Monday, January 26, 2015

American Sniper reflects American War Culture

Fallujah veteran and former Marine Ross Caputi
Chris Kyle built his reputation as a sniper during one of the most criminal operations of the entire occupation of Iraq, the 2nd siege of Fallujah.
 
 
 
What American Sniper offers us — more than a heart-wrenching tale about Chris Kyle’s struggle to be a soldier, a husband, and a father; more than an action packed story about America’s most lethal sniper — is an exposure of the often hidden side of American war culture. The criminality that has characterized American military engagements since the American Indian Wars, and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, is hardly noticeable in this film. And that’s exactly my point...

Read Ross Caputi's insightful article.


 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prosecute torturers -- sign the petiton

Sign the petition


SB in Baltimore writes: I work overseas and the torture done by the U.S. and the continued existence of the prison at Guantanamo are a stain on this country's reputation as a democratic society. All citizens of this country would hopefully be in accord with this.

That's why I created a petition to President Barack Obama, which says:

"Given that 1) waterboarding is torture and torture is a war crime without a statute of limitations and 2) a basic tenet of American democracy is that all persons are equal before the law, therefore we the undersigned request the Attorney General to begin criminal proceedings for those who justified, approved or did torture during the George W. Bush Administration."

Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name: 

 
Sign the petition


 
Customary international humanitarian law Rule 158. States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.  (In other words, it's a crime to not prosecute war criminals.)

Sign the petition.  

 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Golden Rule Peace Boat Project

from AJ (Skip) Oliver, Golden Rule Committee:
 
Mission 

Golden Rule in Hawaii 1958
This project aims to advance VFP's opposition to nuclear weapons and war, and to do so in a very memorable and intriguing way. We have recovered and are restoring the original peace boat, the Golden Rule, that first sailed in 1958 to stop nuclear testing in the atmosphere, and which inspired generations of peace makers and peace ships that followed. The restored Golden Rule will voyage once more, to show that a nuclear peace is possible, and that bravery and tenacity can overcome militarism.  

Background 

In 1958, a crew of anti-nuclear weapons activists set sail from San Pedro, California, in an attempt to interpose themselves and the boat between the U.S. Government and the testing of nuclear weapons in the air and water of the Marshall Islands. They were twice boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the crew were arrested, tried, and jailed in Honolulu. But, far from being defeated, their example helped to ignite a storm of world-wide public outrage against nuclear weapons that resulted in the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, and which has continued down to the present in the many organizations working to abolish weapons of mass destruction. The example set by the Golden Rule and her crew helped set in motion many environmental and peace voyagers and craft that followed in her wake including the Phoenix of Hiroshima, and later Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds, among others. 

The use of nonviolent direct action as a basic guiding principle of the Golden Rule’s crew would also influence future generations. Two of her crew would later be among the original Freedom Riders in the American south. It is in their memory, and the causes for which they sacrificed, that the Veterans For Peace have vowed that the Golden Rule shall again ride the waves of peace. 

The re-born Golden Rule, like the original, will inspire a new generation of peace and environmental activism. The poem below by U.S. Navy atomic veteran Stephen Osborn explains well why we do what we do. Learn more at the Golden Rule Project website.



I Have Seen the Dragon

I have seen the Dragon
Through clenched lids and arms pressed tight.
I have felt its hot breath on my back
And listened to the rumble of its voice.

I have looked upon its breath,
Glowing Amethyst, red and purple,
Climbing towards the stratosphere
To deposit its venom downwind.

I have waited in fear as my gums began to bleed
And my hair came out in clumps.
I breathed a prayer of thanks
As I began to heal.

After fifty years, our ranks are thin,
We who have seen the Dragon and survived.
Those who have died or are sickened still,
Their numbers are legion.

All we can hope for, work for, pray for,
Is that no madman will ever be allowed
To unleash the Dragon again.
For its legacy to all is death, disease and decay.

                       © Stephen M. Osborn
                           2 November 2006 



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

New York Times meets the War Crimes Times
 -- better late than never!
See "Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses"

SEEKING PEACE, THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON


Let us observe the spirit of the season — peace and goodwill — and be kind to our neighbors, courteous to our fellow shoppers, forgiving to other motorists, and generous and charitable toward the stranger, the foreigner, the enemy.


Such peace, goodwill, charity and kindness sprang forth 100 years ago this Christmas in a highly unlikely setting — the 500-mile-long Western Front of the First World War — as widespread, unofficial truces occurred spontaneously. Read more...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday card idea from Becky Luening


I was inspired to design this folding card on the Christmas Truce centenary theme. I would be happy to share a print-ready layout for these cards in exchange for a donation of any amount made to Veterans For Peace or to the Vietnam Friendship Village....
 
--Becky Luening becky.pdx@gmail.com 
Card inside

Card back

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Press Release from Voices for Creative Nonviolence



(See War Crimes Indictment below)

December 11, 2014            

 Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Jefferson City, MO— On December 10, a federal magistrate found Georgia Walker, of Kansas City, MO and Chicagoan Kathy Kelly guilty of criminal trespass to a military installation as a result of their June 1 effort to deliver a loaf of bread and a citizens’ indictment of drone warfare to authorities at Whiteman AFB. Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced Kelly to three months in prison and Walker to one year of supervised probation.

In testimony, Kelly, who recently returned from Afghanistan, recounted her conversation with an Afghan mother whose son, a recent police academy graduate, was killed by a drone as he sat with colleagues in a garden. “I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare,” said Kelly. “The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why.”

During sentencing, prosecution attorneys asked that Walker be sentenced to five years of probation and banned from going within 500 feet of any military base. Judge Whitworth imposed a sentence of one year probation with a condition that Walker refrain from approaching any military base for one year. Walker coordinates an organization that provides re-entry services to newly released prisoners throughout Missouri. Noting that the condition to stay away from military bases will affect her ability to travel in the region, Walker expressed concern that this condition will limit her work among former prisoners.

Kelly’s work as a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence places her alongside people in a working class neighborhood of Kabul. She said that the day’s proceedings offered a valuable opportunity to shed light on experiences of Afghan families whose grievances are seldom heard. At the conclusion of the sentencing, Kelly said that every branch of U.S. government, including the judicial branch, shares responsibility for suffering caused when drones target and kill civilians.



WAR CRIMES INDICTMENT

To President Obama, to Secretary of Defense Secretary Charles Hagel, to the full Military Chain of the Command, including Brig Gen. Glen D. Van Herck, to all Service Members and civilian staff of Whiteman Air Base, and to the local police and Sheriffs Department of Jefferson City, MO:

Each one of you, when you became a public servant, serving in a government position or when you joined the United States Armed Forces or police, you publicly promised to uphold the United States Constitution. We take this opportunity to call your attention to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

This clause is known as the Supremacy Clause because it provides that the Constitution and laws of the U.S., including treaties made under authority of the U.S. shall be supreme law of the land. The Supremacy Clause provides part of the Supreme Law of the Land.

One Treaty duly ratified by the U.S. is the United Nations Charter. It was ratified by a vote of 89 to 2 in the U.S. Senate, and signed by the President in 1945. It remains in effect today. As such, it is part of supreme law of the land.

The Preamble of the U.N. Charter states that its purpose is to “save future generation from the scourge of war” and it further states, “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation.”

This Treaty applies both collectively and individually to all three branches of government, on all levels, U.S. federal, state and local governments, starting with the executive branch: the U.S. President and the executive staff; the judicial branch: all judges and staff members of the judiciary; the legislative branch: all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and all departments of Law Enforcement and all civilian staff, who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, which includes Article VI.

Under the U.N. Charter and long established international laws, anyone—civilian, military, government officials, or judge—who knowingly participates in or supports illegal use of force against another nation or its people is committing a war crime.

Today you must recognize that when you promised to uphold the Constitution, you promised to obey Treaties and International Law – as part of the Supreme Law of the Land; and furthermore, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the U.S., you are required to disobey any clearly unlawful order from a superior.

Based on all the above,
WE, THE PEOPLE, CHARGE THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARAK OBAMA AND THE FULL MILITARY CHAIN OF COMMAND UNDER BRIG. GEN. GLEN D. VAN HERCK, EVERY DRONE CREW, AND SERVICE MEMBERS AT WHITEMAN AIR BASE, WITH CRIMES AGAINST PEACE & CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, WITH VIOLATIONS OF PART OF THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS, WARS OF AGGRESSION, VIOLATION OF NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, AND KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS.
We charge that the United States Air Force, headquartered at Whiteman Air Force Base, under the command of Brig Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, is maintaining and deploying UAV weaponized robotic aircraft, called drones. These drones are being used not only in combat situations for the purpose of assassinations but also for killings far removed from combat zones without military defense, to assassinate individuals and groups far removed from military action. Extra judicial killings, such as those the U.S. carries out by drones are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force to commit murder in violation of U.S. and International Law.

It is a matter of public record that the U.S. has used drones in Afghanistan and in Iraq for targeted killings to target specific individuals which has nearly always resulted in the deaths of many others. There is no legal basis for defining the scope of area where drones can or cannot be used, no legal criteria for deciding which people can be targeted for killing, no procedural safeguards to ensure the legality of the decision to kill and the accuracy of the assassination.

In support of this indictment we cite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who has said that the use of drones creates “a highly problematic blurring and the law applicable to the use of inter-state force…. The result has been the displacement of clear legal standards with a vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of a major accountability vacuum…. In terms of the legal framework, many of these practices violate straightforward applicable legal rules.” (See United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council Study on Targeted Killings, 28, May 2010.

The drone attacks either originating at Whiteman or supported here are a deliberate illegal use of force against another nation, and as such are a felonious violation of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. By giving material support to the drone program, you as individuals are violating the Constitution, dishonoring your oath, and committing war crimes. We demand that you stop participating in any part of the operations of UAV drones immediately, being accountable to the people of United States and Afghanistan.

As citizens of this nation, which maintains over 700 military bases around the globe, and the largest, most deadly military arsenal in the world, we believe these words of Martin Luther King still hold true, ”the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”

There is hope for a better world when we, the people, hold our government accountable to the laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent that we ignore our laws and constitution and allow for the unchecked use of lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill whomever it wants, wherever it wants, however it wants with no accountability, we make the world less safe for children everywhere.

We appeal to all United States citizens, military and civilian, and to all public officials, to do as required by the Nuremburg Principles I-VII, and by Conscience, to refuse to participate in these crimes, to denounce them, and to resist them nonviolently.

Signed by: Peaceworkers, Trifecta Missouri, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
 


Guidelines for submissions to WCT

The ideal article for the quarterly print version of The War Crimes Times: 600 to 1200 crisply-written words on a topic relevant to our mission.

We also welcome high resolution photos, cartoons, poetry, and letters to the editor.

Third party material will be considered only with the express permission of the copyright holder.

The WCT editorial team will consider all submissions. If your submission is selected for publication, we will notify you. If your submission is rejected, please do not be discouraged. Many criteria — such as timeliness, style, freshness, relevance to the WCT mission or the particular issue's theme, and content of recent issues — are used to determine WCT content.

Submissions are due no later than the 1st of the month that the paper is printed: March, June, September, and December. EARLY SUBMISSIONS HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF BEING CONSIDERED.

Send, in electronic format (preferred), to editor@WarCrimesTimes.org or to Editor, WCT/VFP, PO Box 10664, Greensboro, NC 27404. (Note: due to size constraints, all submissions may not be used in the print edition, but all will be considered for posting on this blog.)



War Crimes Times Statement of Purpose (revised 06/2011)


The War Crimes Times provides compelling, ongoing information on war and the war crimes that invariably accompany war, the many costs of war, the effects of our war culture on our national character and international reputation, and the need to hold accountable those who initiate and conduct illegal wars. Additionally and importantly, we also report on the efforts of the many people who sacrifice their time, money, and comfort to work for peace.


When national leaders initiate hostilities they create the conditions—the extreme use of force coupled with limited accountability—for the war crimes which invariably follow. War crimes are therefore an inherent part of war. The suffering caused and the enmity aroused by war crimes must be regarded as costs of war. Since these and other costs far exceed any benefits of war, we seek to end war as a tool of international policy.


Towards this goal, we believe that holding war criminals accountable will send a strong message to all current and future heads of state to very carefully weigh all the consequences of the decision to go to war. While we recognize that United States has long relied on unlawful military force to further its foreign policy goals, we are particularly concerned with the blatant and egregious violations of international law committed by the United States beginning with the Administration of George W. Bush and now continued and expanded under President Obama.


We endorse any efforts, including impeachment, which would bring war criminals of any administration to justice. The War Crimes Times has resolved to see that Bush, Cheney, Obama, and other government officials and military officers who have committed war crimes are prosecuted—no matter how long it takes.


There is no statute of limitations on war crimes.