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ArialIs this the beginning of what George Monbiot advocates in his _Manifesto for a New World Order_? Would that it were!!! Wren Osborn 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/071505G.shtml The World Speaks on Iraq By Richard Falk t r u t h o u t | Perspective Friday 15 July 2005 The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) held its final session in Istanbul June 24-27 - the last and most elaborate of sixteen condemnations of the Iraq War held all over the world in the last two years in Barcelona, Tokyo, Brussels, Seoul, New York, London, Mumbai and other cities. The Istanbul session used the verdicts and some of the testimony from the earlier sessions; this cumulative nature of the sessions built interest among peace activists, resulting in this final session having by far the strongest international flavor. This cumulative process, described by organizers as "the tribunal movement," is unique in history: Never before has a war aroused this level of protest on a global scale - first to prevent it (the huge February 15, 2003, demonstrations in eighty countries) and then to condemn its inception and conduct. The WTI is one expression of the opposition of global civil society to the Iraq War, an initiative best understood as a contribution to "moral globalization." The WTI generated intense interest in Turkey, Europe, the Arab world and on the Internet but was ignored by the American mainstream media. Here in Istanbul, the WTI was treated for days as the number-one news story. There are several explanations for this, starting with near-unanimous opposition to the Iraq War in Turkey. More relevant were the vivid connections between Turkey and the war - physical proximity, an array of adverse effects and, more dramatic, a contradictory government posture: the refusal of the Turkish Parliament in 2003 to give in to US pressure to authorize an invasion of Iraq from Turkish territory, while the Prime Minister allowed the continuing use of the huge US air base at Incirlik for strategic operations during and after the war. The WTI was loosely inspired by the Bertrand Russell tribunal held in Copenhagen and Stockholm in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War, which documented with extensive testimony the allegations of criminality associated with the American role in Vietnam. The Russell tribunal featured the participation of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and other notable European left intellectuals. It relied on international law and morality to condemn the war but made no pretension of being a legal body, and its jury contained no international law experts. Of course, a tribunal of this sort is immediately criticized on one hand as a kangaroo court that ignores the other sides of the legal and political argument and, on the other, is treated as a meaningless use of a courtroom format since there is neither an adversary process nor enforcement powers. In my view, these criticisms reveal a misunderstanding of the undertaking. To be sure, the WTI is not an organ of the state and cannot count on its judgments being implemented by such state institutions as police or prisons. Rather, the WTI is self-consciously an organ of civil society, with its own potential enforcement by way of economic boycotts, civil disobedience and political campaigns. And on the substantive issues of legality, it is designed to confirm the truth of the widely held allegations about the Iraq War, not to discover the truth by way of political, legal and moral inquiry and debate. It proceeds from a presumption that the allegations of illegality and criminality are valid and that its job is to reinforce that conclusion as persuasively and vividly as possible. The motivations of citizens to organize such a tribunal do not arise from uncertainty about issues of legality and morality but from a conviction that the official institutions of the state, including the United Nations, have failed to act to protect a vulnerable people against such Nuremberg crimes as aggression, violations of the laws of war, and crimes against humanity. It is only because of such institutional failures in the face of ongoing suffering and abuse like that in Iraq that individuals and institutions made the immense organizational effort to put together this kind of transnational civic tribunal. We should also recall that the Nuremberg Tribunal's enduring contribution was not finding out whether the Nazi regime had committed the crimes alleged but documenting its criminality. The decision of the WTI was rendered by a fifteen-member Jury of Conscience, chaired by Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, and composed of prominent activists from around the world. Two Americans, David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Eve Ensler, of Vagina Monologues fame, were jury members. The jury also included Chandra Muzaffar, Malaysia's leading human rights advocate and noted author, as well as two internationally respected Turkish intellectual personalities, Murat Belge and Ayse Erzan. A Panel of Advocates - coordinated by Turgut Tarhanli, dean of the Bilgi Law School in Istanbul, and myself - organized the fifty-four presentations offered to the jury. The advocates came from a wide range of backgrounds, and the presentations included some incisive analyses of international law issues by such respected world experts as Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics; Amy Bartholomew of Carleton University, Ottawa; Barbara Olshansky, Assistant Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who made a gripping presentation of the gruesome record of abuse of detainees and prisoners held by the US Government since 9/11; two former assistant secretary generals of the UN (Denis Halliday & Hans von Sponeck), both of whom had resigned in the 1990s to protest the genocidal effects of UN sanctions in Iraq. There were accounts of the devastation and cruelty of the occupation by several seemingly credible eye-witnesses who had held important non-government jobs in pre-invasion Iraq; a moving presentation of why he turned against the Iraq War by Tim Goodrich, a former American soldier and co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War; and overall assessments of how the Iraq War fits into American ambitions for global empire by such renowned intellectuals as Samir Amin, Johan Galtung, and Walden Bello. Their presentations combined an acute explanation of the strains on world order arising from predatory forms of economic globalization with the view that the US response to 9/11 was mainly motivated by regional and global strategic aims and only incidentally, if at all, by antiterrorism. After compromise and debate, the jury reached a unanimous verdict that combined findings with recommendations for action. Its core conclusion condemned the Iraq War as a war of aggression in violation of the UN Charter and international law, and determined that those responsible for planning and waging it should be held criminally responsible. George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz were listed in the jury verdict by name. Less predictably, the UN was faulted for failing to fulfill its responsibilities to protect member states against aggression. One recommendation supported the rights of the Iraqi people to resist an illegal occupation, as authorized by international law. Further recommendations specified that US media be held responsible for contributing to the war of aggression, that American and British products associated with corporations doing business in Iraq - like Halliburton, British Petroleum, and Bechtel - be boycotted, and that peace movement activists around the world urge the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq. The verdict was framed as a moral and political assessment of the Iraq War, and relied on the guidelines of international law to lend legal weight to its essentially political and moral conclusions. The jury's view of international law accords with a nearly unanimous consensus of international law experts outside the United States and Britain. Arundhati Roy imparted the prevailing spirit of civic dedication and moral leadership in a press statement at the end of the final session. Her words summarize the experience for many of us: the WTI "places its faith in the consciences of millions of people across the world who do not wish to stand by and watch while the people of Iraq are being slaughtered, subjugated and humiliated." 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/232622_ourplace15.html War in Iraq Violates International Law By Tom Krebsbach The Seattle Post-Inteligencer Friday 15 July 2005 More than two grueling years have passed since US and coalition forces stormed into the sovereign nation of Iraq. Still there has been little discussion in this country about the legal standing of the invasion. Perhaps that is because most Americans are reluctant to admit this inconvenient but certain fact: The United States/United Kingdom invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war of aggression, a crime against the peace as defined by the Nuremberg Principles. Various legal experts employed by the coalition governments will dispute this. But their arguments are incredibly weak and are not taken seriously by an overwhelming majority of scholars of international law in the world. These independent legal scholars, such people as Sean Murphy of George Washington University, Mary Ellen O'Connell of Ohio State University and Philippe Sands of University College London, all hold that the invasion was a blatant violation of international law. There are only two cases in which a nation or group of nations can legally undertake armed intervention against another nation: in self-defense against an armed attack or if the United Nations Security Council authorizes a coalition of nations to intervene militarily to maintain peace and security in the world. Contrary to what the Bush administration would like the world to believe, the invasion of Iraq can be justified neither on the basis of self-defense nor because it was sanctioned by the Security Council. These are the facts that outline the legal status of the war: * The primary grievance against Iraq was the claim that it had weapons of mass destruction and ongoing illicit weapons programs. * The UN weapons inspection team was invasively and thoroughly determining whether such weapons or weapons programs existed in Iraq. * The UN Security Council was not willing to grant authority to invade Iraq while the UN inspection team was handling the illicit weapons problem peacefully. * President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq anyway, in contravention of the UN Security Council and the UN Charter. Without Security Council authorization, the invasion was illegal and must be classified as a war of aggression. Should Americans be concerned about international law? It is quite clear that Bush has little regard for it. Yet, the United States was founded on the basis of the rule of law. Article VI of the Constitution states that treaties, which this country has signed and ratified, are the "supreme law of the land." The UN Charter is such a treaty, and it was created in large part because of the efforts of this country following World War II. For this country to so egregiously transgress the charter's prohibition on the use of force is not only a violation of international law, it is a violation of our Constitution and a repudiation of much of what this country stands for. A thoughtful person does not require the US Constitution or the UN Charter to understand the monstrosity of this invasion. Common sense and decency should tell us that launching an unprovoked invasion of another country, even one ruled by a man as nefarious as Saddam Hussein, is simply mass murder. What of the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have died as a result of this military incursion? Did anyone ask them if they were willing to sacrifice their lives in a risky attempt to install democracy in their land? Whether Americans realize it or not, the integrity of the United States has been dealt a serious blow. This country can no longer be regarded as a nation that stands upon the legal and moral high ground. There is little doubt people of most countries now regard us as hypocrites. In an effort to regain our lost integrity, it is time we hold accountable, through impeachment and prosecution, the leaders who planned and launched this disastrous and criminal war. Tom Krebsbach of Brier is a Vietnam veteran. ------- (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the originator.) 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.middleeast.org/launch/redirect.cgi?a=44&num=94 July 6, 2005 MediaLens 1998,1998,FFFEwww.medialens.org THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE VANISHING WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ "The best relationship with our viewers is no longer one of parent-child but of consenting adults trying to piece together the best picture of the world." (Roger Mosey, head of BBC TV news) "A good case can be made that propaganda is a more important means of social control in open societies like the United States than in closed societies like the late Soviet Union... This system of thought control is not centrally managed... It operates mainly by individual and market choices, with the frequent collective service to the national interest arising from common interests and internalised beliefs." (Edward Herman) World Tribunal? What World Tribunal? Media Lens has detected a recent shift in media reporting. It is hard to quantify, but there is a palpable uneasiness amongst media professionals at the increasing rise of the 'blogosphere' and internet-based 'alternative' media sites. Joe and Jo Public are increasingly aware that the news and commentary distributed by the BBC, ITN, Channel 4 news and the liberal broadsheets, are protecting major war criminals in London and Washington. A blanket of almost total media silence covers Bush and Blair's crimes in Iraq, and their support for relentless corporate exploitation around the globe. These war criminals continue to be presented as world-straddling father figures who could "solve" poverty in Africa and so become the beloved figureheads of a "great generation". Consider that virtually the entire British media ignored the deliberations of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul from June 24-27. Modelled on Bertrand Russell's tribunal on the US invasion of Vietnam, the tribunal consisted of hearings into numerous aspects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A jury of conscience from ten different countries listened to the testimony of 54 advocates. This jury declared the war one of the most unjust in history: "The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated." (World Tribunal on Iraq, 'Press Release about Jury Statement,' June 27, 2005, 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=93) The jury presented 13 findings against the US and UK governments that included: * Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles. * Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure. * Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems. * Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter. * Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors. The jury also levelled charges against the security council of the United Nations for "failing to stop war crimes amongst other crimes". It also charged "private corporations for profiting from the war" and accused the corporate media of "disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to report atrocities". (ibid.) Veteran activist Walden Bello, reporting from Istanbul, pointed in particular to the "combination of eyewitness accounts that made clear beyond a shadow of doubt that the siege of Fallujah in November 2004 was a case of collective punishment". (Bello, 'The Perfect Storm: the World Tribunal,' June 28, 2005; 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.focusweb.org/main/html/Article631.html) Bello noted, too, that the tribunal clearly showed the extent of "the western media's participation in the manipulation of public opinion". At a press conference after the tribunal, jury chairperson Arundathi Roy said: "If there is one thing that has come out clearly in the last few days, it is not that the corporate media supports the global corporate project; it +is+ the global corporate project." This is a perfect summation indicating why corporate crimes rarely surface in the corporate media. A newspaper database search on July 5 revealed that only one newspaper - the small-circulation Morning Star - had reported on the Tribunal. There was nothing in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Financial Times, the Times or any of the other 'watchdogs of democracy'. There were also zero mentions at BBC news online. Although Media Lens is unable to monitor all television and radio news bulletins, we are not aware of any broadcast reports of the tribunal. The level of professional media discipline required to fail to report such an important event is truly remarkable. But then, as we have frequently noted, this is standard practice when 'our' crimes are under scrutiny, rather than the crimes of official 'enemies'. Violent And Barbaric US Soldiers BBC news director Helen Boaden was pressed by several Media Lens readers - acting of their own volition, an uncomfortable thought for some in the media - just why the BBC had ignored all the evidence of Bush and Blair's war crimes presented at the World Tribunal on Iraq. She replied: "We've covered the issues discussed many times and will continue do so, though we did not cover this - not least for logistical reasons." (Email to Media Lens reader, June 29, 2005) Readers may well be scratching their heads, wondering how they managed to miss all of these BBC reports covering the G8 leaders' culpability for war crimes. You may also be wondering why the BBC, one of the world's most lavishly-funded news corporations, could not manage even one short item from Istanbul on any of its flagship news programmes. Regular readers may recall that Boaden has already declared publicly that: "you can be certain that if we had proof of [US war crimes], it would be leading every bulletin." (Email to Media Lens, May 19, 2005) But despite the copious evidence presented at the World Tribunal in Istanbul, the BBC maintains a stoic refusal to report US/UK atrocities and war crimes. However, the BBC can no longer maintain, for example, that there is no evidence of napalm use by US forces in Iraq. It is now on the official record that the US +has+ deployed an updated form of napalm - and that US officials even lied about it to Britain (See: Colin Brown, 'US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war,' The Independent, June 17, 2005; Andrew Sparrow, 'Parliament misled over firebomb use,' Daily Telegraph, June 20, 2005; Richard Norton-Taylor, 'US misled UK over Iraq fire bombs,' The Guardian, July 1, 2005). We have seen no BBC bulletin leading with - or even mentioning - the appalling issue of napalm use by "coalition" forces in Iraq. Nor have we seen any mention of the urgent humanitarian crisis in the western Iraqi cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im, an area that is home to 300,000 people, where hospitals have been attacked and damaged by US forces. Eyewitnesses, including medical personnel, claim that US soldiers violated the Geneva Convention and international law by preventing civilians from accessing healthcare. US forces also prevented food and medication reaching Haditha and Al-Qa'im and targeted the cities' two main hospitals, medical staff and ambulances. According to Dr. Salam Ismael, general secretary of the Doctors for Iraq Society: "Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed on a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians in need. A number of doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days. "The huge military operations in the area have caused widespread damage and an unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack. "Video footage shot by doctors shows a badly damage medical store in the Haditha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store contained medicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centres in the west of Iraq. Staff and patients say the damage was carried out by 'by violent and barbaric US soldiers.'" (Ismael, 'Iraqi hospitals attacked and damaged by US forces,' July 2, 2005; 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ISM20050702& articleId=624) Reports of brutal "coalition" attacks on Iraqi hospitals, however, are deemed unsuitable for British audiences of mainstream media, including the 'impartial' BBC. SUGGESTED ACTION The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. When writing emails to journalists, we strongly urge readers to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone. Write to Helen Boaden, director of BBC news, Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] And Roger Mosey, head of BBC television news: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] And Mark Byford, deputy director-general Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Ask why the BBC is failing to cover the many reports of alleged US war crimes in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. Why did the main BBC news programmes ignore the recent World Tribunal on Iraq? When has the BBC ever reported on Bush and Blair's culpability for war crimes? Please copy your emails to the following: Pete Clifton, BBC news online editor Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Mark Thompson, BBC director general Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Michael Grade, BBC chairman Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Ask the following newspaper editors why they ignored the recent World Tribunal on Iraq: Martin Newland, editor of the Daily Telegraph: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday,: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Observer editor, Roger Alton: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Financial Times editor, Andrew Gowers: Email: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] Please send copies of all emails to us at: 1998,1998,FFFE[log in to unmask] This is a free service. However, financial support is vital. Please consider giving less to the corporate media and donating more to Media Lens: 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.medialens.org/donate.html A printer-friendly version of this alert can be found here for approximately one week after the date at the top: 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.medialens.org/alerts/index.php and then, thereafter, in our archive at: 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.medialens.org/alerts/archive.php ---------- 1998,1998,FFFEhttp://www.medialens.org/alerts/