After nearly a year, an arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, charging the guy with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The good Mr. President, however, told the International Criminal Court to literally stuff it, and then performed a kind of nasty-wacko dictator routine:
- Speaking on Tuesday ahead of the announcement, Mr Bashir said the Hague tribunal could “eat” the arrest warrant.
He said it would “not be worth the ink it is written on” and then danced for thousands of cheering supporters who burned an effigy of the ICC chief prosecutor.
(Illustration found here).
Despite the ICC nailing al-Bashir for “intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property,” the Hague-based UN court stopped short of popping the cruel ass-bastard with that real-awful charge: genocide.
Last July, ICC’s prosecutor asked for warrants accusing him of “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.”
The ICC has since then dropped the term ‘genocide’ from its list of charges.
War criminal is an interesting pair of words, slightly paradoxical.
As if the word and meaning of war wasn’t enough to be criminal, someone during a war then does shit even worse than war itself — Hitler the obvious, to Henry Kissinger, the slightly-less obvious, with a shitload of assholes in between — and is deemed a lawbreaker.
The US has a history that’s not real pretty — ethnic cleansing and genocide was used as a weapon against indigenous peoples — and along with such things as the Kissinger case above, makes this country a bit gun shy of international courts of law.
Especially among warmonger types.
During the reign of George Jr. Bush, the ICC was actively attacked, and official US policy “vehemently opposed the setting up of the ICC, fearing its soldiers and diplomats could be brought before the court which will hear cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The US position:
- Former President George W. Bush, citing fears Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons, initiated bilateral immunity deals with dozens of countries, barring them from handing U.S. citizens to the court’s jurisdiction.
It is unclear how the U.S. relationship with the court will change under President Barack Obama.
One wonders: Last October, George Jr. “softened up” the hard-ass stance toward the ICC to supposedly bypass an African-induced attempt to halt/slow-down the prosecution of al-Bashir — the real reason is most likely the move was an early component of the reality-altering “Bush Legacy Tour:” The Bush administration’s care and anger at the horror of Darfur.
A bit hypocritical, it could easily be said.
Despite the blubbering and choking as George Jr.’s presidency went down the drain, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll last month found 62 percent of Americans favored a criminal investigation, or at least some examination into the last eight years of the infamous, illegal and unproductive Global War on Terror.
However, even with all the public knowledge of George Jr.’s role in corrupting the Constitution and starting an illegal and useless war, even plundering the nation’s treasure to do so, a big obstacle to getting the facts might be political indifference.
(Illustration found here).
Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, officially popped the idea Wednesday for a “commission of inquiry,” or for a “truth commission,” worked out on the lines of the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.
- Leahy, D-Vermont, called for the “truth commission” to have a “targeted mandate” focusing on issues of national security and executive power.
He said it should look specifically at allegations of “questionable interrogation techniques,” “extraordinary rendition” and the “executive override of laws.”
He added that the commission should have the power to issue subpoenas and offer immunity to witnesses “in order to get to the whole truth.”
Leahy refused to rule out of the possibility of prosecutions for perjury committed during the commission’s hearings.
An appearance of a definite lean toward correcting the horror of the last eight years.
And as US News&World Report noted yesterday:
- The alleged torture of prisoners and politicization of the Justice Department are obvious starting points, according to commission advocates.
If those issues sound familiar, it’s because several are already being investigated by the Obama Justice Department or Congress itself.
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania says that Obama and Congress have sufficient authority to investigate and, when appropriate, prosecute wrongdoing without the need for a special panel.
Critics of the Bush administration say the heavy secrecy with which it operated makes necessary a public airing of not only what happened to terrorist suspects but also of the policies that made it possible.
“Because so much of what was done over the past eight years was done in secret,” says Ron Suskind, the author of three books on the Bush administration, “there is a profound public mistrust of the official line — and that mistrust is well founded.”
In the mid-1970s, the so-called Church Committee, headed by Sen. Frank Church, broke new ground when it exposed abuses by the FBI and CIA, such as illegal domestic surveillance and recruiting the mob for an assassination plot against Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
Frederick A. O. Schwarz, who served as the committee’s chief legal counsel, sees relevant lessons from that episode.
“When an administration undermines the rule of law,” he says, “it undermines America’s greatest strength.”
And, once again, when these issues go international — such torture, rendition, and all those other sordid details pulled off under the cover-code of US “national security” — there’s a extremely-good chance George Jr. and his band of brigands could be hauled into court somewhere.
Democracy Now! and attorney David Rivkin:
- Itâ€™s important to recognize that the commissionâ€™s most deleterious and dangerous impact would be to greatly increase the likelihood of former senior US government officials being tried overseas, whether in courts of foreign nations or through international tribunals.
And the reason for it is because the matters to be investigated by the commission implicate not only US criminal statues but also international law and which are arguably subject to claims of universal jurisdiction by foreign states.
Which brought the next guest Thursday morning on the same Democracy Now! program, Michael Ratner, to view the Leahy “truth” committee as a kind of whitewash, to create the illusion of fact-finding:
- You know, I wonâ€™t say Iâ€™m exactly biased here, but I think essentially that the Leahy commission is an excuse for non-prosecution.
Itâ€™s essentially saying, â€œLetâ€™s put some stuff on the public record. Letâ€™s immunize people. And then,â€ as he even said, â€œletâ€™s turn the page and go forward.â€ Thatâ€™s really an excuse for non-prosecution. And in the face of what weâ€™ve seen in this country, which is essentially a coup dâ€™etat, a presidential dictatorship and torture, itâ€™s essentially a mouse-like reaction to what weâ€™ve seen.
And itâ€™s being set up really by a liberal establishment that is really, in some ways, in many ways, on the same page as the establishment that actually carried out these laws. And itâ€™s saying, â€œOK, letâ€™s expose it, and then letâ€™s move on.â€
I mean, the polls indicate that people want to see a criminal investigation.
Weâ€™ve had openâ€”open and notorious admissions of waterboarding by people like Cheney. And we know that waterboarding is torture, even according to Obama.
So, how do you diffuse that pressure?
And one way you diffuse it is you set up a, quote, â€œtruth commission,â€ thatâ€™s going to give immunity to people.
And then, as Leahy himself says — the word he used, I think, is that he objects to those â€œfixatedâ€ on prosecution.
Well, you know, itâ€™s a legal requirement that you prosecute torturers in your country. And yet, he calls us â€œfixatedâ€ on it and wants to make this excuse.
So I think this is, in a way — you donâ€™t know this — but in conjunction with the Obama administration saying, â€œLetâ€™s do this. It will dispose of, you know, the human rights groups in the world and others. And letâ€™s go forward.â€
Forward to where?
A good, informative take on the likelihood of a war-crimes trial for George Jr. or anyone of a large-number of his cronies can be found here, and although hopefully somewhere down the time-line at least they will be revealed for what they were/are — dumb-ass, jackbooted criminal-politicians — if the past is kept secret, it then can figure out a way to the now.
Don’t underestimate the truth of the willing.
In fact, George Jr. could be next for the ICC:
- David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.
The prospect of the court ever trying Bush is considered extremely remote, however.
The US Government does not recognise the court and the only other way Bush could be investigated is if the Security Council were to order it, something unlikely to happen with Washington a veto-wielding permanent member.
Maybe George Jr. will tell ’em to eat it, too.