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  #1  
Old 11-10-2006, 02:25 PM
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Germany to charge Rummy over prison abuse

WTF???

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1557842,00.html

Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse
A lawsuit in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the former Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo

Just days after his resignation, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called "20th hijacker" and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a "special interrogation plan," personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."

A spokesperson for the Pentagon told TIME there would be no comment since the case has not yet been filed.

Along with Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Tenet, the other defendants in the case are Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; former deputy assisant attorney general John Yoo; General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II; and David S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Senior military officers named in the filing are General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top Army official in Iraq; Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of Guantanamo; senior Iraq commander, Major General Walter Wojdakowski; and Col. Thomas Pappas, the one-time head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world. Indeed, a similar, but narrower, legal action was brought in Germany in 2004, which also sought the prosecution of Rumsfeld. The case provoked an angry response from Pentagon, and Rumsfeld himself was reportedly upset. Rumsfeld's spokesman at the time, Lawrence DiRita, called the case a "a big, big problem." U.S. officials made clear the case could adversely impact U.S.-Germany relations, and Rumsfeld indicated he would not attend a major security conference in Munich, where he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, unless Germany disposed of the case. The day before the conference, a German prosecutor announced he would not pursue the matter, saying there was no indication that U.S. authorities and courts would not deal with allegations in the complaint.

In bringing the new case, however, the plaintiffs argue that circumstances have changed in two important ways. Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials. Moreover, the plaintiffs argue that the German prosecutor's reasoning for rejecting the previous case that U.S. authorities were dealing with the issue has been proven wrong.

"The utter and complete failure of U.S. authorities to take any action to investigate high-level involvement in the torture program could not be clearer," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a U.S.-based non-profit helping to bring the legal action in Germany. He also notes that the Military Commissions Act, a law passed by Congress earlier this year, effectively blocks prosecution in the U.S. of those involved in detention and interrogation abuses of foreigners held abroad in American custody going to back to Sept. 11, 2001. As a result, Ratner contends, the legal arguments underlying the German prosecutor's previous inaction no longer hold up.

Whatever the legal merits of the case, it is the latest example of efforts in Western Europe by critics of U.S. tactics in the war on terror to call those involved to account in court. In Germany, investigations are under way in parliament concerning cooperation between the CIA and German intelligence on rendition the kidnapping of suspected terrorists and their removal to third countries for interrogation. Other legal inquiries involving rendition are under way in both Italy and Spain.

U.S. officials have long feared that legal proceedings against "war criminals" could be used to settle political scores. In 1998, for example, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet whose military coup was supported by the Nixon administration was arrested in the U.K. and held for 16 months in an extradition battle led by a Spanish magistrate seeking to charge him with war crimes. He was ultimately released and returned to Chile. More recently, a Belgian court tried to bring charges against then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for alleged crimes against Palestinians.

For its part, the Bush Administration has rejected adherence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on grounds that it could be used to unjustly prosecute U.S. officials. The ICC is the first permanent tribunal established to prosecute war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity

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Old 11-10-2006, 02:36 PM
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Sounds like they may have a case.
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Old 11-10-2006, 02:39 PM
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I find it shocking that a former Brig. General would be a willing witness in this matter, even though Abu Ghraib destroyed her career and reputation.

I wonder what our extradition agreements with Germany are.

I wonder whether a trial would take place in absentia.

The article mentions the ICC, but I gather this isn't being pursued through the ICC.

If this trial does take place I doubt they will find it very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that knowledge of and responsibility for the matter do indeed go to the top. We'll see when and if the facts come out, I guess. No doubt we will pressure them politically to put a stop to this.
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Old 11-10-2006, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maroon 300D View Post
I find it shocking that a former Brig. General would be a willing witness in this matter, even though Abu Ghraib destroyed her career and reputation.

I wonder what our extradition agreements with Germany are.
Ditto part 1... and I don't think there's much of an agreement with Germany, as they just let that TWA hijacker (remember the fellows who killed the Navy diver and dumped his body onto the taxiway) walk free rather than face US prosecution.
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Old 11-10-2006, 02:49 PM
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It would probably be smart of her to plan on living abroad from now on if this is all true.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:24 PM
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I think even the Democrats would not hand Rummy over to Germany. I hope they don't try him in absentia. It would be too over the top.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:31 PM
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There are lots of bad guys in the world, Ahmadinejad, president of Iran comes to mind (one of the thugs who kidnapped our Tehran embassy staff and held them for 444 days), who've done terrible things to Americans. Shall we begin the inquiry? Where does it stop? What purpose does it serve?

The answer to the purpose question is that some people want to prevent the US from DEFENDING itself, no matter what. The big bad US is evil beyond compare and is hated not only by muslim fanatics, but also by socialist thugs around the world.

We have the ability to prosecute our own for crimes they commit. The political will exists too. Plenty of folks here who think war crimes were committed at Abu Graib and Gitmo. Or are they too cowardly to file suit on American soil???
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old300D View Post
Sounds like they may have a case.
Care to wager?
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2006, 04:25 PM
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This thing sounds like a loser to me. If the case gets any traction at all it will be an indication of just how far the United States has fallen in the eyes of the Germans. On the other hand, if anyone knows about prisoner abuse, it would be the Germans. (That's intended to be a joke, BTW.)
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Old 11-10-2006, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dculkin View Post
This thing sounds like a loser to me. If the case gets any traction at all it will be an indication of just how far the United States has fallen in the eyes of the Germans. On the other hand, if anyone knows about prisoner abuse, it would be the Germans. (That's intended to be a joke, BTW.)
I think if you are talking POWs, the Japanese had the Germans beat. Let us not mention other prisoners. That is happening in Darfour right now. Israel said never again but there it is in Darfour.
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Old 11-10-2006, 04:43 PM
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Maybe after 10 more years of abuse they will have a case if the abusers don't get their ducks in a row by then.
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2006, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Maroon 300D View Post
I find it shocking that a former Brig. General would be a willing witness in this matter, even though Abu Ghraib destroyed her career and reputation. ...
She has her reputation at stake. IF she can get some court of law to that that higher-ups knew what was going-on and circumvented her command authority, then she bears no moral responsibility for any abuses. If she cannot find somebody crdible to make that claim then she was either derelict in her duty buy not knowing or she was complicit by not stopping it.

As it stands from American courts martial in this case, the highest it went up the food chain was to a Lt Col, IIRC. I think they busted him because he should have known what was going on but claimed he did not.

B
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:02 PM
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Care to wager?
I suppose we'd first have to agree on what constitutes a "case" as I suspect you may be reading more into it than I.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:38 PM
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Total BS, the solution is simple tell them to drop it, I'm sure we can dangle some trade thing or military tech over there heads to make it go away.

The Germans should be the last ones to point fingers at us over prisons, they just want to make a politcal statement. The whole point is just to get headlines, and make the US look bad. Good sport in Europe these days I hear.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
She has her reputation at stake. IF she can get some court of law to that that higher-ups knew what was going-on and circumvented her command authority, then she bears no moral responsibility for any abuses. If she cannot find somebody crdible to make that claim then she was either derelict in her duty buy not knowing or she was complicit by not stopping it.

As it stands from American courts martial in this case, the highest it went up the food chain was to a Lt Col, IIRC. I think they busted him because he should have known what was going on but claimed he did not.

B
In my eyes she appeared to be something of a scapegoat. But now she seems, well, almost treasonous. She is a former brigadier general who is apparently doing everything she can to have the former sec. of defense prosecuted for crimes in another country. Regardless of whether Rumsfeld is guilty or innocent of these charges, who will respect her for that? These pathetic actions seem to trump whatever she may or may not have done in Iraq. It would be one thing if she went to the American public with whatever it is she has to say (and I think she has) through the press, but willingly aiding a foreign prosecution seems like quite another matter.

This seems so bad to me that I almost wonder if there is something I just don't understand about it. But she couldn't be forced into giving statements to the Germans about this, could she? She certainly couldn't be forced to go to Germany to publicly state her accusations as it's alleged she will in the article.

It would not surprise me at all if Rumsfeld could easily be construed as guilty for some, most, or all of the Iraqi prisoner abuses. If so, I think he should be held to account for it. A number of low-level soldiers have been, after all. But it seems outrageous to me that Karpinski would take these steps.

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