No One's Above the Law

Still from Amnesty film on waterboarding

Still from Amnesty film on waterboarding

Last Thursday the Washington Post columnist and Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen launched a vitriolic attack on Amnesty International for advocating for former President Bush’s arrest during a trip to Africa.

Amnesty urged officials in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to detain Mr. Bush so that his role in ordering the torture of detainees in US custody could be properly investigated. Thiessen called for official Washington to shun Amnesty for taking this position, which he said took the organization out of the political mainstream and into the fever swamps:

“Conservative groups concerned with freedom, democracy, and human rights should similarly refuse to work with Amnesty. The group should pay a steep reputational price for stupidity such as this. If Amnesty wants to behave like a left-wing fringe group, it should be treated as such.”

In fairness, a lot of Americans are uncomfortable with Amnesty’s call and it is worth taking a moment to unpack the issues.

Our starting point is a simple one: Democracies are supposed to uphold the law and honor their treaty commitments.

In his memoir Decision Points, President Bush admitted ordering the waterboarding of detainees in US custody. Like it or not, that’s a criminal offense. Every single time waterboarding came up in US jurisprudence prior to 9/11 it was considered torture. Just because John Yoo can’t use LexisNexis doesn’t mean it ain’t so.

Amnesty has campaigned tirelessly for the United States to open an investigation into the human rights abuses committed by the United States within the context of “the Global War on Terror” but President Obama has made it clear that he has no intention of digging up the past.

The primary jurisdiction for investigating the actions of the Bush administration rests with the United States but not exclusively so. The Convention Against Torture places an obligation on its signatories to act if there is evidence that an individual coming within their jurisdiction is associated with acts of torture. The Convention currently has 147 state parties.

The CIA ran black sites in Lithuania, Romania and Poland – countries in which the Enhanced Interrogations Techniques (EITs) authorized by President Bush would be considered criminal acts under domestic law. All three states are subject to the European Convention on Human Rights and investigations into the CIA’s activities on their soil cannot so easily be wished away.

This was well demonstrated in November 2009 when a court in Milan, Italy, convicted 22 CIA officers and a US Air Force officer in absentia of kidnapping a Muslim cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, and rendering him to Egypt where he was repeatedly tortured.

This is unlikely to be the last such case arising from the policies of the Bush administration.

Amnesty International seeks the application of law equally without fear or favor. We take the same position on abuses that occur in United States that we do regarding those that occur in any other nation.

Holding politicians from powerful nations to the same standard to which they themselves hold the leaders of less powerful nations is not a “left-wing” position – it is a just position.

The Bush administration supported the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan in 2008, just as it supported the trials of Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor and Saddam Hussein.

Over the years Amnesty has advocated for the arrest and trial of plenty of other world leaders and I suspect that a number of the names on that list would meet wholeheartedly with Mr. Thiessen’s approval.

We campaigned for both President Augusto Pinochet of Chile and President Alberto Fujimori of Peru to be brought to justice for the human rights abuses, including torture, they authorized in the name of national security. President Fujimori is currently still in jail.

There is no reason why the United States could not emulate those countries like Peru and Chile that have sought to hold their former leaders accountable for their actions.

Earlier this month the former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was sentenced in an American court to 14 years in jail for corruption. He broke the law and, regardless of the high office he once occupied, he was held accountable. That’s the way it is supposed to be.

In her recently published memoir, No Higher Honor, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote that what had attracted her to George W. Bush as a presidential candidate was his commitment to principle:

“What was right mattered.”

Yet under President Bush the United States adopted torture as state policy. This is something no other US President has ever felt compelled to do – even during moments of great national peril, far greater than the threat posed by Al Qaeda.

In 2002 America became a country that tortured its prisoners. That is no small thing. It was wrong and it was illegal.

What is right does matter. President Bush turned his back on that principle and he should be held accountable for the crimes that were committed as a result.

In the final analysis, Marc Thiessen’s argument comes down to “my country right or wrong ” – a characterization that I suspect he would embrace with enthusiasm.

However, Amnesty International, as its name suggests, supports universal values. We believe that all human beings are entitled to certain inalienable rights. We also believe in the rule of law and the equality of all individuals before it.

The United States used to believe in those things too.

It is a measure of how far popular debate has sunk in this country over the past decade that a columnist on a national newspaper can seriously ridicule this as a fringe position.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

84 thoughts on “No One's Above the Law

  1. Want to see accountability for torture? Show the government how much you care by joining Amnesty, Witness Against Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and 20 other groups at a protest in Washington DC on January 11–the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison: sign up at http://www.amnestyusa.org/jan11

  2. Want to see accountability for torture? Show the government how much you care by joining Amnesty, Witness Against Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and 20 other groups at a protest in Washington DC on January 11–the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison: sign up at http://www.amnestyusa.org/jan11

  3. Want to see accountability for torture? Show the government how much you care by joining Amnesty, Witness Against Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and 20 other groups at a protest in Washington DC on January 11–the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison: sign up at http://www.amnestyusa.org/jan11

  4. Absolutely excellent post and well laid out argument.

    What amazes me are those who can still argue against holding our officials to the rule of law. Both Martin and 'Observer' above say that "The Bush administration did what they had to do." I wonder if they realize that this is the excuse used by every two bit leader out there, regardless of political ideology, to justify the abuses they committed in the name of 'national security'. If we didn't accept this argument from them (Pinochet, Milosevic, Stalin or Mao); or at the Nuremberg trials for that matter – how can we now use it to justify our own actions?

    We can't.

    As the post says, "No one is above the law." No one.

  5. Tom Parker's response here to Thiessen's editorial is remarkable for its intellectual dishonesty. He careful skirts the fundamental assertion of Thiessen – indeed an assertion made in the first paragraph of his criticism of Amnesty International:

    "But where was Amnesty’s demand for the arrest of China’s President Hu Jintao, whose regime is one of the worst abusers of human rights on the face of the planet? How about President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who is slaughtering thousands of his citizens? Or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran? Or Fidel and Raul Castro of Cuba? Or Kim Jong Il of North Korea? Amnesty wants Bush arrested but has not demanded the arrest of these brutal dictators?"

    Well, Tom? Care to explain how it is that these leaders who's ongoing and wholesale assault on the lives, liberties, and human rights of their own people don't rise to the level of AI-recommended extra-judicial arrest?

    President Bush – responding to an attack on American lives and on American soil that surpassed the death toll of Pearl Harbor – has become one of Amnesty International's Public Enemies for water-boarding suspected terrorists in an effort to prevent a future attack. But mass murderers and despots get a free pass.

    Is that an oversight, Tom? Or just your organization's hypocrisy and partisanship showing?

  6. A quick correction to my previous post: My quote of Thiessen's editorial was not his contained in his first paragraph – my apology.

    The actual first paragraph actually recounted a meeting in the Oval Office where the first rendition of a suspected terrorist was being planned. When a lawyer advised that it might be illegal, the Vice President said, "Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."

    That Vice President was not Dick Cheney but was Al Gore. And those first renditions were ordered by President Clinton.

    Thiessen contacted AI and asked, "whether Amnesty had ever made a similar request for foreign governments to detain Bill Clinton and Al Gore when they traveled abroad?". The answer, not so surprisingly, is no.

    "It was the Clinton administration that pioneered what Amnesty considers the “illegal” practice of extraordinary rendition, which the organization claims “usually involve[s] multiple human rights violations.” Indeed, Gore himself acknowledged that such renditions were “a violation of international law” but counseled the president to go ahead anyway — sending captured terrorists to be interrogated by the intelligence services of regimes with questionable human rights records.

    So why does Amnesty International distinguish between Bush and Clinton if both are guilty of the crime of "illegal rendition", Tom? Could it be that one is a Democrat popular with AI contributors and the other a Republican?

  7. Want to see accountability for torture? Show the government how much you care by joining Amnesty, Witness Against Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and 20 other groups at a protest in Washington DC on January 11–the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison: sign up at http://www.amnestyusa.org/jan11

  8. Dear KEP,

    The suggestion that Amnesty does not take seriously the human rights abuses of other regimes is a bit absurd.

    To address your point about President Bashar al-Assad directly, Amnesty has been calling for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since April.

    Prisoners of conscience from Iran (student democracy activist Majid Tavakkoli) and China (journalist Shi Tao) are among the Individuals at Risk that featured in last week’s Global Write-a-thon. It’s not too late for you to write to both governments demanding their release.

    North Korea featured in an Amnesty action last month calling on the government to close the Yodok political prison camp, which is estimated to house 50,000 detainees in appalling conditions. We are currently running an Urgent Action calling for the release of two Cuban human rights activists, Ivonne Malleza Galano and Ignacio Martínez Montejo.

    The bottom line is that Amnesty is not interested in making national or party political distinctions. The organization was just as active in its criticism of the counterterrorism policies of the left-wing Labour Party government of Tony Blair in the UK, as it was of the Bush administration.

    However, you are absolutely right to observe that extraordinary rendition began under the Clinton administration and that the rendition of an individual to a country in which they will be tortured is a violation of the international legal principle of non-refoulement and the Convention against Torture.

    Is it wrong? Absolutely. Could you argue that the politicians concerned were accessories to torture? Yes. Is it potentially an international criminal offense? Yes again.

    However, while both administrations may have breached the Convention against Torture there are significant differences between the two cases.

    The first is a question of degree – the use of torture by the Bush administration was more widespread by far;

    Second, US officials themselves tortured individuals at the President Bush’s direction both in military detention facilities and in secret CIA prisons;

    Third, the practice of torture by the Bush administration has been exhaustively documented, not least in a comprehensive report by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Does all this get the Clinton administration off the hook? No, but these are reasonable grounds for distinguishing between the two cases. However, it is fair to say that the allegations against the Clinton administration deserve more attention.

    You may also wish to be aware that when reports surfaced in The Nation magazine in July 2011 alleging that the Obama administration may have participated in the extraordinary rendition of Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan from Kenya to Somalia, Amnesty immediately demanded clarification from the White House about US involvement which, to date, has not been forthcoming.

    We continue to monitor the situation and will seek to hold the Obama administration to account if this allegation is substantiated.

  9. Absolutely excellent post and well laid out argument.

    What amazes me are those who can still argue against holding our officials to the rule of law. Both Martin and ‘Observer’ above say that “The Bush administration did what they had to do.” I wonder if they realize that this is the excuse used by every two bit leader out there, regardless of political ideology, to justify the abuses they committed in the name of ‘national security’. If we didn’t accept this argument from them (Pinochet, Milosevic, Stalin or Mao); or at the Nuremberg trials for that matter – how can we now use it to justify our own actions?

    We can’t.

    As the post says, “No one is above the law.” No one.

  10. Im Sorry KEP, are you suggesting that Amnesty International has some other political and secret agenda, and the (Bush,Clinton),Obama Administration is acting purely for the prosperity and safety of The U.S People?
    Come on..

  11. Listening to my Government Is like listening to a cheating girlfriends excuses.
    You can see right through it, If you aren't blinded by her sweet face.

  12. While it is admirable for Amnesty International to hold the Iranian and Syrian regimes responsible for their denial of basic human rights to their citizens, it is "a bit absurd" for you not to call for the arrests of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad when traveling to foreign countries just as you have for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa … and former president Bush. I'm curious, Tom, as to the distinction you make between al-Assad (or Castro) and Bush and the need to arrest the latter but not the former.

    By the way, the name of your blog is 'No One's Above the Law' and yet you concede that President Clinton engaged in extraordinary renditions – a practice Amnesty International considers the “illegal” and usually involving "multiple human rights violations” – and yet he appears to be precisely that in your eyes: Above the law.

    When I pressed as to why you call for Bush to be arrested by foreign authorities and not Clinton, you argue that, while Clinton is guilty of the same crime, Bush is more guilty because the use of torture "was more widespread by far".

    Okay, so that's the way Amnesty International assesses criminality? Could you explain to us how many people a president can seize through extraordinary renditions and subsequently torture before their guilt rises to the level of being charged with what you consider a crime? One? A half dozen? Fifty? Don't you suppose that this and future presidents would benefit from knowing how many human rights violations they can commit before Amnesty holds them responsible and demands their prosecution?

    The fact is that if you believe Bush and Cheney to be guilty, then you must hold Clinton and Gore equally guilty. Of course, that's an inconvenient truth, isn't it? Badger Canada into arresting Bush and you're a hero to your constituency and the contributions flow. But ask the same authorities to arrest Clinton and Amnesty International would be pilloried into obscurity.

    Is that the kind of 'integrity' that won Amnesty International a Nobel Peace Prize? Or is it instead the behavior of an organization blinded to its own political prejudices?

  13. DavClar Says:
    "Im Sorry KEP, are you suggesting that Amnesty International has some other political and secret agenda, and the (Bush,Clinton),Obama Administration is acting purely for the prosperity and safety of The U.S People? Come on.."

    ———————–

    No. What I'm saying is that Amnesty International must apportion guilt – and recommendations for prosecution – based on the evidence. Therefore, if Bush is guilty of human rights abuses due to his authorizing extraordinary renditions of terror suspects, then so too is Clinton.

    If Amnesty is to maintain its integrity, it has no other choice.

  14. Way was AI so timorous during the Bush administration and so late denouncing what she so easily denounce now? Was she sacrificing everything to the Columbia file?

  15. Tom Parker’s response here to Thiessen’s editorial is remarkable for its intellectual dishonesty. He careful skirts the fundamental assertion of Thiessen – indeed an assertion made in the first paragraph of his criticism of Amnesty International:

    “But where was Amnesty’s demand for the arrest of China’s President Hu Jintao, whose regime is one of the worst abusers of human rights on the face of the planet? How about President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who is slaughtering thousands of his citizens? Or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran? Or Fidel and Raul Castro of Cuba? Or Kim Jong Il of North Korea? Amnesty wants Bush arrested but has not demanded the arrest of these brutal dictators?”

    Well, Tom? Care to explain how it is that these leaders who’s ongoing and wholesale assault on the lives, liberties, and human rights of their own people don’t rise to the level of AI-recommended extra-judicial arrest?

    President Bush – responding to an attack on American lives and on American soil that surpassed the death toll of Pearl Harbor – has become one of Amnesty International’s Public Enemies for water-boarding suspected terrorists in an effort to prevent a future attack. But mass murderers and despots get a free pass.

    Is that an oversight, Tom? Or just your organization’s hypocrisy and partisanship showing?

  16. A quick correction to my previous post: My quote of Thiessen’s editorial was not his contained in his first paragraph – my apology.

    The actual first paragraph actually recounted a meeting in the Oval Office where the first rendition of a suspected terrorist was being planned. When a lawyer advised that it might be illegal, the Vice President said, “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.”

    That Vice President was not Dick Cheney but was Al Gore. And those first renditions were ordered by President Clinton.

    Thiessen contacted AI and asked, “whether Amnesty had ever made a similar request for foreign governments to detain Bill Clinton and Al Gore when they traveled abroad?”. The answer, not so surprisingly, is no.

    “It was the Clinton administration that pioneered what Amnesty considers the “illegal” practice of extraordinary rendition, which the organization claims “usually involve[s] multiple human rights violations.” Indeed, Gore himself acknowledged that such renditions were “a violation of international law” but counseled the president to go ahead anyway — sending captured terrorists to be interrogated by the intelligence services of regimes with questionable human rights records.

    So why does Amnesty International distinguish between Bush and Clinton if both are guilty of the crime of “illegal rendition”, Tom? Could it be that one is a Democrat popular with AI contributors and the other a Republican?

  17. Dear KEP,

    First, I note that you do not seem to be challenging that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge that President Bush directed the use of torture on detainees in US custody. A prime facie case exists. Jurisdiction to act exists. Hence the call for action.

    Amnesty has consistently denounced human rights abuses committed by regimes like Cuba and Iran and I am quite comfortable with the suggestion that Fidel Castro and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may bear personal responsibility for such crimes. Indeed, I previously spent two years of my life running the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, an NGO dedicated to gathering evidence of human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the hope of one day supporting prosecutions.

    A call for an arrest is just one form of action. It is step AI may take when a state has sufficient jurisdiction to act. That opportunity does not occur often with reclusive heads of state of authoritarian regimes who typically only travel abroad on diplomatic passports to friendly countries. You can rest assured that if Iran ever transitions to democracy Amnesty will be keen to see its former leaders held accountable before the law for their actions – just as we strongly supported the ICC's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Col. Gaddafi in June this year.

    Amnesty can't take on every case and not every case lends itself to criminal prosecution. We do try to prioritize the most egregious cases where we think we may be able to convince states to act. The United States is a democracy with strong laws prohibiting torture and so it is not unreasonable to hope that action might be taken to hold a former President accountable for breaking the law.

    The case against President Bush is both strong and well-documented which surely makes it a good place to start. The number of people affected is substantial which does make a difference, potentially both in law and in fact. Furthermore, as the events in question could have occurred in the context of an armed conflict they may also amount to war crimes which triggers an additional legal regime that would not apply in Clinton's case.

    But make no mistake we firmly believe that both President Clinton and President Obama should be held as equally accountable for their actions as President Bush. They are no more above the law than he is. I don't know how I can make that any clearer.

  18. When a leader does "what he has to do" I shutter. To go outside agreements and ethical standards to reach ones end is what used to set the US apart from terrorist countries. Bush is a war criminal and should be treated as such, as he even admits breaking the law in his book!

    When the Office of President and Chief is above accountability to the law, we no longer have a democracy.

  19. Tom:

    Pardon me if I find myself confused once again. You say that a call for the arrest of a foreign leader is only one form of action; indeed I would imagine it to be approaching the ultimate form of action, right? And yet you only denounce the likes of Castro and Ahmadinejad while going even further and calling for the arrest of Bush. Why?

    You do point out that "(the) opportunity does not occur often with reclusive heads of state of authoritarian regimes who typically only travel abroad on diplomatic passports to friendly countries". Okay, but that has me puzzled: What difference does it make where such a scoundrel may typically go, as long as he or she at some point travels to a country where they might be arrested? Castro and Ahmadinejad have both traveled to the US – why didn't you agitate to have them arrested here?

    And what's with the mention of their traveling on a "diplomatic passport"? So does every former president and that didn't seem to enter into your equation regarding Bush.

    You also write, "Amnesty can’t take on every case and not every case lends itself to criminal prosecution. We do try to prioritize the most egregious cases where we think we may be able to convince states to act". Okay, so can we deduce from that that President Bashar al-Assad is seen by Amnesty as less of a priority and a less egregious promoter of human rights abuse than that of former president Bush? There's undoubtedly some tortured logic there, I just can't find it, so any help would be appreciated.

    Finally, in apparent exasperation, you write, "make no mistake we firmly believe that both President Clinton and President Obama should be held as equally accountable for their actions as President Bush. They are no more above the law than he is. I don’t know how I can make that any clearer."

    Here's a way you could make it clearer: Announce that, inasmuch as both Clinton and Bush are both guilty of authorizing extraordinary renditions, Amnesty International calls for the immediate arrest of both individuals so that they might be prosecuted for war crimes.

    I may not agree with such intent, but at least it would relieve Amnesty of what is now a shameful act of hypocrisy.

  20. Dear KEP,

    The suggestion that Amnesty does not take seriously the human rights abuses of other regimes is a bit absurd.

    To address your point about President Bashar al-Assad directly, Amnesty has been calling for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since April.

    Prisoners of conscience from Iran (student democracy activist Majid Tavakkoli) and China (journalist Shi Tao) are among the Individuals at Risk that featured in last week’s Global Write-a-thon. It’s not too late for you to write to both governments demanding their release.

    North Korea featured in an Amnesty action last month calling on the government to close the Yodok political prison camp, which is estimated to house 50,000 detainees in appalling conditions. We are currently running an Urgent Action calling for the release of two Cuban human rights activists, Ivonne Malleza Galano and Ignacio Martínez Montejo.

    The bottom line is that Amnesty is not interested in making national or party political distinctions. The organization was just as active in its criticism of the counterterrorism policies of the left-wing Labour Party government of Tony Blair in the UK, as it was of the Bush administration.

    However, you are absolutely right to observe that extraordinary rendition began under the Clinton administration and that the rendition of an individual to a country in which they will be tortured is a violation of the international legal principle of non-refoulement and the Convention against Torture.

    Is it wrong? Absolutely. Could you argue that the politicians concerned were accessories to torture? Yes. Is it potentially an international criminal offense? Yes again.

    However, while both administrations may have breached the Convention against Torture there are significant differences between the two cases.

    The first is a question of degree – the use of torture by the Bush administration was more widespread by far;

    Second, US officials themselves tortured individuals at the President Bush’s direction both in military detention facilities and in secret CIA prisons;

    Third, the practice of torture by the Bush administration has been exhaustively documented, not least in a comprehensive report by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Does all this get the Clinton administration off the hook? No, but these are reasonable grounds for distinguishing between the two cases. However, it is fair to say that the allegations against the Clinton administration deserve more attention.

    You may also wish to be aware that when reports surfaced in The Nation magazine in July 2011 alleging that the Obama administration may have participated in the extraordinary rendition of Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan from Kenya to Somalia, Amnesty immediately demanded clarification from the White House about US involvement which, to date, has not been forthcoming.

    We continue to monitor the situation and will seek to hold the Obama administration to account if this allegation is substantiated.

  21. Im Sorry KEP, are you suggesting that Amnesty International has some other political and secret agenda, and the (Bush,Clinton),Obama Administration is acting purely for the prosperity and safety of The U.S People?
    Come on..

  22. Listening to my Government Is like listening to a cheating girlfriends excuses.
    You can see right through it, If you aren’t blinded by her sweet face.

  23. While it is admirable for Amnesty International to hold the Iranian and Syrian regimes responsible for their denial of basic human rights to their citizens, it is “a bit absurd” for you not to call for the arrests of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad when traveling to foreign countries just as you have for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa … and former president Bush. I’m curious, Tom, as to the distinction you make between al-Assad (or Castro) and Bush and the need to arrest the latter but not the former.

    By the way, the name of your blog is ‘No One’s Above the Law’ and yet you concede that President Clinton engaged in extraordinary renditions – a practice Amnesty International considers the “illegal” and usually involving “multiple human rights violations” – and yet he appears to be precisely that in your eyes: Above the law.

    When I pressed as to why you call for Bush to be arrested by foreign authorities and not Clinton, you argue that, while Clinton is guilty of the same crime, Bush is more guilty because the use of torture “was more widespread by far”.

    Okay, so that’s the way Amnesty International assesses criminality? Could you explain to us how many people a president can seize through extraordinary renditions and subsequently torture before their guilt rises to the level of being charged with what you consider a crime? One? A half dozen? Fifty? Don’t you suppose that this and future presidents would benefit from knowing how many human rights violations they can commit before Amnesty holds them responsible and demands their prosecution?

    The fact is that if you believe Bush and Cheney to be guilty, then you must hold Clinton and Gore equally guilty. Of course, that’s an inconvenient truth, isn’t it? Badger Canada into arresting Bush and you’re a hero to your constituency and the contributions flow. But ask the same authorities to arrest Clinton and Amnesty International would be pilloried into obscurity.

    Is that the kind of ‘integrity’ that won Amnesty International a Nobel Peace Prize? Or is it instead the behavior of an organization blinded to its own political prejudices?

  24. DavClar Says:
    “Im Sorry KEP, are you suggesting that Amnesty International has some other political and secret agenda, and the (Bush,Clinton),Obama Administration is acting purely for the prosperity and safety of The U.S People? Come on..”

    ———————–

    No. What I’m saying is that Amnesty International must apportion guilt – and recommendations for prosecution – based on the evidence. Therefore, if Bush is guilty of human rights abuses due to his authorizing extraordinary renditions of terror suspects, then so too is Clinton.

    If Amnesty is to maintain its integrity, it has no other choice.

  25. Way was AI so timorous during the Bush administration and so late denouncing what she so easily denounce now? Was she sacrificing everything to the Columbia file?

  26. Dear KEP,

    First, I note that you do not seem to be challenging that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge that President Bush directed the use of torture on detainees in US custody. A prime facie case exists. Jurisdiction to act exists. Hence the call for action.

    Amnesty has consistently denounced human rights abuses committed by regimes like Cuba and Iran and I am quite comfortable with the suggestion that Fidel Castro and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may bear personal responsibility for such crimes. Indeed, I previously spent two years of my life running the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, an NGO dedicated to gathering evidence of human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the hope of one day supporting prosecutions.

    A call for an arrest is just one form of action. It is step AI may take when a state has sufficient jurisdiction to act. That opportunity does not occur often with reclusive heads of state of authoritarian regimes who typically only travel abroad on diplomatic passports to friendly countries. You can rest assured that if Iran ever transitions to democracy Amnesty will be keen to see its former leaders held accountable before the law for their actions – just as we strongly supported the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Col. Gaddafi in June this year.

    Amnesty can’t take on every case and not every case lends itself to criminal prosecution. We do try to prioritize the most egregious cases where we think we may be able to convince states to act. The United States is a democracy with strong laws prohibiting torture and so it is not unreasonable to hope that action might be taken to hold a former President accountable for breaking the law.

    The case against President Bush is both strong and well-documented which surely makes it a good place to start. The number of people affected is substantial which does make a difference, potentially both in law and in fact. Furthermore, as the events in question could have occurred in the context of an armed conflict they may also amount to war crimes which triggers an additional legal regime that would not apply in Clinton’s case.

    But make no mistake we firmly believe that both President Clinton and President Obama should be held as equally accountable for their actions as President Bush. They are no more above the law than he is. I don’t know how I can make that any clearer.

  27. When a leader does “what he has to do” I shutter. To go outside agreements and ethical standards to reach ones end is what used to set the US apart from terrorist countries. Bush is a war criminal and should be treated as such, as he even admits breaking the law in his book!

    When the Office of President and Chief is above accountability to the law, we no longer have a democracy.

  28. Tom:

    Pardon me if I find myself confused once again. You say that a call for the arrest of a foreign leader is only one form of action; indeed I would imagine it to be approaching the ultimate form of action, right? And yet you only denounce the likes of Castro and Ahmadinejad while going even further and calling for the arrest of Bush. Why?

    You do point out that “(the) opportunity does not occur often with reclusive heads of state of authoritarian regimes who typically only travel abroad on diplomatic passports to friendly countries”. Okay, but that has me puzzled: What difference does it make where such a scoundrel may typically go, as long as he or she at some point travels to a country where they might be arrested? Castro and Ahmadinejad have both traveled to the US – why didn’t you agitate to have them arrested here?

    And what’s with the mention of their traveling on a “diplomatic passport”? So does every former president and that didn’t seem to enter into your equation regarding Bush.

    You also write, “Amnesty can’t take on every case and not every case lends itself to criminal prosecution. We do try to prioritize the most egregious cases where we think we may be able to convince states to act”. Okay, so can we deduce from that that President Bashar al-Assad is seen by Amnesty as less of a priority and a less egregious promoter of human rights abuse than that of former president Bush? There’s undoubtedly some tortured logic there, I just can’t find it, so any help would be appreciated.

    Finally, in apparent exasperation, you write, “make no mistake we firmly believe that both President Clinton and President Obama should be held as equally accountable for their actions as President Bush. They are no more above the law than he is. I don’t know how I can make that any clearer.”

    Here’s a way you could make it clearer: Announce that, inasmuch as both Clinton and Bush are both guilty of authorizing extraordinary renditions, Amnesty International calls for the immediate arrest of both individuals so that they might be prosecuted for war crimes.

    I may not agree with such intent, but at least it would relieve Amnesty of what is now a shameful act of hypocrisy.

  29. If Bush is guilty of war crimes/ crimes against humanity. I asssume that Tony Blair is also guilty… many people believe that he will ultimately be arrested for war crimes and be used once again as Bush's scapegoat.

  30. Former President George W Bush explicitly stated on television and in print that he knowingly authorized the waterboarding of several individuals. The evidence from official sources is clear that those individuals were in fact waterboarded. The law is clear that waterboarding is torture. The criminal character of torture and the associated obligation to bring those responsible to justice is one of the most fundamental and clearest rules of international law in general, let alone international human rights and humanitarian law in particular. This is not the only matter worthy of investigation in his case, but it is certainly the clearest in terms of evidence and law and sets it apart from other cases in many ways.

    In the discussion of which other cases Amnesty International should or should not consider to be established to a sufficient legal and evidentiary standard to take the significant step of calling for a specific individual to be investigated and brought before the criminal justice process for specific possible crimes, I believe one should recognise that there are relatively few contemporary (perhaps even historical) precedents for someone so publicly and clearly to admit to their personal responsibility for acts that so clearly constitute torture.

    The call being criticized here is for all states, including the USA, to live up to the obligations they freely accepted and agreed they would undertake in precisely such circumstances (under the UN Convention against Torture for instance). Do those criticizing that call really believe that the cause of human rights and justice in other cases and other countries, including those in which the evidence of the personal responsibility of a person may be more difficult to document (i.e. because they do not publicly admit to it on TV and in writing), would be advanced in any way by Amnesty International or anyone else simply remaining silent in the face of such a clear admission of personal responsibility for such a fundamental violation of human rights for which international law provides such clear obligations, as we have in the case of former President Bush?

    Every day that passes without the United States of America coming fully to grips with its past, the failure to do so chips away at the foundations of the absolute prohibition of torture and indeed of the whole system of universal human rights protection. Surely that is something about which everyone who values human dignity should be deeply concerned and speak out about, not to the exclusion of but alongside all of the other human rights challenges our world faces. Which is all that Amnesty International is seeking to do.

  31. I find it disturbing that some people think Bush did the right thing. He clearly did not! This so called "war on terror" has gone too far from the beginning. It has been used to justify preventive wars, torture, taking away people's rights and it will become much worse if nobody puts and end to it. The war on terror cannot be won. Never! Think about it. It will always serve as an excuse to take away liberties, justify nightmare stuff like random arrests, executions, torture, indefinite detention without trial, police state…
    Thank you Amnesty International for taking a stand against this. I am sure there were more people involved in this mess than Bush alone. Please hold them accountable for their actions as well.

  32. Sad, when at one time AI's strength seemed to me to be pointing out abuses to people in relatively free countries so that they could bring pressure upon the perpetrators. The difference with Bush/Cheney was the public acknowledgement of their decision to commit torture, which has probably changed the US's official position forever. Now where can we stand when we accuse others? Who are the "good guys"?

  33. From the comments posted on this thread it is clear to me that some of the writers are young and experiencing the US at war for the first time. Otherwise, some perspective would reveal that there has never been a president who presided over a war – large or small – that didn't commit actions that could, in retrospect, constitute 'war crimes'.

    In the past mid-century, which was chock-a-block full of wars, look at the major conflicts and the presidents who commanded US forces: FDR, (a hero and model president for many on the left) who, among other things, interned Japanese Americans in US concentration camps based solely on their ethnicity and later approved the fire-bombing of the civilian population centers in Dresden; Truman, who authorized the use of two atomic bombs and in the process killing more innocent civilians than any president before or after; Kennedy, who authorized the creation and deployment of Special Forces to 'pacify' the Vietcong in South Vietnam using much-criticized counter-insurgency and counter-guerilla tactics; Johnson and Nixon, who escalated that conflict to include campaigns such as 'Rolling Thunder' – the carpet bombing of North Vietnam cities, dams, and seaports, and 'Phoenix' – the identification and elimination of North Vietnamese elements in the South.

    The fact is that, if the logic used by most posters here – and Amnesty International in general – was applied fairly, every American 'war' president could rightly be labeled a 'war criminal'. Yet, it is apparently only Bush that generates that level of vitriol. Why? FDR incarcerated thousands of totally innocent Americans because of their ethnicity, so why isn't his name permanently affixed with the label 'war criminal' too? More recently, Clinton authorized extraordinary renditions of suspected terrorists and handed them over to foreign governments known to use torture. Is he labeled a terrorist? No, instead he is an icon and fund raiser for Amnesty.

    The simple truth is that war is an ugly and inhumane – if sometimes necessary – action of government. Can any war be waged in a humane and ethical fashion when its very prosecution seems to contradict both? If you leave politics aside, there is a legitimate question as to whether any ‘war president’ could win a conflict if they were to assiduously avoid anything that could be construed as a war crime. Never mind torture, how about collateral civilian deaths in a bombing campaign? FDR and Truman couldn't figure out how to do it, nor will future presidents.

    The unpleasant reality is that the absolute pursuit of human rights in a war would be a suicide pact for its practitioner.

    My point isn't that during a war – human rights be damned. My point is that, despite their best efforts, it is almost certain that any president during wartime is going to make decisions that may on the one hand speed the end of the war and reduce the cost in lives, and on the other raise legitimate questions about human rights violations. Does that make that president a 'war criminal'?

    So back to the issue at hand: If Bush is war criminal, then so too is Clinton, Johnson, Truman, FDR, and several others. For those of you intent on labels, it's time for you to be honest and recognize the 'guilt' of other presidents who have otherwise gotten a free pass. Whenever FDR’s or Clinton’s names are mentioned, don’t forget to spit out that they were war criminals; otherwise, gather some perspective and give the ‘Bush=War Criminal’ drum beat a rest.

  34. If Bush is guilty of war crimes/ crimes against humanity. I asssume that Tony Blair is also guilty… many people believe that he will ultimately be arrested for war crimes and be used once again as Bush’s scapegoat.

  35. Thanks Tom and the Security with Human Rights team at Amnesty for this honest work in the face of so much nationalistic propaganda. Outside of the US-exceptionalism-bubble, especially in the context of leaders from the "less powerful" nations being sent to the ICC, this voice is needed. Keep on.

  36. If Amnesty International thinks George Bush is a "war criminal" I am afraid to ask about Abraham Lincoln? Why not protest infront of the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC A.I.?
    Historians are going to laugh at you for this crusade.

  37. Former President George W Bush explicitly stated on television and in print that he knowingly authorized the waterboarding of several individuals. The evidence from official sources is clear that those individuals were in fact waterboarded. The law is clear that waterboarding is torture. The criminal character of torture and the associated obligation to bring those responsible to justice is one of the most fundamental and clearest rules of international law in general, let alone international human rights and humanitarian law in particular. This is not the only matter worthy of investigation in his case, but it is certainly the clearest in terms of evidence and law and sets it apart from other cases in many ways.

    In the discussion of which other cases Amnesty International should or should not consider to be established to a sufficient legal and evidentiary standard to take the significant step of calling for a specific individual to be investigated and brought before the criminal justice process for specific possible crimes, I believe one should recognise that there are relatively few contemporary (perhaps even historical) precedents for someone so publicly and clearly to admit to their personal responsibility for acts that so clearly constitute torture.

    The call being criticized here is for all states, including the USA, to live up to the obligations they freely accepted and agreed they would undertake in precisely such circumstances (under the UN Convention against Torture for instance). Do those criticizing that call really believe that the cause of human rights and justice in other cases and other countries, including those in which the evidence of the personal responsibility of a person may be more difficult to document (i.e. because they do not publicly admit to it on TV and in writing), would be advanced in any way by Amnesty International or anyone else simply remaining silent in the face of such a clear admission of personal responsibility for such a fundamental violation of human rights for which international law provides such clear obligations, as we have in the case of former President Bush?

    Every day that passes without the United States of America coming fully to grips with its past, the failure to do so chips away at the foundations of the absolute prohibition of torture and indeed of the whole system of universal human rights protection. Surely that is something about which everyone who values human dignity should be deeply concerned and speak out about, not to the exclusion of but alongside all of the other human rights challenges our world faces. Which is all that Amnesty International is seeking to do.

  38. I find it disturbing that some people think Bush did the right thing. He clearly did not! This so called “war on terror” has gone too far from the beginning. It has been used to justify preventive wars, torture, taking away people’s rights and it will become much worse if nobody puts and end to it. The war on terror cannot be won. Never! Think about it. It will always serve as an excuse to take away liberties, justify nightmare stuff like random arrests, executions, torture, indefinite detention without trial, police state…
    Thank you Amnesty International for taking a stand against this. I am sure there were more people involved in this mess than Bush alone. Please hold them accountable for their actions as well.

  39. Sad, when at one time AI’s strength seemed to me to be pointing out abuses to people in relatively free countries so that they could bring pressure upon the perpetrators. The difference with Bush/Cheney was the public acknowledgement of their decision to commit torture, which has probably changed the US’s official position forever. Now where can we stand when we accuse others? Who are the “good guys”?

  40. Just a highschool educated Canadian here…
    I cannot compete with The Facts presented by KEP or Tom although
    I think the point of this Article is in the name itself.. "No-ones-above-the-law"
    I think the point AI is trying to make, regardless of who it is today that we pursue, the fact of the world today is that there are Many above the law who answer to No one, "Many" in regards to being more then just One or Two,
    This isn't a Do what I do society, It is Do what I say, And even AI cannot change that, unless they had the money to.
    Feel free to chew me up, I live for it!

  41. War itself today is Criminal. I like to try and believe that we have evolved past killing eachother for no good reason. And I mean I haven't heard a Good reason for going to war since WW2.
    A bad Analogy could be a Rapist declaring war on loneliness and coming up with a cohesive plan to carry it out.
    I firmly believe that if the King still had to lead the charge with his army, there would be alot less wars being declared.
    The Lines have been drawn a long time ago, However Greed disallows equality and it disallows sharing. If we need the fertile lands of Vietnam, Trade! If Sumhow our Oil got underneath Iraq, Trade! No? Well thats because We want it all.

  42. From the comments posted on this thread it is clear to me that some of the writers are young and experiencing the US at war for the first time. Otherwise, some perspective would reveal that there has never been a president who presided over a war – large or small – that didn’t commit actions that could, in retrospect, constitute ‘war crimes’.

    In the past mid-century, which was chock-a-block full of wars, look at the major conflicts and the presidents who commanded US forces: FDR, (a hero and model president for many on the left) who, among other things, interned Japanese Americans in US concentration camps based solely on their ethnicity and later approved the fire-bombing of the civilian population centers in Dresden; Truman, who authorized the use of two atomic bombs and in the process killing more innocent civilians than any president before or after; Kennedy, who authorized the creation and deployment of Special Forces to ‘pacify’ the Vietcong in South Vietnam using much-criticized counter-insurgency and counter-guerilla tactics; Johnson and Nixon, who escalated that conflict to include campaigns such as ‘Rolling Thunder’ – the carpet bombing of North Vietnam cities, dams, and seaports, and ‘Phoenix’ – the identification and elimination of North Vietnamese elements in the South.

    The fact is that, if the logic used by most posters here – and Amnesty International in general – was applied fairly, every American ‘war’ president could rightly be labeled a ‘war criminal’. Yet, it is apparently only Bush that generates that level of vitriol. Why? FDR incarcerated thousands of totally innocent Americans because of their ethnicity, so why isn’t his name permanently affixed with the label ‘war criminal’ too? More recently, Clinton authorized extraordinary renditions of suspected terrorists and handed them over to foreign governments known to use torture. Is he labeled a terrorist? No, instead he is an icon and fund raiser for Amnesty.

    The simple truth is that war is an ugly and inhumane – if sometimes necessary – action of government. Can any war be waged in a humane and ethical fashion when its very prosecution seems to contradict both? If you leave politics aside, there is a legitimate question as to whether any ‘war president’ could win a conflict if they were to assiduously avoid anything that could be construed as a war crime. Never mind torture, how about collateral civilian deaths in a bombing campaign? FDR and Truman couldn’t figure out how to do it, nor will future presidents.

    The unpleasant reality is that the absolute pursuit of human rights in a war would be a suicide pact for its practitioner.

    My point isn’t that during a war – human rights be damned. My point is that, despite their best efforts, it is almost certain that any president during wartime is going to make decisions that may on the one hand speed the end of the war and reduce the cost in lives, and on the other raise legitimate questions about human rights violations. Does that make that president a ‘war criminal’?

    So back to the issue at hand: If Bush is war criminal, then so too is Clinton, Johnson, Truman, FDR, and several others. For those of you intent on labels, it’s time for you to be honest and recognize the ‘guilt’ of other presidents who have otherwise gotten a free pass. Whenever FDR’s or Clinton’s names are mentioned, don’t forget to spit out that they were war criminals; otherwise, gather some perspective and give the ‘Bush=War Criminal’ drum beat a rest.

  43. Thanks Tom and the Security with Human Rights team at Amnesty for this honest work in the face of so much nationalistic propaganda. Outside of the US-exceptionalism-bubble, especially in the context of leaders from the “less powerful” nations being sent to the ICC, this voice is needed. Keep on.

  44. If Amnesty International thinks George Bush is a “war criminal” I am afraid to ask about Abraham Lincoln? Why not protest infront of the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC A.I.?
    Historians are going to laugh at you for this crusade.

  45. Just a highschool educated Canadian here…
    I cannot compete with The Facts presented by KEP or Tom although
    I think the point of this Article is in the name itself.. “No-ones-above-the-law”
    I think the point AI is trying to make, regardless of who it is today that we pursue, the fact of the world today is that there are Many above the law who answer to No one, “Many” in regards to being more then just One or Two,
    This isn’t a Do what I do society, It is Do what I say, And even AI cannot change that, unless they had the money to.
    Feel free to chew me up, I live for it!

  46. War itself today is Criminal. I like to try and believe that we have evolved past killing eachother for no good reason. And I mean I haven’t heard a Good reason for going to war since WW2.
    A bad Analogy could be a Rapist declaring war on loneliness and coming up with a cohesive plan to carry it out.
    I firmly believe that if the King still had to lead the charge with his army, there would be alot less wars being declared.
    The Lines have been drawn a long time ago, However Greed disallows equality and it disallows sharing. If we need the fertile lands of Vietnam, Trade! If Sumhow our Oil got underneath Iraq, Trade! No? Well thats because We want it all.

  47. Not onty Bush but Cheney Rumsfeld, refused at first to participate in the InternationalCourt for WarCrimes, started by Euro countries and not wanting US army crimes to be involved THEN succeeding in installing an American judge at the helm participated___Uneducated Ignorant AmericanRepublicans never even realized what was going on, like the standardization of torture, the removal of the rights of American citizens with the Patriot Act, and NO respect of the Amererican Constitution, Illegal wars in many countries (no respect of the agreements signed at the Geneva convention). ____The terrorists and Al-Qaida created by USA when subsidizing BenLaden with hundreds of millions to create an army of rebels to oust the Russians from Afghanistan, and later organize the 9/11 coup to justify wars in Afghan and Iraki soil, then organize another coup with the Banks to create the ACTUAL economy Crisis, The privatized Fed Banksters makes lots of money with wars and crises on the long term____The Bush Cheney(Halliburton) Rumsfeld gang made fortunes having market shares in military production companies (Carlyle, Raythion, GeneralDynamics, Exxon, NorthruptGrumman, Boeing etc…) all that at the expense of the American worker and taxpayer WHO does not seem to realize what is going on.___US even use and pay Al-Qaida terrorists agents to start revolts and wars like in Serbia and recently in Libya.

  48. THE GREATEST CRIMINALS AND SERIAL KILLERS (and torturers) IN WORLD HISTORY____BEING____BushCheneyRumsfeld___Even if USA bombed FIFTY countries since 1949 without legal or decent reasons except to protect US companies profits abroad, and have the US military industry and Banks investments increase on the stock market for NO profit to the average American worker and taxpayer)____ Operating military bases all around the world on borrowed money certainly not help the middle-class citizen, Only an illusion for the average uneducated ignorant republican.

  49. P.S:____Please Note that all military production companies are in southern republican states and territory

  50. Not onty Bush but Cheney Rumsfeld, refused at first to participate in the InternationalCourt for WarCrimes, started by Euro countries and not wanting US army crimes to be involved THEN succeeding in installing an American judge at the helm participated___Uneducated Ignorant AmericanRepublicans never even realized what was going on, like the standardization of torture, the removal of the rights of American citizens with the Patriot Act, and NO respect of the Amererican Constitution, Illegal wars in many countries (no respect of the agreements signed at the Geneva convention). ____The terrorists and Al-Qaida created by USA when subsidizing BenLaden with hundreds of millions to create an army of rebels to oust the Russians from Afghanistan, and later organize the 9/11 coup to justify wars in Afghan and Iraki soil, then organize another coup with the Banks to create the ACTUAL economy Crisis, The privatized Fed Banksters makes lots of money with wars and crises on the long term____The Bush Cheney(Halliburton) Rumsfeld gang made fortunes having market shares in military production companies (Carlyle, Raythion, GeneralDynamics, Exxon, NorthruptGrumman, Boeing etc…) all that at the expense of the American worker and taxpayer WHO does not seem to realize what is going on.___US even use and pay Al-Qaida terrorists agents to start revolts and wars like in Serbia and recently in Libya.

  51. THE GREATEST CRIMINALS AND SERIAL KILLERS (and torturers) IN WORLD HISTORY____BEING____BushCheneyRumsfeld___Even if USA bombed FIFTY countries since 1949 without legal or decent reasons except to protect US companies profits abroad, and have the US military industry and Banks investments increase on the stock market for NO profit to the average American worker and taxpayer)____ Operating military bases all around the world on borrowed money certainly not help the middle-class citizen, Only an illusion for the average uneducated ignorant republican.

  52. P.S:____Please Note that all military production companies are in southern republican states and territory

  53. The old geezer says; THERE IS NO Congressional federal criminal statute that PROHIBITS, FORBIDS, or makes it UNLAWFUL for any person at random to buy, sell, use, or abuse, drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances! Since at least 1975, the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States have arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and DENIED the freedom and liberty for a combined millions of years of any person whose conduct was admitted, alleged, or found, to be: " in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1)". Without any constructive-implication or conclusions of law by this writer, and solely supported by the language of the statutes in the federal drug laws themselves, I am able to prove to any reasonable thinking person or GURU of Constitution Law, that America's lucifarian and moralistic "WAR on DRUGS" is the most repugnant F R A U D ever conducted by a government against its own people in the History of the World!

  54. However, Members of the three branches of the government of the United States, criminal defense lawyers, the ACLU and the Community at large has remained SILENT! I leave the reader with this quote from adjudicated case law before the reader even considers making a donation to the ACLU; "SILENCE can only be acquainted with FRAUD where there is a legal or moral duty to speak or when an inquiry left unanswered would be intentionally misleading". U.S. v. Tweel; 550 F 2d 297 (1977) the old geezer

  55. To my mind, Tim's note above makes sense, on the other hand, KEPetersen's review plows ground already plowed. Because servants of "WE, the people" committed WAR CRIMES in past times, in no way authorizes Our servants to commit WAR CRIMES forever! And who's to blame? There is something fundamentally WRONG with a society of people who provide their servants with a salary that exceeds their Masters, provide hospital insurance for the servants that their Masters cannot afford, furnish weeks and week of 'vacations' with pay, afford their servants with a multitude of "paid holidays" and then retire said servants at full pay! Until "WE" conduct Our elections different than AMERICAN IDOL, nothing for "US" will change!! old geezer

  56. The old geezer says; THERE IS NO Congressional federal criminal statute that PROHIBITS, FORBIDS, or makes it UNLAWFUL for any person at random to buy, sell, use, or abuse, drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances! Since at least 1975, the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States have arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and DENIED the freedom and liberty for a combined millions of years of any person whose conduct was admitted, alleged, or found, to be: ” in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1)”. Without any constructive-implication or conclusions of law by this writer, and solely supported by the language of the statutes in the federal drug laws themselves, I am able to prove to any reasonable thinking person or GURU of Constitution Law, that America’s lucifarian and moralistic “WAR on DRUGS” is the most repugnant F R A U D ever conducted by a government against its own people in the History of the World!

  57. However, Members of the three branches of the government of the United States, criminal defense lawyers, the ACLU and the Community at large has remained SILENT! I leave the reader with this quote from adjudicated case law before the reader even considers making a donation to the ACLU; “SILENCE can only be acquainted with FRAUD where there is a legal or moral duty to speak or when an inquiry left unanswered would be intentionally misleading”. U.S. v. Tweel; 550 F 2d 297 (1977) the old geezer

  58. To my mind, Tim’s note above makes sense, on the other hand, KEPetersen’s review plows ground already plowed. Because servants of “WE, the people” committed WAR CRIMES in past times, in no way authorizes Our servants to commit WAR CRIMES forever! And who’s to blame? There is something fundamentally WRONG with a society of people who provide their servants with a salary that exceeds their Masters, provide hospital insurance for the servants that their Masters cannot afford, furnish weeks and week of ‘vacations’ with pay, afford their servants with a multitude of “paid holidays” and then retire said servants at full pay! Until “WE” conduct Our elections different than AMERICAN IDOL, nothing for “US” will change!! old geezer

  59. QUESTION:
    As I understand it, Amnesty International stands for human rights. Why then, will no one answer my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument to finally END the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States and the manner in which they conduct America's lucifarian and moralistic "WAR on DRUGS" against any person at random NOT registered with the attorney general for federal jurisdiction to be federally regulated in the closed commercial system of "controlled substances" whatever they are now or ever will be?

    Perhaps someone of authority is able to provide an answer to my question! Thank You

  60. QUESTION:
    As I understand it, Amnesty International stands for human rights. Why then, will no one answer my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument to finally END the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States and the manner in which they conduct America’s lucifarian and moralistic “WAR on DRUGS” against any person at random NOT registered with the attorney general for federal jurisdiction to be federally regulated in the closed commercial system of “controlled substances” whatever they are now or ever will be?

    Perhaps someone of authority is able to provide an answer to my question! Thank You

  61. D. Olson ___is absolutely right for the War on Drugs, ___AS the NationalEndowment for Democracy(CIA branch) cannot show any expenses or operation fees in US financial/accounting books for its Covert Operations and infiltrations in most countries.___ ALL these operations are financed by the US/CIA world control of the DRUG TRADE, ____As soon as US army was involved in Afghanistan, millions disappeared transferred to the local warloards (including some friends and family of so-democratic, sic. Karzai) to produce Opium, becoming quickly the main Export of the country (no Oil there).___Same control was operated in Vietnam and surrounding countries, years ago.___Most of the drug export from Afghanistan was sent to Russia and China to destabilize the youth in these infiltrated (a few years before by the Soros, NED/CIA agent organizations) countries.

  62. No One,s Above the Law, (US and International)____EXCEPT, for the US administration and banks, especially for military and covert operations.

  63. OOPS___Maybe some people will think that I am anti-US,___Not at all, I have many American friends, ___Just against anti US foreign policy and yes, also have a few republican friends, I just told them, that they are not documented or interested on what is really going on, what makes them uneducated ignorants on the danger for the average citizen (worker and taxpayer including themselves) from the laws on the rights of people, locally or abroad.

  64. There is TWO kinds of DEMOCRACY, ___the — REPRESENTATIVE — one (or fake, like in US, with lobbeyists elected representing the multinationals and certainly not the citizens)___AND the — PARTICIPATIVE — one (with local, municipal or regional permanent citizens committees, presenting candidates for elections and participating in all government important decisions, by vote or referendum, with Public banks, not privatized like the actual Fed) see the social-credit system of the Economist CliffordHughDouglas.

  65. D. Olson ___is absolutely right for the War on Drugs, ___AS the NationalEndowment for Democracy(CIA branch) cannot show any expenses or operation fees in US financial/accounting books for its Covert Operations and infiltrations in most countries.___ ALL these operations are financed by the US/CIA world control of the DRUG TRADE, ____As soon as US army was involved in Afghanistan, millions disappeared transferred to the local warloards (including some friends and family of so-democratic, sic. Karzai) to produce Opium, becoming quickly the main Export of the country (no Oil there).___Same control was operated in Vietnam and surrounding countries, years ago.___Most of the drug export from Afghanistan was sent to Russia and China to destabilize the youth in these infiltrated (a few years before by the Soros, NED/CIA agent organizations) countries.

  66. No One,s Above the Law, (US and International)____EXCEPT, for the US administration and banks, especially for military and covert operations.

  67. OOPS___Maybe some people will think that I am anti-US,___Not at all, I have many American friends, ___Just against anti US foreign policy and yes, also have a few republican friends, I just told them, that they are not documented or interested on what is really going on, what makes them uneducated ignorants on the danger for the average citizen (worker and taxpayer including themselves) from the laws on the rights of people, locally or abroad.

  68. There is TWO kinds of DEMOCRACY, ___the — REPRESENTATIVE — one (or fake, like in US, with lobbeyists elected representing the multinationals and certainly not the citizens)___AND the — PARTICIPATIVE — one (with local, municipal or regional permanent citizens committees, presenting candidates for elections and participating in all government important decisions, by vote or referendum, with Public banks, not privatized like the actual Fed) see the social-credit system of the Economist CliffordHughDouglas.

  69. Thanks for your feedback on this issue. We recognize that there will often be dissenting views and passionate discussion on this blog, but please keep your comments respectful at all times following our community guidelines: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines/

    Please especially refrain from personal attacks, or commenting in a manner that detracts from the experience of other blog readers.

    Thanks everyone!

  70. Can you imagine a road trip with both Jean and Duane in the backseat?

    Not sure that anyone could get a word in edgewise, but they undoubtedly have chemistry. Duane could plot the elimination of those pesky Executive and Judiciary branches of government while Jean focused on selling the American public on ending representative democracy.

    I'm guessing their Nirvana would be an amalgam of Myanmar and Denmark's Christiania. Now that should solve all our problems…

  71. To KEPeterson; You have the scarlet brand of a TRUE Christian and Republican TEA Party Member Mr. Peterson, while there is nothing wrong with being all three of the above, there is something wrong with your attitude. I thought the subject matter of my issue was the "WAR on DRUGS"! You, Mr. Peterson, have followed your Party's best issue, "Change the subject matter to something 'WE' can win"! If you don't have the intellect to offer some constructive criticism or suggestions, please be quiet until addressed! I have no desire to "plot the elimination of the executive and judicial branches" but I do have a desire to find out if my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument have merit worthy of pursuit or whether it is "patently frivolous and without merit"! I'll bet you think NEWT the hypocrite is wonderful! If so, I'll bet you will write your support of NEWT on the wall of the MEN'S ROOM with a crayon! Thank So You Very Much For Your Intelligent Input Mr. KEPeterson

  72. Thanks for your feedback on this issue. We recognize that there will often be dissenting views and passionate discussion on this blog, but please keep your comments respectful at all times following our community guidelines: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines/

    Please especially refrain from personal attacks, or commenting in a manner that detracts from the experience of other blog readers.

    Thanks everyone!

  73. Thanks for your feedback on this issue. We recognize that there will often be dissenting views and passionate discussion on this blog, but please keep your comments respectful at all times following our community guidelines: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines/

    Please especially refrain from personal attacks, or commenting in a manner that detracts from the experience of other blog readers.

    Thanks everyone!

  74. I am 83-years old and new to the computer World. I am neither computer literate nor did I realize at the start, that this medium is reserved for animosity rather than intelligent discussion! My remarks will not be seen again on this cite! Thank you very much for the enlightenment!

  75. Can you imagine a road trip with both Jean and Duane in the backseat?

    Not sure that anyone could get a word in edgewise, but they undoubtedly have chemistry. Duane could plot the elimination of those pesky Executive and Judiciary branches of government while Jean focused on selling the American public on ending representative democracy.

    I’m guessing their Nirvana would be an amalgam of Myanmar and Denmark’s Christiania. Now that should solve all our problems…

  76. To KEPeterson; You have the scarlet brand of a TRUE Christian and Republican TEA Party Member Mr. Peterson, while there is nothing wrong with being all three of the above, there is something wrong with your attitude. I thought the subject matter of my issue was the “WAR on DRUGS”! You, Mr. Peterson, have followed your Party’s best issue, “Change the subject matter to something ‘WE’ can win”! If you don’t have the intellect to offer some constructive criticism or suggestions, please be quiet until addressed! I have no desire to “plot the elimination of the executive and judicial branches” but I do have a desire to find out if my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument have merit worthy of pursuit or whether it is “patently frivolous and without merit”! I’ll bet you think NEWT the hypocrite is wonderful! If so, I’ll bet you will write your support of NEWT on the wall of the MEN’S ROOM with a crayon! Thank So You Very Much For Your Intelligent Input Mr. KEPeterson

  77. My sincere apologies for my editorial digression. I haven't been myself lately what with the Republican debates, the sinking of Costa Concordia off of Tuscany, and severed feet appearing in the Hollywood hills. It's all a bit much …

    I'm sorry, too, for amping up Duane and working him into a tizzy. My intemperate remarks apparently provoked all manner of hallucinations. Just to set your mind at ease, Duane: I'm not a Christian (an atheist, actually); I'm not a Tea Party activist (they seem to be the better organized but equally delusional doppelgängers of the Occupy movement); nor am I a Gingrich supporter (I'll likely vote for Obama while holding my nose).

    Hopefully I'm not to blame for your leaving this website. I'm sure I am but one of many who looked forward to learning all there is to your 'Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument' before the Nobel committee catches wind of it.

    Again, mea culpa.

  78. Thanks for your feedback on this issue. We recognize that there will often be dissenting views and passionate discussion on this blog, but please keep your comments respectful at all times following our community guidelines: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines/

    Please especially refrain from personal attacks, or commenting in a manner that detracts from the experience of other blog readers.

    Thanks everyone!

  79. I am 83-years old and new to the computer World. I am neither computer literate nor did I realize at the start, that this medium is reserved for animosity rather than intelligent discussion! My remarks will not be seen again on this cite! Thank you very much for the enlightenment!

  80. My sincere apologies for my editorial digression. I haven’t been myself lately what with the Republican debates, the sinking of Costa Concordia off of Tuscany, and severed feet appearing in the Hollywood hills. It’s all a bit much …

    I’m sorry, too, for amping up Duane and working him into a tizzy. My intemperate remarks apparently provoked all manner of hallucinations. Just to set your mind at ease, Duane: I’m not a Christian (an atheist, actually); I’m not a Tea Party activist (they seem to be the better organized but equally delusional doppelgängers of the Occupy movement); nor am I a Gingrich supporter (I’ll likely vote for Obama while holding my nose).

    Hopefully I’m not to blame for your leaving this website. I’m sure I am but one of many who looked forward to learning all there is to your ‘Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument’ before the Nobel committee catches wind of it.

    Again, mea culpa.