Thursday, March 01, 2007

At What Point Are We Obligated to Take Action to Stop the Madness?

I've found an interest blog at Organizing Notes. The blogger/activist Bruce Gagnon has some worthwhile stuff going on there.. While researching this statement from his blog
The Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, in 1950, released the following statement to the citizens of the world:

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."

The occupation of Iraq and the continued funding of the occupation by Congress in my mind is a crime against peace and humanity. We must collectively act now as instructed by international and moral law.

I ended up going to the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal Principal 82, issued in 1950,
Principle I
Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II
The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V
Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle Vl
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.

Principle VII
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

and then to Wikipedia for this: Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal
Application in the war on terror

A number of legal analysts have advanced the argument that the principle of "command responsibility" could make high-ranking officials within the Bush administration guilty of war crimes committed either with their knowledge or by persons under their control.[10]

As a reaction to the September 11, 2001 attacks the U.S. Government adopted several controversial measures (e.g., invading Iraq, introducing "unlawful combatant" status, conducting "extraordinary renditions", and allowing "enhanced interrogation methods", which has been described as torture). Alberto Gonzales and others argued that detainees should be considered "unlawful combatants" and as such not protected by the Geneva Conventions in multiple memoranda regarding these perceived legal gray areas.[11]

Gonzales' statement that denying coverage under the Geneva Conventions "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act" suggests, at the least, an awareness by those involved in crafting policies in this area that US officials are involved in acts that could be seen to be war crimes.[12] The US Supreme Court challenged the premise on which this argument is based in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which it ruled that Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions applies to detainees in Guantanamo Bay and that the Military Tribunals used to try these suspects were in violation of US and international law.[13]

On April 14, 2006, Human Rights Watch said that Secretary Rumsfeld could be criminally liable for his alleged involvement in the abuse of Mohammad al-Qahtani.[14] Dave Lindorff contends that by ignoring the Geneva Conventions the US administration, including President Bush, as Commander-in-Chief, is culpable for war crimes.[15] In addition, former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials Benjamin Ferencz has called the invasion of Iraq a "clear breach of law," and as such it constitutes a war crime.[16] On November 14, 2006, invoking universal jurisdiction, legal proceedings were started in Germany -for their alleged involvement of prisonerabuse- against Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, George Tenet and others.[17]

Lieutenant Watada has refused to be deployed to Iraq charging that the invasion of iraq was illegal, and as such he is bound by the command responsibility to refuse to take part in an illegal war. Otherwise he himself could face legal challenges. For this he stands trial at this moment.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 is seen as an amnesty law for crimes committed in the War on Terror by retroactively rewriting the War Crimes Act[18] and by abolishing habeas corpus, effectively making it impossible for detainees to challenge crimes committed against them.[19]

Wow, if you made it through all of that and got it, you know now that we have war criminals as leaders. And, they have attempted to bullet-proof themselves from the consequences of their crimes. And that we have to do something to stop it. If you go to the Organizing Notes blog you can read how they are organizing and implementing non-violent actions.

Lord have mercy!

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