Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference: Planning for the Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals
Massachusetts Law School
September 13-14, 2008
Since the impeachable installation of George W. Bush as President in January of 2001 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Gang of Five, the peoples of the world have witnessed a government in the United States that has demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, and the United States Constitution. What the world has watched instead is a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by a group of men and women who are thoroughly Machiavellian and Straussian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign policy and domestic affairs. Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the Bush administration’s foreign policies constitute ongoing criminal activity under well-recognized principles of both international law and U.S. domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the Pentagon’s own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare (1956), all of which apply to President Bush himself as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
Depending upon the substantive issues involved, those international crimes typically include but are not limited to the Nuremberg offenses of crimes against peace: For example, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and perhaps their longstanding threatened wars of aggression against Iran and now Pakistan. Their criminal responsibility also concerns Nuremberg crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare: For example, torture at Guantanamo, Bhagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; enforced disappearances, assassinations, murders, kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, “shock and awe,” depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, Fallujah, and the Gitmo kangaroo courts.
Furthermore, various members of the Bush administration have committed numerous inchoate crimes incidental to these substantive offences that under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as paragraph 500 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 are international crimes in their own right: planning and preparation—which they are currently doing today against Iran and Pakistan—solicitation, incitement, conspiracy, complicity, attempt, aiding and abetting.
Finally, according to basic principles of international criminal law set forth in paragraph 501 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, all high level civilian officials and military officers in the U.S. government who either knew or should have known that soldiers or civilians under their control (such as the C.I.A. or private contractors), committed or were about to commit international crimes and failed to take the measures necessary to stop them, or to punish them, or both, are likewise personally responsible for the commission of international crimes.
At the very top of America’s criminal chain-of-command are President Bush and Vice-President Cheney; former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld’s Deputy Paul Wolfowitz; Secretary of State Rice; former Director of National Intelligence Negroponte; National Security Advisor Hadley; his Deputy Elliot Abrams; former U.S. Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzales, criminally responsible for the torture campaign launched by the Bush Jr. administration; and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staffs along with the appropriate Regional Commanders-in-Chief, especially for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
These U.S. government officials and their immediate subordinates are responsible for the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as specified by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as by U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10. Today in international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law and U.S. domestic law because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany.
Of course the terrible irony of today’s situation is that six decades ago at Nuremberg the U.S. government participated in the prosecution, punishment and execution of Nazi government officials for committing some of the same types of heinous international crimes that the members of the Bush administration currently inflict upon people all over the world. To be sure, I personally oppose the imposition of capital punishment upon any human being for any reason no matter how monstrous their crimes, whether they be Bush Jr., Tony Blair, or Saddam Hussein.
As a consequence, American citizens possess the basic right under international law and United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism. Today’s civil resisters are the sheriffs! The Bush administration officials are the outlaws!
We American citizens must reaffirm our commitment to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles by holding our government officials fully accountable under international law and U.S. domestic law for the commission of such grievous international and domestic crimes. We must not permit any aspect of our foreign affairs and defense policies to be conducted by acknowledged “war criminals” according to the U.S. government’s own official definitions of that term as set forth in the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, the U.S. War Crimes Act, the Four Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations. The American people must insist upon the impeachment, dismissal, resignation, indictment, conviction, and long-term incarceration of all U.S. government officials guilty of such heinous international and domestic crimes. If not so restrained, the Bush administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.
In this regard, during the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, President Bush Jr. terrorized the entire world with the threat of World War III if he could not work his illegal will upon Iran. It is my opinion that the Bush administration is fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against Muslim and Arab states and peoples in order to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 the United States of America has vilified and demonized Muslims and Arabs almost to the same extent that America inflicted upon the Japanese and Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. As the Nazis had previously demonstrated with respect to the Jews, a government must first dehumanize and scapegoat a race of people before its citizens will tolerate if not approve their elimination: witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In post -9/11 America we are directly confronted with the prospect of a nuclear war of extermination conducted by our White Racist Judeo-Christian Power Elite against Peoples of Color in the Muslim and Arab worlds in order to steal their oil and gas. The Crusades all over again. But this time nuclear Armageddon stares all of humankind right in the face!
We American lawyers must be inspired by the stunning example set by those heroic Pakistani lawyers who led the successful struggle against the brutal Bush-supported Musharraf military dictatorship in Pakistan. We American lawyers must now lead the fight against the Bush dictatorship and empire! This is our Nuremberg Moment!