Ramsey Clark Adresses Serbian Academic Community

Discurso de aceptación por parte de Ramsey Clark, ex Fiscal General de EEUU de un doctorado honorario por la Universidad de Belgrado (1999)

 
     

Ramsey Clark Adresses Serbian Academic Community
on the occasion of receiving Honorary Doctorate of Belgrade University

I am honoured to be here today. I appreciate all these kind words, since I don't hear such kind words particularly often at home. I must observe first that it takes a people with enormous generosity of spirit and an institution deeply committed to reason and the pursuit of truth to honour a foreigner whose own government is bombing you at this very moment. The people of Serbia here show that they have such generosity of spirit, and this great institution of higher learning, the University of Belgrade and its - as we would say, sister institutions including, I have to observe, the Chancellor of the University of Priština, has that commitment to reason and the pursuit of truth. So it's you who are to be honoured. And it's for me to be grateful. You thank me for being here, but there's no place on earth I'd rather be at this moment, not with my wife of fifty years and sixteen days, not even with my children, and you may find this hard to believe, not even with my grandchildren, who bring more joy than anything to my life, not even with the multitudes of my own country, the people I deeply love would I rather be at this moment. The place for people to be, for the people who love freedom, who pursue justice, who will never stop this struggle for peace - is in Serbia. If I leave you, because I will, I must, it is not because I wouldn't rather be here, but because it is my duty and mission to go back to the United States of America to tell my people of your courage, of what is being inflicted on your people by their government because there I can hope to better affect the course of events and end this criminal assault on Yugoslavia. At the risk of imposing on your generosity, my own nature compels me to express the thoughts that concern me most at this moment. At this moment, to quote the President I first served, John Kennedy, at this moment of maximum peril, let me say first about that peril that is the peril of the whole planet, of the whole human species, of entire life on earth. And while you are the fleeting focus of the peril, and your valour in this moment of the maximum peril may help serve us all, may help save us all, the peril is catholic, it is universal, it affects everyone. We here, you specially, representing so much knowledge, so much wisdom and commitment, we must join together with all of our energy, to find the road and run to peace for all.

I will speak about a role - one of many - the vital role that law must play on that road to peace. And now I have to speak impressionistically or the crisis would be over before I finished talking.

The United Nations, founded in the wake of the greatest mass violence so far in human history, World War II, which the peoples of Yugoslavia suffered, if not more than everyone, not less than anyone. When I remember my many long discussions with Vladimir Dedijer, who fought in that war and sought peace after it, who was international co-chair, with Jean Paul-Sartre, of the Russel, Bertrand Russel Tribunal addressing the war in Vietnam, I remember the many tales that he told me of the vast research work he did on the systematic liquidation of Serbian people during that war, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of beautiful, courageous lives, your parents and forebears, and I realize that all of you know far better than I the meaning of that awful war. The United Nations' guiding principle that was stated in this preambule which begins "We the peoples of the nations of the world" was to end the scourge of war. Now I find the greatest, most dangerous military power on Earth, is my own government, described by Martin Luther King, Jr., probably the greatest moral philosopher our society has produced, exactly one year to the day before his assassination by American racism on April 6, 1967. These are his precise words, "The greatest purveyor of violence on Earth is my own government". It nearly broke his heart to say it, but in his greatest dreams - and he was a dreamer and murdered for his dreams, he couldn't have imagined the capacity of that government for violence today. The United States has commissioned today, and it is 1999, twenty most sophisticated - of which ten are at sea probably and eighteen are fully commissioned - TRITON nuclear submarine. That submarine is the most deadly weapon ever conceived. It can launch 24 missiles simultaneously while submerged under the sea. Each missile can be outfitted with seventeen independently targeted manoueverable nuclear warheads. Each warhead has a range of seven thousand nautical miles. When fired in opposite directions they could span fourteen thousand nautical miles, which is more than half way around mother Earth at her ample waist and strike four hundred and six centres of human population within that hemisphere with a warhead ten times more powerful than the bombs that incinerated Nagasaki. In a word, an omnicidal machine. What human spirit would ever tolerate the conception or the construction or the deployment of such a mad machine? If the UN is to any uitility for peace, it's got to prohibit and eliminate from Earth all weapons of mass destruction, beginning with the elimination of the weapons of mass destruction of that country that has the near monopole on all of them. But all we hear is "We are necessarily, nearly overwhelmingly concerned with the immediate crises". We need to look back over fifty years to see peoples who have faced such crises, some of which became tragedies of genocidal proportion. Think of Korea devastated by US military power, of Vietnam and two million dead from the US violence. Think of those people who, after thirty years of war finally broke the foreigners from their soil. Think of the military presence in Lebanon and the 8,000 medals awarded by the US military for the invasion of a country of 95,000 people - Grenada, which inflicted proportionally more casualties on Grenada than the Americans had in World War II; this is one of those statistical tricks. One of our great writers, Mark Twain, said there are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics. This statisic misleads but it states the elemental truth. More Grenadians lost their lives in three days of the US invasion in proportion to the population of Grenada than Americans lost their lives on all fronts in World War II from 1941-1945. It was not a Caribbean vacation for the people of Grenada.

Teddy Roosevelt, our president, early in the century, when asked how he acquired the canal from Panama, he said, "I stole it". Back in 1989, in December, the United States attacked with overwhelming power seeking to destroy and replace the integrated police military force of Panama, so we could control the people through their own police in future. Libya has known peace from the end of the North African campaign in World War II, the end of 1942, until April 15, 1986, when in a completely surprise attack - we talk about Pearl Harbor in the US with the Japanese engaged in what we call a surprise attack against us as being evil, and a surprise attack on that little country, with planes flying from bases like in Eton, England, and elsewhere, to strike as hard and quick and deeply as it could. Who did you hear cry for them? Who observed the meaning of that in terms of the UN Charter? This is sought, this war, because when you bomb a foriegn country your are committing acts of war. "We the peoples of the nations of the world vested in the UN in... peace among nations and peoples". NATO has no such authority form the UN, it has been completely ignored and bypassed and its Charter violated. There have been large and angry, hurt crowds form New Zealand to San Francisco, crowds in the United Kingdom, to Chicago and New York - we left a four-hour demonstration in New York last Saturday. It probably involved 10,000 over its course. People passionately desiring to stop this assault on Serbia. We have to understand that the people of Iraq know what your are going through, the people of Sudan know what you are confronted with, the people who live in all the colonies of the NATO powers, know what this is about, it was part of their lives, in World War II. I received this morning a declaration and appeal of the academic leadership of Yugoslavia, seeking understanding and support from its colleagues worldwide. I received a similar declaration yesterday from the physicians, the doctors, health care workers of Yugoslavia seeking understanding and assistance. You have a unique opportunity, you can't lose it, you've got to communicate out and reach out and activate the world to stop this madness. It's too clear that anyone with common sense, however much they watch CNN or BBC, that whatever may be happening in Kosovo is not going to be altered in the next decade by bombing Novi Sad. It's a mad form of criminal punishment. You have to be aware of the enormous power of propaganda. We all believe that the truth can set us free, we all know how incredibly hard it is to find the truth and, even sadder, how few people really passionately seek the truth. But this has gone on too long, there has been too much, too many people now understand it, too many people in their hearts know that Yugoslavia is an innocent victim of a designed assault, a continuum of US activities in World War II and its geopolitical interests in which the rich nations, and the rich within the rich nations get richer and the poor nations get poorer and poorer. It's the challenge of human survival for the coming millenium. And you have the power of moral leadership, if you can communicate it out, reach out to your friends. This assault is a violation of the Nuremberg Charter. Do we care about such things? Do you understand the importance of the first principle of the Nuremberg Charter to humanity, which defines crimes against peace? And there was peace, and the Tomahawk cruise missiles came and destroyed the peace. And that is a crime against peace. And it was a symbol that the Tomahawk cruise missile were used - the tomahawk is a weapon of the American Indian. We called Iraq, when we had our forces down there, the Indian territory. In our history Indian territory means "watch your back and kill all of them you can". In Serbia, we haven't gotten beyond Serbia, we've seen schools damaged here in suburbs of Belgrade, a great modern high school in Novi Sad, damaged last Wednesday in the first assault. But kind fate saved the children, it was 8:30 at night. However, there was an important basketball game going on in the gym, the gym's walls were bigger than this, all glass, the players were there, the crowd watching over there, all the glass smashed. But, because it was a basketeball court you can't have a basketball breaking windows all the time, so it had a heavy metal grill that caught the glass so it shattered down. We've seen victims in your hospitals, two who had died after being brought in and hadn't even been removed from the beds when we went through. These are violations of the old Hague Convention and the Geneva Conventions. You cannot assault civilians, you cannot assault civilian facilities, you cannot assault inherently dangerous facilities. The US aircraft have been assaulting inherently dangerous facilities here. Almost certainly depleted uranium is being used. in the present conflict. It needs to be detected immediately and reported immediately. The pity of having Germany once again involved in attacks on foreign soil, the soil of a people they weren't very kind to....The song "We shall overcome" is our great march against slavery. ...I will leave you with saying that the Civil War was the worst war, by far with the most casualties. And that war was to prevent all wars.

I am going back home to tell all about what I've seen here. My wish is for you to persist in your courage.


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