Tuesday, February 15, 2005

IRV Forum ON in Eureka, Arcata Considers Protecting Conscientious Objectors

I just came from a meeting with Eureka, CA City Councilmembers Chris Kerrigan and Mike Jones. Realizing Community essayist Scott Menzies was also present. Efforts are now officially underway to hold a town hall forum on election reform, and Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in particular, in Eureka.

Over the next two weeks, Chris and Mike will arrange one or more potentially viable locations, most likely in a church outside of either of their wards. Scott and I will be contacting potential speakers for the event and also developing a marketing plan to get the word out and begin the process of offering more education on what is IRV. The four of us will gather again on March 1 to make a final decision on the location and date for the forum.

Today's announcement is especially gratifying considering the appeals made to the Eureka City Council beginning last October amid the anticipated controversy of the then-impending election. At that time, all we asked was that Council engage us in dialog, hear our concerns, and allow the growing election reform movement to be advanced through them as an official channel. Today there is undeniable momentum for election reform efforts in Humboldt County, CA.

On a related note, the No Confidence Resolution is soon to be addressed by the Arcata, CA City Council though their published agenda does not include this topic for tomorrow night's meeting. Arcata Vice Mayor Dave Meserve advised me to expect this delay as he wants to address another national matter first. The following resolution calling for protection of conscientious objectors in Arcata will instead be getting a hearing tomorrow night. Apparently only a discussion is expected with a vote held over until at least the next Council session.

WHEREAS, according to the Pentagon, as of December 2004, more than 5500 American military personnel, and one third of the Individual Ready Reserves who have been called up have refused orders to participate in the war against Iraq.

WHEREAS, the attack on Iraq violates the UN Charter (Art. 2, Sec. 3,4), which prohibits the “unilateral use of force”; and the Nuremberg Principles (VI (a)), which prohibit “crimes against peace,” including “initiating and waging a war of aggression,” which is considered the “supreme international crime.”

WHEREAS, The U.N. Charter, a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1945, and the Nuremberg Principles, enunciated in a binding Executive Agreement in 1945 and incorporated in the U.S. Law of Land Warfare in 1956, are part of and incorporated into the Supreme Law of the Land under the U.S. Constitution (Art.VI, Sec. 2).

WHEREAS, Congress never declared war on Iraq, and therefore the war is in violation of the US Constitution (Art I, Sec. 8); nor did the attack fulfill the requirements of the War Powers Act of 1973, since there was no “imminent” threat.

WHEREAS, because of the violations listed above, the attack on Iraq constitutes an illegal war and a “Crime Against Peace” under Constitutional and International law.

WHEREAS, an order to participate in an illegal war is an “unlawful order.”

WHEREAS, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Art. 92) and the Army Field Manual (Sec. 509), military personnel have the duty to obey only “lawful orders” and an obligation to disobey “unlawful orders.”

WHEREAS, Under the Nuremberg Principles, complicity in the commission of “Crimes Against Peace” is a crime for an individual, “provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

WHEREAS, any military personnel who refuse to obey orders to participate in an illegal war are obeying, and therefore in compliance with, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the US Constitution, and International Law.

WHEREAS, residents of Arcata are currently participating in the illegal war in Iraq, or have been told that they may soon be deployed; and many young residents, faced with limited opportunities at home, sign up with the armed forces, active and reserve, and may be ordered to fight in Iraq or in other illegal wars.

WHEREAS, military personnel from Arcata, who choose to disobey orders when called upon to participate in the illegal war against Iraq, or any illegal war, should have protection from prosecution, because they are in compliance with United States Law, including the Constitution.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT The City Council of the City of Arcata supports all troops, and demands that they be brought home now, as previously resolved by this Council (Resolution 045-10) on July 21, 2004.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT The City Council of the City of Arcata also supports those military personnel who refuse to participate in the Iraq war, or any other illegal war.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT The City Council of the City of Arcata demands that those who refuse to participate in illegal wars not be prosecuted for desertion or related crimes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT The City Council of the City of Arcata will consider what further actions it should take in order to protect from prosecution residents of Arcata who are military personnel, if they choose to disobey orders to participate in any illegal war.

The United Nations Charter, Article 2:
(3) All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
(4) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

The Nuremberg Principles,
Principle IV. The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
Principle VI: The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
Principle VII. Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

US Constitution,
Article VI: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land
Article I, section 8: The Congress shall have Power+ to Declare War

War Powers Act of 1973, SEC. 2. (c) :
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

Uniform Code of Military Justice:
Section 890,Art.90, Para. 2:: Any person subject to this chapter who willfully disobeys a lawful command of his superior commissioned officer; shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct
Art. 92, Para. 1(c): A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders+
Art. 90, Para. 14c (2):Disobeying superior commissioned officer.
(a) Lawfulness of the order.
(i) Inference of lawfulness. An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.

The United States Army Field Manual - The Law of Land Warfare, 1956:
498 Crimes Under International Law - Any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian. who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible thereof and liable to punishment....
509 Defense of Superior Orders
b In considering the question of whether a superior order constitutes a valid defense, the court shall take into consideration the fact that obedience to lawful military orders is the duty of every member of the armed forces+At the same time it must be borne in mind that members of the armed forces are bound to obey only lawful orders.
510 Government Officials The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a war crime acted as the head of a State or as a responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility for his act.



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