Wednesday, July 16, 2008

War Crimes Paradox, by Paul Craig Roberts

Get Punished, Big Ones Don't

War Crimes Paradox


National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring. The military conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas occupied by other claimants. No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well. The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other than bullets.

Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court's pick from the assortment of war criminals? Why al-Bashir?

Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn't the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals?

Bush and Blair's crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf, at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation in Darfur. The highest estimate of Darfur casualties is 400,000, one-third the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush's invasion. Moreover, the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard. Bush's war crimes were enabled by the political leaders of the UK, Spain, Canada, and Australia. The leaders of every member of the "coalition of the willing to commit war crimes" are candidates for the dock.

But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes. War crimes are charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian Milosovic and the Sudanese al-Bashir.

Every week the Israeli government evicts Palestinians from their homes, steals their land, and kills Palestinian women and children. These crimes against humanity have been going on for decades. Except for a few Israeli human rights organizations, no one complains about it. Palestinians are defined as "terrorists," and "terrorists" can be treated inhumanely without complaint.

Iraqis and Afghans suffer the same fate. Iraqis who resist US occupation of their country are "terrorists." Taliban is a demonized name. Every Afghan killed--even those attending wedding parties--is claimed to be Taliban by the US military. Iraqis and Afghans can be murdered at will by American and NATO troops without anyone raising human rights issues.

The International Criminal Court is a bureaucracy. It has a budget, and it needs to do something to justify its budget. Lacking teeth and courage, it goes after the petty war criminals and leaves the big ones alone.

Don't get me wrong. I'm for holding all governments accountable for their criminal actions. It is the hypocrisy to which I object. The West gives itself and Israel a pass while damning everyone else. Even human rights groups fall into the trap. Rights activists don't see the buffoonery in their complaint that President Bush, who has violated more human rights than any person alive, is letting China off the hook for human rights abuses by attending the Olympics hosted by China.

President Bush claims that the enormous destruction and death he has brought to Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary in order for Americans to be safe. If we are accepting excuses this feeble, Milosovic passed muster with his excuse that as the head of state he was obliged to try to preserve the state's territorial integrity. Is al-Bashir supposed to accept secession in the Sudan, something that Lincoln would not accept from the Confederacy? How long would al-Bashir last if he partitioned Sudan?

Last October the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a photo on its front page above the fold of an elderly man with mikes shoved in his face. Paul Henss, 85 years old, is being deported from the US, where he has lived for 53 years, because Eli Rosenbaum, director the the US State Department's Nazi-hunting bureaucracy, declared him a war criminal for training guard dogs used at German concentration camps. Henss was 22 years old when World War II ended.

A kid who trained guard dogs is being deported as a war criminal, but the head of state who launched two wars of naked aggression, resulting in the deaths of more than 1.2 million people, and who has the entire world on edge awaiting his third war of aggression, this time against Iran, is received respectfully by foreign governments. Corporations and trade associations will pay him $100,000 per speech when he leaves office. He will make millions of dollars more from memoirs written by a ghostwriter.

Does no one see the paradox of deporting Henss while leaving the war criminal in the White House?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Op Ed: Stevens endorses book's prejudiced view of Muslims


(07/09/08 22:23:42)

A few years ago, I was applying for jobs in the Lower 48 when I came upon a particularly promising one. It was a live-in assistant to a wealthy retired couple. When it looked like the job might be a "go," I sent them a picture that was taken of me holding my 18-month-old daughter.

That evening, I received a glacial phone call saying they were no longer interested in my services. I was bewildered and kept pushing for an explanation. I was finally told that they could not hire "a traitor to the white race" as I had given birth to a black child. I was helping to increase "the mud people" and therefore was "a mud person" myself ... a term that white supremacists use to describe all people who are not white and Christian.

These folks were originally from the UK so it was my first introduction to European racism. After some research I discovered that there was a strong undercurrent of anti-immigration prejudice happening in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Enter UK-born Canadian Mark Steyn and his book "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It." Steyn's skilled writing and sarcastic humor distract from the bigotry of his unscientifically-based assertions regarding a Muslim "breeding conspiracy." He discusses the birthrate decline in the "white" European population and the "danger" that poses.

UK journalist Johann Hari described the premise of the book this way:

"An unassimilated, culturally confident Muslim mass will slowly become the majority, and demand the demoralised multicultural 'natives' integrate with them. At times, Steyn implies this shift is the result of a conscious political conspiracy. Orianna Fallacci -- whose 'bravery' he praises -- said that Muslims 'have been told to come here and breed like rats.' "

Steyn writes: "Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman ... There are three strategies Islam deploys against a dying West: first, demography; second, conversion; and third, the murky 'intertwining' of modern technology and ancient hatreds."

One would not expect such a book to be used as reference material.

However, Sen. Ted Stevens did so recently in a rant reminiscent of "Grandfather Abraham" from "The Simpsons" when asked about his supporting votes on Real ID and the Patriot Act. It was caught on video, available on the Daily News' Alaska Politics blog or YouTube:

"Read the book 'America Alone.' " Stevens said. "A lot of people complain about that book ... Look at the demographic concepts of that book and just think about what's going on in the world and decide whether we want to become Italy or we want to become France, in terms of our society and how it's impacted by those who are really against us."

It's bad enough that a sitting U.S. senator references a book that portrays fanatic jihad as the eventual goal of the religion of Islam, rather than the distortion of a small percentage of Muslims.

It's bad enough that a sitting U.S. senator recommends a book where the author states on page 5:

"In a democratic age, you can't buck demography -- except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out -- as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can't outbreed the enemy, cull 'em."

The most horrendous point is that Senate leader Ted Stevens promotes this devoid-of-scientific-research tripe as the influence behind his domestic security policy!

I've seen no story about this in the mainstream media.

U.S. Muslim leader Imam Zoubir Bouchikhi was in Anchorage this week meeting with the Alaska faithful and religious leaders. I had a chance to ask for his thoughts on Ted Stevens' comments during an interview on Cary Carrigan's morning show. Among them:

"There is a great deal of fear spread by politicians and we know why. I think that's a great disservice to the American people. To spread peace is the right thing."

Another disservice is when their elected leaders make incendiary statements and are not held accountable.

Linda Kellen Biegel is a local blogger who was chosen as Alaska's "state blogger" to the Democratic National Convention. To see the video of Sen. Stevens' remark, see the Daily News' Alaska Politics blog July 2 entry. It's in the second half of the first video posted there.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

CAIR-WA Welcomes Police Memo on Religious, Ethnic Profiling

CAIR-WA Welcomes Police Memo on Religious, Ethnic Profiling

(SEATTLE, WA, 7/7/2008) - The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today welcomed an internal memorandum from Seattle’s police chief cautioning against the use of religious or ethnic profiling in training programs.

In his memo to department captains, Chief of Police R. Gil Kerlikowske wrote:

“The purpose of this message is to provide guidance to commands regarding assigning personnel to training courses. Recently there was some concerns expressed by community members regarding a training course. The Seattle Police Department has a commitment to unbiased policing and building trust with the community we serve. It is critical that training designed to detect illegal or possible illegal behavior serve a legitimate law enforcement function. Associating behavior with religious, racial, or ethnic affiliation will mislead law enforcement and cause us to spend time on what might not be a genuine threat. It is therefore, imperative that we carefully review the appropriateness of these courses prior to approving such training for our officers.”

Chief Kerlikowske’s memo comes after CAIR-WA called on Port of Seattle Police to ensure that a recent two-day training course, titled “The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World,” offered a balanced perspective on Islam and Muslims. Local Muslims leaders had expressed concerns that the course would promote stereotypes and religious and ethnic profiling.

SEE: Does Course on Islam Give Law Enforcers Wrong Idea? (Seattle Times)

"We thank Chief Kerlikowske for taking this positive step to ensure that police training is not based on religious or ethic stereotypes," said CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari.

Bukhari said an incident in which apparently innocent travelers in the state were profiled for their "Middle Eastern" appearance points to the need for training that deals with issues of profiling and bias.

SEE: FBI Says Men in Ferry Photo were Innocent Sightseers

He added that Muslims nationwide are concerned about the information law enforcement authorities are receiving on the subject of Islam.

CAIR's chapter in Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA) recently called on police training officials in that state to offer a Muslim perspective in a mandatory police training class because of concerns that the class would present stereotypical views of Islam and Muslims.

SEE: Penn. Muslims Seek 'Balance' in Police Training on Islam

In May, a spokesman for CAIR's Chicago office said an emergency preparedness drill in Illinois, in which a fake "mosque" was stormed by law enforcement authorities, sent the "wrong message" that all Islamic houses of worship may be potential security threats. An official later apologized for using the "mosque" in the drill.

SEE: IL Official Apologizes for Using Fake 'Mosque' in Drill

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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