Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spain prepares to indict six ex-Bush administration officials for enabling torture.

This is going to so embarrassing to the United States. And make no mistake about it; this is embarrassing for both the Bush and Obama administrations.

This is from The Daily Beast, via Hilzoy at Washington Monthly.

"Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantanamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.

The six defendants -- in addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith -- are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in "the war on terror." The case arises in the context of a pending proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards formerly held at Guantanamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges against the six American lawyers. Baltasar Garzon Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward. "The evidence provided was more than sufficient to justify a more comprehensive investigation," one of the lawyers associated with the prosecution stated. (...)”

A Spanish court is about to indict U.S. citizens for their role in torturing Spanish citizens. If convicted, these six would be in danger of being arrested should they ever set foot outside the United States. This is extraordinary. And what makes it even more extraordinary is that the current administration refuses to investigate the matter. Although I support President Obama on many things, this is not one of them. We, as a country, MUST know what was done in our name. Worldwide, the words “United States of America” and “torture” have become synonymous.

For a country that seems to believe in its own exceptionalism, we certainly have a double standard when it comes to our actions vs. the rest of the world. I, for one, hope that the Spanish courts go ahead with their prosecutions and then make all their findings public. I hope that one or more of these bastards gets arrested. My choice would be Yoo or Addington. I hope the U.S. gets fried in the Court of World Opinion. Maybe then we will learn something about what is really right and what is wrong. If we have, in the past, prosecuted and sentence Japanese military officials after WWII for essentially the same thing that many in this country are now defending, that should be a signal to us that we need to stop and take a very long look into ourselves.

Update: From Balloon Juice - I guess the Spanish are backing down and not going to investigate anything. I suppose they were worried that Bill O'Reilly wouldn't visit them, or maybe that Dick Cheney would shoot someone in the face... This figures. Everyone's going to get away with this and we will never know what exactly happened and what the Bush adminstration did in the name of the United States of America. I am really pissed about this, and will probably remain so until the day I die.

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