Abby Martin goes over the effect of prolonged US military presence in bases all over the world, highlighting the case of Okinawa, Japan, which has hosted over 60 years of US occupation and thousands of young troops who are almost immune from prosecution against crimes committed on the island.
Tag Archives | War Crimes
The Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last month:
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Ten days ago Guatemalan courts convicted former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt, to 80 years in prison for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Though the ruling has just been overturned on technical grounds (the trial is expected to backtrack to where it stood on April 19, before again resuming), it was the first time that a country has been able to use its own criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide, arguably making it one of the most important court decisions in decades.
Despite the significance of the ruling, not just for what it represents for the more than 200,000 victims of the genocide and their families, but also for human rights worldwide, the mass media in the U.S. has mostly ignored the U.S. role in contributing to and supporting the genocide.
The New York Times provided a couple of exceptions in the last week.
For those who have been following the story, below you will find the initial impact of the genocide conviction of ex-Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt.
The majority of the coverage in the two videos linked below is with Rigoberta Menchú, the woman largely responsible for making sure that Ríos Montt was brought to justice. It is a powerful interview with an amazing individual, a testament to her courage, and a fitting tribute to the victims of genocide.
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“All of the crimes that Rigoberta Menchú just described were crimes not just of General Ríos Montt, but also of the U.S. government. The U.S. prosecutors in Washington should immediately convene a grand jury with two missions: first, coming to the aid of the Guatemalan attorney general, who has just been ordered by the court to investigate all others involved in Ríos Montt’s crimes, by releasing all classified U.S.
The military dictatorship led by Montt slaughtered thousands upon thousands of villagers in an effort to exterminate Guatemala’s indigenous ethnic Mayan population, which it regarded as sympathetic to leftist rebels. No word on whether the CIA and Ronald Reagan will be tried posthumously as accessories. Reuters reports:
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Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.
Montt, now 86, took power after a coup in 1982 and implemented a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers thought to be helping leftist rebels.
Prosecutors say Montt turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as 250,000 people died.
It’s anyone’s guess if those responsible for this war of aggression will ever be held accountable for their crimes, what we do know however, is that the decision to invade Iraq has transformed the global political landscape (emphasis added):
“Kofi Annan, declared explicitly… that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service… he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: ‘Yes, if you wish.’
“He then added unequivocally: ‘I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.’…
“American officials have defended the war as an act of self-defence, allowed under the UN charter, in view of Saddam Hussein’s supposed plans to build weapons of mass destruction…
“Mr Annan issued a stern critique of the notion of pre-emptive self-defence, saying it would lead to a breakdown in international order.”
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A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler’s Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists reported on Wednesday.
In a paper published in an academic journal, German and Austrian researchers recount an extraordinary tale where archaeology, the Third Reich and cosmic treasure are intertwined like an Indiana Jones movie.
Called the “Iron Man” because of the high content of iron in its rock, the 24-centimetre (10-inch) -high statue was brought to Germany by an expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist.
Backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler and heading a team whose members are all believed to have been SS, Schaefer roamed Tibet in 1938-9 to search for the origins of Aryanism, the notion of racial superiority that underpinned Nazism.
Weighing 10.6 kilos (23.3 pounds), the statue features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards.
Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis write at Common Dreams:
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One could be forgiven for thinking there’s anything honorable or honest about Colin Powell. For more than two decades now the Washington media has portrayed the former Secretary of State as something of a real life action hero, a reluctant warrior whose greatest fault – should they deign to mention any – was just being too darn loyal to a guy named George and his buddy Dick. What you might have missed is that Powell is a war criminal in his own right, one who in more than four decades of “public service” helped kill people from Vietnam to Panama to Iraq who never posed a threat to America. But don’t just take some anti-war activists’ word for it: Powell will proudly tell you as much, so long as he can make a buck from doing it in a book.
Powell’s latest $27.99 account of his legendary life is billed as a “powerful portrait of a leader who is reflective, self-effacing, and grateful for the contributions of everyone he works with.” But the title, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, could very well refer to Powell’s own careerist ambitions: saying and doing whatever served the interests of power – as a young officer in Vietnam, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the illegal invasion of Panama, as Secretary of State under George W.