Sunday, December 1, 2019

From our Friends down under at Justinian....

From Roger Fitch and our friends at Justinian:
Impunity is meanwhile everywhere. In an action viewed as damaging the US military, Trump handed out pardons to convicted and accused US war criminals, though it's hard to see what votes he will get out of it, especially among service members, some of whom dobbed in their lawless officers and NCOs.  
Defence opposed the pardons, particularly that of Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, one of the most vicious convicted SEALs. Trump, responding to a Fox News beat-up, sought to completely exonerate Gallagher, while the Navy tried to expel him from the SEALs. In an extraordinary action, the president personally ordered Gallagher's retention in the unit, and sacked the Navy Secretary. 
What's next? Will Trump pardon the Blackwater mercenaries, convicted and sentenced in the shocking Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad?
Trump's sanctioning of war crimes begs the question, will he attempt to reintroduce torture, a practice he has condoned in the past. It's a timely subject, as a new film about the Senate Torture Report has put the notorious CIA torture program - implemented by George Bush - back in the news. 
Barack Obama effectively pardoned participants in the Bush administration program, with dilatory and cosmetic inquiries conducted while the statutes of limitations - except for murder - ran. We now know that, even had Obama's Justice Department prosecuted and jailed those involved, Mr Trump would have pardoned them, given them medals, and, as he actually has done in the appointment of CIA Director Gina Haspel, rewarded them.  
Trump has also successfully stonewalled the proposed ICC investigation into torture in Afghanistan and other Rome Statute countries where CIA torture occurred; the matter is now under appeal at the Hague. More here on the international efforts to hold accountable those countries implicated in CIA black site torture. 
Read the rest here....