It might have been the most influential single sentence of that era: “In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” And it originated in an 8,000 word telegram — yes, in those days, unbelievably enough, there was no email, no Internet, no Snapchat, no Facebook — sent back to Washington in February 1946 by
A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology over his relatives’ deaths.
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed.
The lawsuit requests that the D.C. District Court issue a declaration that the strike that killed Salem and Waleed was unlawful, but does not ask for monetary compensation. Faisal is jointly represented by Reprieve and pro bono counsel at law firm McKool Smith.
Leaked intelligence - reported in The Intercept - indicates that U.S. officials knew they had killed civilians shortly after the strike. In July 2014 Faisal’s family were offered a bag containing $100,000 in sequentially-marked US dollar bills at a meeting with the Yemeni National Security Bureau (NSB). The NSB official who had requested the meeting told a family representative that the money came from the US and that he had been asked to pass it along.
Tariq Aziz, former Prime Minister of Iraq has passed away. Twelve years of suffering in Iraqi jails have ended and he can finally rest in peace. Unwell, deprived of adequate medical help and abandoned by the outside world, he was held hostage by Iraqi governments following the illegal invasion of Iraq by the US and the UK governments in 2003. Tariq Aziz was needed by a struggling authority as a symbol of victory after having inherited a destroyed nation following years of sanctions and a failed occupation.
It does not matter to us that our words of sadness and respect for Tariq Aziz – a leader during many dark days of his country – will be used by some to discredit us for alleged support of a dictatorial regime.
Tariq Aziz impressed us again and again by his commitment with which he cooperated with the United Nations when we served at different times as UN humanitarian coordinators in Baghdad. His relentless efforts to prevent the 2003 war will not be forgotten. He was a hard but highly principled task master without whom the inadequate UN Security Council response to human suffering in Iraq would have had an even worse impact.
We have a good idea how the scales of justice would react were it possible to quantify the weight of wrong-doing against the people of Iraq contributed from within Iraq and from the outside.
During the past years, we had hoped that influential leaders would see it as their moral responsibility to see that Tariq Aziz, a sick and elderly statesman, would be allowed to live his last days in the comfort of his family. We were wrong. We had appealed to former US Secretary of State, James Baker, who co-chaired with Tariq Aziz the 1991 Geneva negotiations on Iraq, to support calls for humane treatment of his former counterpart. Baker refused to act as a statesman. We also had hoped to hear the Pope’s voice for fellow Christian Tariq Aziz following our contact with the Holy See’s foreign minister. The Vatican remained mute. Other leaders in Europe and elsewhere preferred silence to compassion.
Not even our own organization, the United Nations, could muster the courage to demand fair treatment for the man whom the organization had known over decades as a convincing and credible defender of Iraq’s rights.
As time passes, we are certain that Tariq Aziz will increasingly be remembered as a strong leader who tried his best to protect the integrity of Iraq against all odds within his country and against outside interference by self-serving political forces.
Hans-C. von Sponeck and Denis J. Halliday,
UN Assistant Secretaries-General & UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq (ret.) (1997-2000) Müllheim (Germany) and Dublin (Ireland)
The Rafah Crossing from Egypt to Gaza was opened on May 26th for 2 days after being closed for the past 75 days. The opening allowed Palestinian residents of Gaza who were stranded in Egypt or third countries to return home to Gaza. The crossing remained closed for those trying to leave Gaza. The waiting list for people trying to leave has reached 15,000 people. The waiting list includes thousands of medical patients, students, and people traveling to their work or their families abroad. Many of these people have been trapped in Gaza since the Israeli attack last July.
The last time the crossing was opened was in March when just 2,443 people in total were permitted to travel in both directions. While Morsi was in power in Egypt, nearly 41,000 people were traveling through the crossing each month.
My friend Hanaa* had spent 2 years in the U.S. earning a masters degree.
The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed “democratic socialist,” that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.
Another terrorist attack was launched on the Shia Muslim Friday worshippers at Dammam in the Eastern Province of Arabia. On Friday 29th May, a suicide bomber in women’s clothing approached Imam Hussain Mosque with intention to bomb the women worshippers. Luckily the mosque management had already taken decision to stop women praying at mosques to pre-empt would be suicide bombers. The terrorist was stopped by one of the volunteering guards but the terrorist triggered his explosive vest killing himself and four of the volunteering guards. It was the second attack in a week; the previous one had been carried out on worshippers at Imam Ali’s mosque at Al Qadeeh, killing 22 worshippers. The volunteering guards shouted at the an official policeman who was posted to “guard” the mosque but he refused to stop the terrorist. Locals have now vowed to defend themselves against attacks by the Wahhabi-salafist groups, groomed and financed by the AlSaud regime.
Inam polishes leather shoes and Adilah sells flour pancakes.
They make a living on the dangerous streets of fortified Kabul, two of an estimated 60,000 working street kids in the capital.
10 years old, that’s how small they are.
Imagine ourselves at the same eye-level as Inam and Adilah, in the dusty alleys, swarmed by smelly drains, threatened by desperate crimes.
Like them, you often hear helicopters hovering so close overhead that the windows in your rented mud rooms rattle. You see the polished, bullet-proof cars of the corrupt Afghan ‘elite’, mostly men, dressed in suits and ties.
Adilah with her leek pancakes ( ‘bolonis’ ), waiting for customers
Some American friends smile when they hear that the pancakes, filled with delicious mashed potatoes or salted leek, are called ‘bolonis’ in Dari.
“Nowadays, I don’t often let Adilah sell ‘bolonis’ in the streets. What if she’s near a suicide bomb attack?” Adilah’s aunt said about the worsening security, despite 14 years of U.S. / NATO’s ambitions.
Adilah’s aunt frying the leek ‘bolonis’ in their rented single room
Adilah leaves her rented room to go out into the streets, carrying the ‘bolonis’ in a tray
Adilah walking past a gas canister shop
Adilah squats in front of a provision shop, hoping for her first customers for the day.
She makes about 5 Afghanis ( less than one U.S. cent ) for each ‘boloni’ she sells.
Adilah’s thoughts are ‘all over the place’ when she works in the streets of Kabul
A young passerby asks, “How much is it for a ‘boloni’?”
Adilah’s voice can hardly be heard.
She appears lost in her world of uncertainties.
Earlier, her aunt had served Zarghuna and I two sizzling ‘bolonis’.
We had eaten one of them, so Adilah had gestured to the other,
“Put that on the tray too. I can sell it.”
She whispered to the customer, “Ten Afghanis.”
That’s how the world economy works today.
Even war-weary, impoverished Afghans sympathize with her,
as the young man took out a typically crumpled 20-Afghani note,
handed it to Adilah,
and waved deferringly, as if in protest,
no, please, keep the ‘bolonis’….
The young Afghan man must have been contemplating
what he could do in the face of 60% unemployment.
He must have been thinking,
“Why is a small girl doing what we adults ought to be doing?”
Inam, standing in a newly-constructed shop space, with his blue plastic jerry-can
of boot-polishing tools and a pair of sandals for his customers to wear while he polishes their boots
“I don’t enjoy polishing boots but I have no choice,” replied Inam, describing his breadwinning role in a family of six persons. His father can’t support the family as he is one of Afghanistan’s 1.6 million drug addicts, and lives in another province. “We haven’t heard from our father for about 5 years.”
Inam, describing how some students in school are punished if they don’t do their homework,
“They stand like this for half an hour!”
Inam, along the street where he usually polishes boots. A few days ago, he had left his boot-polishing tools at a bakery while he played street soccer. “Someone stole my tools!” Inam understands why he has to work, but is determined to study hard too, so he can fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor.
What does Inam wake up to every day?
His mannerisms are beyond his 10 war-years,
with a spirit of acceptance
akin to ‘innocence’,
though he is far from naïve to be able to
evade the drug dealers,
huge speeding cars with snarling armed guards
and angry, hungry Afghans looking for cash.
“The drug business is violent,
as the addicts can’t do anything
except smoke under the bridges,” Inam tells the class,
which is a story about his own estranged father.
The least the American elite could do for Inam, their fellow human being,
is not to lie that their military strategy has been a ‘success’.
The elite need to know
that Inam, like billions of the awakening 99%,
understand what’s going on.
We understand the realities in our flesh and blood.
Inam was hoping to hear his name being called out in the enrollment of street kids into the Borderfree Street Kids School,
where he learns Dari and Math, and nonviolence, and gets a monthly assistance of rice and oil.
The mission of the Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School for 2015 is to ‘share learning skills with 100 Afghan street kids ( including Adilah and Inam ) on understanding language, nature, humanity, and life, and to be students and practitioners of nonviolence. ‘
About 92% of the required budget for the school is spent on providing the street kids and their families with a needed monthly gift of a sack of rice and a bottle of oil.
It costs $534 to put one street kid through the street kids school for one year.
President Barack Obama arrives in Germany Sunday to meet with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, and Canada for the “G-7 summit” at a resort in Bavaria.
This particular genre of summit was formerly known as the “G-8.” But that was before the U.S. succeeded in blaming Russia for the violent aftermath of the U.S./EU sponsored coup d’état in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, and managed to get Russia disinvited last year.
Stakes Higher Than Usual
We shall have to wait until the two-day gathering in Bavaria is over to gauge the results. But the stakes are high and – for once – it is conceivable that the U.S. will suffer a significant setback in its continuing, if increasingly quixotic, effort to exploit recent violence in Ukraine to isolate Russia.
To get to the point: there is nothing -- nothing at all -- in any recent law or legislative action that will in any way weaken the police state structure our government has put into place for rapid deployment. You are not any more free than you were last week and, no matter what the Congress has done with the expired provisions of the Patriot Act or the newly developed and Orwellian-named "USA Freedom Act", you are not going to be any more free next week.
McGovern Leads Bipartisan Resolution Setting Stage for AUMF Vote; Condemns House Republican Leadership for Failure to Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), second-highest ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, was joined by Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) in introducing a bipartisan concurrent resolution under the provisions of the War Powers Resolution, to force the House to debate on whether U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria. This resolution can be brought up for a vote the week of June 22.
Congressman Jim McGovern has introduced this privileged resolution: PDF with the remarks that follow. This will force the U.S. House of Representatives to vote yes or no on the U.S. war in Iraq/Syria that is underway and which the White House has made clear will remain underway regardless of what Congress does, and which resolution Congress will of course vote down. The gain, I suppose, lies in the number of House members who will vote yes and from then on, hopefully, find it difficult to run for any higher office.
James P. McGovern (MA) Special Order Thursday, June 4, 2015
IT’S TIME FOR CONGRESS TO AUTHORIZE THE WAR IN IRAQ & SYRIA
Mr. Speaker, today, along with my colleagues Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), I introduced H. Con. Res. 55 in order to force this House and this Congress to debate on whether U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria. We introduced this resolution under the provisions of section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution.
San Francisco, Calif. (June 4, 2015) -- An Iraqi single mother has assembled an international team of lawyers who are now asking the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit to hear her claim that the Iraq War was illegal under laws set down at the Nuremberg Trials, which govern when and how a country can go to war.
Sundus Shaker Saleh, through her pro bono counsel Comar Law, filed papers last Wednesday, May 27, 2015 urging the Ninth Circuit to review facts and statements made by high-ranking Bush Administration officials—including former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—in the run-up to the Iraq War.
The forthcoming film, A Bold Peace: Costa Rica's Path of Demilitarization, should be given every possible means of support and promotion. After all, it documents the blatant violation of laws of physics, human nature, and economics, as understood in the United States -- and the violators seem positively gleeful about it.
In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its military, something widely deemed impossible in the United States. This film documents how that was done and what the results have been. I don't want to give away the ending but let me just say this: there has not been a hostile Muslim takeover of Costa Rica, the Costa Rican economy has not collapsed, and Costa Rican women still seem to find a certain attraction in Costa Rican men.
A strong contingent of anti-war groups gathered in New York at the annual Left Forum conference.
Hundreds of participants turned out to converge on John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan last weekend for the annual Left Forum 2015 conference.
Each spring in New York City, activists and intellectuals from around the world and from a broad range of social movements come together for three days of discussion and events.
This year, 1,600 participants at the conference gathered around one theme: No Justice, No Peace: The question of confronting a crisis of capitalism and democracy. Of 420 panels, workshops and events, there was a strong contingent of organisers from anti-war groups like World Can’t Wait, World Beyond War, Roots Action and more.
No peace, no earth
In a morning session organised by World Beyond War, entitled War Normalized or War Abolished, speakers discussed drones, nuclear weapons and the abolition of war.
Drones activist Nick Mottern from Know Drones explained the US is building an international network of drone bases. He called for an international ban to stop all weaponised drones.
As we approach the seventieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this August, we must face the fact that will not just go away. They are “thoroughgoing and advancing like nuclear weapons.”
The panel also highlighted the attempts by the legal profession to put a human rights face on drone strikes. New York University law student Amanda Bass discussed recent student action at NYU School of Law.
Students issued a statement of no confidence condemning the law school’s decision to hire former State Department legal advisor Harold Koh as professor of human rights law.
The statement documents Koh’s role in shaping and defending the legality of US targeted killings. He was a key legal architect of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program between 2009 and 2013.
Koh facilitated the extrajudicial and unconstitutional assassination of Anwar al-Aulaqui, an American citizen killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Students are demanding the school get rid of Koh and hire a professor who cares about constitutional rights, human rights and about human life.
In Jack Gilroy’s play about drones, a young woman from a military family opts for a peace studies course in Syracuse, New York near Hancock Air Force base. Joined by her drone pilot mother, a fictional senator and an activist, the women debate about drones and civilian deaths. Actors remained in character for audience questions.
In the afternoon, activists, scholars and journalists gathered to discuss how the anti-war movement should respond to US wars of aggression, imperialism, and counter-revolution and conflict in the Middle East, when any US intervention is no solution and not in the interest of the people of the Middle East.
While discussions leaned toward US policy and militarism, David Swanson from World Beyond War offered a different spin: To imagine a world beyond war is to imagine a planet without climate crisis. The largest percentage of fossil fuels is consumed by the war industry and there is a US agenda to control fossil fuel resources.
When we are living in a world where whoever is in control of the source of oil, thereby controls the planet, our social and political movements should be linking the war on terror, climate justice and environment. Although some Latin American countries have long held stake in this necessary cohesion between climate justice and anti-war movements, a global campaign is taking longer to form.
Mottern even suggested a new conference theme: “no peace, no earth” rather than ‘no justice, no peace’.
The case brought by the Yemeni plaintiffs could have far-reaching consequences. The Yemeni survivors request that the German government intervene by shutting down the Satellite Relay Station at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany, so as to protect Yemenis from further US drone strikes. As was recently reported byThe Intercept and by the German news magazine Spiegel, the Satellite Relay Station at Ramstein is essential for all US drone strikes in the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. Under German law, extrajudicial killings are deemed to be murders.
Activists in the US and in Germany held vigils and other protest event days in solidarity with the Yemeni survivors who brought the case. On May 26, the open letter was presented by delegations of US citizens to the German Embassy in Washington DC, and to the German Consulate in New York. On May 27, a delegation of German citizens presented the open letter to a representative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin. The US and German activists will also forward the letter to members of the German Parliament (Bundestag).
The open letter was authored by Elsa Rassbach, Judith Bello, Ray McGovern and Nick Mottern.
May 26, 2015
Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
10557 Berlin, Germany
Dear Chancellor Merkel:
On May 27th a German court in Cologne will hear evidence from Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Yemen who lost two relatives to a 2012 U.S. drone strike. This is the first time that a court in a country providing significant military/technical support for the U.S. drone program has permitted such a case to be heard.
U.S. drone strikes have killed or maimed tens of thousands in many countries with which the U.S. is not officially at war. The vast majority of drone-strike victims have been innocent bystanders, including large numbers of children. One respected study found that for every target or known combatant killed, 28 “unknown persons” were also killed. Because the victims were/are not U.S. citizens, their families do not have standing to initiate legal action in U.S. courts. Shamefully, the families of these victims have had no legal recourse whatsoever.
Thus the case of Mr. bin Ali Jaber, representing his family in a German court, is of great interest to many who have long been dismayed at the U.S. government’s violations of human rights and international law in the so-called "war on terror." Reportedly, Mr. bin Ali Jaber will argue that the German Government has violated the German Constitution by allowing the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base in Germany for extrajudicial “targeted” killings in Yemen. He is expected to request that the German government “take legal and political responsibility for the U.S. drone war in Yemen” and “forbid use of the Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein.”
Credible evidence has already been widely published indicating that the U.S. Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein plays an essential role in ALL U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia. The killings and maiming resulting from missiles fired from U.S. drones would not be possible without the cooperation of the German government in enabling the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base for the illegal drone wars -- a military base which, we respectfully suggest, is an anachronism a full seventy years after the liberation of Germany and Europe from the Nazis.
Irrespective of the ultimate outcome in court of Mr. bin Ali Jaber’s case, which possibly could continue for years, now is the time for Germany to take effective measures to stop the U.S. from using Ramstein Air Base for combat drone missions.
The reality is this: The military base in Ramstein is under the legal jurisdiction of the Federal The reality The reality is this: The military base in Ramstein is under the legal jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Germany, even though the U.S. Air Force has been allowed to use the base. If illegal activities such as extrajudicial killings are conducted from Ramstein or other U.S. bases in Germany -- and if U.S. authorities do not desist from these legal offenses then we respectfully suggest that you and your government have a duty under international law to act. This is clearly expressed in the Nuremberg Trials Federal Rules Decisions of 1946-47 (6 F.R.D.60), which were adopted into US law. Accordingly, every individual participating in the enactment of a war crime is responsible for that crime, including businessmen, politicians and others who enable the criminal act.
In 1991 the reunited Federal Republic of Germany was granted “complete sovereignty at home and abroad” via the Two-plus-Four-Treaty. The Treaty emphasizes that “there shall be only peaceful activities from German territory” as does Article 26 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, which states that the acts undertaken to prepare for a war of aggression are deemed "unconstitutional" and "a criminal offense." Many in the U.S. and around the world hope that the German people and their government will provide much-needed leadership in the world on behalf of peace and of human rights.
The German Government often states that it has no knowledge of the activities being conducted at Ramstein Air Base or other U.S. bases in Germany. We respectfully submit that if this is the case, you and the German Government may have a duty to require the needed transparency and accountability from the U.S. military and intelligence agencies in Germany. If the present Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Germany precludes the transparency and accountability that the German Government needs in order to enforce German and international law, then the German Government must request that the U.S. make appropriate modifications in the SOFA. As you know, Germany and the U.S. each have the right to unilaterally terminate the SOFA upon giving two years' notice. Many in the U.S. would not oppose but would indeed welcome a renegotiation of the SOFA between the U.S. and Germany if this should be required to restore the rule of law.
The end of hostilities in 1945 seventy years ago saw the world faced with the task of restoring and advancing the international rule of law. This led to efforts to define and punish war crimes -- major efforts like the Nuremberg Tribunal and the formation of the United Nations, which in 1948 proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While Germany has sought to adhere to the principles of the Declaration, the U.S. increasingly in recent years ignored these principles. In addition, the U.S. seeks to draw NATO and other allies into complicity in violating these principles.
The U.S. began the drone program in secrecy in 2001 and did not reveal it to the American people or to most of their representatives in Congress; the drone program was first discovered and revealed by U.S. peace activists in 2008. The British people were also not informed when the United Kingdom in 2007 obtained killer drones from the U.S. And only recently have the German people been informed, through courageous reporting by independent journalists and whistleblowers, of the key role of Ramstein in the illegal U.S. drone program.
Now aware of the role Ramstein in undermining human rights and international law, many German citizens are calling upon you and the German government to enforce the rule of law in Germany, including on the U.S. bases. And because of the indispensable role of Ramstein for all the U.S. drones strikes, the government of Germany now holds in its hands the power to actually stop the illegal U.S. drone killings altogether.
If the German Government were to take decisive action in this matter, Germany would surely find support among nations of the world, including the nations of Europe. The European Parliament in its Resolution on the Use of Armed Drones, which was adopted by a landslide vote of 534 to 49 on February 27, 2014, urged its Member States to “oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial killings” and “not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states.” The European Parliament Resolution further declares that Member States must “commit to ensuring that, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that an individual or entity within their jurisdiction may be connected to an unlawful targeted killing abroad, measures are taken in accordance with their domestic and legal obligations.”
Extrajudicial killing - the killing of 'suspects' - is in fact also a grievous violation of the U.S. Constitution. And the U.S. initiation and prosecution of killings and wars in sovereign countries that do not threaten the U.S. mainland violate international treaties the U.S. has signed and Congress has ratified, including the United Nations Charter.
Tens of thousands of Americans have struggled in vain for years to expose and end the U.S. drone program and other U.S. war crimes that have quite predictably led to increasing hatred for the U.S. and its allies among the targeted and terrorized populations. Like the incarceration without due process at Guantanamo, drone warfare has clearly undermined the post-WWII international law upon which we all rely.
We hope that major U.S. allies - and particularly Germany, because of the indispensable role it plays - will take firm action to end extrajudicial drone killings. We implore you to take all steps necessary to put a stop to all activities in Germany that support drone warfare and killings by the U.S. government.
Carol Baum, Co-Founder of Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, Syracuse Peace Council
Judy Bello, Co-Founder of Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, United National Antiwar Coalition
Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CodePink
Jacqueline Cabasso, National Co-convener, United for Peace and Justice
Leah Bolger, Former President of National Veterans for Peace
David Hartsough, PeaceWorkers, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Robin Hensel, Little Falls OCCU-PIE
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Malachy Kilbride, National Coalition for Nonviolent Resistance
Marilyn Levin, Co-Founder of United National Antiwar Coalition, United for Justice with Peace
Mickie Lynn, Women Against War
Ray McGovern, Retired CIA Analyst, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Nick Mottern, KnowDrones
Gael Murphy, CodePink
Elsa Rassbach, CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition
Alyssa Rohricht, Graduate Student in International Relations
Coleen Rowley, Retired FBI Agent, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
David Swanson, World Beyond War, War is a Crime
Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait
Brian Terrell, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Missouri Catholic Worker
Colonel Ann Wright, Retired Military Officer and Diplomatic Attaché, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink
Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia, PA
CodePink Women for Peace
Ithaca Catholic Worker, Ithaca, NY
Little Falls OCC-U-PIE, WI
National Coalition for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR)
Peace Action and Education, Rochester, NY
Syracuse Peace Council, Syracuse, NY
United For Justice with Peace, Boston, MA
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
U.S. Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative, Washington DC
Upstate (NY) Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
War Is A Crime
Watertown Citizens for Peace Justice and the Environment, Watertown, MA
Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Women Against Military Madness, Minneapolis, MN
Women Against War, Albany, NY
World Beyond War
World Can’t Wait
The Yemeni plaintiffs did not prevail on May 27, nor was it anticipated that they would prevail in such an important matter in a lower court in Germany. Nevertheless, the Court's decision in the case set some important legal precedents:
a) The Court ruled that the Yemeni survivors, who are not German citizens, have standing to sue the German government in the German courts. This is the first known time that a NATO country that has granted drone survivors or victims who are not citizens of their country such standing in court.
b) The Court stated in its decision that the media reports regarding the essential role of Ramstein in the US drone killings are "plausible," the first time that this has been officially acknowledged by authorities Germany.
But the Court held that it is in the discretion of the German government to decide what steps must be taken to protect the people of Yemen from the danger of being killed by drones with essential assistance from Ramstein Air Base. In addition, the Court mentioned that the present Status of Forces Agreement (SOSA) between the US and Germany may at this time prohibit the German government from closing the Satellite Relay Station in the Ramstein base. The plaintiffs argued that the SOSA could be renegotiated or even cancelled by the German government.
In an unusual step, the Court immediately granted the plaintiffs the right to appeal. ECCHR and Reprieve will appeal on behalf of the Yemeni plaintiffs as soon as the full written decision of the court in Cologne is available.
WATCH: Attorneys with the human rights organizations representing the bin Ali Jaber family of Yemen in their lawsuit against the German government discuss the court hearing on May 27 in Cologne, Germany.
Elsa Rassbach interviews Kat Craig, the Legal Director of Reprieve:
Elsa Rassbach interviews Andreas Schüller of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights:
This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.
Elsa Rassbach is US citizen, filmmaker and journalist, who often lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She heads the "GIs & US Bases" working group in DFG-VK (the German affiliate of War Resisters International, WRI) and is active in Code Pink, No to NATO, and the anti-drone campaign in Germany. Her film short We Were Soldiers in the 'War on Terror' has just been released in the U.S., and The Killing Floor, her award-winning film set in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released next year.
Judith Bello serves on the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, Rochester, NY.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publication arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served at CIA from the administrations of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush, and was one of five CIA “alumni” who created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in January 2003.
Nick Mottern is a reporter and director of Consumers for Peace.org, who has been active in anti-war organizing and has worked for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Bread for the World, the former US Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs and The Providence (RI) Journal - Bulletin.
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