Back-and-forth emails discussing media talking points, should the matter ever need addressing, as well as indication the State Department wanted nothing to do with the human rights groups trying to intervene, reports Ducan Osborne.
The earliest State Department email was from a Larilyn Reffet, a staffer based in Baghdad, to other staff. Reffet noted that she had reached out to gay groups and received one initial response, but nothing more. It was not clear from her email if just Iraqi gay groups did not respond, or gay groups outside of Iraq also ignored her.
Contained in her email is the text of a 2006 letter that was sent to Paula Ettelbrick, then IGLHRC's executive director, in response to a letter about the killings that Ettelbrick sent to the department. The department appeared to rebuff Ettelbrick in that letter.
"Our Embassy in Baghdad is interested in further dialogue on this issue with NGOs in Iraq," wrote Victor Hurtado, a department staffer.
"NGOs in Iraq," or non-governmental organizations, may be diplomat-speak for saying the department has no interest in talking to IGLHRC or other groups outside of Iraq.
The above is from Queerty's "What Concerned the Bush Administration Most About Iraq's Gay Killings? How the Media Would Handle It" and Duncan Osborn's report is from June so we're basically noting the above for the topic and not the timeliness. Equally true is that the current White House has done damn little -- unless you call insisting that there was no targeting of the Iraqi LGBT community "doing something." As Boston's The Edge has well documented, that was the administration's response last spring. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alluded to situations like the targeting in Iraq during a Georgetown University speech in December:
Yes. And first let me say that over this past year, we have elevated into our human rights dialogues and our public statements a very clear message about protecting the rights of the LGBT community worldwide. And we are particularly concerned about some of the specific cases that have come to our attention around the world. There have been organized efforts to kill and maim gays and lesbians in some countries that we have spoken out about, and also conveyed our very strong concerns about to their governments -- not that they were governmentally implemented or even that the government was aware of them, but that the governments need to pay much greater attention to the kinds of abuses that we've seen in Iraq, for example.
For any unfamiliar with the story, we'll drop back to the June 29th snapshot to include links to previous coverage:
In April, Wisam Mohammed and Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN), the Dallas Morning News, UPI and AFP reported on it. Michael Riley (Denver Post) covered the story and covered US House Rep Jared Polis' work on the issue (which included visiting Iraq), PDF format warning, click here for his letter to Patricia A. Butenis. Polis is quoted at his website stating, "The United States should not tolerate human rights violations of nay kind, especially by a government that Americans spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year supporting. Hopefully my trip and letters to US and Iraqi officials will help bring international attention and investigation to this terrible situation and bring an end to any such offenses." For the New York Times, Timothy Williams and Tareq Maher's "Iraq's Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder" covered the topic. BBC News offered "Fears over Iraq gay killing spate." The Denver Post offered an editorial entitled "Killing of gay Iraqis shouldn't be ignored: We applaud Rep. Jared Polis for his efforts last week to shine the spotlight on the killings of homosexuals in Iraq," Nigel Morris offered "Iraqi leaders attacked over spate of homophobic murders" (Independent of London), the Telegraph of London covers the issue here. Neal Broverman (The Advocate), Jessica Green (UK's Pink News), and Doug Ireland
Iraq's LGBT community is not the only ones being targeted -- various segments of the population are targeted including women and various religious minorities. One of the larger religious minorities is the Christian community. Asia News reports:
A source for AsiaNews in Mosul, adds that "Christians are living in panic and have begun fleeing from the city". He explains that "these are not normal criminals," but behind them are "specific political plans" that the government is not countering. There is no information from Baghdad "about who is behind attacks on churches and Christians," but the source is confident that the central executive, the governorship of Mosul and the Kurdish leadership "are aware" of the plan against the Christian community.
"It is easier to attribute responsibility to Al Qaeda – concludes the source - and the fundamentalist fringe. In reality, Christians are victims of a power struggle between Arabs and Kurds".
The targeting of various segments has fueled Iraq's refugee crisis (external and internal refugees). AFP quotes Fayssal Mekdad, Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria, "Ever since the Iraqi refugees began arriving in Syria in 2003, the Iraqi government, despite having the means, only gave 15 million dollars to help its citizens in Syria. This is a small sum in comparison with the number of Iraqi refugees who number more than 1.5 million in Syria, and with the enormous capacity of the Iraqi government." KUNA quotes Abdulsamad Sultan, Iraq's Minister of Displacement and Migration, responding that Syria's assertions are "exaggerated."
Spc David Croft died January 5th while serving in Baghdad. George H. Newman (Tampa Tribune) reports that a procession is scheduled this morning from "10:30 to 11:00 a.m." when his body arrives at MacDill Air Force Base (10:00 a.m.):
The procession will follow the following route: north on Bayshore Boulevard; east on the Platt Street Bridge; north on Florida Avenue; east on Jackson Street; north on Jefferson Street; east on Twiggs Street to Channelside Drive; east on State Road 60; north on Turkey Creek Road; east on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the funeral home.
The funeral service for Croft will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1104 Cason St., a family member said. The viewing will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, also at the church off Paul Buchman Highway. Croft attended Shiloh Baptist with his fiancee, Susie Clark of Brandon.
The following community sites updated last night:
Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and a noted professor. We'll close by noting his "International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice and Gonzales; International Arrest Warrants Requested:"
Champaign, U.S.A./The Hague, Netherlands (19 Jan 2010). -- Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C. for the
The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless the Accused have ordered and been responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C.C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.
The Complaint requests (1) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor open an investigation of the Accused on his own accord under Rome Statute article 15(1); and (2) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor also formally “submit to the [I.C.C.] Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3).
For similar reasons, the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration risk the filing of a follow-up Complaint with the I.C.C. if they do not immediately terminate the Accused’s criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition,” which the Obama administration has continued to implement.
The Complaint concludes with a request that the I.C.C. Prosecutor obtain International Arrest Warrants for the Accused from the I.C.C. in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), 58(1)(b)(i), 58(1)(b)(ii), and 58(1)(b)(iii).
In order to demonstrate your support for this Complaint you can contact the I.C.C. Prosecutor by letter, fax, or email as indicated below.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
504 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Office of the Prosecutor
International Criminal Court
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
Fax No.: 31-70-515-8555
January 19, 2010
Please accept my personal compliments. I have the honor hereby to file with you and the International Criminal Court this Complaint against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice , and Alberto Gonzales (hereinafter referred to as the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition.” This term is really a euphemism for the enforced disappearances of persons, their torture, severe deprivation of their liberty, their violent sexual abuse, and other inhumane acts perpetrated upon these Victims. Judeo-Christian men. have inflicted this criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” upon about one hundred (100) human beings, almost all of whom are Muslims/Arabs/Asians and People of Color. I doubt very seriously that the Accused would have inflicted these criminal practices upon 100 White
The Accused’s criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” are both “widespread” and “systematic” within the meaning of Rome Statute article 7(1). Therefore the Accused have committed numerous “Crimes against Humanity” in flagrant and repeated and longstanding violation of Rome Statute articles 5(1)(b), 7(1)(a), 7(1)(e), 7(1)(f), 7(1)(g), 7(1)(h), 7(1)(i), and 7(1)(k). Furthermore, the Accused’s Rome Statute Crimes Against Humanity of enforced disappearances of persons constitutes ongoing criminal activity that continues even as of today.
The United States is not a contracting party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless, the Accused ordered and were responsible for the commission of these I.C.C. statutory crimes on, in, and over the respective territories of several I.C.C. member states, including many located in
Europe. Therefore, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction over the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes in accordance with Rome Statute article 12(2)(a), which provides as follows:
Preconditions to the Exercise of Jurisdiction
2. In the case of article 13, paragraph (a) or (c), the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if one or more of the following States are Parties to this Statute or have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with paragraph 3:
(a) The State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred …
So the fact that United States is not a contracting party to the Rome Statute is no bar to the I.C.C.’s prosecution of the Accused because they have ordered and been responsible for the commission of Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity on, in, and over the respective territories of several I.C.C. member states.
Consequently, I hereby respectfully request that the Court exercise its jurisdiction over the Accused for these Crimes against Humanity in accordance with Rome Statute article 13(c), which provides as follows:
Exercise of Jurisdiction
The Court may exercise its jurisdiction with respect to a crime referred to in article 5 in accordance with the provisions of this Statute if:
(c) The Prosecutor has initiated an investigation in respect of such a crime in accordance with article 15.
Pursuant to Rome Statute article 13(c), I hereby respectfully request that you initiate an investigation proprio motu against the Accused in accordance with Rome Statute article 15(1): “The Prosecutor may initiate investigations proprio motu on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.” My detailed Complaint against the Accused constitutes the sufficient “information” required by article 15(1).
Furthermore, I respectfully submit that this Complaint by itself constitutes “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation” under Rome Statute article 15(3). Hence, I also respectfully request that you formally “submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3) at this time. Please inform me at your earliest convenience about the status and disposition of my two requests set forth immediately above.
Based upon your extensive human rights work in Argentina, you know full well from direct personal experience the terrors and the horrors of enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture. According to reputable news media sources here in the United States, about 100 human beings have been subjected to enforced disappearances and subsequent torture by the Accused. We still have no accounting for these Victims. In other words, many of these Victims of enforced disappearances and torture by the Accused could still be alive today. Their very lives are at stake right now as we communicate. You could very well save some of their lives by publicly stating that you are opening an investigation of my Complaint.
As for those Victims of enforced disappearances by the Accused who have died, your opening an investigation of my Complaint is the only means by which we might be able to obtain some explanation and accounting for their whereabouts and the location of their remains in order to communicate this critical information to their next-of-kin and loved-ones. Based upon your extensive experience combating enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture in Argentina, you know full well how important that objective is. The next-of-kin, loved-ones, and friends of “disappeared” human beings can never benefit from psychological “closure” unless and until there is an accounting for the fates, if not the remains, of the Victims. In part that is precisely why the Accused’s enforced disappearances of about 100 human beings constitutes ongoing criminal activity that continues as of today and will continue until the fates of all their Victims have been officially determined by you opening an investigation into my Complaint.
Let us mutually suppose that during the so-called “dirty war” in Argentina the International Criminal Court had been in existence. I submit that as an Argentinean human rights lawyer you would have moved heaven and earth and done everything in your power to get the I.C.C. and its Prosecutor to assume jurisdiction over the Argentine Junta in order to terminate and prosecute their enforced disappearances and torture of your fellow Argentinean citizens. I would have done the same. Unfortunately, the I.C.C. did not exist during those darkest of days for the Argentine Republic when we could have so acted. But today as the I.C.C. Prosecutor, you have both the opportunity and the legal power to do something to rectify this mass and total human rights annihilation, and to resolve and to terminate and to prosecute the “widespread” and “systematic” policy and practice of enforced disappearances and consequent torture of about 100 human beings by the Accused.
Unfortunately, the new Obama administration in the United States has made it perfectly clear by means of public statements by President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder that they are not going to open any of any of the Accused for these aforementioned Crimes against Humanity. Hence an I.C.C. “case” against the Accused is “admissible” under Rome Statute article 1(complementarity) and article 17. As of right now you and the I.C.C. Judges are the only people in the entire world who can bring some degree of Justice, Closure, and Healing into this dire, tragic, and deplorable situation for the lives and well-being of about one hundred “disappeared” and tortured human beings as well as for their loved-ones and next-of-kin, who are also Victims of the Accused’s Crimes against Humanity. On behalf of them all, as a fellow human rights lawyer I implore you to open an investigation into my Complaint and to issue a public statement to that effect.
Also, most regretfully, the new Obama administration has publicly stated that it will continue the Accused’s policy and practice of "extraordinary rendition," which is really their euphemism for enforced disappearances of human beings and consequent torture by other States. Hence the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration fully intend to commit their own Crimes against Humanity under the I.C.C. Rome Statute – unless you stop them! Your opening an investigation of my Complaint will undoubtedly deter the Obama administration from engaging in any more “extraordinary renditions” -- enforced disappearances of human beings and having them tortured by other States. Indeed your opening of an investigation into my Complaint might encourage the Obama administration to terminate its criminal “extraordinary rendition” program immediately and thoroughly by means of issuing a public statement to that effect. In other words, your opening an investigation of my Complaint could very well save the lives of a large number of additional human beings who otherwise will be subjected by the Obama administration to the Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity of enforced disappearances of persons and their consequent torture by other States, inter alia.
The lives and well-being of countless human beings are now at risk, hanging in the balance, waiting for you to act promptly, effectively, and immediately to save them from becoming Victims of Rome Statute Crimes against Humanity perpetrated by the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration as successors-in-law to the Accused by opening an investigation of my Complaint. Otherwise, I shall be forced to file with you and the I.C.C. a follow-up Complaint against the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration. I certainly hope it will not come to that. Please make it so.
Finally, for reasons more fully explained in the Conclusion to my Complaint, I respectfully request that you obtain I.C.C. arrest warrants for the Accused in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), article 58(1)(b)(i), article 58(1)(b)(ii), and article 58(1)(b)(iii). The sooner, the better for all humankind.
I respectfully request that you schedule a meeting with me at our earliest mutual
convenience in order to discuss this Complaint. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
This transmission letter is an integral part of my Complaint against the Accused and is hereby incorporated by reference into the attached Complaint dated as of today as well.
Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest consideration.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
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