Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Rumsfeld 9

Where's the U.S. media?

Remember a few weeks back when the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a war crimes complaint with the German government? And how we encouraged denizens of ASZ to support the complaint?

It seems as if the Rumsfeld 9 (Tenet, Sanchez, Wojdakowski, Karpinski, Miller, Cambone, and 3 lower level military officers) might be feeling just a little bit anxious:

Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld Threatens US-German Relations:

...The Pentagon expressed concern Monday over a criminal complaint filed in Germany against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, warning that "frivolous lawsuits" could affect the broader US-German relationship...

So, there's the opening salvo and immediate Fox News talking point. The CCR complaint is frivolous. This phrase really gets me to scratching my balding head. What in the name of Sparky the Electrode Man is frivolous about official government policy that sanctions butt pyramids, rectally inserted glow sticks, genitalia-attached jumper cables, detainees being used as a chewey sticks for foaming dogs, Marlboro-sucking women forcing men to masturbate for the camera, and other acts of torture and degradation? I'm at a loss on the accusation of frivolity.

..."Generally speaking, as is true anywhere, if these kinds of lawsuits take place with American servicemen in the cross-hairs, you bet it's something we take seriously," said Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon's spokesman.

Larry, this is the biggest fucking copout I think I've ever had the displeasure to read in one of your bullshit press briefings. A) This is not a lawsuit. It's a criminal complaint. If indictments follow, they're criminal indictments. We're not talking malpractice tort reform here. We're talking (say it with me) CRIMES. B) Quit hiding behind the men and women who are now taking the flack (and live fire) at least partially as a result of the Rumsfeld 9's sanctioning of the S&M escapades.

"If you get an adventurous prosecutor who might want to seize onto one of these frivolous lawsuits, it could affect the broader relationship. I think that's probably safe to say," he told AFP.

We at ASZ hope to Christ that it affects the "broader relationship". And we hope that the German government has the cajones to publicly decry veiled threats and blackmail, and issue a statement that reads (roughly translated from the old German) "Go fuck yourself."

...The United States clashed with Belgium last year over a similar law that allowed war crimes charges to be brought against retired General Tommy Franks (photo), who led the US invasion of Iraq, as well as numerous other international figures...

...US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatened to block funding for a new NATO headquarters in Belgium over the law, and said the United States was considering whether it would continue to send officials to meetings in Brussels as long as the law was in place.

The Belgian parliament replaced the law with a watered down version in August 2003...

I guess I missed this one. Nice job that the U.S. press synchophants did in suppressing this piece of international political blackmail. Does no government on the planet have the guts to cry "FOUL!!!!" to the world community and stand up for what is right? Don't answer that.

Indicating the US planned to play a similar game of hardball with Germany, Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy that he will not take part in the annual Munich security conference in February should the investigation proceed.

This closing paragraph of the article literally begs snarkiness. Of course he won't take part. Because I suppose there's the risk (if indictments are in place by that time) that Rumsfeld might be...served, bitch.

Back to the beginning of this post - let's see if the U.S. media picked up on the threats and accusations of frivolity. Google, google, google [insert Final Jeopardy! music here]...nope. Not a single media outlet in the U.S. of A. has picked up on the story yet - nor are they likely to do so, for obvious reasons. However, I did find one interesting citation for the CCR criminal complaint, from this past Saturday's edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (the crown jewel of the Richard Mellon-Scaife print media empire): Is It Treason?

WASHINGTON--While most of us heaved sighs of relief upon learning that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had agreed to remain in President George Bush's Cabinet, some decided to make his life even more difficult. He, and others, are being sued in Germany -- by Americans.

Some say providing some of the cash required for this expensive project was Teresa Heinz Kerry, whose boy-toy failed in his attempt to become president.

The Heinz Foundation denies any connection...(more)

I kid you not. This is how the most serious challenge to the kingpins in a sitting administration since WWII (the Nuremberg trials) is being spun in the Land of Wingnuttery. It's Teresa's fault. Ok, so anyone who has an inkling of knowledge about the Scaife / Heinz-Kerry relationship knows he's harbored a major hardon for Teresa since, well, forever. It's the scorned lover thing, I think. But sheesh.

As a postscript, I really hate to get snarky about this subject, because it's a topic that I've felt very strongly about since the day the Abu Ghraib story broke. You can use the search box at the top of this page to find out how strongly. I keep saying that "this is our government committing these atrocities in our names". In CCR, we now have a group that has filed a legitimate claim in a court where they stand a legitimate chance of finally receiving a hearing. If you haven't yet endorsed the CCR complaint to the German government, please consider doing so today.

And pass it along.

Update, 9:45AM: U.S. government policies that marginalize abuse and torture of detainees fosters a military culture that condones such actions. An article today in the Washington Post clearly spells out (as if we didn't already know it anyway) that the patterns of abuse and torture are systemic, not simply the random acts of a few bad apples.