale. In the case of Native Americans, to return to that foreshadowing precedent, the army didn't just massacre the natives, it massacred them with relish - burning babies before the eyes of parents, raping women, cutting trophy-parts from corpses, etc. There is enough racism, sadism, and intolerance buried in the human psyche that when political permission is given for it to be unleashed, it seems, alas, to run amok.

In the 1950s Nelson Rockefeller undertook an official good-will tour of Latin America. Almost everywhere he went he was greeted by angry crowds and shouts of "Yankee go home". It was made abundantly clear that the roles played by the U.S. and multinational corporations was deeply resented by the people of the region, and that Rockefeller was seen as a symbol of those roles. When Rockefeller returned home, he formed one of his many influential "study commissions" to evaluate the response he had encountered. Rather than concluding that the U.S. should respond to the complaints of the Latin Americans, and adopt more acceptable policies, the conclusion was instead that the U.S. should undertake a massive program of training and arming the police forces of the region. As per the standard NWO pattern, if there's a conflict between people and the investment interests of the multinationals, it's the people who must give way. In this case, stronger police forces were seen as the way to accomplish this objective.

These recommendations became U.S. policy, both openly and covertly, and large amounts of military and "security" assistance were provided to many Latin American countries. There followed decades of police brutality, torture, "disappearances", and death squads - all frontal assaults on human rights. The U.S didn't officially endorse such practices, and frequently condemned them in public speeches, but the arms, funding, and training assistance continued to flow. Only recently has it officially been "revealed" that CIA agents participated directly in these brutal activities, although the revelation was no surprise to attentive observers.

Other similar examples over the past several decades include the massacre of millions of Chinese in Indonesia, slave labor in Brazil, countless civil wars in Africa, toleration and support of the former racist government of South African, and the acceleration of trade with a Chinese government that operates slave labor camps and executes democracy advocates.

The Case of Chiapas and NWO Resistance

As a final example, consider the events unfolding at this moment in Chiapas, Mexico. One of the results of the Mexican Revolution (early this century) was the dedication of Mayan homelands to their traditional use for communal farming. This showed respect for the human rights of the natives, both individually and collectively, to retain their traditional way of life and economic activity. An essential policy in making this system work was a proviso that the land must be held in common, and not divided up into individual plots, which would inevitably be sold off to outside interests. This system lasted up until very recently, when Chiapas became one of the latest frontiers of NWO expansionism.

What happened is that NAFTA came along. One of the central goals of NAFTA, in support of U.S. agribusiness interests, was to open up Mexico as a market for U.S. agriproducts, and to open up Mexico's farmlands for exploitation by American agricultural operators. President Clinton succeeding in pressuring Mexico into abrogating the communal land policy as a condition of adopting the NAFTA treaty. NAFTA, a typical NWO-sponsored initiative, spelled the doom of the indigenous way of life, and probably death for many of the indigenous peoples. Not only does the partitioning of the land make the system vulnerable to dissolution, but the influx of discounted, surplus, American agriproducts undercuts the traditional markets served by the natives, forcing the natives to sell their land to survive.

But that's not the end of the NWO's role in this drama. The Chiapas Indians rose to protect their human rights and to resist this onslaught against them. Together with sympathetic allies from the rest of Mexico, they organized themselves under the banner "Zapatistas" and began active resistance. The Mexican government was somewhat hesitant in responding to this situation. It didn't want to spark more widespread resistance through precipitous suppression, and it didn't want to suffer damage to its international reputation. But at the same time, it had no intention of backing out of its NAFTA commitments.

So into the fray came Riordan Roett, advisor to Chase Manhattan Bank, writing a memo which includes, ominously:

"While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy."

As reported by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn in Counterpunch, February 1, 1995, "Major U.S. Bank Urges Zapatista Wipe-Out: 'A litmus test for Mexico's stability'", this statement was incorporated by the bank into its Jan. 13 1995 "Political Update on Mexico," and serves as a green light to encourage military suppression of those who are fighting to retain their way of life. Here we see the whole pattern of NWO operations in microcosm. We see the sociopathic amorality of this multinational bank in its cold-blooded decision that "elimination" of a group of people is the rational action to be taken when corporate investments are perceived to be at risk. We see the undermining of Mexican sovereignty by NWO-sponsored treaties and dictates from the NWO financial community. And we see that human rights carries no weight in the NWO balance sheet.

Ultimately the prime movers of the NWO - both individual and corporate - must bear responsibility for the excesses of their operatives and client states, whether intended or not, especially when the practices continue year after year. In a case such as that in Chiapas, the chain of responsibility and intention turns out to be very short indeed.

Richard Moore is currently in temporary retirement in Ireland, pursuing writing projects. He has published several political essays via various "cyber channels", on cyber rights, the rise of fascism, and democracy. His Internet address is: rkmoore@iol.ie

The above article appeared in
New Dawn No. 34 (
January-February 1996)