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The Mapping Project

Harvard Law School: Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC)

Harvard Law School's Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC) conducts research and publishes reports on the law of war, and holds briefings "to decision-makers in government, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs", including the UN Security Council. Two areas of focus have been "counterterrorism" in the context of international humanitarian law and the use of artificial intelligence in war.

PILAC legitimizes US empire by promoting the idea that "international law" can create justice in a world dominated by US military power. PILAC promotes the fiction that US wars of international aggression, such as the "war on terror," can be constrained within the boundaries of international law or would become legitimate if they did so. PILAC gives credibility to institutions like the UN Security Council, as if it could act as an arbiter of international justice, rather than as a legitimizing tool of its permanent members and their allies. A look at the UN Security Council record of veto by permanent members shows that the US has used its power to block 43 UN Security Council resolutions against Israeli violations of international law. All through the history of the struggle against English colonial rule in Zimbabwe ("Rhodesia") and against Apartheid in South Africa, the US, often joined by the UK and France, exercised its veto power to block resolutions against racist colonial rule.

Another focus of PILAC has been the study of artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons systems, and the use of "war algorithms." PILAC's research and published reports on these topics normalize the idea that there might be a way to ethically regulate the use of algorithms that automate the killing of human beings.

Faculty Director: Gabriella Blum. "Blum served for seven years as a Senior Legal Advisor in the International Law Department of the Military Advocate General’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces, and for another year, as a Strategy Advisor to the Israeli National Security Council."


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