Pondering the Ramsey Clark Blog-Burst

For the life of me, I don’t know what the answer to this question is:

I don’t really understand this. All of a sudden everyone’s all, “Whoa! Can you believe Ramsey Clark is going to defend Saddam? What a scumpuppet!” Yes, he’s an America-hating turd, but I thought I knew that already. […] since December of 2004, in fact.

I’m just wondering why this is news again.

It’s a case of forgetfulness. I remember hearing a right-wing radio show host around December of 2004 shouting out his outrage at Ramsey Clark’s legal (and, frankly, beyond) defense of Saddam Hussein. It didn’t seem terribly relevant to the world at large, but in the end… you have to get outraged at something if you are a political radio show host. Why not Ramsey Clark?

Hammorabi has comments about Saddam’s trial. It’s safe to say that he doesn’t like Ramsey Clark much. Take a number.

Never mind. Just accept Ramsey Clark as a useful strawman (regretably, I cannot come up with the blog at technorati.com that states categorically “This is what all liberals think but do not dare say.”) and an embarrassment, and move on. Embarrassingly enough, there he was… during the run-up to the Iraq War… on… Democracy Now! It’s interesting to look over the programming of Democracy Now… how it bends about when the politics of the time move away or toward it. Example in waiting: just after 9/11, they show excerpts from a war protest of the worst sort. Anarchists, generic drum-beats… and then you have the interview with one of the protesters, rambling on about how the “Peace Movement” and the “Social Justice Movement” are the same thing. They would not show anything like that today. (Actually, for the interest of politico-sociology, for both good and ill.)

Here’s a decent exploration of Ramsey Clark:

Taking that line of reasoning, and stealing and bastardizing a line from Bogie, I’d ask Ramsey Clark, then, of all of the trials in all of the world where a defendant might need your help, why would you choose Saddam Hussein? Certainly, with 3500 Americans on death row and more than half of them with no legal representation whatsoever, Clark’s humble services might be better proffered to one of these hapless, condemned souls.

That Clark, instead, chooses to defend a war criminal already outfitted with literally dozens of lawyers and paid for the by vast fortunes he has squeezed from his victimized population, makes it impossible (at least for me ) to have any tempered view of him. I can only conclude that in helping Saddam, or in gesturing to help him which is more like it, Clark believes he is making some broader political statement about America’s role in the world. It’s a piss-poor platform from which to do that sort of political work. And it is marvelously counter-productive and I would say downright stupid when you have simultaneously positioned yourself as a major figure in an already struggling peace movement. And that’s the trouble with Ramsey. Big trouble.

Not that I believe in a “peace movement”. Upon reflection, I’ve come to the belief that the populace will turn against this or that war completely separate of what any movement does. But I shrug at Ramsey Clark and declare “who’s he going to select to run on the World’s Worker Party for President next time up?”

As for his defense of Lyndon LaRouche:

Things started to smell really fishy in 1989, when Clark represented ultra-right cult-master Lyndon LaRouche and six cohorts on conspiracy and mail fraud charges. The LaRouchies had been bilking their naive followers of their savings by getting them to cough up their credit card numbers. Clark (who had been silent when the real COINTELPRO was conducted under his watch at the Justice Department) now charged that the LaRouche case was an “outgrowth” of COINTELPRO. He said the case was manufactured by LaRouche’s “powerful enemies within the establishment” who targeted the cult because of its crusade “to combat the traffic in so-called ‘recreational drugs’…and the practice of usury.”

Clark was echoing the standard line of the LaRouche organization, which paradoxically pleads government persecution while boasting of its connections to the intelligence establishment (uniquely merging paranoia with delusions of grandeur). In fact, the cult has exchanged information with the FBI, and farmed out its “intelligence” services to Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noriega. LaRouche’s 1970s campaigns for a “War on Drugs” and space-based missile defense eerily predicted Reagan-era programs.

Clark couldn’t keep his client from a conviction and brief prison term. But Clark’s relationship with LaRouche went beyond legal representation to actual advocacy. Researcher Chip Berlet, a watchdog on radical right groups, told Judis that Clark’s brief was a “political polemic.”

In June 1990, a LaRouche front organization, the Schiller Institute, flew Clark to a cult-organized conference in Copenhagen. His speech there claimed the US government had moved against LaRouche because he was “a danger to the system,” and decried that he was a victim of “vilification.” The speech was printed in full by the LaRouchie New Federalist propaganda rag.

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