By Rosa Brooks
Did Bush commit war crimes?
Sat Jul 1, 2006 20:03

 
Did Bush commit war crimes?

Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld could expose officials to prosecution.

By Rosa Brooks
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13814.htm

06/30/06 "Los Angeles Times" -- -- THE SUPREME Court on Thursday dealt the Bush administration a stinging rebuke, declaring in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that military commissions for trying terrorist suspects violate both U.S. military law and the Geneva Convention.

But the real blockbuster in the Hamdan decision is the court's holding that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to the conflict with Al Qaeda — a holding that makes high-ranking Bush administration officials potentially subject to prosecution under the federal War Crimes Act.

The provisions of the Geneva Convention were intended to protect noncombatants — including prisoners — in times of armed conflict. But as the administration has repeatedly noted, most of these protections apply only to conflicts between states. Because Al Qaeda is not a state, the administration argued that the Geneva Convention didn't apply to the war on terror. These assertions gave the administration's arguments about the legal framework for fighting terrorism a through-the-looking-glass quality. On the one hand, the administration argued that the struggle against terrorism was a war, subject only to the law of war, not U.S. criminal or constitutional law. On the other hand, the administration said the Geneva Convention didn't apply to the war with Al Qaeda, which put the war on terror in an anything-goes legal limbo.

This novel theory served as the administration's legal cover for a wide range of questionable tactics, ranging from the Guantanamo military tribunals to administration efforts to hold even U.S. citizens indefinitely without counsel, charge or trial.

Perhaps most troubling, it allowed the administration to claim that detained terrorism suspects could be subjected to interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law, such as "waterboarding," placing prisoners in painful physical positions, sexual humiliation and extreme sleep deprivation.

Under Bush administration logic, these tactics were not illegal under U.S. law because U.S. law was trumped by the law of war, and they weren't illegal under the law of war either, because Geneva Convention prohibitions on torture and cruel treatment were not applicable to the conflict with Al Qaeda.

In 2005, Congress angered the administration by passing Sen. John McCain's amendment explicitly prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees. But Congress did not attach criminal penalties to violations of the amendment, and the administration has repeatedly indicated its intent to ignore it.

The Hamdan decision may change a few minds within the administration. Although the decision's practical effect on the military tribunals is unclear — the administration may be able to gain explicit congressional authorization for the tribunals, or it may be able to modify them to comply with the laws of war — the court's declaration that Common Article 3 applies to the war on terror is of enormous significance. Ultimately, it could pave the way for war crimes prosecutions of those responsible for abusing detainees.

Common Article 3 forbids "cruel treatment and torture [and] outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." The provision's language is sweeping enough to prohibit many of the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration. That's why the administration had argued that Common Article 3 did not apply to the war on terror, even though legal experts have long concluded that it was intended to provide minimum rights guarantees for all conflicts not otherwise covered by the Geneva Convention.

But here's where the rubber really hits the road. Under federal criminal law, anyone who "commits a war crime … shall be fined … or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death." And a war crime is defined as "any conduct … which constitutes a violation of Common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva." In other words, with the Hamdan decision, U.S. officials found to be responsible for subjecting war on terror detainees to torture, cruel treatment or other "outrages upon personal dignity" could face prison or even the death penalty.

Don't expect that to happen anytime soon, of course. For prosecutions to occur, some federal prosecutor would have to issue an indictment. And in the Justice Department of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales — who famously called the Geneva Convention "quaint" — a genuine investigation into administration violations of the War Crimes Act just ain't gonna happen.

But as Yale law professor Jack Balkin concludes, it's starting to look as if the Geneva Convention "is not so quaint after all."

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times
=================================

===
When art is incapable of matching life

By Robert Fisk

Violence has now become so close to all our lives that art sometimes seems incapable of matching the reality. Indeed, actors might be losing their credibility. After all, wasn't the 43rd President of the United States all dolled up in a jumpsuit when he mouthed the greatest lie of all? Mission accomplished?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13813.htm

===
The Big Buy - Tom Delay's Stolen Congress

Video

The film is a warning about how easy it is for American democracy to be hijacked by a combination of relentless ambition and corporate millions. It makes the case that DeLay built a "custom-made Congress" that is still providing votes for his agenda.

Click here to watch
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13803.htm

===
Iraq car bombing kills 66 in Baghdad market:

A US military vehicle which attempted to approach the blast scene withdrew in a hail of stones thrown by angry residents.
http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=131398

===
At least 21 killed as occupation grinds on:

Police found the bodies of four Iraqi soldiers near Kirkuk, 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad. They had been kidnapped on Friday
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/RAS118431.htm

===
Baghdad morgue out of space:

More than 100 bodies are being held at room temperature because morgue refrigerators are full, inspector-general of Iraq's health ministry Adil Abdul Muhsin told Al-Mada news.
http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20060630-105901-2126r

===
Baghdad attacks higher since security crackdown:

"Insurgent" attacks in Baghdad have risen despite a recent security crackdown that added thousands of troops and new checkpoints to the streets of Iraq's capital, a U.S. commander said on Friday.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N30147659.htm

===
GIs may have planned Iraq rape, slayings :

Investigators believe a group of U.S. soldiers suspected of raping an Iraqi woman, then killing her and three members of her family plotted the attack for nearly a week, a U.S. military official said Saturday.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060701/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_us_investigation

===
Moqtada al-Sadr Calls For End Of U.S. Occupation:

"We demand that the occupiers leave and offer a timetable for their withdrawal and not extend their stay here," Sadr said, adding that de-Baathification must be activated fast and "their leader executed".
http://tinyurl.com/jwjt6

===
Palestinian Official: Israeli Cpl. Alive:

The soldier whose abduction sparked Israel's invasion of Gaza is in stable condition from his wounds, a Palestinian official said Saturday, while President Mahmoud Abbas warned the coming hours were "critical, sensitive and serious" for calming the crisis.
http://www.wral.com/apworldnews/9458554/detail.html

===
Group Claims Second Israeli Soldier Held:

Palestinian fighters have kidnapped a second Israeli soldier and threatened to kill him unless Israel ends its military offensive in the Palestinian territories, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announced overnight on Friday.
http://palestinechronicle.com/story-07010613948.htm

===
Israel rejects militant demands as jets strike Gaza:

Israel has rejected Palestinian demands to free 1,000 prisoners as its warplanes pounded the Gaza Strip for a fourth straight night in a deepening crisis over a captured soldier.
http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=131366

===
Channel 4 Report From Gaza:

Overnight, Israeli bombers pounded targets across Gaza, including the only power station and Palestinian government offices
http://www.channel4.com/player/playerwindow.html?id=5786&vert=news

===
Hamas refuses to trade arrested ministers : :

As the United Nations warned that the destruction of a power plant in Israeli air raids was posing an imminent humanitarian crisis
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1152033.ece

===
Israel Threatens to Hit Damascus :

Israel holds Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas' Syrian branch, responsible for the abduction of two Israeli soldiers and wants Syria to expel Palestinian leaders from the country.
http://www.zaman.com/?bl=international&alt=&hn=34399

===
Thousands in Egypt rally for Palestinians:

Several thousand protesters at one of Cairo's main mosques called Friday for holy war against Israel to help the Palestinians in their conflict with the Jewish state.
http://tinyurl.com/o2kz9

===
Thousands of Turks protest Israeli actions:

Thousands of angry Turks burned an Israeli flag Friday and chanted "Murderer Israel, Get out of Palestine!" to protest Israel's offensive into the Gaza Strip.
http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/14938796.htm

===
Demonstrators rally in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria:

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told some 5,000 worshippers at a mosque in southern Beirut that Arabs and Muslims must support "the Palestinian people who are strongly standing fast against western racism that is backing Jewish racism."
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/733358.html

===
Arab states keep Israel in U.N. human rights dock:

Arab and Muslim states on Friday put the occupied Palestinian territories on the permanent agenda of the U.N. Human Rights Council, overcoming Israeli and Western objections to singling out alleged abuses by the Jewish state.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L30350867.htm

===
War pimp alert:

MI6 warns of Iran threat to UK:

MI6 has warned that Iran could direct terrorist attacks on British interests, if talks over its nuclear programme fail.
http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=952472006

===

War pimp alert:

Frist: Europe Missile-Defense Site Needed :

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urged President Bush on Friday to intensify efforts to put interceptor missiles at a site in Europe to protect against potential attacks from Iran.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5923251,00.html

===
MP: US intends to corner Iran in future nuclear talks:

"In addition to its attempts to corner Iran and exerting further pressure on it in nuclear talks, the US intends to misuse the situation to divert public opinion away from the country's nuclear issue by setting a deadline for Iran's response.
http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0607012635183142.htm

===
Russia says Ukraine sold banned missiles to Iran, China :

A Ukrainian firm supplied China and Iran with six long-range cruise missile in 2000-2001, Russia's defense minister said Friday.
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060630/50710729.html

===
At Guantanamo, Dying Is Not Permitted:

The Supreme Court handed the prisoners at Gitmo a victory, but authorities there continue to use harsh methods to break one of their most common methods of protest — the hunger strike
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1209530,00.html

===
'Real cases' rare in Guantanamo:

THE Guantanamo camp may have only 30 to 40 "real" cases and the US detention centre should be shut down by 2007, the president of the Belgian Senate, who headed a European inspection team there, said overnight.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,19647969-23109,00.html

===
Blair loses ruling in terror case :

Throwing down a new challenge to the British government's tactics against terrorism, a High Court judge ruled Wednesday that so-called control orders - a form of house arrest without trial - were incompatible with European human rights laws.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/28/news/brits.php

===
Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair's cabinet :

Only a spin doctor would deny that the media baron has a say in all major decisions taken in Downing Street
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1810266,00.html

===
U.S. to bolster forces of old Somali regime :

The Bush administration will work to bolster the police force and other security troops of Somalia's government in exile in the hope of marginalizing the Islamic militias now controlling much of the war- torn country, a senior U.S. official told Congress.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/30/news/briefs.php

===
Bin Laden says will take fight to America:

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said his group reserved the right to fight the United States on its land and warned Washington and the world community against sending forces to Somalia, according to an Internet audio tape.
http://tinyurl.com/g5adt

===
Spy Agency Sought U.S. Call Records Before 9/11, Lawyers Say :

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abIV0cO64zJE

===
Ex-president arrested in '68 massacre :

The arrest of Echeverria, who is 84 and in poor health, came after two failed attempts by a special prosecutor to charge him with the deaths and disappearances of dozens of students and leftist dissidents in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period known here as the dirty war.
http://tinyurl.com/gjtsd

===
US gears up for post-Castro era in Cuba

The report, which was ordered by President George W. Bush and is due to be released next week, also recommends a new U.S. "democracy fund" for communist-run Cuba worth $80 million over two years to boost opposition to Castro.
http://tinyurl.com/ppns4

===
Chavez urges Africa to unite against U.S.:

Citing the example of Venezuela and Bolivia, he urged Africa to seize greater control of its energy resources. He described the low royalty payments made by some foreign oil companies as "robbery".
http://tinyurl.com/kfzf5

===
Oil-rich Russia makes rouble convertible :

The Russian rouble, riding high on Moscow's burgeoning status as an energy superpower, becomes fully convertible from tomorrow as the petrodollar giant unleashes on the world a currency to match its growing economic clout
http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1809924,00.html

===
State's security office tracked protests : -

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office in charge of protecting California against terrorism has tracked demonstrations staged by political and anti-war groups, a practice that senior law enforcement officials say is an abuse of civil liberties.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/01/BAG7GJNUJT1.DTL

===
Report: Abramoff Had FBI Data:

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff improperly obtained a top-secret FBI document and tried to use the information to aid his clients in the Pacific Island territories, according to a report released Friday by the Justice Department's inspector general
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13812.htm

===
Shock acquittal for 'Mafia cops' :

A judge has overturned a racketeering murder conviction against two former policemen, despite acknowledging they are guilty o

Main Page - Tuesday, 07/04/06

Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]

APFN MESSAGEBOARD ARCHIVES

messageboard.gif (4314 bytes)