When war is illegal paying tax is a war crime
A Change is Coming
We all know that a change is coming, not just in politics, but in the world. Our governments are clinging to the old regime, hopeful that somehow the economy will revive and the debt will go away. It won’t.
We’re in an economic system where banks and large corporations effectively run governments. They put corporate profit before sustainability and before peace, and those profits are so huge and fantastical that they almost bear no relation to the real economy, at the same time as devaluing the money that the rest of us have. And governments can’t challenge them, because they need the tax take from their activities, to keep the failed system going. A system that no one has the imagination to change, least of all the politicians.
Ever wondered why Osborne and Cameron look like panicked puppets who are unable to admit to the reality of what’s going on? That’s because they are. They know that logically, they can’t get growth going this time. No party can. The reason for this is you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet, and we’re running out of corners of it that we haven’t exploited.
The activities of big business destroy, rather than working in harmony with, the environment. An earth that should sustain us all is being pillaged for the enrichment of a tiny elite. As climate change starts to hit hard, we’re seeing wars for resources, where rich countries and multinationals collude to attack poor countries, dividing them up for contractors to run. This happens because war is a great generator of profit, and we’re addicted to the growth model, which in turn depends on oil.
So we start wars, in the name of ‘peacekeeping’, ‘getting rid of a dictator’ or ‘fighting a war on terror’. But by doing this, the only war we’re fighting is with reality. 1.5million Iraqi, Afghan and Libyan men, women and children have died as a result of our last three illegal wars. Humanity can no longer sustain the psychopathic activities of those in charge. We need to change the system.
The good news is that you and I can actually do something to take the power back. We may not have the courage to do this today, or even tomorrow, but at some point soon, people will start to see the necessity of it.
We – all of us, the 99%, and we’re pretty sure that at some point even the 1% will see the logic of it, because you can’t eat fabricated money – can withhold our taxes from these pointless, desperate, redundant, dead-eyed governments. And we can transfer our money from the large multinational banks, and put it in the hands of ethical local banks, and start to grow the real economy. We’ll have to give up on the growth model, and replace it with well-being, happiness and community.
We need to think local and small-scale, not so much overthrowing the system as neatly side-stepping it, and rendering it irrelevant.
Hils Barker May 2012
A tax rebellion has happened in British history before, when the people who paid tax withheld it from the government until that government agreed to their demands. The demands were agreed to, and they are known as the Magna Carta.
A tax rebellion also brought about the founding of the United States of America, the end of the Vietnam War and the demise of the poll tax. If you take the fuel out of the system – ie, the money – governments are powerless.
But is a tax rebellion legal?
Yes. The reason a tax rebellion is absolutely legal is precisely because of our wars of aggression. Under the laws of war, every citizen is forbidden from taking part in war on the side of the aggressor. This means you are legally bound to disobey the orders of any governments that support or take part in an illegal war.
It’s about personal responsibility. The reason people have been so disengaged from politics is that they believe they are powerless. But we can change that.
The legal duty to refuse to obey unlawful government orders includes tax demands. So if the money you pay in tax is going towards waging unlawful wars that kill innocent civilians, then your normal duty to pay tax is reversed and becomes a duty to refuse to pay tax.
In short, our government’s illegal wars of aggression provide the legal basis for the tax rebellion – although the protest is about so much more. It’s about creating a system where every individual is engaged, useful, contributing and passionate. Where everyone matters, and no one is a cog in a machine, unthinkingly keeping our heads down.
But are our wars illegal?
Yes. In fact, each of the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is illegal on six grounds. They violate the Treaty for the Renunciation of War as well as the UN Charter – and because they’ve led to the killing of 1.5 million adults and 450,000 children and counting, this means that our governments and NATO have committed murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
In fact, it’s hard even to call them wars. They are simply acts of horrific aggression against other, smaller nations. As the late, great Bill Hicks explained: “You see, a war is when two armies are fighting.”
We have, in the past, taken a dim view of unprovoked acts of aggression against smaller nations. Following the lessons learned from the Second World War, the judges at Nuremburg concluded that:
“War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Don’t be an accessory to the war crimes committed by your government. By joining together as a Taxpayers’ Union in lawful tax rebellion, we’ll not only force the UK, US and NATO governments to end the wars within days, we’ll also reduce our individual liability for the crimes. Only if we continue to pay tax can governments continue to wage war.
Joining the tax rebellion is about being the person, and eventually the people, and finally the millions of people, who say, “We won’t follow orders. We won’t be a part of what our government is doing. We will be responsible.”
When war is illegal paying tax is a war crime
How do we withhold our taxes?
The legal way of doing it is through an escrow account. This is something that exists in law for when two parties are in dispute. It’s often used, for example, during divorce proceedings, and the joint money is only released when the court has decided how much is going to what person. A similar thing would happen, but on a much larger scale, with the tax rebellion.
You pay your taxes, lawfully, into an escrow account. By doing this, you are fulfilling your legal duty to pay tax, but you are also fulfilling your legal duty to make sure it’s not spent on illegal activities. The money is only released from the escrow account when the government has withdrawn the troops and agreed to our other demands for a better society.
So the dispute is between the government and the British people. It’s simply a formalising of a situation (or dissatisfaction) which exists on a large scale already.
Here’s the legal document you can sign. Doing so could make you part of one of the most important movements in history.
The legal case against war
“ The Attorney General has been consulted and Her Majesty’s Government is satisfied that this Chapter VII authorisation to use all necessary measures provides a clear and unequivocal legal basis for deployment of UK forces and military assets to achieve the resolution’s objectives.”
This claim, by the Prime Minister and the Attorney General, that the attack on Libya was lawful was as false as the claims of legality made by Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith when justifying the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq and their 1.5m civilian deaths. The truth is that war is never legal, the UN Security Council is prohibited from using force and killing civilians is always a war crime.
“The solemn renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy necessarily involves the proposition that such war is illegal in international law; and that those who plan and wage such a war with its inevitable and terrible consequences are committing a crime in so doing…
The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions …
In 1970, concerned by repeated violations of the UN Charter, the UN General Assembly adopted the recommendations of the International Law Commission and agreed 51 new rules to ensure that every Member State would understand and obey the law against waging war.
Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force… Such a threat or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.
No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.
These rules are crystal clear. The use of force is prohibited; the use of armed force to attack other States is a crime; no State or group of States, such as NATO, ISAF or the EU, may intervene in another State’s affairs and every State must obey, uphold and enforce these rules. So why do Britain’s leaders and Governments repeatedly ignore these rules and break the law?
War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal
Chris Coverdale – Making Wars History – June 2012
It is a crime to pay tax. This statement may, at first, appear improbable – yet it is true. The truth of it is embedded firmly in international law, and this law is explicit and unequivocal.
At the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal it was stated that ‘individuals have international duties’ which transcend allegiance to their individual nation state. This makes it clear that each citizen has a responsibility to ensure their own personal conduct does not breach international law which overrides the laws of their own governments.
Let’s look at what these laws are: in 1950, the United Nations enacted the seven universal laws of war known as the Nuremberg Principles, principle six of which clearly defines the crimes which are ‘punishable under international law’: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. These joined the offence of genocide as the world’s worst crimes. ‘Crimes Against Peace‘ specifically prohibits ‘wars of aggression’ the definition of which our ‘interventions’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya clearly satisfy. By deploying high-explosive weapons which they knew would cause massive death and destruction our leaders demonstrated intent and so are guilty of war crimes.
In 1998, after fifty years of illegal wars in breach of the Nuremberg Principles, 132 states, in an attempt to block the loopholes allowing nations to commit these crimes with impunity, drew up the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 25 of the Rome Statute states that a person is criminally liable who ‘aids, abets or assists’ in the commission of such a crime ‘including providing the means for its commission.’
This statement is crucial; state sponsored wars such as those waged against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya can only be fought with the consent of a majority of the citizens, specifically through gathering their taxes. Governments cannot wage war without the money to buy weapons, pay troops or purchase supplies. Without the support of taxpayers and moneylenders war would be impossible. Taxpayers who fund illegal war commit a war crime.
Your duty is clear then, as a citizen whose taxes are being used to commit war crimes you are committing those same crimes. The only way to avoid liability is to withhold your taxes, by doing so you will be upholding the law. But is this only about stark legalities? Do we not also have moral duties which impel us to act?
Significantly, in this case, the law takes into account your conscience: Nuremberg Principle number four states that even if a person acts under the orders of their government this ‘does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him’.
Let us then ponder that in ten years NATO and ISAF governments have caused the deaths of 800,000 adults and 400,000 children, injured three million people and driven eight million into exile and destitution. These very real human beings – are they worthy of your moral consideration? International law says yes. What do you say?