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Will Rumsfeld and others be prosecuted for war crimes?
Posted: 18 February 2009 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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According to the Global Policy Forum, Rumsfeld may be prosecuted for war crimes.

“There is now enough evidence to try former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes, Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, recently told “Frontal 21,” a German television program. Nowak’s statement confirms what human rights and legal organizations have been saying for several years, and spotlights one of the Bush administration’s most controversial decisions regarding the use of torture.”

See the full article at: http://www.globalpolicy.org/intljustice/wanted/2009/0217rumsfeld.htm

[ Edited: 25 April 2009 09:02 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 19 February 2009 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Let’s begin rather logically by defining our terms…what, exactly, is torture?

Answer that reasonably and we can discuss the issue. If there is no reasonable definition of torture, then we have a serious problem.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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omnibus09 - 19 February 2009 10:47 AM

Let’s begin rather logically by defining our terms…what, exactly, is torture?

Answer that reasonably and we can discuss the issue. If there is no reasonable definition of torture, then we have a serious problem.

Why don’t you define it?  I suggest that you include these perspectives:

1.  The functions of the Geneva Convention [see, as a beginning: ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions]
2.  Stated, standard U.S. Military policy on torture. [see, as a beginning: ]http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/06/terror/main1976599.shtml]
3.  CIA policy on torture. [Read: Stephen Grey, “Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program,” and Alfred McCoy, “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.” Both available from Amazon.com.
4.  The history of torture [see, as a beginning: ]http://www.livescience.com/history/071019-torture-history.html]

There are a couple of other things to look at which might help you if you feel you need more definition (and I presume you were using the “royal we” meaning “I”) because the charges, while having some focus on torture, are more focused on “war crimes” which is a rather larger and more encompassing category:

1.  The International Court of Justice: [see, as a beginning: ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court]
2.  War Crimes: [see, as a beginning: ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes]

Wikipedia makes this distinction: Crimes within the jurisdiction of the [International] Court: Article 5 of the Rome Statute grants the Court jurisdiction over four groups of crimes, which it refers to as the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”: the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The statute defines each of these crimes except for aggression: it provides that the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression until such time as the states parties agree on a definition of the crime and set out the conditions under which it may be prosecuted.

Finally, at http://www.un.org/children/conflict/keydocuments/english/romestatuteofthe7.html, under the auspices of the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict you will find the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  As a part of the charges against Rumsfeld are the abuse, murder, torture, rape and illegal imprisonment of minors between the ages of 4 and 17. I suggest that you take a look, also, at a thread I established in the Humanism Forum: “Where is the Humanism? Barbara Olshansky on detainee treatment….....”.  It is clear that Rumsfeld may be joined by both Bush and Cheney in this prosecution process, and that they may well be prosecuted in the United States if the growing public pressure on the House Speaker expands.

Enjoy the study - I hope you will summarize your findings and include them here for all of our members to read.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve seen some of that material, but not all of it. I will certainly look over the references that you provided which I have not seen or read.

Note that some of the data is, as always, open to interpretation. For example, my reading of the Geneva Convention utterly convinces me that that most, if not all, of the detainees at Gitmo are NOT covered by the convention, although the US military have stated that the convention will be followed.

As far as Rumsfield, et al….go ahead and establish your liberal credentials by beating on these dead horses. Nothing whatsoever will come about on these charges, rest assured. The aura of power surrounds these folks, and so they are exempt, whether we like it or not. Most courts of all kinds tend to be pretty hypocritical anyway. Justice is always in the eye of the beholder, and legal justice is always in the hands of the powerful.

The House Speaker is a political dildo…like all politicians, so don’t count on her. Besides, the President is very cool to this idea.

“Enjoy the study - I hope you will summarize your findings and include them here for all of our members to read.”

Why do I have any obligation to do that? I don’t…besides I often find sarcasm a bit tedious.

And, finally, note that nowhere did I state that I am personally against ‘torture’...

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Posted: 19 February 2009 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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omnibus09 - 19 February 2009 12:23 PM

I’ve seen some of that material, but not all of it. I will certainly look over the references that you provided which I have not seen or read.

Note that some of the data is, as always, open to interpretation. For example, my reading of the Geneva Convention utterly convinces me that that most, if not all, of the detainees at Gitmo are NOT covered by the convention, although the US military have stated that the convention will be followed.

As far as Rumsfield, et al….go ahead and establish your liberal credentials by beating on these dead horses. Nothing whatsoever will come about on these charges, rest assured. The aura of power surrounds these folks, and so they are exempt, whether we like it or not. Most courts of all kinds tend to be pretty hypocritical anyway. Justice is always in the eye of the beholder, and legal justice is always in the hands of the powerful.

The House Speaker is a political dildo…like all politicians, so don’t count on her. Besides, the President is very cool to this idea.

“Enjoy the study - I hope you will summarize your findings and include them here for all of our members to read.”

Why do I have any obligation to do that? I don’t…besides I often find sarcasm a bit tedious.

And, finally, note that nowhere did I state that I am personally against ‘torture’...

 

No Sarcasm intended.  I enjoy research - don’t you?

I’m not getting into a political argument in this discussion because I think it is not productive.  My provision of the information about Rumsfeld was supposed to be just that, information.  Perhaps so that we could watch developments.  My Speaker comment was from news provided on CNN yesterday about the pressure being brought to bear on her to push for the prosecution of a number of the Bush cabinet and some of his aides.  I have no comment about this woman either - I simply want to suggest that we should watch and discuss developments.

You don’t have to do anything at all. 

I was suggesting that since you made the first overture that you might like to look at some things related to your questions so that we can all benefit from it.  If you don’t want to participate you don’t have to - I just hope that someone will help as the recommended prosecutions proceed so that we all have a more informed perspective.

One other thing - I would suggest that your perspective on the Geneva Convention and its applicability or non-applicability to Guantanamo inmates might be a useful new thread if you would be interested in starting it.  My knowledge of the legalize behind it all is sadly lacking.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, I do enjoy research. I am thankful for the internet each and every day, as it’s the single greatest research tool ever produced. It’s kind of a shame that so much space on it is taken up by various forms of pornography, including intellectual pornography. I’m new to this site but I can feel my mind expanding a bit already…not too much I hope—don’t want to buy new hats.

My view on ‘torture’ is that everyone has a different view on what constitutes torture. I’d rather be water-boarded than listen to hip-hop music, for example…

Thanks for the reply and clarifications.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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omnibus09 - 19 February 2009 03:51 PM

I’d rather be water-boarded than listen to hip-hop music, for example…

No, you really wouldn’t, although it’s the sort of thing one writes offhandedly on internet fora.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No Rumsfeld will not be Prosecuted for War Crimes.Nor will D.Cheney,or anyone else.This falls under the simplest maxims of this Country.The Establishment is NEVER wrong clause.This is how power is upheld.Any of the grievances anyone has with this country can be sidelined with the simple Maxim:The Establishment is NEVER wrong.For the Government to prosecute any of it’s own “Prosecuters"would be to invite a slippery slope towards precedence.Forget it!

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree, Vyazma, however, I think having a decent sized, very vocal group of the citizens lobbying for it for the next couple of years will keep their crimes before the public and help them be more aware of it.  This may deter future administrations from doing the same things quite as illegally.

Occam

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Occam - 19 February 2009 05:26 PM

I agree, Vyazma, however, I think having a decent sized, very vocal group of the citizens lobbying for it for the next couple of years will keep their crimes before the public and help them be more aware of it.  This may deter future administrations from doing the same things quite as illegally.

Occam

Yeah,No doubt about that Occam.I like the talk of it too.Agitation! Which is primarily the extent of my above post.Occam,didn’t you say you were from Orange County?In which case your Screen Name is an acronym for: Orange County CAlifornia Man.HaHa ha!!
Agitate,Occam your dead on!Not just agitation,but awareness.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Occam - 19 February 2009 05:26 PM

I agree, Vyazma, however, I think having a decent sized, very vocal group of the citizens lobbying for it for the next couple of years will keep their crimes before the public and help them be more aware of it.  This may deter future administrations from doing the same things quite as illegally.

Occam

Would you and others who agree with you (as I do, too) be prepared to participate in developing and participating in a very vocal group of citizens lobbying for it?

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Posted: 19 February 2009 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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VYAZMA - 19 February 2009 05:01 PM

No Rumsfeld will not be Prosecuted for War Crimes.Nor will D.Cheney,or anyone else.This falls under the simplest maxims of this Country.The Establishment is NEVER wrong clause.This is how power is upheld.Any of the grievances anyone has with this country can be sidelined with the simple Maxim:The Establishment is NEVER wrong.For the Government to prosecute any of it’s own “Prosecuters"would be to invite a slippery slope towards precedence.Forget it!

While, sadly, this may be so, there is one thing here that should be clarified: the prosecution referred to here is not by authorities in the U.S. it is by legal authorities in some other countries (at the moment, Germany and France) where charges have been laid to bring Rumsfeld to justice through the International Court in the Hague.

There are problems for both these authorities and for the U.S./Rumsfeld with this perspective including but not limited to these: first, judges in the countries named must first find that there is merit in the case.  If they do then they can refer the case to the Hague.  If the U.S./Rumsfeld refuse to actively participate in the case then it can proceed in abstentia but the U.S. has several of its own problems with this including the fact that it has supported cases against other war criminals and (I think) even been involved in apprehending them.  If Rumsfeld is found guilty in abstentia, he can never leave the U.S. again because he will be arrested as soon as he enters another country (in most cases).

Anyway, this whole process is very complicated and very interesting.  I would like to follow Occam’s suggestion about being part of a vocal populace that might even embarrass the authorities into giving him up to answer for his crimes to assuage the anger of foreign countries, their people and the stated need by Obama that the U.S. should work to improve its relationship internationally.  (Aside: there are some very clear T-shirts available now for people who are supporting prosecution - I ordered mine yesterday.  Look on the web.)

Of course there is another problem that may cause further vacillation: if Rumsfeld is charged what will happen to Cheney, Bush and Rice, each of whom have been already named as possible participants in these war crimes?  If they are named, then it is probable that the U.S. will not be flexible in participating positively in the cases, but on the other hand, the U.S. may give up Rumsfeld if the others can be part of a negotiation leaving them alone.  The relationship of the U.S. with the UN and the International Court is precarious anyway, and the whole thing might be just ignored (if it can be).

Of course, further complexity is found in the pressure being brought to bear on the house speaker to prosecute a number of Bush’s people and Bush internally - in this situation a number of aides are also implicated for other crimes (Karl Rove, for example).  The next few months will be worth watching carefully.

I suggest it would be great if we have a member or members who have legal training and might like to clarify the legal issues of these charges and others which could follow.

May I refer you to my other current Humanism thread about child detention and torture: “Where is the Humanism? Barbara Olshansky on detainee treatment….....” and a book by Stephen Grey, “Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program.“

NOTE:  apparently in my ignorance of the law I stated something that is wrong - there are three options for prosecution: U.S. Courts, The International Criminal Court, and in countries where they have what is called “universal jurisdiction” allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world. Germany is one of these countries.  Look at: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1557842,00.html

[ Edited: 19 February 2009 07:49 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 19 February 2009 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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MORE INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS ON TORTURE PERSPECTIVES

http://www.unponteper.it/liberatelapace/dossier/contributi/0504HRW.pdf
Human Rights Watch
Summary of International and U.S. Law Prohibiting
Torture and Other Ill-treatment of Persons in Custody

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/19/rumsfeld-ashcroft-could-f_n_152392.html
Rumsfeld, Ashcroft Could Face Legal Jeopardy For War Abuses

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/taxonomy/term/15
ProsecuteBushCheney.org

http://atlanticreview.org/plugin/tag/Rumsfeld
There was quite a stir in the blogosphere about the news that former Abu Ghraib prisoners, supported by an American NGO, seek prosecution of Secretary Rumsfeld in Germany.

http://newmatilda.com/2009/02/02/bush-guilty-war-crimes
Is Bush Guilty Of War Crimes?
By Ben Saul and Sadhana Abayasekara
Dr Ben Saul is Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law and a barrister (including in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). Ben specialises in public international law, particularly anti-terrorism law, humanitarian law, international criminal law and human rights law.

http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/donald-rumsfeld-charged-torture-during-trip-france
Donald Rumsfeld Charged with Torture During Trip to France
Complaint Filed Against Former Defense Secretary for Torture, Abuse at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/17/america/torture.1-409777.php
Statement on U.S. torture may have unexpected fallout

http://www.amnestyusa.org/war-on-terror/accountability/page.do?id=1011660
Accountability for Torture and other Human Rights Violations in the “war on terror”

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0526-03.htm
Give Rumsfeld the Pinochet Treatment, Says US Amnesty Chief
by Jim Lobe

T-shirts: Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-War-Crimes
http://www.CafePress.com


This may be the trial that snares the Bush bunch on torture charges:
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/10/30/us-first-verdict-overseas-torture
Human Rights Watch:
US: First Verdict for Overseas Torture
Decision in Trial of Ex-Liberian President’s Son Significant for Justice
OCTOBER 30, 2008
First Prosecution in the United States for Torture Committed Abroad:

Today’s verdict (147 years in jail) is a milestone in ensuring justice for atrocities. Never before has torture committed abroad been prosecuted in the United States. We now look to the Department of Justice to bring more cases like this one.

Elise Keppler, senior counsel for Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program

Today’s verdict in the US trial of Charles “Chuckie” Taylor, Jr. for torture committed in Liberia is a significant step to ensure that victims see justice and that perpetrators do not expect sanctuary in the United States, Human Rights Watch said. The jury in the trial, which has been taking place at a Miami federal court since September 29, found the defendant guilty on all counts today.

Chuckie Taylor is the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is on trial for war crimes by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Chuckie Taylor was charged with torture and conspiracy to commit torture between 1997 and 2003 while he headed Liberia’s notorious Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) during his father’s presidency.

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Posted: 20 February 2009 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Is this a simple logo to rally behind? 

The T-shirt is available at: http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/bushcheneyrumsfeldwarcrimes-dark-tshirt/314077683 (CafePress).

[ Edited: 20 February 2009 12:30 AM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 20 February 2009 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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To dougsmith—true, my remark was a bit offhanded, but it is true nevertheless. My son was a Navy Seal for two years and was water-boarded as part of his training, as were many members of US elite units. Rest assured it was a very unpleasant experience, but he emerged intact and functional. He has expressed some amazement and dismay that water-boarding is considered as ‘torture’. Maybe he and many other veterans can sue Uncle Sam for damages for being subjected to this sort of extreme training…er, torture.

Why join the left’s version of Ann Coulter by insisting on these selectively punitive ideas? I am non-partisan, and have been a registered independent for over 40 years now. I view all politicians as corrupt, ego-serving syncophants. That is a rather gross oversimplification, but I find it a good way to view politicians until they prove otherwise. In the US, we need term limits on all elected officials, and even limits on Federal judges. The Founding Fathers never intended for people to become life-long incumbants.

I notice that some folks are finally being brought to court in Cambodia for the systematic murder of 1 /2 to 2 million people a few decades ago. With this in mind, all of the American politicians that some seem to hate so much will be long dead before anything like a trial takes place. In any event, it’s a pipe dream to believe that anything like a trial will occur. And if we are to go after politicians, then I would love to see Maxine Watters and Barney Frank brought to justice for their role in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiascos…

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Posted: 20 February 2009 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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omnibus09 - 20 February 2009 05:45 AM

And if we are to go after politicians, then I would love to see Maxine Watters and Barney Frank brought to justice for their role in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiascos…

OT in this thread, but Fannie and Freddie weren’t responsible for the financial crisis.

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