Whoever doubted whether Barack Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize will have to rethink that opinion. The President recently announced the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board, a special White House committee for the “prevention of atrocities” to be led by its initiator, Samantha Power. Power is Special Assistant to the President and the Human Rights Director in the National Security Council which comprises the most important foreign policy advisors.

Since her ascent, the justly named Power, an aspiring Secretary of State, has relied on the denunciation of putative atrocities attributed to those states successively designated the Number 1 Enemy by the U.S. Under the wing of her sponsor, the powerful financier George Soros, Power has elaborated the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine which grants the U.S. and its allies the right of military intervention in cases where they deem that mass atrocities have been committed. This doctrine—specifically, protecting the population of Benghazi under threat of extermination by government forces—was used as the official rationale for Obama’s war on Libya last year.

It has found institutional form with the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board. The intelligence community, consisting of the CIA and sixteen other agencies, will evaluate cases of potential mass atrocities, alert the President and determine the political, economic and military measures for their “prevention.” To do this, the Department of Defense is in the process of developing “specific operational principles for preventing and responding to atrocities.” It goes without saying that the Board is encharged with preparing the terrain for new wars.

Indeed, it is already at work: In the face of the “unspeakable violence the people of Syria are being subjected to, we will do all we can,” declared President Obama, emphasizing that today, as before, “the prevention of mass atrocities constitutes a fundamental moral responsibility for the U.S.”

It’s regrettable that the APB was only just created. Earlier, it might have averted the mass atrocities that weave throughout American history, starting with the Native Americans of the continent. Over the last fifty years, in the wars waged on Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the coups orchestrated by the U.S. in Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Salvador and elsewhere, millions of people were tortured, imprisoned and killed. To avoid further atrocities, the new Board should hand over those responsible for the torture and murder at Abu Grahib, Guantanamo and at dozens of the CIA’s secret prison sites. The board should act on the “entertainment videos” made for fun by American troops picturing the murder of civilians in Afghanistan [1] that the Pentagon first concealed and now minimizes. Samantha Power might want to take a look at those videos if she really wants to understand what a mass atrocity really consists of.

Michele Stoddard
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[1The Kill Team : How U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians”, Mark Boal, Rollingstone, 27 March 2011.