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The Hague Cites Qaddafi for War Crimes. What About US Officials?

8:57 am in Executive Branch by Scarecrow

The New York Times Reports that the International Criminal Court at the Hague has issued arrest warrants for Libyan Leader Qaddafi and his son for alleged crimes against humanity, citing the killings and persecutions of unknown numbers of Libyans during the uprisings there. The story is here.

In a world subject to the rule of law and the principle that government leaders who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity should be held accountable, we would applaud the existence of an international court to prosecute alleged criminals and serve as a warning and deterrent to would be criminals. And if that system applied its rules uniformly and fairly across nations, it would be a hopeful sign civilization can make progress towards a just society.

We are a long way from that ideal, and a primary reason is the fact that the US Government, including its recent Presidents and the most senior officials of the Defense Department and intelligence agencies routinely violated international laws against aggression, kidnapping, rendition, torture, and other prisoner mistreatment.

They invaded sovereign nations based on false premises and continue to attack or occupy them, reserving the unilateral right to conduct military hostilities, kill, arrest and imprison their citizens, or render them to Guantanamo or still secret “black sites” where they can be interrogated, tortured and held indefinitely, in violation of all civilized standards.

And against all efforts to hold responsible officials accountable for these crimes, the government insists courts have no right to question, inquire or prosecute, and victims have no legal redress. There is no law.

Since the Obama Administration chose to ignore its legal obligations under treaties America has signed to investigate and prosecute such crimes and instead chose to continue some of these crimes on its own watch, it has forfeited the right to applaud the Hague for initiating the prosecution of any other country’s alleged criminals.

You’d think that all lawyers and decent members of this Administration would be profoundly ashamed and embarrassed by this, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any spokesperson to say so. Appalling.

CNN’s Crowley and US Officials in Denial About US Complicity in Libyan Murders

5:49 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

NATO and US military forces yesterday reportedly killed a son and innocent relatives — three young grandchildren – of the leader of Libya, because the leader of Libya refused to accept NATO/US demands that he step down. They deliberately targeted a residential compound, knowing (though they deny it) that innocent members of the leader’s family would be present and likely killed. But Washington’s elite can’t admit what everyone knows just happened. [Al Arabiya News reports the claims three grandchildren were killed are not true.]

Murder is a criminal act, possibly a war crime here, and if the reports are true, every one of the commanders and national leaders, including those of the United States, should be forced to resign or impeached, and be prosecuted. Except they won’t be, because America’s leaders are above the rule of law.

This obvious conclusion, however, is beyond the intellectual or moral capabilities of CNN’s Candy Crowley, who apologetically, and oh so diplomatically asked the clueless Jane Harmon and the evasive Steven Hadley whether this didn’t mean we are “targetting Qaddafi.” It was a cowardly, stupid question, because the answer is obviously yes. US and NATO forced tried to assassinate the leader and murdered innocent members of his family instead. But neither guest came close to an honest or straightforward answer.

Jane Harmon changed the subject. She said she worried we hadn’t thought through the implications at the “front end,” and lacked a strategic narrative for what we were trying to accomplish in the region. Regarding the actual bombings, all she could muster was, “We’re trying to soften it up.” Yes, Jane, “soften up” is what happens to human flesh when you drop massive bombs on people.

Steven Hadley was as morally bankrupt today as he was as Bush’s National Security adviser. He at least argued that if you’re engaged in a war, it is legitimate to attack the entire “command structure,” and Qaddafi was the head of the “command structure,” so fair game. Crowley must have thought that was a Very Serious Answer, because she did not bother to ask where the leader’s children and their wives and children fit in the command structure. We might ask the same about our own leaders’ families, now that Mr. Hadley has laid out the morally permissble rules of engagement.

Apparently none of these people can explain how we got from an effort to rescue others for humanitarian reasons to a deliberate, unlimited “war” in which one objective is the assassination of a foreign leader. And since this media-elite trio is, regretfully, representative of the moral cesspool that pervades Washington Beltway thinking, there was no reason to expect different answers.

But it is still astonishing the entire American defense and foreign policy establishment, from the President on down through our national security advisers and Congressional oversight, can be complicit in despicable murders and war crimes, and not one member of the Beltway elite can honestly describe what just happened.

Terrorism, War Crimes and Justice in America

8:08 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Via TPM we find this AP story of the conviction of 5 members of a Muslim charity for the crime of providing money to help children in Palestine.

Two founding members of what was once the nation’s largest Muslim charity were each sentenced to 65 years in prison Wednesday for funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. . . .

Mufid Abdulqader, 49, was sentenced to 20 years on three conspiracy counts. Mohammad El-Mezain, 55, got 15 years for one count of conspiracy to support a terrorist organization. Abdulrahman Odeh got 15 years for three conspiracy counts.

The Holy Land leaders were convicted on charges ranging from supporting a terrorist organization to money laundering and tax fraud. The group wasn’t accused of violence, but of bankrolling schools and social welfare programs the government says are controlled by Hamas. Holy Land itself was convicted of 32 counts.

It’s illegal to offer Hamas support because it was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 1995. The group has taken credit for hundreds of suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

So let’s review the state of justice in the US criminal justice system. Read the rest of this entry →