Kissinger Shits In The Woods

Otto is rightly not surprised by-

As secretary of state, Henry Kissinger canceled a U.S. warning against carrying out international political assassinations that was to have gone to Chile and two neighboring nations just days before a former ambassador was killed by Chilean agents on Washington’s Embassy Row in 1976, a newly released State Department cable shows.

A Tiny Revolution has the pictorial, Jeff Kaye has background if you need it, but Python’s got the song-

Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Admin Repeats Bush War Rhetoric To Justify Drone Assassinations

(AFP) – The US government for the first time has offered a legal justification of its drone strikes against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, citing the right to “self-defense” under international law. The CIA attacks by unmanned aircraft in Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere have sharply increased under President Barack Obama’s administration but have remained shrouded in secrecy, with some human rights groups charging the bombing raids amount to illegal assassinations. Broaching a subject that has been off-limits for official comment, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh laid out the legal argument for the strikes in a speech late Thursday, referring to “targeting” of Al-Qaeda and Taliban figures without mentioning Pakistan or where the raids are carried out.

The United States was in “an armed conflict” with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and its affiliates as a result of the September 11 attacks, Koh said, “and may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defense under international law. With respect to the subject of targeting, which has been much commented upon in the media and international legal circles, there are obviously limits to what I can say publicly,” he told a conference of the American Society of International Law. What I can say is that it is the considered view of this administration — and it has certainly been my experience during my time as legal adviser — that US targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.”

The CIA would not comment on the speech, posted on the State Department website, but told AFP: “The Agency?s counterterrorism operations are conducted in strict accord with the law.” Rights activists and some legal experts charge the drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries, outside of a traditional battlefield, amount to extrajudicial executions that violate both international and US law.

Koh, a fierce critic of former president George W. Bush’s policies before he took his post, disagreed — saying a US ban on government sanctioned assassinations did not apply. Under US law, “the use of lawful weapons systems — consistent with the applicable laws of war — for precision targeting of specific high-level belligerent leaders when acting in self-defense or during an armed conflict is not unlawful, and hence does not constitute ‘assassination,'” he said. He also argued that the US government was not obliged to offer legal rights to the militant figures targeted in the strikes as the United States was at war and acting in self-defense.

Also, American Society of International Law Press release. Yes the only empire on Earth, that spends more than all other nations together on its military, with approximately 900 military facilities in 46 countries and territories (the unofficial figure is far greater)…is acting in self defence. Koh in 2002-

Still, some national security lawyers said the practice of drawing up lists of people who are subject to lethal force might blur the lines drawn by government’s ban on assassinations. That prohibition was first ordered by President Gerald Ford, and in the view of some lawyers, it applies not only to foreign leaders but to civilians. (American officials have said in the past that Saddam Hussein would be a legitimate target in a war, as he is a military commander as well as Iraq’s president.)

“The inevitable complication of a politically declared but legally undeclared war is the blurring of the distinction between enemy combatants and other nonstate actors,” said Harold Hongju Koh, a professor of international law at Yale University and a former State Department official in President Bill Clinton’s administration. “The question is, what factual showing will demonstrate that they had warlike intentions against us and who sees that evidence before any action is taken?”

He’s a great lawyer, says whatever the guy paying him wants.

Seventh Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion

And as this video from rethink Afghanistan demonstrates the meek response and internalisation of propaganda is working, the first minute is concerned with US military casualties, then it turns to Iraq casualties and tremulously announces –At least 95,639 confirmed civilian deaths. History is written by the winners and it turns out they even get to rewrite what dissenting voices say. I know that they are after a wide US audience so deference for the imperial military forces and the civilian toll of the ongoing crimes have to be politely alluded to at best, but seven years on this does begin to indicate those who enacted this war will get to own the narrative. All helped by a hysterically embedded media, this by Barbara Plett is not much of a serious piece, it is a glorified film review of fugitive rapist Roman Polanski’s latest, but there is a telling passage-

The drama also has Adam Lang – holed up in a villa in Martha’s Vineyard – decide to stay in the United States for fear of arrest if he returns to Britain. Technically this is a feasible scenario. As a state that has ratified the Rome Treaty, Britain would be obliged to arrest anyone for whom the ICC had issued a warrant, although it had not yet for Mr Lang. The US has not ratified the treaty so it is not similarly obliged. However some legal experts are sceptical that Washington would protect such a high profile fugitive from justice, no matter how close an ally.

If Blair was ensconced in the US the White house would extradite him to face war crimes charges, she reports this expert opinion as if that would ever happen, bless. She also avoids mention of the crime of aggression and that a Chief Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz said-

“The United Nations charter has a provision which was agreed to by the United States, formulated by the United States, in fact, after World War II. It says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense, but a country can’t use force in anticipation of self-defense. Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said, ‘Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and tell us what they’ve found — then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do. The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq — which was all pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation of the charter.”

And it is neither historically remarkable or psychologically surprising that  supporters and/or beneficiaries of slaughter deny the scale of the damage (beneficiaries are anyone still climbing upwards in their career who know it is best not to focus too strongly on deaths we cause as opposed to the evil ‘other’). There are people who deny the Holocaust, there are people who deny the death toll in Iraq, they are of the same ilk, quit whining and own your historical antecedence, you want good war, you have to hide bodies, real fucking simple. Deny the the best correlated figures of a million plus but know who you are making common cause with. There are 2.76 million Internally Displaced Persons and the figures for refugees who fled Iraq are complicated because of the necessarily scattered nature and multiple different countries reporting methods but the figure was 1,977,000-2,377,000(est.) one year ago, there is yet to be profound changes to their circumstances, in fact they are becoming worse.

Children of veterans with PTSD experience-

Iraqi adults & children themselves have massive rates of PTSD, depression and birth defects. Halliburton reported $3.1 Billion Gross Operating Profit last year, Blackwater/ XE and other mercenary firms of the privatised neoliberal war paradigm made…undisclosed total amounts often claimed to be classified, but Armor Group (Chairman former Tory Def Sec Sir Malcolm Rifkind now owned by G4S) made $3.7 million profit in 06,

Jeremy Scahill, 2007– Precise data on the extent of U.S. spending on mercenary services is nearly impossible to obtain — by both journalists and elected officials–but some in Congress estimate that up to 40 cents of every tax dollar spent on the war goes to corporate war contractors. At present, the United States spends about $2 billion a week on its Iraq operations.

Politicians, commentariat & high ranking military & intelligence personnel who conspired on the lies to enable the war have seen their careers & personal wealth flourish, those who opposed, told the truth and still do… Well at least Craig Murray got to be played by Doctor Who on Radio 4. Likelihood that because none of the prosecutors of this war have suffered adverse legal or criminal sanction that they will do it again- 100%. History & business as usual.

Happy Anniversary.

UN Special Rapporteur On Burma Calls For War Crime Investigation

That smoothly orchestrated ‘election’ might not be the PR win Than Swhe was hoping for-

A senior UN official has called for Burma’s military rulers to be investigated over allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated against Burmese civilians, in a move that will sharply increase pressure on the isolated regime ahead of controversial national elections due later this year.

In a draft report to the UN Human Rights Council [pdf] in Geneva, Tomás Ojea Quintana, special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, described “a pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights” which he said has been in place for many years and still continued.

“There is an indication that those human rights violations are the result of a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels,” he said.

Posted in Human Rights, War Criminals. Tags: . Comments Off on UN Special Rapporteur On Burma Calls For War Crime Investigation

UK & Israel Are Conspiring To Protect War Criminals

Britain is braced for a diplomatic row after a senior Israeli politician warned that she was preparing to travel to the UK, where she faces an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes. Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli Foreign Minister and now the leader of the Opposition, said that she wanted to test promises by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, that he would change the law to ensure that she was not arrested for her role in last year’s Gaza offensive.

Amnesty– The UK Government are planning changes to the law that would stop attempts to prosecute suspected war criminals. The move follows media reports that Israeli officials fear possible arrest if they visit the UK. Universal jurisdiction is the law that allows national courts to prosecute serious human rights violations committed anywhere in the world. Altering it would see the UK reneging on its international treaty obligations. One year on from the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, the UK government should be working to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides and not undermining the judiciary’s independence and integrity.

The UK Government are planning imminent changes to the law, to avoid any future attempts to prosecute suspected war criminals, Israeli or otherwise. This would see the UK reneging on its international treaty obligations, particularly those under the Fourth Geneva Convention which commit signatories to ‘seek out and prosecute persons suspected of war crimes wherever and whoever they are, whatever their status, rank or influence, against whom good prima facie evidence has been laid.’ Such an attempt to undermine the judiciary’s independence and integrity must be rejected in the strongest terms.

  • Act now to stop Britain becoming a safe haven for war criminals
  • Do I even need to comment on the spectacle of the Israeli government who constantly invoke the Holocaust in its justifications working with the UK government, which also has its share of war criminals, to destroy the means by which we hold to account torturers, murderers and genocidal militarists. The message appears to be abuse wins, even if one specific generational group of abusers are defeated their abuse in turn creates further generations of abusers, even among their former victims. The much misused term ‘progressive’ (and I do not mean in party political terms, in this both tories & Labour, Dems & GOP are not ‘progressive’) does mean those humans who do try to progress beyond such repeating cycles of horror, as opposed to conservatives (little ‘c’ who run all the aforementioned parties and is a basic characteristic of Zionism) who reinforce them. Governments have now routinised torture in this era, it would be logical if they also now remove sanctions from war crime legislation, what then protects us from government?

    ISC As Useful As The IPCC

    The senior Labour MP who led the revolt against Tony Blair’s 90-day detention bill yesterday intensified the political storm over Britain’s alleged complicity in torture by attacking the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) for failing in its remit as overseer of the security services. The ISC, David Winnick said, had become a “mouthpiece for MI5”.

    “The impression given is that this committee, which reports directly to the prime minister, is in danger of being open to the accusation that it has gone native,” said Winnick.

    His attacks came after Kim Howells, the ISC’s chairman, defended MI5’s director general, Jonathan Evans, in the row over allegations that British security officers colluded in torture. Howells denied that the ISC had been misled by the security service and said the committee had seen no evidence that MI5 had been involved in torture.

    Any claim to the contrary, said Howells on Friday in a joint statement with the senior Tory on the ISC, Michael Mates, was “calumny and a slur and it should not be made”.

    Evans publicly contested the allegations against his officers in an article in Friday’s Daily Telegraph. “We did not practise mistreatment or torture and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to do so on our behalf,” he stated.

    Winnick, a long-standing member of the home affairs select committee, said the ISC needed to start holding sessions in public to reverse its current “unhappy” lack of accountability. He accused it of closing ranks with the intelligence services at the very time when scrutiny should be at its most intense.

    ‘in danger’ Bless.

    PS. And for Howells to say that, well he does like to hang with death squads.

    Posted in Human Rights, Torture, War Criminals. Tags: . Comments Off on ISC As Useful As The IPCC

    T. Blair- PeaceMonger!

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is going to play a bigger role in efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks by intensifying his partnership with special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell.

    In a written statement, Clinton said she had spoken to Blair on Thursday about developments in the region. As a result of that call, she said Blair would broaden his current role as representative of the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers to “intensify his partnership” with Mitchell in support of the attempt to revive political negotiations.

    Mooching around I found this old report at the Guardian which tells a strangely symbolic story –

    Memories of Cherie Blair’s outspoken position on Palestine clearly still haunt. In 2002 she was forced to apologise for telling a charity event in London that young Palestinians had “no hope” but to blow themselves up.

    Fast forward seven years, to a similar event in the House of Commons next Tuesday: the official launch of the newly created Labour Friends of Palestine (LFP). Their main speaker was due to be Blair … until yesterday, when she pulled out, around two hours after LFP’s inaugural line-up had been publicised.

    So far there has been a difference between the government’s line on Gaza 2009 and Lebanon 2006. Back then, Tony Blair attracted criticism (from, among others, the current foreign secretary, David Miliband, who was then the minister at Defra) for not calling for an immediate end to firing and saying Israel must be allowed to defend itself. This month, no such line, and instead the call for an immediate ceasefire.

    LFP are broadly pleased with government movement so far, but clearly things are too brittle for candour from Cherie. LFP will, however, do fine without her: speaking will be Jocelyn Hurndall, the mother of activist Tom Hurndall, who was shot dead in Gaza in 2003.

    6pm update: We take it back: A friend of Cherie Blair’s has just called to say the reason she won’t be attending the launch is because she’s going to be in America with her husband when he collects the congressional gold medal from George Bush. Apparently, Cherie knew a while back but couldn’t tell LFP that she wouldn’t be around until now.

    So she missed the launch of a group that while an attempt at a balancing corrective is tiny compared to Labour Friends of Israel (one T. Blair a member when PM) because Tony was getting his medal for conspiring with Bush, the Neocons and Israel to invade Iraq. Yeah this peace process is fine, no problems at all, what could possibly go wrong…