04 September 2009

Double Standards: GC and the press

From my previous work on The Volunteer Fifth Column I cited the following:

8) On 19 OCT 2006 CNN has decided to become the anti-American outlet of choice for Iraqi insurgents and terrorists. That is when they decided that to 'tell the other side of the story' in Iraq meant showing the murder of a US soldier via sniper fire. This was *not* a military assault, but a pre-planned and executed murder of a US soldier for propaganda video footage. CNN has refused to call it such or to even indicate that it is an evidentiary piece for war crimes as the showing of such is actually against the Geneva Conventions. In previous eras that would be considered activity worthy of a War Crimes tribunal for those involved. Strange how so many are ready to call for that for US soldiers in combat and *not* for those publicizing the murders of US soldiers.

Joining CNN in this category is the New York Times with its running of a video showing the death of Staff Sgt. Hector Leija as reported by Gateway Pundit on 03 FEB 2007 due to the uproar over the Stars & Stripes first report on this by the NYT. Not only did they not go via their own codes of conduct and respect for the family of a fallen serviceman. By doing neither and showing such video, the NYT is also liable for War Crimes prosecution by abrogating the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of the wounded and dead of lawful combatants.

Because of the lax attitude towards holding anyone accountable for any actions, I doubt that either organization will be brought up on charges. Specifically under the following:

Convention IV
Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949.
Part I. General Provisions
Art. 5 Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.

Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.

In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.

The use and reporting of actual sniper fire to kill a lawful combatant by individuals not affiliated with the Armed Forces of the High Contracting Powers or of those that would be considered to be equivalent in a civil war from the opposing side are considered to be neutral unless they take part in activities AGAINST said lawful combatants. Thus, by using such coverage and not clearing it with the lawful Armed Forces command structure and publicizing it in a manner that is against any High Contracting Power or equivalent, the neutrality is abrogated and LOST.
Further in the same Convention:

Part III. Status and Treatment of Protected Persons
Section III. Occupied territories

Art. 68. Protected persons who commit an offence which is solely intended to harm the Occupying Power, but which does not constitute an attempt on the life or limb of members of the occupying forces or administration, nor a grave collective danger, nor seriously damage the property of the occupying forces or administration or the installations used by them, shall be liable to internment or simple imprisonment, provided the duration of such internment or imprisonment is proportionate to the offence committed. Furthermore, internment or imprisonment shall, for such offences, be the only measure adopted for depriving protected persons of liberty. The courts provided for under Article 66 of the present Convention may at their discretion convert a sentence of imprisonment to one of internment for the same period.
The penal provisions promulgated by the Occupying Power in accordance with Articles 64 and 65 may impose the death penalty against a protected person only in cases where the person is guilty of espionage, of serious acts of sabotage against the military installations of the Occupying Power or of intentional offences which have caused the death of one or more persons, provided that such offences were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory in force before the occupation began.

The death penalty may not be pronounced against a protected person unless the attention of the court has been particularly called to the fact that since the accused is not a national of the Occupying Power, he is not bound to it by any duty of allegiance.

In any case, the death penalty may not be pronounced on a protected person who was under eighteen years of age at the time of the offence.

Now Iraq is not being occupied unless reporting is being done from a viewpoint of presenting "the other side's view" - which is that the US is 'occupying' Iraq. Promulgating that storyline can either be done in context of the US is helping a Free Iraq, and the sniping is an illegal activity that they are reporting upon and are, thusly, under all laws of Iraq that cover such reporting or that those doing the reporting for the presentation of such violence in the light of the insurgents agree that Iraq is 'occupied' and thus such reporting falls under that of 'occupied territory'. So the first case makes these news organizations liable to the civil criminal codes of Iraq for this, but this is also combat against an insurgent force. Mind you, if you push the 'Occupied Iraq' concept, then the folks doing this should be summarily charged and imprisoned under the UCMJ. But I suspect they wouldn't like being in Gitmo. In which case that brings us to the dead and wounded Geneva Convention. This brings us to:

Convention I
For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949
Chapter II. Wounded and Sick

Art. 12. Members of the armed forces and other persons mentioned in the following Article, who are wounded or sick, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances.
They shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party to the conflict in whose power they may be, without any adverse distinction founded on sex, race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or any other similar criteria. Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated, subjected to torture or to biological experiments; they shall not wilfully be left without medical assistance and care, nor shall conditions exposing them to contagion or infection be created.
[Parts applying to urgent medical treatment ommitted]

Art. 13. The present Convention shall apply to the wounded and sick belonging to the following categories:

(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces. (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. (3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a Government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power. (4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civil members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany. (5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions in international law. (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.


Art. 17. Parties to the conflict shall ensure that burial or cremation of the dead, carried out individually as far as circumstances permit, is preceded by a careful examination, if possible by a medical examination, of the bodies, with a view to confirming death, establishing identity and enabling a report to be made. One half of the double identity disc, or the identity disc itself if it is a single disc, should remain on the body.

Bodies shall not be cremated except for imperative reasons of hygiene or for motives based on the religion of the deceased. In case of cremation, the circumstances and reasons for cremation shall be stated in detail in the death certificate or on the authenticated list of the dead.
They shall further ensure that the dead are honourably interred, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged, that their graves are respected, grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased, properly maintained and marked so that they may always be found. For this purpose, they shall organize at the commencement of hostilities an Official Graves Registration Service, to allow subsequent exhumations and to ensure the identification of bodies, whatever the site of the graves, and the possible transportation to the home country. These provisions shall likewise apply to the ashes, which shall be kept by the Graves Registration Service until proper disposal thereof in accordance with the wishes of the home country.

Thus the wounded and dead due to sniper fire are to be treated honorably throughout the entire procedure from event to interment in the grave for the dead. Not going through proper military channels on any and all events of wounding and killing that are recorded and propagating them without military authorization is an act against the State or High Contracting Power or equivalent. That reporting removes all protection of the Geneva Conventions from those doing such reporting on the dead and wounded encountered against an insurgent force IN ADDITION to the local laws. I find such reporting to be absolutely reprehensible by ANY news organization and cannot see how they can ethically justify such as doing so puts them in contradiction of the honorable treatment of the dead and wounded. Both CNN and New York Times do not treat the dead and wounded honorably by their use of film to show partisan views of such events and are considered to be working outside of normal military channels against the Nation of those being wounded and killed, in this case the United States.

Why they are not under indictment under the Geneva Conventions or treated as espionage agencies is beyond me. The use of such is a War Crime by any definition and doing so to harm a State is against the Geneva Conventions and makes one working for the enemy of the State that is being targeted for such coverage.

When I hear all the blather from 'journalists' about the Geneva Convention and terrorists, I do, indeed, ask myself: why are they not raising a holy furor about these people violating not only journalistic standards but the laws of war?  By violating such standards 'journalists' lose their 'protected persons' status.

You do not show images, video or anything about the dead, sick or wounded on the battlefield unless it is first approved of by the powers in question who are within that territory during the time of your stay there.  While the US is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan under orders from the Executive Branch carrying out the will of the Legislative Branch, the rule of law in those areas where US forces operate ARE the laws of war.  When a soldier is wounded or sick, they become a protected person under the GC and need the greatest protection from harm, abuse and exploitation possible.

Even with the AP already a member of The Volunteer Fifth Column, it now gets moved up a notch from mere mis-reporting and fauxtography to absolutely contravened activity.  The AP has now shown the image of a fallen soldier after receiving orders from Defense Secretary Gates,as seen at Blackfive reporting from Politico:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision “appalling” and a breach of “common decency.”

The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”

The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to The AP.

Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed.

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”

Neither the SECDEF nor the family of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard wanted the image of him splashed on newspapers around the world.  There is decency for the dead in wartime and when the SECDEF 'asks' he is telling you that you can't do that as we have seen from the Geneva Conventions.

There is no equivalency between those who are fighting for no Nation utilizing their full liberty of Private War and having no command structure over them, no accountability and following none of the laws of war, to those that wear a uniform, are accountable, fight for a Nation, under a legitimate declaration of war, and are in a war zone.  No moral equivalency between the two.  When you splash the picture of a dead soldier that the SECDEF and the soldier's family have asked you not to publish you are not liable for a mere lawsuit.

You are liable to be tried for espionage under a military tribunal and shot if found guilty.

It is a war crime.

Not a civil crime, not due to the civil justice system, not a mere criminal penalty, but one of the highest crimes of war recognized for over a century.  No excuse can be put forward for doing that to any lawful combatant.


That is why getting adjudged an unlawful combatant is vital: it tells you what to do with those who aren't fighting under the recognized, civilized, laws of war.

I expect the Left to make all sorts of moralizations, if they even care about the laws of war as something other than mere talking points to misconstrue and bash the US with.  Then to use that misconstrued logic to perform their own heinous offenses against the sensibilities of all civilized people who recognize the laws of war.

Which our enemies DON'T.

There is accountability with being civilized and having laws you adhere to.

When you contravene them you are due a penalty.

I expect that penalty to be paid in a military court as that is the jurisdiction involved.

If someone would just get the guts to charge these scum for doing these actions and showing our brave soldiers images when they have been killed by those who follow no laws of war whatsoever.  Luckily the family was involved, too, so they didn't get a first notification via opening the front page of a newspaper and seeing their dead son on it.

No comments: