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U.S. Support for Justice Makes News . . . But Only in Spain


Here's a report from El Publico:

Una treintena de ONG de EEUU apoya la causa

Escriben una carta de agradecimiento a la embajada

Una treintena de ONG estadounidenses tiene previsto enviar hoy una carta a la Embajada española en Wa-shington y a los consulados de Nueva York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Ángeles y Miami animando a España a investigar las torturas en Guantánamo. La misiva lleva por título Por favor, hagan lo que EEUU no hará. Enjuicien la tortura, y entre las organizaciones que la impulsan está la sección estadounidense de Amnistía Internacional, Pax Christi y el Center for Constitutional Rights, que ya ha aportado informes legales a las causas en España y ha pedido personarse.

Revuelo en Washington

La iniciativa supone un gran salto en el apoyo en EEUU a las iniciativas para llevar a juicio al equipo de George W. Bush en España. Cuando se presentó la primera querella, en marzo de 2009, se generó un gran revuelo en EEUU, pero sobre todo por la gesticulación de la derecha, que, con la cadena Fox al frente, no daba crédito al hecho de que España pudiera llegar a plantearse imputar a los políticos y militares que reformularon en Guantánamo el concepto de tortura para esquivar las convenciones internacionales.

En aquel momento, la gran mayoría de sectores progresistas en EEUU mantenían su luna de miel con el recién estrenado presidente, Barack Obama, y estaban convencidos de que habría algún tipo de investigación allí. En consecuencia, salvo algunas excepciones, como el jurista William Pepper, abogado de la familia de Martin Luther King, estos sectores veían la iniciativa española con cierta simpatía, pero no le dedicaron apenas atención porque sus energías estaban concentradas en Washington.

Dos años después, Guantánamo sigue abierto y EEUU no ha iniciado ninguna investigación específica, con lo que el foco de estos sectores se ha dirigido a Europa. Y particularmente, a Suiza la semana pasada, Bush canceló un viaje para no verse envuelto en una iniciativa judicial precisamente del Center for Constitucional Rights y a España, donde hay dos causas, adormecidas pero vivas.

Los progresistas desencantados con Obama centran su esfuerzo en Europa

En la carta que remitirán a la embajada y los consulados, las ONG estadounidenses lamentan la inacción de Obama y aplauden "el coraje de las autoridades españoleas que insisten en dar prioridad al imperio de la ley".

Los firmantes consideran que los cables de Wikileaks "revelan los extremos a los que han llegado las autoridades de EEUU para cortar cualquier intento de España u otros países de apoyar la justicia".

*****

And here's Agencia EFE

Activistas le piden a España que persiga casos de tortura del Gobierno de Bush

Washington, 14 feb (EFE).- Una treintena de grupos de defensa de los derechos humanos pidieron hoy en una carta abierta que la justicia española acepte procesar a funcionarios del Gobierno del ex presidente de EEUU, George W. Bush por presuntos casos de tortura.

La misiva, que se entregó en los consulados de España en cinco ciudades de EEUU, llega tan sólo unos días antes de la fecha límite del 1 de marzo fijada por el juez de la Audiencia Nacional Eloy Velasco para que Washington responda si está investigando las torturas en el penal de Guantánamo en Cuba.

Velasco ha indicado que de no recibir respuesta para esa fecha estudiará la posibilidad de admitir la querella interpuesta por la Asociación pro Dignidad de los Presos y Presas de España y que va dirigida contra seis abogados estadounidenses por dar el apoyo legal para la puesta en marcha de Guantánamo.

Los querellados son Alberto Gonzales, principal asesor legal de la Casa Blanca hasta 2005 -cuando se convirtió en fiscal general de EEUU-, además de David Addington, William Haynes, Douglas Feith, Jay Bybee y John Yoo, todos ellos miembros de la Administración Bush.

Activistas congregados hoy frente a la embajada de España en Washington expresaron su esperanza de que la querella sea admitida y que la magistratura española refute la idea de que cualquier país puede violar la ley.

"Me siento muy avergonzado de que nuestro Gobierno se muestre reacio a cumplir con su obligación de investigar y procesar en caso necesario a personas que cometieron crímenes de guerra", dijo a Efe Ray McGovern, un ex analista de la CIA.

McGovern es ahora miembro de Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, integrado por actuales miembros y ex miembros de la comunidad de inteligencia y que se creó en el 2003 para denunciar el uso de pruebas falsas para justificar la invasión de Irak.

El ex funcionario de la CIA lamentó la "falta de coraje" de la actual Casa Blanca, a pesar, dijo, de que Bush reconoce abiertamente en sus memorias el haber autorizado la asfixia simulada y ha asegurado que volvería a hacerlo.

Entre la docena de activistas que hoy se manifestaron frente a la embajada de España estaba también Ron Fisher, un capitán retirado de la Marina estadounidense, quien portaba una pancarta dirigida al pueblo español con el mensaje: "Por favor hagan lo que EEUU no hará: procesar a los torturadores".

Los activistas aseguraron, en una carta dirigida al embajador español en Washington, Jorge Dezcállar, sentirse "profundamente apenados" por tener que pedir a España que haga lo que EEUU debería de estar haciendo.

La misiva lamenta también la información recogida en uno de los cables de WikiLeaks publicados recientemente y según la cual Washington habría dicho a Madrid que el procesamiento de los seis abogados no sería "entendido ni aceptado" y tendría un "enorme" impacto en las relaciones bilaterales.

Jueces y fiscales de la Audiencia Nacional defendieron a finales de noviembre la cooperación judicial con Estados Unidos y negaron haber recibido presiones para frenar las investigaciones abiertas en ese tribunal a ciudadanos norteamericanos en casos como el de José Couso, las torturas de Guantánamo o los vuelos de la CIA.

Entre los grupos que respaldan la iniciativa de hoy están la división estadounidense de Amnistía Internacional, Witness Against Torture, United for Peace and Justice y September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, entre otros.

Amnistía Internacional (AI) dijo a principios de este mes que Bush puede ser procesado en cualquier país tras admitir públicamente en noviembre que había autorizado torturas en los interrogatorios de los servicios de seguridad de Estados Unidos.

El expresidente canceló una visita privada a Suiza prevista para este mes en medio de las presiones de grupos de activistas que habían convocado protestas y pedido al Gobierno suizo que abriera un proceso judicial contra el ex mandatario.

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I am ignorant of the language.

A U.S. NGO thirty supports the cause
Write a letter of thanks to the embassy

About thirty American NGO plans to send a letter today to the Spanish Embassy in Wa-shington and consulates in New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami to encourage Spain to investigate the torture at Guantanamo. The letter titled Please do not do what the United States. Prosecute torture, and among the organizations that drive is the U.S. branch of Amnesty International, Pax Christi and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has already provided legal reporting cases in Spain and called themselves known.
Stir in Washington

The initiative represents a big jump in U.S. support for efforts to prosecute George W. team Bush in Spain. When he filed his first complaint, in March 2009, generated an uproar in the U.S., but especially by the gesture of the right, which, with Fox front, could not believe the fact that Spain could reach attributable to consider political and military at Guantanamo reformulated the concept of torture to dodge international conventions.

At that time, the vast majority of progressives in the U.S. kept their honeymoon with the brand new president, Barack Obama, and were convinced there would be some kind of research there. Consequently, with some exceptions, such as lawyer William Pepper, attorney for the family of Martin Luther King, these sectors were the Spanish initiative with some sympathy, but she devoted little attention because their energies were concentrated in Washington.

Two years later, U.S. Guantanamo remains open and has not taken any specific research, so that the focus of these sectors has led to Europe. And particularly, Switzerland last week, Bush canceled a trip to avoid being involved in a judicial initiative precisely the Center for Constitutional Rights and Spain, where there are two causes, dormant but alive.

Liberals disenchanted with Obama focus his efforts in Europe

In the letter sent to the embassy and consulates, U.S. NGOs lament the inaction of Obama and applauded "the courage of the Spanish authorities who insist on giving priority to the rule of law."

The signatories believe that cables Wikileaks "reveal the extremes reached by the U.S. authorities to cut off any attempt by Spain and other countries to support justice."

*****

And here's Agencia EFE

Activists ask Spain to prosecute cases of torture by the Bush Administration

Washington, Feb 14 (EFE) .- About thirty advocacy groups today called on human rights in an open letter to the Spanish court agrees to prosecute officials of the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush for alleged torture.

The letter, which was delivered to the consulates of Spain in five U.S. cities, comes just days before the deadline of March 1 set by the judge of the Audiencia Nacional Eloy Velasco to respond if Washington is investigating the torture in the prison of Guantanamo in Cuba.

Velasco has indicated that no response is received by that date will consider admitting the complaint filed by the Association for the Dignity of Prisoners and Prisoners of Spain, which is directed against six U.S. attorneys to give legal backing to the implementation of Guantánamo.

The defendants are Alberto Gonzales, chief counsel of the White House until 2005-when he became U.S. attorney general, as well as David Addington, William Haynes, Douglas Feith, Jay Bybee and John Yoo, all members of the Bush Administration .

Activists gathered today outside the Embassy of Spain in Washington expressed hope that the complaint is admissible and that the Spanish judiciary refute the idea that any country can violate the law.

"I feel very ashamed that our government is reluctant to fulfill its obligation to investigate and if necessary prosecute persons who committed war crimes," he told Efe Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst.

McGovern is now a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, composed of current and former members of the intelligence community, which was established in 2003 to denounce the use of false evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Former CIA official lamented the "lack of courage" of the current White House, though, said that Bush openly acknowledged in his memoirs have authorized waterboarding and assured to do so again.

Among the dozens of activists today demonstrated outside the embassy of Spain was also Ron Fisher, a retired captain of the U.S. Navy, who was carrying a placard addressed to the Spanish people with the message: "Please do not do what the U.S.: prosecute the torturers. "

The activists claimed, in a letter to the Spanish ambassador in Washington, Jorge Dezcallar, he was "deeply saddened" by having to ask Spain to do what the U.S. should be doing.

The letter also regrets the information collected in one of the recently published WikiLeaks cables, according to which Washington would have told Madrid that the processing of the six lawyers would not be "understood and accepted" and have a "huge" impact on bilateral relations .

Judges and prosecutors from the Audiencia Nacional in late November defended judicial cooperation with the United States and denied having been pressured to stop the investigations into the court of U.S. citizens in cases like that of Jose Couso, torture at Guantanamo or flights the CIA.

Among the groups supporting the initiative today are the U.S. division of Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, United for Peace and Justice and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, among others.

Amnesty International (AI) said earlier this month that Bush can be prosecuted in any country in November after admitting publicly that he had authorized torture in interrogations by the security services of the United States.

The president canceled a planned private visit to Switzerland this month amid pressure from activist groups that had organized protests and asked the Swiss government to open legal proceedings against the former president.

© Reuters 2011. Is expressly prohibited redistribution and rebroadcasting of all or part of the content of EFE services, without the prior expressed consent of EFE SA

I have just bumped into an article by the BarcelonaReporter, while looking for news on the Spanish case (Google showing the original post date of January 10, 2011.

It is interesting to say the least!

Spanish Court Weighs Criminal Investigation 6 Bush-Era Officials For Torture -- 25 February 2011

The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative judge who indicted the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative judge who indicted the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic framework to justify the use of torture of American prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said an official close to the case.
The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative judge who indicted the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was “highly probable” that the case would go forward and could lead to arrest warrants.

While the move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in its so-called war on terror, some American experts said that even if warrants are issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was likely that they would not lead to arrests if the officials do not leave the United States. . . . .

The move was not entirely unexpected as several human rights groups have been asking judges in different countries to indict Bush administration officials. One group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, had asked a German prosecutor for such an indictment, but the prosecutor declined.

Judge Garzon, however, has built an international reputation by bringing high-profile cases against human rights violators as well as international terrorist networks like al-Qaeda. His issuing of an arrest warrant for General Pinochet led to his arrest. He has also been outspoken about the treatment of American detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Judge Garzon has been able to take jurisdiction of such high-profile cases because of a 1985 law that gives Spanish courts “universal jurisdiction” in crimes against humanity if they can be linked somehow to Spain.

In the case against the former Bush administration officials, last week Judge Garzon linked it to an earlier case in which he indicted five former Guantanamo Bay prisoners who were citizens or residents of Spain. . . . .

We can only hope that the Spanish Courts will truly follow through -- save our "musclemen" offering a deal/threat they cannot refuse!

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