The Obama administration’s announced plans to sign a UN “small arms” treaty on July 27 has triggered concerns that the pact would be used to undermine the individual right to armed self-defense. Forbes magazine notes that 130 Republican congressmen sent a letter to Mr. Obama protesting that the draft treaty is inimical to the “fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms” and also represents a significant threat to “our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests.”
For more than a decade, the UN has been quietly promoting measures to combat what it calls the “small arms crisis” – which is the ownership of firearms by anyone other than government-controlled military and police agencies. From the world body’s perspective, individual ownership of firearms is impermissible and should be banned by both international treaties and national laws. This was made clear in a 2001 UN-produced propaganda film entitled Armed to the Teeth.
“For its first fifty years, the United Nations focused its disarmament efforts on addressing the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” observed the film’s narrator. At the beginning of the 21st century, the UN redirected its attention to the “illegal” possession of small arms by civilians. Armed to the Teeth unambiguously defined “legal” weapons as those “used by armies and police forces to protect us.” Civilian-owned weapons, on the other hand, were described as “illegitimate” and supposedly ”bring insecurity, pain, suffering and devastation.”
Only through a global crackdown on civilian arms ownership and the empowerment of the UN, insisted the narrator, “can genocide as happened in Rwanda be prevented.” But that mass political murder was carried out by government-aligned Hutu tribal militias against a targeted ethnic population – the Tutsis – who had been disarmed with the help of UN “peacekeeping” forces under the supervision of future UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Annan, who had been warned of the impending slaughter weeks in advance by Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian officer in charge of the UN mission in Rwanda, actually prevented UN “peacekeepers” from disarming the government-organized militias that carried out the bloodshed.
Rwanda was a laboratory-quality specimen of the UN’s formula for “human security” at work: The national government’s military and police were given a monopoly on force, and the disarmed civilian population was told to rely on the goodwill of their rulers and promises made on behalf of the “international community.” The result was the systematic slaughter of at least 800,000 people – and as many as 1.1 million – over a period of 104 days by a government that was then occupying a seat on the UN Security Council.
Rather than underscoring the need for universal civilian disarmament, the Rwandan genocide illustrated the lethal consequences of embracing the UN’s “human security” model. Yet the world body and its allies continue to flog the idea that firearms are miraculously purged of their demonic qualities when wielded by the exalted agents of State power.
The Armed to the Teeth video shows American schoolchildren participating in a UN-approved indoctrination session, where they are trained to evangelize on behalf of civilian disarmament. “Stop selling guns,” one young boy declares to the interviewer. “Only policemen should have guns.” “I would just stop making guns all of a sudden and then just have the government prohibit guns from everybody,” adds a young girl. Part of the indoctrination involves the recitation of a pledge “never to touch a weapon.”
While the proposed UN “small arms” treaty is fraught with potential trouble, it doesn’t represent anything new. The incremental disarmament of the civilian population, and the creation of a militarized national “internal security” force, has been an official policy objective of the U.S. government for more than a half-century.
The 1961 State Department document entitled Freedom from War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World (also known as State Department Document 7277) outlined a three-stage program through which the United Nations would be “progressively strengthened in order to improve its capacity to assure international security and the peaceful settlement of disputes.” All national governments – including our own — would be required to provide military personnel and assets to empower the UN, which — as British author Simon Tisdall reminds us, was always intended to be a “war-fighting machine,” rather than a forum for peaceful resolution of disputes.
In the domestic realm, “Freedom from War” dictates that each national government maintain a centralized, militarized “internal security force.” In the intervening decades, many American critics of the UN have speculated that this element of the 7277 program mandated the eventual occupation of the country by Blue Helmet-wearing foreign troops. What has actually happened is that American police forces have been transformed into a domestic army of occupation in the service of a UN-administered program of “global drug prohibition.”
The framework for global prohibition, interestingly, was also unveiled in 1961 — the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. As a recent report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy (a body that includes several former high-ranking UN functionaries, including Kofi Annan) points out that the UN and the U.S. government, working through the International Narcotics Control Board, “have worked … to ensure that all countries adopt the same rigid approach to drug policy – the same laws, and the same tough approach to law enforcement.”
This was described as a campaign to create a “drug-free” world — just as the “Freedom from War” proposal was allegedly intended to abolish international military conflict. In practice, of course, both of those initiatives were actually intended to consolidate the power of a permanent international Power Elite, as well as to expand its ability to regiment and plunder productive society.
It was in the mid-1980s that the federal government began the practice of confiscating money and property as narcotics “proceeds” through civil asset forfeiture. Washington effectively globalized that practice through Article V of the 1988 Vienna Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which dictates that signatory nations “adopt such measures as may be necessary to enable confiscation” of money and property designated as “proceeds” of the narcotics trade.
The U.S. government has eagerly tutored other countries in the use of “non-conviction-based” confiscation — that is, seizure of property from people never found guilty of a crime.
All of this did exactly nothing to mitigate the problem of drug addiction, let alone put an end to it. More than fifty years after the UN called for a “drug-free world,” the narcotics trade is the world’s largest cash business. According to Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime, during the 2008 global financial meltdown, laundered proceeds from drug trafficking kept the international banking system liquid until the official counterfeiters at the Federal Reserve could take over.
The UN-centered “war on drugs” dramatically accelerated the militarization of domestic law enforcement while amplifying the profits enjoyed by both the private sector criminals who distribute narcotics and the immeasurably more vicious criminals in the world of international banking. This should be kept in mind when the UN and its allies insist that international gun control is necessary in order to combat the scourge of “transnational criminal syndicates”: The criminal gangs invoked by the UN’s gun grabbers are actually their business partners and allies in a war being waged against the rights and property of law-abiding people everywhere.