|CENSURE IS NOT ENOUGH: Francis Boyle,
international law professor, University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, Feb. 13, 2004 -- Author of the forthcoming book,
DESTROYING WORLD ORDER, Boyle says a desperate Karl Rove-guided
Bush administration may take the US to WAR AGAINST SYRIA if, by
September, they think they will lose the 2004 election. Boyle says
MoveOn.org's call for CENSURE of George W. Bush is "A
MEANINGLESS GESTURE, A COP-OUT, YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO FOR
IMPEACHMENT INSTEAD OF CENSURE." Other topics include:
Laurence Silberman and cover-up; Israeli involvement in Iraq.(transcript)
8 min audio.
[Francis Boyle is professor of international at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Telephone interview conducted Feb. 13, 2004]
Snowshoefilms: What’s the significance of Bush’s appointment of the notorious neo-con Laurence Silberman (retired federal appeals court judge) to be co-chair of the investigation into the “intelligence failures” over purported WMD in Iraq?
Professor Boyle: He’s in there to cover the whole thing up. I don’t see anything independent coming from all this. The whole purpose, the whole strategy is designed to postpone it until after the election and then they’ll deal with it.
Snowshoefilms: Don’t you think what it represents, too, is the incredible isolation of the Bush apparatus, picking from a very few select people who are totally compromised or who are part of the team in the first place?
Boyle: They’re clearly trying to get away with it if they can, just like they did with the appointment of Kissinger to the September 11 commission and then they blew the whistle on him. I think Silberman was CIA counsel or something like that. He was in the general counsel’s office or he was general council. So all this is CIA-type stuff that’s going on here. They know exactly what they’re doing and they’re going to see if they can get away with it. And if they can get away with it, fine. They couldn’t on Kissinger. There was a furor. I don’t think people know enough about Silberman and the dirty tricks he’s been up to.*
VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
Snowshoefilms: Under international law, what form of resistance is legitimate, with regard to Iraq?
Boyle: The Iraqi people have a right to use military force to resist US occupation consistent with the laws of war. I mean, they can’t target civilians but other than that they can certainly use military force to this illegal, criminal invasion.
Snowshoefilms: Who is monitoring US violations of international law?
Boyle: It doesn’t appear to me that they’re obeying the Third or the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Everyone in Iraq, if they’re military or police and being detained for involvement in armed conflict, they have to be treated in accordance with the Third Geneva Convention. If they are civilians, they have to be treated in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. It doesn’t seem to me we’re paying any attention to either Convention. We’re just picking them up. I guess we’re running a big internment facility there, near the airport. Thousands of people just being held and we don’t know their condition.
Snowshoefilms: There’s no legal counsel for any of these folks?
Boyle: Not that I’m aware of. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is supposed to be taking care of them and supervising it, but 1) they don’t say anything and 2), if you check into it, you’ll find out that we pay about 40 percent of the ICRC budget, so that’s a pretty slim reed to rest on. I don’t know but I’m not sure Saddam Hussein’s family has retained a lawyer to represent him. I heard Tariq Aziz family had retained a French lawyer, Berget. He’s demanded access. But the rest of them, they’re just there. The organization that’s supposed to look after them is the ICRC. So far, I don’t think they’ve done very much. I can’t say I’m overly optimistic that they’re going to do much.
ISRAELI INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ
Snowshoefilms: The methods of the occupation in Iraq seem very close to those used by the Israeli Defense Forces and the Mossad…
Boyle: We’ve had marines and others over there [in the Palestinian occupied territories]. That’s a matter of public record. We [the U.S.] have been analyzing their tactics against the Palestinians and they’ve been advising us on it, yeah. You can find that out there in published sources, not just the internet.
And the Israelis – I think it’s been reported in the Israeli press – have been over in Iraq, advising us. And we’ve had our people over there watching what they’re doing in Janin and elsewhere. So it looks like the tactics are….they’re learning from the Israeli experience, unfortunately.
CALL FOR CENSURE IS A COP-OUT
Snowshoefilms: What about the impeachment proceedings versus censure?
Boyle: Censure by Move On, that’s just a copout. They don’t have the guts to call for Bush to be impeached. It’s a total waste of time. It seems to me they’re just getting these people to do a meaningless gesture. If they wanted to accomplish something, Move On would support the impeachment campaign, and they’re not doing it. This [censure] is a sideshow. So what? They want something to do, but they don’t have the guts to back the impeachment campaign, so the best they could come up with was censure. They need to justify their existence, take in money. They need to mobilize people, but that [censure] doesn’t mean anything. You might as well go for impeachment instead of censure.
DESTROYING WORLD ORDER: Boyle’s new book
Snowshoefilms: What’s the status of the impeachment campaign?
Boyle: We’re keeping the pressure on. What can I say? I have a new book coming out, Destroying World Order. It should be out in six weeks [May 2004], Clarity Press. It sums up the current status of the impeachment campaign. Ramsey Clark and I are moving forward. We’re keeping pressure at the grass roots. This is not a problem of drafting. The documents are there. They just need to be polished up. It’s really a question of getting one member of Congress with the guts, like the late [Congressman] Henry B. Gonzalez,** to put a bill of impeachment in. We’ll all mobilize behind him But right now we don’t have anyone.
Snowshoefilms: Why wouldn’t Kucinich, at this point in the campaign, sign on to impeachment?
Boyle: He was asked that at the beginning of the campaign and he said he was trying to unite and felt impeachment would divide us…. So I don’t know where he stands now. I support him, the positions he’s been taking. I’m not questioning his good faith one way or the other. I don’t know where he stands now [on impeachment].
We’re just moving forward with the grass roots because the members of Congress are afraid. Plus, many of them are compromised because they supported the war against Iraq. We’ve got to find someone who’s against the war and has a safe seat, and isn’t afraid. And there aren’t that many. I don’t know what Kucinich will do if he’s no longer running. Maybe he’ll put it in.
WAR AGAINST SYRIA (OR THE U.S.?) IF KARL ROVE THINKS BUSH IS LOSING
The main concern, though, is this – Noam Chomsky said the same thing – if we get to September and they think they’re going to lose the election, they’ll go to war, probably against Syria… It’s just like what happened in the 2002 congressional campaign. Karl Rove got the Senate back and more votes in the House by going to war against Iraq. And they’ll do the same thing this time. I think the most likely target is Syria. They’re setting Syria up for an attack. So they’ll sit there and wait and see how things turn out and after everyone goes on vacation in August, after Labor Day weekend, if they’re going to lose, I think they’ll got to war. Chomsky gave a lecture down in Cuba and he said the same thing. He didn’t identify Syria, but he said if they conclude it’s the only way they’re going to win an election, they’ll go to war.
Snowshoefilms: What about [Michel] Chossudovsky’s notion that another internal major event could be – could occur – and that would be an internal war…
* See, e.g., David Brock’s Blinded by the Right, 2002.
** Bill of Impeachment, Jan. 16, 1991 (see Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time (US War Crimes in the Gulf), 1992, p. 159.