The United States of Extra-Judicial Murder and Imprisonment
Not since Nazi Germany marched its jackboots into the Sudetanland has there been such an abject disregard for the rule of international and national law. The Nazi’s advance resulted in the illegal imprisonment and mass murder of, firstly, many political dissidents, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and later and on a much larger scale, Jews and the Roma (gypsies) in Europe. The major international law breakers immediately prior to, and at that time, were Germany, Italy with its adventures into Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Japan with its false-flag Muckden Incident and subsequent invasion of Manchuria. Despite a pretense by the West and Israel to uphold human rights, they are today’s worst offenders against state sovereignty and the Geneva Convention. Israel, for example, is continuing to expand its illegal settlements into the West Bank, carrying out frequent incursions into Gaza, and threatening to add to its two recent bombings in Syria. What Hitler did was wrong. What the US and Israel are doing is wrong. People who criticized Hitler were disposed of, and people who criticize Israel and the US are disposed of by, what can accurately be termed, extra-judicial killings.
During the illegal invasion and incursion into Iraq in 2003, the only journalists who were relatively safe were the “embedded journalists” whose investigative powers had been removed and wrote what the military told them to write. The braver journalists who wanted to report the truth were an embarrassment to the cowardly military who may even have killed some of them to prevent the truth from emerging. Between 2003-4 there were 58 journalists (and media workers) killed in Iraq: only 18 fewer than the number of UK soldiers killed in the same period. All deaths from war are needless. Wars being waged today, as those of the past, are about stealing land, labor and resources, for which young men must needlessly die. Few people are speaking out against this abominable situation, just as few Germans spoke out about Hitler’s illegal invasions and persecutions.
In the US, the rule of law is being trampled under the jackboots of Congress and no longer has any substance. As with Nazi Germany, concentration camps are set up in foreign lands, together with maximum security prisons on home turf, and torture is rife in both. Drone warfare allows extra-judicial murder and imprisonment in predominantly Islamic countries, with all the targets being Muslim. Take the case of Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a journalist working in Yemen. In a recent News Junkie Post article, I noted that the US had finally admitted to killing its own citizens with drone strikes. Shaye had managed several times to interview Anwar al Awlaki, a US citizen who was later assassinated as the extra-judicial target of a drone strike. In some hard-hitting questions from a journalist not cowed into sheltering under the umbrella of military protection, Shaye strongly questioned al Awlaki’s ties to terrorism . When asked by Shaye about the suspected passenger-plane plot by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab on Christmas Day 2009, Anwar al Awlaki associated himself with Abdulmuttalab as being his student and, although he did not sanction the plot itself, said he approved of it in the same way “America supports Israel’s killing of Palestinians, and its killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
In January 2011 Shaye was imprisoned in Yemen on anti-terrorism charges. The Yemeni government, presumably in an attempt to curry favor from the US, or possibly because of promises of aid, told the world media that it had killed Anwar al Awlaki and three other US citizens not under suspicion of terrorism, one being a sixteen-year-old boy. However, Shaye discovered at the site of the drone killing materials that were not in the Yemeni arsenal, including fragments from a US tomahawk missile and cluster bombs, which he photographed and distributed to the press; he also reported that the victims of the drone attack had included 14 women and 21 children.
A personal telephone call from President Obama kept Shaye imprisoned when he was due to be released in February 2011. Back then, the US was not admitting that it had carried out drone attacks that killed four of its nationals. Shaye’s knowledge that the US had killed al Awlaki did not fit in with the US government line, so another innocent man, and journalist, was locked up. Now that this information is out in the open, there is no longer any reason to keep Abdulelah Haider Shaye in prison. As with the Jews in German concentration camps, and those cleared for release from Guantanamo, Shaye should not have been imprisoned from the start. There is a petition for his release.
Nearer to home, the Boston bombings saw the arrests of several suspects. One of those questioned by the FBI in his own home was Ibragim Todashev, who apparently knew the Tsarnaev brothers. Todashev would not leave his home again alive. With six bullets to his body and one to the head, it was another US extra-judicial killing, this time on American soil. Why? Will the world ever know? What happens when a young man is held in custody and does not come out alive? Why was this story not more prominent in the news? His grieving father says that he was unarmed and wants to know what happened to him. The world wants to know. There is an obligation to protect the lives of those taken into custody. How many FBI agents were involved in this killing? Was there an attempt to torture Todashev into a false confession? What is happening in the world? So many questions, but no answers. Today, mock democracies serve as fronts to gross acts of extra-judicial murder.
Editor’s Note: Photographs one, two, four, five, six and seven by Active Stills.