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Israeli Government Press 1961

At the beginning of the week Obama was in full glory.  He had seemingly trounced Trump by producing a birth certificate and basked in the glow of American adulation over the death of Osama Bin Laden.  Certainly Osama had got his just desserts – but did he get justice?

The doubts began almost immediately as the official story unravelled in fairly short order.  Far from being killed in a vicious fire-fight in his million dollar mansion, our latter day Black Hat, who really lived in a scruffy kutcha squat, was then supposed to have been killed hiding behind the skirts of his wife, before finally, we hear that he had been dragged unarmed from his bed and executed on his knees before the eyes of his twelve year old daughter.  The body had vanished into a watery grave, the photos and videos were safely under lock and key and it all smells sour.

Where did it all go so very wrong?  Obama has snatched disaster from the jaws of victory.

The photo above is from Israeli State Archives.  It shows a different result to a very similar scenario.  I was young when this all happened in 1961, and watched in utter astonishment at the flickering black and white images of this trial, which were carried by every news service in the
world, on my parents’ old TV.  For those who forget easily, Adolf Eichmann was one of the inner core of the Nazi machine.  He was the main figure whose logistical skills and organisation enabled “The Final Solution”.  His crimes were utterly evil, completely beyond forgiveness and far, far worse than any dreams of Osama who, let us be realistic, was never in the same league.

To see Eichmann then was to realise he was real, and that what my parents had said about the Nazis was real.  That this monster had really existed.  It made everything said or filmed real.  It was, in a strange way, cathartic.

Eichmann too had run and hidden in a country that pretended he wasn’t there and they knew nothing. Eichmann too was raided in the middle of the night.  But there the parallels cease.

Eichmann was flown back to Jerusalem where, instead of being shot, he was afforded Justice.  A court was set up, he was given the best defence that could be summoned and tried before jurors under the rule of law.  Found guilty of crimes against humanity he was executed judicially.  He was thus given what he denied others.  Justice.

America knows this.

Indeed it was America (and the British) who gave the world the concept of the War Crimes trial.  That those who wage war are accountable to the world for their actions.  After the Second World War they set up Courts at Nuremberg and tried those high ranking Nazis they had captured.  There was concern about what secrets or embarrassments open testimony might reveal of financial and commercial deals, even poltical links by the great powers with Germany before the War, but this was faced down in the interests of Justice.  Some accused were guilty and executed, some imprisoned, and others acquitted.  The rule of Law prevailed.  Justice was both done, and seen to be done, by the West.  Openly in open court, before witnesses, jury, and press – neither silently in the Gulags of Siberia, nor in some darkened bedroom before screaming children like a mafia hit or an IRA punishment shooting.

This was Western Justice.  It was the very embodiment of the American Way.

Well, you might suggest that was then, Nuremberg was over sixty years ago, Eichmann half a century in the past.  They were of their time.  We can’t do this nowadays.

Associated Press 

The picture above is of Sandor Kepiro and, is from yesterday.  Kepiro is 97 years old and is arraigned in a court today in Budapest, Hungary, for crimes he may have committed in January 1942 in Novi Sad where 1,200 people including many Jews were killed.   The Simon Wiesenthal foundation tracked him down, as they have so many others.  He, unlike Osama, will be afforded Justice.  A Court, a Defence, a Jury and a finding good against the world.

If Hungary can do it today why can’t America?  If Israel could do it in 1961 why can’t America?  And if America could do it in 1946 why in God’s name can they not do it today?

Dr Thomas Fuller said in his famous legal saw in 1733 “Be you never so high, the Law is above you”.  By this he meant that the exercise of power had to be done in the sight of the law, and all who are charged with a crime have the right to a fair trial, the application of law, and this free of discretionary, arbitory, tyranical power.

By acting as he did, Obama has done the concept of Justice in the West a  disservice.  No, that’s wrong.  He has betrayed Justice, abrogated his role as President, acted less as leader of the West and more as a Mafia Don arranging that his enemies sleep with the fishes, and the West, Truth and Justice are the loser.

 Copyright David Macadam 2011