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Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France [Saturday] fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.
US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint againsgt the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.
Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.
Major disclaimer: I have absolutely no way of knowing whether any of this is true.
Of the three places I found this story, the only one I have any prior experience with is AlterNet. They seem to be attributing the story to IPS News (Inter Press Service News Agency), which I have never even heard of before. I cannot find the story on the IPS web site, and therefore am uncertain whether AlterNet’s attribution is correct.
One of the three sites reporting the story seems to be based in Iran, although it is an English-language site. Given the current state of relations between Iran and the US, I am likely to be skeptical about anything one of those country’s media report about government officials (or ex-officials) from the other country. (And yes, that works in both directions, given all the untrue things the US mainstream media reported about Iraq back in 2002 and early 2003.)
The third site is something called world news, which looks like a blog and seems to include stories from a variety of reputable sources, including the New York Times, Reuters, and BBC News. However, it does not list any source for this story, either.
None of the stories include an author’s name, though the Iranian site does have some initials at the end of the story (“RZS/BGH”), which might signify a staff author or authors — other stories on the site include similar strings of initials at the ends of the stories. The end result is that we have zero accountability on this story. (Yes, I realize that sounds ironic coming from someone who blogs under the moniker jane doe. But I’m all about irony. Plus, I usually cite sources for any factual assertions I make, unless they are being widely reported already by multiple mainstream sources.)
On the assumption that this might have actually happened but been ignored by our beloved corporate mainstream media here in the US, I did a little searching on some European news sites. Guardian (UK) and the BBC are both silent on this story, and the former of those, at least, would probably mention it if they had heard about it.
All-in-all, I have a lot of doubts about the truth of the story, but I thought it deserved a mention, if only in the hopes that someone who has the ability to investigate whether any of it is true picks up on it.
So my question to you, my dear non-existent readers, is this: has anyone else heard anything about this? Is this story true? A distortion of a true story? An outright hoax?
I don’t know. If you do, please post a reply in the comments.
And by the way, whether this story is true or not, it does not change my position that Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.
Yes, the Democratic presidential candidates are debating again tonight. I’ve lost count as to how many times they’ve done this. Keith Olbermann pointed out this evening that it really kind of depends on how you define “debate” — which is probably all you really need to know about how many of these things there have been, now that I think about it.
I will not be liveblogging. I started to, but I got sick of listening to Hillary. Not that I blame her. In their first responses to questions, Edwards and Obama went after her, and she defended herself. The third question was directly to her, and by then her voice had become sharp enough that I had to hit the mute button to hear myself think. She’s making good points (though so were Edwards and Obama), but her tone of voice was bugging me.
I am recording the debate, however, so I can fast forward through it later and pretend I am doing my civic duty. If anything particularly noteworthy strikes me, I will post about it.
Until then, allow me to reiterate that I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
For those who are looking for updates on what is happening with the fires in the San Diego area, one of the local news stations there has been covering it pretty much continuously all day and streaming it on their website here. For the fires around Los Angeles and Malibu, you can try KTLA’s website here — they don’t seem to be streaming their coverage, but they have some clips and links up that may be helpful for those who are trying to get information about their homes or about friends they know in the area.
National coverage tends to be lacking in disasters of this sort, at least during the early hours, so if you are trying to get information about specific neighborhoods (in any kind of natural disaster), the local TV stations are often your best bet — they give more complete information, and the people really know the area and can give good advice.
Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by these fires.
I’ve known this for a long time, but haven’t felt moved to comment on it before today. However, he made a particularly moronic comment today (h/t to Media Matters) that I feel deserves extra attention:
“I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.”
I have a number of problems with this statement.
First, there many people these days who hate America, partly due to our current administration’s policies, partly due to past policies, partly due to dislike of our culture, and partly just to be peevish (mostly the French in that last group). We’ll let that slide, though, because the context makes it clear that what Beck means is that he thinks there are a handful of Americans who hate America. That assertion is what I take issue with.
Second, he implies that liberals hate America. Well, okay, not exactly. Actually, he implies that Southern Californians hate America, since Southern California is the only place experiencing a lot of major fires at the moment, at least that I’m aware of. But everyone knows that Southern California is the home of flaming liberals — that, at least, is what I think he is trying to suggest — right?
Wrong. South of Los Angeles — behind the Orange Curtain, as we used to call it — most of those cities skew pretty Republican. San Diego, where eight or nine of those fires Beck mentioned are burning, has a rather strong Republican bent, between the conservative upper class and all the military folks who live there. And I imagine a lot of those folks would be upset to hear both that Glenn Beck thinks they’re liberal and that he thinks they hate America.
Third, of course, is the fact that he thinks liberals hate America. We don’t. We love this country. We are just scared by or angry about what certain people in power are doing to this country, or in the name of this country.
Fourth, is the smug implicit subtext to his glib little comment, that people in Southern California somehow deserve to lose their homes in a fire because they are liberal, or because they hate America, or maybe just because they live in Southern California. It is beyond inappropriate to make snide little comments like this when more than a quarter of a million people have been evacuated from their homes in the face of these fires.
Ergo, Glenn Beck is an idiot.
I am filing this post under the Faux News category, because I think that Glenn Beck really ought to be on that network, instead of one run by the allegedly neutral CNN. Because really, he should be — every time I happen to run across his show, I have to check the station icon in the corner of my TV screen, just to make sure I haven’t accidentally switched over to Fox. He’s just that blatant a right-wing mouthpiece. And that big an idiot.
Ah, well. It’s all just further evidence of the impending collapse of civilization as we know it.
And furthermore, I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
P.S. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by the fires in Southern California. A close friend who lives in the San Diego area called me this morning at about 5:30 a.m. west coast time to let me know that they were evacuating and heading up the coast away from the fires. They threw their pets, their important documents, a few changes of clothes, and their laptop computers into the car and took off when the electricity in her neighborhood became unreliable. She said that embers were blowing everywhere, and the fire had jumped across a stretch of freeway that was eight lanes wide because the winds were so strong. At this time, they do not know whether they will have a house to go back to. You can find out how to help people affected by the fires here.
Okay, this should have gone up on Friday, but I was laughing too hard to type when I saw it. Apparently, the Bush apologists over at Faux News dislike the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore (along with a some other people at the UN) for their work to raise awareness about global warming. And really, did we expect anything else from the Faux News people? Of course not. But that’s not why I’ve been laughing so hard I won’t have to do ab exercises for a week.
No, the funny part is who the Faux Brain Trust people proposed as a more appropriate recipient…Gen. David Petraeus!
Strictly speaking, it was apparently NY Sun editor Seth Lipsky who made that suggestion to Faux’s Neil Cavuto, but still…the Nobel Peace Prize? To a general who is leading U.S. troops in a war that has gained nearly universal condemnation, both here at home and among our erstwhile allies? What are they putting in the water cooler over at the Faux Newsroom?
Of course, this is really more a reflection of Faux’s knee-jerk response to anything favorable reported about Al Gore, the man who should have been sworn in as our President back in 2001.
And for those keeping track, Gore has now won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Nobel Peace Prize, in addition to the 2000 presidential election. Makes you wonder where we would be right now as a nation if he had been allowed to take office by the Supremes, doesn’t it?
And yes, for the record, I still think Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.
Just wanted to let all my non-existent readers know that the folks over at AfterDowningStreet.org are selling Impeach Bush and Cheney bracelets (of the now-ubiquitous Live Strong type) in a seasonally-appropriate shade of orange. Order yours today!
Because, after all, Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.