When the possibility of far-reaching war crimes and crimes against humanity exists, people of conscience have a solemn responsibility to inquire into the nature and scope of these acts and to determine if they do in fact rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. – From the Charter at  http://www.bushcommission.org/



Announcing the First Session of the 2005 International Commission of Inquiry into Crimes against Humanity committed by the Bush Administration.



When: Friday, October 21, 6 pm, and Saturday, October 22, 10 am



Where: Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center, 311 W. 34th Street [off 8th Ave], NYC



Participants and Speakers include [for full list, and descriptions, see below]: James Abourezk, Rev. Luis Barrios, Dennis Brutus, Denis Halliday, Ray McGovern, Camilo E. Mejia, Barbara Olshansky, Malik Rahim, Michael Ratner, Marcus Raskin, Jeremy Scahill, and a special message from Howard Zinn.



PROCEEDINGS in the First Session: Keynote addresses on the historical, moral and political responsibility of the Commission



Presentations of Indictments and Preview of Testimony in four categories: 1) Wars of Aggression: invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. (2) Torture and Indefinite Detention: use of torture and treatment of prisoners (3) Destruction of the Global Environment: systematic policies contributing to global warming. (4) Attacks on Global Public Health and Reproductive Rights: genocidal impact of "abstinence only" in HIV/AIDS policies.



EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON KATRINA, October 22, 2005:



IS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION INDICTABLE FOR COMMITTING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY WITH REGARD TO ITS ACTIONS AND POLICIES RELATED TO HURRICANE KATRINA?



Scenes from Katrina’s aftermath shocked the conscience of humankind, but the full truth has yet to be told. Tens of thousands of people, desperately poor, mostly Black, waving from rooftops as flood waters rose. Search-and-rescue missions suspended and aid supplies cut off in the name of “security” – leaving people to drown, and die of thirst and starvation. Black people stocking up on necessities like food, water and medicine portrayed as “looters.” Police and military guns pointed at survivors’ heads. Ordinary people seeking to help turned back at gun point. For four full days, images from the Convention Center of people suffering and even dying from lack of food, water and medicine. A police-state like atmosphere in the Superdome. Everything spoke to the utter disdain for those, mostly Black and poor, who had lost so much – from family and friends, to livelihood and shelter.



The evidentiary hearing, to be held on October 22, 2005, as part of the first session will be built around and feature eye-witness testimony from New Orleans survivors. It will also include journalists like Democracy Now correspondent Jeremy Scahill and Anglican priest Rev. Barrios who went down South as part of the relief effort.



The commission aims to both frame and fuel a society-wide discussion of whether, or not, the administration of George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other high crimes. It will do this by bringing the truth to light, and by applying exacting standards, to determine if unpardonable crimes have been committed. This discussion, in these terms, is both sorely needed and increasingly possible now because of actual events and the rising public anger at the Bush administration. With a deep sense of responsibility to the people of the world, we have to seize this moment -- a time to change how people see and think about the Bush administration and its actions.



Suggested admission of $30 includes both days of Session I. Admission for a single day is $20. Sliding scale for students and low income.



Participants in the Commission proceedings include:

James Abourezk, former United States Senator

Amy Bartholomew, professor of law at Carleton University

Rev. Luis Barrios, associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice & Anglican Priest

Steven Bronner, professor of political science, Rutgers University

Dennis Brutus, professor emeritus in the Department of Africana Studies and South African poet

Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda

Denis Halliday, ex-UN Assistant Secretary-General, former head of UN Humanitarian Mission In Iraq

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst

Camilo E. Mejia, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War

Barbara Olshansky, Center for Constitutional Rights and coordinator of Guantanamo detainee defense

Malik Rahim, leader of the Common Ground Collective, New Orleans

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights

Marcus Raskin, co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies and member of The Nation's editorial board

Jeremy Scahill, correspondent for Democracy Now!

A special message from Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

plus survivors of Hurricane Katrina, former government detainees, and video testimony from Iraqis under the occupation.



New endorsers of the Commission include Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies, commentator Michael Eric Dyson, professor emeritus of international law Richard Falk, and literary iconoclast Gore Vidal. For a complete list of the endorsers, see the Commission Charter at www.bushcommission.org. E-mail address is  commission@nion.us.



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The Commission is sponsored by the Not In Our Name statement of conscience.

"No election, whether fair or fraudulent, can legitimize criminal wars on foreign countries, torture, the wholesale violation of human rights, and the end of science and reason."