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General News    H1'ed 6/22/19

Nuremberg Prosecutor calls Trump's family separation policy a 'crime against humanity'

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Benjamin Ferencz.
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The last surviving member of the Nuremberg trials  prosecuting team has said Donald Trump committed “a crime against humanity” with the recent family separation policy.  Ben Ferencz, 99, made the comment during a recent interview  with outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.  The lawyer said it was “painful” when he heard about how the Trump administration had separated more than 2,000 children from their families after they had crossed the US-Mexico border. Mr Ferencz was just 27 when he served as the chief prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen trial, during which 22 Nazi officials were found guilty of killing more than a million people.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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Meryl Ann Butler

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I saw the documentary, "Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz" on Netflix recently, it is stunning and not-to-be-missed. Amidst the horrors of the remains of the holocaust, Mr. Ferencz is ethical, moral, and retains a sense of decency....inspiring to watch.

Here's part of a 3-star (out of three stars) review from RogerEbert.com:

Ben Ferencz used to ask his son every night at dinner, "What have you done for mankind today?" Whereas this might seem like a bit of a stretch for many fathers out there, Ferencz had the high moral ground on which to stand, as he forever changed international justice and the way the world handles atrocity. He was more than just a witness to history, he had no less a stated goal than to "stop war," and he saw the legal path to doing so at Nuremberg and beyond. "Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz" tells the story of the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, a brave young man who stood up and said that the only way we can stop injustice in the world is with justice. The film about him by Barry Avrich places Ferencz on a high pedestal, complete with rapturous commentary on his influence and impact from colleagues and family, but the man has undeniably earned it.

After serving in World War II and helping to liberate the concentration camps himself, Harvard lawyer Ben Ferencz became one of the prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials, one of the 20thcentury's most important events. In case they're not teaching this well anymore in public schools, I'll let the prosecutor's brilliant opening statement do the speaking for me as to why Nuremberg was so essential to maintaining some sense of sanity in a world that had become insane in ways no one had previously imagined: "That four great nations, flush with victory and stung with injury, stayed the hand of vengeance, and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason."

Ferencz became tasked with prosecuting the Einsatzgruppen, the soldiers of the Third Reich, men responsible for thousands of murders of men, women, and children. A 27-year-old New York Jew was the main voice for not just the people who had been murdered but the concern that this could happen again. Ferencz says repeatedly in "Prosecuting Evil" that one of the main lessons he learned from the Holocaust was how easily normal people can become mass murderers. He not only had to prosecute the largest murder trial in history but do so in a way that made it more difficult for genocide to ever happen again. All 22 defendants were convicted and hanged.

If that alone had been Ben Ferencz's legacy, he would be a monumental figure in international justice, but he was really just getting started. For the next 70 years and, yes, he's still working at 98 he fought for human rights around the world.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:37:08 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Yes, "a stroke of luck" for me personally meeting with Ben Ferencz and his gracious wife Gertrude as we walked through a corridor chatting ("walk with us" Ben said to me) and viewing the various displays and exhibits at an Arizona Bar Association Convention in Phoenix some time ago - Ben commenting to me, oh yes, "lance, I got your emails".

Ben commenting to me, oh yes,
Ben commenting to me, oh yes, 'lance, I got your emails'
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Ferencz had been invited by the Association to speak about "war crimes", "concentration camps", and his personal experiences and recollections as the Chief Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen Death Squads Trials. "They were not sorry", he said, and here we are, and apparently Trump was not sorry on separating the thousands of migrant families at American detention centers - "He should apologize to the children that have been separated from their parents," said Rep. @ AOC of GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who demanded she apologize for calling ICE detention centers "concentration camps" - "this president needs to be impeached" - #SuchCampsAgain.

In his "take questions" session after his lecture (yes, "virtual reality" - Ferencz, relating his experiences, you were there with him "at the trials", facing the SS General Otto Ohlendorf), Ferencz would openly admit that W Bush preemptively attacking Iraq could be considered a war of aggression in open violation of the UN Treaty #NurembergCrimes - W Bush #CrimeOfAggression.

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 5:47:50 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Lance Ciepiela:   New Content

Ben is a rock star!!

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 10:53:51 PM

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Eddy Schmid

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I wonder whether he would be as enthusiastic to charge American troops who have also committed atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and in South America. American troops that have allegations made against them publicly, have been excused by their own President and the Pentagon, stating clearly, NO ONE WILL EVER CHARGE ONE OF OUR PEOPLE, thereby ripping the bottom out of the Nurmeburg Principles right from the get go. It appears the U.S. can do what ever it chooses with impunity. A bit like the Pot calling the Kettle black.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 7:12:23 AM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

well, no one has asked him to. I bet he would if asked (and maybe if he was a little younger, LOL.) He seems to be quite ethical.


Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 12:58:24 PM

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Mrs. Fuxit

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Corporations make guns, bullets, and bombs. They're above all laws.

Government buys guns, bullets, and bombs. Contractors do the killing.

International law and treaties don't apply to American policy makers.

Elected representatives agree. Endless wars are the best investment!

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 11:44:42 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Reply to Mrs. Fuxit:   New Content

Oh yes, International law and treaties do/did apply to American policy makers (e.g., "if certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does themand we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us" - Robert H Jackson, Chief Nuremberg Prosecutor).

Exceptions were made that Congress had given W Bush the AUMF 2001 (Authorization To Use Military Force = " preemptive war of aggression with Iraq") which usurped/usurps "the rule of law" by not holding W Bush accountable for "war crimes" and "torture" and which places W Bush above all our laws, treaties, and our Constitution - surely not a fitting tribute for "a nation of laws" to do so without congress and the president (s)

W Bush/Obama/Trump/?? ever properly investigating the true cause of 9/11 (e.g. that was actually #PrePlantedExplosives used at the WTC" in the AM & PM - on the #GrandJuryPetition on Page 12).

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 2:35:13 AM

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L.O.L. Really ???? Pray tell, who is going to charge ANY American with such crimes ??????????? Who is going to do the arresting ??????????? Why then, has Trump already excused military personell that were accused of such crimes ? Why has the American Government withdrawn from the World Courts saying they had no jurisdiction within the U.S. of over any U.S. citizen? Seriously Lance, you can't have it both ways. B.T.W. what's the point of having a law, if there's no hope in hell of ENFORCING such a law ?? I distinctly recall a massive fine being imposed upon American Oil companies in the World Court for the degradation of rivers in Nicaragua some time back. The American Government and the companies involved gave both, the Court and Nicaragua the finger, and have not paid a cent of that fine up until today.

Now tell us again, how laws apply to everyone. B.T.W. you also recall an ILLEGAL invasion of Iraq, wherein thousands were killed and made homeless, where are the criminals who caused this today, have they been charged by the Laws you claim apply to everybody ?
And lastly, how about Assange's video clip in Iraq if Americans butchering innocent civilians and laughing about it whilst doing so. Have those criminals been charged with their crime yet ?????????? Instead, the U.S. Government with the assistance of various U.S. bodies are trying to railroad Assange for making those crimes public.

Laws for everyone ????? What a joke.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 7:22:27 AM

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Reply to Mrs. Fuxit:   New Content

Thank you Mrs Fuxit, my thoughts exactly.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 7:14:08 AM

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Old Codger

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More on topic, the so called "crimes against humanity" as it pertains to the separation of families, it is worthwhile to point out that these families entered the country illegally or alternatively made claims seeking asylum. They had ample opportunity to make those claims before reaching the US border and risking being detained. It's more than likely that they knew the family would be separated before arriving at the border. Americans cannot be accused of a "crime against humanity" under those circumstances. If the Democrats are so concerned about this particular issue, they haven't offered a viable solution to the issue. America simply cannot just let people into the country. There has to be a deterrent that so called "assylum seekers" will pay attention to. There is no crime being committed because families are being separated.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 1:21:10 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Old Codger:   New Content

The definitions of "refugee" and "immigrant" are completely different, feel free to look it up.


Lots of people get them mixed up these days, as they have been brutally brainwashed by Trump to disengage entirely from even the remotest of ethical considerations. I always wondered how Hitler did that...and now I am watching Trump do it. I still don't understand how they do ti, though.


Thankfully, it is still possible to do one's own research.

International laws protect refugees from the type of inhumane behavior that the US now dishes out.



Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 2:22:58 PM

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I am well aware of the definitions and am not confused by them, thank you.



Someone can claim to be a refugee, but that does not necessarily make them a refugee. That status is determined during the hearing process.



It would be much easier to automatically assign refugee status to a group or block of people if their country was at with a foreign entity. However, those at our southern border can not claim that. They are mostly economic refugees or trying to escape political issues in their home country.



I have no problem with how the US is dealing with the problem. I and my foreign wife played by the rules to get her a US Visa as well as visas for other countries. The process was long and complicated but we finally succeeded.



As a side note:. I allowed my visa to other countries to expire by my own negligence. As a result, I was denied entry to those countries and had to go to another country to get my paperwork in order. Until Trump came along, the US was very lax in dealing with undocumented people. We are now close to equal with other countries.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 5:10:44 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Old Codger:   New Content

I consider a Nazi trial prosecutor to be an expert on this.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 29, 2019 at 3:37:05 PM

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don curry

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Not to diminish the importance of this fine man, but the text of the article was in many ways disingenuous. It said that people had to enter the US to apply for citizenship, so therefore their arrest was inevitable. In fact, there are locations along the border where people can apply for refugee status. They can apply and wait for a decision without interference. They are arrested when they are caught after entering the US, and they can still apply for refugee status, but they are arrested (i.e. prevented from continuing their illegal activity) If you are arrested, for instance for drunk driving or driving without a license, you are taken into custody. That is to assure that you will not continue that illegal activity which you have clearly demonstrated that you are determined to continue. When you are arrested, if you are accompanied by any children, they are not arrested. They are separated from you. The problem is the magnitude of the lawbreaking at the border, and the fact that the arrested have little connection to society at large that they are attempting to enter. The left is not providing answers or solutions but are exacerbating the problem and causing suffering hoping that the awful pathos of the situation can give them political gains. That is the focus and intent of the article.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 2:19:00 PM

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Reply to don curry:   New Content

True Don, the left is not offering any type of solution, and hence causing suffering. The US did work something out with Mexico where assylum seekers could stay in Mexico while their case was being adjudicated.



The left doesn't offer any solution because frankly, one that would be palatable to both right and left doesn't exist. Given the large number of illegals who are in hiding and not appearing for hearings, it is pretty obvious that we can't really be compassionate to these people. They obviously know how to work the system AND receive help doing it from the right.


Submitted on Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 5:31:12 PM

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Reply to Old Codger:   New Content

It is significant and unusual for a sitting president's own federal workers to publicly criticize a policy they have been directed to follow. The asylum officers say the MPP program undercuts a core part of their job and may endanger the lives of asylum-seekers, so the officers are asking the federal appeals court to halt the program.

"The MPP, contrary to the Administration's claim, does nothing to streamline the process, but instead increases the burdens on our immigration courts and makes the system more inefficient," the federal workers wrote.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 29, 2019 at 12:11:36 AM

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