Remembering the Russell Tribunal
Fifty years have passed since the International War Crimes Tribunal for Vietnam was convened by the philosopher and anti-war activist Bertrand Russell. Its goal was to investigate US crimes in Vietnam—not to punish individual perpetrators but to inform public opinion and arouse opposition to the war in ‘the smug streets of Europe and the complacent cities of North America’. Given the eventual size of the anti-war movement, it is easy to forget just how complacent much of the US public still was in the mid-60s, as the Johnson administration unleashed Operation Rolling Thunder. The obfuscations of the Western media kept the worst of US aggression off front pages and television screens and a large majority of Americans still favoured further escalation.