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Saturday, October 30, 2010

WIKILEAKS IRAQ WAR LOGS: LEGAL ACTION IS UNAVOIDABLE

 Date: 30 October 2010
From: Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq
 
To all victims of the US-UK invasion of Iraq and their families,

To all Iraqis,

To all Parties of the Genocide Convention, the Four Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention against Torture,

To all progressive lawyers, legal associations and institutions, parliamentarians, international civil servants, and everyone who supports legal action to ensure redress for Iraqi victims of US-UK crimes:

Just over a year ago, we submitted a legal case before the Audencia Nacional in Madrid under laws of universal jurisdiction against four US presidents and four UK prime ministers — George H W Bush, William J Clinton, George W Bush, Barack H Obama, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown — on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. This case was based on our analysis of hundreds of documents available in the public domain, along with firsthand witness testimony that informed our effort and our designation of US-UK actions as genocide.[1]

The essence of our case was that the accumulated pattern of harm, stretching over 19 years, revealed a clear and specific “intent to destroy”, in whole or in part, the state and nation of Iraq. We catalogued the purposive dismantling of the Iraqi state and the imposition, incitement and engineering of sectarian conflict. We also described the systematic destruction of Iraq’s civil infrastructure, added to the massive use of depleted uranium, which from 1990 onwards led to millions of excess deaths. We outlined the use of disproportionate and indiscriminate force, the use of internationally prohibited weapons such as white phosphorus, and the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare. And we identified the use of death squads and armed militias associated with political forces promoted by and protected by Washington, the terror that led to the forced mass displacement of five million Iraqis, and the institutionalised regime of mass and arbitrary detention and torture, along with blackmail, kidnapping, rape and unfair trials, that characterised Iraq under US occupation.

The Wikileaks disclosure

The near 400,000 classified documents that Wikileaks recently published substantiate the claims we made in our case and constitute official US evidence of elements of the case we presented: the existence in Iraq of a regime of systematic torture; rape used as a weapon of warfare and terror; incidence of arbitrary, summary and extrajudicial executions; the routine use by US armed forces of indiscriminate and disproportionate force; the alarming collapse of the division between military and civilian targets, with two thirds of the victims registered in the leaked documents being acknowledged as civilians. We will add these documents to our archive of evidence.

But these documents alone must be situated. While adding to the picture of the real war conducted, they do not contain it.

1. Inevitably, the leaked documents tell the story of the Iraq war from the perspective of — and within the confines of — the US military and its record-keeping practice. One cannot expect this practice to be anything but influenced by US Army culture and the operational goal of winning the war.

2. The leaked documents do not cover the actions of the CIA and other non-US Army agencies in the Iraq war, or similar agencies of foreign powers.

3. The leaked documents do not cover the role or actions of US security contractors, or mercenaries, in the Iraq war, which were granted legal immunity by the US occupation.

4. The leaked documents do not cover the role or actions of sectarian militias and death squads linked to foreign states and political forces in the US-sponsored and vetted political process, and that conducted campaigns of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity targeting Arab Sunnis, Turkmen, Christians, Yezidis, Sabeans, and Shabak as such, and even innocent Shia, in addition to the systematic assassination of middle class professionals.

5. The leaked documents provide raw data on day-to-day operations but do not contain information on the strategic planning or aims of the war.

6. The leaked documents only cover self-reported incidents, while the body count overall only encompasses the dead the US Army recovered.

7. The leaked documents do not collate the overwhelming bulk of the killing in Iraq, which involved militias incorporated into the new Iraqi Security Forces led by Iraq’s puppet governments — among which that of Nouri Al-Maliki — and for which the US, as the occupying power, is legally responsible.

8. The leaked documents do not cover the orchestrated plunder of national and individual property, individual appropriation of state property, arbitrary dismissal and refusal of work, and the mass non-payment of salaries and withdrawal of social rights. Nor do the documents shed light on the collapse of Iraq’s economy, and the consequent mass impoverishment and displacement of Iraqis.

9. The leaked documents do not cover non-violent excess deaths in Iraq, whether the result of the collapse of Iraq’s public health system, the contamination of Iraq’s environment, including by radioactive munitions, and the spread of disease amid the overall collapse of all public services, including provision of electricity, a functioning sewage system, and clean water.

10. The leaked documents do not shed any light on the trauma induced by the US-led war on individual Iraqis and the Iraqi nation as a whole.

Demand for legal action

At present, there is a full-scale damage limitation effort ongoing, headed by the US Pentagon and involving: attempts to focus attention away from the detail of the leaked documents and onto the founder of Wikileaks and his person; to focus attention on the failure to act against torture when it involved Iraqi police and paramilitary forces, ignoring US practices of torture or the culture of violence the US occupation has promoted overall (including by specifically training and arming death squads and militias); and to divert attention to the role of Iran while failing to contextualise the cooperative relation between the United States and Iran in the destruction of Iraq.

Despite US manoeuvres, the United States administration and the government of Iraq stand equally accused. Neither can be trusted to investigate the facts contained in the classified documents Wikileaks has brought into the public domain. Only action that invokes the universal jurisdiction of the conventions the US and Iraqi governments have violated in Iraq can be satisfactory and objective. And only by stepping back and reviewing the whole period, from 1990 through until now, can one adequately situate the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs and understand their importance.

Wikileaks has done a tremendous service to truth in times of war, and has placed before us raw evidence that is compelling, undeniable, and that tells — in part — the story of the Iraq war in a way until now untold. We salute Wikileaks and its sources for the courageous act of releasing the classified Iraq War Logs. We call on all lawyers, judges and juridical institutions to display equal courage, and in coalition to work towards the swift prosecution of US and UK war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. We believe that only by coordinated action can those responsible for grave crimes and rights violations in Iraq be held accountable.

We therefore call for the formation of an international coalition of lawyers, legal specialists and antiwar and anti-occupation progressive forces to realise this obligation.

We are ready to cooperate with and join any effort that aims to ensure redress and reparations for Iraqi victims of US and UK crimes.

There is no excuse now for failing to take legal action everywhere it is feasible, both at the national level — where the universal jurisdiction of international conventions permits — and beyond. But legal action must be informed by an analysis of the nature of the war as a whole, and by the testimony not only of the US Army, but also Arab and international solidarity groups and associations, and foremost the Iraqi people — the victims of the US-led war of aggression on Iraq.

Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq

Contacts:

We are not taking signatures for this call to action; rather we ask those with requisite skills to commit to building a new coalition to pursue legal action, which we also commit to join. Please inform us of your efforts, in the hope that together we can build towards effective legal action:

info@USgenocide.org

Dr Ian Douglas, coordinator of the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq and member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Hana Al Bayaty, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal and the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq

Abdul Ilah Albayaty, political analyst and member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Serene Assir, member of the Advisory Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Dirk Adriaensens, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Web:

www.USgenocide.org www.twitter.com/USgenocide www.facebook.com/USgenocide

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Open Letter on the Needed Response to the Upcoming Wikileaks Report

by Josh Stieber (written October 22,2010)

Dear members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other willing parties,

This is an anticipatory letter aimed to advise you on your response and responsibility for the coming Wikileaks release, expected on October 23rd. Based on the White House's response to the last leak about Afghanistan, the temptation seems strong to once again divert attention away from accountability.

I write as a young veteran who once fully embraced the concept of a preemptive war to keep my fellow citizens safe and, as President Bush declared, because "America is a friend to the people of Iraq." I now
hope to preempt your response to the information regarding that war in which I fought. When I learned in school about the design of the American system of government and all the noble qualities it represented, invading Iraq seemed to me, at the time, to be a surefire way to make the world a better place.

On the front-lines, however, I saw those very values that had so inspired me seldom put into practice. Despite claims of goodwill, infantry training left my comrades and I desensitized; how could we scream "Kill them all, let God sort them out" on a regular basis and still believe that we were caring for the oppressed people of Iraq? The glorious history I'd been taught--where colonists could no longer tolerate harsh British rule and revolted over taxes, lack of representation, quartering of homes, and other offenses--was turned on its head when we displaced Iraqi families from their homes to build an outpost. The will of the people--what a democracy is supposed to rest on--was brushed aside as we stormed past a peaceful protest where
Iraqi men, women, and children had gathered, asking us not to occupy their neighborhood.

Though many of those ideals have fallen, one American ideal that can still be shown, depending on how you react, is that of accountability. Our founding fathers established a system of checks and balances to keep decision makers accountable. However, there has been little accountability in the wars that my friends and I once thought represented everything that was noble about our country. Of course it highlights some of those qualities when investigations find soldiers who kill Afghans for sport; but if legislators, the media, and the
American public had been paying attention to the testimonies of veterans, instances like these would be understood as systemic, perhaps extreme, but certainly not exceptional.

While government statements may be able to divert the attention of U.S. media and public opinion, our national reputation continues to fade in the eyes of people who have been at both ends of the gun. Do
you think an Afghan whose loved one was killed by mistake--perhaps the families of the seven children mistakenly killed by Task Force 373 on June 17, 2007 in the Khelof province(1) cares what Bradley Manning, accused leaker, said to a hacker? Do you think a soldier who was asked to betray his or her beliefs and conscience cares if Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, has a fierce temper?

The coming leak about Iraq is your chance, your obligation to make up for what was largely ignored last time. For every question you ask of Manning and Assange and their characters, the much greater question
needs to be asked of where the accountability in U.S. foreign policy has gone. Pentagon officials said there was blood on Assange's hands over the last leak; can you back those claims? And how do you respond
to the blood that has been needlessly spilled throughout the war? Just as you demand accountability for leakers, you owe accountability to those whose names these wars are carried out in. While you focus on
only questioning the messengers, it seems highly likely that allies of the U.S. will question our priorities and honor, while our adversaries will be further assured that our noble claims of caring for humanity and wanting to save their countries is cheap rhetoric.

Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, griped that he "was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town." (2)

I write on behalf of those around the world who are ashamed to have to listen to the President, along with military and political officials, express their great angst over leaks while seeming to ignore the realities of what those leaks reveal about the very nature of these wars. When you fail to take account for what has been done in our names, funded by our taxes, and fought by those who believe that the U.S. should represent something noble, we will search for and tell the truth; if you are ashamed by citizens practicing the accountability
that our country was designed to demand, then that says more about you than about us.

Please do something different; take accountability for these wars and the full truth about them. More specifically, please take account for what is detailed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan leaks by running the
needed investigations, addressing the policies and practices that have gone unchecked, and beginning a much needed reconciliation process. If you need soldiers who are willing to collaborate what is detailed in the reports, I will be the first to step forward for this round of leaks.

Veterans have been stepping forward, partnered with civilian allies, to tell the truth that the "official story" chases away: Civilian Soldier Alliance. We have taken part in campaigns to prevent the deployment of troops traumatized by what they've been asked to do: Operation Recovery; we have partnered with organizations delivering aid on the ground in Iraq: Iraqi Health Now and have begun to repair some of the damage that these leaks expose: IVAW Reparations. We are living out the care for humanity and personal responsibility that this nation prides itself on; we have a long way to go, and your participation, rather than dismissal, is highly needed.

Thank you for your consideration,

Josh Stieber
SPC, 2-16 Infantry Battalion, Combat Veteran

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IVAW responds to Wikileaks' Iraq War Logs



The latest release by Wikileaks of the Iraq War Logs is the largest leak in U.S. history and reveals in extensive detail what Iraq Veterans Against the War has been saying since our founding in 2004.  The U.S. has presided over a bloody occupation for seven years where war crimes are a common offense, civilian casualties have been grossly under-reported, and corporate contractors run amok.  See our official statement on the Iraq War Logs below.
IVAW Statement on the Iraq War Logs - A Call for Accountability
The recent Wikileaks release--The Iraq War Logs--has shed important light on the high rate of civilian death and widespread atrocities, including torture, that are endemic to the war in Iraq. As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are outraged that the U.S. government sought to hide this information from the U.S. public, instead presenting a sanitized and deceptive version of war, and we think it is vital for this and further information to get out. Members of IVAW have experienced firsthand the realities of war on the ground, and since our inception we have spoken out about similar atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are asking the U.S. public to join us in calling on our government to end the occupations and bring our brothers and sisters home.

The U.S. government has been claiming for years that they do not keep count of civilian death tolls, yet the recent releases show that they do, in fact, keep count. Between 2004 and 2009, according to these newly disclosed records, at least 109,032 Iraqis died, 66,081 of whom were civilians. The Guardian reports that the Iraq War Logs show that the U.S. military and government gave de facto approval for hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder…Read the full IVAW statement.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Profiting from conflict is a war crime



VANCOUVER - Corporations that exploit conflicts to illegally extract or purchase natural resources from war-torn countries should be charged with war crimes, a University of British Columbia professor argues in a document he hopes will encourage governments and prosecutors around the world to pursue such cases.

James Stewart, an expert on international crime, is in The Hague this week to present a legal manual for prosecuting companies that profit from diamonds, gold, oil and land and other resources during times of war.

He says corporations that profit from conflicts in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia have typically been able to escape scrutiny for effectively financing rebel groups and brutal regimes that perpetuate violence.

"Blood diamonds are just the tip of the iceberg — it's blood tin, blood gold, blood timber, the list continues," says Stewart, himself a former war crimes prosecutor.

"Illegal exploitation of natural resources provides money for weapons transfers, which provides weapons for egregious human rights violations, which then in turn motivates local populations to illegally exploit natural resources. The key ingredient here is that certain companies play an indispensable part in this cycle."

Stewart argues companies that obtain natural resources from war zones, either by actively dealing with rebel groups or buying resources they know were extracted illegally, could be charged with the war crime of pillaging — which is essentially theft during war.

He points to a report from the United Nations into the removal of mineral and forest resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the conflict in the African country.

The report named dozens of corporations, mostly Western-based, that were involved in extracting resources from the Congo. Those relationships helped fund the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire and enrich neighbouring countries that became involved in conflict that raged through much of the 1990s.

"These companies — and many common household name companies — are involved in the illegal exploitation of natural resources," says Stewart. "What makes it illegal is essentially the theft: they're buying or extracting resources from people who don't own the resources, often rebel groups, often notoriously brutal regimes."

Stewart says a number of corporations were successfully prosecuted following the Second World War for collaborating with the Germans to access resources in Nazi-occupied regions, but there have been virtually no similar cases since.

"In the modern era, with the rise of international prosecution, there hasn't been a similar interest in the companies that are facilitating atrocities," he says.

Stewart hopes his manual changes that.

The conference in The Hague — titled Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting Pillage of Natural Resources — will be attended by prosecutors and war crimes investigators from around the world, including from the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

He says he's created the first comprehensive manual explaining how the current laws relate to corporations profiting from conflicts — and he predicts that will prompt courts to launch prosecutions against such companies.

"I think this provides a missing blueprint for dealing with resource wars that many, many people are interested in," he says.

The conference is sponsored by the Dutch and Canadian ministries of justice, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the University of British Columbia and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Israel is relieved not to be the only war criminal


Israel should thank Goldstone, and America should thank Julian Assange. Their revelations prove the futility of war and its crimes. Imagine how much hatred America has sown in Iraq, with its thousands of mourning families, and how much hatred Israel has sown in Gaza, with its thousands of mourning families and its ruination.
 

The voice of joy, the voice of rejoicing is heard in Israel: The Americans and British have also committed for war crimes, not only us. WikiLeaks' revelations have inflamed all our noisy propagandists: Where is Goldstone, they rejoiced, and what would he have said? They were relieved. If the Americans are allowed to do it, so are we.

Indeed, the Americans are not allowed, and neither are we. When the traffic police stop a driver for speeding, the argument that "others do it" will not help him. When Richard Goldstone exposes war crimes in Gaza, the claim that "everyone does it" will not help us. Not everyone does it, and when they do, they should be excoriated and penalized.

According to the logic of Israeli propagandists, some of whom are disguised as journalists, Israel should now proudly look at the rest of the world: They killed more people there. There is no need to improve prison conditions in Israel - in China the situation is much worse; there is no need to upgrade health services - in America 50 million people have no insurance; no need to reduce the gap between rich and poor - in Mexico it is greater; we can continue to assassinate without trial - the British also do it; human rights are protected here - the Iranians are much worse; Israel has no corruption - look what's happening in Africa; the United States has the death penalty - let's have it too; it is even permissible to kill dissident journalists - look at the Russians.

Yes, war is cruel, the world is full of crimes and injustice, but not one of them exonerates Israel, even if Israel's sins seem pure as snow compared to those of the great United States. Now is the time to sharply censure America, not to forgive Israel.

It is the task of all patriots and people of conscience to express their fury over any such revelations, especially, of course, in their own country. Israelis must aspire to a more just and much more law-abiding country, without reference to what is going on in the world. True, we are not the worst; far from it. The number of civilians killed in Iraq, as was revealed, is a thousand times more horrific than the number killed in Gaza. So what? Even if the world holds us to a harsher standard, our hands do not become any cleaner. The world is more strict with us for various reasons, some justified, and at the same time treats us favorably and turns a blind eye to many other things. And in any case, the determining factor should be what we see in the mirror, if we look at it honestly.

Our rejoicing propagandists have changed their tactics now: no longer "the most moral army in the world," a contention any reasonable person can see is ridiculous. Now they say: "We are terrible, like all the rest." That claim does not hold water, especially because Israel is not judged only by one or another of its military operations, but by its decades-long occupation, with no end in sight. Such a lengthy occupation is unparalleled in the modern world and a disgrace to Israel, no matter what America is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks has proven that in the end the truth will out; it is hard to hide anything in this era. Goldstone also showed it, albeit much less dramatically. Some two years after Operation Cast Lead, even the Israel Defense Forces is still dealing with it here and there, investigating and trying officers and soldiers who did what the Goldstone report, which so infuriated Israel, said they did.

Israel should thank Goldstone, and America should thank Julian Assange. Their revelations prove the futility of war and its crimes. Imagine how much hatred America has sown in Iraq, with its thousands of mourning families, and how much hatred Israel has sown in Gaza, with its thousands of mourning families and its ruination.

How futile are all the assassinations and the torture, abuse and false arrests, with Iraq and Gaza looking as they do.

What are we brandishing? More than 100,000 dead in a terrible, useless war, the whim of a democratic leader? True, George W. Bush should now be sent to The Hague. But the fact that others are doing it, as Assange's revelations show, is the consolation of fools

Thursday, October 21, 2010

War Veteran Michael Prysner Speaks

In this 4:39 minute video,  Michael Prysner tells us that the racism fostered by our government is the most destructive weapon of all. It's a tool used to  "justify" destruction, occupation, and killing. There will only be war if soldiers are willing to fight--that is, if they can be coerced into fighting by the rich and powerful. The real enemy is the system that wages war because it's profitable...check it out

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Report Shows Drones Strikes Based on Scant Evidence

By Gareth Porter
  
"...a civilian victim of a drone strike in North Waziristan carried out during the Obama administration recounted how his home had been visited by Taliban troops asking for lunch. He said he had agreed out of fear of refusing them. The very next day, he recalled, the house was destroyed by a missile from a drone, killing his only son."
  
WASHINGTON, Oct 18, 2010 (IPS) - New information on the Central Intelligence Agency's campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan directly contradicts the image the Barack Obama administration and the CIA have sought to establish in the news media of a programme based on highly accurate targeting that is effective in disrupting al Qaeda's terrorist plots against the United States.

A new report on civilian casualties in the war in Pakistan has revealed direct evidence that a house was targeted for a drone attack merely because it had been visited by a group of Taliban soldiers.

The report came shortly after publication of the results of a survey of opinion within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan showing overwhelming popular opposition to the drone strikes and majority support for suicide attacks on U.S. forces under some circumstances.

Meanwhile, data on targeting of the drone strikes in Pakistan indicate that they have now become primarily an adjunct of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, targeting almost entirely militant groups involved in the Afghan insurgency rather than al Qaeda officials involved in plotting global terrorism.

The new report published by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) last week offers the first glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes.

In an interview with a researcher for CIVIC, a civilian victim of a drone strike in North Waziristan carried out during the Obama administration recounted how his home had been visited by Taliban troops asking for lunch. He said he had agreed out of fear of refusing them.

The very next day, he recalled, the house was destroyed by a missile from a drone, killing his only son.

The CIVIC researcher, Christopher Rogers, investigated nine of the 139 drone strikes carried out since the beginning of 2009 and found that a total of 30 civilians had been killed in those strikes, including 14 women and children.  Read more.

 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More on the F word

With all the controversy over the use of the "F" word in our recent action I thought I might weigh in with my experience.  In my opinion we engaged the public far more than in the past.  Everyone in the Newseum was engaged, everyone wanted a paper and  many people came outside to support us when the police were deciding whether to arrest Will Covert. 
 
The next day at  the "One Nation Rally" I decided to go into the crowd and try handing out the newspaper among the different groups attending.  I didn't know how they would be received but I am always conscious of the fact that we need to engage those sitting on the sidelines.  I wasn't passing them out to the "choir".  I was AMAZED at the reception!  People eagerly took them and when  someone rarely turned me down the person next to them would say "I'll take one".  I am only sorry I didn't have thousands of papers because I would have worked that whole crowd and that fine edition of "The War Crimes Times" could have reached so many more, could have educated so many more about the true atrocity, cost and profanity of war.
 
It was also edgy and well coordinated.  I am in marketing and in fact one aspect of this type of action is to "market" our message to the public.  I think the worry that using the "f" word on the banner would turn people off is overblown. People understood that the word was used for emphasis and it's become more of a common word anyway these days. They even use it on television! The reception I received and the reception at the rally to the people carrying the smaller "F" banner was amazing.  Hundreds of people wanted to photograph the banner.  I truly cannot think of another time we have been so well received.  People are angry, frustrated and looking for another way; perhaps now is our time to truly engage the people.  The time is ripe for them to be receptive to hearing what we have to say and find out the REAL reason there is no money for education, health care, infrastructure improvement, perhaps NOW they will feel revulsion that their tax dollars are being squandered killing and maiming innocent people.  Perhaps now is the time they will join OUR movement.  In my opinion we should be hawking this paper all over the country at subway stops, bus stops wherever we can.  The only improvement would be to put in a VFP membership form and ask us people to join our struggle to stop this profanity, this war machine.

Debbie Tolson
Veterans For Peace
 

Monday, October 4, 2010

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it in the special edition of the War Crimes Times: “WAR” IS THE OBSCENITY

photo by Ellen Davidson
Veterans For Peace action at the Newseum, Washington, D.C. Oct. 1, 2010

Read the SPECIAL EDITION. View the VIDEO. See the PHOTOS.

The public display of a vulgar adjective applied to an obscene noun generated some controversy, with most respondents in favor of the action. This action, a banner drop with escalating force of language, shocked some folks for sure. But that was the intent. 


Read Kim Carlyle’s article: The “F” word vs. the “W” word


“Most definitely add my signature to any communication from you supporting this action. I am saddened to realize that some of us cannot distinguish between pseudo obscenity and real obscenity. As a former teacher of writing, speaking, journalism and as a practicing publisher, writer, and editor, I can say that under these circumstances ‘fucking’ is the only word that could be used appropriately!”
–David Culver, VFP Chapter 27, Minneapolis

Tarak Kauff writes: I wanted to appreciate and thank everyone who took part in this vivid expression of our anger and disgust at wars and occupations being waged in our names with our tax dollars. I think we have opened another important door in the effort to end war and to end the economic system based on war, war machinery, enormous corporate profit at great cost and loss to the people of this world.  

Perhaps a small, overly cautious, timid minority of the anti-war, peace movement may object to our use of the word "fucking" but to the vast majority it comes as a welcome, much needed expression of public anger over that which is profane and obscene in the deadliest sense. The time for timid, tepid, civil and polite responses to mass murder should have been over long ago. What we have said and expressed is really still mild.

This government, this vile, despicable, inhuman, brutal, goddamn stinking fucking (O.K. words fail me) militaristic, corporate system is destroying the people, animals, environment of this scared planet—and some people are worried about the use of the "f"  word? Children are being orphaned, maimed, killed.

Why are not the American people doing a hell of a lot more to end these wars, to bring justice and peace and end these murderous wars? That's what I want to know!  Why are we not storming the houses of corporate government in mass and demanding peace and not leaving until we get it? That's what I want to know? And some people are worried about the "f" word? Give me a break. Thank all of you for standing up in no uncertain terms for peace. It's an honor to just be around all of you.

I think, "Mr. Obama: End These Fucking Wars! War is the Obscenity" is a significant, important message, even a breath of fresh air, so to speak, put out by individual members and I hope VFP National will be damn fucking proud to stand by it.

Mike Hearington, myself, Bruce Berry, Ellen Davidson, Nate Goldshag, Ward Reilly and Carol from Texas carried the smaller "End These Fucking Wars" banner and VFP flag throughout the entire One Nation rally and people loved it. Hundreds of people made us stop so they could take a picture. Literally tens of thousands of people saw that message live today and then we went to the White house carrying it all the way to take pictures there. Ellen will send some pics out soon to all of you.

Here's the excellent video by Eddie Becker, who we all especially thank.

And Sandy Kelson couldn't be there with us, but his support, consul and current commentary was invaluable and is deeply appreciated. For those who may not have seen it, here's Sandy's latest inspired commentary below.

Peace, Solidarity and gratitude,

Tarak

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.