The Rules of Engagement……

15 Oct

The Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War……

As five Royal Marines are currently under investigation for their treatment of a captured Afghani insurgent the Rules of Engagement are in the media spotlight.  Little information has been released to the press surrounding the allegations of the mistreatment of the Afghani but it would appear that during an engagement he was wounded and taken prisoner.  What happens next is unknown.  However, under the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 135, entered into force Oct. 21, 1950, there is a very clear set of rules which need to be followed.

Specifically and most applicably, Article 3, which states:

Part I:  ‘Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria’

 

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

 

(a)   Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture

(b)   Taking of hostages

(c)    Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment

(d)   The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples

 

Part II:  ‘The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for’

 

‘An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict’

In short, you must provide care for a wounded party and treat them with dignity.  The suggestion from media sources is that the five Royal Marines failed to follow these basic requirements to some degree.

What Justification was There for the Military to be in Afghanistan…..?

The attacks on Afghanistan were instigated by the United States in the aftermath of 9/11 and before any concrete links were established.  The justification came from the idea that Osama Bin Laden had ‘terrorist’ training camps and was controlling his worldwide network of terror from the hills of Tora Bora.  The evidence for this was pure fabrication.  The 19 hijackers were almost all Saudi nationals and all trained in the US.  It is now widely accepted amongst the media that videos showing the alleged training camps in action were staged for the cameras.  Dick Cheyney went on national television with an elaborate plan showing the scale of the underground bunkers from which Bin Laden was allegedly operating.  As you can see from the diagram presented by Cheyney, after extensive bombing raids when the troops on the ground reached the caves they found only small, naturally formed caves, some with small stockpiles of ammunition.  It was a far cry from the highly advanced war machine sold to us by the US Department of Defence.  Despite this the full might of the US military machine rolled into Afghanistan……

And on the Subject of the Geneva Conventions……

I would like first to address the issue of ‘insurgents’, or rather its meaning which has become distorted by the media.  Various definitions can be found but the main thread is that of a person acting in revolt against an invading army, a revolutionary or defender of sovereign territory.  The portrayal in the media has tainted the term ‘insurgent’ with connotations of ‘a terrorist’ when in reality it would be better described as an uprising against tyranny.

The reason I raise this is again in relation to the use of unmanned Predator Drone strikes against ‘insurgents’ in the north of Pakistan.  It is difficult to establish the number of civilian casualties but since the Obama administration took office figures suggest a number of around 600 innocent civilians, 60 of which are though to be children.  Of the others killed in the attacks we have only the confirmation of the administration that they were in fact ‘enemy combatants’ and what imminent threat was posed by them is unclear.

Despite the Geneva Conventions and other internally accepted rules of engagement, the US military continues to use its 7,500 drones to kill people on the ground without presenting any evidence that they were a threat to US national security or any other ally.

This extrajudicial execution of individuals at the will of the US, illegal detention without trial in Camp Delta, torture of detainees and any other unmonitored activity carried out by the state has to stop and the Rules of Engagement re-examined.

What Would you do…..?

Imagining that you were to swap places with the people of northern Pakistan or Afghanistan and you witnessed terror reigning down from the skies, killing innocent members of your family and your children; would you be more or less likely to seek revenge for these killings, carried out by the supposed most democratic country on Earth?

The United States of America and its allies are not fighting a ‘war on terror’, they are creating one.  One which suits the plans of the Neo-Conservatives who wrote the Project for a New American Century’ calling for a ‘war without end’ against ‘an invisible enemy’.  A war where ‘thought crime’ is now a reality.

‘The United States of America is the most dangerous country on Earth.  Their crimes against humanity and violation of human rights make Iran and North Korea appear benign in comparison.  The next big conflict will be instigated by the USA and it will be they who make the first moves of aggression’……

 

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