Revolution #104, October 14, 2007

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New Petition Calls on U.S. Military Personnel to Refuse Illegal Orders to Launch Preemptive Attack on Iran

A new petition that appears on the website begins:

“ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. Military Personnel:

“Do not attack Iran.

“Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal.

“Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be criminal.”

The petition says: “To attack Iran, a sovereign nation of 70-million people, would be a crime of the highest magnitude.”

Among the signatories to the peition listed on the site are Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers ; Thom Hartmann, author and Air America radio host; Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun and Chair, the Network of Spiritual Progressives; Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman; Willie Nelson, entertainer; Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace; Norman Solomon, author and syndicated columnist; Elizabeth de la Vega, former federal prosecutor and author of U.S. v. George W. Bush ; Gore Vidal, author; Ann Wright, U.S. Army Colonel (Retired) and U.S. diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.

Under the subhead “Legal basis for our Request—Do not attack Iran,” the petition points out: “The Nuremberg Principles, which are part of U.S. law, provide that all military personnel have the obligation not to obey illegal orders.” This part of the petition also says: “Following the orders of your government or superior does not relieve you from responsibility under international law. Under the Principles of International Law recoginized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, complicity in the commission of war crime is a crime under international law.”

As part of the “Background,” the petition points out: “The Bush Administration’s charges against Iran have not been proven. Neither the development of nuclear weapons, nor providing assistance to Iraq would, if proven, constitute justification for an illegal war.” The petition goes on to say: “The people of Iran have little control over their government, yet would suffer tremendously should the U.S. attack. Bombing raids would amount to collective punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention, and would surely sow the seeds of hatred for generations to come. Children make up a quarter of Iran’s population.”

In the section titled “Know the Risks Involved in Refusing an Illegal Order or Signing This Statement,” the petition notes: “We knowingly and willingly make this plea, aware of the risk that, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining sections of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from gtovernment employment.

“We make this plea, also aware that you have no easy options. If you obey an illegal order to participate in an aggressive attack on Iran, you could potentially be charged with war crimes. If you heed our call and disobey an illegal order you could be falsely charged with crimes including treason. You could be falsely court martialed. You could be imprisoned.”

This is a very significant statement. The people who are taking this stand should be supported if they come under attack from the authorities for exercising their rights.

The petition can be found online at

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