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On Fox News, Karl Rove claims that a torture investigation of the Bush Administration would make the United States the “moral equivalent” of a Latin American dictatorship run by “colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” Catch the full segment courtesy of the Young Turks:
So let’s get this straight: the Bush Administration can introduce torture as a matter of formal policy, over the objection of career soldiers and intelligence officers, lie about it, and then scapegoat a handful of grunts when it is uncovered, but those who demand accountability under the law for these misdeeds are “colonels in mirrored sunglasses”?! Only in the twisted world of Karl Rove. Moreover, in Latin America the world of colonels in mirrored sunglasses is vanishing, and the new age is one in which leaders who torture are routinely subject to criminal investigation and prosecution. Ask Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. As part of a counterterrorism campaign against Maoist guerillas, he authorized the use of torture and the “disappearings” of hundreds, and a Peruvian court just passed judgment following a full trial. The sentence: twenty-five years in prison. Peru shows how a healthy and self-confident democracy deals with serious misconduct by a head of state.
This evening I’ll be participating in the following event. It’s open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP.
OSI Forum: Prosecuting Heads of State
Location: The Open Society Institute, 400 West 59th Street, New York
Event Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Event Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Speakers: Caitlin Reiger, Juan Méndez, Ellen L. Lutz, Scott Horton, Aryeh Neier
In 1990, an era of accountability began for former government officials and heads of state who had committed human rights violations and other abuses of power while in office. Since then, at least 69 former heads of state have been formally prosecuted for serious human rights violations or economic crimes committed during their administration.
Prosecuting Heads of State (Cambridge Univ. Press), edited by Ellen L. Lutz and Caitlin Reiger, explores the motivations, public dramas, and intrigues that accompanied efforts to bring them to justice. The book contains eight case studies of high-profile trials of former leaders in Europe and Latin America, including Augusto Pinochet, Alberto Fujimori, Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and Saddam Hussein.
Aryeh Neier, President of the Open Society Institute, will moderate the event.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”