Justice Department Shuts Door on U.S. War Crimes Prosecutions
In a vaguely worded statement, Attorney General(AG) Eric Holder announced today the closure of criminal investigations into the deaths of two individuals while in United States custody. The annoncement failed to mention that one detainee was beaten, stripped, and then shackled to a wall where he froze to death. In the other case the detainee was tortured to death and Sgt. Charles Graner posed over the body of detainee giving a thumbs up sign. Although the military determined they were homicides, the AG has declined to prosecute in all one-hundred cases it has reviewed thus far.
As documented by Glenn Greewald today, Presidential candidate Obama clearly stated that he would instruct his AG to review the evidence because no one should be above the law. However, as soon as he won the election and before taking office he flip-flopped and claimed that his administration was going to look forward and not backward on this issue. Soon after that he granted immunity to torturers who received approval from the Bush Justice Department, even though the individuals involved are trained to understand that torture is a violation of U.S. and International law. President Obama’s legal justification is similar to the Nuremberg war criminal defense that “I was just following orders” defense which is not considered to be a viable defense. In addition, it provides a new shield for wrongdoing. All a government official has to do is find an attorney that will approve their actions.
The President’s and Eric Holder’s flipflop on this issue has been well documented. The Greenwald piece also documents that experts including U.S. Generals have concluded that war crimes were committed.
Greenwald also noted that Wikileaks exposed State Department cables which showed that the Obama administration worked with Republicans to kill war crimes investigations in Spain and Germany. However, they failed to prevent investigations in France, Poland. In contrast, the Obama continues to retaliate or imprison those who would complain about his circumventions of the law.
Presidents and other government officials take such actions when they know the courts will not investigate, ignore human rights violations or claim that such crimes are immune from prosecution. Judges should examine the evidence and not simply trust what administrations are telling them.
Last week, the FBI followed through on a Clinton Initiative to create a genocide and war crimes prevention unit (see above photo from the new website). The FBI urges you to call if you have any information. The Impartial Review News would love to see Glenn Greenwald’s report.
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