Posts Tagged ‘war crimes’

BBC Bias: The Gaza Freedom Flotilla

September 13, 2010

By Anthony Lawson, Foreign Policy Journal, Sep 13, 2010

Whatever happened on the Mavi Marmara on the morning of May 31st, 2010, the BBC’s Panorama team failed to give a balanced view of it in its so-called documentary, Death in the Med. Even the title sounds more like that of a paperback mystery, rather than a serious analysis of Israel’s worst atrocity since Operation Cast Lead.

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US soldiers ‘killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies’

September 9, 2010

Soldiers face charges over secret ‘kill team’ which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war

Chris McGreal in Washington, The Guardian/UK,  Sep 9, 2010

Stryker soldiers who allegedly plotted to kill Afghan civilians.
Andrew Holmes, Michael Wagnon, Jeremy Morlock and Adam Winfield are four of the five Stryker soldiers who face murder charges. Photograph: Public Domain
Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.

In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, the killings are alleged to have been carried out by members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army’s criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to “toss a grenade at someone and kill them”.

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New York Times Spins UN Report on Gaza Suffering

August 20, 2010
By Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign  Policy Journal, August 2o, 2010

Ethan Bronner reports in the New York Times that a report on the situation in the Gaza Strip from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)

says that anti-Israeli militants operate from the border areas in question, planting explosive devices, firing at Israeli military vehicles and shooting rockets and mortar rounds at civilians. But it argues that Israel has an obligation under international law to protect civilians and civilian structures.

Bronner devotes the first part of his article to noting the impact on a Palestinian family, whose “trees and wells were bulldozed”, noting “destroyed houses” surrounding the family’s “desolate fields”. He notes that, according to the report, 12 percent of the population “have lost livelihoods or have otherwise been severely affected by Israeli security policies along the border, both land and sea, in recent years”, and that “the restricted land comprises 17 percent of Gaza’s total land mass and 35 percent of its agricultural land”, but this is about the extent of his discussion with regard to the content of the report. Most of the rest of the article is dedicated to offering the Israeli point of view and response to the release of the report:

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Erasing Iraq. The Human Costs of Carnage

May 26, 2010

By Ludwig Watzal,  MWC News, Thursday, 27 May 2010

Erasing Iraq

Nobody seems to talk anymore about the human sufferings and the costs of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Under President Barack Obama the US is still unwilling to end the illegal occupation of this country and take the partners of the “coaltion of the willing” and live the country. All the talk about a prospective “withdrawal” from Iraq seems mere rhetoric.

Large military facilities are popping up like mushrooms all over the place, and in Baghdad they are building an embassy of the size of Vatican City. Modern history tells us that when the US takes over a country it will stay until it is thrown out like was the case in Vietnam or Iran. The long-term prospects of remaining an occupier in Iraq or Afghanistan are rather dim, taking the history of resistance against foreign occupation in both countries into account.

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The Price of Courage: On Goldstone’s Bar Mitzvah and Finkelstein’s Book

May 7, 2010
Ramzy Baroud, Foreign Policy Journal, May 7, 2010

In his report on Gaza issued late last year, prominent South African jurist Richard Goldstone accused Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes. His language also showed awareness of the fact that the former is an occupying power with most sophisticated weapon arsenal (as reflecting in the number of Palestinian victims), and the latter is a besieged, occupied faction in a state of self-defense. Although Goldstone must have been aware of the kind of hysteria such a report would generate, he still did not allow ideological or ethnic affiliation to stand between him and his moral convictions.

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Tony Blair, Very Close to being Indicted for War Crimes

April 25, 2010

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, April 24, 2010

While on a speaking engagement in Malaysia organized by “Success Resources Company”, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the object of an articulate protest movement demanding his indictment for war crimes.

This was no ordinary protest. Tony Blair has been accused of war crimes in a legal initiative led by the country’s former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

A War Crimes Tribunal as well as a War Crimes Commission were set up integrated by renowned jurists. Documentary evidence of war crimes committed by Blair and Bush has been carefully compiled and collected since 2006. The prosecution is led by several of Malaysia’s most prominent lawyers.

Dr Mahathir in a public statement “expressed disgust at the companies that had sponsored Blair’s visit here. ‘How can you sponsor and get advice from a liar? Do you also intend to lie in carrying out your business?’ he asked.” (Thousands Of Slippers To ‘Greet’ Tony Blair In Malaysia, April 24, 2010)

Rather than mingling with delegates to the venue, Blair was hiding in the VIP lounge of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, surrounded by British and Malaysian security personnel.  Upon entering the main convention hall, Tony Blair was very close to being served with an indictment for war crimes:

Acting Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, Mr. Zainur Zakaria, Chief Prosecutor of the War Crimes Commission, Mr. Matthias Chang [barrister], two members of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation, Mr. Ram Karthigasu and Mr. Christopher Chang, a representative of the Malaysian Kwong Siew Association (one of the largest Chinese clan association) and two representatives of the Iraq Community in Malaysia evaded the security by registering themselves as delegates.

At 8.30 am, members of NGOs gathered at the entrance of the convention center to protest against the visit of war criminal Blair. Undercover teams were dispatched to the three separate entrances to confront and attempt to serve the war crimes indictment on Blair. But he could not be seen entering the convention centre.

He had entered surreptitiously and was hiding in a VIP room just above the convention hall where the function was held. His original schedule was 10.00am this morning. But organisers issued statements that no schedule is available.

British and Malaysian security officers were seen patrolling the corridors and had identified the seven delegates who were waiting for Blair. They kept a close watch on the delegates. Mind games began when rumours were spread that Blair would not be speaking today. Hints were given that Blair would be speaking on Sunday in the hope that the seven delegates would abandon their vigil.

At 11.25am, the seven delegates discovered that Blair was hiding in the VIP room just above the convention hall. They took their positions, with three members tasked with taking photographs.

At 11.30am Blair and his team of goons descended from the VIP room and walked towards the VIP entrance of the convention hall.

Mr. Matthias Chang and Mr. Zainur Zakaria rushed forward to serve the indictment, while the Iraqi representatives loudly denounced Blair ? “mass murderer, war criminal, shame on you,” repeatedly. Blair was obviously unsettled and put on an embarrassed smile.

Mr. Matthias Chang and Mr. Zainur Zakaria were prevented from handing the indictment to Blair by over 30 British and Malaysian security personnel. Both of them denounced Blair within earshot, “War criminal, shame on you! Mass Murderer!”

Mr. Zainur Zakaria also shouted at the Malaysian security personnel, “Why are you protecting a war criminal?” The security officers could only respond with a silly expression.

Having arrogantly told the Chilcot Inquiry in London that he had no regrets for invading Iraq notwithstanding there were no WMDs, Blair displayed cowardice in the face of only seven delegates.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission stated that this is only the beginning of a global campaign to ostracise war criminals like Blair and Bush and urge people the world over to adopt similar campaigns against Bush and Blair. No Where to Hide: Fears of Arrest and Prosecution by Tony Blair on Charges of War Crimes, Global Research, April 24, 2010)


While these unfolding events have been acknowledged by the Malaysian press, Tony Blair’s visit to Malaysia has passed virtually unnoticed in the United Kingdom. In fact, outside of Malaysia, the issue has not received press coverage.

Deafening silence and complicity of the British media? One would expect that people in Britain would want to know what happened to Tony Blair in Kuala Lumpur.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG), Member of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission and Signatory of the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Initiative to  Criminalize War.

Read also: http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=57590

Tony Blair stands accused of crimes against humanity

April 22, 2010
Malaysia must not allow this mass murderer to be immune from justice.


By Prof SHAD SALEEM FARUDI,  Information Clearing House, April 22, 2010

Source: The Star


IT IS distressing to note that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been invited to Malaysia as an honoured guest of an NGO when he stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by many learned and independent scholars of international law.

The case against him looks rock solid, especially after his confession to the BBC and the Chilcot Inquiry that he would have gone to war to topple Saddam Hussein regardless of the issue of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Indictments around the world:

The international criminal court to which Britain is a signatory has received a record number of petitions against Blair.

The World Tribunal on Iraq held in Istanbul in 2005 heard evidence from 54 witnesses and published rigorous indictments against Blair, former US president George W Bush and others.

The Brussels War Crimes Tribunal, the Blair War Crimes Foundation and the American international law jurist Richard Falk have amassed impressive evidence of Blair’s complicity in international war crimes.

Spain’s celebrated judge Baltasar Garzon (who indicted former Chilean dictator and president Augusto Pinochet) has called for Bush, Blair and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which Garzon has condemned as “one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history”.

Many UK jurists have described the invasion as a devastating attack on the rule of law that left the United Nations in tatters.

Here at home, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, after two years of meticulous investigation, received first-hand evidence from Iraqi victims of war that there have been grave violations of the international law of war in Iraq.

Last year, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, consisting of several international jurists – including Richard Falk from the US, Alfred Webre from Canada, and Niloufer Bhagat from India – unanimously adjudicated that Bush and Blair do not enjoy any immunity in international humanitarian law.

The main charges against Blair relate to his collusion with Bush in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003.

Crimes against peace:

Blair repeatedly and deliberately deceived the UN, his allies and his own people that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could be rained on anyone within 45 minutes. In deceit and conspiracy, he incited passions for an illegal war.

The resulting amassing of an American, British and Australian invasion force outside Iraq and the invasion of March 20, 2003, were flagrant acts of lawlessness and an international crime.

The Charter of the UN contains a general prohibition against force as a means of resolving disputes. The unleashing of the horrors of war on innocent populations is permitted in only two circumstances by the Charter. First, legitimate self defence, under Article 51 in the event of an actual armed attack. Iraq had not attacked the US, the UK, Spain or Australia, and the argument about self-defence had no credibility.

Second, specific Security Council authorisation of force as a last resort to maintain peace and security under Articles 39 to 42 of the Charter. There never was such a resolution. The US and UK had tried to bulldoze one through but the Security Council was divided and the attempt failed, rendering the subsequent invasion a crime against peace.

Genocide and crimes against humanity: The Anglo-American alliance is also guilty of the heinous crimes of war, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The misadventure in Iraq has up to now caused 1.4 million deaths, four million refugees and countless maimings and traumas. Two to three million Iraqis are mentally and physically disabled. Iraq today is a land of five million orphans and one to two million widows.

There is near-total devastation of basic infrastructure, health, cultural and educational systems. Water systems have been contaminated. Iraq’s assets have been looted by the Allies.

In the prosecution of the illegal and racist war, indiscriminate rocket attacks were, and still are, being rained on civilian centres, killing thousands of innocent women and children.

In 2004, the entire population of Fallujah was expelled, save for young men of military age. Banned radioactive ammunition like depleted uranium, white phosphorous and cluster bombs have been used. Torturing of prisoners of war has been practised on a large scale.

These crimes of complicity by Blair are punishable under the United Nations Charter, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Nuremberg Principles, Article 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention and Article 3 of the 1907 Hague Convention.

What is also notable is that Blair has expressed no remorse whatsoever. Instead, he struts around the world as an apologist for the US in the Middle East and Israel. He recently received an Israeli “peace prize” worth US$1mil (RM3.2mil).

Malaysia must stand up and be counted among the community of civilised nations. It must not allow this perpetrator of epic crimes, who fakes faith in democracy and in “God’s work and God’s will”, to touch our soil ever again.

(Blair, who gave a talk at a local university in 2008, has been invited to head a line-up of speakers at the 2010 National Achiever Congress in Subang Jaya this weekend.)

If he does enter this country again we should arrest him. Regrettably, Malaysia has not yet ratified the Rome Charter, but we do have a Penal Code. Murder is a crime.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission has countless reports from Iraqi survivors against Blair for complicity in mass slaughters, tortures, looting and other war crimes. The police must act on these reports and arrest this mass murderer.

In addition, citizens’ groups must file complaints against Blair with the United Nations General Assembly and with the Attorney-Generals of countries like Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK which have “universal jurisdiction” statutes to pursue and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A tribunal like the one that tried Nazis at Nuremberg and several Yugoslav and African warlords since then needs to be constituted.

The world needs to be reassured that international humanitarian law is not applied and enforced in a racist and selective way against Asian and African tyrants only. Imperial politicians from the West who destroy millions of lives should not, any more, be immune from justice.

Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM and Visiting Professor at USM.

Obama Stumbles on Human Rights

March 6, 2010
by Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 5, 2010

It was a relatively short response to a question in a town hall-style meeting in Florida, yet it said much about President Barack Obama’s lack of concern about human rights in his foreign policy. The question came not from a hostile Republican opponent, but from a young college student who had volunteered on Obama’s campaign. She spoke directly to an issue that has alienated much of Obama’s Democratic base since the president took office: ongoing U.S. support for Israeli and Egyptian human rights abuses. The Israeli and Egyptian governments, both of which have notoriously poor human rights records, are the two largest recipients of U.S. security assistance.

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Israel/Gaza: General Assembly Presses for War Justice

February 27, 2010

Most EU States Support Call for Israeli, Palestinian War Crimes Investigations; US and Canada Opposed

Human Rights Watch, February 26, 2010

“The UN resolution sends a strong message that Israel and Hamas need to conduct genuine investigations into the allegations of wartime abuses and punish those responsible.  Governments are refusing to exempt the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from demands for justice made for other conflicts around the world.”

Steve Crawshaw, UN advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Today’s United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for impartial Gaza war crimes investigations is an important step toward justice for all civilian victims of last year’s conflict, Human Rights Watch said.  A majority of UN members, including most European Union (EU) states, voted for the resolution, increasing pressure on Israel and Hamas to conduct credible investigations into the allegations of war crimes by their forces.

A November 2009 General Assembly resolution calling for credible domestic investigations by all parties to the conflict garnered support from only 5 EU member states.

“The UN resolution sends a strong message that Israel and Hamas need to conduct genuine investigations into the allegations of wartime abuses and punish those responsible,” said Steve Crawshaw, UN advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.  “Governments are refusing to exempt the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from demands for justice made for other conflicts around the world.”

By a vote of 98 to 7, with 31 abstentions, the General Assembly called on Israel and Hamas to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law documented by the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone report).  Fifty-six countries did not vote.  The resolution requires Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report back to the General Assembly within five months on the progress both parties have made.

The Goldstone report concluded that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Sixteen EU members voted for the resolution, including permanent Security Council members France and the United Kingdom.

The countries voting against were Canada, Israel, Macedonia, Micronesia, Nauru, Panama, and the United States.

“Washington’s objection to this resolution reveals a blatant double standard when it comes to international justice,” Crawshaw said.  “Why should the victims of war crimes in Gaza not benefit from the same US demands for accountability as victims in Congo and Darfur?”

In its resolution on November 5, 2009, the General Assembly called on Israel and Hamas to conduct credible investigations within three months.  In late January 2010, Israel and Hamas delivered their reports on domestic investigations to the UN.  Based on those reports, Secretary-General Ban told the General Assembly on February 4 that, because the domestic processes were ongoing, “no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned.” He repeated his call on all parties “to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the Gaza conflict.”

Human Rights Watch has strongly criticized both Israel and Hamas for failing to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the many alleged violations by their forces during the Gaza conflict.

To date, Israel has not prosecuted any soldier or commander for unlawful killings or other serious laws-of-war violations during the Gaza conflict.  Nor has it conducted credible investigations into military policies that may have contravened the laws of war or facilitated war crimes. These include the targeting of Hamas political institutions and Gaza police; the use of heavy artillery and white phosphorus munitions in populated areas; and the rules of engagement for aerial drone operators and ground forces.

Hamas has not disciplined or prosecuted anyone for ordering or carrying out thousands of deliberate or indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli population centers before, during, and after the fighting in December 2008 and January 2009.  Killings and other serious abuses by Hamas security forces against suspected collaborators and political rivals in Gaza have also gone unpunished.

“The United States, Canada, and other governments that voted against the Gaza resolution missed an opportunity to help break the cycle of violence and impunity that poses a major obstacle to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Crawshaw said.

Prosecuting Bush for War Crimes

February 26, 2010

Charlotte Dennett and Vincent Bugliosi Want Bush in the Dock

By Russell Mokhiber, Counterpunch.org,  Feb 25, 2010

In 2008, Charlotte Dennett ran for Attorney General in Vermont.

Dennett’s key campaign pledge – if elected, she would appoint Vincent Bugliosi as a special prosecutor to seek a murder indictment against George W. Bush for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bugliosi was the author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Perseus Books, 2008)

He also had an enviable track record as an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles – 105 out of 106 successful felony jury convictions and 21 murder convictions without a loss.

Bugliosi is best known for his 1974 classic Helter Skelter – which documents his successful prosecution of Charles Manson and several other members of the Manson family for the 1969 murders of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Manson was not present at the murder scene.

When Dennett announced her candidacy for Attorney General of Vermont in September 2008, Bugliosi was at her side.

Now, Dennett has written a book – The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way (Chelsea Green, 2010).

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