The coining of the term “unlawful-combatant” is designed by the US and her allies to try to evade the provisions of the Hague Convention, which clearly specifies that a population has the right to armed resistance against an aggressor’s military forces.
THE DETERIORATION OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION
by Christopher Black., James Henry Fetzer, Alex Mezyaev, Christof Lehmann
The Geneva Convention xxxiv comprises four treaties and additional three protocols that establish standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of victims and participants of war. It was updated to its current version in 1949, following two wars of global reach and unspeakable violence and it is thus, like the Treaty of Westphalia, a reaction to unspeakable acts of violence and human suffering, that has affected large populations.
The Geneva Convention defines the wartime rights of both civilian and military prisoners, affords protection of the wounded, and establishes protections for civilians in war zones. It also specifies the rights and protections that are afforded to non-combatants. Since the onset of the US-led “war on terror” in 2001 the Geneva convention has been systematically undermined by the USA as well as other NATO countries.
These systematic erosions of the Geneva convention include:
• The illegitimate use of the term “unlawful combatants”xxxv and the indefinite imprisonment of prisoners of war in places like Guantanamo and outside the required norms of the Geneva Conventions.
• The used of the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” xxxvi is an attempt to legitimize unspeakable acts of torture, including water-boarding, sensory deprivation, forced positions, religious chicane, hours of forced positions during sensory deprivation together with making the prisoners subject to white noise, blindfolding, extreme temperatures as well as sheer physical brutality and even death.
• The use of the term “Extraordinary Rendition” xxxvii that is the kidnapping and disappearance of both combatants and non-combatants. As in Operation Condor conducted by the USA and its vassals in South America against leftists and progressives in the 70s and 80s when people simply disappeared.
Extraordinary rendition is a term used to cover over the fact that people are delivered to third countries who apply torture or “enhanced interrogation techniques” or to people who are simply murdered. Extraordinary Rendition is also covered by the provisions of the Nuremberg Principles.
• Summary executions of prisoners of war on the battlefield and the the delivery of combatants and non-combatants alike to allied but irregular forces, knowing that the prisoners of war will be massacred as it happened in several instances in Afghanistan.
• The delivery of prisoners of war to criminal courts, that is US military tribunals, for prosecution for “terrorism”.
And it does not stop there. The list of outrages against the Geneva Conventions would fill volumes. The results of this systematic violation of international law are outrages like those at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
The renown social psychologist Phillip G. Zimbardo Ph.D, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, xxxviii who was working as expert for the defense of some of the soldiers who committed the outrages in Abu Ghraib, stated that the appalling acts of torture at Abu Ghraib were not the result of “a few rotten apples among the troops”, as claimed by former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, but that they were the products of a carefully manufactured situation, where high level military and political cadre had to know that the outcome invariably would be torture and abuse. xxxix
The obvious danger of these systematic violations of international law is that it creates precedence and escalates the spiral of violence and abuse rather than defusing a conflict.
The irony is that this systematic violation of international law is being implemented by those nations who are claiming to wage wars as the vanguard of law, human rights, freedom, democracy and justice.
THE HAGUE CONVENTIONS
The Hague Conventions xl consist of two treaties and regulate among other things, legality of war, declarations of war and surrender, use of legal and illegitimate weapons, military conduct, command structures and command responsibility for prevention and punishment of crimes by subordinates..
Article one of the first chapter of the Hague Convention of 1909 states, that the laws, rights and duties of war not only apply to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps and require those forces fulfill the following conditions:
To be commanded by a person who is responsible for his subordinates, to have a fixed distinctive emblem visible at a distance, to carry arms openly, and to conduct their operations in accordance to the customs of war. In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or part of it, they are included under the denomination “army”.
They also include inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied, who spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without having had time to organize themselves in accordance with article one if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
The coining of the term “unlawful-combatant” is designed to try to evade the provisions of the Hague Convention, which clearly specifies that a population has the right to armed resistance against an aggressor’s military forces.
The use of mercenary forces, like the use of 20,000 mercenaries of the Al-Qaeda associated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the attempted subversion of Syria xli erodes the concept of command responsibility. It provides the USA/NATO with a loophole that lets them commit the most serious acts of terrorism, massacres and military barbarism, while NATO´s military leadership as well as members of Ministries of Defense and NATO members governments enjoy “plausible deniability” for their command decisions. Or so they think, because it is clear in international law that the fact that US officers have real command responsibility, that is effective command and control, over these mercenaries would mean their conviction for war crimes if they could ever be brought before an international tribunal.
Let alone the fact that the USA reserves for itself the right not to make it´s citizens, including military personnel subject to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, while demanding the prosecution of citizens of nations which are in opposition to US/NATO hegemony, this illegal use of mercenary forces is a systematic circumvention of the Hague Conventions as mercenaries are forbidden by the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries from 4 December 1989. xlii
The use of mercenaries has been widely implemented since the war on Yugoslavia and in both the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and the trend is going towards an increase in their use under the euphemism “private contractors” as if they are construction workers, to fulfill military tasks.
These mercenaries do not obey the rules or customs of war.
On the other hand, members of the militia who legally resist US/NATO occupation are often being turned over to police authorities of a government that has been installed with the help of the US/NATO, and can be sentenced to long prison terms or execution because the affordance of the protection under the Hague Conventions is being circumvented.
THE USE OF CIA PERSONNEL FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS
The USA is increasingly making use of unmanned aerial vehicles for both observation as well as for kinetic military actions. None of the CIA´s Gameboy Killers in Langley, Virginia is operating within a legal military command structure. Regardless if a drone attack is targeting resistance fighters, so-called terrorists, or if the Gameboy Killers at Langley blow the bride and groom of a wedding party in Pakistan or Somalia to kingdom come, any an all of these drone attacks are a circumvention of the Hague Conventions.
Chapter two of the Hague Conventions states that prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile government and not in the hands of the individuals or corps that capture them.
Both the use of private military contractors and the use of allied or state sponsored mercenary forces, including Al Qaeda brigades are a breach of the Hague Conventions.
In Syria we are, at the time of this writing, witnessing the wide spread torture and summary executions of captured Syrian military personnel. Western intelligence personnel have been captured after firing into peaceful demonstrations with sniper rifles to enrage the demonstrators against the Syrian police and government. Non of them was operating under the Hague Conventions and violations against a cohort of international laws and conventions have been committed by the assassins of peaceful demonstrators.
EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS AND ASSASSINATIONS
The corruption of the US domestic and military legal systems and the violations of the US Constitution has resulted in the extraordinary situation that the American president not only has abolished the ancient right of habeas corpus but now claims the right of a tyrant, the claimed right to effect the extrajudicial assassination, that is the murder of both US citizens and citizens of any other nation, anywhere in the world who he claims to be a “threat”..
In fact, President Barak Obama takes pride in personally making life and death decisions by determining whether the one or the other individual shall be targeted for assassination. Death has become his plaything, like an American Caligula.
Notwithstanding the audacity and arrogance of signing this practice into “law”, no executive order, and no approval by the corrupted congress of the USA can establish any basis in international law for this practice. Each and every assassination is in fact nothing but premeditated murder.
These extrajudicial executions and assassinations are a stark warning of what of” human rights”, “civil liberties” “freedom”, “democracy” and “justice” now mean in the United States of America and NATO in practice as opposed to what they preach.
PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY FOR ACTS OF BARBARISM
• It would be possible to write volumes about the problems that arise. The shortest way of describing what the US is practicing by systematically circumventing international law is to sum it up as follows:
• The systematic circumvention of international law.
• The systematic circumvention of legal responsibility for illegal acts of war.
• The systematic circumvention of human rights, civil liberties and the systematic implementation of torture, institutionalization of terrorism and massacres on civilian, military, combatants and non-combatants.
• A return to barbarism in war and to wars of aggression, that is crimes against peace, unrestrained in their ferocity and cruelty.
All that, and more, under the pretext of freedom, democracy, the responsibility to protect, human rights or war on terrorism. No act of terrorism is in fact shied away from, such as the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, the murder of Muammar Ghadafi President Milosevic, President Saddam Hussein, President Habyrimana and countless others.
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