Obama Stands Nuremberg on Its Head by Mike Farrell at Truthdig.com.
Mr. Farrell quotes Justice Robert Jackson, a US Supreme Court Justice who served as the lead US prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.
As Jackson said, “Crimes always are committed only by persons. … The Charter [of the tribunal] recognizes that one who has committed criminal acts may not take refuge in superior orders nor in the doctrine that his crimes were acts of states.” “International Law,” he went on, “is more than a scholarly collection of abstract and immutable principles. It is an outgrowth of treaties and agreements between nations and of accepted customs. The law, so far as International Law can be decreed, had been clearly pronounced when these acts took place.”
That was then, this is the US today
Obama goes to the CIA to assure them that no one would be prosecuted for crimes like torture.
- Barrack Obama speaking at CIA HQ according to the Telegraph.
"Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks. Don't be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we have made some mistakes - that's how we learn," Mr Obama said in a speech at the agency's headquarters.
"So I want to make a point that...I understand that it's hard when you are asked to protect the American people against people who have no scruples and would willingly and gladly kill innocents."
"One must bear in mind that in the countries affected, human life has absolutely no value...[t]he troops are, therefore, authorized and ordered to take any measures without restriction, even against women and children."
-- That last bit is German Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, while issuing orders that called for the murder of 50 Russian civilians for any German death caused by partisans ... or 'terrorists' as the Nazis referred to them. That's him in the picture, shaking hands with Hitler. Keitel's defense at Nuremberg was that he was following orders.
The whole point of Nuremberg was to put into place a democratic defense against the horrors the world in 1945 had just witnessed. Thus, they denied the 'following orders' defense. No person has a right to inflict pain and suffering on another simply because they were ordered to do so. And importantly, it becomes each person's responsibility to make sure they don't act illegally. This is the key reform of Nuremberg because now each of us has an obligation to keep our own rears out of prison by always making sure we act morally and legally. Justice Jackson deliberately tried to take the power to commit awful war-crimes out of the hands of leaders.
Barrack Obama just overturned all of this. Barrack Obama is on the side of the war-criminals. He is on the side of the leaders who wish to order others to commit awful acts. Obama is on the side of the Lt Calley's of the world (of Mai Lai massecre infamy), who used this defense to avoid justice for the hundreds of deaths. By this reasoning, Barrack Obama would have deemed it unwise to convict the Nazi's at Nuremberg who claimed that they only 'followed orders'.
And with this, Obama said that at best his own prohibitions against torture are only temporary. With another election, torture can begin again. And those who wield the thumbscrews and the electrodes can rest assured that they won't be held to account for their crimes.
I continue to say you know someone by their actions. Obama's actions on this issue were reprehensible. In cases of the torturer versus their victims, Obama is foursquare on the side of the evil torturer. Who's side are you on?