Quantcast

«

»

May 16 2012

Bush Officials Found Guilty of War Crimes. In Malaysia.

George Bush, Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials probably won’t be traveling to Malaysia any time soon. They have been found guilty of war crimes by a tribunal in that country, a ruling that can’t be enforced anywhere else but adds to the record of international condemnation for the crimes those men committed.

This past Friday, a five panel tribunal delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after a week long trial that, unsurprisingly, was not covered by American media. The witnesses included several ex-Guantanamo detainees that gave testimony on the conditions and human rights violations that were systematically carried out under orders of the Bush administration.

Former President Bush, Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo that crafted the legal ‘justification’ for torture that basically said, ‘we can if we want to even if it’s illegal’ were the defendants. None were present, of course, but international war crime trials do not require the presence of the accused. The trial was run according to the standards set by the Nuremberg Trials to convict war criminals after World War II.

If this country actually did have that famous rule of law that we talk so often about, if we actually cared about the UN Convention Against Torture that we pushed through 30 years ago, if we actually gave a damn about torture and human rights as we so often grandly claim to, that trial would have taken place here. But we don’t mean any of those things. We condemn every other nation for doing what we do, then we feign offense at the outrageous suggestion that we are hypocrites. We arrest and prosecute others, like the son of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, for torture and we issue grandiose statements of our eternal commitment to human rights. That, ladies and gentlemen, is American exceptionalism.

11 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    The problem is that the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, who has been spearheading these tribunals, was founded by Malaysian politician Mahathir Mohamad. Mohamad is a fundamentalist Muslim and a rabid anti-Semite, and was the architect of Malaysia’s slide from a mostly secular country into one dominated by sharia law. The commission was created specifically to condemn actual and perceived insults to Muslims and Islam in general, and has been condemned by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and several other actual bodies of international law and polity.

    This indictment is about as meaningful as Answers in Genesis calling Ken Ham a Nobel Prize nominee because someone AiG’s board sent a letter to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

  2. 2
    Phillip IV

    They have been found guilty of war crimes by a tribunal in that country,

    which has been criticized by Amnesty International for its increasing use of judicial canings, a practice they claim is subjecting “thousands of people each year to systematic torture and ill-treatment, leaving them with permanent physical and psychological scars”.

    For the status of free speech in Malaysia, refer to the “Allah controversy”.

    I’m very much in favor of prosecuting the initiators of America’s torture regime, but a Malaysian court verdict isn’t something I would try to base an argument on.

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Phillip IV – Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission isn’t even recognized as a legal body by the government of Malaysia: it is the private retirement project of a very wealthy religious fanatic and former Prime Minister.

  4. 4
    jjgdenisrobert

    To the first three commentators: The Nuremberg tribunal had no legal basis either. It didn’t stop the US and the Allies from enforcing its rulings. Malaysia is likely to enforce this one, even if no one else recognizes it. But with all its faults, it may spur more credible jurisdictions to do the same, and that’s where the benefit of this might lie. If Spain, for example, were to go that route (they have done so before), it might cause some real difficulties for the Bushies.

  5. 5
    Robert B.

    There are ex-Guantanamo detainees? I didn’t think we let anybody out.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    @jjgdenisrobert #4 – Actually, the Nuremburg Trials did have a legal basis: the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which derived its power from the traditional authority of the victor to pass judgement on the vanquished and which served as the precedent for national and international laws that allows such crimes to be prosecuted.

    But yes, I do hope that the evidence that the Commission has pulled together is of sufficient quality that it can will persuade an actual court with real authority to begin its own proceedings.

  7. 7
    sosw

    There are ex-Guantanamo detainees? I didn’t think we let anybody out.

    I’m pretty sure there have been over a hundred people released from Guantanamo a few years ago. Of course they are not allowed to sue the US government for their unjustified imprisonment and treatment, some have tried.

    Also there are (or were, I’m not sure of the current status) many who would’ve been released if they could’ve figured out where to release them to.

  8. 8
    D. C. Sessions

    At least we can now refer to them as “Convicted war criminal ______”

  9. 9
    Ed Brayton

    No question Malaysia is the wrong country to do this given their often barbaric system of law. But that doesn’t mean they’re wrong about this, only that they’re hypocrites. But so are we, of course, and that’s the point.

  10. 10
    naturalcynic

    Most of the Gitmo prisoners have been released. From the report earlier this year [wiki]:

    The Guantanamo Review Task Force issued a Final Report January 22, 2010,[194] but did not publicly release it until May 28, 2010.[195] The report recommended releasing 126 current detainees to their homes or to a third country, 36 be prosecuted in either federal court or a military commission, and 48 be held indefinitely under the laws of war.[196] In addition, 30 Yemenis were approved for release if security conditions in their home country improve.[195]
    This is out of the 700+ originally held

  11. 11
    D. C. Sessions

    naturalcynic@10:
    126 released + 36 prosecuted + 30 Yemenis + 48 permanent prisoners is a total of 240. Out of 700, I don’t consider that “Most of the Gitmo prisoners.”

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site