Political scientist Dr. Michael Hass and former Los Angeles County District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi spoke to an audience of about 100 about the crimes of the Bush Administration Wednesday at a lecture sponsored by the Political Science Department at Johnson Auditorium.’
Both speakers have authored books on the subject, which they said have been blacked out in the mainstream media.
Hass has written, ‘George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes,’ and Bugliosi is the author of, ‘The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.’
‘I realize that the title of my book is a little ambiguous and some people chided me for not being a little clearer about my intentions,’ joked Bugliosi, who throughout the speech established grounds for prosecuting Bush, the main reason being that Bush knowingly misled the nation into war.
‘In this book I present evidence that proves beyond all reasonable doubt that George Bush took this nation to war on a lie, under false pretenses, and therefore under the law he is guilty of murder for the deaths of over 4,000 young American soldiers who died so far in his war.’
Bugliosi continued to say that’ Bush is equally guilty of the killings of about 100,000 Iraqi citizens, men, women and children, but that he was unable to establish jurisdiction for those charges.
Bush’s prosecution will be based on ‘vicarious liability rule of conspiracy,’ said Bugliosi explaining that he used the same argument to convict Charles Manson, his most famous case, which became the basis for co-authoring ‘Helter Skelter,’ a New York Times bestseller about the Manson killings.
Bugliosi explained that during a robbery the getaway driver would be as guilty of the robbery as of any killings committed by the robber inside because they would be committed to further the act of robbery.
Bugliosi said in 2002, Bush told the American people the exact opposite of what a CIA document had told him six days prior about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. The report said there was no evidence Hussein was a threat.
‘If we want America to become the great nation it once was, we can hardly do this without bringing Bush to justice,’ said Bugliosi.
While Bugliosi spoke about Bush’s violation of domestic law, Hass in a PowerPoint presentation, listed war violations of international law committed by the Bush Administration. Hass highlighted the war crimes, which still continue under the Obama Administration.
The war crimes included conspiracy to wage war, aiding rebels in a civil war, killing or wounding civilians traitorously, secret detainees, torture, and inhumane treatment of prisoners, among others.
The list of violations neared 300. ‘These are retail when compared to Hitler’s wholesale, but they are somewhere on that scale,’ said Hass.’
Hass reiterated the point that the war is illegal. In Germany, he said a soldier refused to go to war and was put on trial. Charges were dropped when the court ruled that the war was, in fact, illegal.’
Haas called for a truth commission inside the United States and said Obama supports the idea if the commission can be bipartisan.
The Geneva Conventions must be restored, said Hass, a human rights advocate, explaining that the reason other countries refuse to take back prisoners held by U.S. is because the U.S. places restrictions on them, such as closely monitoring returned prisoners.
‘My objective,’ said Hass, ‘is to return U.S. to the role of a civilized nation.’ CSUN political science major Matt Stangle, 26, is an under contract U.S. Marine corporal who served from 2003 to 2007 who could be called to serve in the war any time until his contract is up.
‘I don’t appreciate the claims that soldiers are being murdered. It trivializes the commitment we made. You take an oath to protect this nation no matter whether you agree (with the policies) or not,’ said Stangle.
He also said a trial would not be a feasible idea because it would mean prosecuting an institution. ‘We as a society are equally responsible for what has happened,’ because we exploit other nations for material gains, said Stangle. ‘We want oil.’
Stangle said if called upon, he would go to war without hesitation. ‘Our lives aren’t just for ourselves. They should be lived for others.’
Mayra Lugo, 19, mathematics major said, ‘I’m still in-between with prosecuting Bush. I think he should be, but right now we have more important things to view like the war crimes Dr. Hass spoke about.’
Another army reservist awaiting deployment by the end of this year said, ‘It’s personal to me, it hit me that a lot of these soldiers died in an illegal war. Justice should be brought.’
The 20-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, added that she too, without hesitation, would go to the frontlines even though she was uncertain what she would be fighting for.
‘The war is evolving,’ she said. ‘At 17 I joined to support my country in any way I could.’
Keiko Hirata, assistant professor of Political Science organized the event.
‘I hope that our students take away an understanding of some of the legal controversies in international relations, and an enhanced appreciation of the need to maintain an appropriate balance between security and human rights when waging war and fighting terrorism,’ Said Hirata.
Political Science Department Chair Martin Saiz, speaking to Bugliosi said, ‘I walked in skeptical and you convinced me.’
‘I think they [the students] would learn something about the process of prosecution in the U.S. and that no one is above the law,’ Saiz said.’
Bugliosi said the fear of conservative republicans keeps people from taking them on. In addition, he said the survivors of those who died in Iraq have another reason for not speaking out.
‘They want to believe that their children did not die in vain. They want to believe they died for America.’
‘They fought for Bush not for America,’ said Bugliosi. ‘