Green Shoots of Justice


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed some small ripples of social justice lapping on the shore of oft-deserted Humanitarian Beach in the last couple of weeks?

First up, not just one, but two investigations into CIA interrogation abuses, as the LA Times reports:

The Obama administration Monday set the country on a course to confront whether actions taken in the name of defending Americans instead crossed criminal lines.

In simultaneous moves, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. opened an investigation into whether CIA interrogators broke the law and the administration complied with a judge’s order and released a long-secret CIA report that cataloged allegations of agency prisoner abuse.

These have brought Dick Cheney out of the woodwork (again) and onto the TV chat shows to defend abuses that went far beyond the White House’s already distorted edicts on interrogation.

The best response to Cheney came from, Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of The Nation. Speaking on the Rachel Maddow Show, Hayes gave Cheney the triple barrel of insanity:

“I think it shows just how insane, insane, insane his vision for national security and constitutional governance are,” Hayes said.

Meanwhile, down in Chile, time is proving no barrier for chasing down those who engaged in atrocity when the dictator Augusto Pinochet was in power:

A Chilean judge has issued arrest warrants for 129 people for allegedly helping to purge critics of former ruler General Augusto Pinochet. The suspects – the largest group so far to face arrest warrants – all worked for the secret police agency, Dina. They are accused of taking part in killings and disappearances of dozens of leftists and opposition activists.

Pinochet, now dead, has been gone from power since 1990.  You’d think you would be safe from prosecution after 20 years had passed, but no.

Twenty years may seem like a long time, but not as long as the Venezuelans have waited for the extradition of a self-acknowledged terrorist and one-time CIA operative Carriles Posada who lives free and happy in Miami. As the Jamaican Observer notes this week:

The relatives and friends of more than 70 Cubans, Barbadians and Guyanese blown out of the Barbadian sky in December 1976 are still waiting for justice. They know who ordered the mass murder, they know how he delegated and supplied his assassins, they know that the evidence against him is overwhelming.

No luck with that one, then, but it’s not being allowed to die, much to the embarrassment of successive U.S. governments.

And one final note, and an important one that I almost overlooked. William Calley, the man responsible for the infamous My Lai massacre in Vietnam, where over 300 women and children were slaughtered by the soldiers under Calley’s command, has apologised at a speech in his local Rotary club, saying:

I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.

Better late than never.


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