Crimes are Crimes

 

Crimes Are Crimes

Click to download full-size PDF of ad that appeared in the NY Times

Who signed and why? Watch video.

Read why more than 2,000 people have signed this statement already. More comments here.

Sign Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them

Download new poster: Commanders Change - But These Wars Are STILL Wrong! End the Wars in Afghanistan & Iraq!

Find out more about the outrages which have prompted this statement

Crimes Are Crimes

Download PDF of the ad which appeared previously in The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The Humanist, and Rolling Stone online

Why donate to publish this statement?

Miller Francis, former writer for Rolling Stone, sent this quote from Bertolt Brecht to explain why he donated:

"Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons."

Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them

Intro October 2010: On the ninth anniversary of America's longest war, the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq remain bloody, employing more contractors, while drones rain death upon Pakistan.

In the months since this statement was written, US courts have ruled that innocents who have been tortured may not sue, while the Obama administration defends those who directed that torture be used.

When leaking evidence of war crimes is criminalized, remaining silent is a crime.

It has become common knowledge that Barack Obama has openly ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Aulaki. Without trial or other judicial proceeding, the administration has simply put him on the to-be-killed list.*

Whistleblowers in the military leaked a video showing U.S. troops firing on an unarmed party of Iraqis in 2007, including two journalists, and then firing on those who attempted to rescue them, including two children. As ugly as this video of the killing of 12 Iraqis was, the chatter recorded from the helicopter cockpit was even more monstrous. The Pentagon says that there would be no charges against these soldiers; and the media absolves them of blame. “They were under stress,” the story goes; “Our brave men and women must be supported.” Meanwhile, those who leaked and publicized the video came under government surveillance and are targeted as “national security” threats.

The Pentagon acknowledged, after denials, a massacre near the city of Gardez, Afghanistan, on February 12, 2010. 5 people were killed, including two pregnant women, leaving 16 children motherless. The U.S. military first said the two men killed were insurgents, and the women, victims of a family “honor killing,” but the Afghan government accepts the eyewitness reports that U.S. Special Forces killed the men, (a police officer and lawyer) and the women, and then dug their own bullets out of the women’s bodies to destroy evidence. Top U.S. military officials have now admitted that U.S. soldiers killed the family in their house.

Just weeks earlier, a story broken in Harper’s by Scott Horton carried news that three supposed suicides of detainees in Guantánamo in 2006 were not suicides, but possible homicides carried out by American personnel. This passed almost without comment.**

In some respects, this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of “terrorism,” merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of “preventive detention." Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the U.S. has the authority under international law to use such lethal force and extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war.

Such measures by Bush were widely considered by liberals and progressives to be outrages and were roundly, and correctly, protested. But those acts which may have been construed (wishfully or not) as anomalies under the Bush regime, have now been consecrated into “standard operating procedure” by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war.

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has refused to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him or any future president, Democrat or Republican.

End the complicity of silence.

* On 9/24/10 the Justice Department asserted that “state secrets” bar any examination of Obama’s order.

** On 9/29/10 a U.S. federal court dismissed a suit by the victims’ families on grounds of “national security.”

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Lawsuit Challenges U.S. Drone Killings of Three Americans

The Center for Constitutional Rights | July 23, 2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following press release was issued by The Center for Constitutional Rights on July 19, 2013. World Can't Wait issued the Crimes Are Crimes statement in 2010 after it was revealed that Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen, had been placed on the Obama administration's “kill list,” but before he was actually assassinated in 2011.  

ACLU and CCR Argue Killings Must Be Subject to Judicial Review

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Tutu Calls for Blair and Bush Indictments

by Chris Floyd 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused to attend a conference last week for a very good reason – he did not want to be publicly associated with a war criminal.

That war criminal was Tony Blair, who had been paid his usual whopping fee ($238,000 in this case) to deliver his usual sanctimonious blather at a South African conference on “leadership.” Tutu – who was speaking for no fee – withdrew from the meeting when he heard Blair was coming, the Guardian reports.

Read more...

Obama Administration: Judge, Jury, and Executioner

From Revolution 

On September 30, 2011, several men driving across a remote desert in Yemen stopped for breakfast. They spread a rug on the ground and were eating dates when one of them noticed a pilotless drone above them.

They ran to their vehicle and tried to escape, but it was too late. Missiles fired from the drone—which was operated by the U.S.'s Central Intelligence Agency—hit their truck, killing seven people and leaving their bodies "totally charred." Two of the men killed, including Anwar al-Awlaki, were U.S. citizens. The men killed had not been charged, much less convicted, of any crimes.

Read more...

Six Ways That Obama Has Been Worse Than Bush

from Revolution 

With the presidential elections approaching, there are those who argue, yet again, that whatever problems there are with the Democrats and Obama, the "alternative"—the Republicans—are much worse. So when it's all said and done, the argument goes, people who don't want the "right wing" to take over must fall in line behind Obama and the Democrats.

The reality is that in key ways, Obama as U.S. president has been even worse for the masses of people, in the U.S. and worldwide. This is a fact that can be clearly demonstrated. Here are six main ways that Obama has gone beyond Bush in fascistic, brutal, reactionary moves, in service of the ruling system of capitalism-imperialism.

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Are You Outraged about Indefinite Detention by U.S. Military?

by Debra Sweet

Crimes are crimes and must be denounced whoever commits them. This government has passed yet another bar for disregarding the rule of law and the basic rights of people with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and many of you are rightfully angry about that.

Mounting meaningful, mass actions against the completely unjust and illegitimate continuation of indefinite detention and the prison camps at Guantanamo and Bagram this January is ALSO a meaningful response to the outrageously unjust NDAA. We have been planning for months, with a number of other groups including Witness Against Torture and Amnesty International, for
mass protest on the tenth anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo. What better way to send a message to this government and everyone around the world against military detention on U.S. soil than to refuse to accept the moral outrage of sending people from other countries into the "legal black holes" of Guantanamo and Bagram?

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Cornel West Slammed by Obama Supporters For Telling the Truth About Obama

A shit storm has been raging around critical comments by Cornel West about Barack Obama’s presidency, in an interview done by Chris Hedges for the online magazine, Truthdig. West has been accused of launching personal attacks and hurling racial slurs at Obama. The attacks on West have had several striking features in common. One is how his accusers have had little or nothing to say about what he actually said about what Obama has, and hasn’t, done as president. The other is how those attacking West have either distorted his history and track record or gone after him like he has neither. (For the interview, go to www.truthdig.com.)

In his interview with Hedges, West bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

Read more...

Not "Thinking Like Americans"

By Debra Sweet Crimes Are Crimes

Recently the message "stop thinking like Americans and start thinking like a human being" was posted on World Can't Wait's Facebook page.  The post got a large number of immediate "likes," as did the message that "American lives are not more important than other lives." 

We phrased a little differently in the flyer we distributed at recent anti-war protests: We must stand up for the whole planet, stop thinking like Americans and start thinking about humanity.

Many people wrote to say how much they appreciated this flyer and approach to stopping the wars. It's still quite relevant. You can download it here.

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General McChrystal the War Criminal

Cornel WestCornel West on the Tavis Smiley program:

"We had a major statement in the Nation, a major statement in Rolling Stone, a major statement in the New York Times, stating Crimes are Crimes, no matter which administration commits them."

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley discuss the criminality of the Bush and Obama administrations, and the "Crimes are Crimes" statement by World Can't Wait on a recent edition of Smiley's radio show. Listen to the entire excerpt here.

Yemen, Targeted Killing & the "Rule of Law"

By Debra Sweet 

The Crimes are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them statement World Can't Wait published last month, signed by 35 well known people, has just gotten an answer of sorts, also in The New York Times today. 
 
A quarter page ad on the opinion page by the Washington Legal Foundation attacks the ACLU and The Center for Constitutional Rights for opening "an alarming new front in the activist campaign to judicially impose a myopic view of "civil liberties" on U.S. anti'terror decisions."

Read more...

In the Streets and in the “Paper of Record”: Ending the Complicity of Silence

By Debra Sweet

Obomba

We are in the streets, and in the "newspaper of record" today protesting the illegitimate, unjust, immoral occupation of Afghanistan, and the drone bombings of Pakistan.

The Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them statement declares:

On the ninth anniversary of America's longest war, the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq remain bloody, employing more contractors, while drones rain death upon Pakistan.

In the months since this statement was written, US courts have ruled that innocents who have been tortured may not sue, while the Obama administration defends those who directed that torture be used.

When leaking evidence of war crimes is criminalized, remaining silent is a crime.

Read more...

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