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How to Get Your Town or City to Help Indict Bush and Cheney
[See also similar kit for related ordinances HERE.]
Here's a sample petition to Congress from a political party, organization, city, town, county, or state government. A similar resolution could be drafted and directed to the Attorney General.
Below is information on passing a ordinance requiring your town to arrest Bush and Cheney. You can pass any number of other local resolutions, including refusal to recognize preemptive or self pardons.
Bush Indictment Council (BIC)
Indictment resolutions passed on March 4, 2008, in Brattleboro and Marlboro, Vermont, and spread from there. For full list of towns see this list.
This resource page will be expanded as this campaign grows and develops. This extensive kit for passing impeachment resolutions will be helpful. Much of the same advice applies.
We can begin with the example of Brattleboro, Vermont, which voted on and passed this question on March 4, 2008:
"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities, and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro police, pursuant to the above mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecuted or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?"
For help in placing similar language on the ballot in your town or in passing a similar measure through your city council, contact Dan DeWalt: firstname.lastname@example.org
For legal expertise on the force of these initiatives, contact Harold Burbank at email@example.com
THIS MEMORANDUM IS USED BY PERMISSION OF THE DOBSON FOR SENATE CAMPAIGN, COPIES MAY BE USED ONLY IF THIS ATTRIBUTION IS ATTACHED CONTACT@DOMBSONFORSENATE.COM. WWW.DOBSONFORSENATE.COM
COPYWRITE 2008 DOBSON FOR SENATE CAMPAIGN
MEMORANDUM OF LAW
To: Laurie Dobson
From: Harold Burbank
Re: Whether US municipalities may arrest and prosecute war criminals.
Question presented: Whether ME and VT towns, and other municipalities, may lawfully legislate, adjudicate, arrest, prosecute, sanction and/or extradite re war criminals in their jurisdictions?
Short Answer: Yes. US Constitution Article 6, Section 2 states that US treaties shall be the supreme law of the land. Many US treaties, including the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Declaration of human rights, define crimes of war and aggression, and confer universal jurisdiction on signatories to prosecute these crimes wherever the criminals are found. As the Constitution is the fundamental law of the US and each US state, and all treaties subject to the Constitution are the supreme law of the land, it is axiomatic that all US treaties confer universal jurisdiction to all US jurisdictions, including municipal jurisdictions, to prosecute war crimes. Furthermore, war crimes violate the common law (judge made law) of the US and all states of the Union. There is thus universal jurisdiction to apprehend and prosecute war criminals in this country wherever they are found.
Facts: On November 8, 2002 the United Nations Security Council passed its Resolution 1441 regarding alleged Iraq weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Despite repeated requests by the US, led by GW Bush and Richard Cheney, the Security Council specifically refused to place language in 1441 authorizing the use of force or "all necessary means" to pursue any alleged WMDs in Iraq. Dr. Hans Blix, renowned Swedish internal lawyer and head of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), afterward declined to support Bush administration requests for UN support for any attack on Iraq, based on WMD claims, because UNMOVIC failed to find any
evidence at all that Iraq in fact possessed WMDs. The UN's firm anti-war position, based on its independent research and analysis of facts in Iraq, and applicable international law of peace and security under the UN Charter and related authority, was ignored when in March, 2003, President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, which led to the occupation of Iraq. On September 15, 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the press that the invasion of Iraq did not conform to the UN Charter and therefore was illegal.
It is the position of this memorandum that for this and other reasons the US invasion and occupation are therefore illegal under international and US law and that continued prosecution of
(2) the Iraq war constitutes a war crime.
On October 7, 2001, pursuant to several UN resolution supporting the use of US and other forces in Afghanistan, in response to the 9-11 attacks in New York, the Bush administration began its invasion of Afghanistan to ostensibly suppress the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which the US argued were responsible for 9-11. The invasion has become an occupation. The UN resolutions did not suspend any international law of war, such as the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg
Charter, the UN Charter and other sources, which under US Constitution Article 6, Section 2, are the supreme law of the land (US). To date the US government has not proved, and no court in the world has held, that 9-11 was caused by any person or force in Afghanistan. Further, criminal allegations against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda have never been enough established to cause prosecution against them in any country. The core issue for any trial concerning the legality of US attacks on Afghanistan must concern facts of whether those who allegedly committed 9-11 crimes had any connection with Afghanistan. Relevant facts comprising a defense to such charges include the identities of 9-11 hijackers/terrorists, 15 of whom were Saudi, and others of whom were from Kuwait, Morocco and UAE, and that there is no authoritative report on who committed 9-11 (the 9-11 Commission Report was called flawed and incomplete by former RI US Senator Lincoln Chaffee). Further the US established "prison camps" at Guatanamo Bay, Cuba and other places to hold and torture Afghan prisoners, often without charges, access to legal counsel, rights of habeas corpus, in violation of Geneva Conventions Article 3, and other well known international war crimes law treaty obligations. It is therefore the position of this memorandum that despite UN sanction for the initial invasion of Afghanistan, many US practices in the prosecution of this war are war crimes violative of the UN Charter, Nuremberg Charter, Geneva Conventions, and other international treaty obligations.
The memorandum argues not only that war crimes have been committed by the US against the countries and peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that US President GW Bush, and Vice President Richard Cheney, in their official and individual capacities, are liable under international war crimes law for them, but that because war crimes are illegal in every US federal and state jurisdiction, that they can be prosecuted at every level of government, including at the municipal (town and city) level.
I. Bush-Cheney Violated Numerous International Humanitarian and Criminal Laws
Prosecuting the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars/ The Iraq War Was Illegal From the Start
One of the most significant developments of 20th Century in international law has been the restriction and regulation by treaty, statute, customary law and common law of formerly unregulated "rights" of nations to wage war, as indicated by UN Charter Article 2, paragraph 4:
(3) ...all members shall refrain in their International relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations... The only exception to ths rule is a right to self-defense under Charter Article 51. Clearly Iraq was not a threat to the US, and the nature of 9-11 was a terrorist or criminal attack not subject to the laws of war, but rather to conventions against terrorism to which the US was signatory at the time. Article 33 of the UN Charter mandates that all governments shall resort negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement before resort to war.
The US clearly intended war on Afghanistan and Iraq before all facts were known about 9-11, and despite facts of no WMDs existing in Iraq. US UN Ambassador John Negroponte wrote to the UN Security Council after 9-11 and before the US attacked Afghanistan:
There is much we do not know (re 9-11). Our enquiry is its early stages. We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and States. Clearly the Bush regime did not know all the facts before they attacked and occupied Afghanistan , which is against the laws of war, even in self-defense. Nicaragua v. US, ICJ (International Court of Justice) Reports 1986, p.94, para 176 held:
...the submission of the right to self-defense to the conditions of necessity and proportionality is a rule of customary International law...there is a specific rule whereby self-defense would warrant only measures which are proportional to the armed attack and necessary to respond to it, a rule well established in International Law. 9-11 was not carried out by any government. Iraq posed no threat to the US. The response of the US was neither proportional or warranted in both cases, and in both clearly violated UN Charter standards.
UN Charter Article 51 permits self-defense "only until the Security Council has taken measures". The Council responded immediately re Afghanistan when on 9-11-01 it passed Resolution 1368 and on 9-28-01 it passed Resolution 1373, urging member states to work together urgently to implement the relevant International Terrorist Conventions and prevent further terror acts by freezing financial assets of suspects.
Throughout the Russian invasion of Afghanistan the US termed the Russians "military aggressors", and not prosecuting Russian self-defense, or any other "just war". It is therefore clearly hypocritical and legally contradictory for the US to consider its wars in Afghanistan and
(4) Iraq to be just under international law. The infrastructures of both countries were completely destroyed. The US used depleted uranium weapons extensively used in both countries, with genocidal implications for future generations. These facts justify characterizing both wars as "wars of aggression", considered the supreme crime against humanity under international law.
GW Bush, US Commander in Chief of US forces, and Richard Cheney, and many others in the US chain of command, were aware that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were unjustified; yet orders were given to for carpet bombing of cities, towns and villages. The weapons of mass destruction and range of firepower used in Afghanistan, a country with few military targets, and in Iraq, resulted in the mass murder of civilians ans unnecessary loss of life of combatants who were surrendering. It s clear from testimony taken from victims and neutral sources in academic and others forums worldwide that US bombing were indiscriminate, hitting International Red Cross hospitals in Kabul and Kandahar, the Kajakai dam, Red Cross food warehouses, a Kabul maternity hospital, a military hospital at Herat; homes; power plants; irrigation projects; schools; and other civilian works. A true compendium of witness accounts and costs of the slaughter will take years. US officials aver that these events are lawful "collateral damage" in a war on terror. They are wrong.
The principals precluding war crimes under the international humanitarian law are well established. In his 1996 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on nuclear weapons, Judge Christopher G. Weeramantry said traditional principles of humanitarian law are deeply rooted in many cultures and civilizations, whether "Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Christian, Islamic, and traditional African", among others, over thousands of years. Referring to the "Martens clause" passed by unanimous vote into the Hague Convention of 1899 on the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV) and the 1907 Hague Convention which said:
In cases not included in the Regulations adopted by them, the inhabitants and belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usage established among civilized peoples, from the law of humanity and the dictates of conscience... Justice Weeramantry referred to the fact that Mr. Martens, author of the Martens Clause, said during negotiations for the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions that he owed his inspiration to President Abraham Lincoln's directives to Professor Lieber, to prepare instructions for General Grant, to make regulations for the humane conduct of the Civil War, and that the Martens Clause in war crimes law was the "logical and natural development" of Lincoln's intentions. To deny as GW Bush, Richard Cheney, and other US officials have, that they are bound by international war crimes laws inspired by Abraham Lincoln, is simply wrong. Justice Weeramantry's 1996 Opinion on Nuclear Weapons referred to customary international law regulating the conduct of war; to the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions; to the four Geneva
(5) Conventions including the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating Poisonous and other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare; to the two Additional Protocols of 1977, binding on all State parties, even those who are not signatories, because the protocols simply reaffirm existing principles of International Customary Law regu-lating armed conflict; to the Environmental Modification Convention of 1977 and the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; as International Humanitarian Law on the conduct of warfare emphasizing that the Martens Clause is the link between Treaty Law and Customary International Law in International Humanitarian Law. Furthermore, the Convention of the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction of 1997, and similar laws, simply codify established principals of customary law, that the right of the parties "to adopt means of injuring the enemy are not unlimited", and "arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering shall not be used"; and that civilian populations are not to be harmed, among other principles codified by subsequent convention. See "Human Rights and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Or With Indiscriminate Effect, or of a Nature to Cause Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering", YKJ Yeung Sik Yuen, for the Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of Human Rights, of the Commission of Human Rights, Economic and Social Council (June 27, 2002).
The conventions above are not an exhaustive list but taken together with the precepts of customary international law show that a number of legal principles banning or limiting arms are firmly established in law. Banned weapons include: those which have indiscriminate effects between civilians and combatants; those used out of proportion to a military objective; those affecting the environment in a long term, widespread, severe manner; those causing unnecessary suffering. Examples include depleted uranium munitions; fuel-air explosives; anti-personnel mines; and cluster bombs. The use of any or all of these weapons is a war crime under international law. It is unquestioned that genocidal and omnicidal radioactive depleted uranium weapons have been used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Omnicide means the concept of species annihilation, and with it the deliberately induced end to history, culture, science, biological reproduction and memory. Some say it is the ultimate rejection of the gift of life.
Prisoners of war have also suffered war crimes. Bush and Cheney determined that the Geneva Convention applied to Taliban detainees but not Al Qaeda detainees, based on the national or unaffiliated status of each combatant. Bush also said that Taliban fighters were not POWs under the Convention and thus not protected as such. These hypocrisies are underscored by facts that the US recruited, financed, trained and transported "foreign fighters" from several countries, including the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Morocco, and others, trained them on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with special forces of the US, in the furtherance of US interests in Afghanistan, as admitted by former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates. The law must treat all as POWs, but the Bush regime denies these rights:
(6) Prisoners of War must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in it custody is prohibited...no prisoner of war must be subjected to physical mutilation, or to medical or scientific experiments which are unjustified... Likewise prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.Article 13, Geneva Conventions, 1949.
Based on even public reports of US torture and humiliation of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons, there is no doubt that Bush and Cheney are guilty of war crime violations of the Geneva Conventions sections precluding inhumane treatment of prisoners. Indeed the US Supreme Court has said as much in the landmark decision Hamdan v Rumsfeld, 542 US 507 (2006) where the Court held that Guantanamo Bay practices by the US versus Hamdan violated Geneva Conventions Article 3, and more importantly that the Conventions were not suspended or otherwise not in force due to the Military Commissions Act, or any other act of the US government. Other prisoners at Baghram, Diego Garcia, Sheberghan, Dashte-e-Leili, and other US sites, including secret sites, suffered similar war crimes by the US, well known to Bush and Cheney, and in the judgment of many, with their explicit orders.
In the case of one academic war crimes prosecution exercise completed in Japan in 2004, by many distinguished Japanese, Indian, and US law scholars, lawyers and law students for Bush-Cheney war crimes in Afghanistan alone, a guilty verdict was rendered versus Bush as follows:
1. For waging a war of aggression against Afghanistan and the Afghan people, guilty under applicable conventions of international criminal law.
2. For war crimes committed against the people of Afghanistan by use of weapons prohibited by the laws of warfare causing death and grievous injury to the men, women and children of Afghanistan, guilty under international criminal and humanitarian law.
3. For war crimes of torture and killing prisoners of war who had surrendered, and torture and inhumane conditions of detention and deportation of innocent civilians, guilty under international criminal law, and the Hague Convention and Geneva Convention (III) of 1949.
4. For war crimes of use of depleted uranium weapons on the people of Afghanistan to exterminate the population, and for the crime of omnicide, the extermination of life, contamination of air, water, and food, and the irreversible alteration of the genetic code of all living organisms including plant life, as a direct consequence of the use of radioactive munitions in Afghanistan, affecting countries throughout the region, guilty under international criminal law and international humanitarian law.
5. For exposing soldiers and others military personnel of coalition countries to radioactive
(7) contamination by the use of depleted uranium weapons, hazarding their lives, their physiology, and that of their progeny by irreversible alteration of the genetic code, guilty of international criminal law.
The Judgment: The defendant is a convicted war criminal consequently unfit to hold public office; citizens, soldiers, and all civil personnel of the US would be constitutionally and otherwise justified in withdrawing all cooperation from defendant and his government; and declining to obey illegal orders of the defendant and his administration, including military orders threatening other nations or the people of the US on the basis of the Nuremberg Principle, that illegal orders of Superior must not be obeyed. From " The People v. GW Bush", International Tribunal for Afghanistan, Tokyo War Crimes Indictment against GW Bush, 3-13-04, Tokyo, Japan.
II. The Concept of Universal Jurisdiction for War Crimes Grants Towns Jurisdiction To Prosecute Them
The academic "Tribunal" referenced above cited in its jurisdiction statement a 1945 article by Professor Willaird Cowles titled "Universality of Jurisdiction over War Crimes (California Law Review, Vol. 33, (1945), in which Cowles stated: ...all civilized states have a very real interest in the punishment of war crimes" and that " an offense against the laws of war, as a violation of the laws of nations, is a matter of general interest and concern...
Dr. Francis Boyle, distinguished professor of international law, University of Illinois Law School, Urbana- Champaign recently agreed when he said:
War crimes violate the common law of the United States and the common law of all States of the Union. There is universal jurisdiction to apprehend and prosecute war criminals wherever they might be found.
The Bush regime has clearly committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The mere initiation of war with Iraq, and its ongoing prosecution, are by themselves war crimes (see section I infra). At one time both Belgium and Germany had war crimes statutes granting universal jurisdiction under the Boyle model above, where anyone, from anywhere, could file a criminal complaint with the Belgian or German national prosecutor if they were a war crime victim, and have those countries prosecute the criminals, no matter where they were, or where the crime was committed. If found guilty, even in absentia, the convicted party would be sanctioned in the convicting country (nowhere else). He might be arrested, sentenced to time in jail, fined, or a combination of these.
(8) Sadly Belgium repealed its statute when Rumsfeld, who was in office at the time, was sued for war crimes there, and became so outraged that he threatened to see NATO headquarters, in Brussels, moved to another country. Germany's statute remains on the books
END OF TEXT TO DATE
Attorney Harold H. Burbank, II
84 N. Mountain Rd.
About the Brattleboro Indictment Resolution:
At first glimmer, the article (the “Indictment Resolution”) that will appear the ballot on this Tuesday — the article which, as you know, has been eliciting many different reactions from townspeople — was a largely symbolic gesture, something conceived of as a “container” for the moral outrage that Americans justifiably felt. It was born simply out of the devastating realization that our Constitution and entire system of government were — and still are — under assault, and that such extraordinary circumstances sometimes call for extraordinary measures. But we soon learned that the initiative also had real legal teeth...please read on!
An initial hope for the resolution was that it would stimulate meaningful dialogue about crimes and war crimes...and it has. It has aroused significant national attention, inspiring statesmen and attorneys from around the nation to begin to frame legal arguments to support it, and to forge the language and implement the procedures appropriate to the situation. Constitutional lawyers have assured us that, under a legal provision known as “Common Law Application,” municipalities have indisputable legal standing to apply laws against any alleged criminal who violates Federal law — which encompasses violating treaties, being party to war crimes, or engaging in any other criminal activities. We have also been assured that the language in the resolution is well suited for implementing this provision.
In other words, we have the legal justification to call for a legal remedy, because the government cannot nullify the rights invested in its citizens to invoke federal or international criminal law. Put another way, any town has the right to pass laws to address war crimes, or any other Federal crimes, and to indict the people alleged to have committed them.
Of course, as most Americans know, the Constitutional method for addressing criminality at the very highest levels of government is impeachment, a remedy used the past for far less egregious offenses.
Unfortunately — incomprehensibly — this Congress has thus far refused to make use of it to protect the Constitution today.
This ballot referendum is not meant to supersede impeachment efforts. Rather, it’s designed to parallel them or to provide an effective and legal alternative in the event that Congress continues to abrogate its responsibilities. Impeachment is certainly the proper course to take, but impeachment efforts have a finite shelf-life — they are limited to the time that the offenders occupy their high offices. In contrast, an indictment for criminal activity has no such time constraints. So if an impeachment hearing, inexcusably, never comes to fruition, this demand for indictment can live on in its stead, serving the same intent, and becoming the ultimate resort.
This resolution is simply a significant attempt to step into a breach and develop specific ways of dealing with a crisis. The crimes which Cheney and Bush have committed — crimes for which, again, Congress will not hold them accountable — are many.
• They have admitted to authorizing illegal wiretaps.
• They have violated international law by illegally invading another country (based on 935
instances of false statements to the American public and a sham at the United Nations).
• They have committed War Crimes by illegally sanctioning torture.
• And they continue to disregard laws Congress has duly passed, arbitrarily and imperially deciding what is to be executed and what is to be ignored, blatantly placing themselves above the law.
The complete list of scandals, cover-ups, and obstructions of justice by this Administration is appallingly long. And if its criminal acts are not addressed and repudiated, our systems of law and of checks and balances will be severely compromised, and the Executive branch can become increasingly and even more dangerously unitary. Historically, an unfettered Executive which disobeys laws or makes its own laws as it sees fit has been known as a dictatorship. This is not supposed to be part of the American system, yet we might be getting perilously close to it.
Finally, then, this resolution was put forth to make it clear that in the United States of America, no citizen is above the law: accountability is required of everyone, of every stripe and jurisdiction. Over two centuries ago, our nations’ founders decided that in the face of grievous actions from another imperial regime, they had to take action upon themselves. The authors and supporters of this resolution feel that there is no choice but to follow in their footsteps.
At the moment Brattleboro is the first municipality to address these concerns in this manner, but this bold step has galvanized the imaginations and consciences of citizens across this nation, ordinary people who are realizing that important new avenues for redressing the current crises are still available. They know — as we do — that acting in full accordance with our Constitution and standing up unequivocally for our system of justice is neither just a local concern nor in any way a partisan issue.
Support for this initiative has come from throughout the social-political spectrum, from conservatives and liberals alike, and from all parts of the country. In the face of this administration’s acting outside of the law, of making itself impervious to the strictures of their sworn oaths of office, many reasonable people now see such a measure as essential to the restoration of the integrity of our Constitution, to the validation of the principal that no person is above the rule of law, and to the redemption of our reputation, both at home and abroad.
In fact, a USAToday national poll indicated that 65% of those responding were in favor of this indictment initiative. Thousands of emails and comments have been streaming into Brattleboro, most of them praising our town and its citizens in the loftiest of terms for taking the courageous steps of bringing this resolution forward and bringing its terms to national awareness. It is already being modeled in other communities. Brattleboro can be proud of its role in the national debate.
Law and Resistance: The Republic in Crisis and the People’s Response
By Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Since the impeachable installation of George Bush Jr. as President by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Gang of Five, the people of the world have witnessed a government in the United States that has demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, or the United States Constitution. Instead, the world has watched a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by a group of men and women who are thoroughly Machiavellian and Straussian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign affairs and American domestic policy. Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the Bush Jr. administration’s foreign policy constitute ongoing criminal activity under well recognized principles of both international law and United States domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the Pentagon’s own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare, which applies to President Bush Jr. himself as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
Depending on the substantive issues involved, these international and domestic crimes typically include but are not limited to the Nuremberg offences of “crimes against peace”-- so far Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and perhaps their longstanding threatened war of aggression against Iran. Their criminal responsibility also concerns “crimes against humanity” and war crimes as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare: torture at Guantanamo, Bhagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; enforced disappearances, assassinations, murders, kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, “shock and awe,” depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, Fallujah, etc. Furthermore, various members of the Bush Jr. administration have committed numerous inchoate crimes incidental to these substantive offences that under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956) are international crimes in their own right: planning, and preparation—which they are currently doing today against Iran—solicitation, incitement, conspiracy, complicity, attempt, aiding and abetting. Of course the terrible irony of today’s situation is that six decades ago at Nuremberg the U.S. government participated in the prosecution, punishment and execution of Nazi government officials for committing some of the same types of heinous international crimes that the Neo-Conservative Straussian members of the Bush Jr. administration currently inflict upon people all over the world. To be sure, I personally oppose the imposition of capital punishment upon any human being for any reason no matter how monstrous their crimes, whether they be Bush Jr., Tony Blair, or Saddam Hussein.
According to basic principles of international criminal law set forth in paragraph 501 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, all high level civilian officials and military officers in the U.S. government who either knew or should have known that soldiers or civilians under their control (such as the C.I.A. or mercenary contractors), committed or were about to commit international crimes and failed to take the measures necessary to stop them, or to punish them, or both, are likewise personally responsible for the commission of international crimes. This category of officialdom who actually knew or should have known of the commission of these international crimes under their jurisdiction and failed to do anything about them include at the very top of America’s criminal chain-of-command President Bush Jr. and Vice-President Cheney; former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; Secretary of State Rice; Director of National Intelligence Negroponte, who was previously in charge of the contra terror war against the people of Nicaragua that murdered 35, 000 civilians; National Security Advisor Hadley; his Deputy Elliot Abrams, who was also criminally responsible for murdering 35,000 people in Nicaragua; former U.S. Attorney General Gonzales, criminally responsible for the torture campaign launched by the Bush Jr. administration; and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staffs along with the appropriate Regional Commanders-in-Chiefs, especially for Central Command (CENTCOM).
These U.S. government officials and their immediate subordinates are responsible for the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as specified by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as by U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 of 1956. Today in international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany. As a consequence, American citizens possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush Jr. administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism.
For that very reason, large numbers of American citizens have decided to act on their own cognizance by means of civil resistance in order to demand that the Bush Jr. administration adhere to basic principles of international law, of U.S. domestic law, and of our own Constitution in its conduct of foreign affairs and military operations. Mistakenly, however, such actions have been defined to constitute classic instances of "civil disobedience" as historically practiced in the United States. And the conventional status quo admonition by the U.S. power elite and its sycophantic news media for those who knowingly engage in “civil disobedience” has always been that they must meekly accept their punishment for having performed a prima facie breach of the positive laws as a demonstration of their good faith and moral commitment. Nothing could be further from the truth! Today’s civil resisters are the sheriffs! The Bush Jr. administration officials are the outlaws!
Here I would like to suggest a different way of thinking about civil resistance activities that are specifically designed to thwart, prevent, or impede ongoing criminal activity by members of the Bush Jr. administration under well‑recognized principles of international and U.S. domestic law. Such civil resistance activities represent the last constitutional avenue open to the American people to preserve their democratic form of government with its historical commitment to the rule of law and human rights. Civil resistance is the last hope America has to prevent the Bush Jr. administration from moving even farther down the path of lawless violence in Southwest Asia, military interventionism in Latin America and Africa, and nuclear confrontation with Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China.
Such measures of "civil resistance" must not be confused with, and indeed must be carefully distinguished from, acts of "civil disobedience" as traditionally defined. In today’s civil resistance cases, what we witness are U.S. citizens attempting to prevent the ongoing commission of international and domestic crimes under well-recognized principles of international law and U.S. domestic law. This is a phenomenon essentially different from the classic civil disobedience cases of the 1950s and 1960s where incredibly courageous African Americans and their supporters were conscientiously violating domestic laws for the express purpose of changing them. By contrast, today’s civil resisters are acting for the express purpose of upholding the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, human rights, and international law. Applying the term “civil disobedience” to such civil resistors mistakenly presumes their guilt and thus perversely exonerates the Bush Jr. administration criminals.
Civil resistors disobeyed nothing, but to the contrary obeyed international law and the United States Constitution. By contrast, Bush Jr. administration officials disobeyed fundamental principles of international law as well as U.S. criminal law and thus committed international crimes and U.S. domestic crimes as well as impeachable violations of the United States Constitution. The civil resistors are the sheriffs enforcing international law, U.S. criminal law and the U.S. Constitution against the criminals working for the Bush Jr. administration!
Today the American people must reaffirm our commitment to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles by holding our government officials fully accountable under international law and U.S. domestic law for the commission of such grievous international and domestic crimes. We must not permit any aspect of our foreign affairs and defense policies to be conducted by acknowledged “war criminals” according to the U.S. government’s own official definition of that term as set forth in U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956), the U.S. War Crimes Act, and the Geneva Conventions. The American people must insist upon the impeachment, dismissal, resignation, indictment, conviction, and long-term incarceration of all U.S. government officials guilty of such heinous international and domestic crimes. That is precisely what American civil resisters are doing today!
This same right of civil resistance extends pari passu to all citizens of the world community of states. Everyone around the world has both the right and the duty under international law to resist ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by the Bush Jr. administration and its nefarious foreign accomplices in allied governments such as in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Georgia, etc. If not so restrained, the Bush Jr. administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.
In this regard, during the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, President Bush Jr. terrorized the entire world with the threat of World War III if he could not work his illegal will upon Iran. Then Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind by likewise terrorizing the entire world with the prospect of yet another Cuban Missile Crisis if he did not get his way on the needlessly provocative anti-ballistic missile systems that the Bush Jr. administration plans to locate in Poland and the Czech Republic. The publicly threatened U.S./Israeli attack upon Iran could readily set off a chain of events that would culminate in World War III, and could easily go nuclear. It is my opinion that the Bush Jr. administration would welcome the outbreak of a Third World War, and in any event is fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against Muslim and Arab states and peoples.
After September 11, 2001 the United States of America has vilified and demonized Muslims and Arabs almost to the same extent that America inflicted upon the Japanese and Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. As the Nazis had previously demonstrated with respect to the Jews, a government must first dehumanize and scapegoat a race of people before its citizens will tolerate if not approve their elimination: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In post-9/11 America we are directly confronted with the prospect of a nuclear war of extermination conducted by our White Racist Judeo-Christian Power Elite against People of Color in the Muslim and Arab worlds in order to steal their oil and gas. The Crusades all over again. But this time nuclear Armageddon stares all of humankind right in the face!
We American lawyers must be inspired by the stunning example set by those heroic Pakistani lawyers now leading the struggle against the brutal Bush-supported Musharraf military dictatorship. We American lawyers must now lead the fight against the Bush Jr. dictatorship!
This is our Nuremberg Moment!