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Criminal Prosecution and Accountability


US may be committing robotic war crimes: Two Human Rights Groups Blast US for Drone Killing Campaigns

By Dave Lindorff


Last week President Obama was largely successful at blacking out from the American public word that Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani advocate of girls’ education nearly killed by Taliban gunmen a year ago, used a photo-op invitation to the White House to ask the president to halt to his drone killings of Pakistanis. But Obama cannot so easily silence the condemnations today of his remote drone “Murder, Inc.” program by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.


Paralyze a Military With Lawsuits? Let's Try That at Home!

The Guardian:

British military operations are at risk of being undermined by human rights law and health and safety red tape, a research institute has warned.

Policy Exchange said Britain's enemies could view the courtroom as a new front in any future conflict as a way of "paralysing" the armed forces.

The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, admitted he was "concerned" about recent court judgments which could make it "more difficult" to carry out operations.

One case that raised concerns was the supreme court ruling this year that damages claims could be launched by families of soldiers killed in Iraq against the Ministry of Defence under legislation covering negligence and human rights.

Protesting pot prohibition while black: Angered by Racist Prosecutions, Activist Makes Inflammatory Name Change Request

By Linn Washington Jr.


Ed Forchion, recognized as America’s foremost black marijuana legalization activist, freely admits that he “agitates” people – powerful people from prosecutors to politicians and even more mainstream anti-pot prohibition advocates who bristle at his antics.

The activism of Forchion, often outrageous like his March 2000 stunt of smoking a marijuana joint inside the New Jersey State Assembly chamber while dressed in bold black and white stripped jailhouse garb, has drawn praise and prison terms.

Harper Government Ignores Torture Opponents’ Call to Ban Dick Cheney from Canada or Prosecute Him

Protest Planned on Halloween at Metro Toronto Convention Centre

(Toronto) Lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.), International Association of Democratic Lawyers, European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (Germany), Brussells Tribunal (Belgium), International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq (Iraq, Egypt, Spain), Lawyers Against the War (Canada) and Rights International Spain (Spain) are urging Canada to either bar Dick Cheney from Canada – as a person credibly accused of torture – or to arrest and prosecute him on arrival, as required by the Convention against Torture. A letter from Lawyers Against the War (LAW) sent to Canada’s Prime Minister, Attorney General and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has been gravely ignored. 

"It is long overdue for Cheney and other Bush administration officials to be held to account for the high crimes of instituting and implementing the systematic practice of torture. This record of impunity must not be allowed to stand."

Azadeh Shahshahani, President, National Lawyers Guild.

Torture and war crimes suspect Dick Cheney is scheduled as a keynote speaker at the October 31st luncheon of the Toronto Global Forum, hosted by the International Forum of the Americas.  Should Cheney be allowed to freely enter Canada despite the illegalities involved, civil society groups are planning a rally beginning at 11:00 am on Halloween, Oct. 31st, outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The Facebook page for the protest can be viewed here.

BrussellsTribunal (BT)is peace organization and think tank with a special focus on Iraq. BT founded IAON, the International Anti-Occupation Network which continues to monitor Iraq.  Members of the BT network include Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Denis Halliday, Hans von Sponeck, Tun Mahathir, Richard Falk, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, Eduardo Galeano and many others. 

Canadian Peace Alliance(CPA) is Canada's largest umbrella peace organization working for global nuclear disarmament and peace. CPA organizes campaigns, facilitates actions and provides education for peace. Since its foundation in 1985 the organization has been helping member groups to act as a broad network, in order to provide a strong, coordinated voice for peace issues at the national level.

CODEPINK is a US women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end US- funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities –www.codepink.org.

EuropeanCenter for Constitutional and Human Rights(ECCHR) is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting civil and human rights throughout Europe. ECCHR engages in innovative strategic litigation, using European, international, and national law to enforce human rights and to hold state and non-state actors accountable for egregious abuses.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) is committed to the principle of equality among peoples, the rights of all peoples to self-determination, the elimination of imperialism and colonialism and the peaceful settlement of international disputes. IADL has members in over ninety countries and has consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO of the United Nations.

International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq  ismainly concerned with possibilities for legal action against those responsible of war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide in Iraq.

Lawyers Against the War(LAW) is a Canada-based committee of jurists and others who oppose war and advocate for adherence to international humanitarian law and against impunity for violators.

National Lawyers Guild (NLG)is a U.S. national non-profit legal and political organization comprised of lawyers, legal workers, law students, and jailhouse lawyers, founded in 1937.

Rights International Spain(RIS) is an independent, non-profit, NGO, composed of jurists specialized in international law, human rights, transitional justice and criminal law. RIS mission is to strengthen human rights accountability in Spain by monitoring government activity, with a particular focus on rule of law and access to justice, as well as raising civil society’s awareness and mobilize support to demand justice.

TorontoCoalition to Stop the War(TCSW) is the largest peace organization in the Greater Toronto Area and represents over 60 labour, student, faith and community groups. The TCSW opposes war and occupation and supports civil liberties.

World Can't Wait  isa US-based movement formed to halt and reverse the terrible program of war and repression, initiated by the Bush/Cheney regime as well as the on-going crimes that continue to this day – www.worldcantwait.netWar Criminals Watch is a project of World Can’t Wait – www.warcriminalswatch.org.
 

Congress should stop blowing smoke: Weed to the Rescue in Budget Crisis?

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Imagine U.S. House Speaker John Boehner blasted on weed.

Given Boehner’s teary-eyed trait, he’d probably cry uncontrollably when high on pot alternating his crocodile tears with hysterical laughter…perhaps even laughing at some of that dumb shi-tuff he and his GOP colleagues constantly do on Capitol Hill.

Torture Opponents Say Ban Dick Cheney from Canada or Arrest and Prosecute Him

(Toronto) Torture suspect and former U.S. Vice President Richard (Dick) Cheney is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Global Forum, October 31, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event is hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

Lawyers and others are urging Canada to either bar Dick Cheney from Canada as a person credibly accused of torture – or to arrest and prosecute him on arrival, as required by the Convention against Torture. That Dick Cheney authorized, directed and failed to prevent the widespread use of torture by US officials on non-Americans detained in off-shore prisons is no longer open to question. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has determined that torture suspects temporarily in Canada must be dealt with in accordance with the Convention.

A letter has been sent to Canada’s Prime Minister, Attorney General and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Immigration advising them of Canada’s legal obligations.  For a complete copy of the letter submitted click here.

Gail Davidson, spokesperson for Lawyers Against the War noted, "Evidence of Dick Cheney’s involvement in torture and other gross human rights abuses is overwhelming.  It is time for the law to step in."
 

"Former Vice President Cheney led the Bush administration into a war based on lies which destroyed Iraq, directing a far-flung regime of torture, rendition and detention he referred to as 'the dark side.' He should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of the conventions against torture," stated Debra Sweet, director of World Can’t Wait.

 
"Thus far the U.S. has failed to prosecute anyone up the chain of command for abuses that have occurred in the highest offices of the United States of America, setting a precedent for future leaders to repeat the same crimes," states Nancy Mancias, CODEPINK organizer. "We look to the leaders in Canada to take steps to ban former Vice President Dick Cheney from entering the country because of his involvement in torture and the Iraq war."


Lawyers Against the War(LAW) is a Canada-based committee of jurists and others who oppose war and advocate for adherence to international humanitarian law and against impunity for violators.

World Can't Wait is a US-based movement formed to halt and reverse the terrible program of war and repression, initiated by the Bush/Cheney regime as well as the on-going crimes that continue to this day –
www.worldcantwait.netWar Criminals Watch is a project of World Can’t Wait – www.warcriminalswatch.org.

CODEPINK is a US women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end US- funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globall, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities –
www.codepink.org.

After decades US still has huge poison gas stash: Washington Demands Syria Destroy Chemical Weapons Lickety-Split

By Dave Lindorff

 
The US is demanding, in negotiations at the UN, that all Syrian chemical weapons, stocks and production facilities be eliminated by June 30 of next year. This has an element of hypocrisy, because the US itself has been incredibly slow about eliminating its own stocks of chemical weapons.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to Syria as having one of the largest chemical stockpiles in the world. But the US and Russia both still have stocks of chemicals many times as large. Syria’s neighbor Israel, which refuses to admit it has the weapons and has yet to ratify the treaty banning them, is suspected of also having a large arsenal.

We don’t gas children, we shred them: Obama’s Grotesque Hypocrisy over Cluster Munitions

By Dave Lindorff


Syrian civilians and children should count themselves lucky that mass opposition in the US, the UK and much of the rest of the world to the idea of a US bombing blitz aimed at punishing the Syrian government for allegedly using Sarin gas in an attack on a Damascus neighborhood forced the US to back off and accept a Russian deal to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons.


Nobel Laureate president defends unprovoked war against Syria: Obama Offers No Evidence Assad Ordered Syria Poison Gas Attack

By Dave Lindorff


In what NPR called “perhaps President Obama’s last best chance” to make his case for launching a war against Syria, the president tellingly didn’t make a single effort to present hard, compelling evidence to prove that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had been behind the alleged Sarin Aug. 21 attack on residents of a suburb of Damascus.


Not one piece of evidence.

Interview: Students, Faculty Protest Presence of David Petraeus at CUNY Honors College

Cross-Posted from FireDogLake

On September 9, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus -- who also formerly headed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistance Force for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and co-wrote the Counterinsurgency Field Manual -- began a new job as an adjunct professor at City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College.

A people’s victory over Syrian attack plan: In Historic First, American Empire is Blocked at the Starting Line

By Dave Lindorff


Let’s be clear here. The people of the US and the world have won a huge victory over a war-obsessed US government and an administration that was hell-bent on yet again launching a criminal war of aggression against a country that poses no threat to the US or its neighbors. Overwhelming public opposition in the US and the nations of Europe, as well as most of the rest of the world to a US strike on Syria have forced the US to falter and to accept the idea of a compromise deal offered by Russia.


White House lies to launch the next illegal war: There is no Justification for Obama’s War on Syria

By Dave Lindorff 


The Obama administration’s campaign for war against Syria is so flagrantly wrong, so ill-advised and so illegal, that it is making a fool of both the president and his secretary of state, John Kerry.


Busted for Playing Banjo on Independence Mall: Park Rangers Brutally Arrest Iraq War Vet at Anti-Syria Bombing Demo

By Dave Lindorff


Independence Mall, Philadelphia -- The US has yet to launched President Obama’s latest war crime of massively bombing Syria -- a country that does not threaten this nation -- and already federal police thugs, in this case National Park Service Rangers, have brutally arrested an Iraq War Veteran who was peacefully playing her banjo in the shade on Independence Mall in Philadelphia following an anti-war protest and march.


Obama’s and Kerry’s Big Lie: White House Document “Proving” Syria’s Guilt Doesn’t Pass Smell Test

By Dave Lindorff

 

The document released on the White House web site to “prove” to the American people that the Syrian government had used poison gas -- allegedly the neurotoxin Sarin -- to kill hundreds of civilians, is so flawed and lacking in real proof that if it were being used to make a case against a terrorist group it would be too weak to justify an indictment.


Manning get’s slammed; a mass-murderer got sprung Crimes and Punishment (or Not)

By Dave Lindorff


Right now I’m thinking about William Laws Calley. 


Obama DOJ Asks Court to Grant Immunity to George W. Bush For Iraq War

By Inder Comar

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (Aug. 20, 2013) — In court papers filed today (PDF), the United States Department of Justice requested that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz be granted procedural immunity in a case alleging that they planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law.

Plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a complaint in March 2013 in San Francisco federal court alleging that the planning and waging of the war constituted a “crime of aggression” against Iraq, a legal theory that was used by the Nuremberg Tribunal to convict Nazi war criminals after World War II.

"The DOJ claims that in planning and waging the Iraq War, ex-President Bush and key members of his Administration were acting within the legitimate scope of their employment and are thus immune from suit,” chief counsel Inder Comar of Comar Law said.

The “Westfall Act certification,” submitted pursuant to the Westfall Act of 1988, permits the Attorney General, at his or her discretion, to substitute the United States as the defendant and essentially grant absolute immunity to government employees for actions taken within the scope of their employment.

In her lawsuit, Saleh alleges that:

-- Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz began planning the Iraq War in 1998 through their involvement with the “Project for the New American Century,” a Washington DC non-profit that advocated for the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

-- Once they came to power, Saleh alleges that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz convinced other Bush officials to invade Iraq by using 9/11 as an excuse to mislead and scare the American public into supporting a war.

-- Finally, she claims that the United States failed to obtain United Nations approval prior to the invasion, rendering the invasion illegal and an act of impermissible aggression.

“The good news is that while we were disappointed with the certification, we were prepared for it,” Comar stated. “We do not see how a Westfall Act certification is appropriate given that Ms. Saleh alleges that the conduct at issue began prior to these defendants even entering into office. I think the Nuremberg prosecutors, particularly American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson, would be surprised to learn that planning a war of aggression at a private non-profit, misleading a fearful public, and foregoing proper legal authorization somehow constitute lawful employment duties for the American president and his or her cabinet.”

The case is Saleh v. Bush (N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, No. C 13 1124 JST).

See the attached certification, publicly filed on ECF / PACER system.

For further information contact:

COMAR LAW

901 Mission Street, Suite 105
San Francisco, California 94103

America’s assault on a free press moves into high gear: Detention of Greenwald Partner in London Clearly Came on US Orders

By Dave Lindorff


It is becoming perfectly clear that the outrageous detention of American journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda by British police during a flight transfer at London’s Heathrow Airport was, behind the scenes, the work of US intelligence authorities.


700 dead and counting in Egypt: Despite Hand Wringing, Massacres Suit US Policy

By John Grant

 
Watching the White House squirm over the on-going massacres in Egypt one doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry or resort to the vaudevillian method and throw rotten vegetables at them.

President Obama's “condemnation” of the Egyptian military’s massacre of civilians sounded like obligatory ass-covering. Then there was the slippery boiler-plate verbiage spouted by the White House’s new spokesman with the wonderfully apropos name of Josh Earnest. I wouldn't josh you, that's his name. And trust me, he’s the personification of earnestness.

What Whistleblowers Reveal & Governments Seek to Conceal

by Dennis Loo          Yesterday, the judge in Bradley Manning’s show trial found Manning guilty on nearly every charge but the most draconian of “aiding the enemy,” which could have brought the death penalty.

I helped to end my dad’s life: Prosecution of People Who Assist the Dying Must End

By Dave Lindorff


Okay, I admit it. I helped my father last year to die quicker in a Connecticut rehab center, and I was also witness to an assisted suicide in New York.


It’s time that we put this stuff out in the open and stopped the brutal prosecutorial nonsense around this issue.

Confronting the latest attack on our privacy and freedom: Lavabit's Profile in Corporate Principles and Personal Courage

By Alfredo Lopez


The term "collateral damage" is most frequently applied to the "non-targeted" death and destruction brought by bombs and guns. But it seems that our government, the master of collateral damage, is now doing it in "non-violent" ways. Take the recent situation at Lavabit.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

By John Grant


Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

                      -Paul Radin

 

Manning, Snowden and Swarz: America’s Police State Marches On, Media in Tow

By Dave Lindorff


The New York Times, in an editorial published the day after a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” -- a charge that would have locked him up for life without possibility of parole and could have carried the death penalty -- but also found him guilty on multiple counts of “espionage,” called the verdict “Mixed.” Not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage.


There Should Be No Sighs of Relief: Manning Verdict a Very Pyrrhic Victory

By Alfredo Lopez


The Bradley Manning verdict may seem a victory of sorts for the defense -- it's certainly being treated that way in the mainstream media -- but the decision handed down Tuesday by Court Marshal Judge Colonel Denise Lind is actually a devastating blow not only to Manning, who was convicted of unjustifiably serious charges brought by an aggressive administration seeking to make an example of him, but also to Internet activity in general and information-sharing in particular.

Holder Promises Snowden Won’t be Tortured?

 In arguing that Russia should send Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to face charges for exposing, from inside the NSA, a vast surveillance network on whole populations, Attorney General Eric Holder was in the ironic position of alleging that: