Former U.S. Colonel: There Is Absolutely No Legal or Moral Justification for Sanctions

Colonel (ret.) Richard Black, former chief of the Army Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon, and former member of the Virginia Senate, is a highly respected and outspoken critic of the permanent war, regime change policy of the United States, who has been a featured speaker at several Schiller Institute conferences (cf. SAS 12/21, 51/20). Following the recent appeal of Helga Zepp-LaRouche to stop the genocide against Syria and Yemen (cf. SAS 16/21), he was interviewed on April 23 by Harley Schlanger of the SI on the U.S. policy toward Syria, which he has “studied intensely” since 2011.

At the time, Col. Black explained, he was shocked to discover that the CIA and other special forces were deployed to coordinate the efforts of the al-Qaeda linked terrorists who were attacking the Syrian government. To this day, the U.S. not only continues to support the extremist Islamist forces to topple President Bassar al Assad, but is occupying the northern part of the country together with Turkish forces.

That area, Col. Black pointed out, “is the breadbasket for all of Syria. The vast bulk of the wheat produced to feed the Syrian nation is produced there. We deliberately have cut that off. Most of the oil and natural gas is also produced there, and by occupying that area, we have seized the oil and natural gas.” But even that was not sufficient to bring down the government, so new sanctions, under the Caesar Act, went into effect last summer, which target any foreign entity engaged in commerce with the country. “The purpose of this is to create famine and destitution within Syria, and to prevent them from rebuilding after ten years of war that we have imposed on them.” A blockade on medical supplies has also been in force for many years now.

When asked how people can be mobilized to oppose such a barbaric policy, Sen. Black stressed how important it is to understand the actual effects that sanctions have. “I think if Americans understood what their government was doing, they would be aghast.” The official line is that only the leadership of the relevant country is targeted, but that is “unequivocally false”. Sanctions “create starvation and hardship for common people”, who suddenly find they can’t afford to feed their family anymore.

“Sanctions are fundamentally cruel, evil actions, and there is simply no justification. If you’re not in an active state of war with a nation—which I hope doesn’t happen—there is no legal justification for them, and there certainly is no moral justification. They are just the antithesis of Christianity; they are the antithesis of other religions, of Islam. They are incompatible with any notion of mercy and kindness and decency.”

Sen. Black thanked the Schiller Institute for the campaign it is carrying out internationally to put an end to this despicable policy. This will be a major theme of the virtual conference the SI will hold on May 8.

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