Friday, March 14, 2008

Laws and Treaties Violated...

...by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, Public Officials Under Their Authority, and Members of the U.S. Military Under Their Command

From Service Graduates Against the War :

The U. S. Constitution, Art. VI, para. 2, makes treaties adopted by the U.S. part of the "law of the land." Thus, a violation of the U. N. Charter, Hague IV, Geneva Conventions, etc. is also a violation of U.S. federal law.

U.S. Federal Law 18 U.S.C. § 2441 (War Crimes Act of 1996) makes committing a war crime, defined as: "...a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party..." punishable by fine, imprisonment, or death.

And the following treaties and charters which define: wars of aggression, war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity:

Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV)

Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator...of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.

 U.N. Gen. Assembly Res. 3314

Defines the crime of aggression as "... the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State...or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations..." 

Nuremberg Tribunal Charter

Principle VI: "The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace: Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties;

(b) War crimes: ...murder, ill-treatment...of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war,...plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages...

(c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination...and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population...when such acts are done...in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime." 

Geneva Conventions

A) Protocol I, Article 75: "(1)...persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict...shall be treated humanely in all circumstances...(2) The following acts are and shall remain prohibited...whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons...(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault...and threats to commit any of the foregoing acts."

 B) Protocol I, Art. 51: "The civilian population...shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited." Art. 57: (parties shall) "do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects...an attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one..." 

C) Protocol I, Art. 70: "The Parties to the conflict...shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel...even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party." 

D) Protocol I, Art. 35: "In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties...to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited...It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment." 

E) Convention I, Art. 3: "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms... shall in all circumstances be treated humanely...To this end, the following acts (in addition to those listed in Art. 75, above) are and shall remain prohibited:...the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples." 

F) Convention III, Art. 5: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy (are prisoners of war under this Convention), such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal." 

G) Convention IV, Art. 33: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."


Live 'Winter Soldier ' coverage now and this weekend

Democracy Now has streaming audio/video

For other viewing/listening options go here.

Or to Information Clearing House



Bush Administration To Move Kurds To Alaska (satire)

Seeking to bolster its reputation as the planet's foremost proponent of peace, the Bush administration yesterday announced plans to solve a conflict that has been simmering for centuries. While novel and breathtaking in its approach, the solution may prove to be a hard sell to all parties involved.

"We propose to settle the Kurds on one of Alaska's Aleutian Islands," announced Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice when asked about the recent destabilizing events in Pakistan. "We shall call it Kurdaleut (pronounced kird-a-lute), and it shall become a beloved territory of the United States, much like that Puerto Rican place."

The history of antagonism between the Kurds in Iraq and their Turkish neighbor to the west goes back centuries, perhaps even eons. Cave painting recently discovered in Hankari, Turkey, show what many historians believe to be cavemen Turks sneaking up on cavemen Kurds and bopping them on the heads with clubs. The conflict even touched America's early shores, with one Kurd, Jebediah Abdullah Jones, coming to the New World on the Mayflower and, according to some experts, being the first to suggest that turkey be served at the original Thanksgiving feast.

~ more... ~

The Israeli Academic Brain Drain to the U.S.

While the number of European scholars in America ranges from one to four percent of the scholars in their individual home countries, 73% of those who earn their PhDs in the States indicate a desire to stay there (European Commission, 2003).

Sound far-fetched? A look at what has already happened to Israel should serve as a warning that this is not a number that Europe should take lightly. The number of Israeli academics in U.S. universities has already reached 25% of the scholars still remaining in Israel, and there is no clear end in sight for this freefall.

~ read on... ~

Ra-quote

"Five percent of the population is literally ranching the planet's citizens as cash cows."

~ from Hydrogen, the Gandhi Strategy ~

Belgian peace movement resists Afghanistan intervention

Belgium has answered the U.S. call for more troops in Afghanistan. In February, Brussels committed to sending four F-16 fighter planes and 100 more soldiers to the south of Afghanistan. It's not exactly a cushy assignment. The region is in turmoil because of the Taliban's resurgence. In contrast to Belgium's enthusiasm, Germany has rejected the U.S. request for more NATO troops to “secure” southern Afghanistan.

Unlike in the United States, the issue of Afghanistan ranks high on the priorities of the European (and Canadian) peace movement. With NATO headquartered in Brussels, the Belgian peace movement has taken a particularly strong stand against the new deployment. “Instead of a humanitarian intervention, we see an unacceptable amount of collateral damage,” a coalition of Belgian peace groups wrote in an open letter to the Belgian defense minister. “Human rights and women rights are violated at large scale whereas the massive opium production finances the corruption and the warlords. What kind of objectives, then, can Belgian defend there?”

~ more... ~

From Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Bush making light of failure

Salon: 'Will American war crimes be revealed?'

In interviews with Salon, several veterans from the group described incidents in Iraq that they believed constituted wrongdoing by the U.S. military, including disproportionate use of air power resulting in civilian deaths. The soldiers were unable to provide Salon with any conclusive evidence of war crimes. But as the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, the allegations they and other Winter Soldier members will publicize in Washington this week add to a long-term set of questions about the damage and destruction wrought by U.S. military operations over years of war.

The first Winter Soldier Investigation, sponsored in 1971 by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, ultimately helped fuel the antiwar movement in the United States. And the kinds of atrocities in Vietnam they alleged have been well documented since then. The first event also resulted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asking John Kerry, the young veteran who would go on to be a U.S. senator, to testify three months later, when he famously asked, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

In fact, the first Winter Soldier investigation was largely ignored by the media, initially. "I don't think we had nearly the effect we had hoped for," the Vietnam veteran Crandell told me in a telephone interview. "The reporters on the scene were very impressed," he said. "But the networks sat on it." Perhaps that was because it was held in the Motor City (a bad decision then, organizers admit). Perhaps it was because the country wasn't yet ready to hear how a seemingly invisible enemy in Southeast Asia had driven otherwise honorable American soldiers to commit unthinkable atrocities, including acts that were officially or unofficially condoned by military policy.

It is unclear whether Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will gain wider attention from the media and the public, but its organizers say that today's technology could make a difference. "The modern soldier carries a digital camera almost as a sidearm," explained O'Brien. The group says that potentially explosive photos and video from Iraq displayed at this Winter Soldier investigation will help "expose the human consequences of failed policy" in the war zones. The searing images from Abu Ghraib, of course, came to light because soldiers working inside the prison made use of their personal digital cameras.

The veterans of Winter Soldier face the challenge of condemning U.S. military policy without the event being interpreted as -- or twisted into -- an unpatriotic attack on their fellow troops. "That is the tightrope they have to walk," explained Rick Weidman, a Vietnam veteran and director of government relations at Vietnam Veterans of America. "Don't blame the troops who are thrust into the middle of a goddamn civil war where you can't tell who the enemy is." He added: "You don't blame the troops for being put in an impossible situation. Some of this stuff is part of war. You could not retake Fallujah without what many people consider atrocities."

Vietnam veterans faced a similarly difficult balancing act 37 years ago. When Crandell opened the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971, he tried to make it clear that the event was not intended to put American troops on trial. "There will be no phony indictments; there will be no verdict against Uncle Sam," Crandell said back then. The testimony, he argued, was supposed to expose "acts which are the inexorable result of national policy."
But it is unclear if Americans who are politically conservative will pick up on that distinction, particularly at a time when just about any critique of the war is quickly spun by both right and left. "I think they have to be as clear as they can," Crandell continued. "I still have conversations with Vietnam vets 40 years later who feel defamed by what we did. I feel sorry about that." But Crandell said this new Winter Soldier event should still go forward, "to whatever extent it helps with resolving the war or the maverick policies that need to be curtailed."

Some Iraq veterans agree that the pro-war crowd will work to create the impression that the event is an unpatriotic smear against the troops. "It troubles me a little bit," Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America said about the coming event. "I hope that they are thinking this out, because there are plenty of people who are going to want to have their ass."

~ more... ~


Who's Afraid of "Rate My Cop"?

Each week, if not every day, brings in its train another illustration of the fact that those who scrutinize us cannot abide reciprocal scrutiny. Witness the apparent demise of the "Rate My Cop" website.

Carly Kullman, a one-time police cadet, explains that Rate My Cop was to be a national database of police officers and agencies. Users would be able "to browse through their own local police department and see how their local police force stacks up" when compared to other agencies across the country. The site would deal only in publicly available information about agencies and individual officers. Each officer would be rated on the basis of three criteria: authority, fairness, and satisfaction.

Rebecca Costell, a creator of Rate My Cop, said that the objective was to combat an emerging stereotype of police as abusive, violence-prone revenue hogs: "Our website's purpose is to break that stereotype that people have that cops are all bad by having officers become responsible for their actions."

[ ... ]

In unadorned terms, the last thing police want is to be accountable to the communities they're supposed to be serving. Accordingly, police unions immediately began to shriek and keen that Rate My Cop posed a threat to ...

... wait for it ...

... wait for it ...

... that's right: "Officer safety."

I've said it before: "officer safety," not protection of the law-abiding public, is the highest priority of every police department, and every effort to reform police conduct or hold police publicly accountable is condemned as a threat to the same by the professional whiners who represent police unions.

~ more... ~

A Prostitute Analyzes the Real Tragedy Behind Spitzer Sex Scandal

As an ex-prostitute, I read with dismay the initial coverage of the Governor Spitzer sex scandal. “Romp with a high-priced call girl” was the racy way the press stated it. All the focus was on family values, betrayal of middle-class morality, apologies from him for not living up to his own high standards.

The focus should have been on the prostitute herself rather than all the narrow, prudish marriage-and-family garbage and the puritanical rhetoric attached to it. Maybe what was wrong was that he bought another human being.

Having opened my body to men I don't know, I am aware it is difficult, this intimacy with strangers–no matter if the sheets are silk, and the girl is ****ing in a luxury suite at the Ritz. I wondered why no one asked about the welfare of the prostitute–instead of extending misplaced sympathy to the woeful, betrayed wife. Is this prostitute exploited by the ring that rents her out? Is she keeping the money or are they taking a hefty chunk? Who are these people? How do they recruit the girls? How do they treat them?

~ read on... ~

Newspaper Fakes Story Of Actress’ "Apology" Over 9/11 Comments

From Truth News :

Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard has refused to yield to a non-existent media-manufactured "outrage" and recant her comments about 9/11, as some newspapers falsely claim that she has "apologized" for discussing the collapse of the WTC complex and sharing doubts about the official story held by the majority of Americans.

Under the headline, Marion Cotillard U-turns on 9/11 conspiracy, the London Telegraph claims that the French actress has been, "Forced into an embarrassing climb-down after accusing America of fabricating the 9/11 attacks."

In actual fact, Cotillard merely said that she regretted the fact that the comments had been taken out of context by the media, and in a London Times report re-affirms her original statements.

~ read on... ~

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

From 911Truth.org :

From March 13-16th, U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will testify to what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground in these occupations. To provide a preview, we've created this short film. The film features three members who will be testifying at Winter Soldier and includes videos and photographs of Iraq from their deployments. This video contains graphic content. We need your support to help make Winter Soldier a success. Find out more about Winter Soldier.


All week, you can watch proceedings of the Winter Soldier hearings live at the IVAW site or on satellite television, or listen live on Internet radio (KPFA Rocks!!)--details here.

Please -- support Operation Winter Soldier as generously as you can.

Must reads from Carolyn Baker

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime by Eliot Spitzer

[The following article was published in The Washington Post the day after New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer allegedly engaged the services of a call girl at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. When one reads Spitzer's words, one can only wonder if he was targeted by the perpetrators he was investigating.--CB]

How the Bush administration stopped the states from stepping in to help consumers.

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government.


Food, Fuel and Fascism: Their Election or Your Life?
In a 2004 article by Richard Heinberg published exclusively at From The Wilderness, he revealed a declassified document "The Impending Soviet Oil Crisis" from 1977, exposing the CIA's awareness of Peak Oil. According to Heinberg, "The real motives and long-term strategies of policy makers and intelligence gatherers alike will likely remain opaque to citizens who pay in blood and dollars for their government's military adventures. The Impending Soviet Oil Crisis gives us a rare, limited glimpse into the machinery of covert information analysis and decision-making that shape history as we live it."

[ ... ]

In my recent article "Celebrating UN-President's Day: Why I Will Not Vote For A President In 2008" I laid out my case for not voting, but that was before I saw the latest documentary on election fraud, "Uncounted: The New Math Of American Elections". Anyone seriously considering voting for a president in 2008 must see this documentary as well as Bev Harris's 2006 HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy." You may, in fact, live in one of those rare areas where paper ballot voting still occurs, but "Uncounted" and "Hacking Democracy" reveal a rigged election system, so gargantuan, so blatant, and so foolproof that it is now safe to say that legitimate presidential elections in the United States are no longer possible. In other words, American elections no longer belong to you, but to those who manufacture the candidates and select the winners.

Moreover, in recent days Truth To Power has been covering the proposed purchase of the Diebold Corporation by United Technologies, a major U.S. weapons manufacturer and defense contractor. An analysis of the ramifications of this purchase, now put on hold as a result of UT's low bid, can be read at Catherine Austin Fitts's blogspot. Nevertheless, rocket science is not required in order to comprehend the significance of a major defense contractor having control of voting in America. Although the deal has not been consummated, Diebold is seeking a buyer and is likely to eventually sell its strategic position to a more powerful entity-the value of which is truly priceless because corporate control of elections represents the ultimate triumph of fascism in the United States.

In addition, no president, elected or selected in 2008, has the capacity to reverse the fascist trajectory of the republic launched by the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the myriad other ostensibly anti-terrorist measures resulting from either legislation or Executive Orders during the George W. Bush administration. In fact, all three leading candidates embrace the War on Terror and shamelessly behave as emissaries for the military industrial complex.

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