This event is dedicated to all Iraqis who died and resisted the US military invasion and occupation of Iraq

and Sergent Patrick Ryan McCaffrey Sr.,

former student at De Anza College, who died in June, 22, 2004 in Iraq at the age of 34.




THURSDAY, NOV. 10, 2005. 1:30 – 5:00 PM







1. Biographies of Presenters

2. Inquiry into Colin Powell’s Complicity in War Crimes

3. International Law, War Crimes and War Crimes Tribunals / Truth Commissions

4. Goals of the Tribunal




Text Box: Students for Justice and the Faculty Advisers, De Anza College * 21250 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino, California
http://powelldeanza.blogspot.com / (408) 864-8473
Endorsed by South Bay Mobilization and Peninsula Peace and Justice Center





Tribunal Presenters:


Dr. Wendy White is Instructor of Humanities at DeAnza College


Dr. Greg Druehl is Instructor of Political Science at DeAnza College


Dr. Ayad al-Qazzaz is Professor of Sociology at California State University-Sacramento. An Iraqi-American scholar, educated at the University of Baghdad and the University of California Berkeley, he specializes on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Sociology of the Middle East and North Africa.  He is the President of the Sacramento Arab American Chamber of Commerce.  He is the author of Transnational Links Between the Arab Community in the U.S. and the Arab World; The Arab World: A Handbook for Teachers; Women in the Middle East and North Africa; and North Africa: an Annotated Bibliography.


Ramon Leal is a De Anza College student, majoring in Political Science. Leal served 4 years on active duty in Germany from July, 1996 to July, 2000. He served in National Guard from 2000 to January, 2005.  He served in Iraq from June, 2003 to April, 2004. He is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.


Pierre LaBossiere is a native of Haiti and a founding member of the Haiti Action Committee (www.haitiaction.net), a local organization dedicated to connecting volunteers and charitable donations with Haitian peasant cooperatives. LaBossiere’s family moved to the U.S. from Les Cayes, in southern Haiti, where he worked with the church youth movement.  He is presently an activist on behalf of social justice and the restoration of the legitimate, democratically elected government of President Aristide, who was again overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup in 2004.


Ann Fagan Ginger is a practicing attorney and Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, in Berkeley, California.  She has been a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of California-Hastings College, the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, the University of Puget Sound and New College.  She is the author of Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11 (2005); California Criminal Law Practice (Vol. I and II);  Jury Selection in Civil and Criminal Trials, Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal, and The National Lawyers Guild; From Roosevelt to Reagan.


Dr. Chuong Chung is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at City College of San Francisco. He is the former director of San Francisco State University’s Vietnamese Studies Center. He is a native of Vietnam and is currently serving as the President of the San Francisco Ho Chi Minh Sister City Committee. He is the author of two books, Perfume Dreams and The Book of Perceptions, which highlights the reconnection of Vietnamese Americas with the homeland. Dr. Chung also teaches in the Intercultural and International Studies Division of DeAnza College.


Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright is a decorated veteran with 26 years in public service as an U.S. army officer and 15 years as a U.S. diplomat. She served as a US diplomat around in countries like Grenada, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Mongolia, etc. She joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia, with previous assignments in Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada and Nicaragua.  She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism. She resigned from US Foreign Service on March 19, 2004 while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Mongolia, to protest the US War in Iraq, the US policy on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. policy on Korea, and the erosion of civil liberties.


Retired Air Force Captain Joyce Riley is a Registered Nurse who has been a Director of Nursing of four institutions. She served in Operation Desert Storm (The Gulf War, 1990-91), flying active duty missions on a C-130 aircraft from Alaska to Cuba. Her experience as a medical-legal expert in medical malpractice suits gave her the background to investigate the Gulf War Illness/Syndrome. She worked as a nurse transporting sick and injured troops from the Gulf War to the U.S. She is a co-producer of the documentary, “Beyond Treason,” which examines the Gulf War Illness/Syndrome and the US Military’s attempts to cover it up. She presently serves as Spokesperson for the American Gulf War Veterans Association.



An Inquiry into Colin Powell’s Complicity in War Crimes


Colin Powell is among the most accomplished and most powerful African Americans in U.S. history. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he was a highly decorated Army officer, and served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff of the Americal Division (23rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army) in Vietnam. He graduated from City College in New York and earned an MBA from George Washington University.  He later became a four star General and Senior Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and later National Security Advisor in the Reagan and Bush Administrations. He became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-1993, and during this period oversaw the invasion of Panama and Operation Desert Storm: the Gulf War (1990-‘91). In 2001, he became the first African American Secretary of State in U.S. history, after campaigning for President Bush in the 2000 election. In July, 2005, he became a “limited strategic partner” with one of the most prestigious venture capitalist firms in the Silicon Valley, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, of Menlo Park, which is currently exploring investments in nanotechnology applications for security systems. He resigned from his position as Secretary of State in 2005.


Despite his reported reservations about war in Iraq and his differences with the Cheney/ Rumsfeld/ Wolfowitz axis inside the Bush Administration, Colin Powell made a presentation before the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, which made the case for a unilateral invasion of Iraq and the violent overthrow of its government, based on erroneous claims of the Saddam Hussein regime’s possession of chemical and biological weapons and ongoing efforts to obtain nuclear weapons (see Pulitzer Prize winner,Charles Hanley’s critique at Philly.com). Powell also asserted that there were links between al-Qaida and the Iraqi government. Powell’s perceived integrity and credibility served to convince the American people that war against Iraq was necessary and that the lack of United Nations support or legitimacy was of minor consequence.  Powell’s speech was so inaccurate and misleading that he has since admitted that it is a “blot on his record.”  However he also stated that the U.S. has little choice but to continue the current policy in Iraq, and being a “loyal”, but “reluctant soldier”,… I’m right there with him with the use of force”(ABC’s 20/20; 9/8/2005).  In the Sept., 2004 issue of The Atlantic, Powell stated that “you need somebody like a George Bush to…say this is our challenge (in response to P.J. O’Rourke’s assertion that “the Islamists are evil…and people are having trouble getting their head around who’s the enemy).


Colin Powell’s willingness to serve the President and his advisers’ War in Iraq and his failure to resign or otherwise separate himself from their destruction of Iraqi society, their documented attacks on civilian populations, their widespread use of torture, the Patriot Act, the widespread arrest and deportation of Arabs, South Asians, and other Muslims, and the erosion of civil liberties have given rise to this inquiry as to his complicity in the Bush Administration’s War Crimes, Crimes against Peace, Crimes against Humanity, and widespread violations of International Law.  Powell’s complicity in the unlawful abuse of power is not limited to the War in Iraq, however. The thousands of Afghan civilian deaths which resulted from U.S. military action and the torture of prisoners are also war crimes, consistent with the pattern which we now see in Iraq.  Colin Powell played a critical role in the U.S./French orchestrated coup d’etat against the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, on Feb. 29, 2004. Similarly, Powell, as Secretary of State coordinated the U.S. support for the hard-line Israeli Government of Ariel Sharon, as he reoccupied the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza.  Earlier in his career, in 1986, Powell admittedly arranged for the sale of 4500 TOW missiles to the Khomeini regime in Iran in order to secure funding for the Nicaraguan Contras, an armed force which routinely used terrorist attacks on Nicaraguan civilians in order to destabilize the Sandinista government in Nicaragua (Powell; My American Journey, 1996, p 300-402).  These actions, while authorized by President Ronald Reagan, were at the center of the Iran-Contra Scandal.  Powell orchestrated the invasion of Panama with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in 1989 (Powell, 401-421). As an investigator into alleged atrocities in Vietnam in the same division which perpetrated the My Lai massacre, Powell’s report lauded the excellent relations of U.S. troops and Vietnamese civilians. Colin Powell, in his role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may bear responsibility for the development and use of depleted uranium weapons, which have contaminated Iraq, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and their peoples, and led to illnesses among U.S. veterans, which the U.S. military and others have gone to great lengths to minimize or deny.  

International Law and War Crimes 

(Abridged from Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights,  and Ann Fagan Ginger, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute)


Conceptions of “customary international law” emanate from such documents as the United Nations Charter, the Nuremburg Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and the Hague Convention of 1907, three of which emerged in the aftermath of World War II, but which built upon hundreds of years of jurisprudence. The United States has signed all of these treaties and is legally bound by them.


War Crimes have been defined by these agreements as 1) Crimes Against Peace, which include planning, preparation, or initiation of a war of aggression, in lieu of the negotiated settlement of disputes; and 2) Crimes Against Humanity, which includes the killing of civilians, indiscriminate bombing, the use of certain types of weapons, killing defenseless soldiers, ill treatment of prisoners of war, and attacks on non-military targets. Any violation of these is a war crime and if they are committed purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly, they are considered “grave breaches.”  Nazis and Japanese convicted of these crimes after World War II were hanged.

The US War Crimes Act (18USC; 2441) provides substantial jail sentences for violations of war crimes, including the death penalty, for those convicted of “outrages upon personal dignity, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering, [and] causing serious injury to body or health.”


Article 2:1 of the UN Charter states that “all members shall refrain from the threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state.” 

Article 2131 and 33 of the UN Charter requires that “international disputes be settled by peaceful means;…negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, and resort to regional agencies. Not until all means are exhausted, can force be used”.

Article 51 states that “nothing in the…UN Charter shall impair the inherent right of… self-defense”.


The Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions state that all regular members of a government’s army or members of a militia fighting alongside them be treated as POWs. Others must be tried as civilians consistent with national law; Article 5 requires that competent tribunals be established to determine their status.

The Convention Against Torture (ratified by the US Congress in 1990)

*Each party shall take effective action to prevent acts of torture in any territory in its jurisdiction

*No exceptional circumstances whatsoever whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal

  instability, or any other… can be invoked as a justification of torture

*An order from a superior officer or a public authority is not… a justification of torture.


Previous War Crimes Tribunals and Commissions of Inquiry:


The Nuremburg Tribunals 1945-1949; 24 major Nazi leaders and 200 officers tried (World War II).

The Bertrand Russell Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal, London, Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark: 1966-67; investigated and publicized U.S. and allies’ war crimes and conduct in Vietnam.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa; 1995-2002, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to investigate victims and perpetrators in the Apartheid system; 849 given amnesty; 5392 refused amnesty.

The UN Commission on Truth in El Salvador; 1993: investigated deaths of 75,000 people in the 12 year Salvadoran Civil War, after peace agreement between El Salvadoran Government and the FMLN.

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor;2002-2004:UN Transitional Administration; 2002-2004: to investigate the deaths of 200,000 people and human rights violations from 1974-1999.

The World Tribunal on Iraq; 2003-2005, by Jakarta Peace Consensus, Indonesia; and Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in Brussels; A 2004 NewYork Tribunal was held and in October 27-29,2005 a Tribunal was held in Istanbul, Turkey to investigate U.S. crimes of premeditated war, crimes committed during the aggression, and new doctrines of military dominance, simultaneous wars, and related economic interests.    

Goals of the Tribunal



I. To establish more specific knowledge of Colin Powell’s culpability for the actions of the Bush Administration:



1.      Manipulating and politicizing intelligence in the months preceding the invasion of Iraq to mislead the American public and the international community as to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime and the necessity of going to war;

2.      Ignoring the United Nations Charter and the will of the UN Security Council in the decision to go to the war against Iraq;

3.      Carrying out armed attacks in such a way that civilians would be killed in large numbers, either intentionally or inevitably as a result of the scale of the attacks;

4.      Attempts to assassinate foreign leaders

5.      The destruction of the cities and the economic infrastructures not necessary for the success of military campaigns;

6.      Exposure of the Iraqi population and US service women and men and other nationals to effects of depleted uranium weapons and other toxic munitions and materials.

7.      Irresponsible failure to protect the historical and national treasures and monuments;

8.      Irresponsible administrative policies which allow the total breakdown of the social order endangering the safety, livelihood and lives of the Iraqi population.

9.      Attempted expropriation of the natural resources of the occupied people of Iraq.  

10. Deliberate targeting of the places of worship and religious sites

11. The killing of journalists who did not share the Bush administration’s goals in Iraq;

12. The widespread use of humiliation, inhumane treatment, torture, rendition (sending prisoners to foreign countries for violent interrogation and torture), beatings, rape, death   and the threat to engage in the above, in relation to prisoners;

13.  Refusal of competent tribunals to establish the legal status of prisoners

14.  Exploitation of federal contracts for profiteering in the course of war;

15.  Public campaigns of disinformation to obscure the nature and scale of the above crimes, including legal and judicial judgements and decisions authorizing such crimes. 



II. To establish knowledge of specific commission of crimes of war and violations of International Law and US Law by Colin Powell:



1.      In the UN speech on February 5, 2003 concerning the justification for war in Iraq;

2.      In Powell’s role in the war and occupation of Afghanistan (2001-2005);

3.      In Powell’s role in the overthrow of the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti on February 29, 2004;

4.      In Powell’s role in support of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians (1986-2005);

5.      In Powell’s role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the war crimes in the Gulf War (killing of civilians, retreating soldiers, targeting social and economic; infrastructure in 1991)

6.      In Powell’s role in the cover-up of Gulf War Illness/Syndrome among US veterans in the Gulf War

7.      In Powell’s role as National Security adviser to President G.W. H. Bush in orchestration of the invasion of Panama and overthrow and arrest of Manuel Noriega in 1989;

8.      In Powell’s role in the sale of missiles to Khomeini regime in Iran in 1986;

9.      In Powell’s role in support of Nicaraguan Contra guerillas’ terrorist attacks on Nicaraguan people (1980s)

10.  In Powell’s role in death of civilians in A Shau Valley in Vietnam and the cover-up of  US atrocities in Americal Division.



III. To report the findings of the Tribunal to the Media, the American Public and the UN Commission on Human Rights