Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Ah, the Alien Torts Claims Act is under attack by Bush and Ashcroft.

Bush Administration's attack On ATCA

Why? Because the precious precious American corporations may be sued under the act when they do as they always do : corrupt local authorities to the point that they are effectively banana republics.

Since Daddy Bush's mining company may be liable for burying alive African miners, this is naturally a concern for our Good Government, who only oppose this law philosophically of course. But it's not so simple as Daddy's company : it's for what else has happened in the Third World, and what WILL happen in Iraq. After all, we can't have Iraqis suing Halliburton or Bechtel when those companies' local puppet shoots a few indolent or striking workers now can we?

Also, significantly, this move by the Administration is a favour to the despicable Henry Kissinger, who is very near to being called as a material witness in the court case of the bombing deaths of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and American citizen Ronni Moffit. Because, you see, our government's great friend, General Pinochet, ordered that bombing which was on American Soil by the way. It was Henry Kissinger, ultimately, who allowed this crime to happen (by giving Pinochet a greenlight for whatever he had to do to wipe out those who had spoken uncharitably of his fascist ways).

In some ways this is a quid pro quo and in some important ways it's not. Kissinger, pointedly, dropped the Scowcroft-Eagleburger line of objection to the War in Iraq (this is not out of any morality, of course, but rather just because his kind had always prefered a sure thing in Saddam to a slightly chancey thing like a new puppet). Now Bush and the Kristolmethodist junta have returned the small favour. Where it is not, however, a trade is due to the always present always ludicrous National Pride Factor : beyond a cover your ass mentality, it's a mindset that allows no guilt, admits no fault, and not just for some people, but for anyone who ever had power under American aegis. Colin Powell found this out a few months ago when he candidly admitted to US wrongdoing in regard to Chile. Immediately the beurocracy of the state department (and one should assume that this goes back to Cheney if not, perhaps, Bush) issued a stern counterstatement. If anything, this has inspired in me not a admiration for Colin Powell, but an iota of respect where I had none before.

Incidentally, Hitchens, whose fixation on Iraq has obliterated his sense of perspective, rather meanly did not credit Powell for his candid words : better, of course, to bash Powell for not being blood and guts enough. Also, I think Hitch may be coming to the soul-crushing (for him) conclusion that his beloved neocon "liberators" are actually mere Kissingers, but with better PR sense.

I'll try to get links up to explain my references later.