First, on torture. Breaking story on Democracy Now! this morning when Juan Gonzalez interviewed Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Jeanne Sulzer of the International Federation of Human Rights: these human rights groups filed a lawsuit in France today charging former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with ordering and authorizing interrogation techniques that led to abuses at US-run prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo and which were in fact torture.
Rumsfeld had to be in France in order to allow for the filing of the suit. He is there—or was there this morning for a conference. However, the suit is being reviewed by the authorities. My bet is that the Sarkosy government will not allow the suit to proceed and papers to be served on Rumsfeld. France, of course, has an obligation under the international agreements to prosecute those responsible for torture. It was the Spanish prosecutor who snagged Pinochet and set up the situation for him being detained in Great Britain, for example.
The United States has a similar obligation, but has refused to honor it in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro terrorist, who is still being protected by the U. S. government in Florida despite extradition requests from Venezuela. Posada Carilles was responsible for the destruction of Cuban Airlines plane flying from Venezuela. The 1976 bombing killed 73 people and Cariles was tried and convicted in absentia. Ah, the rule of law. How we insist on it and then, when push comes to shove, we fail to uphold it.
My position all along is that, although some punishment has been meted out to low-ranking front line soldiers (the ones Rumsfeld referred to as the “bad apples”) for abuses, it was the command structure, those in positions of responsibility, who established the general instructions and atmosphere for torture, beginning with Rumsfeld. They have gone unpunished. In fact, enough evidence has come to light about his involvement in specific cases to enable material for the lawsuit to be gathered. The CIA has not been held to account. Our so-called leaders have been protected against responsibility for the violations of the Geneva convention and U.S. Law. As usual, one of the perks of higher management and office is cowardice and avoidance of responsibility.
The SECOND update refers you to some excellent information on the Iraqi oil situation in a great piece on Tom Dispatch by Jack Miles (Author of God: A Biography). The piece should be read in conjunction with the earlier one I referred to in my post of October on the calculus of blood for oil—Cheney's game, in other words.
In his very well researched piece, Miles puts together some interesting information that suggests that the Bush administration has its gonads over the grinder. “Baghdad to Bush: you have Fourteen Months.”
It discusses information that the MSM has not been paying attention to, particularly the decision by the Iraqi government that the UN mandate allowing the multinational force to stay in Iraq will be renewed only for one more year, after which, the Iraqi government insists, the United States will have to enter into a mutual defense arrangement with Iraq. That doesn't necessarily guarantee the removal of the U. S. forces, but it suggests that the Iraqi government is beginning to assert itself, though not in a way that the United States wants. Another assertion of power centers around their moves to eliminate the ukase of Paul Bremer under the Occupation regime that contractors could not be prosecuted. It also looks like the oil management boondoggle will not be put into effect. There is too much opposition to it from all factions. Remember, or well over two years now, polls have indicated that an overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people want the United States out of their country.
Read the article and follow up with the references and links in it. This is well-written analysis, grounded in fact. You won't find a discussion like this in the main stream media.