Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cheney at Nuremberg - Count 1

The defendant, with divers other persons, during a period of years preceding 1 January, 2008, participated as leader, organizer, instigator, or accomplice in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit, or which involved the commission of, Crimes against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity, as defined in the Charter of this Tribunal, and, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, is individually responsible for his own acts and for all acts committed by any persons in the execution of such plan or conspiracy. The common plan or conspiracy embraced the commission of Crimes against Peace, in that the defendant planned, prepared, initiated, and waged wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances. In the development and course of the common plan or conspiracy it came to embrace the commission of War Crimes, in that it contemplated, and the defendant determined upon and carried out, ruthless wars against countries and populations, in violation of the rules and customs of war, including as typical and systematic means by which the wars were prosecuted, murder, ill-treatment, and abuse of civilian populations of occupied territories, murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, the plunder of public and private property, the indiscriminate destruction of cities, towns, and villages, and devastation not justified by military necessity. The common plan or conspiracy contemplated and came to embrace as typical and systematic means, and the defendant determined upon and committed, Crimes against Humanity, both within the United States and within territories outside the continental USA, including murder, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against civilians, and persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, in execution of the plan for preparing and prosecuting aggressive or illegal wars, many of such acts and persecutions being violations of the domestic laws of the countries where perpetrated.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Now we need more details

Logs suggest N.L. role in CIA rendition flights

CBC News Posted: Dec 13, 2011 9:26 AM NT Last Updated: Dec 13, 2011 9:15 AM NT

The British human rights group Reprieve says it has new evidence of Newfoundland and Labrador's role in extraordinary rendition flights involving the CIA.

Extraordinary rendition is deemed the abduction and illegal transfer of a person from one nation to another.

Reprieve, based in London, said a chartered plane long suspected of transferring prisoners repeatedly stopped in Gander, central Newfoundland, on its way to Afghanistan from Guantanamo Bay in 2004.

Reprieve said it received the flight logs from U.S. aviation authorities, but their Canadian counterparts won't release the information. Logs obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration show a 2004 flight that began in Washington, D.C., stopped in Guantanamo Bay, then Gander, then Bagram Airfield and eventually Vilnius Lithuania.

Lithuania recently became the focus of a case at the European Human Rights Court after a man alleged he was tortured by the CIA there.

"The evidence suggests that Canada, by virtue of its location, was a very vital, logistical point for the extraordinary renditions program. That is evidenced more and more clearly as time goes on," said Crofton Black, who is with Reprieve.

Black said that's verified by flight logs provided by the FAA, one of the 28 aviation authorities that received an access to information request from Reprieve.

Nav Canada is among the authorities that refused to release flight logs to Reprieve. It is not subject to information laws because it is a private company.

Amnesty International said it took its concerns about Canada’s role in extraordinary renditions to the federal transportation minister four years ago:

"We could not get a clear answer at all, including, whether or not Canada was specifically reviewing these flights with Canada's specific human rights obligations in mind. We couldn't even get confirmation about that," said Alex Neve of Amnesty International.

Under the Obama administration, the CIA promised to shut down overseas detention centres and stop rendition flights, but human rights group say unless countries open up their flight logs, that promise is hard to verify.


Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture

2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature. 

Canada signed the CAT on August 23, 1985, and ratified it on June 24, 1987. On November 13,1989, Canada made declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention, recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider communications (complaints) whereby a State Party claims that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention (article 21), and to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals subject to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by a State Party of the provisions of the Convention (article 22). Committee decisions on the merits of communications involving Canada are posted here. For Committee decisions on admissibility, please refer to the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body database.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

American Senate torture report and Canada's laws

Crimes against humanity

  • 1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
    • (a) murder;
    • (b) extermination;
    • (c) enslavement;
    • (d) deportation or forcible transfer of population;
    • (e) imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
    • (f) torture;
    • (g) rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984
entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27 (1)


Article 1
1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Canada23 Aug 1985 24 Jun 1987 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12 - remembering the wounded

Veterans Transition Network
Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Last Thursday, Blais’s advocacy group joined a coalition of other veterans’ organizations to demand better federal support for injured and retired soldiers and their families. The coalition announced its members would not pose for photo ops or allow themselves to be quoted in federal press releases until Ottawa improved its treatment of its veterans.
That same coalition is expected to target the Royal Canadian Legion in another news conference Wednesday, when it will criticize that organization for failing to push harder for its veterans.“They’re not being treated well,” Blais said of Canada’s war veterans. “The sacred obligation is not being fulfilled.”
The coalition of veterans’ organizations say the government is not providing adequate health and retirement benefits for injured soldiers and those dealing with mental health issues. They’re also upset over the government’s recent move to close a number of Veterans’ Affairs offices around the country.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Revenge is sour"

A George Orwell essay

"Unfortunately, there is often a need of some concrete incident before one can discover the real state of one’s feelings. Here is another memory from Germany. A few hours after Stuttgart was captured by the French army, a Belgian journalist and myself entered the town, which was still in some disorder. The Belgian had been broadcasting throughout the war for the European Service of the BBC, and, like nearly all Frenchmen or Belgians, he had a very much tougher attitude towards ‘the Boche’ than an Englishman or an American would have. All the main bridges into town had been blown up, and we had to enter by a small footbridge which the Germans had evidently mad efforts to defend. A dead German soldier was lying supine at the foot of the steps. His face was a waxy yellow. On his breast someone had laid a bunch of the lilac which was blooming everywhere.

"The Belgian averted his face as we went past. When we were well over the bridge he confided to me that this was the first time he had seen a dead man. I suppose he was thirty five years old, and for four years he had been doing war propaganda over the radio. For several days after this, his attitude was quite different from what it had been earlier. He looked with disgust at the bomb-wrecked town and the humiliation the Germans were undergoing, and even on one occasion intervened to prevent a particularly bad bit of looting. When he left, he gave the residue of the coffee we had brought with us to the Germans on whom we were billeted. A week earlier he would probably have been scandalized at the idea of giving coffee to a ‘Boche’. But his feelings, he told me, had undergone a change at the sight of “ce pauvre mort” beside the bridge: it had suddenly brought home to him the meaning of war. And yet, if we had happened to enter the town by another route, he might have been spared the experience of seeing one corpse out of the — perhaps — twenty million that the war has produced."