(by Tom Carter, Nov. 28, 2005, WashingtonTimes) – Ramsey Clark, who arrived in Baghdad yesterday to join the defense team of ousted Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, has spent his career defending some of the world’s most notorious terrorists and dictators.
He helped the Palestine Liberation Organization when its leaders were accused in the killing of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound Jewish American who was shot and pushed overboard in the 1986 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.
He also came to the defense of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who were accused of war crimes.
During a 2003 speech to the National Press Club in Washington, Mr. Clark defended his role as adviser to Mr. Milosevic before a U.N. war-crimes tribunal, saying, “Everyone needs his own lawyer,” according to a Cybercast News Service report.
Beginning with his trips to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, Mr. Clark — who served as attorney general in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1967 to 1969 — has repeatedly traveled abroad to denounce U.S. foreign policy.
He has also traveled to countries as North Korea, Libya and Panama to denounce U.S. actions there using such terms as “genocide” and “war crimes.”
While 52 Americans were being held in Iran by the government of Ayatollah Khomeini, he traveled to Tehran in 1980 to attend a conference called “The Crimes of America.”
“Clark has been using and aiding mass murderers and other American enemies for the last 30 years. He should give it a rest,” conservative columnist David Horowitz said in 2003 of a Clark trip to Iraq.
As a defense lawyer, Mr. Clark has worked on a number of notorious cases, backing the Branch Davidian sect in a $675 million lawsuit brought by about 100 survivors and relatives of the dead, saying the U.S. government used excessive force in ending the 51-day siege in 1993 in Waco, Texas.
Mr. Clark was an opponent of both wars against Hussein. He told the National Press Club that charges that Saddam had tortured his own people amounted to a “demonization” of Saddam.
“I don’t believe demonization is very helpful,” Mr. Clark said. “I don’t even believe in demons.”
Two former U.S. government officials this week made some tart comments about Mr. Clark’s presence in Baghdad, saying Saddam could control his defense team while alluding to Mr. Clark’s history.
“I think Saddam should be entitled to have any lawyer he wants. Ramsey Clark has to ask himself the appropriateness of a former American attorney general appearing as a defense lawyer,” said former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “I could have imagined a better combination. But it should go ahead.”
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Carter’s national security adviser, agreed.
“If he was invited to be part of the defense team, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for him to accept. If he’s going there to grandstand, then I think it’s somewhat embarrassing,” Mr. Brzezinski said.
Copyright 2005 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of the Washington Times. This reprint does not constitute or imply any endorsement or sponsorship of any product, service, company or organization. Visit the website at www.washingtontimes.com
1. Ramsey Clark is a former U.S. Attorney General. Under which president did he hold this position? What is the role of Attorney General? For information on the Attorney General, go to the Department of Justice website.
2. Why did Ramsey Clark go to Baghdad yesterday? In a speech to the National Press Club, what did he say he believed about U.S. charges that Saddam had tortured his own people? What do you think about Mr. Clark’s statement and actions regarding Saddam Hussein?
3. Define notorious. List several of the notorious cases with which Mr. Clark was involved.
4. Re-read paragraph #4. Mr. Clark stated “Everyone needs his own lawyer.” Is he implying that he is the only lawyer available to the people he defends? Is he implying that he is the best lawyer available for these people? Do you think that Mr. Clark believes that his expertise is necessary to the fairness of these trials? Which word best describes Mr. Clark: humble, delusional, arrogant, conceited, compassionate? Explain your answer.
5. Is it right or wrong for Wesley Clark to defend Saddam Hussein? Explain your answer.
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