Archive for War Crimes

Kuala Lampur War Crimes Tribunal: George W. Bush and Co. Guilty of ‘War Crimes’

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and their legal advisers have been convicted of war crimes by a tribunal in Malaysia. (h/t: Al)

(via. Information Clearing House):

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were today (Friday) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Haynes be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals for public record.

This verdict does not currently have any sort of enforcement power behind it but the hope is that it will be taken up by the International Court,

War crimes expert and lawyer Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in America, was part of the prosecution team.

After the case he said: “This is the first conviction of these people anywhere in the world.”

While the hearing is regarded by some as being purely symbolic, human rights activist Boyle said he was hopeful that Bush and Co could soon find themselves facing similar trials elsewhere in the world.

“We tried three times to get Bush in Canada but were thwarted by the Canadian Government, then we scared Bush out of going to Switzerland. The Spanish attempt failed because of the government there and the same happened in Germany.”

Boyle then referenced the Nuremberg Charter which was used as the format for the tribunal when asked about the credibility of the initiative in Malaysia. He quoted: “Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit war crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any person in execution of such a plan.”

The US is subject to customary international law and to the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter said Boyle who also believes the week-long trial was “almost certainly” being monitored closely by both Pentagon and White House officials.

Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, who headed the prosecution said: “The tribunal was very careful to adhere scrupulously to the regulations drawn up by the Nuremberg courts and the International Criminal Courts”.

He added that he was optimistic the tribunal would be followed up elsewhere in the world where “countries have a duty to try war criminals” and he cited the case of the former Chilean dictator Augustine Pinochet who was arrested in Britain to be extradited to Spain on charges of war crimes.

“Pinochet was only eight years out of his presidency when that happened.”

The Pinochet case was the first time that several European judges applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws.

Throughout the week the tribunal was packed with legal experts and law students as witnesses gave testimony and then cross examination by the defence led by lawyer Jason Kay Kit Leon.

The court heard how
· Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers.
· Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall.
· Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement.
· Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter.

The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.

Moazzam Begg, now working as a director for the London-based human rights group Cageprisoners said he was delighted with the verdict, but added: “When people talk about Nuremberg you have to remember those tried were all prosecuted after the war.

“Right now Guantanamo is still open, people are still being held there and are still being tortured there.”

In response to questions about the difference between the Bush and Obama Administrations, he added: “If President Bush was the President of extra-judicial torture then US President Barak Obama is the President of extra judicial killing through drone strikes. Our work has only just begun.”

The prosecution case rested on proving how the decision-makers at the highest level President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, aided and abetted by the lawyers and the other commanders and CIA officials – all acted in concert. Torture was systematically applied and became an accepted norm.

According to the prosecution, the testimony of all the witnesses exposed a sustained perpetration of brutal, barbaric, cruel and dehumanising course of conduct against them.
These acts of crimes were applied cumulatively to inflict the worst possible pain and suffering, said lawyers.

The president of the tribunal Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, found that the prosecution had established beyond a “reasonable doubt that the accused persons, former President George Bush and his co-conspirators engaged in a web of instructions, memos, directives, legal advice and action that established a common plan and purpose, joint enterprise and/or conspiracy to commit the crimes of Torture and War Crimes, including and not limited to a common plan and purpose to commit the following crimes in relation to the “War on Terror” and the wars launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

President Lamin told a packed courtroom: “As a tribunal of conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is merely declaratory in nature. The tribunal has no power of enforcement, no power to impose any custodial sentence on any one or more of the 8 convicted persons. What we can do, under Article 31 of Chapter VI of Part 2 of the Charter is to recommend to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission to submit this finding of conviction by the Tribunal, together with a record of these proceedings, to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

“The Tribunal also recommends to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission that the names of all the 8 convicted persons be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and be publicised accordingly.

“The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions”.

US Marines Pose with Nazi Symbol: To Them All Afghans are “Sand N*****s”

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by loonwatch
Marines_Nazi_Flag_AfghanistanMarines pose with the “SS” flag in Afghanistan

To these Marines all Afghans are probably “Sand N*****s” and so they have no issue with posing with a Nazi symbol.

The story below highlights that many Jewish organizations and others are outraged by the photo and are demanding an investigation. My question is how are the above soldiers going to be investigated or held accountable when you have soldiers who have clearly committed war crimes and perpetrated massacres getting off for free or a slap of the wrist?

Groups outraged by Marines posing with logo resembling Nazi SS want new probe, troops punished

(Washinton Post)

SAN DIEGO — A leading Jewish organization and others outraged by a photo showing Marine snipers in Afghanistan posing with a logo resembling a notorious Nazi symbol are demanding President Barack Obama order an investigation and hold the troops accountable.The Marine Corps has said it does not plan any discipline because there was no malicious intent. The Marines mistakenly believed the “SS” in the shape of white lightning bolts on the blue flag were a nod to sniper scouts — not members of Adolf Hitler’s special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Marines are no longer with Charlie Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, out of the base north of San Diego, and Chapin said she did not know if they had left the Corps.Military officials learned of the photograph in November and investigated immediately. It later surfaced on a blog of a military weapons company.In the September 2010 photo taken in the Sangin district of Helmand province, 10 Marines pose with sniper rifles in front of an American flag above a dark blue flag with the “SS” letters.Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of Los Angeles’ Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he does not believe it was an innocent mistake and insisted the American public has a right to know what happened.

His organization — one of the largest international Jewish human rights groups with more than 400,000 members — is demanding Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta launch another investigation and discipline those involved.

“That 70 years after the United States Armed Forces helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany, to learn that a unit of the United States Marine Corps serving in Afghanistan adopted the SS insignia alongside the Stars and Stripes, desecrates the memory of some 200,000 Americans who gave up their lives to defend freedom against that infamous symbol,” he said in a statement.

The Corps has used the incident as a training tool to talk to troops about what symbols are acceptable, Chapin said.

“I don’t believe that the Marines involved would have ever used any type of symbol associated with the Nazi Germany military criminal organization that committed mass atrocities in WWII,” Chapin said. “It’s not within who we are as Marines.”

Hier said it clearly shows more training about the Holocaust and the SS unit is needed.

It was the second time this year that images have surfaced showing Marines acting improperly and forcing the Corps to deal with the fallout. Last month, the Pentagon scrambled to contain the damage after an Internet video purportedly showed Marines urinating on Taliban corpses — an act that appears to violate international laws of warfare and further strains U.S.-Afghan relations. Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to offer assurances of an investigation, and the top Marine general promised an internal probe as well as a criminal one.

Those Marines, like the ones in front of the flag, fought in former Taliban strongholds in Helmand province. They are based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“Kill Teams” in Afghanistan Targeting Civilians

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by loonwatch

New revelations from the forgotten wars. US soldiers who are part of Kill Teams are murdering Afghan Civilians for “sport.” How many more are there? Afghan human rights groups want an investigation.

But you don’t understand they fight us because of our freedoms!

Afghans Urge Investigation Into ‘Kill Teams’ In Wake Of Sentencing, Photo Scandal

by M. Siddiqui

Leading independent human rights campaigners in Afghanistan have welcomed the sentencing of a U.S. soldier accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport in 2010, but have called for a deeper probe into alleged “kill teams.”

Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 22, is the first of five U.S. soldiers charged with staging combat situations to kill unarmed Afghan civilians to be sentenced. At the start of the court-martial hearing on March 23, Morlock testified that “the plan was to kill people.” He was subsequently found guilty on three counts of premeditated murder and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Military Judge Lieutenant General Kwasi Hawks said he intended to sentence Morlock to life in prison with the possibility of parole but was bound by Morlock’s plea deal.

Morlock is a key figure in a war-crimes probe that implicates a dozen members of his platoon and has raised some of the most serious criminal allegations stemming from the war in Afghanistan. He was accused of taking a lead role in the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar Province in January, February, and May 2010.

Mounting Uproar

The German magazine “Der Spiegel” this week published several photos related to the killings, one showing Morlock crouched grinning over a bloodied corpse as he lifts the dead man’s head by the hair for the camera. The expected release of thousands of similar pictures is expected to create fierce resentment in Afghanistan, where the issue of civilian casualties is already the source of a highly charged debate.

The investigation and the publication of the pictures prompted Afghan human rights organizations to call for a thorough investigation of such abuses. “The U.S. government needs to immediately launch comprehensive investigations in all its military units, Special Forces, private security contractors, local mercenaries, and affiliated irregular armed groups in Afghanistan to ensure that no more criminal ‘kill teams’ exist,” the independent human rights watchdog, Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), urged this week.

Speaking to RFE/RL from the Afghan capital, Kabul, ARM director Ajamal Samadi says that Morlock’s sentencing was a welcome sign. But Samadi presses Washington to further investigate similar incidents to bring an end to the “criminal immunity” that he says is available to a wide array of Afghan and international forces, armed contractors, and private militias.

“It is extremely difficult to attribute the crimes that take place in Afghanistan to certain military groups. That is the biggest problem,” Samadi says. “If you travel to parts of Afghanistan where conflict is more intense, people will tell you all sorts of stories: crimes committed by foreign soldiers, by Afghan forces, [and] by the militias. So we believe the environment is extremely criminalized in Afghanistan in a way. All sorts of crimes are happening and the civilians are paying a very, very high price in this conflict.”

Accountability

Afghan observers say the sentence is likely to raise Afghan hopes for answers to their calls for accountability of all armed actors in their country. On March 23, military Judge Hawks also ruled that Morlock will be eligible for parole in about seven years. Morlock will be dishonorably discharged from the army.

Earlier, Morlock read a statement apologizing to the victims’ families and the “people of Afghanistan,” adding, “I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how I lost my moral compass.”

Abdul Rahman Hotaki, the head of Afghan Organization of Human Rights and Environmental Protection, says that Morlock’s sentence is not equal to his confessed crime of killing unarmed civilians. Nevertheless, he says, it shows Afghans that their blood is not cheap and that abuses committed by international forces are being addressed.

“We hope that people who have committed human rights abuses by torturing prisoners in Bagram or have killed and tortured people in other provinces will be similarly brought into international and American courts,” Hotaki says. “This will serve as a lesson for forces still operating in the theater.”

Hotaki says that efforts to address abuses by international forces could raise the esteem of Afghans and help bridge a widening gulf with the administration in Kabul.

Afghan presidential spokesman Wahid Omar has offered similar sentiments. Speaking to RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan, he streses the need for continued greater accountability on the part of international troops.

“If the United States of America wants to be friendly with Afghan people and government and wants to have a presence in this country,” Omar says, “then they should put an end to operations which result in civilian casualties.”

More pics from Der Spiegel: