Black, Rumsfeld, and the "Ostrich" Defence

On the way into work this morning I heard on the radio that the judge in Conrad Black’s trial has said that Conrad cannot use the Ostrich defence in his trial (i.e.: his lawyers can’t plead that he had his head in the sand about this whole thing if he was deliberately ignorant).

Meanwhile it appears that Rumsfeld is attempting the very same thing when it comes to the issue of torture at Abu Ghraib. It now appears that he deliberately made a show of not looking at photographs of what had happened. Andrew Sullivan writes:

“The most plausible inference is obviously that he covered his tracks and feigned ignorance and did not look at the photographs to create a record of complete deniability. The incompetence comes from ordering torture at Abu Ghraib and not realizing that evidence of it would spread and disseminate through new media that Rumsfeld probably wasn’t that familiar with.”

One wonders whether Rumsfeld will get away with this defence for what amounts to a war crime when Black has been denied this defence in a white collar crime trial.

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