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Taken 28/7/14

Adolf Eichmans trial

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Eichmans whole defence was based on his denial of responsibility and he was only doing as he was told. I find it hard to understand this as he was instructing others to carry out his instruction. He wasn't driving the trains or gazing and shooting the prisoners or making any policy.

I do find it interesting how this bureaucrats who where responsible directly at the camps Also used this  defence at nuremburg and more recently Oskar Groening the book keeper at Auchswitz. 

The whole Authouritairism thing a complete area on its own as there is a definite case of further investigation needed into why socially superior society accepts these individuals as authority. 

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Me in a rare cheerful mood

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I did a Coursera course on international criminal law which talked about how the "I was only following orders" defence was challenged at the Nuremberg Trials and created a precedent for international justice by rejecting it.

I find that whole history Nuremberg to modern day decisions about what legal action can be taken across borders fascinating.  We now have continental courts of justice and war trials procedures and all sorts of good stuff to improve the safety and security of (most) everyone on the planet from abuses by their own government.

But the pendulum seems to have swung the other way from the principal established in the mid-1600s of sovereign states having absolute control of internal affairs ("Westphalian Sovereignty") to NATO saying the Westphalian principles are undemocratic and humanity is not relevant and then Tony Bliar simply called it anachronistic and that you can therefore attack who you like with impunity which, it appears, he could.

When I take a stand back and look at the last 1,000 years of European history, it seems in this past 20 years we have undone the work of the preceding 350 in pursuit of justice.


The victims of the Nazis got justice (as much was practically possible, anyway) at Nuremberg.  Where do civilians killed by Western airstrikes get their justice?  As Hilary Benn said yesterday: "Ve are only folloving ze orders of ze United Nations!"

So that's all right then.

Me in a rare cheerful mood

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You've set me off now!

The Milgram Experiment was the one where unwitting volunteers were talked into (supposedly) electrocuting people to death because the bloke in the white coat told them to.

When Hilary Benn gave his speech, the bit about "We are only following a UN mandate" was the bit that won over the MPs: knowledge that whatever happens, not only does their collective responsibility mean they are only a tiny bit to blame if things go wrong, it was all the UN's idea anyway.  They can vote for war with impunity.

Maybe right there is a very good argument for our elected representatives to be held responsible for their actions, not just those of countries we don't like, and I don't mean at the ballot box.  Maybe we should be sending our war criminals to trial as a lesson to the others.  Maybe they'll cheer less when they vote for war.

Picture of Mary Forde

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It is also frightening when we look at the way that individual citizens rights in democratic countries are eroded, I found this documentary quite scary... http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06r0wtg/storyville-20152016-10-fbi-undercover