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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letter to US Ambassador regarding Fairford Air Tattoo

Attention of Louis B. Susman

Subject: US support for Fairford Air Tattoo and possible legal action against US officers.

Dear Mr Ambassador,

This letter is to formally advise you that US support for the Fairford Air Tattoo would support a violation of the 1st Amendment of the US constitution if the Air Tattoo was held in the US. Furthermore, the Air Tattoo is in violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (UN act 1976) and the continued support of US forces would be in breach of international law.

To put the matter in perspective, this year two B52 bombers where flown to the Air Tattoo from US bases, two F22 fighters where flown in from bases in Alaska with the support of the air-to-air refuelling tankers, along with many other planes representing US forces.

As you should be aware, events such as the Air Tattoo create significant greenhouse gas emissions, whilst simultaneously advertising and supporting the advancement of the aviation industry and its associated emissions which double every 17 years.  This is in deliberate defiance of the evidence on climate change. Direct representations have been made to the management of the Air Show along with peaceful protests. They have all be ignored.

By allowing the air show to continue, the State is in violation of the the following human rights (based on recent European Right to Life case) :

  1. States have a positive legal duty to prevent foreseeable loss of life where they have:
    1. knowledge of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life of individuals from from acts of a third party (in this case death and serious injury due to Climate Change caused by emissions from eg, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station/Athabasca tar Sands/flaring in the Niger Delta/Amazonian forest razing etc etc), and
    2. States have a positive legal duty to take reasonable measures within the scope of their power which might have been expected to avoid that risk (i.e. close down all coal power stations/stop flaring/oil extraction/deforestation), and
    3. must put into place legal and administrative mechanisms to deter the commission of offences against the person (ie put in place the crime of ecocide), and
    4. applies specifically to dangerous industrial activity (such as coal power plants/flaring etc) that is known to put lives at risk.

As the Air Tattoo's management were clearly unprepared to listen to any direct representation, or to consider the morality of continuing to hold a show of this nature in deliberate defiance of the evidence to make immediate and substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, an internet based protest was launched in the lead up to last year's event with the intent of provoking debate. The State and the Air Show had the perpetrator arrested, which is a clear violation of his rights under the European Human Rights Act, Article 10.

The actions of the Air Tattoo in pursuit of this case is an unequivocal strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) which is a deliberate attempt to censor, intimidate and silence critics until they abandon their legitimate rights to criticism or opposition. This action is in violation of the US Constitution's specific protection in the First Amendment's fifth clause. The Air Tattoo's actions would therefore be clearly illegal in the US.

Due to the extensive US presence at the show and its objective of projecting US military power in as positive a light as possible, you have a moral obligation to ensure that you do not support an organisation that would be in such clear violation of a key principle of your own constitution and law.

Furthermore, allowing US forces to attend this show is a violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (UN Act 1976). The term "environmental modification techniques" refers to any technique for changing - through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes - the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

As you and your senior officers should be aware, we face runaway climate change and have already significantly exceeded the safe limits of 350ppm of atmospheric CO2 and within 20 years we will reach unrecoverable climatic tipping points. The science is unequivocal on this fact and much of the best scientific evidence comes from US sources, e.g. Jim Hansen et al. You will also be fully aware that the deliberate addition of large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere that will be necessary from the US forces that support this event will further contribute towards climate change and that supporting an air show is neither a humanitarian act nor an essential and unavoidable activity.

By continuing to deliberately defy the ENMOD Act, the US military will be committing a hostile act on the citizens of the planet. This hostile act supports the aggressive and hostile position that the US Senate and Congress is taking to the rest of the planet by deliberately seeking to overturn, ignore or minimise the effectiveness of climate change legislation.

Under the ENMOD Act, we therefore warn that any that any US forces exhibiting at this year's show, or any other similar future shows such as Farnborough/Paris etc, will be liable to prosecution and the senior officers and administrators will be personally liable under the Superior Responsibility Act.

Under Superior Responsibility, as defined under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 28:

A superior shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by subordinates under his or her effective authority and control, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such subordinates, where:

(i) The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated, that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;

(ii) The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and

(iii) The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

In this case crimes would be violation of the ENMOD Act and “crimes of aggression” (Rome Status of the ICC, Article 5) due to the wilful disregard of climate change. Furthermore, US forces may also be liable to the future crime of Ecocide which will be applied retrospectively, as Genocide was applied retrospectively in the Nuremberg trials.

Thus, any senior US officer or official that agrees to support the Air Show will violate his superior responsibilities and will be liable to prosecution in the international court of law for these crimes.

We are expecting legal action to commence in the UK imminently to test the legality of the Fairford Air Show and we will subsequently seek further prosecutions under international law against those individuals in superior positions who have deliberately ignored the evidence of climate change and the responsibilities invested in them.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Lister

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