Better Get A Lawyer

Posted: August 5, 2011 in World News and Events

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I’m no lawyer. I mean I’ve seen some movies based on John Grisham novels, watched a few episodes of Law and Order, even had some experience with the police and speeding tickets… But it is safe to say, if I’d been defending OJ Simpson, he wouldn’t be driving round in a Bronco for about 25 to life…

Despite my vague understanding of the law, I do know that there are some things the world takes seriously. There are some crimes that you just can’t get away with, some things will put you on an Interpol hit list, and have you hunted down all over the world. Rape, is a serious offense that may have you put on an Interpol list, murder certainly, mass murder for sure, but the ones I want to focus on are war crimes, or crimes against humanity. This normally includes things such as mass abductions, false imprisonment, and often includes torture and murder, even genocide.

So, let’s have a brief look at crimes against humanity, and look at some examples of these crimes, criminals, and their punishments.

The Nuremberg Trials are a good place to start. This was the trial at the end of World War 2 that was to determine the fate of 24 Nazi war criminals. This was an important trial, and although the sentences were a shambles as several committed suicide awaiting sentencing, it was important to have everything down as public record, and allow sentences to actually be passed down to the guilty, rather than just shooting them in raids…

It was universally agreed, that even though most of those on trial, if not all, had never laid a finger on a Jew, they were just as guilty as those who did.

Six Million Jews perished during the Holocaust. I don’t need to go into what happened, but both Hitler and Himmler are considered to be two of the worst criminals the world has ever seen. Despite not having actually performed genocide, or taken part in the atrocities, I think we can all agree that they carry more guilt than those that did, it was after all, their orders.

More recently, Slobodan Milosevic, Former President of Serbia and Yugoslavia, was standing trial for genocide. He, after all presided over some terrible atrocities, including ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, he died during the course of his trial.

Saddam Hussein we all remember. He was hung for his crimes at the end of 2006 after being tried in an Iraqi court. He certainly had it coming though for his crimes.

Saddam ran such  a campaign of fear in his country, he should have had a terror alert colour chart, you know, with green, orange, and red levels… he massacred Kurdish people with American weapons, even American biological weapons such as gas. He did this while the Yanks were looking the other way though, and when they turned around, he quickly took more weapons before they noticed what he’d done with the last lot….

Not only that, he had people abducted from their homes, work, and off the street, and sent to prisons without trial. You can’t expect to get away with that, can you?

These prisons were more like torture chambers. People were being hung from the steel mesh on the ceilings, naked and freezing. Many were receiving electric shocks to sensitive parts of their bodies. Countless people were being tortured and killed in these Iraqi prisons. We know this, not through any evidence, or photographic proof, we know it because TV reporters tell us so.

I’m not saying that this isn’t true of course. They did after all find a mass burial site nearby, pretty strong evidence. Although come to think about it, I have at least 3 mass burial sites within a 10 minute drive from my house, although we don’t call them mass burial sites, or mass graves, we call them cemeteries.

Anyway, assuming it’s all true, and I do believe that it is, despite no real solid evidence, did Saddam have it coming? Again, it is doubtful that he would have taken part in any of the actual crimes, but again, giving the orders is just as bad, if not worse. Therefore he deserves it, big time.

So, giving the order, or authorising, murder, abduction, incarceration without trial, or torture, is a crime of the most serious sort. Even a president can’t get away with these things, as is the case with Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Serbia. Clearly there is no excuse for such atrocities.

There are however, a few people though that are guilty of these things, and are getting away with it. Indeed, they are actually being rewarded for it, and I know where they are hiding out. Well, not exactly where, but I don’t think they would be too hard to find, certainly easier than Saddam or Osama.

Two of these criminals go by the names of George W Bush, and Dick Cheney.

Yes, you may well shrug your shoulders and yawn. But it is a fact, and they don’t even seem to try to hide it.

If we go through the types of crimes one by one:

Murder: Many detainees under US supervision actually had “murder” listed as cause of death on their death certificates. Usually the official line is died whilst in custody. The Academy award-winning documentary “Taxi To The Darkside” details one case where an innocent Taxi Driver was beaten to death over a long period of time. Beaten so badly that many of his muscles and bones had turned to liquid.

Abduction: For years the US govt denied abductions. However, once it became common knowledge, abductions were renamed “Renditions”, often “Extraordinary Renditions”. This is the name given to the act of taking someone without notice, and hauling them off to a prison, often overseas, without anybody knowing.

Incarceration Without Trial: This is the end result of rendition. There are many prisoners still at Guantanamo Bay that have yet to be tried in a court. A military hearing does not count.

Torture: I could write a book on examples of this, many have, but what is torture to some, is “hard” or “Intense Interrogation” to others. I would say that it shows a serious intent to torture when you try to legally change the countries definition of torture in order to allow waterboarding, psychological torture (use of subjects fears), severe sleep deprivation, the use of stress positions for extended periods, and many other forms of torture, to be used when questioning suspects.

These acts being illegal internationally however , didn’t change much for the Bush Administration, after all, the job of torturing people could be exported to countries who were less concerned with the Geneva Convention.  That’s where rendition came in handy.

So, why does this travel as far up the vine as Bush and Cheney?

People like Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, as well as those at the Nuremberg Trials, were charged and punished for being in charge.

Although we had no photographic proof of torture by Iraqi military, we were sure it happened. There were far too many personal accounts to ignore. We were told by both Bush, and Cheney, as well as many others in the White House, that the buck stopped at the President of Iraq. This systematic torture meant that orders must have come from the top, and therefore Iraq’s President was guilty of “Crimes Against Humanity”. Saddam Hussein was executed for these crimes.

When the shoe was on the other foot however, and the US Military were using routine torture, it was lies and rumour, there was no proof. Despite many personal accounts.

Then came these photos:

All of a sudden the buck didn’t stop at the top. These were rogue elements, soldiers “letting off steam”. We were supposed to feel sorry for these poor soldiers who had obviously had a stressful time of it, to end up performing these actions…..

What utter crap. Nobody fell for it.

However the buck didn’t travel too far before stopping. The story just died off after a while, after all there was a bearded man hiding in a cave somewhere that needed catching.

I guess what I am trying to say is, that many have a dim view of “The West”, and things like this make it understandable. We certainly seem to suffer from having double standards.

It is even treated as a joke. I have seen countess times on The Late Show, David Letterman joke about the great ghoul Dick Cheney torturing people in his dungeon. I’m sorry, but this isn’t funny, it is extreme bad taste. Would we laugh if Cambodian TV were cracking similar jokes about  Pol Pot while he was still alive?

Barrack Obama had this to say on the matter:

” There should be no prosecution of those who carried out what had been the policy of the United States government.”

Based on those words, I can only assume that if Obama had been in power after World War 2, and Hitler had lived, that he would have recommended that Hitler be let off, as he was only carrying out German policy. Most sane people would argue that it was Hitler that made those atrocities policy, and I would say the same for the Bush Administration.

Below is a picture of how one of the famous Abu Ghraib images probably should have looked.

Human Rights Watch have released a 107 page report titled “Getting Away With Torture. The Bush Administration And The Mistreatment Of Detainees” you can download it as a PDF at this link

I do not have any sympathy for those who carried out the torture and mistreatment of detainee’s, after all, everyone is born with a free will. However I do believe that we need to come down hard on those in power, who gave orders for these people to break every law that they signed up to risk their lives defending.

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  1. kabdoo says:

    Great post.

    I agree, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.

    It’s a shame because having such trials and bringing ALL war criminals to justice would literally pull the rug out from under Al-Qaeda and all the copycat organisations. It would be the fastest way to bring an end to terrorism because any support they currently have would vanish.

    • kabdoo says:

      Correction: any _popular_ support

      there are still individuals who would stand to gain from their survival but they would be much easier to track down because there would be so few of them.

      • wixxy says:

        Thats right, by torturing one, you are creating 100 more… and if that 1 you tortured is innocent, you have created 100 more for nothing

  2. David Fawcett says:

    Harsh but fair.

  3. Felicity says:

    Sad thing about this tale is you are spot on. Other sad thing is no-one had the balls to bring an ex American president etc to trial. Good read. Perhaps one day someone will lobby for justice otherwise the Us President as leader of the Western world loses so much credibility. Thanks for bringing this to our attention

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