Amnesty International: “Damning evidence” US may be complicit in Yemen war crimes

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US-made BLU-97 submunitions used by Saudi Arabia-led coallition in Saada, Yemen, on May 23 2015 clusterbombyemen1

 

Damning evidence of war crimes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is armed by states including the USA, highlights the urgent need for independent, effective investigation of violations in Yemen and for the suspension of transfers of certain arms, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

‘Bombs fall from the sky day and night’: Civilians under fire in northern Yemen examines 13 deadly airstrikes by the coalition in Sa’da, north-eastern Yemen, which killed some 100 civilians, including 59 children. It also documents the use of internationally banned cluster bombs.

“This report uncovers yet more evidence of unlawful airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, some of which amount to war crimes. It demonstrates in harrowing detail how crucial it is to stop arms being used to commit serious violations of this kind,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser who headed the organization’s fact-finding mission to Yemen.

“The USA and other states exporting weapons to any of the parties to the Yemen conflict have a responsibility to ensure that the arms transfers they authorize are not facilitating serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

Amnesty International is calling for a suspension of transfers to members of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, that are participating in the military campaign, of weapons and munitions which have been used to commit violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes in Yemen: in particular, bombs from the MK (MARK) 80 series and other general purpose bombs, fighter jets, combat helicopters and their associated parts and components. […]

Read in full Yemen: Call for suspension of arms transfers to coalition and accountability for war crimes at Amnesty International

As a sovereign nation under international law, Novorossiya can bring Kiev’s war criminals to justice: Legal analysis from an international human rights lawyer

 

Dr. Jonathan Levy
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:24 UTC

 Previously published by Global Research

Flag of Novorossiya

Flag of Novorossiya

Under the influence of an intense disinformation campaign much of the world has tried its best to ignore the existence of the sovereign state of Novorossiya (Federativnoye Gosudarstvo Novorossiya). The Western media when it does mention Novorossiya applies denigrating terms like “self-declared state”, “unrecognized state” and even “puppet republic” to describe the status of Novorossiya. In fact, under international law, Novorossiya has the same status as any other member of the community nations – it is a sovereign independent nation.

The “gold standard” of statehood is the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States enacted in 1933. The Montevideo Convention requires an aspiring state to have it own territory, population, a functioning government and the ability to enter into relationships with other states. Novorossiya, while not currently in control of all its territory, has maintained an undisputed presence in Lugansk and Donetsk, backed up by a seasoned army and security forces. There is a sizeable population in Novorossiya, despite ethnic cleansing attempts by the Ukraine government. There is a functioning government and diplomatic efforts are ongoing, as evidenced by the Minsk process. In a just and fair world then, Novorossiya would be welcomed into the fold of sovereign nations as its newest member. But the world is neither just nor fair and Novorossiya is attacked by enemies in the West and blocked on other fronts by economic sanctions and diplomatic boycotts.

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Nonetheless, Novorossiya has friends. The Russian people of course overwhelmingly support this new nation and South Ossetia has welcomed Novorossiya by diplomatically recognizing it. Diplomatic recognition is an important first step towards international legitimacy since South Ossetia itself is recognized by four UN member states – Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nauru. More recognition for Novorossiya of course would be desirable but is not necessary to establish legitimacy. Somaliland, for example, which has been sovereign since 1991 and is recognized by no other country, yet has maintained its complete independence and conducts business worldwide, issues passports and currency, and defends itself without any disapproval from the major powers. Novorossiya, unlike Somaliland, is an industrialized nation in Europe and not on the periphery of Africa; its relevance as an independent nation is assured.

But how does this relate to war crimes committed by Kiev’s political elite, Ukrainian armed forces and so-called “volunteer brigades” of fascists? Before the brilliant tactical victory by the Novorossiya self-defence forces that broke the blockade of Dontesk and Lugansk in late August 2014, it appeared as if the entire command and political infrastructure of Novorossiya might be in real danger of liquidation, summary arrest or exile if Ukrainian forces and their foreign mercenaries stormed Donetsk and Lugansk. The very real scenario of another unfair UN-sponsored tribunal like the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia) which mainly persecuted Serbs for defending themselves was looming large in the event Ukraine prevailed.

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Mass graves with hundreds of tortured victims, found with their hands bound near Donetsk, Novorossiya

Personally, on the 4 months anniversary of the Odessa massacre, I was thinking, “Shame on the ICC (International Criminal Court), which has ignored the snipers of the Maidan and the paid thugs who burned innocents alive in Odessa.” And God forbid the UN should set up show trials to demonize the defenders of Donetsk and Lugansk. As an international human rights lawyer I believed there had to be a way for justice to prevail. I wrote an article suggesting the Council of Europe, a separate organization from the biased European Union, of which both Ukraine and Russia are members, might be a possible sponsor of a war crimes tribunal.

One of the Council of Europe’s main organs is the European Court of Human Rights. I was thrilled when, the day after my article was published, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland. However, nothing concrete has emerged, and under heavy pressure from the United States the Council of Europe has proven itself no friend to Novorossiya through its inaction, and has seemingly become yet another loudspeaker for Kiev’s backers.

Nonetheless, a war crimes tribunal is an important weapon against fascism. Fascists thrive in dark places and times, and hide their identities behind masks and hoods; the threat of exposure of their identities and deeds scares them greatly. Even during the worst days of the Second World War, Himmler eased up on his murder of Jews in Hungary in fear of prosecution after the war. The cowards and the cravens in Kiev, who allow their forces to target schools and mass transit in Donetsk would likely modify their behaviour if they risked indictment for war crimes from a recognized tribunal. But the Kiev regime is currently well-protected by backers in United States and NATO, and consequently is emboldened in its attempts to intimidate the people of Novorossiya.

Therefore Novorossiya itself as a sovereign state must seize the initiative. Just as Novorossiya and only Novorossiya defended itself from Kiev, it is only Novorossiya that can move forward with a war crimes tribunal. Evidence and testimony has been already been collected, and it is abundant. Many of the perpetrators – both high and low – are known, and the rest will be discovered. The enablers, propagandists and funders of genocide outside Ukraine are also numbered, and known for the most part. There is no lack of allegations or suspects. What is lacking is the mechanism to bring them to justice.

Currently, Novorossiya is isolated. The threat of sanctions against the companies and persons of those who might help has unfortunately made the cause of justice take a back-seat to economics and politics. Yet Novorossiya can act against war criminals and not just symbolically. Section 107 of the Restatement (Second) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States [1965] states that:

“An entity not recognized as a state but meeting the requirements for recognition specified in § 100 [of controlling a territory and population and engaging in foreign relations], or an entity recognized as a state whose regime is not recognized as its government, has the rights of a state under international law in relation to a non-recognizing state…”

See also Article 74 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which states that: “The severance or absence of diplomatic or consular relations between two or more States does not prevent the conclusion of treaties between those States.” What all this means is that under international law Novorossiya may act avail itself of all the remedies under international law as long as some other states concur.

Novorossiya can set up not just a domestic tribunal but an international one that can reach beyond its borders. This is especially important because the war criminals are, for the most, except for their foot soldiers, not on the borders of Novorossiya or inside the territory of Novorossiya. The criminals are in Kharkiv, Denepetrovsk, Kiev, Lviv, Warsaw and beyond. International reach is the key. When the oppressed people of Ukraine finally wake out of their slumber and throw out the rascals in the Kiev government and cleanse the country of Nazis and corrupt oligarchs, the criminals will find a soft landing in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, just as many blood-stained Banderists did after Second World War. The Vatican, MI6, and the predecessor to the CIA did all they could to help certain useful Nazis and their collaborators escape justice via the ratlines and find a new life as assets abroad. A repeat of this travesty of justice must be avoided as these rotten apples have a way of resurfacing later with their message of hate and ultra-nationalism.

It is not enough to want justice for crimes. It is not enough to investigate war crimes. The guilty must eventually be chased down and brought back to face justice for these efforts to be credible. The task is even more daunting when most of the major powers in the world are on the side of the killers. Even the international organizations tasked with enforcing human rights, the ICC, the UN, and Council of Europe have abandoned their responsibilities to the people of Novorossiya. Is a war crimes tribunal therefore a mission impossible?

Kiev war criminals

Kiev war criminals

A Modest Proposal

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The Ukrainian Army firing thousands of rounds of mortars at residential buildings in Novorossiya

It is impressive that even in the midst of current battle for the Donetsk Airport, brave people are collecting and documenting evidence of war crimes committed in the Donbass. The news media and human right activists from Russia have been particularly helpful. But who should be the recipient of the evidence? If the investigation of the downed Malaysian jetliner, Flight MH-17, is an indication of the sort of justice that can be found outside Novorossiya, I have serious doubts. Evidence has been destroyed by the Ukrainian government, and unfounded allegations of the mass murder of the innocent passengers on Flight MH-17 has been levelled not only against Novorossiya but also the Russian government, which has been defamed by the press and politicians from Kiev to Kansas City. The Dutch team who are the lead investigators of the plane crash – and from a NATO member state – are susceptible to subtle and not-so-subtle pressure. Everyone has been kept in the dark through a lack of transparency throughout the process.

On the other hand, why not turn the evidence over to a friendly country like Russia? That also creates a problem. Sanctions will flow like wine at a wedding and any results denied and discredited by a thousand naysayers in the Western press. I suggest Novorossiya must act on its own initiative against war criminals, however, not just domestically but internationally too. As pointed out above, Novorossiya as a sovereign state may engage in foreign relations. It can sue in the courts of other countries because it is an independent sovereign state under international law and its agencies are legal entities. Novorossiya may file cases with international tribunals. However, it is also blocked from membership in the major international organizations and the existing tribunals seem heavily prejudiced against Novorossiya.

Novorossiya therefore must set up its very own International Tribunal and give it independence to act in lieu of the UN, ICC, and Council of Europe. This bold act will result in recognition of the tribunal even when states may still shy away from recognizing Novorossiya itself. Progressive states will recognize the tribunal and its power to seize property and extradite criminals. Perhaps a third-party country host can be found too.

But how can this be accomplished and who will do the work when the existence of Novorossiya still hangs in the balance? Much of the field investigation is being done already. However, the most important element is: who will staff the Tribunal? Yes, people from Novorossiya and Russia, but also lawyers and jurists from around the world seeking to advance the cause of justice should be encouraged to participate. It is international participation and support that will give the proposed tribunal substance, even as the UN and ICC have failed the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.

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The Ukrainian Army firing thousands of rounds of mortars at residential buildings in Novorossiya

We live in a virtual world. While court rooms are still necessary, there exists the technology to supplement traditional methods of justice. Judges often conduct hearings via Internet while the accused are held elsewhere. Jurists and attorneys from around the world could act as judges and advocates for the defence and prosecution. International lawyers commissioned by Novorossiya could file actions to seize assets of blood-stained Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians with bank accounts and property outside Ukraine for the benefit of the victims and their families. There are dozens of international lawyers who would help and they in turn know dozens more.

The war criminals are smug in the thought they have powerful friends outside Ukraine who will help them escape justice if their plans to subvert Ukraine and destroy the Donbass ultimately fail. Let us unleash a volunteer corps of a thousand lawyers, linked by technology worldwide, and undeterred by their governments. Novorossiya must give to them the commission to hunt down the war criminals and seize their assets. Give us lawyers the right to sue the merchants of death and destruction, the purveyors of deadly agitprop, and even the old networks of Nazis who are behind the Banderists.

Lawfare is a strategy of using law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective – in this case bring war criminals to justice and deter future crimes. The present day legal hurdles are surprisingly low and the proliferation of potential forums adds to the attractiveness of lawfare. Novorossiya can demonstrate standing and jurisdiction and is especially well-situated to take advantage of lawfare. Legal action can be accomplished without loss of life or large-scale deployment of assets. The only requirements are potential standing and a knowledgeable legal representative. A court filing often generates as much or more publicity than a military skirmish.

The world and its organizations have largely ignored, covered up, or even condoned the war crimes committed against the people of Novorossiya. The backers of fascism think they can act with impunity just as they did after the Second World War when Nazi war criminals used the Vatican-run “ratline” to escape to South America and Spain. But the world has changed, technology and access to information has levelled the playing field. Novorossiya has demonstrated it can prevail against great odds on the battle field, now let the members of the international community who abhor war crimes use their skills and technology to make the seemingly impossible happen – to bring Kiev’s war criminals to justice.

About the author
Dr. Jonathan Levy, is an attorney member of the International Criminal Bar. Dr Levy holds a PhD in Political Science and is a Senior Adjunct faculty member at two North American universities.

U.S.’s Refusal to Face the Hard Moral Issues of War

 

America’s Refusal to Face the Hard Moral Issues of War

By: Monday April 20, 2015

COUNTERPUNCH

Monday April 20, 2015

 

kobane1(Today we feature, with permission, a guest post by Daniel N. White. The post originally appeared on Contrary Perspective. All opinions are the author’s.)

James Fallows, a noted journalist and author of National Defense (1981), is tits on a boar useless these days.

 

That’s my conclusion after reading his Atlantic Monthly cover story, The Tragedy of the American Military, in which he asks, “Why do the best soldiers in the world keep losing?” It is a truly terrible article that, regrettably, is mainstream U.S. journalism’s best effort by one of their better talents to answer a vitally important question.

Right off the bat, I’m going to have to say that the U.S. Army doesn’t produce “the world’s best soldiers” — and it never has. Americans don’t do infantry as well as others do. This is reasonably well known. Anyone who wants to dispute the point has to dispute not me but General George Patton, who in 1944 said: “According to Napoleon, the weaker the infantry the stronger the artillery must be. Thank God we’ve got the world’s best artillery.” Operational analysis of us by the German Wehrmacht and the PLA (China) said the same thing. We should know that about ourselves by now and we don’t, and the fact that we don’t, particularly after a chain of military defeats by lesser powers, says a good deal bad about us as a people and society. The Atlantic and James Fallows are both professionally derelict to continue printing these canards about our infantry prowess. “The world’s best” — there is no excuse for such hyperbolic boasting.

Why the U.S. keeps losing its wars, and why James Fallows has no clue as to why, is revealing of the American moment. It’s painfully obvious the U.S. has lost its most recent wars because it has lacked coherent and achievable objectives for them. (Or no objectives that our ruling elites were willing to share with us.)

Just what, exactly, was the end result supposed to be from invading Iraq in 2003? If the Taliban were willing as they stated to hand over Osama Bin Laden to us, why did we invade Afghanistan? Why did we then start a new war in Afghanistan once we overthrew the Taliban?

Of course, this isn’t the first time in recent history that the U.S. has fought wars with no coherent rationale. Vietnam had the same problem. The Pentagon Papers showed that insofar as we had a rationale it was to continue the war for sufficiently long enough to show the rest of the world we weren’t to be trifled with, even if we didn’t actually win it. Dick Nixon was quite upfront in private about this too; that’s documented in the Nixon tapes.

Not having clear and achievable political objectives in a war or major military campaign is a guarantee of military failure. Here’s what arguably the best Allied general in WWII had to say about this, William Slim, from his superlative memoirs, Defeat into Victory, writing of the Allied defeat in Burma, 1942:

Of these causes [of the defeat], one affected all our efforts and contributed much to turning our defeat into disaster — the failure, after the fall of Rangoon, to give the forces in the field a clear strategic object for the campaign… Yet a realistic assessment of possibilities there and a firm, clear directive would have made a great deal of difference to us and to the way we fought. Burma was not the first, nor was it to be the last, campaign that had been launched on no very clear realization of its political or military objects. A study of such campaigns points emphatically to the almost inevitable disaster that must follow. Commanders in the field, in fairness to them and their troops, must be clear and definitely told what is the object they are locally to attain.

Anyone who wishes to dispute the lack of clear and achievable objectives for America’s wars should try to answer the question of what a U.S. victory in Iraq or Afghanistan would look like. What would be different in the two countries from a U.S. victory? How would the application of force by the U.S. military have yielded these desired results, whatever they were?

I invite anyone to answer these questions. They should have been asked, and answered, a long time ago. All the parties concerned — the political class, the intelligentsia, the moral leadership, and the military’s senior officer corps — in America have failed, stupendously, by not doing so.

Indeed, the lack of coherent objectives for these wars stems from the fraudulence of our pretenses for starting them. Even senior U.S. and UK leaders have acknowledged the stage-management of falsehoods about weapons of mass destruction for a rationale for war with Iraq. When wars are started on falsehoods, it isn’t reasonable to expect them to have honest (or moral) objectives.

The question then arises: What were the real objectives of these wars? Economic determinists/Marxists look to oil as the underlying reason, but this can’t be it. None of the economic determinist explanations for the Vietnam War made a lick of sense then or now, and any arguments about war for oil make an assumption, admittedly a remotely possible one, about the ruling elites in the U.S. and UK not being able to read a financial balance sheet. The most cursory run of the financials under the best possible assumptions of the promoters of the wars showed Iraq as a giant money loser, world’s third largest oil reserves or not. Economic reasons for a war in Afghanistan? Nobody could ever be that dumb, not even broadcast journalists.

Judging from the results, the real intent of our political leadership was to create a state of permanent war, for narrow, behind the scenes, domestic political reasons. The wars were/are stage-managed domestic political theater for current political ruling elites. The main domestic objective sought was a Cold-War like freezing of political power and authority in current form by both locking up large areas of political debate as off-limits and increasing the current distribution of societal resources toward economic elites. This was the real objective of both sides in the Cold War, Americans and Russians both, once things settled out after 1953, and most historians just lack the ability and perspective to see it.

A related factor Americans aren’t supposed to discuss is how much of the drive to war was neo-con war promotion manipulated by Israel. There’s no getting around the high percentage of Jewish neo-cons inside the Beltway. There’s a seven decade-long history of American country-cousin Jews being manipulated by their Israeli city-slicker relations, too, but I’d call this a contributing factor and not a causative one. But the willingness of American neo-cons to do Israel’s bidding and launch a war against Iraq is most disturbing and does require more research. (They all seem to be willing to do it again in Iran – was there ever a neo-con ever against an Iran war ever? Just look at the current situation vis-à-vis Iran, and the direct intervention by the Israeli Prime Minister into American foreign policy.)

There is one other possibility: that America’s leaders actually believed their own PR about spreading democracy. That’s been known to happen, but under present circumstances, their coming to believe their own PR knowing it was false from the git-go would be something truly unique and horrifying. But not impossible, I’m afraid.

Cui Bono? (To whose benefit) is always the question we need to ask and with 13 years of war the beneficiaries should be obvious enough. Just follow the money, and follow those whose powers get increased. James Fallows, and everyone else in the mainstream news media, hasn’t.

But the most pressing issue isn’t any of the above. The most pressing issue is moral, and most importantly of all our society’s unwillingness to face the hard moral questions of war.

Above all else, war is a moral issue; undoubtedly the most profound one a society has to face. Wars are the acme of moral obscenity. Terrible moral bills inevitably accrue from the vile actions that warfare entails. It has always been so. As long as there has been civilization there has always been great debate as to what political or social wrongs warrant the commission of the crimes and horrors of war. About the only definitively conceded moral rationale for war is self-defense against external attack. Domestic political theater is nothing new as a reason for war, but it has been universally condemned as grotesquely immoral throughout recorded history.

Our country is ostrich-like in its refusal to acknowledge the moral obscenity of war and its moral costs. Insofar as your average American is willing to engage with these moral issues, it is at the level of “I support our troops” to each other, combined with the “Thank you for your service” to anyone in uniform. Moral engagement on the biggest moral issue there is, war, with these tiresome tropes is profoundly infantile. It isn’t moral engagement; it is a (partially subconscious) willful evasion.

The Hollywood sugarcoated picture of what war is hasn’t helped here; blindness due to American Exceptionalism hasn’t helped either. Our intellectual and moral leadership—churches in particular—have been entirely AWOL on the moral failings of our wars and the moral debts and bills from them we have accrued and continue to accrue. And these bills will come due some day, with terrible interest accrued. Anyone paying attention to how the rest of the world thinks knows that we currently incur the world’s contumely for our failings here on this issue.

Mr. Fallows and the Atlantic are both equally blind and AWOL on the moral issues of our wars. The moral issues, and failings, of the wars are paramount and are completely undiscussed in the article, and the magazine, and always have been since before the wars began. Mr. Fallows, and the Atlantic, by framing the war issue in terms of “why the best (sic) soldiers in the world keep losing our wars” are avoiding them in a somewhat more sophisticated way than the “Thank you for your service” simpletons are. They should know better and they don’t, and they lack the situational- and self-awareness to understand that they are doing this. They deserve our contempt for it. They certainly have mine.

The issue isn’t why the world’s best (sic) soldiers keep losing our wars. The issue is why we started and fought wars this stupid and wrong and show every sign of continuing to do so in the future. Why do we learn nothing from our military defeats? How can we remain so willfully and morally blind? Well, types like James Fallows and The Atlantic Monthly are a large part of why.

Missing the biggest political and moral question in our lifetimes, for this many years, well, hell, The Atlantic Monthly and James Fallows are just tits on a boar useless these days.

Greece’s claim for war reparations from Germany explained

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Relations between Greece and Germany have worsened significantly since the election of Alexi Tsipras and his Syriza party to power in Athens. One of the key points of contention is whether Greece is still owed reparations for the damage suffered during the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Why do the Greeks want compensation?

The first argument relates to compensation for war crimes. During World War II, Germany and Italy conquered Greece in the spring of 1941. In addition to military casualties, around 20,000 civilians (exact numbers are fiercely disputed) were killed and whole villages where destroyed by the German troops – the massacres at Kalavryta and Distomo are particularly notorious.

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Distomo Memorial

The second part of the claims relate to direct and indirect financial costs suffered by Greece. At the time of the war, the Hague Convention, in place since since 1907, accepted that the occupied state should pay for living expenses and maintenance of occupying troops.

However the Greek treasury was subjected to costs of 476 million reichsmarks, higher even than the maximum previously agreed by the Axis powers of Germany and Italy. The enslaved Greek government had no choice but to hand over the cash which was used to fund Nazi campaigns in north Africa.

Kondomari
Kondomari massacre. Bundesarchiv

 

What was agreed after the war?

After the defeat of the Nazis, the Paris Peace Treaties of 1946 defined the war reparations that the various countries involved would have to pay.

Greece received $105 million from Italy (slightly more than the Soviet Union) and $45 million from Bulgaria. But Germany did not conclude such a peace treaty before 1990, since it had been split in two – West and East.

Nevertheless, the Paris Compensation Agreement established that Greece should receive 2.7% of total cash compensation paid by Germany and 4.35% of the transport industry, ships or other payment in kind. In effect this allocated $7.1 million at 1938 market value, around half of what Greece had demanded.

In February 1953 another pact, known as the London Agreement, was signed, which covered the general debts of defeated Germany to the winners – the Allies.

The prewar German debt was cut by about 50% and the time (West) Germany had avaliable to repay was extended to 30 years. As for the the actual war debt, this was determined separately for each country (usually there was an agreement for a 50% cut but there were exceptions, for example the “moral” debts of Germany to Israel were not reduced at all).

After 1953, West Germany came to various agreements with individual states to pay additional compensation. In 1960 Germany agreed with Greece to pay 115 million DM to Greek individuals who were victims of the German occupation.

In total, Germany has paid around EUR 72 billion in war reparations, according to Reuters.

What do the Greeks want now?

According to an article in German magazine Spiegel , it is estimated that Germany owes Greece to 108 billion euros to rebuild damaged infrastructure and 54 billion for the forced occupation loan extracted from the Greek government.

The total amount of EUR 162 billio would represent 80% of current GDP and a large chunk of the EUR 240 billion bailout given to Greece by the EU and IMF.

There is further debate over whether interest is also owed on these amounts.

What is the German position?

The German Government insists that there are no outstanding payments as everything was settled in a treaty leading up to the country’s reunification in 1990.

The London debt agreement deferred settlement of the reparations question including the repayment of war debts and contributions imposed by Germany during the war to a conference to be held after unification. But this conference never took place and the Germans have steadfastly refused to reopen the issue.

Instead, a so-called 2+4 Agreement was concluded, which settled the renunciation of reparations claims, but only with the four Great Powers (Britain, Russia, the US and France) among the former Allies.

This 2+4 Agreement could be seen to have superceded the London Agreement and reopened possibilities for states and individuals to revive claims which were put aside in 1953. However, Germany insists that Greece did not raise this interpretation at the time and accepted that the issues were closed.

Berlin also claims that, 70 years after the war, any such claims have long-since “lost their justificatory basis.”

On the other hand, Greeks say that their requirements are inalienable and exist no matter the time has passed. The Greeks say that they never gave up their legitimate rights to these reparations.

AGREEMENT ON REPARATION FROM GERMANY
(Paris, 14 January 1946)
The Governments of Albania, the United States of America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece,India, Luxembourg, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, the Union of South Africa and Yugoslavia, in order to obtain an equitable distribution among themselves of the totalassets which, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement and the provisions agreed upon at Potsdam on 1 August 1945 between the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, are or may be declared to be available as reparation from Germany (hereinafter referred to as German reparation), in order to establish an Inter-Allied Reparation Agency, and to settle an equitable procedure for the restitution of monetary gold, have agreed as follows:
READ AGREEMENT ON REPARATIONS FROM GERMANY HERE

READ TREATY ON THE FINAL SETTLEMENT WITH GERMANY HERE

Kiev Junta War Crimes

 

In-depth Report:

 

kiev-protester-handgun-400x266A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents.”

It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore.

Earlier articles discussed Kiev’s dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives.

Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes.

FSD’s report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Over 100 former regime prisoners were interviewed – ones lucky to be alive. An unknown number of captives were tortured to death. Many others continue being held.

Ukraine’s National Guard, other military units, internal affairs ministry and security service (SBU) bear full responsibility for high crimes.

So does Washington for empowering and supporting them.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects fundamental freedoms at all times – including during “war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation.”

It’s been in force since 1953. It established a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It adjudicates for anyone claiming lost rights – including nation-states and individuals.

It’s the only human rights body of its kind. ECHR says

“the State is responsible for the actions of all of its agencies, such as the police, security forces, other law enforcement officials, and any other State bodies who hold the individual under their control, whether they act under orders, or on their own accord.”

Article 3 states “(n)o one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Clear evidence shows Kiev culpability. ECHR so far failed to act. Whether it plans to remains to be seen.

Liliya Rodionova is Committee for Refugees and Prisoners of War (Donetsk) deputy head. She commented on junta released prisoners. Her remarks make disturbing reading as follows:

“Almost everyone released comes back with their ribs and legs broken and teeth ripped out. There is not a single person with no marks of beating.”

“Treatment does not begin until right before the exchange. There is a guy with eight gunshot wounds. Even at the hospital, he was beaten.”

“They stuck fingers in his wounds. They use pliers to rip out teeth and beat right in the wounds. Many come back with fractured skulls.”

“One of the torture tools is an awl that they use for stabbing prisoners. Lately, they have been seizing ordinary people, not members of the self-defence forces.”

“They use gunpowder and electroshock to torture people. They brand them.”

“Some were thrown into a pit with dead bodies, crushed with a shovel bucket, had a smouldering iron stuck in their mouth.”

“People were kept in iron containers with no source of oxygen. The torture techniques are sophisticated and brutal.”

“They leave the victims maimed. Those in need of medical treatment, even with diabetes, receive (none).”

“Prisoners from our side can be told by the color of their skin. It is grayish.”

“Each time an exchange is to take place, we draw up a list of acute patients, but the other side won’t release them.”

Junta torturers are US allies – installed by coup replacing Ukrainian democratic governance.

Washington has a sordid history of allying with ruthless despots worldwide for its own self-interest.

In November 2014, SBU operatives tortured Ukrainian citizen Alexander Agafonov to death. His wife, Yana, commented saying:

“They have beaten him to death simply. When they came, they took him away to torture him.”

“When they brought his body back, (his) heels were blue. (His) were blue.”

‘He’s got some traces of punctures on his hands. I don’t know what they did to him, punctured him or drove the needles under his nails.”

“There were holes on his hands. Each bone has a hole in it. They tortured him like…when there was a real war no one has tortured people the way they tortured him.”

Evidence FSD obtained showed prisoners were electroshocked.

They were savagely beaten with iron bars, baseball bats, sticks, rifle butts, bayonet knives and rubber batons. Abuse continued for days.

They were stabbed, had ribs, arms and legs broken, were branded with red-hot objects, and were shot in different parts of their bodies.

Pliers ripped out teeth. Civilians were targeted like combatants. Anyone opposing junta rule remains vulnerable.

Abducted women were repeatedly raped. Some victims had Nazi swastikas and SS symbols burned into their flesh.

They were held for days in freezing temperatures. Denied food and medical treatment.

Force-fed psychotropic substances causing extreme pain. Most endured mock firing squads.

Their family members were threatened with rape and death.

One released prisoners said junta operatives “attached wires from a battery to my hand, poured water and switched on the current.”

“I blacked out several times and just as I came to, they would pour water and after some time continued the questioning.”

Another victim said “(t)hey hit (him) in the groin with a shocker and added voltage, because it kept getting more and more painful.”

“It hurt so bad. I fell down, shouting: Just shoot me, why are you torturing me? I do not know anything.”

“Then they started hitting me on the legs and on the shoulders with a hammer, an ordinary hammer. They kept doing it until I lost consciousness.”

Other released prisoners said the following:

“They executed the beatings in groups of three to four people, used electro-shock devices, made us kneel with bags on our heads, and fired their guns near the ear.”

“Then their commanding officer came, took us and put on a chain in a pit, handcuffed.”

“I could not stand on my feet, nor could I lie down, so I was hanging on that chain because my ribs and fingers were broken.”

“The (Nazi infested) Azov battalion officers arrested me in Mariupol. I felt machine gun fire over my head.”

“After that, they drove me to the Mariupol airport, where they tried to force me to give testimony by putting a plastic bag on my head that did not let any air get to me.”

“They used a shocker on me and wanted to throw me into a pit filled with corpses.”

“I saw a guy standing waist-deep in a hole in the ground and being buried with a shovel bucket and then the truck run over him.”

FSD’s report makes disturbing reading. It called torture in Ukraine more serious than what it was able to document.

Horrific abuse made some victims “unrecognizable.” They were beaten to pulps. “Every part of their bodies was beaten with meat hanging from their bones,” said FSD.

Unknown numbers continue enduring horrific treatment – much like what CIA operatives inflict on victims in global black sites.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.  His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The US War Crimes Act, the Geneva Convention against Torture and the Infamous “Torture Memos”

 

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justiceThe War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a crime for any person, “whether inside or outside the United States” to commit a “war crime.” War Crimes are defined as any grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and in particular, any conduct that violates common Article 3. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court explicitly ruled that common Article 3 applies to alleged Al Qaeda members and the so-called war on terror.

The crimes of torture, cruel or inhuman treatment and murder — all acts that are documented by the Senate Torture Report — are specifically prohibited by common Article 3 and the War Crimes Act.

In 2006, the government enacted the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which severely curtailed the reach of the War Crimes Act, limiting its application well short of the protections of common Article 3. It also passed a provision that provided for retroactive immunity for certain government personnel who were following orders in implementing what they thought were lawful directives from the President (this section can be found at 42 U.S.C. §  2000dd-1). The Washington Post noted at the time that the intent of these changes was to reduce the threat of future prosecutions when the day came when such abuses would be revealed to a shocked public. These provisions remain untested.

It is my belief that any person involved in the chain of command that authorized the crimes detailed in the Senate Torture Report should be indicted for war crimes and conspiracy to commit war crimes under the War Crimes Act. This includes George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, CIA officials who condoned or engaged in such practices, and attorneys who authorized such practices, including Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

The Convention Against Torture

The United States is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, and its implementing legislation is at 18 U.S.C. § 2340A. This statute was the famous subject of the “Torture Memos,” a series of legal opinions written by John Yoo and Jay Bybee regarding the limitations of this law.

Bybee famously concluded that “torture” under the law only referred to “the most egregious conduct,” “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” “Purely mental pain or suffering” had to result in “significant psychological harm of significant duration, lasting for months or even years.” Bybee even thought that the Convention Against Torture might be unconstitutional because it would infringe the “President’s authority to conduct war.” Today, Jay Bybee has a lifetime tenure-ship as a judge on the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. John Yoo is a law professor at UC Berkeley School of Law.

As with the War Crimes Act, the Convention against Torture provides a second basis for criminal prosecutions against people who authorized, engaged in, or ratified torture. President Obama repudiated the Torture Memos in 2009, but he also refused to issue indictments or discuss whether such conduct was actually criminal. He — or someone more brave — would do well to consider that decrying illegal conduct but then refusing to prosecute such conduct is a silent pardon at best, and complicity at worst.

What Is Being Blacked-Out ?

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Kiev-Junta-East-Ukraine-MilitaryHere’s a typical example of what’s being blacked-out:

This is a photo of a Ukrainian soldier guiding a truck-full of prisoners toward a ditch, to which the prisoners are then dragged one-by-one, and thrown in, and shot — then covered over with dirt after all the corpses (and perhaps some living bleeding survivors) are piled in it.

(Of course, any survivors then quickly choke to death, from the dirt):

http://rinf.com/alt-news/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Screen-Shot-2014-11-10-at-1.21.09-PM.png

 Ukraine, 2014. In the Internet appeared video with the title – The Punishers battalion of Donbass shoot civilians.
Warning – Item The Punishers battalion of Donbass shoot civilians might contain content that is not suitable for all ages.

Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3f9_1413978229#51gT03GIRPwuUzMw.99

And here’s an explanation of how this extraordinary video of a genocide being carried out, came to be found by the resistance-fighters against Ukraine’s war to exterminate the residents in Ukraine’s southeast, Ukraine’s region where the vast majority of the people are ethnic Russians, or commonly called “Moskals” by many people in northwestern Ukraine, which term employed by them is equivalent to the terms “nigger,” and “kike” that are used in some other countries: all psychological terms of de-humanization.

Though this video of a genocide-in-action is rare, the event itself is routinely happening in southeastern Ukraine, so that the Ukrainian Government can reduce the population in the area of Ukraine that had voted over 80% for the Ukrainian President whom the Obama Administration overthrew in a violent CIA-paid, U.S.-State-Department planned-and-run, coup, that climaxed on 22 February 2014. The new Government is trying to eliminate enough of the people who had voted for him so that the coup-imposed regime will be able to stay in power ‘democratically,’ with those Russia-friendly voters gone — enough of those voters gone so that America’s coup-regime can continue even as a democracy.

This is the video from which that still-photo is taken — you can see this entire event (except the burial), here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3f9_1413978229. The victims who are shoved into, then shot in the ditch, are all dressed in civilian clothes. They’re not soldiers.

Каратели из батальона Донбасс или Нацгвардии [Punitive battalion of Donbass Or Natshvardyy]

As is evident from that video, the troops who are executing these people don’t care whether any one of the bodies down in that ditch are still alive; the next victim just gets thrown promptly on top, and shot. These troops are interested only in speed, without concern for victims.

Their only “concern” for the victims is to rape the ones they want, and to kill as many of the residents who live there as possible. The objective is officially called “punishment.” That’s the Ukrainian Government’s term. The aim is to make them suffer.

Here is how deeply immersed in hatred of “Moscals” these people are. The Ukrainians who fought on Hitler’s side in WWII are heroes to them. An American friend who happens to live in the conflict-zone, the southeast, where the “Moskals” are predominant, wrote me today about the city of “Mariupol. The hospital there is being inundated with rape victims. A lot of girls are just going missing. People are disappearing constantly. The photo enclosed is from Artemosk yesterday. The Ukraine army ran over the car killing two people. It got stuck on top of the car.” Kill them however you can, is their assignment. Soldiers in the Ukrainian Army are taught that everyone who lives in these areas is the enemy. Killing the residents there is considered to be ‘patriotic.’

There is also plenty of bombing, and firing missiles at, the cities and villages there, to destroy people and buildings, so that many of the surviving residents will flee over the border into neighboring Russia, from whence they’ll never again be allowed to vote in a Ukrainian election — thereby further reducing the number of those voters in Ukrainian national elections. Such bombing and shelling seem to be the Government’s main methods of eliminating residents in the southeast. Also, white phosphorous and other illegal weapons of terror are used, in order to especially induce the residents to evacuate into Russia.

This is a “genocide” against ethnic Russians whose families have lived inside Ukraine, in many cases, for centuries. It is also, and in the very same sense, an “ethnic cleansing,” to lock-in the anti-Russian regime that Obama installed earlier this year.

Here are some of the people who have been fleeing into Russia. Every one of those busloads of refugees exiting Ukraine is further success for Obama’s plan, because it means fewer pro-Eastern, anti-Western, voters.

So, as you can see, the new Ukrainian Government is having considerable success in its efforts to murder and terrorize enough of the residents there, for Ukraine’s electoral map to be no longer as favorable as it formerly was toward political candidates who prefer Russia over the United States. This is a way to gain a new ally against Russia, right next door to Russia. It’s conquest of Ukraine’s southeast, by Ukraine’s northwest.

Here is a Gallup poll that had been taken throughout Ukraine in April 2014, just after the coup. As you can see, the northwest liked the U.S., the European Union, and NATO, while the southeast liked Russia and didn’t want to join either the EU or NATO. Furthermore, Crimeans, the residents in what had been the far-southernmost part of Ukraine, loathed Ukraine, and were relieved to be restored again to Russia. Sectional differences in Ukraine are extreme. Obama forced the Russia-haters into power, and wants to keep them in power.

Moreover, Gallup had polled 500 Crimeans during May 16-30 in 2013, and found that only 15% considered themselves “Ukrainian” at all. This was when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. 24% considered themselves simply “Crimean,” which nonetheless was a renunciation of any Ukrainian identity for themselves; so, that’s 24% who didn’t think of themselves as being Ukrainian. And additionally, 40% — a number virtually matching the totality of the other two, and nearly three times larger than the percentage who called themselves “Ukrainian” — considered themselves already to be “Russian,” even before the coup. The people there overwhelmingly wanted to secede from Ukraine, and they preferred to be part of Russia, just as Crimea had been prior to 1954.

Immediately after the coup, Russia sent troops into Crimea to preserve its Black Sea Fleet which has always been stationed there; and this military presence protected Crimeans, too, against the ethnic cleansing that was quickly started by the new Ukrainian regime to eliminate the residents in other areas of Ukraine’s southeast than Crimea. You’ll see those areas in purple on Ukraine’s 2010 electoral map, with the purple areas being the ones where the election’s pro-Russian winner, Viktor Yanukovych, had received over 80% of the vote. Here is the map of that 2010 vote, with the purple areas being the same areas that are now being ethnically cleansed. This map shows the exact voting-percentages: the three districts that voted more than 80% for the man whom Obama overthrew are now the ones that either broke away from Ukraine or are trying to. This is where the genocide is being concentrated. The people who live there aren’t wanted by Kiev’s new Government; only their land is.

Back when the U.S-engineered “Maidan” demonstrations had first placed into power a pro-U.S. Ukrainian President, Yanukovych’s opponent in 2004, here is the election map, which showed just the same areas that were strongly pro-Russian then as now.

Obviously, the U.S. CIA, and State Department, and President Barack Obama, can read electoral maps; and, as long as those voters in Ukraine’s far-east stayed alive where they were, inside Ukraine, no anti-Russian regime in Ukraine would be able to remain securely in power.

However, a pretext needed to be established in order to ‘justify’ this ethnic cleansing; and that pretext was that they were separatists who threatened the presumed (but always fictional) unity of the Ukrainian culture and State.

In order to scare the residents in the pro-Russian areas and get them to become separatists — to become terrified enough for them to want to become part of Russia or else flee into safety inside Russia rather than to be attacked, bombed, and shot, by this new regime in Kiev — the Government, or actually one of its officials who happens to be one of Ukraine’s oligarchs, with a fortune over five billion dollars, held a massacre of peaceful pro-Russian demonstrators they trapped inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building on 2 May 2014, and then the army itself invaded other cities in the southeast on May 9th. By this time, many residents throughout the southeast, basically in the areas where Yanukovych had received over 80% of the vote, formed themselves into militias and moved to secede from Ukraine (to protect themselves and their families from the new regime), which this new Ukrainian Government promptly called ‘terrorism,’ and the Government announced an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” or “ATO,” in order to exterminate them. Also, many people in Ukraine’s northwest openly mocked the people who had been burnt and clubbed to death at the Trade Unions Building massacre. The victims of that massacre were blamed for the massacre, because they had been ‘terrorists.’

Here is how Ukraine’s Defense Minister described his plan:

“There will be a thorough filtration of people. There will be special filtration measures put in place. We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism, who were committing crimes on Ukrainian territory, crimes related to terrorist activities. We have a lot of information regarding this, and we have a formidable framework to combat this, and respective power structures will carry out this operation. Besides, this is a serious issue, related to the fact that people will be resettled to other regions.”

The new Government is also training Ukraine’s children to view extermination of Russians as being a patriotic necessity for Ukrainians. There are summer camps to which children are sent to be taught Ukrainian nazi ideology, where they march under both the Ukrainian flag and also various nazi flags, sometimes including the swastika. Both at such camps, and inside the parliament, the German nazi salute of the stiff right arm raised upward, with the hand and fingers positioned stiffly forward, is commonly given, as a sign of the individual’s loyalty to the country. Also, Ukraine’s military is increasingly filled with men who are tattooed with the swastika and other German nazi insignia. The common heritage back to Adolf Hitler (whom America’s WWII veterans went to war to defeat, of course) is being honored, not merely more overtly, but also more privately, by right-wing Ukrainians, as having been the leading edge of the new Ukraine, which U.S. President Barack Obama — the United States Government — installed on February 22nd, and which perpetrated the Odessa massacre on May 2nd, as well as the civil war that followed. These are America’s new  allies.

But it’s all being blacked-out, in countries that claim to represent democracy. This black-out adds insult to the injury that the present regime is causing, and not only to Ukraine, but to US. It’s complicity in this Administration’s criminality. And it is dangerous.

This is no mere game. The public needs to know that this is happening, and why it’s happening. Otherwise, there is no democracy, because what’s at stake here is not only the character of today’s America, but is America’s future, and the world’s. If the American people are manipulated about this, then they are no free people, and American democracy is then itself fake, no longer real, in any significant sense. Just a sham. And a shame — not of the public, but of the people who hide the truth from the public.

Due to the Internet, this is the first genocide that is being documented in real time, as it occurs. Historians will note this genocide, and will also note where it was reported, and where it was not reported.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.