Democracy in Today’s America (III)

Part I

Part II

Uncle Sam and the «matrix of justice»

A very special topic in the report by the Russian Foreign Ministry on human rights in the U.S on the partial review of offenses committed by the American side, is in the absolutely abhorrent practice of extra-judicial killings abroad.

As part of the «war on terror» Washington has developed highly specific approaches, the application of which has not only massively violated many international legal norms, but killed thousands of innocent people… There is, for example, the «innovative thinking» concept of just wars, known since ancient times, on the basis of which the so-called «Matrix of justice» has developed. The authorship of this idea is attributed to President Obama’s adviser on counter-terrorism, the Deputy Assistant to the National Security and a CIA veteran, John Brennan.

The «Matrix of justice» is, in fact a hit list, using which the «enemies of America» are to be destroyed without trial on the approval of the President of the United States. The hit list is updated regularly – some have already been consumed, someone else is waiting for their turn. So far, it has mostly been people from al-Qaeda and related groups, but if you want to, the criteria for the «matrix» can be extended. After all, in addition to already having slaughtered about 3 thousand people or so, the actual number of victims is many times greater than this, or as it is known in the American vernacular, collateral damage. To avoid «spilling the blood of our boys» the recent plan to implement the» matrix of justice «is performed mainly by drones which can be deployed anywhere in the world.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in the period from 2004 to 2012, with the help of such devices the CIA has made at least 327 strikes in Pakistan. As a result of which, between 2.5 to 3.2 thousand people died, including 482-852 peaceful Pakistani civilians (175 of them – children). In an air strike on the village of Datta-Khel in March 2011, more than 40 civilians were killed. During similar operations in Yemen 58-149 civilians were killed (24-31 – children), and in Somalia – 11-57 civilians (1-3 children).

Human rights activists have expressed serious concern over the practice of the U.S., noting that; in fact, it is no different from extrajudicial executions which are banned by international law. In May 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions F. Alston released a report which questioned the US use of drones in conformity to international humanitarian law and the protection of human rights. In this particular situation, it is also about the abuse of executive order № 12333 of December 4, 1981 by Ronald Regan, by which U.S. intelligence agencies are prohibited from participating in assassinations (Executive Order No. 12333 «US Intelligence Activities»)

In September 2011, the «target» of the blow deliberately eliminated an American citizen, the Islamic cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, and in the same air strike killed another U.S. citizen – the editor of the Islamist web magazine S. Khan.

Many lawyers believe that the targeted assassination of American citizens abroad violates the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to which no one can be deprived of his life without a fair trial.

And the «classic» air forces continue to be used non-selectively. According to reports, by August 2012 the conflict in Iraq had claimed the lives of up to 117 thousand civilians, of which approximately 14.7 thousand were killed by an international coalition led by the United States (often as a result of air strikes and the use of unmanned vehicles) . In Afghanistan since the beginning of «Operation Enduring Freedom» about 14,4-17,2 thousand civilians have been killed, and 9 thousand of these by the forces of the international coalition led by the United States.

According to the Afghan authorities, just one American operation in Kunar Province in February 2011, claimed the lives of 65 civilians, including 22 women and 30 children. In March of that year, a NATO helicopter «mistakenly» shot nine Afghan teenagers between the ages of 7 to 15 years.

Crimes against humanity committed by US soldiers abroad often do not receive proper legal assessment under the national judicial system. In January 2012 the U.S. judicial authorities decided in the case of US Navy Sergeant F. Vutericha – the last of the accused in the «massacre in Haditha» in November 2005. Then, U.S. Marines shot 24 Iraqi civilians in retaliation for the death of a colleague M. Terrazas, after he had stepped on an improvised explosive device. This case took place against eight soldiers, one of whom was acquitted, and charges against six were completely dropped. After pleading guilty to «dereliction of duty» F. Vutericha was reduced in rank to private, but the result of a deal with the justice system meant he avoided even a minimum prison term.

In August 2012 the U.S. Justice Department terminated the investigation into the notorious U.S. private security firm «Blackwater» (re-registered as «Xe Services», and from 2012 called «Academi»), on trying to bribe the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Iraq. This company tried a bribe of 1 million dollars to obtain a license to work in Iraq and to block the investigation of the murder by their staff in September 2007 in Baghdad, of 17 civilians, including children (also more than 20 people were injured.) Contractors from «Blackwater» accompanied the convoy of the U.S. embassy and under the pretext of security staged a massacre in Nisoor Square. In this case, the U.S. State Department declined the services of this company but only two years after the tragedy.

Illegal abduction and detention of people remain in the arsenal of U.S. intelligence. In September 2006, President Bush acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons. As it later became known , in 2002-2003, about ten such detention facilities were built by the intelligence services, including in foreign countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, Morocco, Djibouti, Romania, Lithuania and Poland, creating a legal vacuum containing about 100 prisoners.

In January 2012, the special prison at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) marked its 10-year «anniversary». U.S. President Barack Obama, despite his campaign promise, failed to close it because of opposition from Congress. Open source information indicates that, during the decade, 779 foreigners passed through Guantanamo. 8 of them died (6 committed suicide). At the beginning of August 2012, 168 prisoners from 24 countries remained in jail, including the Russian citizen R.K. Mingazov, who was arrested in 2002 in Pakistan and is held in a legal vacuum, without charges. Among those who are still in prison are 87 prisoners that the U.S. administration has itself acknowledged should be released.

The American judicial system feels entitled to detain foreign nationals in third countries and on other than terrorism charges. Most significant in this regard, the Russian Foreign Ministry said were the arrests of Russian citizens V.A. Bout in Thailand and K.V. Yaroshenko in Liberia, carried out on the basis of the evidence «dummy agents» and dubious evidence. These methods of applying physical and psychological pressure bring into question the very foundations on which the entire investigation and judicial process was based.

Legalized in the United States but condemned by most countries of the world is the practice of torture. In April 16, 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice released four memorandums, prepared by lawyers between 2002-2005, implementing significant cuts in the legal services of the agency. They thoroughly substantiated the legality of harsh interrogation techniques of prisoners in CIA prisons in terms of U.S. law and international law. However, the treatment of detainees in secret CIA prisons have repeatedly been qualified as torture by international experts:

– The report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2006,

– A confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross in February 2007,

– The report of Swiss Senator D. Marty to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2007,

– Other similar documents.

To be continued…

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation 


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