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War Crimes Immunity Before Invasion

President Bush Fails To Gain International Criminal Immunity For War Crimes With Which He Has Not Been Charged

When a person hears that someone who has not been accused of any crime suddenly pressures authorities for immunity from prosecution, don't you immediately conclude that the person may be guilty of crimes not yet made public? Even though no War Crimes charges have been brought against President Bush by the International Criminal Court, the Bush Administration has been lobbying hard for another year of War Crimes immunity.

The United Nations refused.


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When law-abiding citizens learn that one of their politicians suddenly begins to pressure legal authorities for immunity for crimes with which he has not been charged, does not the suspicion arise in their mind that the politician may be guilty of crimes not yet made public? President Bush has been heavily pressuring the International Criminal Court (ICC) for another year of immunity for criminal prosecution for war crimes. After much debate and arm-twisting, the United Nations Security Council refused.

Let us begin this unusual story with a report from Pre-Invasion Iraq -- October, 2002 -- for that is where this story starts.

NEWS BRIEF: "US demands total impunity on war crimes: Ultimatum to Europe in advance of Iraq war", World Socialist Web Site, 12 October 2002

"With the Bush administration gearing up for a 'preemptive' war against Iraq, Washington this week dispatched a senior US diplomat, Marisa Lino, to Europe to demand that the governments of the European Union (EU) agree to a blanket exemption of all US citizens from the jurisdiction of the newly formed International Criminal Court ... it is insisting that governments around the world sign bilateral treaties agreeing not to turn over any American citizens in the event that they are indicted by prosecutors at the court. With the more impoverished and former colonial countries, Washington has threatened to cut off aid unless agreements are signed."

In early 2003, Bush got his total exemption from War Crimes for himself, for his military commanders, and his soldiers, just in time for him to launch his war on March 20, 2003. Now that the truth of Depleted Uranium Munitions is beginning to unfold in the public eye, we can see why our President was so anxious about his potential criminal liability before the International Criminal Court!

NEWS BRIEF: "Lessons in Justice: Bush’s European Nightmare", Scoop News, 15 October 2002,
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0210/S00099.htm


"Clearly the Bush Administration has been issued legal advice that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq at this time would contravene international law and conventions protecting human rights. Could George Bush be tried for war crimes? Yes. The recently established International Criminal Court is a headache that will not leave Bush. And over this past two weeks, the American President has directed diplomats to hammer out a deal, demand from the Europeans who preside over the court the total exemption 'for all Americans' from ever being tried. If Bush is successful 'The American People' United States soldiers, politicians, and the President, will be exempt from being tried for war crimes, international crimes, and crimes against humanity ... the ICC specifically was set up to bring individuals to justice, including heads of state, presidents like Slobadan Milosevic, for crimes against humanity. Should global discord mount against the US post a new Iraq-US war, the President himself, Colin Powell and a host of others potentially could stand trial for war crimes resulting from the Administration’s pre-emptive strike policy.

"Clearly in war, the United States and its peoples are not immune from committing war crimes. The current Bush Administration simply refuses to be tried for them. To comply is abhorrent to the American scheme of things. Noncompliance is not new to the United States. As a nation the USA has refused to comply with previous International Court rulings."

This article then goes on to detail some of the previous International Court rulings which the United States has simply ignored. We encourage you to read the rest of this Scoop article, for it reveals details of which most of you are probably not aware. The United States has simply ignored International Court rulings of the past.

However, at this time in world history, the International Criminal Court has been given some enforcement teeth. Listen as we go back to this Scoop article.

"But the International Criminal Court would by-pass a nation’s identity and seek to identify, arrest, hold in custody, and try alleged criminals – it has the authority to enforce it. The Whitehouse’s spokesperson Ari Fleischer admitted to journalists in July that the ICC already has the power to do so." [Ibid.]

Even though the United States has not officially signed to join the states who have placed their legal sovereignty under the authority of the ICC, President Bush seems afraid that their power would be sufficient to somehow pull him into the international docket at The Hague. But, why should President Bush be afraid of being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court if he just planned to initiate normal military action against that rogue dictator Saddam Hussein, whom everyone hates?

The answer is simple: President Bush planned to launch an unconventional war against Iraq which, by it very nature, would violate many Geneva Conventions, all of which we have signed. News stories prior to the March 20, 2003 Iraq invasion tell the story. Checking back in Daily News Updates, we discover:

NEWS BRIEF: "U.S. Stocking Uranium-Rich Bombs?" Wired News, March 10, 2003,
http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,57959,00.html

"U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf may be armed with radioactive bombs and missiles hundreds of times more potent than similar weapons used during the Gulf War and the U.N. military campaign in Bosnia. As evidence that the United States is expanding its use of depleted uranium weapons beyond the relatively small 30-millimeter to 120-millimeter armor-piercing bullets and shells used by tanks and tank-killer aircraft in the Gulf and Balkans, weapons watchdogs cite the so-called "bunker-buster" bombs and missiles unleashed on Afghanistan ... British researcher Dai Williams contends that only uranium -- in one form or another -- possesses the density and other characteristics necessary to achieve the penetration levels attributed to such weapons as the 2,000-pound AGM 130C air-to-ground cruise missile, and the guided bomb unit, or GBU, series of laser-guided hard-target penetrators intended to pierce bunkers and other reinforced structures.

"Depleted uranium has a few drawbacks. It is 40 percent as radioactive as pure uranium and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. In addition, the very volatility that makes it blaze like an atomic furnace upon impact converts a large percentage of the spent projectile into microscopic radioactive oxides that, when borne by the wind, may be inhaled by civilians miles from the battlefield."

Therefore, President Bush, his entire Cabinet, and the Pentagon, knew that we were about to unleash silent nuclear warfare against Iraqi civilians, a warfare that Cutting Edge has been told by a military medical doctor serving in a foreign country will result in a nearly 100% death rate for both civilians and the American soldiers handling the Depleted Uranium weapons!

In fact, the deadly nature of D.U. has been known since the 1991 Gulf War, dubbed "Desert Storm" (Read NEWS1843). This war was the first one in which Depleted Uranium weapons were used on a large scale. In fact, President Bush, Senior, nearly was indicted for international war crimes for our attack on the "Highway of Death". Let us quickly review this information.

NEWS BRIEF: "Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on U.S. depleted uranium", by Larry Johnson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Foreign Desk Editor, November 12, 2002,
http://www.seattlepi.com/national/95178_du12.shtml

"SOUTHERN DEMILITARIZED ZONE, Iraq -- On the "Highway of Death," 11 miles north of the Kuwait border, a collection of tanks, armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles are rusting in the desert. They also are radiating nuclear energy. In 1991, the United States and its Persian Gulf War allies blasted the vehicles with armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium -- the first time such weapons had been used in warfare -- as the Iraqis retreated from Kuwait. The devastating results gave the highway its name. Today, nearly 12 years after the use of the super-tough weapons was credited with bringing the war to a swift conclusion, the battlefield remains a radioactive toxic wasteland..." (NOTE: This article contains several excellent colored map with which you need to familiarize yourself)

Note again the description of this 1991 "Highway of Death": "Today, nearly 12 years after the use of the super-tough weapons was credited with bringing the war to a swift conclusion, the battlefield remains a radioactive toxic wasteland..." (NOTE: The rest of the Scoop News article, above, contains excellent legal information about the extreme unlawfulness of our "Highway of Death" attack; however, their authors know nothing of Depleted Uranium Munitions)

Since each of these last two articles, above, were written before Bush ordered the Iraqi invasion (on March 20, 2003), it is extremely clear that the White House and the Pentagon knew that they were about to unleash a most devastating silent nuclear war against Iraq. The radiation from this war will eventually kill nearly 100% of the Iraqi people over the next 20 years and will render the country unlivable (Our medical doctor serving in a foreign army initially told us this, but retired Indian Navy Admiral, Vishnu Bhagwat, also confirmed this in his position paper, "Silent WMD's - Effects of Depleted Uranium, February 29, 2004;
http://traprockpeace.org/bhagwat_du_29feb04.pdf

Admiral Bhagwat confirmed that D.U. contamination is now in the soil and water of Iraq and that this radiation lasts for 4.5 billion years!

Therefore, President Bush, his Cabinet, and the Pentagon knew that they had better obtain immunity from War Crimes before they launched this war against Iraq. With this background, let us now go to the current story.


UNITED NATIONS SAYS "NO" TO WAR CRIMES IMMUNITY


NEWS BRIEF: "Annan Victory as U.S. Drops War Crimes Exemption Demand", Scotsman.com, 24 June 2004

"Facing global opposition fueled by the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, Washington has dropped a contentious UN resolution that sought to renew an exemption shielding US troops from international prosecution for war crimes. The decision followed an intervention by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who urged Security Council members to oppose the resolution ... the Bush administration clearly suffered a defeat in its lengthy battle against the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal ... William Pace, head of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court, which represents more than 1,000 organisations supporting the tribunal, called the US decision “a victory for international justice”.

"The court is the culmination of a campaign for a permanent war crimes tribunal that began with the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War. It can prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed after it was established on July 1, 2002. But it is a court of last resort and will step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves ... Washington argues that the court – which started operating last year – could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions of US troops. The 94 countries that have ratified the 1998 Rome Treaty creating the court maintain it contains enough safeguards to prevent frivolous prosecutions and insist that nobody should be exempt."

NEWS BRIEF: "U.S. scraps court exemption bid: Didn't want troops tried in The Hague", by Evelyn Leopold and Irwin Arieff, Reuters News Agency, reprinted in The Toronto Star, June 24, 2004

"UNITED NATIONS—The United States abandoned its effort yesterday to seek a U.N. exemption for American soldiers from prosecution overseas and withdrew a Security Council resolution because it lacked support ... this year's spectre of U.S. abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan made it difficult for members to extend the resolution for the third time, even though analysts say the scandal would not come before the new tribunal, based in The Hague, Netherlands."

While none of the articles I have read about this decision denying the United States War Crimes immunity even mentioned Depleted Uranium, that is the most serious issue on which officials of the Bush Administration and every member of our military can be tried. When you have poisoned the entire population of a country who was invaded on a lie to begin with (NEWS1890 and NEWS1890b), that is a War Crime of exceedingly high magnitude.

Therefore, IF any organization or country actually brings War Crimes charges against President Bush and/or any member of his Administration, we shall have to carefully watch the grounds upon which the charges are based. If the charges do not mention Depleted Uranium, you can rest assured that a whitewash is under way. We learned our lesson the hard way with the impeachment charges against President Clinton. Of all the crimes Bill Clinton committed while in office, the charge of oral sex with Monica Lewinsky was the least important impeachable offense, and therefore, the easiest charge to beat!

However, this possible War Crimes scenario against President Bush, his Cabinet and the Pentagon will have to be watched carefully. Should the charges materialize, we shall have to look carefully at them. If they do not included Depleted Uranium poisoning -- if they just include torture and sexual degradation of prisoners -- we may be looking at the same type of whitewash trial to which the Congress subjected President Clinton.

We may very well see this type of whitewash, because a number of other nations also have equipped their armies with D.U. munitions. If any member of Bush's Administration is convicted of war crimes based upon D.U., all these other nations would be forced to take these munitions out of their arsenal.

But, such an investigation of President Bush for War Crimes committed in this Iraqi War would have delivered an incredibly powerful propaganda blow to Bush's re-election campaign.

The very fact that such a silent, deadly weapon as Depleted Uranium could be used against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan is an international crime and the Japanese International Criminal Court has already indicted George W. Bush as a war criminal for this offense.

Source:
www.cuttingedge.org

Read also:
Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War


World Socialist Web Site:

Ultimatum to Europe in advance of Iraq war

US demands total impunity on war crimes

By Bill Vann
12 October 2002

With the Bush administration gearing up for a “preemptive” war against Iraq, Washington this week dispatched a senior US diplomat, Marisa Lino, to Europe to demand that the governments of the European Union (EU) agree to a blanket exemption of all US citizens from the jurisdiction of the newly formed International Criminal Court.

In May, the US formally rejected the treaty establishing the ICC, the first permanent international institution dedicated to trying cases of genocide, war crimes and other human rights abuses. Now it is insisting that governments around the world sign bilateral treaties agreeing not to turn over any American citizens in the event that they are indicted by prosecutors at the court.

With the more impoverished and former colonial countries, Washington has threatened to cut off aid unless agreements are signed. As far as the regimes in Eastern Europe, it has threatened to block their membership in NATO. Already sharp tensions between the US and its Western European allies were exacerbated last month when Washington succeeded in signing a treaty with Romania before the EU was able to cobble together a common position on the US ultimatum.

That position, agreed to in late September, granted extensive immunity to American citizens from prosecution before the court. It allowed every member state within the EU to sign agreements with Washington exempting all US soldiers and diplomats serving abroad from the court’s jurisdiction. The Bush administration had publicly pitched its opposition to the treaty as a defense of US soldiers serving in “peacekeeping operations” from the threat of “politically motivated” prosecutions.

While the EU decision provoked sharp criticism from human rights groups and supporters of the court, who warned that it would severely undermine the new institution, the cave-in by the European powers—led by Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair—did not go far enough to satisfy Washington.

Lino, the former US ambassador to Albania, is now assigned full-time to scuttling the ICC. She is demanding that the EU widen the immunity to include all US citizens, whether they are serving in the military or government or not, and whether they are abroad or in the US. In short, she is demanding that the European governments provide a full guarantee that no US citizen would ever be turned over to the court for any reason whatsoever.

The Bush administration is not so much concerned that US soldiers will be dragged before the court, as it is worried that Bush himself, his defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Richard Cheney and others at the top of his administration could face indictments.

Concern over potential international legal action against leading American officials has grown over the past several years, partly in response to multiple attempts by courts in Europe and Latin America to charge or question former secretary of state Henry Kissinger in connection with the CIA-organized coup in Chile in 1973 and the subsequent wave of US-backed repression that claimed tens of thousands of lives throughout South America’s Southern Cone.

The statutes founding the ICC specifically rule out its adjudication of atrocities committed before the court’s formation. Some legal analysts, however, have argued that Kissinger could still be tried because of the nature of the crimes committed by the Latin American dictatorships that he helped bring to power. Many of their victims were abducted by military and police squads and subsequently “disappeared,” with no accounting to this day for their deaths. Since their cases remain unresolved, there is a possibility that fresh charges could be laid.

The Bush administration is particularly anxious to get immunity agreements signed before it launches its war against Iraq. John R. Bolton, the US undersecretary for arms control and international security, flew to London and Paris last week to put further pressure on the European governments.

The timing and the nature of the US campaign of diplomatic intimidation underscores a crucial motive behind the Bush administration’s repudiation of the ICC. Top US officials are fully conscious that they are preparing actions against the people of Iraq that would be prosecutable before the court.

In reality, the court’s rules, crafted at a United Nations-sponsored conference in Rome in 1998, provide ample assurance that no leader of a major power, nor, for that matter, any US soldier charged with atrocities overseas, would ever be placed in the ICC’s dock. In particular, the court’s rules bar it from prosecuting any one charged with war crimes if their government is conducting its own investigation, even if such a probe does not result in charges.

Despite the extreme improbability of a UN-sponsored institution attempting to bring American officials to justice, the Bush administration is not taking any chances. The war that Washington is preparing against Iraq fits the definition of war crime too well.

First and foremost, under its announced doctrine of “preemptive” attack, the Bush administration is planning an unprovoked war of aggression, a recognized war crime and the principal charge leveled against Germany’s Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.

Moreover, the type of war the US is preparing will, without question, involve the slaughter of unarmed Iraqi civilians. The American military’s own “weapons of mass destruction,” from cruise missiles, to fuel-air explosives, cluster bombs and napalm will all be brought into play against a relatively defenseless and already war-devastated nation.

As part of its plans for “regime change,” the US government is already advancing plans for a war crimes tribunal against Saddam Hussein and other senior leaders of Iraq’s Baathist regime. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer indicated this week that the Bush administration would seek the creation of a special international tribunal. Asked why Washington did not sign on to the ICC and use that body to conduct such a trial, Fleischer declared that the international court “has nothing to do with” the US proposal for trying the Iraqi president. “What worked for Serbia, will work again,” he added.

In other words, Washington will seek another “ad-hoc” tribunal like the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), set up for the purpose of trying Slobodan Milosevic and other Serb officials. A politically motivated indictment of Milosevic was issued as a means of justifying a 79-day US-led NATO air war against Serbia that left thousands dead and much of the industrial and social infrastructure of the former Yugoslavia in ruins.

No doubt, a similar indictment is forthcoming against Saddam Hussein. It will recapitulate the charges repeated again and again by Bush and his administration about the Iraqi regime’s use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war 20 years ago and in its suppression of the Kurds.

It is also certain that if another ad hoc court is formed, its mandate will ensure that the former members of the Reagan administration who supplied the Iraqi regime with biological weapons materials and provided intelligence to the Iraqi military that aided them in making their attacks on the Iranians will not be tried as accomplices.

The main purpose of such a court would be to dispense the “justice” of the victor against the vanquished, legitimizing a US conquest of Iraq, while ensuring that no precedent is established that could be used to hold the US itself accountable to universally accepted standards of international conduct.

The repudiation of the International Criminal Court is only the latest chapter of Washington’s refusal to subordinate itself to international law. In 1984, when the International Court of Justice—a body that is supposed to settle conflicts between UN member states—found the US in violation of international law for mining Nicaraguan harbors, the Reagan administration simply rejected its authority.

Now, Washington is preparing to launch an invasion of Iraq in the name of enforcing United Nations resolutions, even as it seeks to sabotage the international court formed by the UN with the ostensible purpose of preventing crimes against humanity. This apparent contradiction merely exposes the criminal and predatory nature of the Bush administration’s war aims.


Read also:
US plan for Iraq inspections: invasion under another guise
[9 October 2002]

The war against Iraq and America’s drive for world domination
[4 October 2002]

US repudiates International Criminal Court
[7 May 2002]

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