Saturday, January 26, 2008

PART 1: A Dirty Job, A Dirty President

Apparently, the Discovery Channel has a reality TV show called “Dirty Jobs.” I hardly watch television but I understand from its web site that the show highlights the “dirty, smelly, disgusting occupations” in America and profiles the workers who “overcome fear, danger, and sometimes stench and overall ickiness to accomplish their daily tasks.”

Word-of-mouth buzz tells me that the producers, after a number of episodes, are running out of dirty jobs to profile. To help the situation, allow me to suggest a couple of icky and stench-filled jobs:

George Bush’s Travel Agent - Prior to becoming President, George W. Bush traveled little outside the U.S. -- actually astonishing little for someone from a prominent international family. Bush’s seeming lack of interest in seeing the world may serve him well once he leaves the Oval Office. With all the international lawbreaking by the U.S. while under his direction, supervision, and control, Bush’s travel agent will need to be extra careful in keeping his client from an unwanted visit to The Hague, home of the International Criminal Court.

The travel agent, in planning Bush’s foreign travel as a retired president, will need to carefully study foreign criminal and judicial investigations and proceedings before booking any trips. The travel agent’s due diligence will be necessary to (1) get repeat business and (2) avoid becoming Bush’s de facto bail bondsman, someone who will need to help spring him loose from judicial troubles abroad (with help from the CIA, of course).

Longtime Village Voice columnist and civil liberties defender, Nat Hentoff, observed in his August 28, 2007 piece:

If and when there's the equivalent of an international Nuremberg trial for the American perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Guantánamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the CIA's secret prisons, there will be mounds of evidence available from documented international reports by human-rights organizations, including an arm of the European parliament—as well as such deeply footnoted books as Stephen Grey's Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program (St. Martin's Press) and Charlie Savage's just-published Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (Little, Brown).

Should Bush (pictured above, right) decide to do extensive foreign travel after his presidency, he faces the prospect of ending up like former U.S.-backed rightwing strongman, Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Pinochet (pictured above, left) spent the last few years of his life dodging international and domestic criminal charges. At one point, Pinochet was arrested in the United Kingdom under orders from international judicial authorities. Eventually, Great Britain – no surprise here – allowed the dictator to return to Chile instead of facing international justice. At the time of his death, Pinochet reportedly faced approximately 300 criminal charges involving human rights abuses, mass murder, torture, illegal detentions, forced disappearances, assassinations, arms trafficking, tax evasion, and embezzlement. I don’t know how many criminal charges Bush will have to dodge, but the list will probably be just as long.

My advice to Bush’s travel agent is this: You may want to book your client an RV to travel around the U.S. In that manner, your client will be sure to return to the Crawford ranch and not end up in handcuffs in some foreign land.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

Part II Tomorrow-- Dirty Job: Dick Cheney’s Shredder Repair Person


The Pinochet File – I have donated my copy of the book, The Pinochet File, A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability by Peter Kornbluh, to the Peace Education Center library, which will lend it out for free to the public. The book was published by the National Security Archive and is touted as “a definitive account of the U.S. role in supporting bloody regime change in Chile…(including) the newest declassified information on how Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger launched a preemptive strike against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and helped Pinochet consolidate his rule.”

Missing – Despite its tragic topic, the award-winning movie Missing is one of my favorites. The movie, starting Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemon and directed by Costa-Gavras, tells the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared – and was most-likely murdered – during the aftermath of Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in Chile. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend that you rent it when you get a chance.

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