Calls were growing yesterday for the postponement of a controversial decision to ban more than 500 candidates from taking part in the March vote over their alleged connections to the Baath party, now outlawed in Iraq.
The above is from Nizar Latif's "Ban on 500 election candidates threatens Iraq's progress" (The National) about the continued targeting of Iraqi politicians who might prove popular with voters. The banning is being done through a post-legal (or pre-legal) body. Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) explains of the body:
The Justice and Accountability Commission is heir to the old, circa-2003 de-Baathification Commission, a McCarthyite blacklisting body set up by the neocon-domination occupation authorities after the US invasion of Iraq and headed by Ahmed Chalabi, the wheeler-dealer who was the chief proponent of the war in the 1990s and beyond and who was an intimate confidante of leading neoconservatives such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and various American Enterprise Institute apparatchiks such as Michael Rubin, Danielle Pletka, et al. Today, Chalabi -- who spends a lot of his time in Iran, and who US military authorities believe is essentially an agent of Tehran -- is still the titular leader of the Justice and Accountability Commission, which is run day-to-day by Ali Faysal al-Lami. Lami is a sectarian Shiite politician who is running on the same Shiite religious alliance in the March 7 election that was put together by Chalabi, with the support of Iran and the backing of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), Iran's chief Iraqi ally.
Back to post-legal or pre-legal. The commission is no more. Iraq is supposed to have implemented de-de-Ba'athification measures and, in addition, the Parliament refused to appoint people to the so-called Justice and Accountability Commission. The presidency council didn't sign off on the committee. It has no power, it has no authority. So why is it being listened to?
On the most recent Inside Iraq (Al Jazeera -- excerpt in Tuesday's snapshot), a supporter explained that it exists in bits and pieces stitched together. That's what his meandering response stated and, for those paying attention, this is the same lie/excuse supporters use to justify Parliament being cut out of the process for awarding oil contracts. Nouri's people pick and choose which laws to listen to and which laws not to, ignore this aspect or that, ignore the Constitution and do Nouri's bidding. The two situations really are identical. In both cases the Constituion is being ignored as are other laws. In both cases, a cobble together pre- or post-legal argument is being made -- one with no actual legal foundation -- to justify doing what Nouri wants done.
There ain't no freedom
There ain't no freedom
There ain't no freedom
When you've got a worryin' mind
-- "No Freedom," written by Carly Simon, David Saw and Benjamin Taylor, off her latest album, the amazing Never Been Gone.
No freedom in Iraq.
Except the 'freedom' to cry "Ba'athist" in a blazing political environment and thereby demonize your opponents who have no real recourse to a hearing that can resolve the matter. Anthony Shadid (New York Times) observes, "The term is as malleable as it is incendiary, and the quandary it represents has underlined the growing dispute over the credibility of Iraq's parliamentary elections in March, which the Obama administration had viewed as a milestone in its plans to withdraw tens of thousands of combat troops by August." Jason Ditz (Antiwar) adds, "The bannings effectively destroy the third largest political alliance in Iraq just months ahead of the election, and are seen by many as an attempt by the Maliki government to cement its hold on power."
Al Arabiya reports on a document Iraq's Sunni Vice President, Tariq al-Hashimi, has passed to Jalal Talabani, current president of Iraq:
The document submitted to Talabani states that JAC had no official authorization to ban Baathist candidates from running for the vote, Abdel Ellah Kazem, spokesman of the Hashimi media bureau told Al Arabiya.
"The commission has not been authorized yet," he said. "It has to be approved by the presidency, cabinet, and parliamentary councils."
Kazem added that the Presidency Council is waiting for the return of Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the other vice-president along with Hashimi, to hold an official meeting and issue a statement regarding the submitted document.
Meanwhile in the US, Roger Williams' "The Invisible War" (Florida Weekly) reports on the impact of long deployments and how under the radar they are for many in the US:
They stand beside you in a checkout line, or drive past you as solitary adults ferrying a couple of kids, or enter a store in front of you to work or shop, like everybody else. The other warriors.
They aren't locked and loaded, though -- no weapons -- and they don't look a lot different from the rest of us. Many of them, the family and friends of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, have never carried a gun or served in uniform.
But what distinguishes them from the rest of us is monumental: They're shouldering our entire national obligation in blood, fear and daily anxiety mostly alone. Except for our blind tax contributions -- the cost of sending a single American in uniform to Iraq for one year, for example, is $390,000, according to the Congressional Research Report -- the vast majority of Americans aren't involved.
The article forgets to note the media -- don't they always? -- while speaking of the invisible war. If Americans are unaware of the wars (and many are), it's due in part to the media moving on. At the start of 2009, most outlets shuttered the Baghdad desks and though the Iraq War continues, you rarely read of it in the papers and rarely see it on the TV. When pointing fingers, the media needs to remember to aim the middle one back at themselves (certainly many others are reserving that finger for the media).
Doubt it? Iraq War veterand and Disabled American Veterans' member Dan Clare writes "Home Fires: In Balad, Smoke and Fire" of the notorious (and deadly) Balad Air Base (New York Times):
For most airmen on base, a trip beyond guarded gates of Balad was unthinkable. Beyond the usual mortar or rocket attack, I know it’s strange to say, one would have to go to the hospital to be sure there was a war going on.
Yet, a dark cloud loomed above us, never letting us forget that we were not on home station.
Balad, like bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, burned its own waste. Hundreds of tons of Styrofoam, plastic, uniforms, oil, fuel and other trash went into the air from an open, smoldering pit.
When I first arrived in Iraq, I thought a portion of the base was under attack. We later learned the floating plume was the source of Balad's signature stench.
At times, the wind would change directions and a toxic cloud would hang low and overwhelm the housing area. It could influence flight line operations, limit visibility and make eyes and lungs burn. It was inescapable. More than once it made me sick. I went to medical for help and was told that my nausea and symptoms were minor compared to people who were coughing up black phlegm and having constant attacks.
What's the problem, you ask. The paper has it. Well . . . Online. At their "Opinionator Blog." It can potentially reach more people online than in print. But being in print would give it a weight that just appearing online doesn't to readers of the paper. (Then again, as anyone who's read the op-ed pages of the Times in recent years knows, "weight" is the last thing they want. It's far down on the list, even below "facts.")
Saturday we were noting Daniel Tencer's "Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of 9/11 conspiracy groups" (Raw Story) and Marc Estrin "Got Fascism? : Obama Advisor Promotes 'Cognitive Infiltration'" (The Rag Blog) on fat ass and authoritarian Cass Sunstein. At World Can't Wait, they've posted Glenn Greenwald's "Obama Confidant Advocates “Cognitive Infiltration” of Opposition Groups:"
Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs."
In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Marc Estrin. That's the name of the person who broke the story. For some strange reason Marc's "blogger" to Glenn-Glenn who can-can find time to name both Daniel Tencer and Raw Story but not Marc Estrin who broke the story. Marc Estrin who did all the work without which Glenn-Glenn would have no-no story. We're noting him only because it's up at World Can't Wait and because of the topic. (And, yes, we're still avoiding another topic. You'll notice Real Media is as well. That's because despite the sensationalistic claims, there's no proof and because the author's burned his bridges with too many so no one's willing to go out on a limb for him.)
The following community sites updated last night:
From yesterday, we'll again include a criminal complaint. 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 Prosecutor for 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 Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
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
The Honorable Luis Moreno-Ocampo
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. The Accused 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 Judeo-Christian men.
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 criminal investigation 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
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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