Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bush on trial

There's an international commission inquiry being held in New York later this month regarding Bush's alleged war crimes. The counts read as follows.

Wars of Aggression

The Commission will inquire into the following charges:

Count 1: The Bush administration authorized a war of aggression against Iraq.

Count 2: The Bush administrations authorized conduct of the war that involved the commission of “war crimes.”

Count 3: The Bush administration authorized the occupation of Iraq involving, and continuing to involve, the commission of “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity” and other illegal acts.

full indictment

Torture and Indefinite Detention

The Commission will inquire into the following charges:


Count 1: The Bush administration authorized the use of torture and abuse in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and domestic constitutional and statutory law.


Count 2: The Bush administration authorized the transfer (“rendition”) of persons held in U.S. custody to foreign countries where torture is known to be practiced.

Illegal Detention:

Count 3: The Bush administration authorized the indefinite detention of persons seized in foreign combat zones and in other countries far from any combat zone and denied them the protections of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and the protections of the U.S. Constitution.

Count 4: The Bush administration authorized the round-up and detention in the United States of tens of thousands of immigrants on pretextual grounds and held them without charge or trial in violation of international human rights law and domestic constitutional and civil rights law.

Count 5: The Bush administration used military forces to seize and detain indefinitely without charges U.S. citizens, denying them the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.


Count 6: The Bush administration committed murder by authorizing the CIA to kill those that the president designates, either US citizens or non-citizens, anywhere in the world.

full indictment

Destruction of the Global Environment

The Commission will inquire into the following charges:

Count 1: Denial and Distortion of Scientific Consensus and Findings--
The Bush administration has consistently denied the scientific consensus around global warming and its causes. Administration officials have misrepresented, distorted, and suppressed scientific information on the subject, especially as it would impact public opinion.

Count 2: Obstructionism on International Efforts--
The Bush administration has refused to take any measures to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases, guided by narrow corporate interests. It has withdrawn from any international efforts that would impose binding restrictions, however minimal. It has done this with full knowledge of the catastrophic effects of global warming and the disproportionate U.S. share of world greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of global warming.

full indictment

Attacks on Global Public Health

The Commission will inquire into the following charges:

Count 1: Imposition of Abstinence-Only HIV Prevention Programs--
The Bush administration is using its political influence, aid, and funding in the sphere of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to advance policies and programs that worsen the AIDS pandemic. Guided by a Christian fundamentalist ideological agenda, the administration is promoting and forcing deadly abstinence-only HIV prevention and sex education programs instead of proven comprehensive programs that comprise consistent and correct use of condoms.

Count 2: Imposition of “Gag-Rule”--
The Bush administration has re-instated the “gag-rule” policy which restricts foreign organizations that receive US funds from using their own, non-U.S., funds to provide legal abortion services or even provide accurate medical counseling or referrals regarding abortion. This policy has led to the closing of reproductive health clinics dependent on international funding in very poor parts of the world. In many areas, these clinics have also been the only source of HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs, including the supply of much-needed and life-saving condoms.

Count 3: Distortion of Science--
The Bush administration and its political operatives have distorted sound science and attempted to suppress medical research studies in HIV prevention when it conflicts with the ideology of the Christian Right.

Count 4: Restriction of Generics--
The Bush administration has used its political and economic power to coerce other countries into agreements that severely restrict the manufacture and supply of generic drugs, the only affordable option for most HIV positive people in the Third World.

full indictment

Hurricane Katrina

Count 1: Knowing failure of the Bush administration to adequately maintain and upgrade the levees directly contributed to the foreseeable loss of life and suffering of many people when Hurricane Katrina struck.

Count 2: Despite foreknowledge of Hurricane Katrina striking land as a greater than category 3 storm and the devastation that this would cause, the Bush administration failed to implement an emergency evacuation plan for people who were in the path of the storm and unable to evacuate the area on their own.

Count 3: The Bush administration neither launched an immediate rescue operation nor provided the emergency shelter, food and water needed to save peoples’ lives and prevent needless suffering.

Count 4: Federal authorities blocked the provision of emergency services, including rescue and provision of food and water on the part other levels of government and private sources despite the obvious need for this kind of relief.

Count 5: Federal authorities enforced repressive conditions and eventually carried out an evacuation that separated families, including separating small children from their parents, and left many people not knowing where their loved ones were located and even if they had survived the storms.

Now, I don't believe that the commission would have any legal standing in enforcement, or as official charges and/or convictions that would go on the books. I do however think that this is important in a few different ways.

First, it is if nothing else symbolic, and these indictments, even if symbolic, will serve to empower the Bush's victims and opponents.

Second, it will provide a tightly knit collection of evidence on which future cases against Bush could be made in different venues.

Third, the involvement of highly reputable academics and legal scholars will add to the credibility of the commission.