January 14, 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?
Read also: Ghis: Escape in Prison
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