Posted: March 18th, 2023
CRIMINAL JUSTICE & COUNTER-TERRORISM
The objective of this work is to review the Iraq War in relation to Criminal Justice and Counter-Terrorism.
The war on terrorism or counter-terrorism has placed many questions in the mind of those who are focused on criminal justice and this in light of the war crimes that the United States is presently under accusation of having committed. This work will review the practices of the United States with a focus on the Iraq War and accompanying counter-terrorism initiatives.
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE & COUNTER-TERRORISM INITIATIVES
In the year 2003 the Department of Justice counter-terrorism projects lists the following in their “integrated prevention strategy to fight the war on terrorism” which are those of: (1) Gathering and cultivating detailed intelligence on terrorism in the U.S.; (2) Hundreds of suspected terrorists have been identified and tracked throughout the United States; (3) Our human sources of intelligence have doubled; (4) Our counter-terrorism investigations have doubled in one year; and (5) Over 18,000 subpoenas and search warrants have been issued; Over 1,000 applications in 2002 were made to the FISA court targeting terrorists, spies and foreign powers that threaten our security, including 170 emergency FISAs. This is more than 3 times the total number of emergency FISAs obtained in the 23 years prior to September 11th.” (John Ashcroft’s April 1, Testimony, 2003)
Also stated is that: “The Justice Department’s terrorism prevention efforts have included planning for the possibility of intensified conflict with Iraq. Last spring, the FBI began developing an action plan to address any related threats that might face us in this conflict. An Iraqi Task Force plan was developed in addition to the integrated prevention security framework put in place after the September 11th attacks.” (John Ashcroft’s April 1, Testimony, 2003) The Iraqi Task Force plan is stated to include the following: (1) Around the clock operations at FBI Headquarters and Field Offices since the escalation of hostilities with Iraq; (2) Outreach to Middle Eastern and Islamic communities in the United States; (3) Analysis of prior cases involving Iraq and/or supporters of Iraq to identify potential intelligence targets or persons of interest; (4) Stepped up monitoring of individuals suspected of links to Iraqi hostile forces or other terrorist organizations; and (5) Voluntary interviews of 11,000 U.S.-based Iraqis to obtain counter-terrorism information and intelligence information, as well as to identify any backlash threats to Iraqis in the United States. (John Ashcroft’s April 1, Testimony, 2003)
II. BLURRING OF INTELLIGENCE AND POLICY
According to the work of Pillar entitled: “Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq” the most serious problem with United States intelligence is that: “its relationship with the policymaking process is broken and badly needs repair. In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community’s own work was politicized. As the national intelligence officer responsible for the Middle East from 2000 to 2005, I witnessed all of these disturbing developments.” (2006)
Pillar states that: “The proper relationship between intelligence gathering and policymaking sharply separates the two functions. The intelligence community collects information, evaluates its credibility, and combines it with other information to help make sense of situations abroad that could affect U.S. interests. Intelligence officers decide which topics should get their limited collection and analytic resources according to both their own judgments and the concerns of policymakers. Policymakers thus influence which topics intelligence agencies address but not the conclusions that they reach. The intelligence community, meanwhile, limits its judgments to what is happening or what might happen overseas, avoiding policy judgments about what the United States should do in response.” (2006) However, according to the work of Pillar: “This distinction is often blurred…” (2006) The reason is that “analytic projections may have policy implications even if they are not explicitly stated.” (2006)
In the opinion of Pillar the present administrations use of intelligence on Iraq “did not just blur this distinction; it turned the entire model upside down. The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made. It went to war without requesting — and evidently without being influenced by — any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq. (The military made extensive use of intelligence in its war planning, although much of it was of a more tactical nature.)” (2006)
The present administration did not only deviate from what is considered to be the professional standard by its use of “policy to drive intelligence, but also in aggressively using intelligence to win public support for its decision to go to war.” (Pillar, 2006) Pillar states as another problem in relation to Iraq that: “the intelligence community was pulled over the line into policy advocacy — not so much by what is said as by its conspicuous role in the administrations’ public case for war.” (2006)
III. U.S. POLICY AND WAR CRIMES IN IRAQ
In the work of Tremblay the author of the book entitled “The New American Empire” the question is asked: “Can a democracy turn fascist and militaristic?” (2006) The answer according to Tremblay is: “It sure, can… The 20th Century example was in Germany in the 1930’s. The Nazi Party was elected in November 1932, with only 33.1% of the votes, but when its leader Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933, it immediately began subverting the German Weimar Constitution by concentrating political power in its own hands, while increasing military expenditures. The Nazi government then suspended a number of constitutional protections of civil liberties under the pretext of external and internal threats to its security. The following steps taken by Nazi Germany were to initiate a series of illegal wars of aggression against other countries. This culminated with World War II in which more than 50 million people died. After the war, principles of international law were established in order to prevent future mischievous politicians from embarking upon wars of aggression.” (2006) ‘Furthermore states Tremblay: “…the United Nations Charter of 1945 solemnly outlawed wars of aggression. Indeed, the U.N. Charter admits only two circumstances in which one country is allowed to use military force against another: (1) â€¢ when a country must defend itself against an attack from another country; and (2) when the Security Council authorizes the use of military force against a country that is in violation of the principles of the U.N. Charter.” (2006) According to Tremblay, neither one of these two were the case when President Bush made his decision to attack Iraq “Therefore the Iraq War represents an illegal war of aggression and those who took that course of action risk being held accountable one day for any crime committed in this illegal endeavor.” (2006)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-3 decision on January 29, 2006 that “President Bush’s effort to railroad Guantanamo Bay detainees in a kangaroo court “violates both U.S. law and Geneva Conventions” reports Tremblay (2006). Tremblay relates that David Remes of The Legal Times and a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling stated that: “At the broadest level, the Court has rejected the basic legal theory of the Bush administration since 9/11 that the president has the inherent power to do whatever he wants in the name of fighting terrorism without accountability to Congress or the courts.” (2006)
IV. CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE IRAQ WAR – WHO WILL BE BLAMED?
In the work of James Skelly entitled: “American Soldiers and War Crimes In Iraq” addressed are the war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers as he states:.”..a 2003 Human Rights Watch report said that civilian deaths in Iraq “reveal a pattern by U.S. forces of over-aggressive tactics, indiscriminate shooting in residential areas and a quick reliance on lethal forces.” Such assessments are echoed in the comment of the new Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki after the exposure of Haditha that violence against civilians had become a “daily phenomenon” by many troops in the American-led coalition who “do not respect the Iraqi people” and “crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion.” (2006) Skelly reiterates what is already stated by Tremblay as he states that: “According to the legal principles deriving from the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal following the second world war, those who are complicit in war crimes – including those who have placed the soldiers involved in the “atrocity-producing situations” in Haditha and elsewhere – share the guilt of those who pull the trigger.” (2006)
In the document entitled: “Initial Complaint” of the International War Crimes Tribunal- United States War Crimes Against Iraq which is a document that charges the Bush administration with “Crimes against Peace, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Other Criminal Acts and High Crimes in Violation of the Charter of the Untied Nations, International Law, the Constitution of the United States and Laws made in Pursuance Thereof” stated are the specific charges of:
1.”The United States engaged in a pattern of conduct beginning in or before 1989 intended to lead Iraq into provocations justifying U.S. military action against Iraq and permanent U.S. military domination of the Gulf.
2. President Bush from August 2, 1990, intended and acted to prevent any interference with his plan to destroy Iraq economically and militarily.
3. President Bush ordered the destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity throughout Iraq.
4. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices.
5. The United States intentionally bombed indiscriminately throughout Iraq.
6. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed Iraqi military personnel, used excessive force, killed soldiers seeking to surrender and in disorganized individual flight, often unarmed and far from any combat zones and randomly and wantonly killed Iraqi soldiers and destroyed materiel after the cease fire.
7. The United States used prohibited weapons capable of mass destruction and inflicting indiscriminate death and unnecessary suffering against both military and civilian targets
8. The United States intentionally attacked installations in Iraq containing dangerous substances and forces.
9. President Bush ordered U.S. forces to invade Panama, resulting in the deaths of 1,000 to 4,000 Panamanians and the destruction of thousands of private dwellings, public buildings, and commercial structures.
10. President Bush obstructed justice and corrupted United Nations functions as a means of securing power to commit crimes against peace and war crimes.
11. President Bush usurped the Constitutional power of Congress as a means of securing power to commit crimes against peace, war crimes, and other high crimes.
12. The United States waged war on the environment
13. President Bush encouraged and aided Shiite Muslims and Kurds to rebel against the government of Iraq causing fratricidal violence, emigration, exposure, hunger and sickness and thousands of deaths. After the rebellion failed, the U.S. invaded and occupied parts of Iraq without authority in order to increase division and hostility within Iraq.
14. President Bush intentionally deprived the Iraqi people of essential medicines, potable water, food, and other necessities.
15. The United States continued its assault on Iraq after the cease fire, invading and occupying areas at will.
16. The United States has violated and condoned violations of human rights, civil liberties and the U.S. Bill of Rights in the United States, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to achieve its purpose of military domination
17. The United States, having destroyed Iraq’s economic base, demands reparations which will permanently impoverish Iraq and threaten its people with famine and epidemic
18. President Bush systematically manipulated, controlled, directed, misinformed and restricted press and media coverage to obtain constant support in the media for his military and political goals.
19. The United States has by force secured a permanent military presence in the Gulf, the control of its oil resources and geopolitical domination of the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region.”
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Quite clearly the Bush Administration has much to provide answer to in relation to its policy, procedures and activities surrounding the Iraq War in what has been purported by the administration to be initiatives of counter-terrorism in what was in actuality a pre-emptive and violently aggressive declaration of war on the country of Iraq. The future aspect of Criminal Justice as related to the activities of the Iraq War will prove to be interesting in what is decided by the United Nations as to the violations of the United States government in the war against Iraq.
John Ashcroft’s April 1, Testimony (2003) TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime 2003 April 5. Online available at http://talkleft.com/new_archives/002337.html.
Pillar, Paul R. (2006) Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq. Foreign Affairs. March/April 2006. Council on Foreign Relations. Online available at http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060301faessay85202/paul-r-pillar/intelligence-policy-and-the-war-in-iraq.html.
Tremblay, Rodrigue (2006) War Crimes and Responsibility of the Bush Administration. After Downing Street. Online available at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/13670.
Skelly, James M. (2006) American Soldiers and War Crimes in Iraq. Open Democracy. June 9, 2006. Online available at http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/iraq_warcrimes_3627.jsp.
Ratner, Michael (1992) International Law and War Crimes. Online available at http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-ilaw.htm.
Kim, John H. Esq. (2005) Criminal Prosecution of an Incumbent President. Online available at http://www.codepinkalert.org/downloads/CriminalProsecutionofPresident.pdf.
Kim, John H. Esq. (2005) The Crime of Aggression Against Iraq. Online available at http://www.codepinkalert.org/downloads/CrimeofAggression-Iraq2.pdf.
The Iraq War
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