The Guardian 14 September, 2005

Rice & Rumsfeld

A group has been formed in Adelaide to protest the proposed visit of Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld to the city in November. The Rice Rumsfeld Reception Committee (RRRC) says the recent horrendous events in New Orleans highlight their reasons for saying that the senior US government figures are "international criminals" and "not wanted here".

RRRC spokesperson Stephen Darley said "They are criminals against the environment — Rice’s reason for being here is to set up a multilateral alliance to undermine the already modest Kyoto treaty, and so leave the world without a credible response to global warming".

RRRC quotes US and other scientists who have sheeted home the enormous fury of the hurricane that flooded New Orleans to global-warming-induced high temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

"They are criminals against the people of Iraq — as principal authors and initiators of the invasion and occupation of that country. Over 1800 US soldiers and uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead as a result — these are war crimes of the worse kind. Significant parts of the National Guards of Louisiana and Mississippi (and their heavy transport equipment) are in Iraq — rather than serving in their home states where their rescue capacity was sorely missed", the Mr Darley said.

The RRRC points to the still uncounted numbers of poor, mostly African-American New Orleans residents who have died as a result of culpable neglect on the part of the Bush administration — not only in sending the Guard to Iraq, but in massively under-funding the levees and other coastal defences of New Orleans. The group insists the need for this vital public investment has been known for years, but very little has been done.

"Rice, Rumsfeld, Bush and the other criminals have chosen instead to spend this capital on imperial adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan", stated Mr Darley. "Rather than welcome them to Adelaide, we intend to put them on trial before a Citizen’s Tribunal — on behalf of Iraqi’s, US citizens, and the global community".

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