Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pakistan & Afghanistan


Jeremy Scahill, Nation - The use of private companies like Blackwater for sensitive operations such as drone strikes or other covert work undoubtedly comes with the benefit of plausible deniability that places an additional barrier in an already deeply flawed system of accountability. When things go wrong, it's the contractors' fault, not the government's. But the widespread use of contractors also raises serious legal questions, particularly when they are a part of lethal, covert actions.

"We are using contractors for things that in the past might have been considered to be a violation of the Geneva Convention," said Lt. Col. Addicott, who now runs the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. "In my opinion, we have pressed the envelope to the breaking limit, and it's almost a fiction that these guys are not in offensive military operations." Addicott added, "If we were subjected to the International Criminal Court, some of these guys could easily be picked up, charged with war crimes and put on trial. That's one of the reasons we're not members of the International Criminal Court."

12/07/2009 | Comments []


Rich Whitney, Green candidate for Illinois governor - Any Presidential order to commit more troops to Afghanistan is illegal under established principles of international law, just as the initial invasion and occupation were illegal. The war against Afghanistan violates international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions, the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and international agreements dealing with the suppression and control of terrorism.

One of the principles that our nation championed during the Nuremberg War Crimes trials was the repudiation of aggressive war as an instrument of foreign policy. International law would have justified aggressive efforts to locate and apprehend Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. But no international law or principle of self-defense justified invading an entire sovereign nation, overthrowing its government and continuing to occupy it, while attempting to control both the form and direction of its future government.
Such orders are also illegal under our Constitution. The Authorization to Use Military Force passed by Congress on September 14, 2001, gave the President powers to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks" or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism"

This amounts to a permanent delegation of congressional authority to the President, with neither standards to rein in his actions, nor a clear means of regaining control in Congress. As such, it was, and is, an unconstitutional abdication of Congress's exclusive power to declare war.

Another principle established at Nuremberg is the principle that government officials have an overriding duty to disobey illegal orders. The Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal states that government officials have a responsibility not to commit or further "an act which constitutes a crime under international law."If elected Governor of Illinois, I would honor my commitment to the Constitution and established international law, and assert the Governor's right to veto any mobilization of the Illinois National Guard for service in Iraq of Iraq and Afghanistan.

12/07/2009 | Comments []

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