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In Obamaland, "Rule of Law' is for the Other Suckers: US (and French) Courts Ruled Head-of-State Immunity is Absolute

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(Article changed on July 5, 2013 at 12:45)

By Dave Lindorff


Who's the international criminal? ( by ThisCantBeHappening!)

It is clear that the entrapment and forced landing in Austria of the official airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was the work of the US, which was obviously behind the decision by France and Portugal to deny air rights to the flight, and which also was obviously behind the Austrian government's demand to be allowed to search the jet after it landed. After all, those countries have no interest themselves in capturing US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is only Obama's and the NSA's quarry. 

So it is worth examining how the US views the legal status of heads of state under international law and custom.

In 2004, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York) ruled that Robert Mugabe, the corrupt and brutal leader of Zimbabwe, enjoyed "absolute immunity" while inside the US on a visit to New York. The decision stemmed from 2001, when a group of citizens of Zimbabwe sought to have Mugabe arrested in New York on charges of "extrajudicial killing, torture, terrorism, rape, beatings and other acts of violence and destruction." A month earlier, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago), reached a similar conclusion in a case involving then Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

The US government had filed briefs in both those cases arguing that both Jiang and Mugabe (as well as Mugabe's foreign minister, who was traveling with him), had absolute immunity as traveling heads of state. 

No surprise that, given that the head of state of the US at the time of the court proceedings and the Appellate Court hearing, George W. Bush, and his vice president Dick Cheney, were already themselves guilty of serious war crimes and crimes against humanity for their illegal invasion of Iraq, their authorization of kidnappings, extrajudicial killings and torture, and their financing of acts of terrorism.

Given that it was the French who first caved in to US pressure to block the flight home from Russia to Bolivia of President Morales, it is interesting to note too that a the French Supreme Court, in 2001, ruled in a case involving an effort to charge Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafy with the downing of a US civilian aircraft over Lockerbee, Scotland, that heads of state have absolute immunity from prosecution while in office, except for universally accepted crime of genocide...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1850

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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The revocation of a passport does not require any ... by Doc McCoy on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 1:41:19 AM
You are obviously anti-Snowden. And you are appare... by Jim Arnold on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 9:29:23 AM
The State Department under the law can revoke a pa... by Dave Lindorff on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 10:44:16 AM
but I am neither pro or anti Snowden or, for that ... by Doc McCoy on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 11:57:48 AM
In fact, things do change. Bradley Manning was ins... by Dave Lindorff on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 12:12:31 PM
But beg to somewhat differ on passports. Yes, it ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 9:22:20 PM
yes.  Snowden still has the right to freely t... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 3:21:14 AM
"Charged with crime" is innocent until proven guil... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 4:29:52 AM
The Snowden affair has exposed the most basic poli... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 6:02:16 AM
But really, let's be clear and come clean. Hold on... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 6:03:32 AM
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes ne... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 6:24:35 AM
  To you morons who supported Romney in the p... by Howard Lewis on Saturday, Jul 6, 2013 at 6:59:23 PM
we meant well. does that count for nothing?... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 12:39:52 AM