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By Leonard Pitts Jr | May 26, 2009
If incompetence were a crime, you might have a case. Heck, if arrogance were a felony, you could put them on death row. But these things are not against the law, so forgive me if I'm not sold on the argument that we should launch investigations into the failures of the Bush years. It's a view advanced by many, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, who wants to empanel a "truth commission," and CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, who wants a special prosecutor. No one will ever mistake me for a Bush apologist.
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NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | May 26, 2009
If incompetence were a crime, you might have a case. Heck, if arrogance were a felony, you could put them on death row. But these things are not against the law, so forgive me if I'm not sold on the argument that we should launch investigations into the failures of the Bush years. It's a view advanced by many, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, who wants to empanel a "truth commission," and CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, who wants a special prosecutor. No one will ever mistake me for a Bush apologist.
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NEWS
By Michael Hill and Michael Hill,Johannesburg Bureau of The Sun | June 8, 1994
PRETORIA, South Africa -- South Africa's new government took the first steps yesterday toward setting up a "truth commission" that will investigate the abuses of the apartheid era and to consider amnesty for some of the abusers."
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | August 4, 1999
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- By its very name this country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission had two functions: to expose the crimes of the apartheid era and to help bridge the racial divide.Its 3,500-page report, issued in October, spread the blame for gross violations of human rights across the political spectrum, bringing it plaudits for evenhandedness.The ruling African National Congress even tried to get a court order suppressing the commission's findings. It was, argued the ANC, unfair for the anti-apartheid movement to be put in the same dock as the perpetrators of the system of white supremacy.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 29, 1998
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The final report of this country's truth commission, meant to clear the air about the racist past, may instead resemble apartheid-era documents left with gaping holes by government censors.Back from the printers yesterday, the five-volume report is scheduled to be delivered today to President Nelson Mandela.But a threatened last-minute court challenge may force commissioners to delete, at least for the time being, unflattering references to Mandela's ruling African National Congress.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | January 8, 1998
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Former South African President Pieter W. Botha -- a chief figure during some of the worst human rights violations of the apartheid era -- was ordered yesterday to appear in court for his refusal to testify to the commission that is trying to lay to rest this country's apartheid past.Botha, 81, is a key witness as a former president, prime minister and chairman of the national security council, which advised the white minority government on strategy during the 1980s.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | April 8, 1999
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- This country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission rejected amnesty yesterday for the 1993 right-wing killers of Communist Party chief Chris Hani, who was emerging as a potential successor to Nelson Mandela as a national leader.The committee ruled that the two confessed assassins had failed to meet the prerequisites of amnesty: full disclosure and political motivation for their crime.The commission's investigative phase into human rights violations during the apartheid era ended last year, but its amnesty committee continues to hear applications from the perpetrators of atrocities.
NEWS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | January 4, 1995
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- By quietly ordering an investigation into the killing of thousands of Haitians during the past three years, the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has opened one of the most sensitive issues it will ever face.Father Aristide constantly repeats his new mantra -- "reconciliation" -- to soothe his enemies, but he also has promised his supporters justice for state crimes committed during his years of exile. Human rights groups estimate that Haitian soldiers and their paramilitary allies killed 3,000 people.
NEWS
By Anthony Lewis | April 5, 1993
THE Truth Commission on El Salvador reported two weeks ago that government forces had carried out appalling atrocities through the 1980s. The report was a direct challenge to the U.S. officials who saw to it that we armed and supported those forces. What would they say?The answer is now in. The men responsible for policy toward El Salvador will admit nothing and regret nothing. Their line is: We didn't know who committed the atrocities, and anyway our policy was right because it defeated communism.
NEWS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | November 7, 1992
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon and the CIA are restricting access to people and documents that shed light on past atrocities in El Salvador, the U.S. member of a United Nations investigative team has charged.Thomas Buergenthal, a U.S. law professor and member of the U.N.-appointed Truth Commission on El Salvador, said this week that U.S. stonewalling could undermine efforts to draft an objective account of the 12-year civil war.Under a peace agreement the Salvadoran government and leftist rebels signed at the United Nations in January, Mr. Buergenthal and two prominent Latin American diplomats were assigned the task of probing "serious acts of violence that have occurred since 1980, and whose impact on society urgently demands that the public should know the truth."
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | April 8, 1999
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- This country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission rejected amnesty yesterday for the 1993 right-wing killers of Communist Party chief Chris Hani, who was emerging as a potential successor to Nelson Mandela as a national leader.The committee ruled that the two confessed assassins had failed to meet the prerequisites of amnesty: full disclosure and political motivation for their crime.The commission's investigative phase into human rights violations during the apartheid era ended last year, but its amnesty committee continues to hear applications from the perpetrators of atrocities.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 29, 1998
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The final report of this country's truth commission, meant to clear the air about the racist past, may instead resemble apartheid-era documents left with gaping holes by government censors.Back from the printers yesterday, the five-volume report is scheduled to be delivered today to President Nelson Mandela.But a threatened last-minute court challenge may force commissioners to delete, at least for the time being, unflattering references to Mandela's ruling African National Congress.
NEWS
By NEWSDAY | October 27, 1998
PRETORIA, South Africa -- It stands knee-high, weighs nearly 18 pounds and was three years in the making. Now, three days before its formal release, the report of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is sparking a national furor as players in the apartheid battle scramble to clear their names in advance of a barrage of damaging findings.News reports said yesterday that the 3,500-page document would say President Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, among others, committed gross human rights abuses from 1960 to May 1994, the period covered by the commission's investigations.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | June 8, 1998
GEORGE, South Africa -- The trial here of former President P. W. Botha marks a watershed in this country's search for closure to its shameful apartheid past.Whether he is found guilty or innocent, the appearance of the elderly white separatist before a young black magistrate showcases the "new dispensation" here.Botha's fate, to be announced after final legal arguments June 15, is all but irrelevant. At age 82, and nine years after leaving office, he is clearly yesteryear's man in a country focusing on its future under majority, instead of minority, rule.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | January 14, 1998
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Acknowledging that it may have gone far outside the law in granting a blanket amnesty to top officials of South Africa's ruling government, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission said yesterday that it would submit its decision to a court for review.vTC The amnesty, granted last month to 37 leaders of the African National Congress, including Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, immediately drew fire from South Africa's other political parties.They pointed out that the amnesty was unlike any other issued by the commission.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | January 8, 1998
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Former South African President Pieter W. Botha -- a chief figure during some of the worst human rights violations of the apartheid era -- was ordered yesterday to appear in court for his refusal to testify to the commission that is trying to lay to rest this country's apartheid past.Botha, 81, is a key witness as a former president, prime minister and chairman of the national security council, which advised the white minority government on strategy during the 1980s.
NEWS
By Anthony Lewis | January 19, 1995
King William's Town, South Africa -- IN A BLEAK cemetery at the edge of town there is a gravestone marked Bantu Steven Biko: Born Dec. 18, 1946, died Sept. 9, 1977.Steve Biko was a brilliant intellectual leader of the Black Consciousness movement, the most respected young anti-apartheid figure of his time; his friends, black and white, thought that someday he would lead a new South Africa. He died of massive brain injuries while in the hands of the security police.When I left that graveyard, I thought to myself that I could not forgive the murderers of Steve Biko.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | June 8, 1998
GEORGE, South Africa -- The trial here of former President P. W. Botha marks a watershed in this country's search for closure to its shameful apartheid past.Whether he is found guilty or innocent, the appearance of the elderly white separatist before a young black magistrate showcases the "new dispensation" here.Botha's fate, to be announced after final legal arguments June 15, is all but irrelevant. At age 82, and nine years after leaving office, he is clearly yesteryear's man in a country focusing on its future under majority, instead of minority, rule.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | December 20, 1997
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- A defiant former state President Pieter W. Botha ignored yesterday his third subpoena to appear before the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, risking imprisonment and a fine.The 81-year-old apartheid-era politician is refusing to testify on the workings of the State Security Council, which advised the white-minority government on strategy during some of the worst human rights violations by the security forces here.He was expected to be questioned about the killings by security forces of anti-apartheid activists and about South African military raids into neighboring countries fighting leftist insurgencies or harboring South Africa "freedom fighters."
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | June 8, 1997
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- An impasse over the activity of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission deepened last week when former President F. W. de Klerk threatened to take legal action unless the chairman of the commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, apologizes for remarks he made last month.De Klerk, who was questioned by the commission May 14, said two days later that he would withdraw his cooperation with the commission. But last week he went further, demanding the apology and the resignation of the commission's deputy chairman, Alex Boraine.
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