Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

 

We the undersigned are concerned of the legality of the actions undertaken by our government, in the ordering of Canadian Forces Personnel to undertake aggressive actions in Afghanistan.  We believe that this undertaking may not have been in accordance with Canadian and International law, and as such, do hereby make formal request for explanation of the legality of said actions.

 

Several of us have contacted the following, without satisfactory answer having been given:

RCMP

CSIS

Minister of Defense

Prime Minister of Canada

Minister of Justice

Individual Members of Parliament.

 

And as such do undertake this petition for explanation of the legal basis under which our Armed Forces were dispatched to and engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan.

 

As we have suffered repeated evasions (which have cited ethical and neighborly obligations) and outright refusals to answer this request, we will interpret the lack of full and complete response, within 45 days to be tacit agreement of our belief that there was in fact no basis in law for the actions undertaken.

 

We make note the following facts, and request that full and complete answer to the question of legality be framed within the context of the following points:

 

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1)          Stated Legal Basis for Our Use of Force:

 

We note that on Jan 17, 2001 Our Minister of Defense stated:

“As you know, the multinational military response to the terrorist acts of September 11 began in mid-October. Canada is responding militarily on the basis of article 51 of the UN charter, and there have in fact been three resolutions of the Security Council in support of the use of that article in this case.    That article of the UN charter allows states to exercise the right of individual and collective self-defense.”

Art Eggleton evidence before House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs – (Jan 17, 2002 10:10 AM)

We note that he continued;

“This campaign was initially launched in the wake also of NATO's invoking Article 5 of the Washington treaty, which collectively implements the UN charter's right to self-defense when a NATO member state has been attacked.”

Art Eggleton evidence before House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs - Jan 17, 2002 10:10 AM

2)       The NATO Treaty:

We note that the treaty states that actions taken under the treaty will be in accordance with

The UN Charter,

The rule of law;

NATO Treaty - Preamble and Article 1

We note that the treaty limits the use of force until such time as the Security Council takes action to maintain international peace and security;

We note below that when Canada became active in Afghanistan, the Security Council had acted three times, relieving Canada of this justification;

3)          United Nations Charter Article 51:

We note that Article 51 states:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

 We note that Article 51 restricts the use of armed force to exclusively to self-defense purposes, and only until such time as the Security Council has acted;

 

We note that self-defense is an immediate action to prevent damage or loss of life, property or territory, and that commencing our actions in January 2002, could no longer be considered an “immediate” response to the events of Sept. 11;

 

We note that armed self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter is authorized only until such time as the Security Council takes action;

 

We note that by January 2002 that the UN Security council had passed the following Resolutions:

1368 (Sept 11, 2001),             Condemns acts of Sept 11, 2001

1373 (Sept 28, 2001),            Takes action to resolve terrorist threats

1378 (Nov 14, 2001),            Discusses establishes interim government in Afghanistan

1383 (Dec 6, 2001),            Establishes interim government in Afghanistan

1386 (Dec 20, 2001),            Takes action to establish International Security Assistance Force

1388 (Jan 15, 2002),            Removes sanctions on Afghani transport and finances

1390 (Jan 16, 2002),            Takes action to limit flow of resources to Al-Qaeda

 

We note that the Security undertook actions under Security Council Resolutions:

1373 (Sept 28, 2001),            Takes action to resolve terrorist threats

1386 (Dec 20, 2001),            Takes action to establish International Security Assistance Force

1390 (Jan 16, 2002);            Takes action to limit flow of resources to Al-Qaeda

 

We again note that the Security Council acted three times to maintain international peace and security prior to the engagement of Canadian troops, thereby negating any claim of action under Article 51;

 

We note that in none of the Security Council resolutions is the use of force authorized, and as such these actions would not be of a legal nature;

 

We note that by January 2002, when our troops commenced action, Canada could no longer claim the “right to self-defense”, because “coalition members” had at least twice reported the ‘defeat’ of belligerent forces:

           

     Dec. 19, 2001, US Military Reports ‘Taliban and Al Qaeda forces are defeated’;

 

“Good planning, patience, and the willpower to win have enabled U.S. and coalition forces to defeat or neutralize Al Qaeda terrorist forces and their Taliban supporters throughout most of Afghanistan, DoD's senior military officer said today.  Some of the military success achieved thus far in Afghanistan "is attributable to the strategy, which was designed basically by [U.S.] Central Command, [with] a lot of help from the intelligence agencies," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at NATO headquarters here.

 

US military Press Release - Dec 19 (<http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2001/n12192001_200112192.html>)

 

     Jan. 3, 2002, US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld reports the end of the Taliban;

“The Taliban rule in Afghanistan has ended. That is a good thing. It's a good thing for the people of Afghanistan, but it's also a good thing for the people of the world that that country is no longer harboring terrorists.”

DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers (<http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2002/t01032002_t0103sd.html>)

We note that the temporary authorization of the use of armed forces in no way diminishes the supremacy of the Security Council or Charter in all matters, including those of self-defense;

We note that by way of omission, and in the context of Articles 33 and 42, that this clause clearly prohibits the use of force as a retaliatory mechanism;

4)          Proportionality

We note that self-defense is a proportionate response in keeping with the purpose of the UN Charter, and is restricted to the security of life, property and territory;

We note that the weapons used by Canadian Forces involved were arguably proportional to those used by the defending Afghani troops;

We note with dismay that our troops suffered the protection landmines deployed by US forces, which under Canadian law are prohibited weapons;

We note that the US President Bush on Sept. 20, 2001 stated:

“How will we fight and win this war?   We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war...”

Ottawa Citizen- Sept 20, 2001 - "US Launches War Machine: Aircraft Carrier, Jets Stream Across Atlantic: 'It's Time For Action'" - p.A1

We note that the weapons used by the United States, described as the “fiercest military hardware available”, were not proportional to those employed by Afghani troops.    These included (the Canadian-prohibited) landmines, (internationally condemned) cluster bombs, B-52 carpet bombers, and specially designed thermo baric bombs to name just a few.   

We note that to ally ourselves with a nation using such a disproportionate response has been viewed as unethical, if not illegal;

5)          Stated Purpose of Mission:

We note that on Jan 17, 2002 our Defense Minister stated that our actions were not in keeping with Canada’s traditional role of peacekeeping:

“Now to the nature of the mission in Kandahar. This is not a peacekeeping mission. The military campaign in Afghanistan is not over yet. Our troops will be carrying out a variety of tasks, some of which may involve combat operations.”

Art Eggleton evidence before House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs - Jan 17, 2002  10:10 AM

We note that this mission was under the auspices of neither NATO, nor under the UN body ISAF;

We conclude with trepidation, in light of the above facts that this mission can be accurately viewed as the aggressive actions undertaken by an individual country;

6)       UN Charter Requirements for Negotiation of Disputes:

We note that our actions were in violation of Article 2 states that disputes are to be settled by peaceful means, and prohibits the threat of or use of force against another nation;

 

We note that Article 33 explicitly states that international disputes are to be settled by peaceful means, such as negotiations, without the use of armed force.    This article is a most profound statement on conflict resolution, and does not sanction the use of arms in any form to resolve disputes when negotiations are available;

We note that these articles oblige all states to enter into negotiations for the peaceful resolution of disputes;

We note that the US Administration had repeatedly refused negotiations in regards to the extradition of Osama Bin Laden, negotiations which were requested the Taliban and which were required under the UN Charter;

 

We note that Canada did not undertake to establish negotiations with the Government of Afghanistan;

 

We note the Sept 19 statement by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer:

"The president's message to the Taliban is very simple: It's time for action, not negotiations,"

Ottawa Citizen- Sept 20, 2001 - "US Launches War Machine: Aircraft Carrier, Jets Stream Across Atlantic: 'It's Time For Action'" - p.A1

We note that the US President stated that negotiations would not be undertaken, in his speech of Sept 20, 2001;

“Tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban:  Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close, immediately and permanently, every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities.  Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion...”

Ottawa Citizen - Sept 21, 2001 - "We Will Not Falter, We Will Not Fail: Bush Vows To 'Rally the World' to Defeat Terrorism; U.S. president demands Taliban Give Up Suspects or Face 'War'" - p.A1

We not with outrage, that on Sept. 20, 2001, upon the sailing of the US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt with its 75 fighter jets on board, and that Captain Richard O’Hanlon described his command as “4.5 acres of American diplomacy";

Ottawa Citizen- Sept 20, 2001 - "US Launches War Machine: Aircraft Carrier, Jets Stream Across Atlantic: 'It's Time For Action'" - p.A1

 

We note that Taliban spokesman Salam Zaeef expressed desire to enter into negotiations with the USA Oct 2, 2001:

“In Pakistan, a spokesman for the Taliban insisted his government is prepared to negotiate the transfer of Mr. bin Laden, but will not do so without first being presented with evidence of his guilt.  Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, demanded to know why the U.S. is prepared to share its evidence against Mr. bin Laden with NATO countries and other allies, but not with Afghanistan, which plays host to him.”

Ottawa Citizen - Sept 3, 2001 - "Manley, PM Sure Bin Laden Guilty" - p.A1

 

We note that on Oct 15, 2001, above position was again reiterated by President Bush of our coalition ally

"There is no negotiation, period.  There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt.  He's guilty.  Turn him over."

Ottawa Citizen - Oct 15 - "'No Negotiations Period,' Bush Says: U.S. Rejects Taliban's Offer To Release Bin Laden" - p.A6

We note that the US Administration's 'unfaltering' refusal to negotiate is inconsistent with the purposes and explicit requirements of the UN Charter and the NATO treaty;

7)          Terrorism

We note that the actions of September 11th were of a terrorist nature and as such, were of a criminal nature, as laid out in the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing;

We note that all members of the Government share this position;

We note that Canada has ratified “The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing” and as such is bound by its rights and obligations;

We note that Article 17 explicitly prohibits interference in other nations, such as using armed force within another nation for the purposes of governmental change, as follows:

The States Parties shall carry out their obligations under this Convention in a manner consistent with the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States and that of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other States;

We note that the above expression of intent for preserving sovereign control of domestic affairs was also stated in UN Resolution A/RES/39/159, and that the use of Canadian troops in support of ‘regime change’ is contrary to the purposes of the UN:

Demands that all States take no actions aimed at military intervention and occupation, forcible change in or undermining of the socio-political system of States, destabilization and overthrow of their Governments and, in particular, initiate no military action to that end under any pretext whatsoever and cease forthwith any such action already in progress;

We note that the use of Canadian Armed forces within the borders of Afghanistan is a clear violation of the above article;

We note that Article 18 of the Convention prohibits violation of the territory of another nation in the pursuit of terrorists, as follows:

Nothing in this Convention entitles a State Party to undertake in the territory of another State Party the exercise of jurisdiction and performance of functions which are exclusively reserved for the authorities of that other State Party by its domestic law.

We note that the use of Canadian Armed Forces inside another nation, in attempts to bring individuals before a court to respond to charges of terrorism, is illegal;

 

8)       UN Charter

We note that under Article 39 that only the UN Security Council has the authority to determine threats to international peace and security;

 

We note that this Article further reserves for its exclusive use the right of any actions which may threaten international peace, except within the "Present and Immediate Danger" of ongoing armed attack as outlined in Article 51;

We note that in the maintenance of peace, Article 42 restricts the use of armed force to actions undertaken by the Security Council, and not as a means legally available to member nations under the conditions present when our troops were ordered to undertake armed action;

We note that under UN Article 52, that formation of regional agencies of self-defense is permitted, under the injunction that they acknowledge and abide by the UN Charter.

 

9)          Necessity of Action and Adequacy of Information:

We note that Osama Bin Laden was named as a suspect by 4:00 PM of September 11, as evidenced by this passage from CNN:

“CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor reports that U.S. officials say there are "good indications" that Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, suspected of coordinating the bombings of two U.S. embassies in 1998, is involved in the attacks, based on "new and specific"  information developed since the attacks.”

(http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/chronology.attack/) "September 11: Chronolgy of Terror"

 

We note that MSNBC reiterated Bin Laden’s responsibility the following day:

“Sept. 13 - President Bush, Congress and the Pentagon on Thursday <Sept 12> pledged a sustained military campaign against terrorists, beginning with Osama bin Laden, who U.S. officials said they had determined was directly responsible for the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington.

U.S. GOVERNMENT SOURCES told NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski on Thursday evening that based on “overwhelming” evidence, the Bush administration had concluded that the al-Qaeda organization run by bin Laden had executed the breathtaking operation in which U.S. jetliners were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

"Bush, Pentagon Prepare Response" (Jim Miklaszewski is Chief Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News.)

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/completetimeline/2001/msnbc091301.html

We note with profound concern, the incredible rapidity (6 hours) with which the US Administration determined the existence of only one suspected architect, and that no additional suspected architects were to ever emerge;

 

We note that their unwavering determination to use massive armed force to pursue this only suspect seems untenable;

 

We note with troubling apprehension the steadfast refusal of the US Administration to divulge the evidential basis of their pursuit of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda;

 

We further note that in the release of evidential information by the Government of the UK, as published by the Ottawa Citizen Oct 5, 2001, that the government prefaced the release with the following statement:

“This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama bin Laden in a court of law. Intelligence often cannot be used evidentially, due both to the strict rules of admissibility and to the need to protect the safety of sources.”

Ottawa Citizen - October 5 - "Downing Street's Full Text of the document, entitled:   Responsibility for the Terrorist in the United States, Released by the British Prime Minister's Office yesterday about the evidence against Osama Bin Laden" - p.A8

 

We strongly believe that armed aggression in violation of the territorial sovereignty of another nation cannot be justified on evidence too weak to present to a court;

 

We note that on Oct 2, 2001 Jean Chrétien stated that a review of evidence was unnecessary, and action must be taken without delay:

“It is not the time to debate that type of information publicly. It is the time to do the job and get them to face justice.   It is the time for all the people who want to fight terrorism to be united and defeat it. That is what we have to do now.”

House of Commons Hansard: Tuesday Oct 2, 2001 (<http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/090_2001-10-02/ques090-E.htm#Int-54071>)

 

We note that important elements may not have been properly weighed in the decision making process in which it was decided to send Canadian troops to Afghanistan;

We note that the US could not have presented to our government any evidence of a money trail linking the Sept 11 attacks to the Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden, as evidenced by a speech given by FBI Director Robert Mueller on April 19, 2002:

“The hijackers also left no paper trail. In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper - either here in the U.S. or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere - that mentioned any aspect of the September 11th plot. The hijackers had no computers, no laptops, no storage media of any kind.”

FBI Major Speech: Commonwealth Club, San Francisco - April 19, 2002  -  p.2

 

We note the US could not have presented to our government any evidence of a money trail linking the Sept 11 attacks to the Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden (from above);

“And they made sure that all the money sent to them to fund their attacks was wired in small amounts to avoid detection.”

FBI Major Speech: Commonwealth Club, San Francisco - April 19, 2002  -  p.2

We note that John Manley, on Oct 2, 2001 said:

"There shouldn't be any hesitation at all in taking the strongest possible measures in order to stop this group and all their affiliates from doing the kinds of things they've been doing."

Ottawa Citizen - Sept 3 - "Manley, PM Sure Bin Laden Guilty" - p.A1

We note with humor and dismay, that Jean Chrétien when asked about the quality of the evidence provided by the US, he summarized its persuasiveness thusly:

“A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."

CBC website

We believe that our civil service is of the highest professional caliber, comprised of persons of integrity, dedication, and loyalty to the peoples of Canada;

We believe that their actions reflect admirably on the reputation of Canada, and are guided by their unfaltering concern for the welfare of all Canadians;

We note that John Manley, on October 2, 2001, stated:

            “There’s clearly no evidence of anyone else.”

Ottawa Citizen - Sept 3 - "Manley, PM Sure Bin Laden Guilty" - p.A1

We note that the following persons were present at the presentation of evidence by the US administration:

Stephen Kelly               Dep. Chief of Mission (U.S. Embassy - Ottawa)

Gaetan Lavertu                         Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs;

Jim Wright              Assistant Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs

Tony Macerollo                     Chief of Staff to Mr. Manley

Ward Elcock              Director CSIS

Gregory Fyffe                Exec. Dir. For Intelligence & Security (Privy Council.)

        Ottawa Citizen - Sept 3 - "Manley, PM Sure Bin Laden Guilty" - p.A1

We note that at times investigations sometimes become too focused on a given suspect which compromises the validity of the ensuing investigation, as has happened in the following cases:

Steven Truscott                                              

Guy Paul Morin

Thomas Sophonow

Donald Marshall

David Milgaard

Jason Dix

We note that these types of investigations represent an obstacle to the execution of fundamental justice, and that additional care in the assessment of US evidence should have been undertaken;

 

11)          Misrepresentation of Facts by US Administrations

We note that Jim Haagland observed:

“For Washingtonians who remember the one sure way to tell when Lyndon Johnson was lying - whenever his lips were moving - a conflicting statement <to that of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld> by Solicitor General Theodore Olson to the Supreme Court on Monday has the ring of perverse honesty.”

Washington Post - March 21, 2002 -“The Limits of Lying” - p.A35

We note that before the US Supreme Court, US Solicitor General Theodore Olson stated that:

It is "easy to imagine an infinite number of situations...where government officials might quite legitimately have reason to give false information out"

Washington Post - March 21, 2002  - "The Limits of Lying" - p.A35

 

We note that the FBI publicized the names and personal details of the 19 accused hijackers on Sept. 14, 2001, and released photographs of the same on Sept. 28, 2001;

FBI Press Release - Sept. 14, 2001

FBI Press Release - Sept. 28, 2001

 

 

We note that by October 1, 2001, a number of the alleged hijackers were found alive as follows:

             

Salem Alhamzi

“He said: "I have never been to the United States and have not been out of Saudi Arabia in the past two years." The FBI described him as 21 and said that his possible residences were Fort Lee or Wayne, both in New Jersey.”

UK Telegraph - Sept 23, 2001 (http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml)

 

Waleed M. Alshehri

 “Now he is protesting his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco.    He told journalists there that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington, and had been in Morocco when they happened.” 

BBC Sept 23, 2001

(<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1559151.stm>)

 

Abdulaziz Alomari

“He said: "I couldn't believe it when the FBI put me on their list. They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive. I have no idea how to fly a plane. I had nothing to do with this."”

UK Telegraph - Sept 23, 2001 (<http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml>)

 

Mohald Alshehri

“Even before the photos were released, the Saudi government had said four men named as dead hijackers ---- Abdulaziz Alomari, Saeed Alghamdi, Salem Alhamzi and Mohald Alshehri ---- were alive and were not in the United States at the time of the hijackings.”

Associated Press Story - Sept 29, 2001 (<http://www.nctimes.net/news/2001/20010929/73128.html>)

 

Saeed Alghamdi 

“Meanwhile, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, a London-based Arabic daily, says it has interviewed Saeed Alghamdi.”

(<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1559151.stm>)

            (and reconfirmed in)

“Al-Ghamdi, is a co-captain on Tunis Air, along with 22 other Saudi pilots who work for the company. He was in Paris when he saw the CNN report.    He confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from Tunis that he studied in Florida in from 1998 to 1999 and then came back to work for Saudi Arabian Airlines. In August 2000 he returned to the US for further training. He was seconded to Tunis Air ten months ago.”

Arab News - Oct 1, 2001 (http://web.archive.org/web/20030110141751/http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=9454&ArY=2001&ArM=10&ArD=1)

 

            Ahmed Alnami

He said: "I'm still alive, as you can see. I was shocked to see my name mentioned by the American Justice Department. I had never even heard of Pennsylvania where the plane I was supposed to have hijacked."

UK Telegraph - Sept 23, 2001 (http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml)

 

We note that the FBI on Nov 3, 2001 still maintained that the list of names and identities released 72 hours after the attack of Sept 11, were in fact correct:

 

“WASHINGTON - FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday investigators have established the true identities of all 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers and have found places outside the United States where the plot was hatched.

 

``We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,'' Mueller said.

 

The FBI has confirmed that the hijackers' names released in late September are the true identities of all 19 men, said a law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 

Investigators now believe the names released on Sept. 28 are the hijackers' real names. “

By KAREN GULLO - Associated Press Writer (<http://multimedia.belointeractive.com/attack/investigation/1103investigation.html>)

 

 

We note that the FBI currently maintains the identical information of these same 19 alleged hijackers on their website today;

 

We note that previous US Administrations have misled allies, as evidenced by false claims of Iraqi troops massing at the Saudi border:

"But past cases of bad intelligence or outright disinformation used to justify war are making experts wary.  “When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf … part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Shortly before US strikes began in the Gulf War the St. Petersburg Times asked two experts to examine the satellite images of the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia border area taken in mid-September 1990, a month and a half after the Iraqi invasion. The experts, including a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who specialized in desert warfare, pointed out the US build-up - jet fighters standing wing-tip to wing-tip at Saudi bases - but were surprised to see almost no sign of the Iraqis.

Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis - offering to hold the story if proven wrong.  The official response: "Trust us." To this day, the Pentagon's photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified."

Christian Science Monitor - Sept 6, 2002 - "In war, some facts less factual" (<http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p01s02-wosc.htm>)

We note that the US Administration under George Bush Sr. made pointed use of claims of Iraqi soldiers killing newborns to steal hospital incubators as war booty:

“Some claims were no doubt true, but the most sensational one - that Iraqi soldiers removed hundreds of Kuwaiti babies from incubators and left them to die on hospital floors - was shown to be almost certainly false by an ABC reporter, John Martin, in March 1991, after the liberation of Kuwait.  He interviewed hospital doctors who stayed in Kuwait throughout the occupation.

Americans would have been interested to know the identity of “Nayirah,” the 15-year old Kuwaiti girl who shocked the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on Oct 10, 1990, when she tearfully asserted that she watched 15 infants being taken from incubators in Al-Adan Hospital in Kuwait City by Iraq soldiers who “left the babies on the cold floor to die”.

The Chairmen of the Congressional group Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, and John Edwards Porter, an Illinois Republican, explained that Nayirah’s identity would be kept secret to protect her family from reprisals in occupied Kuwait.

There was a better reason to protect her from exposure.  Nayirah, her real name, is the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, Saud Nasir al-Sabah.  Both Congressmen have a close relationship with Hill and Knowlton, the public relations firm hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait.

Mr. Hymel <the Hill and Knowlton VP who organized these hearings> presented the witnesses (he later told me he knew who she was at the time).

The firm <of Hill and Knowlton> provides a contribution to the foundation <Congressional Human Rights Foundation> in the form of a $3,000 annual rent reduction, and the Hill and Knowlton switchboard delivers messages to the foundation’s executive director David Phillips.”

New York Times - Jan 6, 1992 - By John R MacArthur (Publisher of Harper’s Magazine)

We note that significant impact that this release of fabricated evidence had on the course of events leading up to the Gulf War:

“Before the war, the incubator story seriously distorted the American debate about whether to support military action.  Amnesty International believed the tale, and its’ ill-considered validation of the charges likely influenced the seven Senators who cited the story in speeches backing the Jan 12 resolution authorizing war.  Since the resolution passed the Senate by only six votes, the question of how this story escaped scrutiny - when it really mattered - is all the more important.”

New York Times - Jan 6, 1992 - By John R MacArthur (Publisher of Harper’s Magazine)

We note a quote from US Representative Lee Hamilton, whose qualifications are:

“A former US Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana, a 34-year veteran lawmaker until 1999, who served on numerous foreign affairs and intelligence committees, has been awarded medallions from both the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, and is now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington:"

Christian Science Monitor - Sept 6, 2002 - "In war, some facts less factual"

And that he stated:

"My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence."  

“All, <administrations> at some time or another, used intelligence to support their             political objectives.”

"Information is power, and the temptation to use information to achieve the results you want is almost overwhelming.  The whole intelligence community knows exactly what the president             wants, and most are in their jobs because of the president - certainly the people at the top - and             they will do everything they can to support the policy.”

"I'm always skeptical about intelligence; it's not as pure as the driven snow."

Christian Science Monitor - Sept 6, 2002 - "In war, some facts less factual" (<http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p01s02-wosc.htm>)

We note a long and well-established history of "intelligence anomalies" being released from a series of US Administrations, and it is our opinion that the hearers of the US evidence against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda had the responsibility to weigh the presented evidence in light of that knowledge;

 

We note the above is exceptionally relevant in the case of Osama Bin Laden, in light of the highly publicized US Tomahawk (cruise) missile attack on a Sudanese Pharmaceutical plant:

"The facilities the U.S. attacked on August 20, 1998 were central to the bin Laden network's ability to conduct acts of terror around the world."

(Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State - "Fact Sheet: U.S. Strike on Facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan" - August 21, 1998)

 

We note that PBS Frontline states

"On the day of the missile strikes, Clinton administration officials also made other statements about the Sudan pharmaceutical plant which since have been disproven. For instance, despite U.S. claims that the factory was not making pharmaceuticals, it's now known this is not true.

(FRONTLINE learned that the U.S. conducted an internet search on the plant and used that as the basis for evidence that the plant was not producing pharmaceuticals.)

"And, if the factory was ever producing any nerve gas-related chemicals, the evidence has been less than convincing. There are two major problems with the U.S. government's case. First, a test on a soil sample that the administration says proves that the plant was involved in chemical weapons production is, according to many experts, inconclusive. Secondly, the Clinton administration has failed to demonstrate a solid financial link between the plant and bin Laden. They initially claimed that the plant was owned by the Sudanese Military Industrial Corporation, yet the plant had actually been sold to a Saudi millionaire, Saleh Idris, several months before the attack.”

PBS Frontline - The Controversial U.S. Retaliatory Missile Strikes

12)   Character of US Administration and Personnel

 

We note that our Ministers in their exercise of due diligence, in the analysis of the quality of the evidence presented by the US Administration should have noted that in the International Court of Justice, the Nicaraguans were successful in their civil suit against the US for US violence against Nicaragua contrary to the Charter and customary law. In effect the US was condemned for criminal behaviour.

 

 

We note with dismay that President Bush has chosen to surround himself with a number of key people with histories of malfeasance and criminality as follows:

 

John Poindexter: Head of Information Awareness Office (IAO)

An office of the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Vice-Admiral Poindexter was national security adviser in the Reagan administration before being named as "the decision-making head" of the Iran-Contra affair, the scheme to sell weapons to Iran to fund anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua. He was jailed, but eventually got off, solely because it was ruled that his evidence had congressional immunity.  Poindexter has re-emerged as head of a new Pentagon operation - with a $200m annual budget - called the information awareness office.

 

The Guardian - Nov. 19, 2002, “This perfect system"

 

 

 John Negroponte: Ambassador to the UN

               "He is known for his role in the cover up of human rights abuses by CIA trained paramilitaries throughout the region.  Coincidentally, Honduran exiles associated with the paramilitary forces that had been living in the US, were exported to Canada prior to Negroponte's Senate confirmation hearing, thus rendering their testimony unavailable.”

 

   “Meanwhile, Negroponte was hard at work at the U.N. enforcing the U.S. unilateralist ultimata. He attempted to undermine the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court to try people accused of genocide, war crimes, etc.  Given his history, it's easy to understand his squeamishness at the thought of accountability. Soon after the US "unsigned" the ICC treaty, Negroponte threatened Security Council members with pulling US observers and police from the UN's peacekeeping operations in East Timor – unless UN (and therefore, US) personnel were excluded from possible prosecution.”

 

Project Censored -  Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles (http://www.projectcensored.org/stories/2003/11.html)

 

 

Otto Reich: Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

   “A third, Mr Reich, who was named the next assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was also    tinged by the Iran-Contra affair.    In 1987 the comptroller general concluded that Mr. Reich’s Office of Public    Diplomacy had “engaged in prohibited, covert propaganda activities” to muster domestic support for the contras.”

New York Times - “Bush Latin American Nominations Reopen Wounds” - August 1, 2001

 

 

Elliot Abrams:  Director of  Office for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Relations An office of the National Security Council

   “Of the group, Mr Abrams was the architect of the Central America policy and an early advocate of American    invasions of Nicaragua and Panama, is the best known of the returning officials.  In 1991 he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of misleading Congress about the Iran-Contra affair, a secret effort to finance and arm the Contras    in defiance of Congressional restrictions.”

               New York Times - “Bush Latin American Nominations Reopen Wounds” - August 1, 2001

 

We note that Reed Brody, legal director of Human Rights Watch (New York) has stated:

   "Bringing all these people who are so associated with a polarised ideological crusade that committed human rights abuses threatens to rekindle that partisanship.  What is very unfortunate is that history has revealed American complicity in serious atrocities in the 1980s and, in effect, all these nominations may serve to rewrite history and rehabilitate a very unfortunate period of our history."

 

New York Times - “Bush Latin American Nominations Reopen Wounds” - August 1, 2001

 

We note that the President of the United States has on many instances has himself misled or has permitted those close to him to mislead people to serve his own advantage:

 

A)   "President Bush had business ties with Enron and its predecessor companies, and first met Kenneth Lay, its chairman, sometime in the late 1980s, according to public records and interviews.

Previously, the president had not mentioned his business dealings with Enron and had said that he got to know Lay after he was elected governor of Texas in 1994”:

Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2002

 

B)    "Not long after George W. Bush was sworn in as president, many were aghast to read in newspapers and hear on television that in the final days of the Clinton administration, employees had trashed the White House.     At a time when Bush aides were privately promoting the story, Anne E. Kornblut of the Globe's Washington Bureau was filing stories that were skeptical. For example, at a briefing Jan. 25, Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer deceptively encouraged reporters' suspicions while refusing to confirm or deny reports of damage.

 

Now, three months later, buried in the national briefs column in the Globe a few days ago was an AP story four sentences long that said an investigation by the General Accounting Office found no evidence of vandalism, no evidence of wires slashed, no evidence of equipment damaged, and no evidence or anything to match the allegations.

 

<Kornblut> said. 'What made me suspicious was the fact that the White House wouldn't give specific examples and wouldn't say, on the record, that this happened here or that happened there. I made phone calls to people who told me it just wasn't true. Also, there were no pictures, and they never seemed to be able to say on the record, in public or at a press conference, here is what happened.'"

Boston Globe “Globe was right: no White House vandalism” - May 28, 2001 -  p. A19 (<http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/148/oped/Globe_was_right_no_White_House_vandalism+.shtml>)

 

C)            ”Wrapping up a meeting with the emir of Bahrain today, President Bush said conservation would be part of the national energy policy Vice President Dick Cheney will propose next week. "We'll have a strong conservation statement," Bush said.

 

But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was adamant today when asked whether the president would ask Americans to stop using so much energy. "That's a big 'no,'" Fleischer said. "The president believes that it's an American way of life, that it should be the goal of policy-makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one." The president, he said, considers Americans' heavy use of energy a "reflection of the strength of our economy, of the way of life that the American people have come to enjoy."

ABC, “Keep on Trucking: Bush Won't Ask Americans To Conserve” - May 7, 2001

 

 

We note as another confirmation of a pre-existing pattern of US Administration's "disinformation" that key members of the current US Administration misled US citizens in their statements in regards to events related to September 11, 2001:

 

President, George Bush: 

“What he said:    In the weeks after the attacks, Bush said he’d had little forewarning. ‘America never dreamt before September the 11th anybody would attack us,’ he told reporters on Dec 21”

 

“What he knew:   In the August briefing in Crawford, Bush was told that Osama bin Laden was planning a major strike against the U.S. - and that a potential plot could involve hijacking airplanes.”

 

Vice President, Dick Cheney:

“What he said:   On ‘Meet the Press’ in December, Cheney mentioned general warnings, but insisted there was ‘no specific threat involving … a domestic operation or involving what happened.”     

“What he knew:     In his remarks, the Vice President did not reveal that U.S. law-enforcement officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, had urgently warned of an impending domestic attack.”

 

National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice:

“What she said:   I don’t think anybody could have predicted these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center …,’ Rice said, ‘that they would … use an airplane as a missile.”

“What she knew:   Intelligence agencies abroad had foiled two earlier terrorist plots to hijack commercial airliners and crash them into the Eiffel tower and the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.”

 

Attorney General, John Ashcroft:

“What he said:        ‘We’ll get to the bottom of this,’ the attorney general told reporters on Sept. 16.   ‘We need to make sure that we have assigned a high priority to the fight against terrorism.’

What he knew:      In the months before September 11, Justice rejected FBI requests for more counter-terrorism analysts; at the same time the FBI recommended he fly on chartered jets for security.”

Newsweek of May 27, 2002

 

We believe that with such a pervasive and consistent pattern of “misinformation” and cover-ups, that the evaluators of evidence should have taken extreme caution in regards to the validity of any reports presented to them by this administration, as required by the standards of “due diligence” of their office, and in view of the massive resources and the high degree of competency of the staff at their disposal.

 

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As a result of the above, we the undersigned request our government to provide a full accounting of the legal basis and justification for the actions it compelled our Armed Forces to undertake in Afghanistan.

As we have suffered repeated evasions and refusals to answer this request, we will interpret the lack of full and complete response, within 45 days to be tacit confirmation of our belief that there was in fact no basis in law for the actions undertaken.

We hope that in further actions and statements made by holders of Governmental Office, that greater care will be taken in the exercise of "due diligence" with regards to establishing veracity of evidence, and examining the legality of action.  And we hope that such care will prevent such confusions as have arisen from our actions in Afghanistan.

We request that you direct your response to Lawyers Against War, as well as publish both this request and your response on Department of National Defense Website.