The Sheep Look Up

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OK. None of us wants to be out here for long.

We go for this in one take, right?
...We're rolling, Mike. It's all yours...


... A derelict lot a block away from the courthouse in

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. A place that epitomises

the decline of a once-great nation. But this day will come

to symbolise far more than that. Nuremberg has been chosen

by the World as the venue for this trial largely because

of the associations of its name.

Following Powell's untimely death, there are no

high-office survivors of the regime that will be judged

here. It's a hundred years ago this month that the Wall

Street Crash marked an earlier slide in America's

fortunes. Judge Mbana referred to the centenary in her

opening address this morning, and expressed a hope that

America and the World will recover their confidence in the

21st Century as they did in the


She acknowledged too that America's wounds may take

longer to heal this time. The disbanding of the Republican

Party is only a first step.

Resentment is running very high in this part of the

world. The Mayor has just moved to ban newsmen of European

extraction from the county. Even as I speak, the

hastily-evacuated staff of the French Embassy are en route

to Emperor Chirac Airport.

Nowadays, the memory of a string of wars twenty years

ago is receding. Few now consider Middle-Eastern

aggression to be the Bush regime's greatest crime. The

worst excesses were arguably provoked by extreme

provocation in the form of wave after wave of terrorist

attacks. Even the insane escalation during the last days

of Israel appears some way down the charge-sheet here.

Top of that list instead is America's defiance of

international initiatives to protect the environment. The

mass destruction wrought by institutional corruption

around the turn of the Millennium will attract reparations

for decades to come. Since the League of Democratic

Nations snubbed Ford's and Exxon's applications for

indemnity, this once-mighty economy has been drained by

the staggering costs of the clean-up.

Journalists don't feel comfortable in this place, and

Europeans still less so. Always mistrustful of outsiders,

America's current hostility towards its cousins is

intimidating and ugly. Judge Mbana's closed today's

proceedings with a sympathetic word for the ordinary folk

of this land, acknowledging that modern Americans are

paying dearly for their erstwhile leaders' sins. In the

final analysis, she noted, their suffering adds to that of

millions of victims of Bush and his henchmen worldwide.

Perhaps America as well as the Rest of the World will

find catharsis through this New Nuremberg. Nobody seeing

this town, this state, this nation will doubt that its

people need it.

Michael Tetsunabe, for the BBC, in Nuremberg,


The Pinniped



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