Some Good News About That Other 9/11

I don't care how much you talk up your human rights record, Mr. Bush, and I don't care how many "National Human Rights" Days you authorize. When you continually rain hell down upon civilians, no one is going to take you seriously for your human rights record.

This is a victory for human rights:

On February 25, Riggs Bank agreed to pay $9 million into a fund for victims of Augusto Pinochet to settle a case over the bank’s role in hiding the former Chilean dictator’s ill-gotten gains. This latest development in the decades-long fight to hold Pinochet accountable for his crimes stands in stark contrast to the twisted human rights rhetoric-and record-of the U.S. government....

The settlement with Riggs grew out of a Spanish investigation launched in the mid-1990s into violations by Pinochet of international laws on torture, genocide, and terrorism. These include his role in the September 21, 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington, DC.

These are not:

But here is a number you won’t hear from this government: 16,389. That is the number of verifiable civilian deaths reported by at least two independent news sources and recorded in the “Iraq Body Count” project, a volunteer, not-for-profit effort to record civilian casualties. That is the number today.

Those 16,389 include Bahaar Ali Kadem, two years old, killed on March 20th, 2003 by a missile in Helaa Al-Kefell. They include Ali Shaker Abed Al-Hassan, aged four, killed two days later also by a missile in Al-Bassra - two among the thousands of children killed.

Those 16,389 include Zahara Khalid, aged 60, killed by a mortar in Baghdad on 19th April 2004, and 59 year old Muhammad Kahdum al Jurani, killed on 24th October 2003 when his family car was struck head on by a US armoured personnel carrier on the highway west of Baghdad.

When you start doing things like this, Mr. Bush, maybe someone might start lauding your human rights record.

Thanks to Saul Landau.


The victories in the Pinochet case should elate all human rights advocates. Victims of human rights violations can hope to apply the lessons from this case to their own fights for justice. The precedents set also afford additional legal protection at a time when the Bush administration has undermined global standards. The president may claim to have noble intentions, but let’s not forget that Pinochet claimed to have noble intentions too. .

This is indeed a victory and one that should give us all hope that the day may very well come when George Bush will stand before the world condemned for his crimes against humanity.  

Posted by Dianne
3/16/2005 08:39:00 pm  
the day may very well come when George Bush will stand before the world condemned for his crimes against humanity.  

Unfortunately, that day is likely to come after he's long out of office and secure, pardons in hand, from his corrupt successors. 

Posted by eponymous
3/16/2005 10:02:00 pm  
You're probably right, eponymous, but I can hope that fate will intervene. 

Posted by Dianne
3/16/2005 10:42:00 pm  
If anyone speaks Spanish, I can email an audio of the last words of Salvador Allende, September 11 1973, a radio speech to the people of Chile, while he was being bombed. It reminds me always the great person we lost, the brutal fascist dictator who followed and destroyed the dreams of a more just society.

"... Yo no voy a renunciar. Colocado en un transito historico, pagare con mi vida la lealtad del pueblo..."

"...I am not going to resign. Being placed in a historic moment, I will pay the loyalty of the people (of Chile) with my life..." 

Posted by Dr. Marco
3/17/2005 01:22:00 am  

I had never heard that and I'm glad you shared it with me. Even my rudimentary Spanish allowed me to get the gist of it. Powerful stuff. I'd really like to hear it if you get a chance to post the link.



Posted by eponymous
3/17/2005 03:49:00 am  
I blame this all on the red sox. they broke the curse and now we're in a bizzaro world where bush was re-elected depsite the redskins game, he is more of a hero than he was before, robert blake gets away with murder, michael jackson will go free, it's gonna be sunny on st patty's day this year despite being sunny last year....bush has a despicable record on everything he's done. especially human rights. my fear is that he will go down in history as F.D.R. rather than adolf hitler. 

Posted by angiekruger
3/17/2005 04:23:00 am  
"Even my rudimentary Spanish allowed me to get the gist of it. Powerful stuff "

Eponymous, speaking of powerful stuff, Dianne found a transcript in English of one of Fidel Castro's speeches, going way back. Dianne's asleeep now, and I'll let her take care of speaking about it if she wishes, but the stuff is so amazing, we printed it out, all 38 pages of it, and she's been reading for the last 2 days.

I'm waiting she's finished so I can read it over too. I had read things from Che Guevara before, but never from Fidel Castro. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/17/2005 04:38:00 am  
Ok Eponymous, I will try to put a link so that you can download it tomorrow.  

Posted by Dr. Marco
3/17/2005 06:01:00 am  
I am reading History Will Absolve Me 

After his capture in the attack on the Moncada Barracks, Fidel Castro was held, mostly in solitary confinement, and finally placed on trial on October 16th, 1953. Castro defended himself. His defence speech is known to history by its concluding line, “History will absolve me”. Although taking five hours to deliver, the speech was made without notes. In it, Castro ranged over the crimes of the Batista government and its illegitimacy, economic and social conditions in Cuba and his hopes for a Cuba cleansed of poverty, corruption and degradation.

Of course, opinions of Castro depend on the politics of the speaker.
Strange that Cuba is not part of Bush's 'Axis of Evil'.  

Posted by Dianne
3/17/2005 10:08:00 am  
From the Wall Street Journal

According to the report, released yesterday by the U.S. Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigations, Mr. Pinochet's banking relationships extended beyond Riggs National Corp.'s Riggs Bank, which pleaded guilty to a criminal charge related to suspicious transactions it handled for him. Besides Citigroup, the list includes Bank of America Corp., Miami-based Espirito Santo Bank, the U.S. office of Banco de Chile and several smaller banks.

"Through lax due diligence or worse, too many banks allowed a notorious public figure, Augusto Pinochet, to build a secret web of U.S. accounts using offshore corporations, deceptive account names and third-party conduits to hide his role in moving millions of dollars across international lines," said Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), the senior Democrat on the committee.
3/17/2005 12:35:00 pm  
"It reminds me always the great person we lost, the brutal fascist dictator who followed and destroyed the dreams of a more just society."

After Pinochet assumed power, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told U.S. President Richard Nixon that the U.S. "didn't do it" (referring to the coup) but had "created the conditions as great as possible", including leading economic sanctions.

The following are 2 comments by these two famous US personalities.

"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves." -- Henry Kissinger

"Make the economy scream prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him" -- Richard Nixon
3/17/2005 12:59:00 pm  
"The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves." -- Henry Kissinger  "

Wow, LOL, US democracy in full glory! 

Posted by WhyNot
3/17/2005 01:21:00 pm  

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