Monday, June 20, 2011

War Crimes: VfP's War Crimes Times


Order the summer issue now (ready for distribution around June 24)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kucinich Calls Upon ICC, UN to Examine NATO Attacks Resulting in Civilian Casualties


United Nations and International Criminal Court Must Prosecute, if Necessary, Violations of International Law
Washington, Jun 14 -
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, urging the United Nations and the Court to examine NATO’s expanded use of drone bombers, which have had a civilian casualty rate as high as 32% according to the New America Foundation.
NATO has taken actions in Afghanistan not sanctioned by the U.N. and in Libya pursuant to a U.N. mandate which raise serious questions about military operations in those countries and the lack of accountability for the loss of civilian life.
It is imperative that NATO and its commanders are held directly accountable under international criminal statutes for actions which place the lives of innocent civilians at risk.  The United Nations has an obligation under international law to ensure that military operations it has authorized are conducted in accordance with such laws.  NATO has repeatedly and wantonly neglected to follow the law.  The United Nations, if it is to continue to be a credible interlocutor among nations, has no choice but to conduct an independent investigation of actions taken by NATO and to pursue prosecution where warranted,” wrote Kucinich in the letter.

Congress members sue over Obama's illegal war in Libya

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio),Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) Ron Paul (R-Texas), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.) filed a 36-page complaint Wednesday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for taking military action in Libya without first seeking congressional approval.
The complaint documents violations of the Constitution: “The text of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution expressly requires the President to secure a declaration of war from Congress prior to committing U.S. Military forces. The express language of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 is reinforced by the clear intent of the Framers, who spoke often of the need to avoid unilateral commencement of wars by the Chief Executive.”
Obama’s war in Libya is precisely what the Framers opposed—and thought they had barred—in requiring an open, public declaration for wars. The Obama Administration has read the mandatory consent of Congress out of the Constitution and replaced it with a purely discretionary power of the President to commence war with or without congressional approval. As members of Congress, the Plaintiffs assert the right to challenge a per se violation of Article I of the Constitution as well as the violation of statutory laws governing the commencement and funding of any undeclared war.”

Request to the Court:

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs pray that this Court:
a. Enter an order declaring that the operations in Libya constitute a war for purposes of Article I and, as such, are unconstitutional absent a declaration of war from Congress pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution;
b. Enter an order declaring unconstitutional the policy that the President may unilaterally extend the North Atlantic Treaty to cover combat operations against a country that had not attacked a NATO country;
c. Enter an order declaring unconstitutional the policy that the President may unilaterally extend the North Atlantic Treaty to cover combat operations against a country without satisfying the constitutional process of the United States, including the necessity of seeking authority from Congress;
d. Enter an order declaring unconstitutional the policy of the Administration that a U.N. resolution can negate the obligation of the President to seek approval of a war or military operations in countries like Libya;
e. Enter an order declaring unconstitutional the policy of the Administration that the President may use previously appropriated monies to support an undeclared war in circumvention of Article I;
f. Order all injunctive relief to end the violations alleged above, including but not limited to an order to suspend military operations in Libya absent a declaration of war from Congress....”

Monday, June 6, 2011

Change You Can Believe In

From a staunch nationalistic patriot to an independent thinker who has become an anti-imperialist, the strength and fervor he brought to his young dreams, he now applies to his daily life.

by Elaine Brower

It’s been over 10 years now that my son joined the U.S. Marine Corps.  From birth, at least it felt that way, he wanted to be a marine.  He wore G.I. Joe underwear, socks, and even carried the lunchbox.  At Halloween every year he was either a soldier or warrior of some sort.  It was definitely harrowing for me, an anti-war activist from way back since 1969.   

I had begged, pleaded and even promised him a new car for him not to join when he turned 18, but hence, he did.  The recruiters showed up at our house the day after he had his high school diploma, and whisked him away to boot camp in Parris Island.  I felt as if someone had ripped my arm out of its socket!  When he graduated, the entire family went to watch as this young boy was supposedly turned into a “man.”  I ran up to him after all the military hoopla on the Parris Island field, and he didn’t even look at me.  He wouldn’t hug or kiss me, told me that he was in his uniform and was not allowed to show emotion.  Needless to say I was crushed.

From that moment on it was a proverbial nightmare for myself and my family.  James went off to join the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in San Diego, California, the infamous Camp Pendleton.  He wanted to be a grunt, his MOS being 0305, demolitions expert.  Of course, I didn’t find out until he was there training.  He learned how to kill, basically, and operated every piece of weaponry the Marine Corps. had to offer.  He specialty was the Javelin, which is an 80mm shoulder held rocket launcher, which each round cost over $80,000 in taxpayer dollars to shoot.  

When September 11th befell us, he was already in the Gulf.  He was on training maneuvers, and I had become accustomed to his calling home at the wee hours of the morning, wanting to chat about his latest adventure about getting drunk in Australia, or bringing aid to E. Timor.  I thought ‘well, this isn’t too bad.  He’s helping people.”  I had hoped that his 8 years of duty, 4 years active and 4 reserve as his contract stated, would be quiet enough that I could stop worrying and maybe we would all come out of this episode of his life unscathed.  But that morning, when I watched the towers fall across the street from my office building, I absolutely unequivocally knew that we were at war.  I knew that with our resident cowboy in the White House, we were doomed to another Viet Nam.  I envisioned what the next 8 years of my life was going to look like and it was not pretty.

The following week, our illustrious president announced we were going to catch Osama bin Laden, “DEAD OR ALIVE!”  And off went James, right into Tora Bora blowing up caves, trying to obtain the $25 million reward.  Over the next 6 months, he grew more weary, and I didn’t sleep.  Phone calls at 3 AM, explaining that they were told bin Laden was somewhere, and they went to catch him, only to be told to retreat or “pull back.”  We were both puzzled.  There were no answers at that point in time.  Of course, I had my own personal beliefs, but the entire country, if not the world, was on fire with hate and revenge.  Who was I to question this.

When he left Kandahar, and they turned it over to the Army, he was disappointed, but still feeling the spark of patriotism.  At that point my daughter and I were protesting against the war with her college group.  There was no place for me, an anti-war military mom.  She was arrested, and I bailed her out.  James continued in the war theatre with two tours in Iraq.  By 2009, he was haggard, hurt many times, and really started questioning his mission.  At first he attempted to stop my protests, but we both agreed that we would love and respect each others’ lives and beliefs.  In fact, at one point, his commanding officer called him in, had the Pentagon on the phone asking about me and did he agree with my anti-war opinions.  He said “NO, Sir,” but I was his mom, and was entitled to have an opinion, and he would not stop me.  They threatened to dishonorably discharge him, and told him that he must call me to convince me to stop.  He did, I said no, and he said Okay.  I told him at that point I would be happy if they discharged him.  

By April 2010, James was home and done with his military service.  My life was forever changed by the constant fear of losing my child, the phone calls at all times of the day or night, and looking out the window for that chaplain to show up on my doorstep.  I knew many mothers who suffered through that horror, and thought I would be one of them.  My son was not at a desk job, or building parts for the war machine, he was the war machine.  A trained killer.  Every time I spoke out, I would apologize for him, and worked very hard to explain that his choice was not mine, his training was not something I approved of, nor supported.  

Last year, after his return home, lost his job, and had severe blackouts and nightmares, he began on his road to the awakening and recovery.  I witnessed it myself on a daily basis.  The ups and downs, the rage, fear, helplessness, and anger that what he had dreamed of, being part of the U.S. Marines, was what destroyed him, physically and emotionally.  He ranted at the government for lying to him.  He became cloistered, depressed and at 28 could not maintain a relationship.  All those problems most people only read about, or don’t even understand, were staring me in the face.  I traveled to VA visits with him; called him several times a day; and, begged him to go get help before he ended his life.  

I’m not sure how I was able to survive through years of this type of torment, but I kept telling myself that other mothers had lost their children, so I was one of the lucky ones.  So James and I traveled down this road together, mostly at odds, but locking arms against the darkness.  Until several weeks ago. 
There was this change that came over him, and from what I could see it started when he read Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States.”  He started to read Wikileaks, and books written by veterans that had similar experiences as he had.  Every day he would learn something new about how his government betrayed him, and his fellow marines, and all the troops serving in the military.  He would call me and like a child who discovered ice cream for the first time, explain this newly uncovered secret as it were, and acted amazed all over again.

I kept telling myself that I was dreaming, or, he would re-up or give up.  I couldn’t bring myself to actually be overjoyed that my son had joined me in my fight against the wars.  Until he stood up in front of a group of high school students in New York City where we live and declared “Don’t join the military.  For me, it was a mistake.  I’m 30 years old, go to physical therapy twice a week, can’t get out of bed in the morning without pain, and am unemployed.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

As I watched him speak to this class, the floodgates of my soul opened.  “It was true!”  He changed.  How did this happen?  I cried softly in the front of the room, as I was videotaping the entire transformation right before my eyes.  Ten long years of struggle.  My very own personal battlefront with my son, who I love dearly.  I actually won, but at a cost.  A huge expense to my own emotional health, my daughter who has a hard time forgiving her brother for leaving her to kill people; and to watch James struggle everyday with his traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and chest pains from the burn pits he slept next to for a year in Iraq, is a life altering experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

It’s great to watch him now, listen to him talk about the reality of war, and tell kids to stay away from military recruiters.  From a staunch nationalistic patriot to an independent thinker who has become an anti-imperialist, the strength and fervor he brought to his young dreams, he now applies to his daily life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Here is an excellent six-minute video -- Remember by Roger Young -- on the human costs of war and the lies and liars that kill. See also his blog: Enlightened Rogue.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic will be the beneficiary of the due process of law.

Alleged war criminal Osama bin Laden was the beneficiary of the process of summary execution.

David Sirotta provides three possible explanations:

1. Mladic is a white guy accused of killing 8,000 Muslims, while bin Laden and Al Qaeda operatives are non-whites accused of killing (at least) 3,000 people, most of whom were not Muslim. Perhaps our government is admitting that it believes white people accused of killing thousands of Muslims deserve due process, while non-white Muslims accused of killing thousands of non-Muslims do not deserve due process.

2. Mladic is accused of killing 8,000 Bosnians, bin Laden was accused of killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Maybe this is an example of a perverse form of American exceptionalism—specifically, our government believing that those accused of killing foreigners deserve due process, but those accused of killing Americans do not.

3. Mladic was a part of an internationally recognized government when he allegedly committed his war crimes. Bin Laden was a stateless terrorist when he committed his crimes. Maybe our government is saying that if one marshals the apparatus of an official state to kill thousands of people, one deserves due process, but that if one kills thousands of people without state sanction, one deserves does not. In other words, perhaps our government is saying that one form of mass murder is somehow more acceptable—and thus more deserving of a legal court inquiry—than another.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


by Sherwood Ross

If President Obama believes “justice has been done” by the killing of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden---allegedly responsible for the deaths of 3,000 civilians in the 2001 World Trade Center  attack---why hasn't he indicted former President George W. Bush, the architect of an illegal war that has killed some 5,000 U.S. troops and perhaps a quarter of a million Iraqi civilians?

How can President Obama talk about justice concerning bin Laden while steadfastly refusing to indict his own predecessor who deceived the American people into making a war against Iraq based on fabricated intelligence and outright lies? Why aren't former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush team players under arrest at this hour?

Why is there no prosecution of the officials who sucked $3 trillion in tax dollars from the pockets of American workers to wage a war against a country that posed no threat to them?

President Obama's failure to prosecute Bush-Cheney clearly violates his obligation to enforce the U.S. Constitution--a document that incorporates the United Nations Charter which the Bush White House violated when it attacked Afghanistan and Iraq.

And it also sends a signal to the world that the White House today considers itself above the law of nations; that others such as bin Laden must pay for their crimes but that the highest American public officials may commit crimes and yet are exempted from prosecution. If this isn't the “master race” theory with America at the top of the pyramid, what is?

While fair-minded Americans recognize President Bush made an illegal, criminal war on Iraq, they are less certain about whether his attack on Afghanistan was just. However, as University of Illinois professor of international law Francis Boyle wrote for the Atlantic Free Press: “There is so far no evidence produced that the state of Afghanistan, at the time (9/11), either attacked the United States or authorized or approved such an attack.”

In his book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder, former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi holds that Mr. Bush intentionally misled Congress into invading Iraq to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein. In a summary of that book, Wikipedia wrote, the strongest evidence against Bush was his own Oct. 7, 2002, speech claiming Iraq posed an imminent threat when a National Intelligence Estimate “less than a week earlier stated that while Iraq did have WMD capabilities, it had no plans to use its weapons except in the capacity of self-defense...” Of course, it turned out that Hussein had zero WMD.

And far from making serious efforts to avoid war, Bugliosi wrote, Bush even considered the possibility of provoking Hussein by falsely painting American U2 spy planes with United Nations colors and having them overfly Iraq to lure Hussein into attacking them, whereupon U.S. fighters would shoot down the attackers, starting the war, Wikipedia reported. Perhaps nothing else shows so clearly Bush's willful intent to start the war.

President Obama clearly sees only the evidence he wants to see. He has also declined to prosecute the CIA officials who tortured Middle East captives and who in 2005 destroyed documentary evidence of those crimes, very likely obstruction of justice.

Veteran New York Times reporter Tim Weiner wrote of President Obama's task in an Afterword to his book,  Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA: “he must restore principles” to our foreign policy. “That means renouncing torture as a tool of American power, returning habeas corpus to its rightful place in American law, closing Guantanamo, and shutting the secret prisons. It means limiting the state secrets privilege by which presidents block American courts from administering justice. It means an end to the arrogation of presidential powers and a return to constitutional checks and balances in the realm of American national security.” Of course, after more than two years in office, President Obama appears to be utterly indifferent to these standards, just as he attacked Libya without seeking the consent of Congress, just as he authorized reckless CIA drone assassination attacks in Pakistan that have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths.

The killing of any human being, even the very worst, is no signal for rejoicing. But for President Obama to call bin Laden's killing “just” while failing to indict Mr. Bush and his aides who also resorted to terror, reveals a dangerous and disgraceful double-standard. 

Sherwood Ross, a former reporter for major U.S. dailies and wire service columnist, is director of the Anti-War News Service. To comment or contribute to his news service, reach him at

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ElBaradei suggests war crimes probe of Bush team

"I was aghast at what I was witnessing… aggression where there was no imminent threat"

 NEW YORK (AP) — Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the "shame of a needless war" in Iraq.

Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of "grotesque distortion" in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, when then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants claimed Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei's and other arms inspectors inside the country.

The Iraq war taught him that "deliberate deception was not limited to small countries ruled by ruthless dictators," ElBaradei writes in "The Age of Deception," being published Tuesday by Henry Holt and Company. Read more.

Guidelines for submissions to WCT

The ideal article for the quarterly print version of The War Crimes Times is 600-800 words in length, crisply written, and of course relevant to our mission.
We also welcome photos, cartoons, poetry, and letters to the editor.
While original work is preferred, we'll accept the work of others with their permission.
Submissions are due on the 10th of the month that the paper is printed: March, June, September, and December.
Send to (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 Mission (revised 06/2011)

The War Crimes Times provides information to the general public, to law-makers, and to our justice-seeking allies on war crimes, war criminals, and on the true costs of war.

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.

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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)