A giant has died

A giant has died. I had the great honor to share a panel with Ramsey Clark at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in November 2010.  

Ramsey Clark was an American lawyer, activist and former federal government official. He occupied senior positions in the United States Department of Justice under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, notably serving as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969; previously he was Deputy Attorney General from 1965 to 1967 and Assistant Attorney General from 1961 to 1965. 

As attorney general, he was known for his vigorous opposition to the death penalty, his aggressive support of civil liberties and civil rights, and his dedication in enforcing antitrust provisions. Clark supervised the drafting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968. After leaving public office, Clark led many progressive activism campaigns, including opposition to the War on Terror. 

In 1991, Clark’s Coalition to Stop US Intervention in the Middle East opposed the US-led war and sanctions against Iraq. Clark accused the administration of President George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, James Baker, Dick Cheney, William Webster, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and “others to be named” of “crimes against peace, war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” for its conduct of the Gulf War against Iraq and the ensuing sanctions; in 1996, he added the charges of genocide and the “use of a weapon of mass destruction”. Similarly, after the 1999 NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ramsey charged and “tried” NATO on 19 counts and issued calls for its dissolution. 

In 1992 he wrote The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf, in which he accused the United States of war crimes, condemned the United Nations for its sanctions against Iraq, and criticized the American media for failing to inform the public. It’s an indispensable book for every antiwar activist. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/…/ram…/the-fire-this-time/ 

Also in 1992 Ramsey Clark founded The International Action Center (IAC), an activist group that supports anti-imperialist movements around the world, and opposes U.S. military intervention in all circumstances. The IAC has offices in major cities including New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston. See more: https://iacenter.org/ 

In 1990, then head of Amnesty USA John Healey called Clark “one of the most respected advocates for human rights in the world today.” 

The late civil rights leader Roy Wilkins once called Clark “the first powerful white man I had ever seen who took poor black people seriously.” 

Ramsey Clark was a recipient of the 2008 United Nations Prize for Human Rights. https://www.un.org/press/en/2008/081210_HR_Prize.doc.htm 

He will be sorely missed. 

Read more about Ramsey Clark’s remarkable career as American human rights lawyer, U.S. attorney general and anti-war activist in https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ramsey-Clark 

Dirk Adriaensens