Germany wants a piece of Rummy

I think I may have to start holding up my German head again.

This might just make up for 12 DISASTROUS years of Nazism–and certainly tells me that someone has learned history’s lessons well:

Donald Rumsfeld, who quit as US defence secretary this week, may face criminal charges in Germany for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

A complaint has been launched by the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, representing a Saudi detained in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad.

German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.

The centre made a similar request in 2004 but German prosecutors dropped that case.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights argues that Mr Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

The lawyer group alleges that Mr Rumsfeld personally approved torture to be used to extract information from the prisoners.

It is also seeking to prosecute US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet, among others.

The group’s complaint will be filed to German federal prosecutors on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the group said.

And this time, it could well prove different. I have a feeling the prosecutors won’t drop the ball as they did last time. The scope is broader, for one thing; Torquemadito Gonzales is now among the defendants, as are George Tenet (CIA fudger-in-chief); Jay Bybee, who wrote Dubya’s first excuse note for torturing prisoners; John Yoo, another legal excuse-maker; Stephen Cambone, another noted intel fudger. And on the plaintiffs’ side, a heavy hitter in the witness box: Fmr. Brig.-Gen. Janis Karpinski.

The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called “20th hijacker” and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a “special interrogation plan,” personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski — who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case — has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: “It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld .”

Here’s Sy Hersh’s coverage in the New Yorker from two years ago. As you can see, the general hasn’t wavered in her story that the abuse here is not the result of a few bad apples in the ranks, but goes straight to the top.

Rummy, a baddie on either side of the Atlantic

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