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  November 3, 2005

Philosopher's Stone
By Chris Floyd

Last week, a legal thunderbolt struck at the heart of the grubby conspiracy that led the United States and Britain into an illegal war of aggression against Iraq.   But this searing blow didn't fall in Washington, where a media frenzy raged over a White House indictment, but in southern England, in a military courtroom, where a lone soldier stood against the full force of the great war-crime enterprise, armed only with a single, rusty, obsolete weapon: the law.

While Potomac courtiers were reading the entrails of the cooked goose of Scooter Libby — the first Bushist honcho caught in the slow-grinding gears of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation — in Wiltshire, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith faced a court martial after declaring that the Iraq war was illegal and refusing to return for his third tour of duty there, The Guardian reports.

He has been charged with four counts of "disobeying a lawful command."   But Kendall-Smith, a decorated medical officer in the Royal Air Force, says that his study of the recently revealed evidence about the lies, distortions and manipulations used to justify the invasion has convinced him that both the war and the occupation are "manifestly illegal."   Thus any order arising from this criminal action is itself an "unlawful command," The Sunday Times reports.   In fact, the RAF's own manual of law compels him to refuse such illegal orders, Kendall-Smith insists.

The flight lieutenant is no ordinary war protester, and no shirker of combat — unlike, say, the pair of prissy cowards at the head of the U.S.-British "coalition."   Kendall-Smith, who has dual New Zealand-British citizenship — and a pair of university degrees in medicine and Kantian moral philosophy — has served three tours at the front in Afghanistan and Iraq.   He is not claiming any conscientious objections against war in general, nor do religious scruples play any part in his stance.   It is based solely on the law.

Central to his case are the sinister backroom legal dealings between London and Washington in the days before the invasion.   Less than two weeks before the initial "shock and awe" bombings began slaughtering civilians across Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the British attorney general, gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a detailed briefing full of doubts and equivocations about the legality of the coming war, adding that Britain's participation in an attack unsanctioned by the United Nations would "likely" lead to "close scrutiny" by the International Criminal Court for potential war crimes charges, The Observer reports.

But Blair and Goldsmith withheld this report from Parliament, the Cabinet and British military brass, who were demanding a clear-cut legal sanction for the impending action.   Then, just three days before the bloodletting began, Goldsmith suddenly produced another paper, this time for public consumption: a brief, clear, unequivocal statement that the invasion would be legal.   This statement was almost certainly crafted in Washington, where Goldsmith had recently been "tutored" by the Bush gang's consiglieres, including the legal advisers to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Leading this pack of war-baying legal beagles was George W. Bush's top counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who had overseen the White House's own efforts to weasel out of potential war crimes charges by declaring — without any basis in Anglo-American jurisprudence or the U.S. Constitution — that Bush was not bound by any law whatsoever in any military action he undertook: a blank check for aggression, murder and torture that Bush has gleefully cashed over and over.   Alberto and the boys leaned hard on Goldsmith, who finally caved in and replicated the Americans' contorted and specious legal arguments for launching the attack.

Of course, Kendall-Smith knew none of this during his first two tours in Iraq: Goldsmith's Bush-induced backflip was only divulged in April 2005.   Nor did he know then of the "Downing Street Memos," the "smoking gun" minutes that record Blair's inner circle dutifully lining up behind Bush's hell-bent drive for war — as far back as 2002 — and their conspiracy with the Bush gang to manipulate their countries into war.   The memos, which emerged in May 2005 and have never been denied or repudiated by the British government, show Blair's slavish acquiescence in Bush's criminal scheme to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" of unprovoked military aggression.   Confronted with this new evidence — and revelations about the mountain of doubts expressed by U.S. intelligence before the invasion but deliberately ignored by the Bushist war party — Kendall-Smith took the only honorable course for a soldier who has been duped into serving an evil cause.

The moral rigor of his defiance has sent tremors through the British military establishment, already shaken by the strange, unexplained shooting deaths of two military inspectors investigating atrocity allegations in Iraq, The Guardian reports.   British brass are panicky about the Goldsmith revelations; indeed, the leader of the British invasion force, Admiral Michael Boyce, said that he now believed his country's military did not have "the legal cover necessary to avoid prosecution for war crimes," The Observer reports.   Boyce added that if he and his officers were eventually put on trial for waging aggressive war, he'd make sure that Blair and Goldsmith were in the dock beside them.

Bush, Blair and their minions have committed a monstrous crime, and they know it — hence all the convolutions, before the war and after, to inoculate themselves from prosecution.   But with Kendall-Smith and Fitzgerald, the long-moribund figure of the law is re-awakening.   It's weak, it's bleary, it certainly might fail.   But now the conspirators will have to live cowering in its shadow for the rest of their days.

© Copyright 2005, The Moscow Times.   All Rights Reserved.

  July 28, 2005

Master Plan
By Chris Floyd

The United States long ago ceased to be anything like a living, thriving republic.

But it retained the legal form of a republic, and that counted for something: As long as the legal form still existed, even as a gutted shell, there was hope it might be filled again one day with substance.

But now the very legal structures of the Republic are being dismantled. The principle of arbitrary rule by an autocratic leader is being openly established, through a series of unchallenged executive orders, perverse Justice Department rulings and court decisions by sycophantic judges who defer to power — not law — in their determinations.

Law no longer applies to President

What we are witnessing is the creation of a "commander-in-chief state," where the form and pressure of law no longer apply to the president and his designated agents.

The rights of individuals are no longer inalienable, nor are their persons inviolable; all depends on the good will of the Commander, the military autocrat.

President George W. Bush has granted himself the power to declare anyone on earth — including any U.S. citizen — an "enemy combatant," for any reason he sees fit.

He can render them up for torture, he can imprison them for life, he can even have them killed, all without charges, with no burden of proof, no standards of evidence, no legislative oversight, no appeal, no judicial process whatsoever except those that he himself deigns to construct, with whatever limitations he cares to impose.

Nor can he ever be prosecuted for any order he issues, however criminal; in the new American system laid out by Bush's legal minions, the Commander is sacrosanct, beyond the reach of any law or constitution.

Codified into law

This is not hyperbole. It is simply the reality of the United States today. The principle of unrestricted presidential power is now being codified into law and incorporated into the institutional structures of the state, as the web log Deep Blade Journal reports in a compendium of recent outrages against liberty.

For example, last Friday, a panel of federal judges — including John Roberts, nominated for the Supreme Court this week — upheld Bush's claim to dispose of "enemy combatants" any way he pleases, The Washington Post reports.

In a chilling decision, the judges ruled that the Commander's arbitrarily designated "enemies" are nonpersons: Neither the Geneva Conventions nor American military and domestic law apply to such garbage.

Bush is now free to subject anyone he likes to his self-concocted "military tribunal" system, a brutal sham that retired top U.S. military officials have denounced as a "kangaroo court" that tyrants around the world will cite in order to hide their oppression under U.S. precedent.

The kowtowing court ruling ignores the fact that the Geneva Conventions — which lay down strict guidelines for the handling of any person detained by military forces, regardless of the captive's status — have been incorporated into the U.S. legal code, Deep Blade points out.

They cannot be abrogated by presidential fiat.

And anyone who commits a "grave breach" of the Conventions by facilitating the killing, torture or inhuman treatment of detainees (e.g., stripping them of all legal status and subjecting them to rigged tribunals) is subject to the death penalty under U.S. law.

This is why the Bush Faction labored so mightily to advance the absurd fiction that the Geneva Conventions are somehow voluntary — while simultaneously promulgating the sinister Fuhrerprinzip of unlimited presidential authority.

Firmly established as new foundation of state

The fiction was a temporary sop to the crumbling legal form of the Republic, a cynical perversion of existing law to keep justice at bay until the Fuhrerprinzip could be firmly established as the new foundation of the state.

It doesn't matter anymore if the president's orders to suspend the Conventions, construct a worldwide gulag, torture captives, spy on Americans, fabricate intelligence and wage aggressive war are illegal under the "quaint" strictures of the old dispensation; the courts, packed with Bushist cadres, are now affirming the new order, the "critical authority" of the Commander, beyond law and morality, on the higher plane of what Bush calls "the path of action."

This phrase — with its remarkable Mussolinian echoes — was incorporated into the official "National Security Strategy of the United States," promulgated by Bush in September 2002.

That document in turn was drawn largely from a manifesto issued in September 2000 by a Bush Faction group whose members included Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush.

Their detailed plan envisioned the transformation of America into a militarized state: planting "military footprints" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, invading Iraq, expanding the nuclear arsenal, massively increasing the defense budget — and predicating all these "revolutionary" changes on the hopes for "a new Pearl Harbor" that would "catalyze" the lazy American public into supporting their militarist agenda.

Full Dominance

This agenda is designed, the group said, to establish "full spectrum dominance" over geopolitical affairs, assuring control of world energy resources and precluding the rise of "any potential global rival" that might threaten the unchecked wealth and privilege of the U.S. elite.

The rule of law could only be a hindrance to such a scheme, hence its replacement by the Fuhrerprinzip and the "path of action."

There has been virtually no institutional resistance to this open coup d'etat.

It's now clear that the American Establishment — and a significant portion of the American people — have given up on the democratic experiment.

They no longer wish to govern themselves; they want to be ruled by "strong leaders" who will "do whatever it takes" to protect them from harm and keep them in clover.

They have sold their golden birthright of American liberty for a mess of coward's pottage.


RAF Doctor Stands by Decision to Refuse to Serve in 'Illegal' Iraq War
The Guardian, Oct. 28, 2005

Applauding a Military Refusenik
New Statesman, Oct. 31, 2005

Iraq War Objector a Thinker, Friends Say
Sunday Star-Times, Oct. 23, 2005

RAF Officer Faces Jail for Refusing to Return to Iraq
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Oct. 21, 2005

RAF Officer Faces Jail Over 'Illegal War'
The Sunday Times, Oct. 16, 2005

British Military Chief Reveals new Legal Fears Over Iraq war
The Observer, May 1, 2005

Complete Set of Downing Street Documents, July 18, 2005

British Forces Feel Pressure from Abuse Claims
The Guardian, Oct. 17, 2005

Senior Military Investigator Found Dead in Iraq
The Independent, Oct. 17, 2005

Senior Officers Tried to Block Iraq Killing Investigation'
The Guardian, Oct. 12, 2005

International Court Hears Anti-war Claims
The Guardian, May 6, 2005

The Secret Way to War
New York Review of Books, June 9, 2005

Colin Powell: The Most Honest Man on Earth
A Tiny Revolution, Oct. 11, 2005

Court Rules Military Panels to Try Detainees
Washington Post, July 16, 2005

Domination by Detention
Deep Blade Journaly, July 16, 2005

Dark Passage: The Bush Faction's Blueprint for Empire
Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque

Ruling Lets U.S. Restart Trials at Guantanamo
New York Times, July 16, 2005

Alberto Gonzales' Tortured Arguments for Reigning Above the Law
LA Weekly, Jan. 14-20, 2005

Torture Treaty Doesn't Bar `Cruel, Inhuman' Tactics, Gonzales Says
Knight-Ridder, Jan. 26, 2005

Bush Has Widened Authority of CIA to Kill Terrorists
New York Times, Dec. 15, 2002

Special Ops Get OK to Initiate Its Own Missions
Washington Times, Jan. 8, 2003

Coward's War in Yemen
Spiked, Nov. 11, 2002

Drones of Death
The Guardian, Nov. 6, 2002

© Copyright 2005, The Moscow Times.   All Rights Reserved.

Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
Most recent Kewe blog   click here
— 2017
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— 2003
Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!

       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     


For archive purposes, this article is being stored on website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.