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27 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:15 am

Mbend It Like Mbeki


I bet that if Thabo Mbeki were to have a Facebook page, he would be one of those people who friends everybody, but who has almost everyone ignore the request.  Everyone except dictators, that is.

We already knew that the MBekster had a soft spot in his head heart for Zimbabwe President-for-Life-of-Misery Robert Mugabe.  It turns out, however that no dictator is safe from this guys warm embrace:

South Africa’s president has called on the International Criminal Court not to prosecute Sudan’s leader for war crimes in case it upsets Darfur’s peace talks.

Thabo Mbeki told South African TV that Omar al-Bashir’s continued presence as head of state was also needed to assist the country’s post-civil war security.

Maybe Radovan Karadzic can get Mbeki to put in a good word for him at his upcoming trial.  I understand that Mbeki feels he’s essential to peace and reconciliation in Bosnia.

UPDATE: So I just checked.  The MBekster does not have a Facebook page.  But here are some of the groups others have created to express their feelings about him:

  • South Africans Embarassed by Thabo Mbeki (233 members)
  • Leave Thabo Mbeki Aloooooooooone!! Alone He is the Best President Ever! (174 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki — Africa’s Newest Dictator (59 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki is on Mugabe’s Payroll (62 members)
  • I Hate Thabo Mbeki (43 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki Sucks…. (35 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki:  South Africa’s Downfall! (15 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki “I am Not Useless” (11 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki is a Coward and a Danger to South Africa (9 members)
  • Rein in Thabo Mbeki (7 members)
  • Remove Thabo Mbeki from Office Now! (7 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki Go to Hell (2 members)
  • Thabo Mbeki Is Spineless (2 members)

Come on, folks, how do you really feel?

| posted in foreign policy, war & rumors of war | 0 Comments

26 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:45 am

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others


Let’s play compare and contrast for a moment, boys and girls.  Today’s topic is U.S. Government support for international justice.  See if you can find which of these things is not like the others.

Read the rest of this entry »

| posted in foreign policy, war & rumors of war, world at home | 0 Comments

26 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:56 am

The Arrest Everybody Missed


It’s been a good week for international justice, with the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb President indicted for genocide as a result of his actions during the seige of Sarajevo and the massacre in Srebrenica; the ICC’s indictment of Sudanese President Hassan al-Bashir for his role in Darfur; and the the UN Security Council’s decision to extend the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda through 2009.

Amidst these good tidings, another story got lost:  the arrest of Sylvere Ahorugeze, who is wanted in Rwanda for genocide.  From the AFP:

A Swedish court has ordered a Rwandan man suspected of taking part in the 1994 genocide remanded in custody pending a possible extradition request from Kigali, the judge said Friday. The man [was identified] as Sylvere Ahorugeze, aged 52.  According to public broadcaster Swedish Radio, Ahorugeze is suspected of murdering 25 Tutsis in a suburb of Kigali in April 1994.

Like Karadzic, he was hiding in plain sight.  He was arrested after going to the Rwandan embassy in Stockholm, where employees recognized him.

The number of people responsible for the genocide in Rwanda boggles the mind.  It runs to the tens of thousands, if not more.  How do you heal a society when so many are responsible for so much suffering?

I cannot help but think of Eleanor Roosevelt, who once said that human rights begin “in small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.”

Sometimes, the same is also true of genocide.


| posted in none of the above | 0 Comments

21 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:40 pm

White House Responds to Karadzic Arrest


For once we don’t need the diplospeak translator:

We congratulate the Government of Serbia, and thank the people who conducted this operation for their professionalism and courage. This operation is an important demonstration of the Serbian Government’s determination to honor its commitment to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The timing of the arrest, only days after the commemoration of the massacre of over 7,000 Bosnians committed in Srebrenica, is particularly appropriate, as there is no better tribute to the victims of the war’s atrocities than bringing their perpetrators to justice.

Imagine the impact were the White House to say something similar about the ICC indictment of Bashir….

| posted in foreign policy, war & rumors of war | 0 Comments

21 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:59 pm

About Damn Time


Reuters is reporting that former Bosnian Serb Republic President Radovan Karadzic, was arrested today in Belgrade today. Reuters is also reporting joyous celebrations on the streets of Sarajevo.  I wish I could be there with them.

Karadzic , along with General Ratko Mladic, was responsible for authorizing and overseeing the murder of 8,000 Bosniak (Muslim) men at Srebrenica in 1995, among other crimes.  He faces two counts of genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia — one for his role at Srebrenica and the other for authorizing the shooting of civilians during the 43-month siege of Sarajevo.

Kudos to Serbian President Boris Tadic for making this happen.  Now let’s hope he can finish the job and grab Mladic as well.

Photo:  Remains of some of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre, via Solidarity Srebrenica

| posted in foreign policy, war & rumors of war | 0 Comments

2 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:51 pm

The Manchurian President


We’ve all heard the whispers.  Every four years, the extreme right starts suggesting that the current Democratic candidate for President is a traitor.  He’s not a patriot, they say — he’s actually a Communist/athiest/internationalist/Muslim.

Every four years, they find a new variation on this theme:  Bill Clinton was recruited by the Soviets when he visited the USSR.  Al Gore will cede American sovereignty to the United Nations.   John Kerry was recruited by the Viet Cong during the war.  Barack Obama was recruited by a Muslim terror cell while attending an Indonesian madrasa. It’s just like that movie — you know – The Manchurian Candidate.

Today, we found out who the real Manchurian Candidate really was: George W. Bush.

No, I’m not suggesting that our President was kidnapped or brainwashed by anyone.  It’s actually much worse than that.  He’s not Laurence Harvey — he’s Angela Freaking Lansbury:

Here’s the story from today’s Times:

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.

You read that correctly: our government authorized the use of techniques developed by the Chinese to torture American servicemen in Korea.  And as Andrew Sullivan points out today, the North Vietnamese adopted a similar approach in Vietnam — meaning that they were used on John McCain.

That’s awful enough.  But here’s the kicker.  As Matt Yglesias notes,

[T]he main purpose of these Chinese torture techniques was to elicit false confessions. That’s not very surprising as the main use of torture in interrogations has always been to elicit false confessions.

But still, to literally rip your techniques off from a study called “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War” requires some level of obliviousness I wasn’t aware of. Or else maybe they were looking for false confessions?

There really are only two conclusions here.  Either the Bush Administration is mind-bendingly stupid, or they are unconscionably evil.  Then again, there is one more possibility:  they’re both.  But regardless of which of these equally distressing options is correct, one thing is crystal clear: they are a cancer on our values and our freedoms.

How can any conservative  support a regime whose policies represent the absolute antithesis of the values of those who fought and often died to defeat communism?

How could anyone with a conscience support a government that steals the methods of our former enemies — who used them against our own soldiers to force false conventions — and then applies them to “extract” the truth?

For a long time, I resisted those who called Bush, Cheney, and their cronies evil.  I criticized those who demanded their impeachment, arguing that it would only garner them sympathy.

Not anymore.  Impeach them.  Better yet, indict them. Prosecute them for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  And then toss them into jail and throw away the key.

For the first time in my life, I am deeply ashamed of my country.

| posted in foreign policy, politics, pop culture, world at home | 0 Comments

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