No Justice In The War on Terror 117


The Blackwater mercenaries who massacred 17 Iraqi civilians have been let off by a US judge because they gave evidence under duress – the threat of losing their jobs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/31/us-court-dismisses-blackwater-charges

Yet evidence given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during hundreds of torture sessions, including over a hundred sessions of waterboarding, is admissible in the US, torture apparently not being duress like the threat of losing your job.

The US is at the same time going through more angst about the underpants bomber. Get this into your heads; people want to kill you because as a nation you behave in a murderous and arrogant way. That does not justify a terrorist in killing innocent civilians; but killing innocent civilians did not seem to bother the Blackwater boys, or the US armed forces who kill innocent civilians every single day.


117 thoughts on “No Justice In The War on Terror

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  • Ruth

    Basically it boils down to the fact thatthe US views the lives of Iraqis and Afghans as insignificant.

  • Chris Dooley

    It’s sickening. But I hope those that are trying to bring a prosecution don’t give up and move it to a higher court.

  • dreoilin

    Disgusting. I gather it’s tied up with GW Bush effectively giving immunity to Blackwater. I would dearly love to see this going to another court. But I’m not expecting very much. They have been given further contracts in Af-Pak — as they call it.

    But as Ruth says, the lives of Iraqis and Afghans do not equate to American lives. Never did.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    To understand US attitudes to “Terrorist” actions such as attempted murder with exploding underpants, as against “legitimate acts of warfare” such as attacking wedding parties with air strikes one needs the concepts of “the legitimate direction of violence and revenge” as against “the illegitimate direction of violence and revenge”.

    It is legitimate for the USA and Israel to desire vengeance against those that have harmed them, to seek such vengeance and to use military action to gain it by such as invading Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen or Gaza. This military action however in no way entitles the other side to want vengeance, or obtain vengeance against the USA or Israel.

    The legitimate direction of revenge and violence is from the USA/Israel to anyone else, the illegitimate direction of revenge and violence is from Arabs, Muslims or anyone attacked by the USA/Israel towards The USA/Israel.

    So when Saudi Arabia attacked the USA by aeroplaning the World trade Centre and the Pentagon it was legitimate for the USA to gain revenge by invading Iraq, after all the Iraqis like The Saudis are Arabs and all Arabs not just the Saudi Royals can be held responsible for September 11.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    The legitimate direction for revenge, violence and military action is from the righteous against the unrighteous. The USA is exceedingly righteous being full of born again Christians of the type that shoot abortion doctors. The Arab world on the other hand is unrighteously full of people who hate America and are therefore unrighteous.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    I do not believe that Arabs or Muslims believe that there is such a thing as an innocent US or Israeli civilian any more than citizens of the US and Israel believe there is such a thing as innocent Arab, Palestinian or Muslim.

    In the war between Judeo-Christians and Muslims both side consider all members of the other collective responsible collectively for all actions of that side. The underpants bomber may concede that the other passengers on his flight did not themselves attack Afghans from predator drones but he would hold them guilty none the less as they would have sympathised with those who did and if they did not actually sympathise, failed to do enough to demonstrate this.

    Likewise Israelis consider all inhabitants of Gaza as guilty for the rocketing of Israel and thus legitimate targets for artillery and air strikes on the basis that they sympathise with the ultimate goals of those that fire the rockets or are not sufficiently strident in expressing their opposition to the rocketing.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    Personally I will cheer when a less incompetent apparel bomber manages to down a US airliner and off a couple of hundred of passengers. This will at least partly make up for the injustice represented by the impunity of the Blackwater murderers.

  • angrysoba

    “Personally I will cheer when a less incompetent apparel bomber manages to down a US airliner and off a couple of hundred of passengers. ”

    When the US downed an Iranian civilian airliner during the Iran-Iraq war it was a disgusting war crime.

    The same will be true if a less incompetent apparel bomber downs a civilian US airliner. If it happens, I hope you choke to death on your champagne you nasty little misanthropist.

  • John D. Monkey

    There is one, pretty large, silver linging in this dark cloud: precedent.

    As Craig notes, using “duress” as a reason to quash charges will work both ways.

    If I was a lawyer in the USA, whenever evidence obtained under torture, however defined, was used as the basis for a case I would shout “Blackwater” very loudly!

  • John D. Monkey

    Carlye Moulton:

    Terrorism is terrorism whether committed by a fanatic or a state – in the latter case it’s called a war crime – in Gaza, the bombing of Pakistani civilians by drone planes, or wherever.

    Anyone who would cheer at the death of innocent civilians (on any “side”) needs to take a long, hard look at themself. I wonder if you would take the same view if any of your family or friends were the innocent victim of such a terrorist attack?

  • tony_opmoc

    The Nazi’s have lost the plot and things are likely to get considerably worse for nearly everyone. To send Gary McKinnon there who did nothing except expose the fact that the US Military didn’t use any passwords is a gross violation of his human rights. They will probably string him up by his balls for embarrassing the stupid bastards.

    Get out while you still can.

    Tony

  • Craig

    angrysoba,

    it’s me that is drinking champagne, not Carlyle, and I won’t cheer when innocent people on any “side” are killed. Neither am I anything but sad when US, UK and allied soldiers are killed, or when young Afghan men defending their homeland are killed.

    On the other hand, while I am not happy when Blackwater or Aegis hired killers are killed, neither am I sad.

  • Andrew

    It’s the sort of thing that happens when you have an independent judiciary and the rule of law.

    Otherwise the government could just declare them guilty and impose a sentence. That would have been much more convenient for all concerned.

    The Justice department wanted these men prosecuted. It is disappointed that the evidence was thrown out. But that’s what happens when it is improperly used (not obtained, used) as clearly happened in this case.

    Well done the judge for sticking to the procedural niceties, even if the result is a terrible blow to the families of the victims. It’s entirely the fault of the prosecutors for cutting corners and breaking the rules.

  • dreoilin

    “Exclusive: Secret Army squad ‘abused Iraqis'”

    Independent.co.uk:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9uzyr4

    “Fourteen fresh claims of torture against the British Army include detailed accounts of a shadowy team of military and MI5 interrogators who are alleged to have authorised the physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees …”

  • Ruth

    “Fourteen fresh claims of torture against the British Army include detailed accounts of a shadowy team of military and MI5 interrogators who are alleged to have authorised the physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees ..

    The UK intelligenc services don’t restrict their torture to Iraqi detainees. Torture both mental and physical is used against UK citizens caught up in illegal government activities.

  • writerman

    The Law shouldn’t be confused with “Justice.” Dismissing the case against the Blackwater mercenaries on a “technicality” is outrageous, because one has to balance the nature of the apparent legal cockup with the crime, the deaths of 17 innocent civilians and dozens of wounded. This kind of judgement sends out absolutely terrible signals about the relative value we, in the West, put on Arab lives, compared to the legal rights of our mercenaries.

    But then American “justice” is “class-based” and there are countless examples of how “unjust” it is in practice, in a system where race, class, and money are just as important as the law.

    What most people don’t realize is that there are tens of thousands of these mercenaries working in Iraq and Afghanistan, as war is increasingly privatized.

    At the core, our cause, our crusade, is perceived as ligitimate and just, and theirs is not. We only use violence as a last resort and we don’t target civilians deliberately, in contrast to the terrorists, who kill with glee and without restraint. We are civilised and they are barbarians. At least this is our ideological justification for our actions. We are only reacting to unprovoked attacks. We are peace-loving people and we are being attacked for, ultimately, “no reason.” For who we are, for how we live, for our values; not for what we do. We are being attacked for spite, out of envy, by bloodthirsty savages.

    Obviously this form of argument on behalf of our rulers is very convenient as it absolves us from any responsibility or guilt. The attacks on us come out of a clear, cloudless, blue sky and have no rhyme or reason, or motive.

    This means we don’t have to examine what we do, only what we feel. What seems to characterize the West is our collosal ignorance, hypocracy, and overweening narcissism. We are the threatened, we are the innocent victims; even when we kill hundreds in response to every terrorist victim.

  • tony_opmoc

    The Full Body Scanners that Gordon Brown is threatening to introduce use X-Rays. Don’t believe the manufacturer’s hype that these give a “safe” dose of radiation.

    Tony

    Extract from noworldsystem.com/2009/12/31/full-body-scanners-to-fry-travelers-with-radiation

    “Officials must naturally defend compulsory passenger X-rays as harmless. But they are signing no guarantees because ionizing radiation in the X-ray spectrum damages and mutates both chromosomal DNA and structural proteins in human cells. If this damage is not repaired, it can lead to cancer. New research shows that even very low doses of X-ray can delay or prevent cellular repair of damaged DNA, raising questions about the safety of routine medical X-rays. Unborn babies can become grotesquely disfigured if their mothers are irradiated during pregnancy. Heavily X- rayed persons of childbearing age can sustain chromosomal damage, endangering offspring. Radiation damage is cumulative and each successive dose builds upon the cellular mutation caused by the last. It can take years for radiation damage to manifest pathology.

    A leading U.S. expert on the biological effects of X-radiation is Dr. John Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Gofman’s exhaustive research leads him to conclude that there is NO SAFE DOSE-LEVEL of ionizing radiation. His studies indicate that radiation from medical diagnostics and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50 percent of America’s cancers and 60 percent of our ischemic (blood flow blockage) heart disease. He stresses that the frequency with which Americans are medically X-rayed “makes for a significant radiological impact.”

    This highly credentialed nuclear physicist states: “The fact, that X-ray doses are so seldom measured, reflects the false assumption that doses do not matter… [but] they do matter enormously. And each bit of additional dose matters, because any X-ray photon may be the one which sets in motion the high-speed, high energy electron which causes a carcinogenic or atherogenic [smooth muscle] mutation. Such mutations rarely disappear. The higher their accumulated number in a population, the higher will be the population’s mortality rates from radiation-induced cancer and ischemic heart disease.”

    A report in the British medical journal Lancet noted that after breast mammograms were introduced in 1983, the incidence of ductal carcinoma (12 percent of breast cancer) increased by 328 percent, of which 200 percent was due to the use of mammography itself. A Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study has demonstrated that breast tissue is extremely susceptible to radiation-induced cancer, confirming warnings by numerous experts that mammograms can initiate the very cancers they may later identify. Dr. Gofman believes that medical radiation is a co-factor in 75 percent of breast cancer cases. So why would girls and women want their breast tissues irradiated every time they take a commercial flight?”

  • Ruth

    ‘We are the threatened, we are the innocent victims; even when we kill hundreds in response to every terrorist victim.’

    Worse is the fact that these victims may have been killed by our own secret services to create such a retaliation

  • writerman

    “Justice” has to apply to everyone equally, regardless of sex, religion, race, ethnicity… If we undermine the “universal” nature of our standards of justice, then we undermine justice itself as a concept, and it changes into Injustice.

    The case of the Blackwater mercenaries reveals more about how we really perceive the worth of Arabs, compared to us, than a hundred of Obama’s sickly speeches and tiresome rhetoric. The judgement is the reality, not the sham. And it will echo around the Muslim world, making us even more unpopular than we already are, if that’s possible!

    But the answer isn’t attacks on innocent and soft civilian targets by acts of terrorism. Not only are they meaningless in a purely military sense, they are also counter-productive, they only strengthen the imperialist warmongers and make their job easier. Our leaders don’t give a damn how many civilians are killed. They have as little regard for us, as they have for the civilian deaths in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Gaza. We don’t matter. We are expendible, like our soldiers. Most people have little wealth, and therefore little value. That’s how it is in our market system, where everything has a price value. No money, no value. More money, more value.

    Terrorism isn’t a threat to us in any meaningful military sense. The United States, the world’s greatest military empire cannot be threatened by terrorist atrocities aimed at the homeland. And as public opinion doesn’t really matter anymore, these terror attacks are useless publicity stunts.

    Terrorist attacks are a sign of military weakness, not strength, but they do cause us to react out of all proportion to the real threat we face.

    It’s like the terrorists are allied with our leaders in an unholy alliance, a veritable dance of death, a waltz, not a war.

    “We” need them as much as they need us.

    We are drawn ever deeper into an endless, unwinnable, asymetric conflict, that bleeds us dry, and leads towards bankruptcy. Yet we are willing partners in this dance, because increasingly, war is what we are. What we “produce” and “sell” and “export”, is war and destruction. The West has become a gangster, state/empire, selling protection and carving up territory, and the non-existant “threat” from terrorists is our excuse. Without them and their “threat”, things would be so much more difficult for us.

    Of course, most of this makes us seem like monsters, which I suppose, is what our rulers have become, as they drag us willingly or unwillingly towards Hell.

  • peacewisher

    I was brought up to think that we were the good guys. Then, there was Vietnam. We were still the good guys, but the US’s image now seemed tarnished, to say the least.

    It wasn’t until Blair led Clinton into bombing Serbian civilians that I started to think what was (for me) the unthinkable… we were becoming the bad guys too. And under a labour government at that(!)

    As should be obvious by now, I hadn’t studied history very much. As I did I discovered that “we” had been bad guys as well, but previouslyly such matters had all been dealt with behind the scenes. All Blair did was take off the veneer of unreality that the British State was any better than the US.

    But, if I may generalise, there is a difference between peoples… people in the US have been brought up for generations not to question what their country was doing, but to support the flag. In the UK – since 1945 at least – that has just not been the case at all, and the glories of the former British Empire was a period of our history that many would rather like to forget about.

    I accept that there may be 30% of present-day Brits who would support just about any war that Blair propaganded about… but there is still a majority that don’t come into that category, and who won’t accept the bullshit or double standards. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we are generally a docile lot, and don’t protest too much, but that doesn’t mean that we comply. An inconvenient truth, perhaps, for those who spend our taxes. Does that independence of mind make us a “failed state”, as one US poster put in on an earlier thread?

  • writerman

    Are the terrorists really being “played” by our intelligence services? How stupid are the terrorists? Why do they bother?

    Apart from the questionable morality of of attacking and killing the innocent civilians, surely it’s doesn’t really make military sense, given that we are apparently looking for any excuse to launch attacks on our enemies, especially if they are unlucky enough to have valuable resources that we want.

    Supposedly, Bin Laden, wants to draw us into a trap, into the graveyard of empires, and calmly watch us destroy ourselves and bleed ourselves to death. This is similar to the tactics used by terrorists in Europe, which was designed to force the state to over react and reveal it’s true nature from behind the democratic mask, as a fascist/imperialist state. Then the masses will be forced to see society for what it really is, and then they will react and rise against it.

    Now these theories are highly questionable, to say the least. Not least the idea that the masses will react and rise up in a revolution and overthrow the fascist state. This seems like a qaint, romantic, illusion. If revolutions were that easy to set in motion, there would be more of them. Maybe terrorists just aren’t very smart, or maybe, like the european terrorist groups of the seventies, they are in fact being “played” and “employed” by the very state they think they are fighting against? That they are on the same side?

  • derek

    First the shoe bomber – and we all had to start taking our shoes off.

    Now the underpants bomber – and we all have to submit to full body scans.

    I can’t wait for the ‘body cavity bomber’

  • Polo

    This from an anonymous commenter on Stuart Syvret’s blog:

    “Again, the legal system drops serious charges for technical reasons – in this case because incriminating interviews with the defendants soon after the incident were ruled effectively inadmissible because they had had been told that, if they gave statements, those statements would not be used in evidence.

    Yet another example of the deep rooted spiritual corruption of legal systems whereby those who administer the law pay too much attention to the letter of the law and not enough to the spirit of the law. Thus, a bunch of trigger happy mercenaries get away with murdering 17 Iraqis on the technicality that their own admissions of the truth afterwards were inadmissible because the US State Department had told them that those admissions wouldn’t be used against them in some ghastly ‘fifth amendment’ perversion of Justice.”

    It it that simple or where does the duress angle come in. Is it both?

  • dreoilin

    “I can’t wait for the ‘body cavity bomber'”

    Can’t be long. Especially if they assume that they’re going to kill themselves anyway.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    angrysoba

    “When the US downed an Iranian civilian airliner during the Iran-Iraq war it was a disgusting war crime.”.

    Then someone must have been convicted for this crime, please tell me who it was.

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