Greek Lawyers and Blair; Clinton and Kiesling

Nobody can deny the “wisdom” of the US elites. When the peoples of the earth were creating the International Criminal Court in Rome, in 1998, the US Government told them that (being rabble) they can do whatever they wish, but the US (being the Lord’s chosen people) will have nothing to do with this kind of troublesome institution.

So, when the Athens Bar Association on Monday July 28, 2003, filed a suit at the International Criminal Court at the Hague against Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior British government and military officials for crimes against humanity, etc, during the invasion of Iraq by the US, the leader of the invaders, Bush the Second (and Blair’s keeper), remained “untouchable” by the suit of the Greek lawyers. The “wisdom” of the US does pay, always.

The 47-page document filed with the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, by the lawyers of Athens lists 22 crimes that were “perpetrated by subjects of the United Kingdom (military and civilians), some of which in collaboration with citizens of the United States…”

Here is a sample of the crimes listed (as numbered in the document):

2. March 22-23, 2003: The American-British forces attacked residential areas at Basra killing 50 civilians and destroying several houses; reported by Reuters, the News Agency of Athens, Agence France Press, and Al Jazeera…. According to the ICC Statue, the above acts constitute the following war crimes: a) Wilful killing of persons protected under the provisions of the [12 August 1949] Geneva Convention {Article 8, (2), (a), (i)} [of the ICC Statute]. … d) Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly {Article 8, (2), (a), (iv)}.

14. March 29, 2003: Destruction of 75,000 tons of food supplies (among them milk for children, tea and sugar) by the British forces; reported by Reuters and the Athens News Agency… This act constitutes the following war crimes:

b) Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions {Article 8, (2), (b), (xxv)}.

22. April 9, 2003: Destruction of monuments by the allied forces; reported by the Athens News Agency and the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments…), According to ICOMOS the bombing caused serious damage to many monuments. These are the following monuments: one of the three oldest universities in the world (AD 1234), the Gate of Al Quastani (AD 510), the site of the Mussa Al Kadem Muslim mosque (AD 950),

…, the walls of Nineveh, the archaeological sites of the Hellenistic cities (of Ktisifon and Selefkia)….The damage caused by the allied forces constitute breaches of the 1954 Hague Conventions and also war crimes according to the ICC Statute: Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals,… {Article 8, (2), (b), (ix)}.

Finally the document of the Greek lawyers adds:

“According to the(ICC) Statute, the criminal charges refer to acts (in rem) and not to persons (in personam)… Therefore, it is obvious that in case of collaboration in crimes under the jurisdiction of the (IC)Court the collaborating parties in the crimes can be tried by the International Criminal Court even if they are citizens of a country that is not Part of the Statute. By extension, in all cases in which citizens of the United States acted in collaboration with British subjects, the former can be tried by the Court independently of the fact that the United States has not ratified the ICC Statute…”

What an insult! The gallant son of Barbara Bush to be tried as a “collaborator” of the lowly Tony Blair (also known as the gallant son’s “poodle”). Furthermore, how can some upstart Athenian lawyers question the “wisdom” of the American Emperor in not ratifying the ICC Statute? Also, ultimately, the Emperor has the (divine) right to “just say no”.

Let us dwell a bit on the reactions to this courageous initiative taken by the Athenian lawyers. On July 27 (one day before the filing of the suit) the Athens paper “Sunday Eleftherotypia” commented: “No matter how much the effectiveness of such an initiative is disputed… the essence remains.”

The, July 29, English Edition of “Kathimerini” (an insert of the International Herald Tribune) writes: “The suit is not supported unanimously by Athenian lawyers . ‘I did not support this act. I consider it populist fireworks. In fact, many colleagues abstained from the vote. I believe that the suit will lead nowhere,’

(Athens Bar Association ) member Dimitris Hadzimichalis told Kathimerini.” Mr. Hadzimihalis, who obviously has nothing to do with “populist fireworks”, is not satisfied with the votes of the majority of his colleagues. He demands a unanimous decision, as is the norm in any democratic procedure.

[Note: “Kathimerini” has a “glorious” history in conservatism. For decades, since the 1930s, it had been publishing the “sophisticated” articles of Walter Lippmann, Joseph Alsop, and other “flowers” of American journalism. After World War II the rise of the American Empire resulted in a globalized “fraternity” of “professional” friends of America.

Of course the membership of the fraternity is limited, but the material benefits for the members is unlimited (thanks to the American taxpayers). In contrast, the amateur anti-Americans (i.e. people who disapprove of the violence of the American elites) lose the material benefits of the American benevolence, but gain their dignity. Greece had (and has) its share of (obnoxious) professional friends of America.]

The (politically very serious) satirical “To Pontiki” (The Mouse), which was the first to announce the action of the Athens Bar Association, insisted that: “Finally a news item that makes us feel proud as a nation.”

The London “Guardian” commented: “This act expresses the anti-war feelings of the Greek people. Although, the Greek socialist government silently supported the military operation in Iraq, providing air space and military bases in Crete, 90 % of the Greek people were against the war. However, Mr. Blair received all the poison by the Athens Bar Association.”

The “Daily Telegraph” of London writes that the charges are based on reports of the Greek papers most of which are anti-American. The truth is that they are based mostly on reports of the foreign media.

The London “Financial Times” claim that the Athens Bar Association is “deeply politicized” (as if that is a crime!) and “Its members belong to parties that are the opposite of the moderate socialist government”.

Blair’s spokesman, when asked about the move of the Greek lawyers, replied: “Yes, we are aware of the matter. We have no comment to make as we do not wish to influence the course of justice.” (The above review of the foreign press is from the July 30 issue of “Eleftherotypia”.)

Even if the suit by the Athens Bar Association were to be rejected by the Court the news about its filing is a positive thing. However, the real Nuremberg for Bush & Co. should originate with the American people themselves.

Clinton and Kiesling

“On February 24, (2003), John Brady Kiesling (a 45-year old senior diplomat serving in the US Embassy in Athens) sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The diplomat wrote: ‘We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary…’ This was a passage from the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling. He had been in the foreign service for 20 years.” (Commentary of March 15,2003)

A few days ago, on June 29, “Eleftherotypia” had as its front page story the news that Bill Clinton had sent a letter to Kiesling expressing his “deep emotion” after reading his resignation letter and urging him to “Please continue to express your views” (Translation of Clinton’s words from the Greek text.)

The letter was leaked to the paper, or as it puts it: “the letter came into our possession.”

Why did Clinton sent that letter? Is he trying to help his fellow-Democrats by pretending that now he is against the war in Iraq? Who leaked the letter to “Eleftherotypia”?

To be praised by Bill Clinton should make one ask himself what did he do wrong or ask where Clinton is aiming at. As mentioned in the Commentary, “Most Greeks… feel great respect for the Kieslings’ (including Kiesling’s wife Phyllis and daughter Linda) honesty and courage.” I feel that the Greek people are very much interested in the fate of the Kieslings in the hands of Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, et al.

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