The Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration released its final verdict on Wednesday, September 13, 2006. Guilty.
11:00 AM, Press Conference, Camp Democracy (Constitution & 14)
12:00 Noon, Delivery of Verdict to the White House
An unprecedented Commission of Inquiry has found the President of the United States and his administration guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The five-member panel of jurists unanimously found the administration’s actions “shock the conscience of humanity” in five areas – wars of aggression, illegal detention and torture, suppression of science and catastrophic policies on global warming, potentially genocidal abstinence-only policies imposed on HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the Third World, and the abandonment of New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.
In their summary, the Commission jurists found that: “Each of these constitutes a shocking crime in itself, and taken together the full horrors are all the more unconscionable. It is also clear that this is an administration that demonstrates an utter disregard for truth and flagrantly lies about the reasons for its actions.
“In arriving at this decision the jurists were particularly alarmed by the degree to which the Bush Administration’s actions in all five indictments were informed by the extreme right. …. although the specific conduct differs among the indictments, the result is the same: human life was debased and devalued by gratuitous acts of violence, torture, narrow self interest, indifference, and disregard.”
In arriving at their verdict, the Commission’s panel of jurists examined a wealth of evidence with care and rigor. Consistent standards were employed, with well-established international law referenced where applicable.
The panel of jurists consisted of Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock; former executive director, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL). Dennis Brutus, former prisoner, Robben Island (South Africa), poet, professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. Abdeen Jabara, former president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Ajamu Sankofa, former executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY. Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel.
The Commission’s year-long investigation included five days of public hearings in October 2005 and January 2006 in New York City. The 45 expert and first-hand witnesses included former commander of Abu Ghraib prison Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, former UN official Denis Halliday, former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, Guantanamo prisoners’ lawyer Barbara Olshansky, and Katrina survivors.
The verdict’s release comes with war crimes again on front pages following President Bush’s defense of secret prisons, rendition, and practices constituting torture under existing law, his demand that the War Crimes Act be fundamentally weakened, and his threats against Iran.
In a preface to the printed verdict, historian Howard Zinn writes: “The Bush Administration has been following a course, which can only now be described as a series of crimes against humanity. . . . What could be a higher crime than sending the young people of the country into a war against a small country on the other side of the world, which is no danger to the United States, and in fact a war which is condemned by people all over the world and a war which results in, not only the loss of American lives and the crippling of young Americans, but results in the loss of huge numbers of people in Iraq? These are high crimes.”