Monday, July 21, 2008

Indicted For War Crimes, Sudan Cites U.S. As Example Why It Needn't Comply

Last week, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed charges for the first time against a sitting head of state, charging President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan with three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. Fareed Zakaria had Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations on his CNN show, GPS, to discuss the charges, which he called "a joke" and cited the U.S.' 2002 withdrawal from the ICC treaty as an example of why Sudan does not recognize the court's authority and will not cooperate with it:

ZAKARIA: Will your government mount a defense in the International Criminal Court?

MOHAMAD: We have no relation with the International Criminal Court. We don't recognize its authority. We are not going to cooperate with it.

ZAKARIA: But of course, you know that other governments that did not recognize the Criminal Court were still forced to extradite their leaders. I'm thinking of Yugoslavia.

MOHAMAD: No. I don't care about them. As far as we are concerned, we are not members. We have been told these days repeatedly that the ICC is an independent body. And so, OK, if it's an independent body, I am not a U.N. organ. We have full right to be part of it or not. And we choose not to be part of it, like the United States.


ZAKARIA: Are you worried that men like yourself, who are defending the regime and defending its actions, could be charged with complicity for genocide?"

MOHAMAD: "This is absolutely a joke. What complicity you are talking about? If you want to address genocides, then you have to address situations in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Gaza.…(full transcript)
Complicating the ICC's ability to pursue war crimes charges, as referenced in the interview by Sudan's UN ambassador, is President Bush's "unsigning" of the International Criminal Court treaty in 2002. Though President Bush has publicly denounced the killings in Sudan as genocide, the administration has soft-pedaled sanctions against the Sudanese government to preserve its extensive intelligence collaboration with Sudan, once a safe haven for bin Laden that has become a crossroads for Islamic militants making their way to Iraq and Pakistan.

The most major impediment to ending the genocide in Darfur has been China's longstanding diplomatic protection and economic support in return for its access to the 500,000 barrels of oil that Sudan produces daily. China, also not a signatory to the ICC treaty, was revealed in a report about a week ago by the BBC to be in violation of the UN arms embargo there through its export of weapons and training of fighter pilots.

Supporters of Barack Obama who would like to see the United States reembrace the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty, thereby reaffirming its commitment to human rights, have created a group on the candidate's website,

Friday, July 18, 2008

WaPo's The Fix: Get To Know Sheldon Adelson

Right-Wing Smear Group Financier and Casino Mogul Sheldon AdelsonChris Cilizza:

Adelson, the third richest man in America according to Forbes magazine, has in recent years turned his attention and, more importantly, his wallet to American politics. Adelson has donated more than $229,000 to various state and national Republican committees and candidates over the last three elections but his real influence is felt in the contributions he has -- and continues to make -- to 527s and 501(c)(4)s that engaged in public education/political efforts

Adelson is one of the prime movers and major backers of Freedom's Watch, the independent, conservative-aligned group expected to play a major role in House and Senate races this year. He has reportedly donated $30 million to fund the groups activities, but because Freedom's Watch is a 501(c)(4), it is not required to make public its donors.

Although Adelson has lurked in the shadows for years, two new profiles -- one by the Wall Street Journal (subscriber-only, boooo!), the other by the New Yorker -- bring him into sharp relief. ...(more)
Adelson sees his role in the coming fall election as "the cavalry coming over the hill, bugles blaring." Look for him to play a significant role financing groups that will try to smear Obama and other Democrats in the months to come.

He is also the financier behind the Defense of Democracies attack ads in the FISA fight and is also very active in Israeli politics, as Cilizza goes on to explain, he "started a free daily newspaper known as Israel Hayom that is widely seen as a vehicle to re-install conservative Benjamin Netanyahu as the country's prime minister."

More links:
TPMmuckraker: NJ: Big Money for Pro-War Group Comes from Casino Mogul
TPMmuckraker: NJ: Casino Mogul Funded Anti-Dem Surveillance Ads
WaPo: Casino Executive Contributes $1 Million to Gingrich Group
RightWeb Profile: Sheldon Adelson
SourceWatch Profile: Sheldon Adelson
Mother Jones: Sheldon Adelson: The Right's White Knight?