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political elites are by their own definition the 'good guys' and by dint of forceful marketing through compliant historians and other media mercenaries have established this perception in the minds of many of their own citizens. They therefore logically have the right to define who are 'war criminals' - who should be subject to the international rules of warfare and who not, as well as the right to kill and bomb anyone they don’t like. This situation, so obvious with respect to the illegal invasion of Iraq, is actually not at all new. Bush and Blair, contrary to many perceptions, followed the hallowed procedures of long-established precedent. In order to get a feel for the reality of the situation we need to look back a few decades. The Second World War is conventionally presented as a clear-cut case of the congenitally good cowboys (dressed in white) heroically battling - valiantly and ultimately triumphantly against the congenitally evil, stinky-smelly injuns. But in this overall romantic Hollywood-type picture of the war there remain certain fundamental awkwardnesses, which have not gone away with the passing of time. One day they will yet come back to haunt the makers of the beautiful, stirring movie. For example, WW2 began with Britain’s guarantee to protect Poland. After Hitler invaded, Britain accordingly declared war on Germany. But when, just less than three weeks later, Stalin by agreement with Hitler took the eastern half of Poland, comprising slightly more than 50% of Poland, Britain completely forgot to declare war on Soviet Russia. A very strange, publicallyunexplained amnesia. In due course of course Britain and Russia became allies, and Churchill somewhat grudgingly acquiesced to Roosevelt’s handing over Eastern Europe, including Poland (forgetting (once more!) the guarantee to that country that started the war) to effective Russian control at the Yalta Conference. This was after a major Russian war crime had
become known to the Allied leadership in 1943: the cold-blooded execution of 15 000 Polish officer prisoners at Katyn and other locations. This particular amnesia also was not out of character Churchill's government had entirely forgotten about Stalin's responsibility for the deaths of millions of 'kulaks' in the 1930's, and his ruthless pre-war purges and destruction of all his political enemies, real and imagined, within the Soviet system. Another example of the awkwardnesses lies in the secret British policy of so-called ‘area bombing’, adopted early in 1942 and outlined by (Lord) CP Snow in the 1960 Godkin Lectures at Harvard University (published in his book Science and Government, Oxford University Press 1961). Snow had an insider’s view of the development of this policy. He outlines how the sinister Professor FA Lindemann (later to become Lord Cherwell, Churchill’s chief scientific adviser), persuaded the British Cabinet to adopt the policy of directing bombing campaigns primarily against German working-class housing. ‘Middle-class houses have too much space around them, and so are bound to waste bombs; factories and "military objectives" had long since been forgotten, except in official bulletins, since they were much too difficult to find and hit’ (p 48). Snow asks, 'What will people of the future think of us? Will they say.. we were wolves with the minds of men? Will they think that we had resigned our humanity? They will have the right.' (p 49). Fortunately, Snow needn't have worried. There have been and remain such powerful vested interests committed to preserving the myths of World War II that even the history departments of universities have in most cases assisted with the coverup. The respected British military historian Martin Middlebrook says, ‘In some ways, Area Bombing was a three-year period of deceit practised upon the British public and on world opinion. It was felt to be necessary that the exact nature of R.A.F. bombing should not be revealed. It could not be concealed that German cities were being hit hard, and that residential areas in those cities were receiving many of the bombs, but the impression was usually given that industry was the main target and that any bombing of workers’ housing areas was an unavoidable necessity. Charges of ‘indiscriminate bombing’ were consistently denied.. The deceit lay in the concealment of the fact that the areas being most heavily bombed were nearly always either city centres or
densely populated residential areas, which rarely contained any industry.. The vital links in the dissemination of this view were the press and the radio upon which the public depended for all wartime news.. Neutral reports [of the campaign against the residential areas of the German city of Hamburg, for example] that 20,000 or 30,000 people had been killed were dismissed as ‘Nazi-inspired stories’.. Liddell Hart, the historian [after the Thousand Bomber Raid on Cologne with its claim of so many acres of city destroyed] wrote: "It will be ironical if the defenders of civilization depend for victory upon the most barbaric and unskilled way of winning a war that the modern world has seen." ’ (Middlebrook, The Battle of Hamburg (1980) pp 343-4]. In his foreword, Middlebrook notes ‘I am likely to be criticized.. for choosing a series of raids which produced such extremes of horror on the ground. But I must point out that a large proportion of the raids carried out by R.A.F. Bomber Command in the Second World War were devoted to this type of bombing. What happened at Hamburg was when Bomber Command ‘got everything right’ (p 12). Words cannot of course convey the terrible, UTTERLY HELLISH reality of tens of thousands of terribly, awfully burnt women and children, and even the appalling photographs cannot convey the horror of the smell of burnt, charred, bloated and rotting corpses, all members of people's families, most of them non-combatant civilians of all ages, male and female. This was unquestionably an extraordinarily systematic and comprehensive terrorism conducted for years against the civilian populations of two countries (Germany and Japan) on a vast industrialized scale, making (in terms of numbers of deaths) the attack on New York on 9/11/2001 seem pathetically puny in comparison, however Hollywood-spectacular the burning and collapsing towers may have been. At the Nuremberg trials, captured German leaders were convicted of ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’ as defined in the London Charter signed on August 8 1945 by the Allied powers. The judicial procedures that were followed remain interesting. The Trials were judicial in appearance only. The judges were not neutral. The victors in the war commissioned their own judges, who were under pressure to provide justification for Allied policies. The Allies themselves were guilty of major war crimes, the most outstanding of which were
the fire-bombing of the civilian residential areas of Dresden (no military significance) under Winston Churchill’s orders (David Irving The Destruction of Dresden (1966) pp. 96100), Alexander McKee Dresden 1945 (1982) p 300, 306, 310); and • the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 1945, in spite of the fact that Japan had signalled her willingness to capitulate some weeks previously (Robert Junck Brighter than a Thousand Suns (1958) pp. 189-191, Martin J Sherwin A World Destroyed (1975) pp. 235-237). To summarize the sequence of the important dates concerning the atomic bombing: • Mid-July 1945: Japanese government communicates to US government their willingness to negotiate capitulation; • August 6 1945: US drops atom bomb on Hiroshima; • August 8 1945: US signs the 'London Charter', or Charter of the International Military Tribunal defining war crimes, including Principle 6 (b) ‘wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.’ • August 9 1945: US drops atom bomb on Nagasaki.
With reference to the atomic bomb, Admiral William Leahy - Chief of Staff to both Roosevelt and Truman - commented, 'My own feeling was that, in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Age. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.' (Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (1970) p725-6, JFC Fuller, The Decisive Battles of the Western World, 1792-1945 (1970) p584). Awkwardly enough, for the sake of judicial impartiality, Churchill and Truman should themselves have been executed at Nuremberg for these undoubted crimes. In addition to finding ways to justify their own conduct, Britain and the US also needed to distract attention from two other aspects. There were the major crimes committed against humanity by their ally the Soviet Union (including the Katyn-related coldblooded massacres of 15,000 Polish officers). There was the characteristic decision of Franklin Roosevelt and his New York advisors to hand over Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union at the Yalta conference. This was in spite of Stalin’s pre-war record of
show trials, liquidation of his enemies in the armed services and his outstanding crime against humanity, the ‘collectivization of the kulaks’. This caused the deaths of millions of Stalin’s own citizens, not in war but in a time of peace, through hunger and police action. The US, through its support of the Soviet Union during the war, effectively assisted, set up and established its own powerful adversary for the 40-year-long Cold War with the associated arms race and third-world proxy wars. This was in spite of Stalin's history, well known to both the US and UK governments before the war began. The role of the Holocaust has been absolutely and critically essential to distract attention away from these issues and preserve (ironically enough) the racist myth of an ethical war fought by the good clean cowboys against the congenitally and incorrigibly evil, filthy injuns. The Holocaust allegation has been not only the ‘hoax of the twentieth century’ [Professor Arthur Butz of Northwestern University in The Hoax of the Twentieth Century] or ‘the greatest robbery in the history of mankind’ [Norman G. Finkelstein of the City University of New York in his book The Holocaust Industry, p 139] but also, ironically enough, a fundamentally and radically racist blood libel by the most stridently anti-racist people in the entire world. For example at Nuremberg (understandably, in view of Hiroshima and Dresden etc) the absolutely fundamental legal principle of tu quo que was denied. ‘In the course of the trial, the Tribunal showed itself to be very receptive to prosecution pleas that tu quo que arguments (i.e., that the Allies had committed the same acts as the defendants) should be inadmissible.’ (Bradley F Smith Reaching Judgement at Nuremberg (1977) p 102). During the Nuremberg Trial the German general Alfred Jodl petitioned for certain documents related to wartime crimes committed by the Allies. ‘This request set off an amazing flurry of excitement among the prosecutors and on October 30, Jackson and Maxwell Fyfe (US and British prosecutors) had a worried discussion on how to deal with this incident, which they held to be the beginning of the long-dreaded Nazi 'attack on the prosecution'. The two prosecutors agreed that the best way to deal with Jodl’s request and any other such 'attacks' was for each prosecutor to narrow the case as much as possible so that Allied actions would not be touched upon and then to urge rejection of all
defense petitions like Jodl’s on the grounds that they were not relevant to the case.’ (Smith p 210.) Needless to say Jodl amongst others was executed by hanging. The Eichmann trial conducted by the state of Israel is interesting in the same way. Once again the judges were not neutral, belonging to the same party as the accusers. They were entirely subordinate and subject to political pressure to provide justification for the establishment of the Israeli State on somebody else’s territory. Hannah Arendt says ‘German witnesses for the defence were excluded from the outset, since they would have exposed themselves to arrest and prosecution in Israel under the same law as that under which Eichmann was tried.’ (p 129); ‘It quickly turned out that Israel was the only country in the world where defence witnesses could not be heard, and where certain witnesses for the prosecution could not be cross-examined by the defence. And this was all the more serious as the accused and his lawyer were indeed not ‘in a position to obtain their own defence documents’.’ (p 220-221); ‘Israeli legal procedure ran counter to Continental procedure – to which Eichmann, because of his national origin, was entitled – in that it required the defendant to provide the evidence for his defence, and this the accused had been unable to do because neither witnesses nor defence documents were available in Israel.’ (p248). Just why was all this legal illegality and judicial irregularity necessary, we might ask? Needless to say, Eichmann was hanged.
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