FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Gerd Büntzly, Crime Fighter

Photo by John LaForge: International youth group blockades one of three main gates to Buchel Air Force in Germany, July 2018.

Hamburg, Germany

I was with Gerd Büntzly, 69, of Herford, in a demonstration in Germany July 17, 2017. So were Steve Baggarly, Susan Crane, and Bonnie Urfer, all of the United States. Ours was a peaceful if covert, night-time occupation of a protected aircraft shelter or bomb bunker far inside the Büchel Air Force Base, near the beautiful Mosel River valley.

We were there to help prevent the unlawful use of the shelter in nuclear attacks or nuclear war preparations. Routine nuclear war planning by US and German Air Force personnel there, using US B61 nuclear bombs (NATO’s so-called “nuclear sharing”), violates the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and several other international treaties, all binding on the United States and Germany.

In spite of our formal complaint to state prosecutors against “selective prosecution” of Gerd, and the violation of his “equal protection” rights, only he was charged, tried, and convicted of trespass and property damage (for clipping fences) in January last year. This Jan. 16, he was in court again appealing the conviction. Susan Crane from California and I travelled to Koblenz to speak on his behalf. Attorneys were quite sure that we two could testify, but ultimately were not allowed.

We wanted to explain that international law has the force of state and federal law in Germany and the United States, a fact recognized by Germany’s Constitution (Art. 25) and the US Constitution (Art. 6). According to Univ. of Illinois Law School Prof. Francis Boyle, writing recently for other nuclear weapons resisters, “International law is not ‘higher’ or separate law; it is part and parcel of the structure of federal law. The Supreme Court so held in the landmark decision in The Paquete Habana (1900), that was recently reaffirmed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in 2006.”
Contrary to modern military strategists, there is no such thing as a “limited nuclear war.” Nuclear weapons only produce massacres. Beginning with 8 to 10 million degrees at detonation, followed by indiscriminate mass destruction from blast effects, city-size mass fires (firestorms) in which nothing survives, and uncontrollable radiation poisoning that produces genetic damage unlimited by space or time, nuclear weapons are just massacre delivery systems.

International law has prohibited the planning and not just the commission of such massacres since 1946.

Professor Boyle wrote last November 1st: “The Judgment of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal meted out severe punishment in 1946 against individuals who, acting in full compliance with domestic law but in disregard of the limitations of international law, had committed war crimes and crimes against peace as defined in its Charter.”

The Nuremberg Charter and Principles apply to individual civilians like us and oblige individuals to disobey domestic laws that protect government crimes. And Nuremberg prohibits all “planning and preparation” of wars that violate international treaties.

The 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit indiscriminate attacks on noncombatants, attacks on neutral states, and long-term damage to the environment. The 1907 Hague Conventions forbid the use of poison and poisoned weapons under any circumstances.

Under the 1970 NPT, it is prohibited for Germany to receive nuclear weapons from the United States and for the US to transfer them to Germany. Germany and the United States are both formal state parties to all of these Treaties.

“By implication,” Boyle explains, “the Nuremberg Judgment privileges all citizens of nations engaged in war crimes to act in a measured but effective way to prevent the continuing commission of those crimes. The same Nuremberg Privilege is recognized in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice which has been adopted as a Treaty (the United Nations Charter) by the United States” [and Germany]. In my opinion, such action certainly includes nonviolent exposure and inspection of sites of ongoing war crimes.”

Because nuclear weapons cannot be used without violating these binding international treaties; since Germany and United States at Büchel are planning and preparing war that violates these treaties; and because the Nuremberg Charter and Principles forbid this planning and preparation, and apply to civilians and military personnel alike, and hold citizens individually responsible; and require citizens to disobey illegal orders, to refuse participation in or ignore international crimes, civil resistance at Büchel is no offense but a civic duty, a lawful obligation, and an act of crime prevention.

In the courtroom, crowded with 40 people, the three-person “bench” (two lay volunteers and one criminal court judge) found Gerd guilty — but reduced his fine from 1,200 Euros to 750 — after making a yawning apology for “deterrence.” Prescient as ever, Professor Boyle’s latest book is, “The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence” (Clarity Press 2013).

More articles by:

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

August 06, 2020
H. Bruce Franklin
How the Fascists Won World War II
Robert Jacobs – Ran Zwigenberg
The American Narrative of Hiroshima is a Statue that Must be Toppled
Howie Hawkins - Madelyn Hoffman
Reverse the New Nuclear Arms Race
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Debating the ‘Irish Slaves Myth’
George Wuerthner
Trouble in Paradise Valley
Talli Nauman
Native Americans Win Historic Victories in U.S. High Court Rulings
David Mattson
“Man Attacks Grizzly” and Other Leading Bleeding Stories
John Kendall Hawkins
Suffrage: The Myth of Sisterphus
George Ochenski
An Unbelievably Disastrous State of Affairs
Binoy Kampmark
State of Pandemic Disaster: Melbourne Moves to Stage Four
Howard Lisnoff
The ACLU Has Never Done a Damn Thing for Me
Priyanka Singh – Sujeet Singh
Time to Empower the Invisibles: India Awaits a Mental Health Revolution
August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
B. R. Gowani
Mohammed Rafi: Singer and Human Par Excellence
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail