Saturday, July 29, 2006

Circumventing Article 3 and Other Atrocities by the Bush Administration

Before I begin, I want to say thank you to everyone for inviting me to participate in Blogathon 2006. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Robbie and I’m a writer and aspiring novelist. I currently have three blogs: Greetings From America’s Finest City (personal), Independent Opinions (politics), and The Round Table (Los Angeles Kings hockey weblog).

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get this party started...

Right now, you should be outraged at the Bush administration for attempting to circumvent the War Crimes Act of 1996. When the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 on June 29, 2006 that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees, they also in effect ruled that the Bush administration did not have the authority to torture them.

In response to that, the Bush administration has drafted legislation that would grant protections to U.S. personnel for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996, which defines a war crime as a violation or grave breach of any of the Geneva Conventions or the Hague Conventions of 1907. What really concerns them is Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which states the following:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

The penalty for violating Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, as stated by the War Crimes Act of 1996, is life imprisonment or death. The death penalty is enacted if the misconduct resulted in the death of one or more victims, which has happened in the Guantanamo Bay prison and in Abu Gharib.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has consulted with Republican members of Congress for their help in covering the Bush administration’s backside. They, along with U.S. personnel that carried out these atrocities should be very afraid of what they’ve done in the name of protecting our freedom. A 55-page report by Human Rights Watch called No Blood, No Foul (you can download a PDF of the report by clicking here) details soldiers’ accounts of detainee abuse in Iraq, including reports of the use of abusive --I mean "creative" interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, environmental controls, hot and cold water. (Due to time constraints I cannot list them all, so please click here to download the PDF file or click here to reference the publication online.)

If the Bush administration succeeds in weakening the War Crimes Act of 1996, not only will they get away with the atrocities against detainees in our prisons but an unintentional consequence will be the possible future mistreatment of captured U.S. military personnel. We don’t need a repeat of what’s going on between Hezbollah and Israel to remind us of those consequences.

You as a concerned American citizen, especially those of you who say we are governed by "the rule of law", must do what is morally right. Contact your elected officials and let them know what you think about the Bush administration’s attempt to skirt its responsibility to the War Crimes Act of 1996 and Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. We ratified those agreements and it is our duty to bring those who violated those laws to justice.

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Blogger The Heathlander said...

Exactly right. Well done robbie, excellent post.

For too long has the Bush administration treated law as an inconvenenience, as opposed to fundamnetally underpins the free and democratic nature of American society.

From what I've read, the War Crimes Act is quite direct and clear in what it says, and there's not too much fuzzyness going on. It's time to treat the Bush Junta as we would any other bunch of criminals, and try them in court. After all, they are serving the population, not the other way around.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Per said...

I will need more then 90 minutes :D Still struggling...

7:38 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

That's fine, I'm sure it will be well worth the wait. Did I give you a time yet (if I did, then I'll have to move you to later on)?

7:39 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

You folks are doing a wonderful thing here. I commend you.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

Robbie, I think you have spurious Technorati tags in the middle of the post.

Other than that, great post. I guess the Bush Admin does not do war crimes like it doesn't do torture.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Per said...

No, well didn't see one: but as I am living in Berlin (GMT +1) you also might want to save them for later on...(I find it difficult to follow this comment dialogue...)

7:46 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Mash. It was the Post2Blog program I'm trying out. I edited the post so the tags are where they should be.

7:47 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Per - yes it can be difficult to follow. I've set up a post on my blog charting existing posts and the upcoming schedule here: .

In case you didn't read the comments on a previous post, can someone please let me know who is posting next, ad who is posting after that? Basically, anyone who has got a posting time, let me know here please. Thanks!

7:57 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Am I correct that the person we're waiting on right now is cyberotter? Sorry, it's just I'm trying to make sure the Schedule post ( is all correct.

8:10 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

Heathlander, can you pencil me in for 9:30?

8:17 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

9:30? Hmm, the time zones are confusing me. Would that be after Ingrid's posts at, then, 8.30 and 9?
I've been calling that 12:30, and if you mean that, then sure! :)

8:23 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Ach, sorry - yes I know what you mean. You're pencilled in (the schedule:

8:27 AM  
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^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:36 AM  

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