'REISISTANCE IS JUSTIFIED'
War Crimes Tribunal finds Bush & Co. guilty
By Deirdre Griswold
The people in the audience doubled as judges at the Iraq War
Crimes Tribunal, held here Aug. 26 in the Martin Luther King
After hearing and discussing the charges for six hours, the
500 attendees had no doubt about the verdict: "Guilty! Guilty!
Guilty!" they roared.
In a just world, President George W. Bush and his fellow
conspirators would then have been led off in handcuffs. But the
audience didn't expect that. They know it will take a sustained
struggle to end U.S. imperialism and its crimes around the
world, of which the brutal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are but
the latest example.
Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, who
co-chaired the tribunal, explained that it aimed to continue
and strengthen the resistance to war and occupation, both in
the targeted countries and here in the United States.
A 19-point indictment of Bush and other top officials in his
administration and at the Pentagon had been drawn up by former
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, founder of the IAC. The
full indictment and other details of the tribunal can be found
at www.peoplejudgebush.org. The indictment was read at the
opening of the tribunal with dramatic flair by IAC activists
Emelyn Tapaoan, Imani Henry and Stephanie Nichols.
No one watching the news can be ignorant of the U.S.
military's high-tech onslaught against the cities, towns,
markets and mosques of Iraq. Even pro-war media like Fox News
can't help but show U.S. tanks firing heavy weapons and U.S.
planes dropping deadly bombs on crowded neighborhoods. All this
in a small country thousands of miles away that has never
attacked or threatened the United States.
The indictment showed precisely why these acts are more than
vicious and reprehensible: They are war crimes, crimes against
peace and crimes against humanity, as these terms have been
defined in international conventions since World War II.
Reports from other world tribunals
Many of the speakers reported on the work of tribunals held
around the world.
Professor Akira Maeda of Japan described hearings in Manila,
Philippines, on U.S. bombings of civilians in Afghan istan and
Koichi Inamori, a prosecutor for tribu nals in Tokyo and
Kyoto, Japan, reported on the campaign against deploying Japan
ese troops to Iraq.
Joachim Guilliard told of plans in Ger many to focus on
German complicity in the Iraq war.
Ayca Cubukcu, an organizer of the World Tribunal on Iraq
held in New York this May, explained that the judging of the
United States for war crimes will culminate in March 2005 with
a final tribunal session in Istanbul, Turkey.
A close-up view of the Iraqi struggle came from Hana
al-Bayati, an Iraqi-French documentary film maker who worked on
the Brussels, Belgium, Tri bunal. Referring to fighting in
Najaf, Falluja, Sadr City and other areas under U.S. attack,
she said, "We have to support the resistance," explaining that
it is "a fight for the people to control their own resources."
She placed the Iraqi resistance in the context of the movement
against globalizing corporations.
After describing how unity is being forged by many sectors
of the Iraqi population--"leftists, Islamists and Baathists"--
al-Bayati concluded that "whatever course they take is
legitimate because they are occupied by a foreign power."
Khadouri al-Kaysi, an Iraqi living in the United States,
described the horrors of everyday life for his relatives in
Basra. Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a retired Iraqi engineer, said that
100,000 Iraqis have passed through U.S. detention centers like
Abu Ghraib and that "everything now is worse than under Saddam
In person and on videotape, the tribunal heard from
resisters in the U.S. military, past and present. Dustin
Langley of Support Network for an Armed Forces Union said the
movement must "shock and awe the war criminals in Washing ton,"
and explained why young men and women have an obligation to
resist committing war crimes.
Fernando Suarez, whose son Jesus was one of the first GIs to
die in Iraq, said: "I'm here because Bush broke the law in
Iraq. My son died of an American cluster bomb. Bush doesn't own
this country. You have the power to stop this."
In a filmed interview, Pvt. Brandon Hughey explained he was
seeking asylum in Canada because "I can't go kill people in a
war my government cannot justify."
Gerry Condon, who spent time in Canada as a Vietnam War
resister, said the Canadian Labor Council--equivalent of the
AFL-CIO here--has taken a stand supporting U.S. resisters
Maria Rosa Peñarroya and Javier Barandiaran, from the
Spanish state, gave precise testimony representing dozens of
interviews conducted in Baghdad hospitals with Iraqi civilian
victims during the bombing attacks of March-April 2003.
Jo Wilding, who drove an ambulance in Falluja for five days
during a U.S. siege of the city, told how U.S. forces shut down
the main hospital, cut off water and electricity, and fired on
her ambulance, hitting a woman in premature labor.
The deliberate destruction of Iraq's infra structure was
described by Denis Halli day, who resigned as head of the
United Nations "Oil for Food" program. In a video interview, he
called the sanctions against Iraq "genocide."
Dennis Brutus, who fought South African apartheid, said: "We
have the right to resist the occupation charade of transfer of
authority to a puppet government created by the U.S. This is
not true sovereignty." Brutus called Washington "the principal
agent of terrorism all over the world."
"So long as imperialism exists, the possibility of war is
there," said Manik Muk herjee of the All-India Anti-Imper
ialist Front, which has organized mass demonstrations against
the Iraq war. He called for international coordination in the
struggle against imperialism.
Practically no country is untouched by U.S. aggression. This
has laid the basis for an international movement.
Yoomi Jeong of the Korea Truth Com mis sion explained how
"what's happening in Iraq today happened in Korea 50 years
Ben Dupuy of Haiti's National Popular Party talked of his
country's two-centuries- long resistance to French and U.S.
Teresa Gutierrez of the New York Committee to Free the Cuban
Five told how the Venezuelan people now chant, "Hold on Iraq,
the world is rising."
Lamis Deek of Al Awda described the resistance of
Palestinian prisoners now on hunger strike against U.S.-backed
John Parker, West Coast IAC organizer, questioned the
imperialists' motives in Sudan. In 1998, he visited the
pharmaceutical plant there that was destroyed by U.S.
In a fiery speech, AFSCME District Council President Brenda
Stokely invited the anti-war movement to be part of the massive
workers' mobilization to take place on Oct. 17 in Washington.
Known as the Million Worker March, it will "offer a space for
the voice of the people to identify the real enemy."
All this took place as New York was under siege by tens of
thousands of police preparing for protests at the Republican
National Convention. The hundreds attend ing the tribunal had
to wait in long lines to pass police-imposed security checks.
Larry Holmes of the ANSWER steer ing committee announced that
the next day there would be an emergency news conference at
City Hall to demand free access to the streets and parks of the
Ramsey Clark, founder of the IAC, then put the question to
the audience: "The U.S. government spends more on the military
than all others on earth--all in the service of corporate
wealth. It is a clear and present danger to the planet. This
assault on Iraq is beyond question a war of aggression, which
the Nuremberg trials said was the supreme crime. How do you
The answer was loud and clear.
Reprinted from the Sept. 9, 2004, issue of
Workers World newspaper
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