The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, June 16, 2003

The Orwellian war crimes double standard of Uncle Sam: Belgium bad, Spain good

Four legs good, two legs bad.

Take two countries, each of which lays claim to the right to try those accused of international crimes wherever, and by whomever, (allegedly) committed. The first is a miserable surrender monkey who has failed to come to the aid of the Party (preserving the Orwellian analogy just a little longer), and sided with those who did all they could to flout its will. The second is a cheerleader for whom no kick is high enough, nor costume abbreviated enough, to show its loyalty and devotion to said Party (though falling short of doing any of the actual dirty work).

[That's enough analogy. Ed]

The legal systems of both Belgium and Spain - systems supposedly in law, and to a fair degree in fact, operating independently of government - are entertaining war crimes complaints against serving US servicemen: the Belgian case against Gen Tommy Franks [1], the Spanish against Lt Col Philip de Camp [2] and two others.

Belgium is lambasted by Donald Rumsfeld as only he knows how; on Spain, not a dickey-bird: from USG or its hangers-on. Or from anyone else, for that matter.

Out of curiosity, I checked the State Department briefings for the last two or three weeks [3]. There is an item on Spain in the June 13 briefing:

MR. BOUCHER: What's going on in Madrid?

QUESTION: Madrid. That's my question. What's going on in Madrid? Can you give us an update about Under Secretary Bolton's meeting in Madrid on the --

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, that meeting in Madrid. Didn't they put out a statement?.....

Nothing whatsoever to do with his boys with Damoclean dago extradition warrants hanging over them. Boucher was either joshing - not unknown - or he genuinely was unaware of this grave l├Ęse-hyperpouvoir.

And, going back to May 21 - the earlier occasion on which the Tommy Franks case was mentioned - crapped on, in fact, there is not the slightest mention of the fact that similar proceedings were under discussion in Spain [3].

Now, Uncle Sam's double standard is, of course, perfectly explicable. What is not is the fact that no hack - even from the lands of the surrender monkeys - seems to have challenged it. Not at any press briefings with US officials where the question might have been on topic; not even in the columns of their own rags. Nowhere (that I can see).

Why not?

More bizarre still that the matter hadn't been pursued with USG, given that the victims of the war crime (if that's what it was) carried out by Lt Col de Camp were both journalists!

Perhaps the farther shores of the JFK assassination nutjob squad might furnish one or two possible rationales. But I'm stumped.

  1. Work back from my piece of June 14

  2. Ditto my piece of June 11. His name also (confusingly) spelt DeCamp. He's still in Iraq on active service, according to AP (June 6).

  3. The DOD is much less organised - Rummy and Wolfie spout at the drop of a hat, and there doesn't seem to be a Richard Boucher. (Wolfie I source here; he and Perle, according to this, are known in the Pentagon as the Kosher Nostra. Both are screamingly ben trovato - but passably amusing, I thought. And Wolfowitz is such a bastard to type...

  4. A spike of wire pieces on May 28 - but the case was previously being considered by the public prosecutor, who must have made contact with USG. Did none of the hacks realise this?

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