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his seat and slap the table. Tve got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign”

George Bush, president, for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi
civilians, including many thousands of children, the result of his 40 days of bombing and
the institution of draconian sanctions; and for his unconscionable bombing of Panama,
producing widespread death, destruction and homelessness, for no discernible reason that
would stand up in a court of law.

General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his prominent role in the
attacks on Panama and Iraq, the latter including destruction of nuclear reactors as well as
plants making biological and chemical agents. It was the first time ever that live reactors
had been bombed, and ran the risk of setting a dangerous precedent. Hardly more than a
month had passed since the United Nations, under whose mandate the United States was
supposedly operating in Iraq, had passed a resolution reaffirming its "prohibition of
military attacks on nuclear facilities" in the Middle East.4 In the wake of the destruction,
Powell gloated: "The two operating reactors they had are both gone, they're down, they're
finished."5 He was just as cavalier about the lives of the people of Iraq. In response to a
question concerning the number of Iraqis killed in the war, the good general replied: "It's
really not a number I'm terribly interested in."6

And for his part in the cover up of war crimes in Vietnam by troops of the same brigade
that carried out the My Lai massacre.7
General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander in Chief, US Central Command, for his
military leadership of the Iraqi carnage; for continuing the carnage two days after the
cease-fire; for continuing it against Iraqis trying to surrender.

Ronald Reagan, president, for eight years of death, destruction, torture and the crushing
of hope inflicted upon the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Grenada by
his policies; and for his bombings of Lebanon, Libya and Iran. He's forgotten all this, but
the world shouldn't.

Elliott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State under Reagan, for rewriting history, even as
it was happening, by instituting lying as public policy. He was indispensable to putting
the best possible face on the atrocities being committed daily by the Contras in Nicaragua
and by other Washington allies in Central America, thus promoting continued support for
them; a spinmeister for the ages, who wrestled facts into ideological submission. "When
history is written," he declared, "the Contras will be folk heroes."8

Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense for seven years under Reagan, for his official
and actual responsibility for the numerous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the
United States in Central America and the Caribbean, and for the bombing of Libya in
1986. George Bush pardoned him for Iran-Contra, but he should not be pardoned for his
war crimes.

Lt. Col. Oliver North, assigned to Reagan's National Security Council, for being a prime
mover behind the Contras of Nicaragua, and for his involvement in the planning of the
invasion of Grenada, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Henry Kissinger (who has successfully combined three careers: scholar, Nobel peace
laureate, and war criminal), National Security Adviser under Nixon and Secretary of
State under Nixon and Ford, for his Machiavellian, amoral, immoral roles in the US
interventions into Angola, Chile, East Timor, Iraq, Vietnam and Cambodia, which
brought unspeakable horror and misery to the peoples of those lands.

Gerald Ford, president, for giving his approval to Indonesia to use American arms to
brutally suppress the people of East Timor, thus setting in motion a quarter-century-long

Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, a prime
architect of, and major bearer of responsibility for, the slaughter in Indochina, from its
early days to its extraordinary escalations; and for the violent suppression of popular
movements in Peru.

General William Westmoreland, Army Chief of Staff, for the numerous war crimes under
his command in Vietnam. In 1971, Telford Taylor, the chief US prosecutor at the post-
World War II Nuremberg Tribunal, cited the "Yamashita" case as grounds for indicting
Westmoreland. Following the war, a US Army Commission had sentenced Japanese
general Tomayuki Yamashita to be hung for atrocities committed by his troops in the
Philippines. The Commission held that as the senior commander, Yamashita was
responsible for not stopping the atrocities. The same ruling could of course apply to
General Powell and General Schwarzkopf. Yamashita, in his defense, presented
considerable evidence that he had lacked the communications to adequately control his
troops; yet he was still hung. Taylor pointed out that with helicopters and modern
communications, Westmoreland and his commanders didn't have this problem.9

The crime of bombing

As mentioned in the "Bombings" chapter, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not
only unpunished but virtually unaccused. This is a legacy of World War II. The
Nuremberg and Tokyo judgments are silent on the subject of aerial bombardment. Since
both sides had played a terrible game of urban destruction”the Allies far more
successfully”there was no basis for criminal charges against Germans or Japanese, and
in fact no such charges were brought. But as Telford Taylor has asked: "Is there any
significant difference between killing a babe-in-arms by a bomb dropped from a high-
flying aircraft, or by an infantryman's point-blank gunfire?...The aviator's act [is
described] as more 'impersonal' than the ground soldier's. This may be psychologically
valid, but surely is not morally satisfactory."10

No one ever thinks they're guilty of anything...they're all just good ol' patriots

"Asked whether he wants to apologize for the suffering he caused, he looks genuinely
confused, has the interpreter repeat the question, and answers 'No'...'I want you to know
that everything I did, I did for my country."' Journalist Nate Thayer interviewing a dying
Pol Pot, 1997 11

How to deal with the unthinkable

At the close of World War II, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East was
held. At the trial in Tokyo of former Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo, his lawyers
asked why Tojo's crimes were any worse than dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. At that moment, the prosecution interrupted the Japanese translation and
ordered the removal of the remarks in the official trial record and in the press.12

Another unthinkable

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ("Genocide
Convention"), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948..."The
Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time
of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish."
The Convention then goes on to define genocide as certain acts, listed therein,
"committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group, as such."
Missing from this list is perhaps the most significant manifesta-tion of genocide in
modern times: the extermination of people because of their political ideology. The Nazis
became notorious for their slaughter of Jews and Gypsies, but German fascism, as in
Italy, Spain, Greece, Chile, Indonesia, and elsewhere, was firstly and primarily directed
against socialists and communists, regardless of any other characteristic. (Hitler, in any
event, largely equated Jews and communists.)

As can be seen in the chapter on "Interventions" and in other chapters”from China and
the Philippines in the 1940s to Colombia and Mexico in the 1990s, the United States has
long been practicing this politicide. However, the CEOs of The World's Only
Superpower can rest easy. There will be no international convention against it, and no
American official will ever have to answer to a court for it.13

Yugoslavia”another war-crimes trial that will never be

Beginning about two weeks after the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia began in March
1999, international-law professionals from Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece and the
American Association of Jurists began to file complaints with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, charging leaders of
NATO countries and officials of NATO itself with crimes similar to those for which the
Tribunal had issued indictments shortly before against Serbian leaders. Amongst the
charges filed were: "grave violations of international humanitarian law", including
"wilful kill-ing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health,
employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering,
wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects,
devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and
dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion,
charity and education, the arts and sciences."

The Canadian suit names 68 leaders, including William Clinton, Madeleine Albright,
William Cohen, Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and NATO officials
Javier Solana, Wesley Clark and Jamie Shea. The complaint also alleges "open violation"
of the United Nations Charter, the NATO treaty itself, the Geneva Conventions and the
Principles of International Law Recognized by the International Military Tribunal at

The complaint was submitted along with a considerable amount of evidence to support
the charges. The evidence makes the key point that it was NATO's bombing campaign
which had given rise to the bulk of the deaths in Yugoslavia, provoked most of the
Serbian atrocities, created an environmental disaster and left a dangerous legacy of
unexploded depleted uranium and cluster bombs.

In June, some of the complainants met in The Hague with the court's chief prosecutor,
Louise Arbour of Canada. Although she cordially received their brief in person, along
with three thick volumes of evidence documenting the alleged war crimes, nothing of
substance came of the meeting, despite repeated follow-up submis-sions and letters by
the plaintiffs. In November, her successor, Carla Del Ponte of Switzerland, also met with
some of the complainants and received extensive evidence.

The complainants' brief in November pointed out that the prosecution of those named by
them was "not only a requirement of law, it is a requirement of justice to the victims and
of deterrence to powerful countries such as those in NATO who, in their military might
and in their control over the media, are lacking in any other natural restraint such as
might deter less powerful countries." Charging the war's victors, not only its losers, it was
argued, would be a watershed in international criminal law.

In one of the letters to Arbour, Michael Mandel, a professor of law in Toronto and the
initiator of the Canadian suit, stated:

Unfortunately, as you know, many doubts have already been raised about the impartiality
of your Tribunal In the early days of the conflict, after a formal and, in our view, justified
complaint against NATO leaders had been laid before it by members of the Faculty of
Law of Belgrade University, you appeared at a press conference with one of the accused,
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who made a great show of handing you a dossier
of Serbian war crimes. In early May, you appeared at another press conference with US
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, by that time herself the subject of two formal
complaints of war crimes over the targeting of civilians in Yugoslavia. Albright publicly
announced at that time that the US was the major provider of funds for the Tribunal and
that it had pledged even more money to it.14

Arbour herself made little attempt to hide the pro-NATO bias she wore beneath her robe.
She trusted NATO to be its own police, judge, jury and prison guard. In a year in which
the arrest of General Pinochet was giving an inspiring lift to the cause of international
law and international justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, under Arbour's leadership, ruled that for the Great Powers it would be
business as usual, particularly the Great Power that was most vulnerable to prosecution,
and which, coincidentally, paid most of her salary. Here are her own words: I am
obviously not commenting on any allegations of violations of international humanitarian
law supposedly perpetrated by nationals of NATO countries. I accept the assurances
given by NATO leaders that they intend to conduct their operations in the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia in full compliance with international humanitarian law. I have
reminded many of them, when the occasion presented itself, of their obligation to conduct
fair and open-minded investigations of any possible deviance from that policy, and of the
obligation of commanders to prevent and punish, if required.15

NATO Press Briefing, May 16, 1999:

Question: Does NATO recognize Judge Arbour's jurisdiction over their activities?

Jamie Shea: I think we have to distinguish between the theoretical and the practical. I
believe that when Justice Arbour starts her investigation [of the Serbs], she will because
we will allow her to...NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up
the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers.

The Tribunal”created in 1993, with the US as the father, the Security Council as the
mother, and Madeleine Albright as the midwife”also relies on the military assets of the
NATO powers to track down and arrest the suspects it tries for war crimes.

There appeared to be no more happening with the complaint under Del Ponte than under
Arbour, but in late December, in an interview with The Observer of London, Del Ponte
was asked if she was prepared to press charges against NATO personnel. She replied: "If
I am not willing to do that, I am not in the right place. I must give up my mission."

The Tribunal then announced that it had completed a study of possible NATO crimes,
which Del Ponte was examining, and that the study was an appropriate response to public
concerns about NATO's tactics. "It is very important for this tribunal to assert its
authority over any and all authorities to the armed conflict within the former

Was this a sign from heaven that the new millennium was going to be one of more equal
justice? Could this really be?

No, it couldn't. From official quarters, military and civilian, of the United States and
Canada, came disbelief, shock, anger, denials..."appalling"..."unjustified". Del Ponte got
the message. Four days after The Observer interview appeared, her office issued a
statement: "NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is no formal inquiry
into the actions of NATO during the conflict in Kosovo."16 And there wouldn't be, it was
unnecessary to add.

But the claim against NATO”heretofore largely ignored by the American media”was
now out in the open. It was suddenly receiving a fair amount of publicity, and supporters
of the bombing were put on the defensive. The most common argument made in NATO's
defense, and against war-crime charges, has been that the death and devastation inflicted
upon the civilian sector was "accidental". This claim, however, must be questioned in
light of certain reports. For example, the commander of NATO's air war, Lt. Gen.
Michael Short, declared at one point:

If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your
stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the
next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, "Hey, Slobo, what's this all about? How much
more of this do we have to withstand?"17

General Short, said the New York Times, "hopes that the distress of the Yugoslav public
will undermine support for the authorities in Belgrade."18
At another point, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea added: "If President Milosevic really
wants all of his population to have water and electricity all he has to do is accept NATO's
five conditions and we will stop this campaign."19

After the April NATO bombing of a Belgrade office build-ing”which housed political
parties, TV and radio stations, 100 private companies and more”the Washington Post

Over the past few days, U.S. officials have been quoted as expressing the hope that
members of Serbia's economic elite will begin to turn against Milosevic once they
understand how much they are likely to lose by continuing to resist NATO demands.20

Before missiles were fired into this building, NATO planners spelled out the risks:
"Casualty Estimate 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty Est:
250”Apts in expected blast radius."21 The planners were saying that about 250 civilians
living in nearby apartment buildings might be killed in the bombing. What do we have
here? We have grown men telling each other: We'll do A, and we think that B may well
be the result. But even if B does in fact result, we're saying beforehand”as we'll insist
afterward”that it was unintended.

Following World War II there was an urgent need for a permanent international criminal
court to prosecute those accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,


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