Det danske Fredsakademi

Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 27. 2005 / Timeline September 27, 2005

Version 3.5

26. September 2005, 28. September 2005

Dansk folkeafstemning om EU forfatningstraktaten. Udsat på ubestemt tid..
Borgerinitiativet Ja til Europa - Nej til EU-forfatning.
Litteratur: AMK anbefaler at stemme nej til EU-forfatningstraktaten.
Røder, Ulla: Kan FN leve op til sit ry som en FREDS organisation?
Terp, Holger: EU's forfatningstraktat fremmer militarisme.

German court declares Iraq war violated international law
By Justus Leicht
27 September 2005
Just a few weeks ago, a highly significant judicial decision was handed down by the German Federal Administrative Court but barely mentioned in the German media. With careful reasoning, the judges ruled that the assault launched by the United States and its allies against Iraq was a clear war of aggression that violated international law.
Further, they meticulously demonstrated that the German government, in contrast to its public protestations, had assisted in the aggression against Iraq without having any legal right to do so. Although the decision was made three months ago, the judgement and its legal arguments have only just been made available in written form, comprising more than 130 pages.
The decision was made in relation to legal proceedings initiated by a German army officer who had refused to obey an order following the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition of forces because he feared that he would in effect be supporting the war. As a result, he was demoted from major to captain and the army filed a criminal complaint against him for insubordination. In its latest judgement, the Federal Administrative Court reversed the demotion and said the charges against the officer contravened Article 4, Paragraph 1 of the German Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of conscience.
Grave concerns for international law
Due to strong public resistance to the remilitarisation of Germany after the Second World War, under conditions in which the army leadership initially consisted largely of former members of the Nazi Wehrmacht, the rebuilding of the German army in the 1950s was tied to a series of democratic provisions. This included the right to not follow orders that contravened human dignity, the constitution or German law, or that violated international law.
The Constitutional Court, however, left open whether such criteria applied in this case. It said a decision on this issue did not have to be made. The defendant’s complaint was upheld because he made a difficult decision based on his conscience under special circumstances.
The court left no doubt, though, that it had “grave concerns for international law” arising from the Iraq war and Germany’s support for it.
The court referred to Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter, which classifies “every” threat and use of military force against another nation as an act of aggression. It specifies only two exceptions: a formal resolution of the UN Security Council and for self-defence purposes. Neither of these was the case with Iraq.
In particular, the United States had no legal basis for attacking Iraq based on previous UN resolutions that it itself had introduced. UN Resolution 678 in 1990 had only authorised the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait. The ceasefire Resolution 687 in 1991 certified that this aim had been realised. This resolution also threatened Iraq with “serious consequences” if it used poisonous gasses or other biological weapons and renewed the demand for Iraq to maintain a clear distance from “international terrorism.” This resolution was accepted by Iraq.
The court stated that UN Resolution 707 in 1991 did not revoke the ceasefire nor has it since been repealed. No subsequent resolution contained a justification for military operations, not even in relation to forcing Iraq to cooperate with weapons inspectors.
This fact was seen by the court as particularly valid in relation to Resolution 1441, passed on November 8, 2002, which was later used by the US and Great Britain to justify war.
This resolution gave instructions to the chief weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei, to report any lack of cooperation from Iraq to the UN Security Council, so that it could properly assess the situation. The decisions that the UN Security Council would then take in such a situation were left open, according to the court.
Although the Security Council threatened “serious consequences,” it did not make explicit what form they would take. On the contrary, Resolution 1441 expressed “unmistakably,” according to the court, that the matter had yet to be determined by the Security Council. The court argued that the resolution did not give a free hand for military action, but rather—based on the UN Charter—left the decision about any consequences to the UN.
With the formulation “serious consequences,” Resolution 1441 only issued a general warning, but had deliberately distanced the Security Council from authorising the use of force by the US and the UK.
The court argued that only if the UN Security Council resolution text had explicitly provided for the use of military force, within the confines of the UN Charter, would military action against Iraq have been permitted. An apparent “silence,” or the position that the meaning of “serious consequences” was left unclarified, did not suffice to justify military action.
The court also did not consider the objection valid that the resolution text was interpreted differently by the US and UK. It stated: “For the determination of what the UN Security Council had decided in one of its resolutions, what is decisive is not what government representatives ‘thought’ about the proceedings and resolutions themselves. It is far more dependent on what was actually laid down in the text of the agreed resolution. If it is not in the text, an appropriate draft resolution is lacking. The mental reservations of governments or their representatives are not valid insofar as international law is concerned.”
The text of Resolution 1441 showed, on the contrary, that an exemption to the fundamental prohibition on the use of force had not been decided on. Nowhere did it contain an endorsement or an authorisation for any government or state to use force according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The term “authorisation” in this context did not even appear anywhere in the resolution.
The attempt of the governments in the US, UK and Spain to have a resolution passed immediately before the start of the war that would have authorised military action did not find majority support in the Security Council. To avoid the resolution being defeated, the draft resolution was withdrawn. German support for the war violated international law
What was particularly noteworthy was that the judges continually referred to a paper published by the scientific study service of the German parliament committee on January 2, 2003, that also concluded that the UN resolutions did not legitimise an attack on Iraq. Even if one assumes that not every parliamentarian read this paper, one has to assume, at the very least, that members of the cabinet and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder himself must have been made aware that the Iraq war violated international law.
The court said that the US and UK had, in their diplomatic notes to the UN Security Council, nowhere made a substantiated claim that a dangerous situation existed—something necessary if a right to self-defence was being put forward as the justification.
The court devoted much detail to the logistical support provided by Germany to the war—in particular, the use of military bases and the fly-over rights for the US and UK.
It soberly declared: “The support for an illegal military action can not only be expressed through military participation in combat operations, but also in other ways. A breach of international law can be committed through an action or—when an obligation exists under international law—through inaction. Support given to an offence under international law is itself an offence.” Article 26 of the German constitution, which prohibits the “preparation” of an illegal war, prohibits even more forcefully any support of such a war.
The obligations of Germany under international law were sourced to Resolution 3314, passed by a general sitting of the United Nations on December 14, 1974, the works of the International Law Commission of the United Nations, and various international treaties and customs that stem back to the Hague Convention of 1907.
The last-mentioned prohibited states from allowing their territory to be used for the transport of troops or military supplies. The Hague Convention also prohibited third nations from supplying telecommunication services in every form as well as airspace rights. By Article 25 of the German constitution, these general rules of international law, as part of German federal law, take priority over other laws.
The claim of the German government that it had a “partner duty” as a member of NATO did not invalidate these rules. The NATO Treaty refers to the UN Charter and does not compel its member states to support wars conducted by other NATO members that violate international law. In addition, the court stated that the clause that specifies supporting other NATO members only applies in those cases where an “armed conflict” takes place inside NATO territory. Nor did the NATO Council agree to any kind of cooperative action in the case of war with Iraq. In addition, the NATO Treaty contained a clause—inserted in 1949 at the behest of the US—where member states cannot be forced to fulfil obligations to the NATO Treaty or its implementation if this violates their own national constitutions.
The German government also did not have the right to offer its support for the war for political reasons, as it was bound to the rule of law by Article 20, paragraph III of the Constitution and by Article 25 to the general regulations of international law.
At first glance, it is amazing that this judgement did not make larger waves, as the German government has effectively been accused of violating both the German constitution and international law. The government’s claim that it did everything in its power to prevent war in Iraq was proven to be false by one of the highest courts in the land. Not only did the government have the legal possibility, but it also had the responsibility to bar use of German airspace and bases on German soil from use for the Iraq war.
In most of the media, Gerhard Schröder is celebrated for his supposed anti-war stance. Others accuse the SPD-Green coalition government of having damaged the transatlantic alliance with the United States over its handling of the Iraq war. If a coalition government consisting of the Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union and Free Democratic Party emerges out of the recent German elections, it will either continue the policy of Schröder or bring Germany closer to the US—and most likely confront decisions similar to those made by Schröder the next time the US attacks a country. As for the recently formed Left Party-Party of Democratic Socialism, one only needs to note that its leading candidate, Gregor Gysi, has praised Schröder’s policy with regard to Iraq.

D.C. Peace Rally Provides Nuggets to Help Carry On Against the Bush Regime
by Jackson Thoreau
You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace.
- hip-hop poet and musician Michael Franti
WASHINGTON, D.C. – From the top of the steps of the Romanesque Lincoln Memorial looking east at night, you gain an interesting perspective. The lit-up, Egyptian obelisk Washington Monument stands like a beacon of phallic-themed power, blocking the Capitol Building’s dome, as its image reflects an even darker side in the nearby pond.
It’s fitting in this world-wide political epicenter that the tallest structure is one that lends an obvious warning: Get ready to get screwed.
Around you are expensive memorials to wars - World War II, Vietnam, Korea – reminding us of lessons we never quite seem to grasp, no matter how much we spend on them, no matter how many visit them. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato still said it best: All wars come down to the possession of wealth. And nowhere in this city have I seen a monument to Plato.
Still, there is an inherent beauty in this palace of monuments, of public art, of European-like boulevards, street cafes and intersection roundabouts, that is almost addictive if you’ve lived most of your life in a place where the most endearing cultural center is a shopping mall. If you’re going to live somewhere in our Dark American Empire, it might as well be the belly of the beast.
And if you focus hard enough during such fleeting moments of pure introspection, you can catch a glimpse, some nugget of inspiration, that helps you continue on.
Born in this hypocritical, seductive, power-mad city, I moved at an early age to Texas, where I lived almost as long as George W. Bush and much longer than fellow U.S. Constitution-pisser Dick Cheney. Since the early 1980s, I have returned mostly to join with sometimes a few, sometimes a few thousand and sometimes a few hundred thousand, in making a statement to the powers that be, which often seem to be little more than pissing in the wind. One time, I spent more than six months walking here on a peace mission from Texas only to meet with a disarmament advisor to former President Ron Ray “Don’t Call Me Gay” Gun, who tried to claim that building more weapons of mass destruction to point at the former Soviet Union was the best way to disarm those weapons. I walked on and met some saner people.
Two years ago, I returned to D.C. for good to attempt to more directly combat the current Orwellian administration, to beat my head against the wall a little harder. There are times when it actually seems worthwhile, that some progress is being made. Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, was such a time.
Karl Rove and his political operatives who make the Watergate dealers look like kids did their best to keep people from turning out for the first mass demonstration to be allowed to march past the front of the White House in more than a decade, organized by groups like United for Peace and Justice. They called Cindy Sheehan, the courageous mother of a fallen son in Iraq who has done more to refuel the anti-war movement than anyone in the past couple of months with her Crawford vigil, a “clown.” They claimed the peace movement didn’t even exist, then spread warnings of right-wing, government infiltrators who would incite violence and electromagnetic weapons that would be beamed at participants. Some even blamed Rove for an odd five-hour delay of a New York train carrying marchers that was said to be caused by an electrical problem.
It was similar to the Bush thugs warnings of terrorism incidents and threats of violence and mass arrests made a year ago before the Republican National Convention in New York City. Then, the FBI even targeted “potential” protesters for interrogation, and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into whether people who posted names of Republican delegates and their hotels on engaged in voter intimidation. This time, odd private Blackwater ops security guards patrolled the streets carrying imposing batons. But there wasn’t near as many police on the streets as in New York, although the crowd numbers seemed to get close to the 500,000 in New York.
Before the New York demo, First Stepford Wife Laura Bush awoke from her coma long enough to denounce protesters as "anarchists." This time, she was fairly quiet, even when the large rally and march ruined her annual National Book Festival on the nearby mall.
My first protest in front of the Off-White House when I returned to the D.C. area two years ago was a tiny one whose organizers were told they had to keep it small, below 20 people, due to city law. Before Sept. 24, the best protest I had been to in Lafayette Park across from the Off-White House was an impromptu one by my toddler son a year ago. As my head was turned and I spoke with Concepcion Picciotto, an activist who had stood up to Bush and other presidents with an anti-nuclear vigil in that park since 1981, my son mooned Bush and pissed in front of him and police. While not socially appropriate, his actions were a fitting echo of the way Bush Inc. whizzed on the Constitution every day.
This time, Concepcion was hidden by a colorful maze of people from all ages, all backgrounds, many of whom traveled long distances like some I was with who came all the way from California, carrying creative messages like “Make Levees, Not War.” Some carried flag-draped caskets, and several wore Bush masks with prison jumpsuits.
There were also more than 250 military family members whose visits were organized by Gold Star Families for Peace[] and Military Families Speak Out [] that set up a Camp Casey D.C. in the shadow of the Washington Monument. Army 1st Sgt. Frank Cookinham, a Rhode Island vet who recently returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq, told the Washington Post he wore his uniform because it was “the only way I can shove it to Bush."
Sheehan, who along with her sister Dee Dee, former state department official Ann Wright, Michael Berg, the father of slain U.S. contractor Nick Berg, and others were arrested two days later in a planned civil disobedience demonstration, was the main highlight, even overshadowing the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. In a plain-spoken column on, Sheehan addressed the accusations leveled by slimeball Rove in a way that put John Kerry and his mostly weak retorts to Rove’s lies to shame.
“We are not going away until this illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq is over, and you [Rove] are sent back to the depths of whatever slimy, dark, and loathsome place you came from,” Sheehan wrote. “I may be a clown, Karl, but you are about to be indicted.”
If Kerry had answered Rove with such a clear response, he would have won Ohio and the election last year, although he still would have likely conceded.
In another Truthout column on her arrest, Sheehan noted, “Karl Rove [besides just being a very creepy man] outted a CIA agent and was responsible for endangering many of our covert agents worldwide. Dick Cheney's old company is reaping profits beyond anyone's wildest imaginations in their no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans. John Negroponte's activities in South America are very shady and murderous. Rumsfeld and Gonzales are responsible for illegal and immoral authorization, encouragement and approval of torture. Not to mention, violating Geneva Conventions, torture endangers the lives of our service men and women in Iraq. Along with the above-mentioned traitors, Condi lied through her teeth in the insane run-up to the invasion. The list of crimes this administration has committed is extensive, abhorrent, and unbelievable. What is so unbelievable is that WE were arrested for exercising our first amendment rights, and these people are running free to enjoy their lives of crime and to wreak havoc on the world.”
She seeks to challenge the $75 "demonstrating without a permit" fine. And Camp Casey D.C. plans to remain under the Washington Monument until the troops return home.
Meanwhile, those on the pro-Iraqi war side staged a rally in between these actions that could only muster up a pathetic few hundred people. Most were obviously ill informed, such as Antia Grater, who told the Washington Post that the U.S. troops in Iraq are “stopping the war on terror at the source."
Newsflash: Even Bush finally had to admit that he lied about saying Saddam had a role in the Sept. 11 terrorism acts.
I don’t know if anything will really get through to Bush, who was in Colorado and Texas on this weekend, supposedly "monitoring" the response to Hurricane Rita, which means it was just another excuse for yet another vacation. When I started on a two-year, 7,000-mile march across two continents in 1984, I didn’t know if anything would get through to Ray Gun, and it wasn’t much longer before the Berlin Wall fell.
I do know that all empires eventually fall. And events like the one on Sept. 24 can only speed that process, as they help build ripples that turn into stronger streams.



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