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The criminality and kleptocracy of the Bush administration never ceases to amaze. The sheer gall of these people is almost beyond comprehension. Not only do they consider themselves above international law, they blackmail others to avoid prosecution. Case in point: IdiotSavant over at European Tribune posted this diary from No Right Turn, New Zealand's liberal blog.

More below.

One of the positive steps in international law in recent years has been the establishment of the International Criminal Court, a permanent standing court to try cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  Unfortunately, since its inception, the court has been virulently opposed by the United States, which fears that its soldiers (and more importantly, its political leaders) might be held accountable for any atrocities they commit or order to be committed (such as, say, the razing of Fallujah, the use of indiscriminate weapons in civilian areas, or a policy of torture approved at the highest levels).  The chief mechanism used by the US to undermine the court has been a series of "Article 98 agreements" - bilateral agreements exploiting a loophole in the ICC's statute to exempt American citizens from the court's jurisdiction.  The US has used strong-arm tactics to extract these agreements from weaker nations, including the passage of the American Servicemembers' Protection Act (AKA the "Invasion of the Hague Act"), which requires the US government to cut off military aid to countries which refuse to sign such an agreement. So far, payments have been withheld from 35 countries (mostly in Eastern Europe and South America) in an effort to get them to toe the American line.

So, who has signed these agreements?  Below is a map of 96 of the reported hundred countries who have signed an impunity agreement with the US.  The primary source is a list compiled by Citizens for Global Solutions:

 

This is the axis of impunity.  And its remarkable how well it tracks both poverty (meaning exposure to American economic threats) and shitty human rights records.  What's also remarkable is that the US has been signing reciprocal agreements with the shittiest of the shitty, in effect promising to protect their rulers from international justice.  One of those agreements is with Rwanda; if it and the ICC had been in place when the Rwandan genocide occurred, the US would today be providing a safe haven for genocidaires.

One other point in passing: Citizens for Global Solutions' list includes notes on which countries have firmly rejected any such agreement.  And there's a striking absence from that section: New Zealand.  I had expected my own government, with its stated commitment to human rights and international law, to behave far better than that...

Many believe that part of the reason for Article 98 is to prevent Bush and other neo-con leaders from being prosecuted as war criminals.

I really don't think that most Americans have any idea of the Bush cabal's disregard for the law. Nor do they know the extent of the damage done to our country's reputation. Lets get the word out.

And thanks again to IdiotSavant for his original post and to No Right Turn.

Originally posted to Chris Kulczycki on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 04:09 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One of the reasons I read and post on (4.00)
    European Tribune is to see diaries like this one. The US mainstream media, and even most of our left wing blogs, ignore many issues that are of vital importance to most of the rest of the world.

    "The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets" , Christopher Morley

    by Chris Kulczycki on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 04:05:44 AM PST

  •  That aircraft-carrier photo... (none)
    Is it authentic? What is the source? I thought the point was to "liberate Iraq".
  •  how does this tie in with (4.00)
    shruba's executive order?? granting immunity to all americans in iraq for ANY action in which they might engage...

    my memory is faulty - i cannot recall exactly when it was issued, but i believe it was near the beginning of this travesty.

    good diary, thanks - recommended!

    Voldemart lives again - in the white house!

    by edrie on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 04:25:26 AM PST

  •  thanks as always (4.00)
    for your excellent efforts.

    Not to sound snippy - I'm serious here - but for other reasons, one country that's way sick of the US is China.  One report held that China's prime minister got on national TV last spring to announce that US financial policies are tantamount to war-making in China's sight, and they intend to serve up the same in return.

    Of course the US media offered zero mention of this televised declaration - we got that from our favorite tinfoil hat source.  Anyone across the waters hear of that?  Is there a link in English anywhere?

      Last night we heard of China launching aircraft carriers for the first time - ever? (counter reports, anyone?), and that China is angrily mongering around the world for oil, bombing Sudan (seriously??!!).  Looks like karma might be on its way for this country, big time.  Or what does anyone think Bush and Schwarzenegger were up to a couple weeks ago?  Bush has a lot to get drunk about anymore.

    "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

    by stonemason on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 05:21:00 AM PST

  •  Read Scott Morris on wasting Fallujah (4.00)

    Treason's Greetings from Karl Rove and Scooter Libby: Merry Fitzmas and Happy New Smear

    by seesdifferent on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 05:35:25 AM PST

  •  International Criminal Court (4.00)
    Bush opposed the International Criminal Court even before 9/11.  We knew about his policies from that alone, but we did not foresee so many "following orders".

    Now that the evidence is in, we need to understand that the International Criminal Court is a convenient venue, but it is not the only venue for a war crimes tribunal.

    Milosevich still remains on trial before a war crimes tribunal authorized through a vote of the UN Security Council.  This vote happened after substantial evidence was presented to the Security Council.  

    Members of the Security Council who want to help American democracy should be preparing that case against Bush now.  The US veto can prevent it from happening as long as Bush is president, but having the case made makes it easier for US politicians to turn Bush and company over to a tribunal when the movement Conservative Republicans are no longer in power.  

    I would urge those of you outside the US to start working on building this case with your governments now.

    Those of us in the US will be able to help only when enough of the world has convinced those Americans who have business in or ties to other countries that this is the "only way back to membership in the community of nations."

    -6.00/-7.18 The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 05:36:21 AM PST

    •  not to be discouraging but I doubt (none)
      that this kind of support from outside governments will happen. Looks like the Aspens stretch out their roots worldwide and are connected. Too many corrupted, scared, bribed, faith-based zealots creeping out of the holes in many governmental circles worldwide.
       
      •  Not discouraging (4.00)
        One does not know until one tries.  Yes, it's a longshot and the Davos types think they run the world, but stranger things have happened.  For example, I never thought Milosovich would be brought to justice.

        And US tactics in Fallujah, ordered from Washington, are essentially no different than those of the Serbian Army at Srebenica.  Send away the women and children.  Kill the men and older boys.

        -6.00/-7.18 The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

        by TarheelDem on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:12:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (none)
    That is simultaneously a map of the American Empire (which is hard to come by, because we don't declare Protectorates)
  •  you are known... (4.00)
    ...by the company you keep, as the old conventional wisdom goes.

    Bush and company have given us a sick-joke version of the United States, where we are mainly allied with banana republics, petty dictators, and countries that are so ailing that their weak leaders will submit to blackmail, as you say.

    It says all you need to know about the Bushies that they are most comfortable being the big fish in this small cesspool.

  •  We must do it (4.00)
    We cannot expect the rest of the world to police our internal problems. It would be so satisfying to see Bush on trial at the Hague, but I know that will never happen. BushCo is like the crooked business man who stays in business for years because he has enough money to grease the palms of all who have the power to take him out.

    And regardless of how sure some of us are of vote fraud, to the rest of the world it appears as if we re-elected this bunch of criminals to lead our country, so why the hell would they help us when we refused to help ourselves? This is why it drives me crazy to see good people here say it is a waste of time to try for impeachment. In my mind the is no choice to be made - we owe it to ourselves, to our soldiers, and to the rest of the planet to stick a boot in Bush's ass and make sure these criminals pay dearly for the damage they have done in our names... If we refuse to impeach the Bush administration, why would any court, international or other, even consider hearing complaints against this administration?

    We MUST impeach these assholes to regain our standing in the world.

  •  Map of retirement possiblities for BushCo? (4.00)
    This looks like an excellent starting point for the current administration to launch a hunt for homes where they can spend their golden years safely removed from the clutches of International Justice.
    Maybe that had something to do with the recent trip to Mongolia. And someone should tell Cheney that Papua New Guinea is lovely year-round...
  •  During (4.00)
    the Viet Nam War, a lot of people really believed that Nixon should have been charged with treason, instead of just being allowed to resign.
       My father was a Korean War combat veteran. His opinion of the Nixon White House, during the Viet Nam War, was very negative. My father considered Nixon to be a traitor. He considered eveyone in Nixon's administration to be guilty of treason, as well. My father had a very low opinion of leaders who lie.
  •  Most Senators (none)
    including Kerry and Edwards, voted FOR the The Hague Invasion Act.

    http://www.senate.gov/...

    Neo-con whore so-called, Joseph Lieberman voted against it.

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