Noteworthy Books
By John Burroughs


The World Court in Action: Judging Among the Nations
Howard N. Meyer
Rowman & Littlefield, 2002
Pb, 328 pp, $26.95
ISBN 0-7425-0924-9

Nominated for a Pulitzer Price, The World Court in Action is a highly readable history of the International Court of Justice. It traces the origins of the Court, highlighting the role of the pre-World War I U.S. peace movement, which saw international adjudication as the path to prevention of war. And it provides fascinating and insightful accounts of major cases decided by the Court. They include the multi-episode struggle over the status of Namibia and the system of apartheid, Nicaragua’s challenge to U.S. support of the "contras," and the controversy over how to prosecute Libyan nationals accused of destroying Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Not least, the book examines the initiative resulting in the Court’s seminal 1996 opinion on the legality of threat or use of nuclear weapons.

The author, Howard N. Meyer, is a lawyer and well-regarded social historian. He is a member of the LCNP board of directors.

The World Court in Action is essential – and enjoyable – reading for anyone concerned about the future of the International Court of Justice and a global rule-of-law system.


Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives
Susan Wright, editor
Rowman & Littlefield, 2002
Pb, 464 pp, $29.95
ISBN 0-7425-2469-8

Biological Warfare and Disarmament features articles by experts from all over the world. Not distorted by the current U.S. paradigm that sees terrorists and "rogue" states as the only threats, it probes the history of design and production of biological weapons in major states including the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, and lays bare the obstacles to adequate control of the weapons.

In her chapter on the origins of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the treaty banning possession of biological arms but providing no verification mechanisms, University of Michigan historian of scientist and editor Susan Wright demonstrates, drawing upon recently declassified UK papers, that the United States and Britain saw the ban as a means of denying a weapon of mass destruction to countries of the South while retaining their own ultimate deterrent, nuclear weapons.

Another chapter, by Oliver Thränert of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, describes the seven years of failed negotiations on an agreement that would have created transparency and compliance mechanisms (declarations, inspections, etc.) to give institutional life to the existing simple ban on possession contained in the BWC. In perhaps the single most shocking and irresponsible instance of its irrational hostility to multilateralism, the Bush administration scuttled the nearly completed negotiations in the summer of 2001, and then, incredibly, stuck to this position in the wake of the September 11 attacks and the subsequent anthrax attacks.

Other chapters examine topics including "biodefense" programs and their ambiguous relationship to offensive programs, the Soviet Union’s massive biological arms program carried out in blatant violation of the BWC, biological weapons in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, and the issue as perceived in India and China.

Biological Warfare and Disarmament is highly recommended. For those working for nuclear disarmament, an understanding of the biological weapons arena is vital. Alleged proliferation of biological arms is now serving as a key rationale for the U.S. nuclear threat, as the Pentagon proclaims that U.S. nuclear weapons can be used in retaliation for or even to preempt use of biological weapons. Further, if the United States and the world cannot agree on mechanisms to promote compliance with the existing ban on biological weapons, a very poor precedent indeed is set for the task of building agreements and institutions to implement the elimination of nuclear arsenals.


How To Use "New" Civil Rights Laws After 9-11
Ann Fagan Ginger, editor
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI), 2003
320 pp, $36.95

Information and texts regarding the U.S. "war on terrorism" as implemented at home in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law, through the Patriot Act, other legislation, and executive orders and directives; and what activists and lawyers can do in response, including sample complaints, local ordinances defending the bill of rights, and relevant international instruments, including human rights treaties. Editor Ann Fagan Ginger is executive director of MCLI, professor at San Francisco State University, longtime lawyer, activist, and writer, and member of the LCNP board of directors.

Order from MCLI, P.O. Box 673, Berkeley, CA 94701-0673, tel 510 848-0599, fax 510 848-6008,,

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Global Action to Prevent War
Publishes Program

Since 1998, scholars, diplomats, officials, and activists the world over have contributed to the program statement for Global Action to Prevent War: A Coalition-Building Effort to Stop War, Genocide, & Internal Armed Conflict. In an intentional process of organic growth, the statement has undergone no less than 20 revisions, a tribute to the interest in the project. The latest version among other things has new sections on preventing terrorism and on the role of women in building security.

Now Global Action has decided the time has come to freeze the document for two years and to publish and distribute it widely as a booklet. It will be available to download from the Global Action website,, or you can order it from LCNP for $4 including shipping (for contact info).

Rule of Power or Rule of Law?
An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions
Regarding Security-Related Treaties

Apex Press 2003, $26, 272 pp, soft cover

Buy it here online with credit card!


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