Nevertheless, I would like to go on record as saying that the only real path away from the abyss this nation faces and back toward being a respected member of the global community is going to be far longer than any of the '08 presidential candidate are willing to admit. One election is not going to get the job done.
That long path also, necessarily, runs through Nuremberg, so to speak. If we refuse to help see that our government officials are held accountable for international crimes (as well as crimes against our own laws) we will pay a high price, indeed.
I believe that possibly the worst trait among Americans is their dangerous belief that the lessons of history do not apply to the U.S.; that we are somehow so special that we cannot be brought down by a global community that has had it with our imperial hubris and obnoxious behavior, personified to the max by George W Bush and members of his administration.
It is an illusion created in American brains from infancy, almost. Disillusionment is just around the corner for those Americans who are still hanging onto this myth. We are far from invulnerable. It is time for us to grow the hell up and stop believing in childhood fairy tales. We have to take responsibility for our country
Iraq is a crime scene --Bush's crime scene where the evidence against him is found. A war of naked aggression, what Bush did to Iraq is a capital crime under US Codes, prohibited by the Nuremberg Principles which loom like a specter over his criminal administration. Nuremberg remains the most effective and damning indictment of anyone who would hijack the apparatus of state to wage wars of aggression or to perpetrate mass murder and/or torture under the cover of a national sovereignty.
The Nuremberg Charter is largely the result of work done by the US in the weeks and months following the collapse of the Third Reich. Because of Nuremberg, international law gives no cover to leaders of state, presidents, prime ministers, dictators, or princes. Under Nuremberg, all who would commit such crimes bear an individual and criminal responsibility though their crimes may have been done in the name of the state.
"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us."
- George H.W. Bush
It's never too late to do the right thing!It was just last year, days after his resignation, that Time magazine reported that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in deep trouble for his role in US wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Legal documents were filed in Germany seeking criminal investigations and prosecutions of Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior US officials and officers. At issue are the roles they played in illegal detentions and abuses at both Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
-The Existentialist Cowboy
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all US military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski — who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case — has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."There are good reasons for filing the charges in Germany.
European countries have a way of going after people in criminal cases that we're not familiar with in the US. They have a procedure where human rights groups and others, as well as the victims themselves, can go and ask a prosecutor to investigate someone for criminal liability. In the US, of course, you can knock on a prosecutor's door but then he shuts it in your face and it's all over. In Germany and other European countries, if the prosecutor shuts the door in your face you can go to court and the prosecutor must have a valid reason for not investigating. So that's a big difference. Germany also has a law, like some other European countries are beginning to have, that says certain crimes are subject to prosecution no matter where in the world they're committed, and even if there's no connection between that particular country and the alleged crime. And certain crimes are considered so serious and so heinous that every country is considered to have an interest in prosecuting them.The allegations were filed by the International Federation for Human Rights, Germany's Republican Attorneys' Association, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
--Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
BACKGROUND BRIEF ON THE CASE AGAINST RUMSFELD, GONZALES AND OTHERSAll these charges must be revised or updated to include Bush himself. Certainly, given his dictatorial style nothing was done but upon his order. In the case of Rumsfeld, it is simply inconceivable that the policies leading directly to the Abu Ghraib atrocities were not ordered by Bush or agreed to in meetings between the two conspirators.
FILED IN GERMANY ON NOVEMBER 14, 2006
The November 14, 2006 criminal complaint is a request for the German Federal Prosecutor to open an investigation and, ultimately, a criminal prosecution that will look into the responsibility of high-ranking US officials for authorizing war crimes in the context of the so-called “War on Terror.” The complaint is brought on behalf of 12 torture victims – 12 Iraqi citizens who were held at Abu Ghraib prison and one Guantánamo detainee – and is being filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Republican Attorneys' Association (RAV) and others, all represented by Berlin Attorney Wolfgang Kaleck. The complaint is related to a 2004 complaint that was dismissed, but the new complaint is filed with much new evidence, new defendants and plaintiffs, a new German Federal Prosecutor and, most important, under new circumstances that include the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 in the US, which attempts to grant officials retroactive immunity from prosecution for war crimes.
Executive Summary of the Complaint’s Allegations:
From Donald Rumsfeld on down, the political and military leaders in charge of ordering, allowing and implementing abusive interrogation techniques in the context of the “War on Terror” since September 11, 2001, must be investigated and held accountable.
The complaint alleges that American military and civilian high-ranking officials named as defendants in the case have committed war crimes against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the US-controlled Guantánamo Bay prison camp.
The complaint alleges that the defendants “ordered” war crimes, “aided or abetted” war crimes, or “failed, as civilian superiors or military commanders, to prevent their commission by subordinates, or to punish their subordinates,” actions that are explicitly criminalized by German law. The US administration has treated hundreds if not thousands of detainees in a coercive manner, in accordance with “harsh interrogation techniques” ordered by Secretary Rumsfeld himself that legally constitute torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in blatant violation of the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1984 Convention Against Torture and the 1977 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to all of which the United States is a party. Under international humanitarian treaty and customary law, and as re-stated in German law, these acts of torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment constitute war crimes.
The US torture program that resulted in war crimes was aided and abetted by the government lawyers also named in this case: former Chief White House Counsel (and current Attorney General) Alberto R. Gonzales, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, General Counsel of the Department of Defense William James Haynes, II and Vice President Chief Counsel David S. Addington. While some of them claim to merely have given legal opinions, those opinions were false or clearly erroneous and given in a context where it was known and foreseeable to these lawyers that torture would be the result. Not only was torture foreseeable, but this legal advice was given to facilitate and aid and abet torture as well as to attempt to immunize those who tortured. Without these opinions, the torture program could not have occurred. The infamous “Torture Memo” dated August 1, 2002, is the key document that redefined torture so narrowly that such classic and age old torture techniques as water-boarding were authorized to be employed and were employed by US officials against detainees. ...
The US itself had taken a strong position with regard to Nazi war criminals. Winston Churchill had proposed that they be shot summarily. An international position, supported by the US, established the concept that has since become international law. That principle makes it a war crime to launch a war of aggression. The US attack and invasion of Iraq is, on its face, such a crime. The Bush administration made a fraudulent case to the UN, evidence that it knew Hussein did not have WMD but was intent upon war in any case.
Principle VlThese were the charges that the chief US prosecutor, Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), brought against German Nazi leaders for judgment at Nuremberg. As Justice Jackson put it: "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it."
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:
- Crimes against peace:
- Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
- Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
- War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
- Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
We must work to bring about the equivalent of an international Nuremberg trial for the Bush administration, the American perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Guantánamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the CIA's secret prisons. There is no dearth of evidence. Much of it is available from documented international reports by human-rights organizations. Our own Democratic congress, however, seems to have conceded the lead to European leaders who have already begun to assess the mountains of evidence that accuse Bush and principles in his administration. There will be an investigation, but that it is not done by our own congress is tragic --a fact that may have wider consequences.
...armed groups opposed to the US-led multinational force and Iraq's government are showing utter disdain for the lives of Iraqi civilians and others, continuing a pattern of war crimes and crimes against humanity".The rest of the case may be hard to press --not because Bush is innocent but because the record of his war crimes is being re-written as we write and post. It's Orwellian. Whomever controls the narrative, controls the war and hence Bush's fate. The Bush team has worked mightily to dominate that narrative. They might have succeeded with each ex post facto rationale for war were it not for the internet. At this point, it is beyond even Bush to rewrite, re-program, or redesign every blog, every website, every post, every digital photo, every PDF file, every video clip on every computer, every hard drive, every server in the world. The top down MSM rolled over for the Bush gang of information thugs. An amorphous web is new terrain, a different topology. With any luck, it will continue to morph whenever Bushies have it in the cross hairs.
Physicists often talk of the "arrow of time" as if time consisted of a single path from past to future. In fact, the topology of time is much more complex. Even if expanding gases reversed themselves back into an opened jar, the new event could theoretically be recorded by a forward moving movie or video camera. For each such "reversal of time", for example, there is a theoretically infinite number of external timelines. Thus it is with Bush and his nemesis --the internet. A veritable Hydra, each severed head sprouts two, a hundred, ten thousand, a theoretically infinite number of new heads, new critics that will not shut up.
In view of the greatly expanded definition of "enemy combatants" in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which George W. Bush signed in October, the Pentagon would be well advised to greatly increase the number of cells in the new compound. Under the new law, the president can designate as "an enemy combatant" any noncitizen picked up anywhere in the world, even permanent legal alien residents here.Much is at stake, not the least of which, is whether or not our civilization has learned anything from several thousand years of bloody warfare, to include the genocides of Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot. Laws that exempt the powerful yet bring the weight of organized justice to bear upon only weaker nations is, in fact, no law at all but that of the jungle. If the human race will not behave civilly then it is doomed by the weapons of its own creation.
These newly imprisoned "enemy combatants" will include not only those engaged in direct hostilities against the United States, but also loosely defined "supporters" of the enemy.
Passionately arguing against this legislation on the Senate floor, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont claimed, "This provision would perpetuate the indefinite detention of hundreds of individuals . . . without any recourse to justice whatever. . . . This is un-American!"
If we, the people, are ultimately condemned by a world court for our complicity and silence in these war crimes, we can always try to echo those Germans who claimed not to know what Hitler and his enforcers were doing. But in Nazi Germany, people had no way of insisting on finding out what happened to their disappeared neighbors.Following are the last several paragraphs of Justice Robert Jackson's summation to the jury at Nuremberg. Everything said by Jackson can be said now of Bush, and with respect to "truth" of the GOP as a party. In this singular, important and defining characteristic, there is, in fact, no difference between the GOP and the Nazi Party of Hitler's Third Reich.
We, however, have the right and the power to insist that Congress discover and reveal the details of the torture and other brutalities that the CIA has been inflicting in our name on terrorism suspects.
Only one congressman, Oregon's Democratic senator Ron Wyden, has insisted on probing the legality of the CIA's techniques—so much so that Wyden has blocked the appointment of Bush's nominee, John Rizzo, from becoming the CIA's top lawyer. Rizzo, a CIA official since 2002, has said publicly that he didn't object to the Justice Department's 2002 "torture" memos, which allowed the infliction of pain unless it caused such injuries as "organ failure . . . or even death." (Any infliction of pain up to that point was deemed not un-American.) Mr. Rizzo would make a key witness in any future Nuremberg trial.
--History Will Not Absolve Us, Nat Hentoff
The record is full of other examples of dissimulations and evasions. Even Schacht showed that he, too, had adopted the Nazi attitude that truth is any story which succeeds. Confronted on cross-examination with a long record of broken vows and false words, he declared in justificationand I quote from the record:"I think you can score many more successes when you want to lead someone if you don't tell them the truth than if you tell them the truth."This was the philosophy of the National Socialists. When for years they have deceived the world, and masked falsehood with plausibilities, can anyone be surprised that they continue their habits of a lifetime in this dock? Credibility is one of the main issues of this Trial. Only those who have failed to learn the bitter lessons of the last decade can doubt that men who have always played on the unsuspecting credulity of generous opponents would not hesitate to do the same, now.
It is against such a background that these defendants now ask this Tribunal to say that they are not guilty of planning, executing, or conspiring to commit this long list of crimes and wrongs. They stand before the record of this Trial as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king. He begged of the widow, as they beg of you: "Say I slew them not." And the Queen replied, "Then say they were not slain. But dead they are..." If you were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime.
<>--Justice Robert Jackson, Summation for the Prosecution by Justice Robert Jackson, July 26, 1946
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.