Saturday, March 28, 2009

Former Bush Torture Lawyers Targeted in Criminal Probe

Interesting story picked up by Scott Horton:

One of America’s NATO allies—which supported the Bush Administration’s war on terror by committing its troops to the struggle–has now opened formal criminal inquiries looking into the Bush team’s legacy of torture. The action parallels a criminal probe into allegations of torture involving the American CIA that was opened this week in the United Kingdom.

Spain’s national newspapers, El País and Público reported that the Spanish national security court has opened a criminal probe focusing on Bush Administration lawyers who pioneered the descent into torture at the prison in Guantánamo. The criminal complaint can be examined here. Público identifies the targets as University of California law professor John Yoo, former Department of Defense general counsel William J. Haynes II (now a lawyer working for Chevron), former vice presidential chief-of-staff David Addington, former attorney general and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, now a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith.


The Spanish criminal court now may seek the arrest of any of the targets if they travel to Spain or any of the 24 nations that participate in the European extraditions convention (it would have to follow a more formal extradition process in other countries beyond the 24). The Bush lawyers will therefore run a serious risk of being apprehended if they travel outside of the United States.

Judge Baltasar Garzón is involved in the investigation, according to the El País report. Garzón is Europe’s best known counterterrorism magistrate, responsible for hundreds of cases targeting the activities of ETA and related Basque terrorist organizations. He also spearheaded the successful investigation of Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations operating in the Maghreb region, including Spanish enclaves in Morocco. But Garzón is best known for his prosecution of a criminal investigation against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet that resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant for Pinochet while he was visiting England.

You can also read New Pravda's coverage here. I'm not necessarily optimistic that these goons will get punished - the most convenient opportunity for that to happen would have come had the US Congress done its job during the previous session. However, as I noted in the fall of 2007:
...there at least is some hope that they will discover that it is now too "hot" outside of the confines of the US to travel freely. Folks like Rummy thrive on being "Big Important People". To find their opportunities to preen in front of fawning audiences and cameras severely limited will no doubt be an unpleasant experience. Their "pain" is and for the foreseeable future will be nothing compared to what is going on in the prisons run either directly by the US or by its puppet regime. The painful consequences of what was cooked up in the White House and aided and abetted by most of Congress (and of course the various flavor of the month propagandists euphemistically referred to as journalists and commentators) are being felt by even the youngest Iraqis to this day. That will certainly not be forgotten by those who have been our government's victims, nor will it be forgotten by people of conscience.

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