Crimes That Remain Unpunished: Genocide And Terrorism In The Name Of Freedom Or Democracy

22 June 2015

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

The plight of the Rohingya today is not unlike the mass slaughter of the Tutsi tribe by the ruling majority Hutu tribe in Rwanda back in 1994

In the chronicles of history, many crimes have been recorded that have sometimes escaped retribution. In recent times, it has been state-sponsored criminal intent and activity, some of which continues today that has gone unpunished.

Take, for instance, the state-sponsored crime of genocide against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. As the world watches, this group is under threat of extermination by Buddhist extremists who want to rid their soil of these marginalised people. While we watch and sputter a few words of meaningless protests, the Rohingya fall and die daily. At this rate, they will soon perish and become a blot in our history.

The plight of the Rohingya today is not unlike the mass slaughter of the Tutsi tribe by the ruling majority Hutu tribe in Rwanda back in 1994. An estimated one million Tutsis were massacred by a government-orchestrated genocide. It was an open season to kill, as the Rwandan army and Hutu civilians took to hacking and downing the helpless and outnumbered Tutsis.

Declassified US documents released early last year point out to the Clinton administration's refusal to term the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One such document attributed to the US State Department read: "Be careful. Genocide finding could commit the US government to actually ‘do something'."

Seven years later, the current US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, described the US inaction in a 2001 article titled ‘Bystanders to Genocide'. She wrote: "The United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorisation of UN reinforcements."

Bill Clinton, the US president at the time, later acknowledged that his country's policies towards Rwanda were mismanaged.

"If we'd gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost... it had an enduring impact on me."

He added that if he had sent around 10,000 troops into the country, thousands of lives could have been spared. In an interview with a TV network, Clinton said that the failure of his administration to act during the genocide, which claimed the lives of around a million Rwandans, was one of the reasons behind the establishment of the Clinton Foundation.

Granted, it was not the US that orchestrated the mass genocide in Rwanda, but it was in a position to help stop it. But in another time and in another place, the US indeed has been complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Such assertions come from no less than one of their own — a renowned and respected attorney who recently passed away.

Vincent Bugliosi, a former deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County, rose to fame for his central role in prosecuting the bizarre murders that terrorised California in the summer of 1969. Those murders were at the behest of Charles Manson. He was successful in sending Manson and his groupies to prison for the murders and followed his successful stint as a prosecutor by authoring a series of best-selling books, the most famous perhaps being Helter Skelter, which was released in 1974 and provided an account of the Manson case.

In 2008, Bugliosi released a controversial book titled, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, in which he laid out a series of reasons why Bush should be held accountable for war crimes that he engineered when he took off on his adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In keeping with the prevailing atmosphere at the time, mainstream media ignored any criticism of the policies of the US president and downplayed the release of his latest novel.

In an interview with Michael Collins, a Washington DC area writer, researcher and citizen journalist who addresses subjects corporate media ignores, Bugliosi laid out his specifics against the sitting president. "Apparently, it's okay for George Bush to take this nation to war on a lie, to be responsible, criminally responsible for well over 100,000 deaths, but it's not okay to prosecute him. Not only isn't it okay to prosecute him, it isn't even okay to talk about prosecuting him. This is unbelievable what's going on in this country. How can we have a country where they permit a president to do what he did and they do absolutely nothing to him except to try to protect him?

"This is... just absolutely terrible, and the question is how evil, how criminal, how perverse, how sick can George Bush and his people be? And yet they got away with all of this. As I'm talking to you right now, there are well over 100,000 people — some estimates go in excess of a million — well over 100,000 precious human beings who are in their cold graves right now because of it. But so far, George Bush has gotten away with murder and we, the American people, cannot let him do this. He's gotten away with murder, and no one is doing anything."

Vincent Bugliosi is no more among us, but his words should stir the moral fibres of those who continue to condone state-sponsored genocide and terrorism in the name of freedom or democracy. The voices from the graves cry out for retribution.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 


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