Saturday, 18 June 2011

Licence to Kill

According to the Voice of America, ‘Top Pentagon officials say the U.S. military will capture and kill al-Qaida’s new leader and that he will meet the same fate as Osama bin Laden.’ This is about as close as we are going to get to a declaration of state-sponsored murder. It is obviously a violation of fundamental rights tohat the United States is required to observe pursuant to its international obligations, its constitution, its domestic law and natural law.
I believe it was Geoffrey Robertson who recalled, at the time of the Bin Laden killing, that during the Second World War there had been a debate within the allied powers about whether or not to execute Nazi leaders summarily. There is actually a written proposal to this effect from the United Kingdom published in the record of the London Conference.
There, in an Aide Mémoire dated 23 April 1945, the United Kingdom proposed:
It being conceded that these leaders must suffer death, the question arises whether they should be tried by some form of tribunal claiming to exercise judicial functions, or whether the decision taken by the Allies should be reached and enforced without the machinery of a trial. H.M.G. thoroughly appreciate the arguments which have been advanced in favour of some form of preliminary triaL But H.M.G. are also deeply impressed with the dangers and difficulties of this course, and they wish to put before their principal Allies, in a connected form, the arguments which have led them to think that execution without trial is the preferable course.
Well, wiser heads prevailed, and the result is the monumental accomplishment at Nuremberg. It seems that the United States government is flirting with turning the clock back several decades.
David Scheffer has already written about the contradiction in the discourse on what to do with terrorists like Bin Laden, noting that he had been formally charged with criminal offences by the United States justice system. He explains that on 1 May 2011, in Abbottabad, 'the war agenda trumped the law enforcement agenda without any clear explanation of why an indicted fugitive (Osama bin Laden) could not have been captured and prosecuted as an international terrorist or, for that matter, as a war criminal'. He notes that CIA Director Leon Panetta had said that the order given to the Navy Seals was 'to kill Bin Laden rather than to take him prisoner'.
Prosecutors in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York have formally dropped the charges against Bin Laden.
The United States has said it found a treasure trove of information in Bin Laden's home. Some have also boasted that his detection was facilitated by information obtained as a result of torture or ill treatment. So why would they kill him? Couldn't he have been a useful source of information too?
Thanks to Roland Adjovi and David Scheffer.

1 comment:

Paul said...

How very convient to supposedly kill and dispose of the body of the worlds most wanted man.....and then have the worlds media report it as fact without an ounce of evidence.....despicable times we live in.....

'If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it'

Joseph Goebbels