A War crime is a violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility, such as intentionally killing civilians or prisoners of war; torture; unnecessarily destroying civilian property; deception by perfidy; raping; pillaging; the conscription of child soldiers; committing genocide or ethnic cleansing; the granting of no quarter , despite surrender; and flouting the legal distinctions of proportionality and military necessity.
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- Assange’s WikiLeaks revelations, redactions notwithstanding, gave proof, yet again, that the government of the United States engages in war crimes of historic proportions on a daily basis around the world....
- Our governments feel threatened by Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, because they are whistleblowers, journalists, and human rights activists who have provided solid evidence for the abuse, corruption, and war crimes of the powerful, for which they are now being systematically defamed and persecuted. They are the political dissidents of the West, and their persecution is today’s witch-hunt, because they threaten the privileges of unsupervised state power that has gone out of control. The cases of Manning, Snowden, Assange and others are the most important test of our time for the credibility of Western rule of law and democracy and our commitment to human rights.
- Days after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a new investigation into a clandestine airstrike that killed scores of Syrian noncombatants whose deaths were subsequently covered up, 24 advocacy groups on Wednesday published an open letter calling on the Pentagon to "reckon with U.S.-caused civilian casualties and commit to urgent reforms." The letter, addressed to Austin, expresses "grave concerns" about the Pentagon's "civilian harm policies and practices and their impact," citing an August 29 drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 10 civilians including an aid worker and seven children, as well as a March 18, 2019 airstrike in Baghuz, Syria in which around 70 civilians died and was "flagged as a possible war crime by at least one Defense Department lawyer...The Defense Department's response to the Kabul and Baghuz strikes also underscores the department's repeated failure to adequately investigate alleged civilian harm—including possible war crimes, as required under international law—and provide compensation or amends," it adds.
- We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed (U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Friday)
- In a painstaking investigation, the New York Times reported the US military killed dozens of civilians in an airstrike in the town of Baghuz, Syria on March of 2019, then feverishly spent the next two-and-a-half years covering up evidence of war crimes. The bombing was carried out by a classified special operations unit known as Task Force 9... In a complete mockery of lack of accountability and justice, the only assessment done immediately after the strike was performed by the same ground unit that ordered the strike...
David Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier who now runs the humanitarian organization Free Burma Rangers, walked through the area about a week after the strike. “The place had been pulverized by airstrikes,” he said in an interview. “There was a lot of freshly bulldozed earth and the stink of bodies underneath, a lot of bodies.” The New York Times deserves credit for exposing U.S. military war crimes but one can only wonder why it gained privy to classified documents while Julian Assange WikiLeaks founder, who exposed other U.S. war crimes earlier has been silenced and locked in U.K. ‘s high-security Belmarsh Prison.
- The story starts March 18, 2019, in a big Air Force combat operations center in Al Udeid in Qatar. And there we have, it almost looks like mission command for NASA. You have banks of computers, big screens, all of them watching the air war against the Islamic State... on this day, a lot of people in the command center are watching a drone that was flying up overhead. Now, what they saw was a field that was just littered with a tangle of cars and makeshift tents of debris of the leftovers from weeks of combat. But also within there was a lot of people. And the drone hovered over and focused in on a group of women and children who had found refuge down by the river against a steep sand bank. The drone, it lingered for several minutes, slowly circling with its cameras focused on these folks, either sleeping or just laying down low to take cover from whatever combat might be coming. And the people in the operation center were calmly watching this when, suddenly... an American F-15 attack jet came right through and dropped a large bomb dead center into this group of women and children... killing nearly all of them.
- Nearly three years ago, as US-led coalition forces trapped a remnant of the Islamic State (IS) in a small enclave near the Syrian town of Baghuz, the US military committed a horrific atrocity. As Air Force officers watched the scene via drone cameras in real time, US warplanes murdered at least 80 unarmed women and children with 500- and 2,000-pound bombs. The officers who saw the attack urged that a war crimes investigation begin immediately.... The revelations of the act of mass murder in Syria come from Air Force officers at Al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, who were monitoring a high-resolution surveillance drone flying over Baghuz. That day, the (New York) Times writes, the “US military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank... “We just dropped on 50 women and children,” said one officer monitoring the drone, though the US Central Command told the Times that 80 were killed, and the Times wrote that Air Force officers later saw a “shockingly high” death toll in another classified report.
- A military lawyer, Lt. Colonel Dean Korsak, ordered drone operators and fighter aircrews to conserve footage of the atrocity for investigations. He then “reported the strike to his chain of command, saying it was a possible violation of the law of armed conflict—a war crime—and regulations required a thorough, independent investigation,” the Times reports. Korsak’s concerns were bolstered by reports from CIA officials “alarmed” about Task Force 9’s operations in Syria. What they encountered, however, was a cover-up orchestrated at top levels of the state, under both the Republican Trump and the Democratic Biden administrations. Coalition forces in Baghuz oversaw the hiding of the bodies. “Satellite images from four days later show the sheltered bank and area around it, which were in the control of the coalition, appeared to have been bulldozed,” the Times writes. It cites a former US Army Special Forces soldier, David Eubank, who arrived a week after the attack: “The place had been pulverized by airstrikes … There was a lot of freshly bulldozed earth and the stink of bodies underneath, a lot of bodies.”
- In the last days of the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once-fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a U.S. military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank. Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone’s high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.... a legal officer flagged the strike as a possible war crime that required an investigation. But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike. The death toll was downplayed...Reports were delayed, sanitized and classified. The Defense Department’s independent inspector general began an inquiry, but the report containing its findings was stalled and stripped of any mention of the strike. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site... American-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. Civilian observers who came to the area of the strike the next day described finding piles of dead women and children.
- After 20 years of the United States military destroying entire countries under the guise of fighting terrorism, there is finally a partial reckoning with U.S. warmongering around the world.... As mainstream news outlets become increasingly complacent, and even supportive of pro-war policies, it becomes more essential that anti-war voices, and anti-war journalists in particular, resist the attempt by the United States to set the precedent that the act of publishing war crimes is a punishable offense....After 20 years of the United States military destroying entire countries under the guise of fighting terrorism, there is finally a partial reckoning with U.S. warmongering around the world.
- Some of the information provided to the public (thanks to the anonymous online source submission system developed by Assange) includes the CIA rendition program, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more. It is this view on publishing which understands war as something to be exposed and resisted that has made Assange such a hated figure by warmongers in the United States.
- Colin Powell had a long career in which he implemented key imperialist policies — from Vietnam in his youth, to working with Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidencies. His imperialist record is too long for this article, but here are some highlights: Colin Powell was a senior tactical adviser during the Vietnam War, where he committed numerous brutal war crimes. In his  memoir My American Journey, Powell explains that he led South Vietnamese soldiers in an attack on a village full of families, elderly people, and other non-combatants: The people had fled at our approach, except for an old woman too feeble to move... We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo cigarette lighters... [because] Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which his guerrillas swam... We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. Powell also stated that If a [helicopter] spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM, the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him.
These were not violent tactics that Powell himself invented, of course; it was the strategy of the United States in the war. And of course, Powell executed that strategy well, rising through the ranks of power.
- Following a rare Pentagon admission Friday that a remote-controlled airstrike which killed 10 Afghan civilians in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan was a "horrible mistake," anti-war and human rights advocates asserted that "war crimes are not oopsies," while calling on the U.S. to end drone strikes in the so-called War on Terror.
- A war crimes complaint has been filed against President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump adviser Jared Kushner in the International Criminal Court (ICC).... The complaint, filed by Middlesex University law professor William Schabas on June 30 on behalf of four Palestinians who live in the West Bank, states “there is credible evidence” that Trump, Netanyahu and Kushner “are complicit in acts that may amount to war crimes relating to the transfer of populations into occupied territory and the annexation of the sovereign territory of the State of Palestine.” ...Schabas’ complaint comes on the heels of unusual moves last month from the Trump administration, which declared a “national emergency” in June in an effort to shield U.S. and Israeli officials from ICC accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity...On April 5, 2019, the U.S. government revoked Bensouda’s visa to travel to the United States. A week later, on April 12, 2019, the Pretrial Chamber apparently succumbed to U.S. pressure and declined to authorize Bensouda’s investigation. Although agreeing with Bensouda that there were reasonable grounds to believe that CIA members had committed war crimes, the Pretrial Chamber denied her request for an investigation... But in a landmark decision, on March 5, 2020, the Appeals Chamber overruled the Pretrial Chamber’s determination and authorized Bensouda to initiate an investigation...
- The reason why the U.S. Government must be prosecuted for its war-crimes against Iraq is that they are so horrific and there are so many of them, and international law crumbles until they become prosecuted and severely punished for what they did. We therefore now have internationally a lawless world (or “World Order”) in which “Might makes right,” and in which there is really no effective international law, at all. This is merely gangster “law,” ruling on an international level... The seriousness of this international war crime is not as severe as those of the Nazis were, but nonetheless is comparable to it... On 15 March 2018, Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies headlined at Alternet, “The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq” and wrote that “our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion,” and linked to solid evidence, backing up their estimate.... On 6 February 2020, BusinessInsider bannered “US taxpayers have reportedly paid an average of $8,000 each and over $2 trillion total for the Iraq war alone”, and linked to the academic analysis that supported this estimate. The U.S. regime’s invasive war, which the Bush gang perpetrated against Iraq, was also a crime against the American people (though Iraqis suffered far more from it than we did).
- America’s leaders deceived the American public into perpetrating this invasion and occupation, of a foreign country (Iraq) that had never threatened the United States; and, so, this invasion and subsequent military occupation constitutes the very epitome of “aggressive war” — unwarranted and illegal international aggression. (Hitler, similarly to George W. Bush, would never have been able to obtain the support of his people to invade if he had not lied, or “deceived,” them, into invading and militarily occupying foreign countries that had never threatened Germany, such as Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia. This — Hitler’s lie-based aggressions — was the core of what the Nazis were hung for, and yet America now does it.)
- Imagine if you will a ship from a nation not at war with anyone sailing in international waters on a quiet June day being suddenly attacked by unidentified warplanes and torpedo boats, their markings covered up to conceal their country of origin. The vessel under attack had little with which to defend itself, but its crew heroically made sure that a large national flag was hoisted to demonstrate that it was not a belligerent in anyone’s conflict. The attackers noted the nationality of the vessel, but persisted in their aggression in a clear attempt to sink the ship and kill all its crew. The officers on the ship radioed that they were under attack and asked for help, but even though friendly fighter aircraft were within striking distance and were automatically dispatched, they were then mysteriously recalled... Life rafts lowered into the water as the vessel seemed to be sinking were machine gunned by the attacking aircraft and torpedo boats to make escape or evacuation of the wounded impossible but the captain and survivors worked heroically, and successfully, to keep the ship afloat. When the vessel finally made it back to port, the officers and crew were sworn to silence by their own government and a cover-up was initiated that has persisted to this day. Many of the ship’s survivors have died since that day 53 years ago, and the attempts of the remainder to see justice before they are also gone have been ignored.
- Israel’s apologists, a virtual fixture at all levels in the U.S. government as well as in academia and the media, have long been making the argument that the attack on the Liberty was some kind of “friendly fire” accident. But the relatively recent discovery that a Navy spy plane intercepted and recorded Israeli both helicopter and fighter pilots mentioning the American flag displayed by the ship during the attack suggests otherwise. Other recordings made of the Israeli communications revealed that some of the pilots did not want to attack. One pilot said, “This is an American ship. I can see the flag. Do you still want us to attack?” Israeli ground control responded, “Yes, follow orders. Hit it!” before admonishing the pilots to “finish the job.”
- The tale of the Liberty demonstrates that even fifty-three years ago the United States government was betraying its own people out of deference to Jewish power and to the state of Israel. If anything, as horrific as the killing of 34 personnel on board of the Liberty was, the situation has gotten even worse as Washington sends billions of dollars to the Jewish state annually while also giving its kleptocratic government a green light to commit war crimes and other aggressions that will ultimately draw in the United States, and could plausibly bring about our ruination. It is unpleasant to say the least to watch an unrestrained and unprincipled client state do terrible damage to a much larger patron enabled by the machinations of a dual-loyalty fifth column, but that is what we are seeing.
- On December 20, concluding a five-year preliminary examination of the “situation in Palestine,” Bensouda said she has “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed” in those regions by both the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas and other “Palestinian armed groups." At the time, she said that she herself believes the court indeed has jurisdiction to investigate possible war crimes in the regions, but, due to the controversial nature of the case, asked for a definitive ruling on the matter from a pre-trial chamber. Member states and independent experts were invited to weigh on the matter as well. “Such a wide variety of perspectives will afford considerable legitimacy to the Court’s ultimate decision,” Bensouda wrote. In the document she published Thursday, Bensouda reiterated that her position is not about the question of Palestinian statehood per se, but rather about whether the “State of Palestine,” which is a member of the ICC, can convey criminal jurisdiction to the court. In her view, Palestine indeed fulfills all required criteria to do that.
- If the U.S. government had prosecuted Bush administration officials for their war crimes during the “war on terror,” the ICC would not now take jurisdiction. But after Barack Obama said, “Generally speaking, I’m more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards,” his administration refused to prosecute those implicated in the torture and willful killings of detainees during the Bush administration.
- After the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) found a reasonable basis to believe that U.S. military and CIA leaders committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, Team Trump threatened to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from the U.S. and warned it would impose economic sanctions on the Court if it launched an investigation... Bensouda (the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor since June 2012) found the alleged crimes by the CIA and U.S. military “were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but were “part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence’ from detainees.” ... The Pretrial Chamber agreed with Bensouda that there were reasonable grounds to believe that, pursuant to a U.S. policy, members of the CIA had committed war crimes. They included torture and cruel treatment, and outrages upon personal dignity, as well as rape and other forms of sexual violence against those held in detention facilities in the territory of States Parties to the Rome Statute, including Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania.
- The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison... The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.
- Marjorie Cohn in Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent, by Marjorie Cohn], Truthout (17 February 2020)
- WikiLeaks... published nearly 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, which contained evidence of U.S. war crimes, over 15,000 previously unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and the systematic murder, torture, rape and abuse by the Iraqi army and authorities that were ignored by U.S. forces.
In addition, WikiLeaks published the Guantánamo Files, 779 secret reports that revealed the U.S. government’s systematic violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, by abusing nearly 800 men and boys, ages 14 to 89.
One of the most notorious releases by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, which showed a U.S. Army Apache helicopter target and fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad. More than 12 civilians were killed, including two Reuters reporters and a man who came to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. Then a U.S. Army tank drove over one of the bodies, severing it in half. Those acts constitute three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.
- Marjorie Cohn in Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent, by Marjorie Cohn], Truthout (17 February 2020)
- Today, I announce that following a thorough, independent and objective assessment of all reliable information available to my Office, the preliminary examination into the Situation in Palestine has concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met.
I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine... In brief, I am satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip ("Gaza")...; (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.
- Assange and WikiLeaks revealed the American military’s war crimes, the American government’s corruption and the American corporate media’s pathetic servile flattery to the power elite... if you’re a member of our ruling class, you would view those as textbook examples of dickery... you won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves... Chelsea Manning’s most famous leak is arguably also WikiLeaks’ most famous leak, so it’ll top this list: 1) That would be the notorious Collateral Murder video, showing U.S. air crew gunning down unarmed Iraqi civilians with an enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched by an eight year-old winning a five-foot-tall stuffed animal at the county fair. They murdered between 12 and 18 innocent people, two of them Reuters journalists. Zero people have been arrested for the collateral murders. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing them. 2) WikiLeaks brought us the Guantanamo Bay “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures”—showing that many of the prisoners held on the U.S. military detention facility were completely innocent, and that some were hidden from Red Cross officials... Because when you’re torturing innocent people, you kinda want to do that in peace and quiet, away from prying eyes... None of the soldiers torturing innocent people at Gitmo have been arrested for it. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing it.
- Lee Camp, 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World, MintPress News (24 May 2019)
- The Trump administration has barred International Criminal Court investigators from entering the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that the U.S. will start denying visas to members of the ICC who may be investigating alleged war crimes by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In September, national security adviser John Bolton threatened U.S. sanctions against ICC judges if they continued to investigate alleged war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
John Bolton, the national security adviser to the U.S. president, held a speech last September in which he wished death on the International Criminal Court. ...
The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking.
- Christoph Flügge, a judge serving on the International Criminal Court, in his statement of resignation, as reported in "International Criminal Court Judge: “It Can’t Be Fixed” – Cites “Shocking” Interference from Washington" The Washington Standard, January 31, 2019
- It’s sickening to hear these clowns repeatedly claim that “Assad murdered 500,000 of his people,” as though the U.S.-backed terrorists have played no role in the killings. I’ve viewed hundreds of beheadings and crucifixions online but none committed by Syria troops – all were proudly posted by the hellish filth that we’ve recruited, armed and trained for the past eight years. Major war crimes, like beheading 250 Syrian soldiers after running them across the desert in their underpants, were scarcely mentioned by the MSM.
- The Native population (in the US) suffered a migrant crisis of an incredible kind … where the immigrants come in with the intention of exterminating and expelling the population... Should they institute war crimes trials...? It would not make a lot of sense. It would make a lot of sense to bring out understanding of what happened, to call for reparations and so on, but not war crimes trials. It just means nothing in these circumstances. Is it genocide? … The Western hemisphere had about 80 million people when Columbus arrived, and pretty soon about 90 percent of them were gone (killed).
- A 95-year-old Berlin resident has been charged with being an accessory to the murder of over 36,000 people at the Mauthausen death camp in Austria during World War Two, the Berlin prosecutor's office said. "During the time of the crime, at least 36,223 people were killed at the Mauthausen concentration camp."...The prosecutor's office said it was bringing the charges under new laws that allow the prosecution of people involved in the Nazi "machinery of death" even if they did not personally kill anyone... the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, a guard at Sobibor death camp... established a new precedent that no proof of a specific crime was needed to convict a defendant.
- The United States and its allies are experts at covering their crimes and finding scapegoats to take the blame for them. They are doing it now with their disinformation campaigns against Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Syria. The show trials at the UN’s Yugoslav tribunal, the ICTY, were all about covering-up NATO’s war crimes and spinning lies to blame everything on the Serbs who resisted NATO’s aggression. They use their influence at the International Criminal Court for the same purposes. And now a document has come to light, leaked from the UN’s Rwanda war crimes tribunal, the ICTR, that contains a report on the war crimes of the US supported Rwanda Patriotic Front that invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1990, conducted four years of terrorist operations against the Rwanda people and government, then in 1994 launched their final offensive and slaughtered their way to power. To discuss this document, marked “Top Secret” I have to burden the reader with a brief history of events from the evidence available in order to give it some context.
- Christopher Black in Top Secret: Rwanda War Crimes Cover-Up, New Eastern Outlook, (22 October 2018)
- The Prosecutor mandated to oversee the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated on Wednesday that her office is keeping “a close eye” on the planned demolition of a Palestinian village in the West Bank by Israeli authorities, warning that, according to international law, it could constitute a “war crime”.
- Approximately 190 herders, half of whom are children, live in Khan al-Ahmar, a village located in the outskirts of East Jerusalem. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the village is one of dozens affected by an Israeli settlement reorganization plan... “It bears recalling, as a general matter,” said the ICC Prosecutor, “that extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute.”
- The United States had become a willing co-combatant in a war without any direction or clear end state...there have been a litany of war crimes... in which Saudi planes, using American munitions, bombed a school bus killing dozens of Yemeni schoolchildren. Second, the U.S. government has responded to these crimes with silences that might seem chastened, but in truth must be classified as defiant, given the bureaucratic maneuvering undertaken to obscure the United States’ unthinking complicity both to outsiders and to itself.
- US national security adviser John Bolton announced... that the US will use "any means necessary" to protect its citizens and allies from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. "United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,"
- If you water-torture someone at a secure military compound and no one is around to see it, is it a war crime? Tricky, right? Well, what if someone does see it? And what if you admit to it -- and to a criminal investigator, no less? And what if you add that you also used electrical torture, too? Is that, in fact, a war crime? More cut and dried, right? And what if criminal investigators identified 28 other members of your military unit as having beaten prisoners, tortured them with electric shocks, and water-boarded them? And what if 15 of them actually admitted to those acts? Is that, I ask you, a war crime?
Years ago, when I investigated the particular set of crimes mentioned above that were carried out by U.S. military intelligence personnel in Vietnam, I found that only three of the soldiers involved were even punished. And by punished, I mean that the three received fines or reductions in rank. None served any prison time. One of the admitted torturers I spoke with was still unrepentant. He explained to me that, were he placed in the same situation again, he would do exactly the same things. And why wouldn’t he? You don’t find Americans in the dock at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- Rebecca Gordon: Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Turning Our Backs on Nuremberg, TomDispatch (26 March 2019)
- Three-quarters of a century and many wars and weapon systems later, enforceable international law still remains humanity’s best hope for adjudicating past war crimes and preventing future ones -- but only if great nations like the United States do not declare themselves exceptions to the rule of law.
In addition to the verdicts rendered, the Nuremberg tribunal produced other enduring results, including the 1950 Nuremberg Principles, commissioned and adopted by the new United Nations. Those principles established that actions violating international law were punishable crimes, whether they violated any specific country’s domestic laws or not. Even heads of state or other high government officials were not considered immune from prosecution for such war crimes or crimes against humanity. And no one could be exonerated for them on the sole grounds of following the orders of a superior.
- Rebecca Gordon: Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Turning Our Backs on Nuremberg, TomDispatch (26 March 2019)
- Israeli forces’ repeated use of lethal force in the Gaza Strip since March 30, 2018, against Palestinian demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to life may amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Israeli forces have killed more than 100 protesters in Gaza and wounded thousands with live ammunition... The killings... highlight the need for the International Criminal Court to open a formal investigation into the situation in Palestine. Third countries should impose targeted sanctions against officials responsible for ongoing serious human rights violations
- Human Rights Watch Israel: Apparent War Crimes in Gaza (June 13, 2018)
- A Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 26 children and wounded at least 19 more...in northern Yemen, on August 9, 2018, is an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. Countries should immediately halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and support strengthening a United Nations independent inquiry into violations by all parties to Yemen’s armed conflict.... Witnesses... said there was no evident military target in the market at the time.... Under the laws of war, parties must do everything feasible to verify that targets are valid military objectives. Witnesses said there were no armed men in the market or on the bus, and videos taken on the bus before the attack do not show any fighters or weapons.... Individuals who commit serious violations of the laws of war with criminal intent – that is, intentionally or recklessly – may be prosecuted for war crimes. Individuals may also be held criminally liable for assisting in, facilitating, aiding, or abetting a war crime. All governments that are parties to an armed conflict are obligated to investigate alleged war crimes by members of their armed forces.
- Human Rights Watch Yemen: Coalition Bus Bombing Apparent War Crime, (2 September 2018)
- The International Criminal Court (ICC's) mandate to investigate war crimes has thus been hampered by the unwillingness of the world’s sole superpower to commit to the organization.... Recent statements...suggest that the United States is now preparing to go to war against the ICC itself, motivated largely by an effort to silence investigations into alleged American war crimes committed in Afghanistan, as well as alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip....The unwillingness or inability of U.S. courts to seriously investigate war crimes carried out by American citizens is part of why the ICC mandate in Afghanistan has been viewed as an important effort to bring a minimum level of accountability over the conflict.
- Murtaza Hussain, The U.S. Goes To War Against the ICC to Cover Up Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan, The Intercept, (12 September 2018)
- I visited Julian on two occasions in the Ecuadorian Embassy and was very impressed with this courageous and highly intelligent man. The first visit was on my return from Kabul, where young Afghan teenage boys, insisted on writing a letter with the request I carry it to Julian Assange, to thank him, for publishing on Wikileaks, the truth about the war in Afghanistan and to help stop their homeland being bombed by planes and drones. All had a story of brothers or friends killed by drones while collecting wood in winter on the mountains.
- I nominated Julian Assange on the 8th January 2019 for the Nobel Peace Prize. I issued a press release hoping to bring attention to his nomination, which seemed to have been widely ignored, by Western media. By Julian’s courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. The release of the files brought to our doors the atrocities our governments carried out through media. It is my strong belief that this is the true essence of an activist and it is my great shame I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be hunted like an animal by governments, punished and silenced.
Therefore, I believe that the British government should oppose the extradition of Assange as it sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers and other sources of truth the US may wish to pressure in the future. This man is paying a high price to end war and for peace and nonviolence and we should all remember that.”
- On Friday evening, 04 January 2019, Israeli forces wounded 46 Civilians, including 7 Children, 4 Journalists and 6 Paramedics, in an excessive use of force against the peaceful demonstrators in the eastern Gaza Strip... the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them, without the latter posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers
- The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights On 41st Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli forces wound 46 civilians, including 7 children, 4 journalists and 6 paramedics (4 January 2019)
- Colin Powell has been living in a glass house since 1968. It’s high time someone shattered it, if only to spare the rest of us the image of yet another Republican war criminal being treated like a Respected Man on television. One Henry Kissinger is enough.
- GOP “Never Trumpers” Just Think He’s Bad for the Brand, by William Rivers Pitt, 'Truthout' ( 8 October 2019)
- Now that the Trump(President of the USA), May (Prime minister of the United Kingdom) , and Macron (President of France) regimes have proven beyond all doubt that they are lawless war criminal regimes, what is next? Will the Russian president and foreign minister continue to speak of “our Western partners” and seek common ground with proven lawless war criminals?
How can other governments accept the US, UK, and French governments that intentionally lied about a Russian chemical attack on the Skripals and about a Syrian chemical attack on Douma, risking a third world war, and then themselves attacking Syria on the basis of a transparent lie unsupported by any evidence? How exactly do you conduct diplomatic relations with war criminals? You don’t. You put them on trial. Why aren’t Trump, May, and Macron on trial? The reason is that the world has been conditioned, like Pavlov’s dogs, to expect and accept the West’s war crimes as ordinary common features of life. The West’s crimes are protected by precedents established by decades of failing to hold the West accountable. The West has squatters rights in committing unaccountable war crimes.
- What it actually reveals is a far darker, more shameful truth. The truth of a Saudi-led coalition armed by Britain and the United States, which from the very start of the conflict in 2015 has sought to use starvation as a weapon of war. Most obviously, their on-off blockades of any ports and airports controlled by the Houthi rebels have drastically cut supplies of food to a Yemini population that relies on imports to eat. But far more insidiously, and in the absence of imports, the Saudi air force has systematically and deliberately destroyed the domestic means of producing and distributing food inside Yemen. Their bombs have constantly targeted agricultural land, dairy farms, food processing factories, and the markets where food is sold.
- We need accountability for the states and individuals that have caused this crisis, brought us to the brink of a famine that the UN says would be the worst in the past 100 years, and – by using starvation as a weapon of war – are in clear breach of international humanitarian law...When I asked Jeremy Hunt yesterday in parliament why the resolution that will go before the security council today did not mention the need for an investigation of all alleged war crimes, and full accountability for those responsible, and whether the crown prince (of Saudi Arabia) had insisted on the removal of that demand, he did not answer.
- The Chilcot inquiry’s conclusion that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and undermined the United Nations requires the prosecution of Tony Blair, the high court has heard. In his opening argument calling for a war crimes trial in Britain, Michael Mansfield QC (Queen's Counsel) said that the offence of waging an aggressive war has effectively been assimilated into English law.... Mansfield summarised the report’s findings as: “Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to the UK, intelligence reporting about [Iraqi] weapons of mass destruction was presented with unwarranted certainty, that the war was unnecessary and that the UK undermined the authority of the UN security council....Nothing could be more emphatic than these findings,” he said. “It was an unlawful war.” Sabah al-Mukhtar, of the Arab Lawyers Network, said... “The magistrates court dismissed it on the grounds that Tony Blair had immunity and that the crime of aggression was not part of English law. Many think they were not correct on that.”
- During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump declared he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” because the United States is facing a “barbaric” enemy. He labeled waterboarding a “minor form” of interrogation. Waterboarding, which involves pouring water into the nose and mouth to make victims feel like they’re drowning, has long been considered torture, which is a war crime under US and international law. Indeed, the United States hung Japanese military leaders for waterboarding as a war crime after World War II.
- Marjorie Cohn in State-Sanctioned Torture in the Age of Trump, by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout (23 January 2017)
- What does torture have in common with genocide, slavery and wars of aggression? They are all “jus cogens.” That’s Latin for “higher law” or “compelling law.” This means that under international law, no country can ever pass a law that allows torture. There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a “jus cogens” prohibition. The United States has always prohibited torture — in our Constitution, laws, executive orders, judicial decisions and treaties. When we ratify a treaty, it becomes part of US law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture,” the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the US ratified, states unequivocally. Torture is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, also ratified by the United States. Geneva classifies grave breaches as war crimes. The US War Crimes Act and 18 USC, sections 818 and 3231, punish torture, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment. And the Torture Statute criminalizes the commission, attempt, or conspiracy to commit torture outside the United States.
- Marjorie Cohn in State-Sanctioned Torture in the Age of Trump, by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout (23 January 2017)
- Gen. Barry McCaffrey noted, “We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA.” Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who directed the Abu Ghraib investigation, wrote, “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
- Daniel Ellsberg explained that Manning’s disclosures revealed such incriminating information as “turning over Iraqi prisoners for torture, widespread use of assassination teams, and blatant war crimes” which...made U.S officials “liable for criminal prosecution in International Criminal Court (ICC).”...Ellsberg added that “further investigation would reveal even more such incriminating information” and viewed Manning’s lengthy prison sentence as “retaliation for providing evidence that could be used against U.S officials.” Ellsberg firmly stated that he considered Manning “a political prisoner” and said that both Manning and Edward Snowden deserved political asylum as both of them were acting to inform the American public and not out of malice...
- CounterPunch/Gauri Reddy: Government Fears Chelsea Manning Disclosures May Lead to Indictments for War Crimes (12 August 2016)
- A lawsuit against members of the Bush administration for their role in the invasion of Iraq recently received noteworthy support from an internationally prominent group of lawyers—including a former U.S. attorney general. The group is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the class action suit on grounds that the U.S.-led war was an illegal act of aggression in violation of international guidelines as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.
Iraqi mother Sundus Saleh filed the lawsuit on May 27 against former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, stating they “broke the law in conspiring and committing the crime of aggression against the people of Iraq.” Her complaint filed to the court reads: Defendants planned the war against Iraq as early as 1998; manipulated the United States public to support the war by scaring them with images of ‘mushroom clouds’ and conflating the Hussein regime with al-Qaeda; and broke international law by commencing the invasion without proper legal authorization. More than sixty years ago, American prosecutors in Nuremberg, Germany convicted Nazi leaders of the crimes of conspiring and waging wars of aggression. They found the Nazis guilty of planning and waging wars that had no basis in law and which killed millions of innocents.
- The amicus brief submitted on Saleh’s behalf by the group of attorneys—including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the former president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the former president of the National Lawyers Guild, a founding board member of the International Commission for Labor Rights, and the co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, among others — states that the previous court was “forbidden” to use Westfall protections to dismiss the charges because the Nuremberg Tribunal established “norms” that prohibit “the use of domestic laws as shields to allegations of aggression […] National leaders, even American leaders, do not have the authority to commit aggression and cannot be immune from allegations they have done so.”
A second amicus brief was also filed by the nonprofit Planethood Foundation — a compelling action in itself, considering the organization was established in 1996 by the sole surviving Nuremberg chief prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz. This brief cautions that “those in positions of power” should not be allowed to subvert their influence to escape responsibility for their crimes. This brief cites the U.N. statement given after Nuremberg proceedings that, “planning, initiating, or waging a war of aggression is a crime against humanity for which individuals as well as states shall be tried before the bar of international justice.”
The significance of these briefs cannot be overstated amidst increasing international attention on the case. Calls to charge the Bush administration for war crimes have grown intense as recent reports estimate well over one million people have died as a result of the Iraq war.
- Manning made a statement at the start of the court-martial, wherein he took responsibility for the leaks, but, importantly, expressed his motivation. He commented specifically on the Apache attack helicopter video that recorded the slaughter of a dozen civilians in Baghdad on 12 July 2007. Two of those killed worked for the Reuters news agency, cameraman Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, a father of four. We can listen to Manning in his own words, thanks to an unauthorized audio recording of his statement, anonymously leaked. "The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seeming delightful blood-lust the aerial weapons team happened to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life, and referred to them as quote-unquote 'dead bastards,' and congratulated each other on their ability to kill in large numbers. ... For me, this seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass....I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained [in the leaks], it could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan."
- Manning's leak gave Reuters, and the world, a graphic view of the horror of modern war, of the violent death of two media workers in the line of duty... Manning took incredibly courageous actions to release data, to pierce the fog of war, to make public the machinations of modern American war-making. Edward Snowden has exposed the sophistication and extraordinary reach of the US surveillance state, cracking down on those who would dare to release information. And Julian Assange sits within the four walls of his embassy redoubt, persecuted for the crime of publishing. Yet those who planned the wars, those who committed war crimes, those who conduct illegal spying, for now, walk free.
- Bradley Manning's alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions and induced democratic reforms...He is the quintessential whistle-blower.
- Julian Assange quoted in Manning, Snowden and Assange were the ones who took risks to expose crime (1 Aug 2013)
- The verdict finding Manning guilty of Espionage Act offenses, however, sends an ominous warning that could deter future whistle-blowers from exposing government wrongdoing. It’s important to keep in mind that Manning provided information indicating the U.S. had committed war crimes. Traditionally the Espionage Act has been used only against spies and traitors, not whistle-blowers. Yet President Obama has used the Espionage Act to prosecute more whistle-blowers than all prior administrations combined.
Manning’s revelations actually saved lives. After WikiLeaks published his documentation of Iraqi torture centers established by the United States, the Iraqi government refused Obama’s request to extend immunity to U.S. soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result, Obama had to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
The American public needed to know the information Manning provided. He revealed evidence of war crimes in the "Collateral Murder" video, which depicts a U.S. Apache attack helicopter crew killing 12 unarmed civilians and wounding two children in Baghdad in 2007. The crew then killed people attempting to rescue the wounded. A U.S. tank drove over one of the bodies, cutting it in half. Those actions constitute war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. The Bush administration waged an illegal war in Iraq in which thousands of people were killed... Yet it is Bradley Manning, not the Bush officials, who is being prosecuted.
- A legitimate, registered, multi award-winning media organisation and its editor have legally published the truth about the biggest superpower in the world and embarrassed them and exposed them for wrongdoing - war crimes, corruption and fraud...The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth... Those countries with their snouts in the trough with America have fallen into line. Ecuador, whose snout isn't in the trough, has not fallen into line.
- Christine Assange quoted in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange 'buoyed by support', Chris Summers BBC News, (25 June 2012)
- War crimes are only committed by defeated powers. (But as the Nazis learned in 1945, unemployed war criminals can usually find work with the new hegemonic power.)
- Kevin Carson, "The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Capitalism As a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege" (2011)
- On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed killed. This man was innocent. I don’t know his name. I called him “the fat man.” He was walking back to his house, and I shot him in front of his friend and his father. The first round didn’t kill him, after I had hit him up here in his neck area. And afterwards he started screaming and looked right into my eyes. So I looked at my friend, who I was on post with, and I said, “Well, I can’t let that happen.” So I took another shot and took him out. He was then carried away by the rest of his family. It took seven people to carry his body away.We were all congratulated after we had our first kills, and that happened to have been mine. My company commander personally congratulated me, as he did everyone else in our company. This is the same individual who had stated that whoever gets their first kill by stabbing them to death will get a four-day pass when we return from Iraq.
- I just want to say that I am sorry for the hate and destruction that I have inflicted on innocent people, and I’m sorry for the hate and destruction that others have inflicted on innocent people. At one point, it was OK. But reality has shown that it’s not..and that until people hear about what is going on with this war, it will continue to happen and people will continue to die. I am sorry for the things that I did. I am no longer the monster that I once was.
- One of the judges in the Tokyo War Crimes Trial after World War II, Radhabinod Pal... argued that the United States had clearly provoked the war with Japan and expected Japan to act. Richard Minear (Victors' Justice) sums up Pal's view of the embargoes on scrap iron and oil, that "these measures were a clear and potent threat to Japan's very existence." The records show that a White House conference two weeks before Pearl Harbor anticipated a war and discussed how it should be justified...
- Howard Zinn in A People's History of the United States,(Full text online) (1980) p. 402
- It has often been remarked but seldom remembered that war itself is a crime. Yet a war crime is more and other than war. It is an atrocity beyond the usual barbaric bounds of war. It is legal definition growing out of custom and tradition supported by every civilized nation in the world including our own. It is an act beyond the pale of acceptable actions even in war. Deliberate killing or torturing of prisoners of war is a war crime. Deliberate destruction without military purpose of civilian communities is a war crime. The use of certain arms and armaments and of gas is a war crime. The forcible relocation of population for any purpose is a war crime. All of these crimes have been committed by the U.S. Government over the past ten years in Indochina. An estimated one million South Vietnamese civilians have been killed because of these war crimes. A good portion of the reported 700,000 National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese soldiers killed have died as a result of these war crimes and no one knows how many North Vietnamese civilians, Cambodian civilians, and Laotian civilians have died as a result of these war crimes.