MUNICH — Claiming a prior commitment, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has decided not to attend the Munich Security Conference in February. But the decision may also be due to a war crimes complaint against him in a German court, according to Deutsche Welle.
In December, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed the complaint with the Federal German Prosecutor’s Office, accusing Rumsfeld of war crimes and torture due to his involvement in the war in Iraq.
The defense secretary later sent a message to the German government through the U.S. embassy in Berlin that he wouldn’t attend the Feb. 11-13 meeting if there were a chance a case will be launched against him in Germany. When he informed the German government he would not take part in the conference, however, he didn’t refer to the charges.
In the Jan. 21 Münchner Abendzeitung newspaper, conference chief Horst Teltschik reported that Rumsfeld will instead send the Pentagon’s number three official, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
Spy branch using “notorious figures”
WASHINGTON — A new U.S. spying agency has been operating secretly in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years. Called the Strategic Support Branch, the unit also has been active in other places, The Washington Post reported on Jan. 23.
The new agents may include “notorious figures” whose association with the United States would be embarrassing if revealed, according to a Pentagon memo. The initiative also encroaches on the traditional territory of the CIA and gives Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld unprecedented authority over foreign spying at a time when Congress is trying to group an array of intelligence agencies under a new national intelligence director.
A planning memo to Rumsfeld from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said the initiative focuses on emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Georgia.
Posted February 3, 2005
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