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War crimes

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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. ~ William Crandell
This man was innocent...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 took another shot and took him out... 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. ~Jon Michael Turner (U.S.M.C.)
US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff released 5th April 2010 by WikiLeaks

A War crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility, such as intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no mercy will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.

QuotesEdit

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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