Category Archives: Impunity

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Naima Bouteldja, The Guardian, Thursday 8 September 2005 00.02 BST

The evidence is that the 1995 Islamist attacks on the French metro were in fact carried out by the Algerian secret service

Ever since the 1995 bombing of the Paris metro by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) made France the first western European country to suffer so-called radical Islamist terrorism, its politicians and “terror experts” have consistently warned Britain to the dangers of welcoming Islamist political dissidents and radical preachers to her shores.

In the aftermath of the July London attacks, commentators were quick to argue that France’s “zero tolerance” policy and campaign of “integration” in the name of republican values – embodied in the 2004 ban on the display of all religious symbols in schools – has spared the country from terror attacks, while Britain’s failure to follow Spain and Germany in adopting the French model has proved a spectacular own-goal. However, as Tony Blair made clear in unveiling his government’s proposed legislation on August 5, “the rules of the game have changed”. Suddenly, the French recipe for dealing with Islamist terror has become feted by British politicians and media alike.

But how would we regard the virtue of the French model if, a decade after bombs ripped through the metro, enough evidence had been gathered to demonstrate that the attacks allegedly carried out by Islamist militants were not fuelled by fundamentalism, but instead were dreamt up and overseen by the Algerian secret service as part of a domestic political struggle that spilled over into Algeria’s former colonial master? The most comprehensive studies – including Lounis Aggoun and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire’s Françalgérie: Crimes and Lies of the State – argue that this is exactly what happened.

In 1991 Algeria’s main Islamic party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), won a first-round victory in the country’s inaugural multiparty general elections, which threatened to strip away the power of the generals who had controlled the state from the shadows.

Exploiting Europe’s fear of an Islamic government, the Algerian army intervened to halt the second round of voting, forcing the president to step down and a temporary commission to rule the country. But the legitimacy of this new arrangement could only be assured if the Islamic opposition could be discredited and crushed.

The DRS – the Algerian secret service – systematically infiltrated insurrectionary Islamist groups such as the GIA and from 1992 onwards launched its own fake guerrilla groups, including death squads disguised as Islamists. In 1994, the DRS managed to place Jamel Zitouni, one of the Islamists it controlled, at the head of the GIA.

“It became impossible to distinguish the genuine Islamists from those controlled by the regime,” says Salima Mellah, of the NGO Algeria Watch. “Each time the generals came under pressure from the international community, the terror intensified”. By January 1995, however, Algeria’s dirty war began to falter. The Italian government hosted a meeting in Rome of Algerian political parties, including the FIS. The participants agreed a common platform, calling for an inquiry into the violence in Algeria, the end of the army’s involvement in political affairs and the return of constitutional rule.

This left the generals in an untenable position. In their desperation, and with the help of the DRS, they hatched a plot to prevent French politicians from ever again withdrawing support for the military junta. As Aggoun and Rivoire recount, French-based Algerian spies initially given the task of infiltrating Islamist networks were transformed into agent provocateurs. In spring 1995, Ali Touchent, an Algerian agent, began to gather and incite a network of disaffected young men from north African backgrounds to commit terrorist attacks in France. The DRS’s infiltrators, led by Zitouni, also pushed the GIA to eliminate some of the FIS’s leaders living in Europe.

On July 11 1995 Abdelbaki Sahraoui, a FIS leader in France, was assassinated. The GIA claimed responsibility. Two weeks later the metro was hit by bombs, killing eight. After a further attack, Zitouni called on President Jacques Chirac to “convert to Islam to be saved”. The resulting public hysteria against Islam and Islamism saw the French government abandon its support for the Rome accord.

So what happened to the perpetrators? The masterminds of the main attack were never caught. Despite being publicly identified by the Algerian authorities as the European ringleader of the GIA and by French investigators as the key organiser, Touchent evaded capture, returned to Algeria and settled in a secure police quarter of Algiers.

France’s inability to bring to justice those genuinely responsible for the 1995 attacks was evidently more than an accident. According to Mohamed Samraoui, a former colonel in the Algerian secret service: “French intelligence knew that Ali Touchent was a DRS operative charged with infiltrating pro-Islamist cells in foreign countries.” It has never been officially denied that in return for supplying the French authorities with valuable information, Touchent was granted protection.

This is not the only explanation for French collaboration with the Algerian government. Algeria is one of the main suppliers of gas and oil to France, and an important client. François Gèze of La Decouverte, a French publisher which exposed the involvement of the Algerian secret services in the dirty war, argues that at the heart of this economic relationship is a web of political corruption. “French exporters generally pay a 10 to 15% commission on their goods. Part of this revenue is then ‘repaid’ by the Algerians as finance for the electoral campaigns of French political parties.”

What the true story of France’s 1995 brush with “Islamic terror” reveals is that the attacks, while probably executed by a small number of Muslim extremists, were conceived and manipulated by vested interests. British policymakers would do well to understand the specific context and complex colonial legacy of French-Algerian relations before they go looking for direct comparisons. The 1995 case is also a warning against blaming “Islamists” for terror, while turning a blind eye to repressive actions of governments in the Arab world when they suit western governments’ agenda.

· Naima Bouteldja is a French journalist and researcher for the Transnational Institute

Macedonia faked ‘militant’ raid

Macedonia faked ‘militant’ raid

BBC, April 30, 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3674533.stm

Macedonian officials have admitted that seven alleged Pakistani militants killed in March 2002 were in fact illegal immigrants shot in cold blood to “impress” the international community.

They said four officers in the security services had been charged with their murder, while former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski may also face charges.

At the time, the interior ministry said they had been killed after trying to ambush police in the capital, Skopje.

But a police spokeswoman said they had in fact been shot in a “staged murder”.

The Macedonians were apparently trying to show the outside world that they were serious about participating in the US-led war on terror, officials say.

“It was a monstrous fabrication to get the attention of the international community,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Mirjana Kontevska told a news conference.

Questions asked

When the incident was reported more than two years ago, it was claimed that a new front had opened up in the war on terror.

The Macedonian interior ministry said the seven men of Pakistani origin were killed after opening fire on a police patrol with machine guns.

Mr Boskovski said the dead men had been planning attacks on vital installations and embassies.

But questions soon began to be asked about the authorities’ version of events.

Now the public prosecutor’s office has brought charges against officers involved in the case and has asked parliament to waive Mr Boskovski’s immunity from prosecution.

The former interior minister denies any wrongdoing.

Gunned down

Police spokeswoman Mirjana Konteska told the Associated Press news agency that the victims were illegal immigrants who had been lured into Macedonia by promises that they would be taken to western Europe.

She said they were transported to the Rastanski Lozja area, about 5km north of Skopje, where they were surrounded and gunned down by police.

“They lost their lives in a staged murder,” she said.

Ms Konteska told AP the investigation was continuing and more suspects could be charged.

If convicted, they face between 10 years and life in prison.

 

Guantanamo inmate claims he underwent medical experiments

Guantanamo inmate claims he underwent medical experiments

A German-Turkish man, who spent over four years imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has claimed US guards regularly carried out medical experiments on inmates. The allegations follow revelations made by a US website.

Murat KurnazKurnaz spent over four years in Guantanamo

Former Guantanamo inmate Murat Kurnaz has accused guards at the US-run detention camp, of subjecting him and other prisoners to medical torture.

In an interview with the daily Berliner Zeitung, Kurnaz claimed that he was given medicine against his will several times a month throughout the four and a half years he spent in Guantanamo Bay.

Kurnaz, who is of Turkish origin, was released in 2006 and then returned to Germany, where he had grown up.

His assertions correlate with the results of two separate studies by American lawyers and the US news website Truthout. They revealed that inmates in the prison camp in Cuba were forced to take high doses of drugs, without any medical need.

Mysterious injections

Kurnaz told the Berliner Zeitung that he was regularly given injections without being told what they were for.

“I felt really terrible,” Kurnaz said.

Rights groups claim medical experiments took place in Guantanamo

Although there was no danger of malaria in the camp, he alleges he was forced to take anti-malaria tablets, which made him tired and breathless.

Kurnaz alleges that some of his fellow inmates blew up like ballons under the influence of the drugs.

“They had swollen heads, swollen hands, everything was full of water,” Kurnaz said.

Kurnaz claims that all the inmates he spoke with were convinced that newly developed medicines or drugs were being tested on them.

“We were guinea pigs, although no one told us,” Kurnaz said.

‘Pharmaceutical waterboarding’

The American organization Truthout last December published details of three cases of suicide at Guantanamo Bay. Truthout claimed that government documents from 2006 showed that all inmates were being administered high doses of the oral anti-malaria drug mefloquine. The dose was apparently five times the normal usage. Truthout described the practice as “pharmaceutical waterboarding.”

Kurnaz’s lawyer said the effects his client experienced correlate with the known side-effects of mefloquine.

“Sometimes he felt lightheaded, other times he was sick, and he also had nightmares,” Bernhard Docke told Deutsche Welle. “That conforms to the effects mefloquine can have on humans, when taken in high doses.”

Mefloquine can lead to sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, psychosis and hallucination. There are reports of US soldiers displaying episodes of aggression and a higher rate of suicide after taking the drug.

Why speak out now?

Kurnaz was released from Guantanamo five years ago, so some are asking why he has waited until now to speak out. Docke says his client was not seeking publicity. He was only responding to an inquiry by journalist Andreas Förster, following the publication of Truthout’s findings.

“He’s trying to lead a normal life,” Förster confirmed to Deutsche Welle. “That isn’t very easy, because the name ‘Murat Kurnaz’ was in the headlines for a while. There were also reports – particularly in the tabloid press – that he was a dangerous Islamist from whom we needed protection.”

“I think Kurnaz has become very mistrustful of the media,” Förster added, “because he’s scared people won’t believe what he went through.”

Author: Joanna Impey
Editor: Susan Houlton

Deutsche Welle

Dutch government refuses to reveal ‘secret deal’ into MH17 crash probe

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/11/20/dutch-government-refuses-to-reveal-secret-deal-into-mh17-crash-probe.html

Dutch government refuses to reveal ‘secret deal’ into MH17 crash probe
EDITOR’S CHOICE | 20.11.2014

The Dutch government has refused to reveal details of a secret pact between members of the Joint Investigation Team examining the downed Flight MH17. If the participants, including Ukraine, don’t want information to be released, it will be kept secret.

The respected Dutch publication Elsevier made a request to the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) agreement, along with 16 other documents. The JIT consists of four countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine – who are carrying out an investigation into the MH17 disaster, but not Malaysia. Malaysian Airlines, who operated the flight, has been criticized for flying through a war zone.

Part of the agreement between the four countries and the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, ensures that all these parties have the right to secrecy. This means that if any of the countries involved believe that some of the evidence may be damaging to them, they have the right to keep this secret.

“Of course [it is] an incredible situation: how can Ukraine, one of the two suspected parties, ever be offered such an agreement?” Dutch citizen Jan Fluitketel wrote in the newspaper Malaysia Today.

Despite the air crash taking place on July 17 in Eastern Ukraine, very little information has been released about any potential causes. However, rather than give the public a little insight into the investigation, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice is more worried about saving face among the members of the investigation.

“I believe that this interest [international relations] is of greater importance than making the information public, as it is a unique investigation into an extremely serious event,” the Ministry added, according to Elsevier.

Other reasons given for the request being denied included protecting investigation techniques and tactics as well as naming the names of officials who are taking part in the investigation. The Ministry said it would be a breach of privacy if they were revealed. “If the information was to be released then sensitive information would be passed between states and organizations, which would perhaps they would be less likely to share such information in the future,” said the Ministry of Security and Justice.

Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt, who is a member of the Christian Democratic Party, has made several requests for the information to be released to the public.

“We do not know what the Netherlands has committed itself to. The government neither published the agreement when we asked for it, nor did it show it to parliament,” he said in reaction to the ministry’s decision. “It is perfectly normal that the Netherlands cooperate with other countries in this complex investigation. Yet they even kept the existence of the agreement secret a first and that was unnecessary.”

Journalists walk behind parts of the Malaysia Airlines plane Flight MH17 as Dutch investigators (unseen) arrive near at the crash site near the Grabove village in eastern Ukraine on November 11, 2014 (AFP Photo)

Malaysia is the only country to have directly negotiated with the anti-Kiev militias in the East of Ukraine, while the country’s Ambassador to the Netherlands said he was unhappy that Malaysia had not been included within the JIT. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte flew to Kuala Lumpur on November 5, but Malaysia says it still did not receive an invitation to join.
“We must first be included in the JIT, otherwise it would be hard for us to cooperate in the investigation. The parties inside the investigation must include us in the team, right now we are just a participant,” said the Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, which was reported by the New Straits Times.
A preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board, which was released September said the MH17 crash was a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that struck the Boeing from the outside.
Dutch investigators added that “there are no indications” that the tragedy was triggered “by a technical fault or by actions of the crew.”
RT

NATO Bombs RTS – TV Station in Belgrad

NATO Bombs TV Station in Serbia

Emergency rescue workers carry victims out of the Belgrade TV station bombed by NATO

‘Once you kill people because you don’t like what they say, you change the rules of war’

by Robert Fisk, The Independent, April 23, 1999

Hanging upside-down from the wreckage was a dead man, in his fifties perhaps, although a benevolent grey dust had covered his face. Not far away, also upside-down – his legs trapped between tons of concrete and steel – was a younger man in a pullover, face grey, blood dribbling from his head on to the rubble beneath.

Deep inside the tangle of cement and plastic and iron, in what had once been the make-up room next to the broadcasting studio of Serb Television, was all that was left of a young woman, burnt alive when Nato’s missile exploded in the radio control room. Within six hours, the Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, declared the place a “legitimate target.”

It wasn’t an argument worth debating with the wounded – one of them a young technician who could only be extracted from the hundreds of tons of concrete in which he was encased by amputating both his legs. Nor with the silent hundreds who gathered in front of the still-smoking ruin at dawn yesterday, lost for words as they stood in the little glade of trees beside St Marko’s Cathedral, where Belgrade’s red and cream trams turn round.

A Belgrade fireman pulled at one of the bodies for all of 30 seconds before he realised that the man, swinging back and forth amid the wreckage, was dead. By dusk last night, 10 crushed bodies – two of them women – had been tugged from beneath the concrete, another man had died in hospital and 15 other technicians and secretaries still lay buried. A fireman reported hearing a voice from the depths as the heavens opened, turning into mud the muck and dust of a building that Ms. Short had declared to be a “propaganda machine.”

We had all wondered how long it would be before Nato decided that Radio Televizija Srbija should join the list of “military” targets. Spokesmen had long objected to its crude propaganda – itincluded a Nato symbol turning into a swastika and a montage of Madeleine Albright growing Dracula teeth in front of a burning building. It never reported on the tens of thousands of Albanian refugees who spoke of executions and “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo. It endlessly repeated films that depicted Yugoslav soldiers as idealised heroes defending their country. It carried soporific tapes of President Slobodan Milosevic meeting patriarchs, Cossacks, Russian envoys and the Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova.

The channel was showing an American interview with Mr Milosevic when the first cruise missile smashed into the station’s control room just after two o’clock yesterday morning. But did this justify killing the night staff in their studios and taping rooms? Two weeks ago, Nato’s spokesmen had been suggesting that RTS would have to carry six hours of Western television a day if it was to survive – CNN’s bland, safe coverage of events presumably offering some balance to the rubbish churned out on the RTS news.

But once Nato decided this was as preposterous as it was impracticable, its spokesman announced that the station was not on the list of Nato targets. Then, on Monday, CNN’s bosses called up from Atlanta to inform the satellite boys in Belgrade that they should pull out of the RTS offices.

Against the wishes of other Nato nations, so the word went, General Wesley Clark had decided to bomb Serb television. CNN withdrew from the building in Takovska Street. And that night, we were all invited to have coffee and orange juice in the studios. The building was likely to be a target of the “Nato aggressor”, according to Goran Matic, a Yugoslav federal minister, as he walked us through the ground floor of the doomed building. Yet, oddly, we did not take him seriously. Even when the air-raid siren sounded, I stayed for another coffee.

Surely Nato wouldn’t waste its bombs on this tiresome station with its third-rate propaganda and old movies, let alone kill its staff. Yesterday morning, the moment I heard the cruise missile scream over my hotel roof, I knew I was wrong. There was a thunderous explosion and a mile-high cloud of dust as four storeys collapsed to the ground, sandwiching offices, machines, transmitters and people into a pile of rubble only 15 feet high.

Yet, within six hours, Serb television was back on the air, beaming its programmes from secret transmitters, the female anchorwoman reading the news from pieces of pink paper between pre-recorded films of Serbian folk-songs and ancient Orthodox churches. All along, the Serbs had been ready for just such an attack. We had not believed Nato capable of such ferocity.

The Serbs had. The crowds still stood in the park as darkness fell, watching the men with drills punching their way through the concrete for more survivors. By that time, explanations were flowing from Nato’s birthday celebrations in Washington. Serbia’s “propaganda machine” had been prolonging the war.

I wonder. I seem to recall Croatian television spreading hatred a-plenty when it was ethnically cleansing 170,000 Serbs from Croatia in 1995. But we didn’t bomb Zagreb. And when President Franjo Tudjman’s lads were massacring Serbs and Muslims alike in Bosnia, we didn’t bomb his residence.

Was Serbian television’s real sin its broadcast of film of the Nato massacre of Kosovo Albanian refugees last week, killings that Nato was forced to admit had been a mistake? Yes, Serbian television could be hateful, biased, bad. It was owned by the government. But once you kill people because you don’t like what they say, you have changed the rules of war. And that’s what Nato did in Belgrade in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The imposition of attorney sanctions for claims arising from U.S. Air Raid on Libya in 1986

Damato-2

American Journal of International Law, July 1990 


EDITORIAL COMMENT(scanned text)

by Anthony D’Amato


THE IMPOSITION OF ATTORNEY SANCTIONS FOR CLAIMS ARISING FROM THE U.S. AIR RAID ON LIBYA

As three-month-old Khloud al-Oraiba slept in her home in a residential area of Benghazi, Libya, she was killed by shrapnel penetrating her chest. Her father, Hasan, 38, was killed by shrapnel to his skull. Many other bombs fell that night of April 15, 1986, on residential areas of Benghazi and Trip­oli, and over two hundred civilians were killed or wounded. They were the victims of a clandestine attack by United States Navy and Air Force aircraft on a mission to assassinate Muammar el-Qaddafi, the head of state of Libya, and to encourage the civilian population to overthrow Qaddafi.

Spokespersons for the United States told the media that the attack was ordered by President Reagan to protect U.S. lives and property against terrorism. Allegations were made that Libya was responsible for the bomb­ing of a West Berlin disco on April 5, 1986, in which two American soldiers were killed, among many other casualties.1 However, West Berlin police officials and the Federal Republic of Germany publicly disputed the U.S. allegation that Libya was responsible for the bombing, and undertook prose­cutions of persons with Syrian connections.2 In May the Pentagon an­nounced that the American bombers had erroneously and inadvertently hit civilian areas in the raid on Libya.

Forty of the wounded victims and the estates of fifteen deceased victims brought a complaint in federal district court in Washington, D.C. against the United States and other defendants. On the theory of negligence contained in the Pentagon’s announcement, the plaintiffs asked for damages against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act.3 On the contrary theory that the bombardment of civilian areas was deliberate, the plaintiffs named numerous additional defendants, including Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, various generals and admirals, and the United Kingdom and the United States of America. They alleged that the defendants were involved in the commission of war crimes resulting in the deaths and injuries to the plaintiffs.4 Compensatory and punitive damages were demanded against them.

A federal district court dismissed the Saltany complaint on the ground that all the defendants had sovereign immunity.5 On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit summarily upheld the dismissal and also imposed sanctions on counsel for the plaintiffs under Rule 11 for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.6 The imposition of sanctions casts a serious chilling effect upon all attorneys who engage in international human rights litigation.

The circuit court gave two general reasons for imposing sanctions. First, it regarded the action as an attempt to use the federal courts to serve as a forum for public statements of protest – to the detriment of parties with serious disputes waiting to be heard. I would agree that courts do not exist as public forums, but the question is whether Ramsey Clark and Lawrence W. Schilling, counsel for the plaintiffs in this case, in fact attempted to use the court as a forum. There is no evidence in the record that they did so. The court of appeals, consisting of Judges James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle, apparently felt that the attorneys for the plaintiffs could not possibly have been motivated by any genuine concern for vindicating the human rights of the Libyan civilians wounded and killed by the U.S. bom­bardment of their homes. If this is indeed the attitude of the judges, it signifies the vast distance yet to be traversed between the routine conception of international human rights lawyers who regard every human being no matter where situated as entitled to fundamental rights, and the routine attitudes of federal judges whose preoccupation with domestic litigation per­haps insulates them psychologically against extraterritorial claims upon their attention.

The second reason for imposing sanctions was the finding by the district court, Judge Jackson presiding, that “[t]he case offered no hope whatsoever of success, and plaintiffs’ attorneys surely knew it.“7 Although Judge Jackson did not impose sanctions, the court of appeals held that Judge Jackson’s finding evidenced a Rule 11 violation and therefore sanctions were imposed at the appellate level.

It may very well be true that there was no hope of success in a case brought before these particular judges. The three-judge pand on appeal consisted of judges who had all been a appointed by President Reagan. The complaint accuse President Reagan of being a war criminal. It is not unreasonable to suppose that such judges would view the complaint with abhorrence and disgust.

Rule 11 sanctions, however, are supposed to be invoked not when a particular case offends a particular judge, but only when a complaint is not “warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.“8 It appears that the claim for damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act was well pleaded and reason­ably sustainable under existing law. The court of appeals did not discuss the merits of this claim in its summary affirmance of the dismissal of the com­plaint and in its imposition of sanctions.

Apart from the Federal Tort Claims Act, were the allegations of war crimes in the complaint so unwarranted by existing law that they would justify the invocation of Rule 11 sanctions? This question raises two subsid­iary ones: (1) whether the acts of the defendants constituted war crimes, and (2) whether the defendants were nevertheless clearly immune from liability.

(1) Article 25 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 provides: “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or build­ings which are undefended, is prohibited.”9 The United States is a party to the Hague Convention of 1907, and in any event the rules therein were found by the Nuremberg Tribunal to have entered into customary interna­tional law by 1939.10 Although the Hague prohibition is unqualified, any defendant who is alleged to have committed such a war crime would be entitled to raise various defenses, some of which might be allowed by customary law, including superior orders, retaliation (for the West Berlin disco bombing), forcible countermeasures, tu quoque, self-defense, counterterrorism and military necessity. However, in the Saltany case, the district court, for the purpose of dismissing the complaint, assumed its allegations to be true. Hence, the availability vel non of customary law defenses is not relevant to the question of the sufficiency of the complaint. It appears that on the facts of Saltany as I recounted them at the beginning of this Editorial, the plaintiffs made out a solid prima facie case of war crime.11

(2) Is the defense of sovereign immunity available against a war crime allegation? Under international law, there would be no such thing as a war crime if that defense were available. The entire proceedings of the Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, the roughly three thousand trials of war criminals in various European courts at the time of Nuremberg, and the extensive decisions of the Military Tribunal of the Far East would all have been aborted if the defendants had been given immunity.12

The Saltany decision rests on the sole ground that the allegations of war crimes, although assumed to be well pleaded, must be dismissed on the basis of sovereign immunity. Is this a flat repudiation of the Nuremberg prece­dent? The answer depends on whether a connection exists between the international law of war and the domestic law of the United States.

Such a connection was established in the case of In re Yamashita.13 General Tomoyuki Yamashita had been convicted by a U.S. military commission for failing to prevent war crimes by soldiers under his command in the Philip­pines.14 He petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for habeas review. The United States Government urged in the Supreme Court that military trials of war criminals are political matters completely outside the arena of judicial review.15 The Court rejected this argument. It considered whether the Charge preferred against General Yamashita was a violation of the law of war. The Court consulted for this purpose the Hague Regulations annexed to the fourth Hague Convention of 1907. It found that violations of those Regulations, amounting to war crimes, had been committed by the soldiers under Yamashita’s cornmand.16 The Court said, “We do not make the laws of war but we respect them so far as they do not conflict with the commands of Congress or the Constitution.17 The Court further found that the de­fendant was entitled to Fifth Amendment protection, and that the eviden­tiary standards applied in his trial – while looser than those in civil trials in the United States – were within the purview of the Fifth Amendment.18

Over a century earlier, the Supreme Court had held, in Little v. Barreme, that a captain of a U.S. warship acting directly under the President’s orders could be held personally liable in trespass for seizing a neutral vessel on the high seas.19 Chief Justice Marshall, for a unanimous Court, held that the commander of a ship of war, in obeying instructions from the President of the United States, acts at his peril.20 If those instructions are not warranted by law, he is answerable in damages to any person injured by their execution. Damages were assessed in favor of the Danish owner of the seized vessel.21 Since the seizure of a neutral vessel falls short of being a “war crime” even though it is a violation of the international law of war, the complaint in the Saltany case on this point makes out an a fortiori claim for tort liability.

The district court in Saltany did not say that the defendants had commit­ted no war crime; rather, the court, in dismissing the complaint on sovereign immunity grounds, assumed that all the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint were true and that the plaintiffs were entitled to draw all favorable inferences from them. The decision therefore amounts to holding that the President, acting as commander in chief, may order and execute the commission of war crimes an where in the world, in war or inp eace, and without congressional authorization, and that neither he nor his subordi­nates who carry out his orders can be held civilly accountable in an United States court. It is a bold decision, effectively reversing the combined effect of In re Yamashita and Little v. Barreme, and a host of related Supreme Court cases. If the court itself departed from these precedents, how could it legitimately impose sanctions on the plaintiffs’ counsel for relying upon them?

The court of appeals focused upon defendants United Kingdom and its head of government, Margaret Thatcher, in levying sanctions under Rule 11. These defendants acted independently of the authority of President Reagan, and chose to allow British airspace to be used for the Libyan bombing mission.22 At first glance, their immunity appears to be secured by the language of the Supreme Court in Argentine Republic v. Amerada Hess Ship-


[Lost page]


…governmental and military leaders for the commission of international war crimes after World War II might today feel that American governmental and military leaders and their allies abroad are unaccountable under the same international law . There may be a double standard, but probably most judges in most courts in any country in the world today would do the same thing if their governmental and military leaders were sued on a war crimes charge. American judges neither lead nor lag behind the rest of the world in this respect. Although I have no admiration for the “political question” doctrine, it would have been understandable if the Saltany complaint had been dismissed on that vague ground. At least the invocation of political questions would have candidly indicated the court’s sense of powerlessness over the adjudication of such issues, no matter how legally meritorious they   might have been.  

 

But by imposing sanctions on the attorneys who dared to represent the plaintiffs in the Saltany case, the court of appeals gave a retrogressive exam­ple for courts elsewhere in the world. It acted zealously and excessively to shield political interests and political sensibilities. Its decision imperils all lawyers who, in a shrinking and interdependent world, wish to bring any claim in our courts on behalf of aliens. What international attorney would not now feel constrained when asked to file an unusual or innovative case on behalf of foreign persons in a United States court? When the court of appeals refused to address the Saltany claim for administrative relief, and brushed aside without reflective consideration the well-pleaded war crimes allega­tions, it served notice on all attorneys that, irrespective of the language of Rule 11, whoever files a case that offends a judge risks severe professional sanction. In my opinion, this ruling deals a significant blow to the cause of freedom an the adversary system of a great nation.


ANTHONY D’AMATO

1 In an article published in 1987, Vice President George Bush said that the action upon “selected targets in Libya” was “taken in retaliation against Libyan-sponsored attacks on Ameri­cans, particularly the Libyan-organized bombing of a Berlin nightclub several days earlier.” Bush, Prelude to Retaliation: Building a Governmental Consensus Against Terrorism, SAIS Rev.,Winter-Spring 1987, at 1.

2 As of this writing, the United States has not released any evidence challenging the position of West Berlin and the Federal Republic.

3 28 U.S.C. §1346(b) (1982). The Act contains sovereign immunity exceptions for acts of United States officials that involve the exercise of discretion, that arise from combatant activi­ties in time of war, and that arise in a foreign country. 28 U.S.C. §2680(a), (j) and (k). Arguably, the claimed negligence negates the discretion exception, the fact that die United States was not at war with Libya negates the wartime exception, and the fact that the decisions were made in the United States and that only their operative effect occurred abroad negates the foreign-country exception. The latter argument has been characterized as “headquarters claim.” See Beattie v. United States, 617 F.2d 91, 96-97 (D.C. Cir. 1979); Vogelaar v. United States, 665 F.Supp. 1295, 1300-02 (E.D. Mich. 1987).

In addition, the plaintiffs invoked the Foreign Claims Act, 10 U.S.C. §2734. The Act’s regulations require the Air Force to “[p]ay claims arising from accident or malfunction of aircraft operations, including airborne ordnance, occurring while preparing for, going to, or returning from a combat mission.” 32 C.F.R. §842.64(m).

4 The United Kingdom and its head of government, Margaret Thatcher, were named as co-conspirators in planning and carrying out the attack upon Libya for allowing U.S. planes headed for Libya to take off from u.s. bases in the United Kingdom and to fly over the airspace

5 Saltany v. Reagan, 702 F.Supp. 319 (D.D.C. 1988)

6 Saltany v. Reagan, 886 F.2d 438 (D.C. Cir. 1989). Only defendant United Kingdom cross­appealed from the denial of sanctions by the district court. The court of appeals reversed, and imposed sanctions on counsel for the plaintiffs consisting of the costs and attorneys’ fees of the United Kingdom.

7. F.Supp. at 322. The district court did not impose sanctions; it said that the case is not so much frivolous as it is audacious. The court of appeals, however, cited the finding below that the case offered no hope whatsoever of success, and held that such a finding necessitated a Rule 11 violation.

8. FED. R. CIV. P. II.

9. Annex to the Convention, Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Art. 25, Convention (No. IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Oct. 18, 1907, 36 Stat. 2277, TS No. 539, 205 Parry’s TS 277.

10. The Nurnberg Trial, 6 F.R.D. 69, 130 (1946). Under Article 6(a) of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Agreement for the Prosecution and Punish­ment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis, Aug. 8, 1945, 59 Stat. 1544, 3 Bevans 1238, 82 UNTS 279, the term “war crime” is defined to include “murder”; Article 6(c) defines the term “crime against humanity” to include “murder, extermination, enslavement, deporta­tion, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population.”

It is hardly a defense to argue that war crimes can only be committed during wartime, and that the United States and Libya were not at war in 1986. Since Nuremberg, and especially since the Far East trials where the memory of the “sneak attack” by Japan on Pearl Harbor colored the entire proceedings, it has been clear that war crimes are acts of war irrespective of whether there has been a formal declaration of war. Indeed, the failure of the United States to announce that a state of war existed between it and Libya-as well as the failure to give notice to the inhabitants of Tripoli and Benghazi that they were about to be bombed-could itself be a violation of the Hague Convention relative to the Opening of Hostilities (No. III), Oct. 18, 1907, 36 Stat. 2259, TS No. 538, 205 Parry’s TS 263.

11. To be sure, the complaint is in tort; the Saltany case is no criminal or military proceeding. Yet traditional tort doctrine allows for the recovery of damages for harm inflicted in violation of criminal law.

12. Article 7 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, supra note 10, is typical: “The official position of defendants, whether as heads of state, or responsible officials in government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibil­ity, or mitigating punishment.” See 6 F.R.D. at 110. Although many of the defendants explicitly claimed sovereign immunity at their trials, these claims were rejected by the tribunals in every case.

13. 327 U.S. 1 (1946). The Yamashita trial before the U.S. military commission is reported in 4 UNITED NATIONS WAR CRIMES COMMISSION, LAW REPORTS OF TRIALS OF WAR CRIMINALS 1 (1948).

14. UNITED NATIONS WAR CRIMES COMMISSION, supra note 13. For a conceptual analysis, see D’Amato, Superior Orders vs. Command Responsibility, 80 AJIL 604 (1986); Levie, Some Com­ments on Professor D’Amato’s “Paradox,” 80 AJIL 608 (1986).

15. See 327 U.S. at 30 (Murphy, J., dissenting, calling this a “noxious doctrine”).

16. U.S. at 14-16.

17. Id. at 16.

18. Id. at 23. For elaboration and analysis of this point, see D’Amato, Gould & Woods, War Crimes and Vietnam: The “Nuremberg Defense” and the Military Service Resister, 57 CALIF. L. REV. 1055,1072-73 (1969), reprinted in 3 THE VIETNAM WAR AND INTERNATIONAL LAW 407 (R. Falk ed. 1972). Cf Switkes V. Laird, 316 F.Supp. 358 (S.D.N.y. 1970).

19. 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 170 (1804).

20. In Little V. Barreme, the President acted without congressional authority. Similarly, the raid on Libya was ordered by President Reagan in his capacity as commander in chief, without leave of Congress.

21. Little V. Barreme remains unimpeached in its authority. See Youngstown Steel & Tube CO. V. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579,661 (1951); Butz V. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 490 (1978).

22. Other nations refused requests from the United States to participate in the attack or permit aircraft to fly over their territory for that purpose.

The ICC as a tool of imperialism

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/icc-rejects-palestinian-bid-to-investigate-israeli-war-crimes-during-cast-lead-gaza-operation-1.422397


Published 18:20 03.04.12    Latest update 18:20 03.04.12


ICC rejects Palestinian bid to investigate Israeli war crimes during ‘Cast Lead’ Gaza operation

[see comments at end]


International Criminal Court in The Hague says reason for decision is that Palestine is currently recognized by the United Nations as an ‘observer,’ not a ‘Non-member State’.
By Barak RavidTags: Palestinians Palestinian Authority UN Israel war crimes Gaza war

The International Criminal Court prosecutor announced Tuesday that he has rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the war crimes tribunal investigate Israeli conduct during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza. The reason for his decision was that under the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, only internationally recognized states can join the court.

In an official statement released Tuesday afternoon, the ICC said that “the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non-member State”,” and that only “relevant bodies at the United Nations” or the group of states that make up the court could determine whether Palestinians can sign up to the Rome Statute.
“[T]he Office has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the United Nations or the Assembly of States Parties to make the legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a State for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute and thereby enabling the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court,” the statement said. “The Rome Statute provides no authority for the Office of the Prosecutor to adopt a method to define the term “State””.

The ICC explained that “Palestine has been recognized as a State in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and by certain international organisations, including United Nation bodies. However, the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non-member State”.”
In the future, the statement continued, the ICC could “consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue” regarding Palestine’s membership status.

The bid was made in 2009, when Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Khashan sent a letter to the ICC saying the PA recognizes the court’s authority to deliberate “the actions taken in the Palestinian territories from July 1.”

Following the PA’s request, the ICC’s prosecutor began looking into the possibility of an investigation. During the discussions, Arab League representatives submitted a report to the ICC alleging war crimes committed by Israel during Cast Lead. In July 2011, the PA submitted its appeal in writing to the ICC.

Comment by Elias Davidsson

The legalistic attitude displayed by the ICC means that if states agree not to have war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide prosecuted, they are allowed by the ICC to do so.  Thus the ICC demonstrates that it defers to the balance of forces in the international system of states and is not a true international criminal court but a tool of oppression in the hands of the powerful.  It will not prosecute crimes committed by some states. It is apparently sufficient for states not to become member of the ICC in order for its citizens to enjoy impunity. 

Changes to UK law didn’t protect Tzipi Livni

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/201110912402659549.html

Changes to UK law didn’t protect Tzipi Livni
A London judge ordered a former Israeli foreign minister’s arrest, but the UK is preventing this.

Daniel Machover and Raji Sourani Last Modified: 10 Oct 2011 09:15

The British government illegitimately agreed to give special temporary immunity to Tzipi Livni, argue writers [EPA]


In December 2009, a judge in London issued a warrant for the arrest of former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The judge received significant evidence indicating her individual criminal responsibility for war crimes committed during Israel’s December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip. The Court’s straightforward application of the rule of law prompted a diplomatic offensive on the part of Israel, which on September 15, 2011 resulted in procedural changes to universal jurisdiction legislation in England and Wales. These changes were intended to prevent the arrest of suspected war criminals from “friendly” states.

On October 6, 2011, Ms Livni returned to the United Kingdom. A stated purpose of her visit was to celebrate this change in the law. In advance of her visit, and acting on behalf of civilian victims of war crimes in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Hickman & Rose requested that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) authorise the arrest of Ms Livni or consent to the victims applying to court for a second judicial arrest warrant. This application was made in full conformity with the recent legislative changes.

Extensive evidence indicating Ms Livni’s individual criminal responsibility was presented to the DPP, and an effective dialogue was established with senior crown prosecutors that enabled relevant, admissible additional evidence to be supplied at their request. However, following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s last-minute (apparently) retroactive attribution of diplomatic immunity to Ms Livni, on the basis of her visit constituting a “special mission”, the DPP issued a statement that he had been blocked from making any decision as to her arrest.

Due for due process

Three principal issues arise from this case that must be highlighted.

First, the fact that no decision was made to arrest Ms Livni was not due to any lack of evidence. Indeed, in an unusual public statement, the DPP acknowledged receipt of a significant body of evidence, which was “carefully considered by senior and experienced lawyers in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS” (Crown Prosecution Service). As confirmed in the statement, these lawyers did not reach a decision on the evidence, as their work was blocked by the attribution of Special Mission immunity. If the evidence was insufficient to justify an arrest, it is difficult to see what prompted the intervention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Second, recent changes to the United Kingdom’s universal jurisdiction law did not preclude the potential arrest of Ms Livni. However, by preventing direct access to the Court, these changes most definitely hampered efforts by the victims to seek redress, slowing the process down sufficiently to allow the FCO to produce a certificate of immunity and for Ms Livni to leave the jurisdiction. The FCO decision was made behind everyone’s backs, and meanwhile the DPP delayed his decision for a crucial few hours, all of which effectively prevented the victims from bringing a successful legal challenge to the FCO decision while Ms Livni was in the country. Indeed, given the absence of the immunity certificate, Ms Livni could – and should – have been arrested on Wednesday night, prior to the FCO’s intervention.

The key point is that the new law gave Ms Livni no protection against arrest and prosecution: It was solely the (questionable) attribution of diplomatic immunity that prevented due legal process.
Finally, the FCO’s apparently retroactive attribution of Special Mission immunity to Tzipi Livni must be highlighted. As far as we can see, there are just two possibilities: Either there was a plan in advance to classify the visit as a special mission, in which case Ms Livni and the FCO set out deliberately at the beginning of the week to deceive everyone that Ms Livni was genuinely testing the new legal procedure, or the special mission was a rabbit that was pulled from the hat to prevent the law taking its course. Both these alternatives are discreditable and the latter, which currently seems more likely, represents a complete abuse of process and of law based on the known facts. In any event, the sole purpose behind the FCO actions has been to shield Ms Livni from arrest.

Ms Livni is not a member of the Israeli government, but rather is leader of the opposition. She is not an official representative of the State of Israel, and the FCO has been notably silent on whether there was prior agreement between the two governments that Ms Livni’s visit would be a special mission, without which immunity cannot lawfully arise. If the law on special missions is being abused to subvert the rule of law, then this indicates a worrying disregard for the international obligations of the United Kingdom, which include the unqualified mandatory requirement to “search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed … grave breaches, and … bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts” (as per article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949).

In effect, whatever the true version of events, the British government illegitimately agreed to give special temporary immunity to Ms Livni, knowing an English judge had previously ordered her arrest on war crimes charges, in order to allow her time to complete a visit to London, so as to enable her to escape arrest for a second time.

These events send the dangerous message that international law is subject to political expediency, and that in the view of the UK government, universal rights are not actually universal. Modern international law was created in response to the horrors of World War II, in an attempt to protect civilian populations and to give power to the phrase “never again”. The Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mark significant advances in the progress of humankind. These fundamental rights must be preserved at all costs; any attempt to dilute their practical impact in the name of political expediency must be resisted and challenged. At issue is the very concept of universal justice and the universality of human rights.

Hickman & Rose and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights will continue to exert all possible efforts on behalf of the victims to ensure the equal application of the rule of law, and to uphold individual victims’ right to judicial redress.

Daniel Machover is the head of the Civil Litigation Department at London-based law firm Hickman & Rose.

Raji Sourani is the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

How Netherlands could provide impunity to war criminals

Netherlands could be safe haven for war criminals: leaked memo

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 8 February 2011

A leaked secret memorandum from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests the government is seeking to ensure Israeli and other foreign officials who may be pursued for war crimes can visit the Netherlands without fear of arrest or legal accountability.

The memo, which was leaked to the Dutch television station KRO reveals that Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal sought advice on possibilities for the state to prevent prosecution of foreign government officials who visit the Netherlands (“Minister Rosenthal wil vervolging buitenlandse politici in Nederland tegen gaan,” 26 January 2011).

Rosenthal sought advice from the ministry’s legal department after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono canceled his state visit to the Netherlands last October following imminent legal action linked to his alleged role in crimes against humanity. However, it was clear that Yudhoyono could not be prosecuted because of his diplomatic immunity as president. 

Rosenthal’s request for advice on the matter may have been triggered by concerns about future visits by Israel officials. Several high-ranking Israeli officials have within the past year canceled planned visits to European countries fearing arrest in connection with allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, documented in the UN-commissioned Goldstone report.

In its memo, the Department of Legal Affairs writes that diplomatic immunity is the only guarantee against criminal prosecution. In order to get around this limitation, the memo proposes the option of a new “generic” law to protect foreign politicians from prosecution in the Netherlands.

Another option would be a short-term agreement with a state to grant immunity to a specific person for a limited period. This would carry the publicity risk that “the Netherlands protects a war criminal,” the officials who authored the memo wrote. 

Yet another possibility the Dutch officials consider is that the state could take over an invitation to a foreign official issued by a private party, thus providing the foreign official with a form of state protection and indicating that such a visit is important to the foreign relations of the Netherlands. Previous court cases have shown, the memo notes, that “judges are sensitive to the argument that the judiciary should exercise restraint in cases that affect foreign relations.” 

This was “astonishing advice,” Menno Kamminga, Professor of international law and director of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, told KRO television. “The Netherlands is bound by various treaties to prosecute violators of human rights; you cannot try to evade this unilaterally with a new law,” Kamminga said.

A key case that shows the relevance of the potential effect of the foreign ministry memo if its recommendations are implemented, involved legal action by a Palestinian who alleged he was tortured by Danny Ayalon, a former head of the Israeli secret service, and now deputy Israeli foreign minister.

Liesbeth Zegveld, attorney and professor in international humanitarian law, lodged a complaint to the public prosecutor when Ayalon visited the Netherlands at the invitation of the Dutch Zionist group Centre for Documentation and Information on Israel (CIDI) in May 2008.

Zegveld told Radio 1 in the Netherlands: “It was clear that Ayalon had no diplomatic immunity. The public prosecutor was interested in the case but needed to formally ask advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the immunity of Ayalon. Although we reminded the ministry that the time was limited, they sent their advice one day after he left the country. Indeed, the advice was that Ayalon had no immunity. That is exactly the atmosphere that breathes from the memo. It all happens behind the scenes.” The tactic of using such delays to buy time is described in the memo (“Rosenthal wil vervolging buitenlandse politici in Nederland tegengaan“, 27 January 2011).

Zegveld pointed out that under the leaked memo’s recommendations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could have given official cover to CIDI’s invitation of Ayalon by inviting him for “a cup of tea at the ministry.” Ayalon’s visit would thus have become an official visit to the Netherlands, and judges would presumably have deferred to the government in the case of any legal proceeding against him. As Zegveld explained, “This has nothing to do with immunity. It is about influencing the judiciary with means that are not available to the other party. It is contrary to the interest of preventing impunity.”

The foreign ministry memo was leaked about three months after a right-wing minority coalition government was installed with the support of the PVV (Party for Freedom) led by Islamophobic demagogue Geert Wilders. Wilders, a staunch supporter of Israel, visited the country in December and voiced support for the views of settler leaders who say Israel should should annex the occupied West Bank and that Jordan should be the Palestinian state.

The coalition negotiated an agreement with Wilders which commits the government to “invest in the relationship with the State of Israel.” In this way, Israel received exclusive treatment: it is the only country that is mentioned.

The special relationship with Israel came under the spotlight after the Israeli organization NGO Monitor began a defamation campaign against The Electronic Intifada last November. Dutch Foreign Minister Rosenthal responded immediately with a fierce attack on the Dutch donor organization ICCO for its support to the publication and has since threatened to cut government funding to ICCO and other civil society organizations that deviate from his policies toward Israel. 

Articles calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions have been a particular thorn in Rosenthal’s side. He told the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant on 11 December 2010 that “We [the government] want to resist Israel bashing, we want to invest in the relationship with Israel.”

Moreover, Rosenthal’s attack on ICCO is striking because the support of the Dutch government to donor organizations is outside his area of authority. Ben Knapen, Minister of Development Cooperation and a former chief editor of the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, is responsible for funding to organizations like ICCO and has remained silent on the matter.

The leaked foreign ministry legal memo also repeatedly points out the publicity risks of offering protection to suspects of international crimes by stretching possible immunity beyond presidents of states, prime ministers and ministers of foreign affairs. 

This means that despite the attacks on their independence from the Dutch government, Dutch civil society and politicians can still send a clear signal to Rosenthal: the Netherlands has to comply with its international obligations to hold alleged suspects of war crimes to account, no matter their origin or the identity of their victims.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate.


Spanish judge charges Israeli war criminals

  • Published 02:28 30.01.09
  • Latest update 02:28 30.01.09

‘You are killing people,’ Erdogan tells Peres

By Haaretz Staff and Agencies
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stalked off the stage yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland after sparring with President Shimon Peres over the fighting in Gaza. The incident occurred hours after a Spanish investigative judge decided to open a criminal investigation into seven Israeli officers and government officials who were involved in the assassination of Hamas master terrorist Salah Shehadeh in July 2002.

In addition to Shehadeh, the operation killed 14 civilians. Therefore, Judge Fernando Andreu declared, it might constitute a crime against humanity. In Davos, Peres and Erdogan engaged in a lengthy debate about the Gaza operation, during which both men raised their voices and shouted – highly unusual behavior at this elite gathering. “You are killing people,” Erdogan told Peres at one point. But as the session was ending, Erdogan asked the moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.

“I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks,” Erdogan then told Peres, speaking in Turkish. “I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian.”

Ignatius interjected, “We can’t start the debate again. We just don’t have time.”

“Please let me finish,” Erdogan urged, but Ignatius responded, “we really do need to get people to dinner.”

The Turkish premier then said, “Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don’t think I will come back to Davos after this” – and left the podium.

The packed audience at the Erdogan-Peres session appeared stunned.

“I have known Shimon Peres for many years and I also know Erdogan,” said former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. “I have never seen Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt isolated.”

“I was very sad that Erdogan left,” he added. “This was an expression of how difficult this situation is.”

In Spain, Judge Andreu’s writ named seven Israelis as suspects: then defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who is currently national infrastructure minister; then Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon; then air force commander Dan Halutz; then GOC Southern Command Giora Eiland; Dorog Almog, who headed the national security staff at the time; Mike Herzog, then Ben-Eliezer’s military secretary; and Avi Dichter, then head of the Shin Bet security service, who is today public security minister. However, the writ did not request their arrest.

Andreu also wrote to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority requesting permission to send Spanish police investigators to the Gaza Strip to pursue the probe.

Although Spain has no connection to the case, it is one of several European countries that claim universal jurisdiction. As a result, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights chose Spain as a suitable venue for filing a criminal complaint, and yesterday, Andreu acceded to its request that he launch an investigation.

In his decision, Andreu wrote that dropping a bomb “on one of the most crowded neighborhoods in Gaza” was potentially a crime against humanity. The use of a one-ton bomb was “exaggerated and disproportionate,” he added, and the IDF “was aware of ramifications of the bombing.”

Several of the current and former officers named in the writ expressed bitterness at the state’s handling of the incident, and particularly blamed the Justice Ministry.

Had the State of Israel dealt with Spain’s request eight months ago with the requisite seriousness, the requisite speed and at a high enough level, we might never have come to this decision,” said one person involved in the affair. He was referring to a letter Andreu sent in August 2008, in which he asked Israel for additional information about the assassination. [emphasis added – The Webmaster]

A few months ago, the Justice Ministry did warn all the officers involved to avoid traveling to Spain. Now, however, they may also need to avoid any country with which Spain has an extradition treaty.

In response to the decision, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos promised his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, that he would make every effort to convince the judge to reverse his decision. However, he noted, the Spanish judiciary is completely independent, so there is no guarantee that Andreu will accede to this request. [A politician who “promises” to “make every effort to convince [a] judge to reverse [his] decision”, apparently believes that he possesses the means to influence a judicial decision. This means that the judiciary is NOT “completely independent”, but can be “induced” to render an opinion that politicians consider desirable – The Webmaster]

Livni also directed the Israeli embassy in Madrid to ask the judge to cancel the investigation. The embassy will submit its request today. [Israel’s arrogance is demonstrated by its interference in the judicial system of other countries – The Webmaster]

Defense Minister Ehud Barak termed Andreu’s decision “delusional,” adding: “Anyone who calls the liquidation of a terrorist a ‘crime against humanity’ is living in an upside-down world.” [The Orwellian term “liquidation” of human beings, speaks volumes about the world-view of Israeli Ministers, apart from the ludicrous claim that using a one-ton bomb on a residential area amounts to targeting one individual – The Webmaster]

Ben-Eliezer termed it “ridiculous and outrageous,” adding: “I don’t regret the [assassination] decision. Salah Shehadeh was an arch-murderer. Had we not assassinated him, he would have continued carrying out terror attacks.” [Extrajudicial killings are a crime under international law.  Following Ben-Eliezer’s logic, it would be legitimate for Palestinians to assassinate Israeli leaders – The Webmaster]

The assassination was postponed three times because civilians were known to be in Shehadeh’s vicinity, he noted, and when it was finally approved, it was because there was no information indicating that civilians were present at the time.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened yesterday to kidnap more Israelis, claiming that Israel has not yet returned the bodies of 350 Lebanese and Palestinians living in Lebanon, and therefore, “the file is still open.” [Why and since when is Israel holding the bodies of 350 Lebanese residents? – The Webmaster]

He also once again blamed Israel for last year’s assassination of his organization’s operations officer, Imad Mughniyeh, and vowed revenge.

In 2006, Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers sparked the Second Lebanon War.

Also yesterday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged U.S. President Barack Obama to change America’s traditionally pro-Israel approach to the Middle East.

Nobel Hypocrisy: Peace Prize Awards to War Criminals

Nobel Hypocrisy: Peace Prize Awards to War Criminals
by Stephen Lendman
Global Research
 October 21, 2007


Alfred Nobel was a wealthy nineteenth century Swedish-born chemist, engineer, inventor of dynamite, armaments manufacturer and war profiteer who remade his image late in life by establishing the awarding of prizes in his name that includes the one for peace. This most noted award was inspired by his one-time secretary and peace activist, Bertha von Suttner, who was nominated four times and became the first of only 12 women to be honored.

Since it was established in 1901, the Peace Prize was awarded to 95 individuals and 20 organizations. Some recipients were worthy like Martin Luther King, Jane Addams and Albert Schweitzer but too many were not including this year’s honoree. Al Gore joins a long list of past “ignoble” recipients like warrior presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and supporter of rogue regimes Jimmy Carter. He’s also among the likes of genocidists Henry Kissinger and three former Israeli prime ministers – Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin – along with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who never met a US-led war he didn’t love and support. So much for promoting peace and what this award is supposed to signify. More on this below.

Almost anyone can be nominated for the prize and look who were but didn’t get it – Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and more recently George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Rush Limbaugh laughably. In contrast, one of the most notable symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi, was nominated four times but never won. More recently, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, now known as Voices for Creative Nonviolence, got three nominations but was passed over each time for less deserving candidates. Her “reward” instead was to be sentenced in 2004 to three months in federal prison for crossing the line into Fort Benning, Georgia in protest against the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation that’s commonly called “the school of assassins.”

Peace Prize Awards to War Criminals

Henry Kissinger was likely the most noted war criminal ever to win the Nobel Prize (in 1973 with Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho who declined his award saying there was no peace in his country). The sheer scope of his crimes is breathtaking:

— three to four million Southeast Asian deaths in the Vietnam war,

— the bloody overthrow of a democratic government in Chile and support for Latin American dictators,

— backed Surharto’s takeover of West Papua and his invasion of East Timor killing hundreds of thousands,

— supported the Khmer Rouge early on and its reign of terror rise to power,

— backed Pakistan’s “delicacy and tact” in overthrowing Bangladesh’s democratically elected government causing a half million deaths, and much more around the world as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the world body he represented won their award in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.” It wasn’t for what Annan did in his various UN roles. Early on, he had a position in the Secretariat’s services department in New York. He then got subordinate responsibility for the Middle East and Africa in the “special political affairs” department. There his support for Washington’s call for troops to be sent to Somalia in the early 1990s helped put him in charge of all peacekeeping operations in February, 1993. In that role, he prevented measures from being taken to stop the impending Rwanda slaughter he was warned about in advance that caused around 800,000 deaths on his watch. He also kept the Security Council uninformed of what was coming.

At the behest of then UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright and without consulting Secretary-General Boutras-Boutras-Ghali, Annan sided with the Clinton administration’s authorization of NATO to illegally bomb Serb positions in Bosnia in 1995. It got him the Secretary-General’s job in January, 1997 in which one observer noted he “courted the wrath of the developing world by rejecting anticolonialism in favor of moral principles cherished in the West.”

Kofi Annan’s Nobel award is a testimony to hypocrisy for a man whose ten years as Secretary-General failed to fulfill the mandate he was sworn to uphold: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights; to establish conditions (promoting) justice….equal rights of men and women (in all nations and respect for) international law (and) social progress….to ensure….armed force shall not be used.”

During his ten year tenure in the top UN job, Annan:

— supported Iraqi economic sanctions that caused around 1.5 million deaths including over one million children under age five;

— backed the Bush administration’s illegal 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation that’s now taken an additional 1.2 million or more lives;

— supported the illegal Afghanistan war and occupation;

— remained mute on the possibility of a wider war with Iran even if it includes first strike nuclear weapons;

— made no efforts to work for peace in the Middle East including in Occupied Palestine nor did he denounce Israel’s 2006 war of aggression against Lebanon;

— remained loyal to the West and ignored the plight of his own people throughout the African continent including the immiseration of South African blacks post-apartheid;

— allowed thuggish paramilitary Blue Helmets to occupy Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sudan. More on UN peacekeeping below.

Kofi Annan’s sole achievement was his uncompromising complicity with the Clinton and Bush administrations’ worst crimes of war and against humanity. His loyalty earned him the Nobel award that signified nothing to do with peace he disdained.

UN Peacekeeping Forces got the Nobel award in 1988 for missions the UN defines as “a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace.” Blue Helmets supposedly are sent to conflict and post-conflict areas to perform multiple services that include as top priority restoring order, maintaining peace and security and providing for the needs of people during transitional periods until local governments can take over on their own.

Most often, Blue Helmets end up creating more conflict than resolution and function mainly as unwanted paramilitary enforcers or occupiers. At other times, they become counterproductive or ineffective and end up doing more harm than good. Since 1948, over five dozen peacekeeping operations have been undertaken. Most were dismal failures including the first ever UNTSO mission during Israel’s so-called “War of Independence.” The operation is still ongoing after nearly 50 years, peace was never achieved, Blue Helmets are there but play no active role, and the world community is silent in the face of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity.

The same condition is true in Haiti where for the first time in UN history MINUSTAH peacekeepers were deployed to enforce a coup d’etat against a democratically-elected president. They disdain peace and stability and function instead as paramilitary occupiers indiscriminately terrorizing and killing unarmed civilians in service to Western capital.

Three former Israeli prime ministers also got Nobel Peace Prizes – Menachem Begin in 1978 and Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres in 1994. All three men committed crimes of war and against humanity as did all other Israeli prime ministers since David Ben-Gurion took office May 14, 1948 after the new State of Israel declared it independence as an exclusive Jewish state. Nonetheless, the Nobel Committee awarded them its highest honor for furthering the cause of peace they disdained by using their position to inflict on the Palestinian people what Edward Said once called Israel’s “refined viciousness.” Menachem Begin was a particularly virulent racist and Arab hater calling Palestinians “two-legged beasts” and saying Jews were the “Master Race” and “divine gods on this planet.”

Then there’s the current Nobel Peace Prize honoree, Al Gore. CounterPunchers Alex Cockburn and Jeff St. Clair wrote the book on him in 2000 titled “Al Gore: A User’s Manual.” It’s a critical account of a “man whom his parents raised from birth to be president of the United States” and who always put politics over principle. He built his credentials for the high office around pro-business, pro-war, anti-union and phony environmental advocacy as no friend of the earth then so who can believe he’s one now.

His 1992 book “Earth in the Balance” was more theater than advocacy. In it, he assessed the forces of planetary destruction that included air and water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, overpopulation, ozone depletion and global warming. He highlighted the impact of auto emissions and need to phase out the internal combustion engine but made no effort in office to do it.

Then as vice-president he used his “green credentials” to sell the pro-business, anti-worker, anti-environmental NAFTA to the environmental movement. He also supported clear-cutting logging practices including in old-growth areas. He ignored an assessment that this practice risked the extinction of hundreds of species. He backed a 1995 spending bill “salvage logging rider” that opened millions of National Forest lands to logging and exempted sales of the harvest from environmental laws and judicial review for two years. He and Clinton further allowed South Florida’s sugar barons to devastate thousands of Everglades acres and gave away consumer Delaney Clause protection that kept carcinogens out of our food supply.

Throughout his political life, Gore supported Big Oil and was tied to Occidental Petroleum Company and its “ruthless tycoon” chief, Armand Hammer. In return for supporting company interests, he got political favors and patronage from Hammer and his successor, Ray Irani who was a major DNC contributor and got to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom as a bonus reward. He’s also been a shill for the nuclear industry that won’t solve or even alleviate global warming and the threat it poses according to nuclear expert Helen Caldicott. Commercial reactors discharge huge amounts of greenhouse gases along with hundreds of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and other radioactive elements besides being sitting ducks for retaliatory terror attacks experts believe will eventually happen.

Earlier in the House (1977 – 1985) and Senate (1985 – 1993) and as vice-president Gore also shilled for the Pentagon and defense contractors. He “played midwife to the MX missile,” opposed efforts to cut defense spending, and backed the Reagan administration’s Grenada invasion and Central American wars. He partnered with Clinton’s Balkan wars in the 1990s that destroyed Yugoslavia so NATO could expand into Central and Eastern Europe for its markets, resources and cheap, exploitable labor. In Kosovo, he collaborated with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) paramilitary thugs against Serbia and ignored their connection to organized crime. He earlier traded his vote for the Gulf war for prime time coverage of his speech.

He then backed ousting Saddam by coup or any other means and supported the most comprehensive genocidal sanctions ever imposed on a country that killed a likely 1.5 million or more Iraqis including over one million children under age five.

Cockburn and St. Clair fill in more blanks about a political opportunist who supported Big Tobacco, “exploited his sister’s death and son’s (near-fatal) accident for….political advantage; became a soul brother of Newt Gingrich; race-baited Jesse Jackson; pushed Clinton into destroying the New Deal; plotted to stop Democrats from recapturing Congress in 1996” so “his rival Dick Gephard” wouldn’t become Speaker; “leached campaign cash from nearly every corporate lobbyist” in town, and, as already covered, lied about being a friend of the earth by disdaining environmentalism through his actions.

Does this man deserve a Nobel Peace Prize (let alone to be president) along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” The Nobel Committee ignored Gore’s environmental record and went on to say “for a long time (he’s) been one of the world’s leading environmental politicians (through) his strong commitment, reflected in political activity, (that) strengthened the struggle against climate change.” Contrary to his easily accessed public record, not his posturing, The Nobel Committee blindly added “He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.”

In point of fact, throughout his political life, Gore’s actions betrayed the public’s trust and still do. He and his wife live in two large energy-consuming homes: a 10,000 square foot, eight bedroom one in Nashville and a 4000 square foot one in Arlington, VA. The Gores also own a third home in Carthage, TN. In both Washington and Nashville, utility companies offer a wind energy green alternative to customers for a small per kilowatt hour premium. Gore can easily afford it, but public records show no evidence he’s does it in either residence. Alex Cockburn gets the last word on a man who shills for privilege, has plenty for himself, and like George Bush disdains the public interest: “Al Gore distills in his single person the disrepair of liberalism in America today, and almost every unalluring feature of the Democratic Party” that’s mostly indistinguishable from the other side of the aisle in a city where the criminal class is bipartisan.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at http://www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour onhttp://www.TheMicroEffect.com Mondays at noon US central time.

Source: Global Research

Gordon Brown provides impunity for war criminals

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/bowing-to-jewish-pressure-by-gilad-atzmon.html?printerFriendly=true

Bowing to Jewish Pressure by Gilad Atzmon  


Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 9:11AM


Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced plans today to stop the issue of arrest warrants for foreign officials such as Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other Israeli war criminals who were forced to cancel planned trips to London after arrest warrants were issued against them. Under Brown’s proposals, the Crown Prosecution Service will take over responsibility for prosecuting war crimes and other violations of international law. Currently magistrates have to consider the case for an arrest warrant to be issued.

A warrant for the arrest of Ms Livni was issued by a UK court in December last year following Israel’s massacre in Gaza over a year ago.  She consequently cancelled a planned visit.

Mr Brown wrote in the Daily Telegraph: ‘As we have seen, there is now significant danger of such a provision being exploited by politically-motivated organisations or individuals who set out only to grab headlines knowing their case has no realistic chance of a successful prosecution’.

PM Brown better explain to the nation why arresting a genocidal war criminal like Livni, Olmert or Barak is a ‘politically motivated’ act. He should also explain to us all why is he convinced that a case against Livni wouldn’t stand a chance in court. As far as Justice Goldstone is concerned, the case against Israel and its leadership is actually watertight. 

According to the Daily Mail, Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state and a leading player in the Iraq War, has also reportedly expressed alarm about the prospect of arrest in Britain. Yet, no one in Britain politics rushed to appease the American politician or to amend British universal jurisdiction laws just for him. Clearly, Israeli lobby has much more influence within the British cabinet than the USA. This shouldn’t take us by a big surprise considering our Foreign Secretary David Miliband is a listed ‘Israeli Hasbara (Propaganda) Author’.

Brown admitted that ‘There is already growing reason to believe that some people are not prepared to travel to this country for fear that such a private arrest warrant – motivated purely by political gesture – might be sought against them.’ Surely this is good news. Criminals such as Livni or Barak should never dare to step on a plane. Instead they should stay in their Jewish Ghetto and stare at the separation walls they erected around themselves. 

The PM said he wanted legislation putting jurisdiction for war crimes and similar offences under the CPS to be brought in ‘as soon as possible’. This is indeed what you would expect from a government that is so heavily funded by the Jewish Lobby. Such a move would allow attorneys such as  Lord ‘green light’ Goldsmith to open Britain’s gate to Israeli genocidal murderers. Yet Brown failed to tell the Brits what it is that stops magistrates from taking the right decisions regarding war criminals. Let us face it. If Brown doesn’t trust Britain’s magistrates he better let them go. He can always hire some Rabbis to look after Britain legal system. If Britain is about  to give up on its universal jurisdiction laws, it better be  prepared to let some tribal experts to look after its ethical stand.   

Brown also said, “I am confident that an amendment on better enforcement of existing legislation will serve to enhance Britain’s status in the eyes of international law, world opinion and history”.

I do not know much about the ‘eyes’ of the international law’ or ‘world opinion’, but I can assure Brown that his move is more than welcome by the Jewish Chronicle and his Jewish fundraisers.  Don’t you forget, it is election time after all.

New Zealand Attorney General stays prosecution of Israeli war crimes suspect

New Zealand Attorney General stays prosecution of Israeli war crimes suspect, enabling him to evade international justice

A prosecution of an Israeli war crimes suspect was stayed as part of a legal manoeuvre by the Attorney General of New Zealand to prevent the arrest or charge of the suspect while on a visit to New Zealand

Date: 30 November 2006

Moshe Ya'alon was spared arrest or any proper prosecution process in New Zealand on 28 November, despite a decision on 27 November 2006 by His Honour Judge Avinash Deobhakta in the District Court at Auckland to issue warrants for his arrest on suspicion of committing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949, which is a criminal offence in New Zealand under the Geneva Conventions Act 1958 and International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000.

Moshe Ya'alon is a 56 year old Israeli national who was Chief of Staff of the Israeli military from 9 July 2002 to 1 June 2005, answerable directly to the Prime Minister. Under his command the Israeli military were responsible for a countless variety of extensive human rights violations and war crimes inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory during its belligerent occupation.

The Court's decision came after years of failed efforts to pursue the suspect through the Israeli judicial system.

Granting Diplomatic Immunity to State Terrorists in Canada

Bill C-35: Granting Diplomatic Immunity to State Terrorists
By Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

The Liberal government is quietly trying to pass a law that will extend diplomatic immunity to include foreign officials in Canada, even if they are known criminals or terrorists. This is being done under the cover of an innocuous-looking, so-called “housekeeping” measure called Bill C-35. This bill, to amend the “Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act,” (1) was first debated in the House of Commons on October 5, 2001. (2) By protecting foreign government representatives from prosecution under Canadian laws, Bill C-35 directly contradicts the so-called anti-terrorist Bill C-36.

Bill C-35 will also serve to consolidate and extend the power of the RCMP to thwart protests against foreign government officials who will soon be given special immunity from Canadian laws.

During the House of Commons debate, Svend Robinson, the NDP Foreign Affairs critic, speaking for his party, offered unequivocal opposition to Bill C-35. He pointed that: “the bill raises grave questions about the extent to which we are prepared to not only codify existing police powers in law but significantly enhance them. Many Canadians, including myself and my colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus, are concerned about the growing criminalization of dissent in Canada. We have seen an alarming trend toward giving more powers to the police. Bill C-35 is part of that trend.” (ibid.)

He also criticized the bill because it is “unacceptable to suggest that an individual who is a government representative, part of a delegation to an international conference, or for that matter a world leader, should not be required to obey the law and submit to the same requirements with respect to ministers’ permits as anyone else.” (ibid.)

During the same Commons debate, Canadian Alliance MP Gurmant Grewal, critiqued the bill but indicated that his party would support the Bill if amended. He said that in the case of “a leader known to have committed human rights abuses or supported terrorism, the government would have the authority to admit him or her on political grounds, if they thought it furthered Canadian interests…. This is giving the red carpet treatment for potential terrorists, spies from other countries, criminals or even brutal dictators.” (ibid.)

Francine Lalonde, the Bloc Quebecois spokesperson, and Progressive Conservative MPs, Peter MacKay and Gary Lunn, offered their parties’ strong support for the passing of Bill C-35.

The Canadian government is creating laws to apprehend terrorists, even suspected ones, unless they happen to be known terrorists working for foreign governments, in which case the RCMP will protect them by persecuting peaceful protesters.

One will recall that before the APEC conference in Vancouver, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy “apologised” to Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Alatas for a campaign in Canada portraying Indonesia’s brutal dictator Suharto as a criminal on a Wanted Poster. Axworthy said “It was outrageous and excessive and not the way Canadians behaved.” (3) Axworthy later assured Alatas that General Suharto that he would not suffer the indignity of being in close proximity to any protests. (4)

The RCMP’s subsequent crack down on peaceful dissent at APEC led to the Hughes report. The excessive use of pepper spray and rubber bullets against protesters at the FTAA meetings in Quebec further demonstrated that the RCMP can treat Canadian protesters as criminals in order to protect foreign officials, even those officials who preside over security forces that systematically arrest, torture and even kill their own protesters back home.

Bill-35 will help to entrench such unjust contradictions into Canadian law. The Pinochet’s of the world will soon be more confident than ever when deciding whether to attend international events in Canada. Bill C-35 will allow them to feel secure during their visit here because they’ll know that Canadian law:

  1. exempts them from prosecution for their crimes and
  2. mandates the RCMP to protect them from protesters.

Because they generally control their domestic security and legal systems back home, the world’s state terrorists have impunity from their own countries’ laws. Bill C-35 will extend that immunity from prosecution during visits to Canada.

Ironically, Bill C-35 is coming at a time when our government is very publicly pushing Bill C-36, with all of its sweeping new powers that may threaten the civil liberties of innocent Canadians. While giving much attention to this upcoming anti-terrorism law, the media has completely ignored the other new law that may be used to offer protection to foreign state terrorists during official visits.

Our government knows very well that violent and undemocratic rulers, like Pinochet and Suharto, are often Canada’s best business partners. Such rulers create the social, economic, political and legal conditions in which Canadian other foreign profiteers can thrive. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for these despots to be treated with great dignity during their visits to our country. Canadian business opportunities abroad rely heavily on unrestricted access to cheap labour and natural resources. Unfortunately, for Canadian companies, foreign workers do not always bow gracefully while working as virtual slaves in factories, mines and other Canadian-owned enterprises.

Activists in those repressive regimes, who struggle to improve labour rights, promote other human rights or protect their environment from unscrupulous polluters, are often targets of persecution. Many such activists have been arrested, tortured and killed for the crime of peacefully trying to improve their working and living conditions. That’s fairly routine in many of the violent and repressive regimes that are armed courtesy of Canadian military exporters and their friends in our Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Such countries include: Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Morocco, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela. (5)

It is no coincidence that Canada’s anti-terrorist and pro-terrorist bills are arriving at the same time. With all of the hype about new security powers designed to crack down on terrorism, there is a special need to reassure the world’s state terrorists that our government can be relied upon to protect them during their visits to Canada. The Canadian government, like the governments of its allies, relies heavily on repressive regimes to make the world safe and profitable for big business. Canadian corporations have always reaped huge rewards by exploiting human and natural resources in countries where violent military regimes rule. Violent, undemocratic foreign leaders are often seen as our country’s best friends because they ensure “stability.” They do this by tightly controlling unruly activist movements that are seeking more equitable and just socio-economic conditions. The tried and true method of making extreme profits from foreign business operations is to ensure that the governments in those countries keep close control over their dissidents.

Bill C-35 is what Canadian Alliance MP Gurmant Grewal, calls a “power grap” by Canada Minister of Foreign Affairs because it gives him the power to supercede the Minister of Immigration in order to allow foreign government officials with criminal backgrounds, to enter Canada. Once here, these foreign representatives will be protected from embarrassing protests and from prosecution.

Through Bill C-36, the Liberal government wants sweeping new powers to undermine the civil liberties of Canadians, such as allowing security forces greater ease in authorizing surveillance and the ability to carry out preventative arrests against suspects. Meanwhile, Bill C-35 means that foreign government representatives will be granted immunity from Canadian laws, including the anti-terrorist legislation.

The Liberals say that this new law will not supercede laws concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, Bill C-35 would allow the government to grant special protection to foreign government officials who have committed any or all other crimes. So, as long as their crimes fall short of the most heinous international crimes against humanity and war crimes, they’ll be granted immunity in Canada. Even this is not reassuring considering Canada’s long history of harbouring Nazi war criminals.

The government’s concern that Bill C-15 may be unpopular is demonstrated by the very sneaky way in which they presented it to Parliament:

  1. the government is pretending that the bill deals with innocuous, mundane “housekeeping” matters,
  2. opposition MPs had only two and a half days to examine the bill before the first debate in the House of Commons (Oct. 5),
  3. that first debate in the House was conveniently timed to occur on a Friday when many MPs are not in attendance,
  4. no legislative summary or explanation was provided with the bill, and
  5. the government’s briefing on the bill was unsubstantial.

The Liberals know that Bill C-35 would be very controversial law, if the media were to expose it. They know that it contradicts their foreign and domestic policies, especially their anti-terrorism law, Bill-35. They know that the Canadian public has very little tolerance for the whole concept of diplomatic immunity, which allows foreign representatives to drink, drive and thereby cause the accidental deaths of Canadian citizens.

The only known media references to Bill C-35, have focused on this angle, i.e., the possibility that officials exempted under the new law may be responsible for deaths or injuries as a result of drinking and driving. (6)

One would hope that Canadians would be even less tolerant of our government’s efforts to offer legal protection to foreign dignitaries who have supported the torture, kidnapping and murder of innocent people. However, because the mainstream media may never expose the broader dangers and contradictions associated with Bill C-35, we may never know what the Canadian public’s attitude is towards granting diplomatic immunity to state terrorists.

Footnotes:

(1) BILL C-35, An Act to amend the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/chambus/house/bills/government/C-35/C-35 _1/C-35TOCE.html

(2) House of Commons Debate (October 5, 2001),
VOLUME 137, NUMBER 093, 1st SESSION, 37th PARLIAMENT

Text version: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:zeWL83sImnI:www.parl.gc.ca/PDF/37/1/pa rlbus/chambus/house/debates/han093-E.pdf+canada+%22bill+c-35%22+diplomatic+i mmunity&hl=en

PDF version: http://www.parl.gc.ca/PDF/37/1/parlbus/chambus/house/bills/government/C-35_ 1.pdf

(3) Memo Re: meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy and Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas (July 30th, 1997) http://www.cs.ubc.ca/spider/fuller/apec/pmo/docs/meeting_memo.html

(4) Lloyd Axworthy’s letter to Minister Alatas (September 3rd, 1997) http://www.cs.ubc.ca/spider/fuller/apec/pmo/docs/ax_letter.html

(5) Press for Conversion!, issue #44, April 2001 Published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade http://www.ncf.ca/coat/our_magazine/links/issue44/issue44.htm)

(6)

(a) Manley Moves to Boost Number Eligible for Diplomatic Immunity FindLaw, Legal News and Commentary (Associated Press article, Nov. 1, 2001)

(b) CBC Radio News, Nov. 6, 2001.

Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) (A network of individuals and NGOs across Canada and around the world)

Tel.: 613-231-3076
Fax: 613-231-2614
Email: ad207@ncf.ca
Web site: http://www.ncf.ca/coat

Trial of Saddam Used as Cover-Up of US-UK War Crimes

Trial of Saddam Used as Cover-Up of US-UK War Crimes

Elias Davidsson / Global Research

The BBC website summarized on 10 January 2004, the “likely charges against Saddam Hussein”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3320293.stm

According to the BBC report these are:

 (a) The Iran-Iraq war

 (b) Attacks against Iraqi Kurds

 (c) Invasion and occupation of Kuwait

 (d) Scud attacks against Israel

 (e) Killings, persecution and torture (of own citizens)


The Missing Crime

Between 1990 and 2002 over half a million Iraqi children have died as a result of UN-imposed economic sanctions (source: UNICEF). The Security Council and individual members of the Council, particularly the US and the UK, have repeatedly charged Saddam Hussein for these deaths (for having obstructed relief, diverted humanitarian goods, etc.). However the Council, in a document from 1995 recognized that economic sanctions have adverse humanitarian consequences, particularly on vulnerable segments of the population, such a children. It is therefore highly significant that neither the US nor Iraqis have indicated their intent to charge Saddam Hussein for the deaths of these children.

If Saddam Hussein will NOT be CHARGED for the deaths of half a million children in Iraq, the question remains unanswered: Who was responsible for these deaths? Perhaps those who maintained the most stringent economic sanctions since World War II?

The international community, human rights organisations, and all those who care for justice, should demand that an independent international commission be established to determine the responsibilities for these deaths. It is unacceptable that 500.000 children would die in one country without anybody examining legal and criminal responsibilities for such carnage. Should the United Nations Organisation refuse to endorse the investigation of one of the major crimes of the 20th Century, it would be best to close down that organisation.


The Deaths of Half-a-million Iraqi Children Resulting from the Sanctions Regime Is Amply Acknowledged:

(1) In a Press Release of 12 August 1999, UNICEF’s Director, Ms. Bellamy, noted that “if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under five in the country as a whole during the eight-year period 1991 to 1998.” (Iraq surveys show ‘humanitarian emergency, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm ).


While the figure “half a million” may be subject to debate, because it is statistically derived, the substantial nature of increased child mortality is not generally disputed and was even admitted by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright in the CBS program 60 minutes of 12 May 1996.

(2) In its Daily Press Briefing of 12 August 12, 1999, James P. Rubin of the US Department of State said: The “US continues to hold Saddam Hussein responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people.” ( http://www.fas.org/news/iraq/1999/08/990812db.htm ). Similar charges have been voiced from time to time by US and British leaders–without however explicitly claiming that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the deaths of half a million children.

(3) On 13 April 1995, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (hereafter P5) sent to the President of the Council a non-paper entitled “Humanitarian impact of sanctions.”

In this non-paper, the P5 suggest that “future sanctions regime (sic) should be directed to minimize unintended adverse side-effects of sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of targeted countries (sic).” No specific reason was given for the drafting of this unusual and sloppily worded document. No reference was made to the Iraq sanctions nor to the awareness of Council members of increased child mortality in Iraq as a result of sanctions. What is interesting is that by declaring that sanctions could have “adverse side effects” which the Council should “minimize”, the P5 effectively recognized:

(a) a causal link between economic sanctions and “adverse side-effects” in sanctioned countries,

(b) the duty of the Council to “minimize” such adverse side-effects, and by implication

(c) the past failure of the Council to adequately minimize “adverse side-effects”. The Council thus admitted, implicitly, its responsibility for the adverse consequences of the sanctions on Iraq.

It must be added that the expression “unintended side-effects” is disingenuous because economic sanctions’ proximate aim is to cripple the economy of the targeted country as a means of coercion, and that consequently the massive shortages which cause a humanitarian crisis, are deliberately caused. There is nothing unintended in such consequences.

(Source: UN Document No. S/1995/300 of 13 April 1995 http://www.un.org/sc/committees/sanctions/s95300.pdf ).