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April 27, 2005
Italy and Cambodia

Berlusconi may be facing charges of tax fraud and embezzlement. What does the Italian Prime Minister have to say about this?

The case is the latest in a long series of investigations against Berlusconi, who says he is a victim of a campaign by "communist" magistrates.

No wonder he's Bush's buddy. They even use the same feeble defense. They blame it all on the Left.

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Rouge justice

On April 17, it was the thirty-year anniversary.

It was exactly 30 years ago. It still is, and will remain for ages, a collective trauma: every single person in Cambodia has at least one relative who was killed in the dreaded Pol Pot years (April 17, 1975-January 7, 1979) when the Khmer Rouge imposed a neo-agrarian social-engineering folly on a whole nation.

Thanks to a little "independent study" when I was in college (I roamed the shelves of the university library and read some of almost everything), I know enough to feel a shiver of nausea when I hear "Khmer Rouge" mentioned.

Nobody was ever punished for the concentration camps, the institutionalized terror, the mass executions, the mass famine.

Two million dead out of a population of 7.7 million people.

To add insult to unspeakable injury, the Khmer Rouge terror - the ultimate Cold War-related tragedy - was far from over after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in January 1979. During the 1980s it metamorphosed into shameful acceptance, to the point that the United States recognized the "exiled" Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge kept a United Nations seat.

Lest any of us forget that we in the USofA shamed ourselves long before Abu Ghraib.

Dispensing a few drops of justice three decades after the facts depends on a mere fistful of dollars. Late last month, the international community finally pledged a paltry $38 million for the trial, still $4.5 million short of the necessary $43 million. Japan is the largest donor ($21.6 million, half of the total), followed by France ($4.8 million), Britain ($2.8 million) and Australia ($2.3 million). The US has contributed exactly zero dollars.

That's zero, in case you missed it.

The US is not offering a single cent because of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act of 2005, passed by Congress, which explicitly forbids help to a Cambodian tribunal.

The mind boggles. Not an Act passed at the time. Not an Act passed when it became clear that trials would be held. An Act passed for this year. What the heck are they up to?

Only Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has the power to overturn it, if she judges in her infinite wisdom that the tribunal is competent, independent, impartial, incorruptible and "capable of delivering justice that meets internationally recognized standards".

Rice doesn't sneeze without the Bush Administration's permission. I can only assume there must be something they have that the Bush Administration wants or why, at this late date, would they have passed such a punitive Act?

Maybe it's just that they'd prefer to have the whole thing swept under the carpet, before someone starts talking about the Reagan Administration's part in the mess?

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I was going to say more, but now I'm all distracted reading about Venezuela, thanks to Dr. Fallon.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:45 AM


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