Thursday, February 04, 2010

If it's election confusion, it's Iraq

Yesterday came news of a decision reached by a ruling body in Iraq on the elections issue. Already Nouri is striking back at the decision. To recap, we'll note this from yesterday's snapshot:

On Al Jazeera's Riz Khan yesterday, the issue of the elections were addressed with Riz Khan asking, "How free and fair is an election when a government bans certain people from running? Iraq goes to the polls on March the 7th but has barred more than 500 candidates which could ultimately plunge the country into chaos, even civil war." Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports today that the government has managed to avert "a political crisis of its own making" as a result of the ban being overturned today "by a panel of seven judges". The Economist calls it "Best news in weeks." Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) explains, "The decision now opens the way for full-fledged campaigning to begin, as scheduled, on February 7. It wasn't immediately clear how many of the banned candidates would accept the compromise decision, or how the decision might affect the election outcome itself." Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) adds, "But if the ruling stands, there's a catch: those blacklisted will still be subject to investigation after the vote for past ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein." And what would happen then? Caroline Alexander and Kadhim Ajrash (Bloomberg News) observe, "Election Commission official Hamdia al-Husseini told Agence France-Presse that those later found to have links to the Baath Party would be 'eliminated.'" Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "The ruling enraged the architect of the blacklist, Ali Faisal al-Lami, who is a close aide of the head of the former ­de-Ba'athification Commission, Ahmed Chalabi. That commission, which was a signature body of the post-Saddam Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), evolved into a contentious group known as the Accountability and Justice Commission." And to clear up a nasty rumor, there is no known sex tape of Ahmed Chalabi and his boy pal Ali al-Lami being distributed in Basra. Absolutely not. Nasty, hurtful rumors. Unless a tape should surface. Ammar Karim (AFP) notes, "Chalabi, who has close ties to Iran, was appointed deputy prime minister after the invasion but intelligence he provided in support of those claims in the run-up to war later turned out to be flawed and he subsequently fell out of favour with Washington." The decision is still being studied and Al Jazeera notes Saleh al-Mutlaq, of the sectarian National Dialogue Party and who was one of the banned, "declined to give an immediate comment."

Reuters reports this morning that Nouri's mouthpiece, Ali al-Dabbagh, posted to his website the following: "Postponing implementing the law of the Justice and Accountability Commission till after the election is illegal and not constitutional." Anyone else hear Donna Summer when they look at Nouri? Specifically, "Cats Without Claws"? Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports that Nouri's "accidental rise to power" has not brought him a huge number of supporters leaving him "politically isolated and regionally estranged" and she explains:

Iraq has a multiparty parliamentary system. Lawmakers choose the president, who in turn gives the largest coalition in the parliament the first opportunity to choose the prime minister and form the government. If Maliki's bloc can win the largest number of seats, a majority in the parliament will still be needed to endorse his government. Without alliances, that could prove impossible.
"He has to manage to get alliances with others or he's done," said Askari, the independent Shiite politician.
Erstwhile allies say they will not support Maliki this time around.

She goes on to note that Moqtada al-Sadr supporters are among those who feel burned by Little Nouri. No surprise there after his assault on Basra which also added an assault on Sadr City at the same time (2008) when protests began there against the Basra assault. Distanced from many Shi'ite sects, never embraced by Sunnis and no friend to the Kurds, cue the film, Little Nouri in Big Trouble.

You're sitting on the fence crying out to the moon
The day goes by too fast and the night comes too soon
You bet your life and you sell your soul
Give it all up for beggar's gold
And the hidden city has its own laws
Produces a species: cats without claws

-- "Cats Without Claws" written by Donna Summer and Michael Omartian, from Summer's album of the same name.

Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) looks at the decision and some of those objecting to it:

The ruling still has to be upheld by Iraq's electoral commission, which is due to publish the final list of candidates within the coming days.
Ali Lami, executive director of the separate Accountability and Justice Commission, which ordered the disbarments, condemned the judges' decision as representing "American interference" in Iraqi politics, and vowed to fight it in the courts.
U.S. officials have charged that Lami has close ties to Iran. The chairman of the accountability commission is Ahmad Chalabi, who was once a Pentagon favorite but fell from grace after he was suspected of passing information to Iran.
The ruling appeared to represent the crystallization of intensive backroom diplomacy by U.S. and United Nations officials to avert a crisis that could have called into question the legitimacy of the entire poll.

In the Unitd States, Minneapolis and St. Paul's 5 Eyewitness News reports 2,500 members of the state's National Guard who were promised bonus pay in 2007 for serving 16 months straight in Iraq have still not received the payment:

Rep. John Kline brought up the issue Wednesday during a congressional hearing. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was on Capitol Hill to address the 2011 Pentagon budget.
Kline said, "Nobody's received a dime, not a single dime. So the question is, when can these soldiers expect to receive these PDMRA payments?"

Kevin Diaz (Minnesota Star Tribune) writes of the news that payments might be made shortly:

That would be good news to Red Bull tank commander Jason Malley. The U.S. government owes him $4,400 in overtime pay for a deployment that was extended to 23 months during the 2007 Iraq surge ordered by former President George W. Bush.
Malley, a 37-year-old database administrator from Crystal, considers himself one of the lucky ones. His employer held his job for him.
As many as a third of the 34th's soldiers weren't so lucky; their unemployment rate is more than four times the state average.

In other things Iraq-related in the US, we don't link to AlterNet -- for obvious and stated reasons. But we will note that Barry Lando thinks he's writing about something this morning. What exactly? Who knows? Sample paragraph: "The latest exampe is an Op Ed piece Kissinger just wrote for the New York Times warning American leaders that they are no longer giving Iraq the attention it deserves." First off, can we just try getting the facts right? There are op-ed pages. Kissinger wrote a column. Op-Ed stands for Opinion and Editorial. Kissinger wrote a column. If you like, you can call it an opinion piece. But editorials in newspapers? They tend to be sounded out by an editorial board (and then written by one person). Kissinger has long bored but he's not, in and of himself, an editorial board. Second of all, if you read it -- and presumably, writing about it means you at least glanced at it -- how did you not know what paper you were reading?

We noted the Kissinger column yesterday when it appeared in print:

Today's joke of the day? War Criminal Henry Kissinger at the Washington Post offering advice on the Iraq War. On withdrawal which makes it even funnier in a demented way (for those who don't get it, think of Kissy's Vietnam 'negotiations'). It's even funnier if you consider Paul Bremer's connection to Kissinger and that Bremer impelemented (he says at the White House direction) the de-Ba'athification policy that continues to set tensions ablaze in Iraq. Hey, if we all praise Henry, insist the advice is amazing and needs to be heard widely so he should hop on a plane and go through Europe giving speeches on it, would he do that? Oh, no, he can't. He has to be very careful when leaving the US because he doesn't want to be arrested for his War Crimes.

Again, we don't link to that site -- we have a general rule that when adults try to spy on 14-year-old boys, we think you're crazy at best, perverted at worst.

Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and a noted professor. We'll close by noting his "Bush To the Hague:"

International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice and Gonzales


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)

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.

The Honorable Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Office of the Prosecutor
International Criminal Court
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
The Netherlands
Fax No.: 31-70-515-8555

January 19, 2010

Dear Sir:

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 disappearancesof
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

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

Article 12

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:

Article 13

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

FRANCIS A. BOYLE is a leading American expert in international law. He
was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of
1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological
Weapons Convention. He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty
International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the
World Court. He served as legal adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to
the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993. In 2007, he
delivered the Bertrand Russell Peace Lectures. Previous Russell
Lecturers have included E.P. Thompson, Elena Bonner, Edward Said,
Ramsey Clark, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Joseph Rotblat, Johan Galtung,
and Noam Chomsky. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the
University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of
International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World
Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Palestine, Palestinians and
International Law, Destroying World Order, Biowarfare & Terrorism. And Tackling America’s Toughest

He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in
Political Science, both from Harvard University.

The e-mail address for this site is

francis a. boyle