Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 30, 2009


ABC News - In what may turn out to be a landmark case, a Spanish court has started a criminal investigation into allegations that six former officials in the Bush administration violated international law by creating the legal justification for torture in Guantanamo Bay.

The officials named in the 98-page complaint include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who once famously described the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and "obsolete."

Others include John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who wrote the so-called "torture memo" that justified waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods for terror suspects.

Also named are: former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith; former General Counsel for the Department of Defense William Haynes II; Jay S. Bybee, formerly of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel; and David S. Addington, former chief of staff and legal advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney. . .

One of the Spanish lawyers who drew up the complaint, Gonzalo Boye-Tucet, told ABC News that arrest warrants could be issued "within weeks, maybe even days."

"The judge will first issue subpoenas, to give the American officials time to show up in court here in Spain. If I were in their position, that is what I would do," he said, speaking from his office in Madrid.

"But if they don't appear, arrest warrants would be issued, maybe even the next day," he said. "The process could move very quickly."

The question then would be whether the United States would allow their extradition. . .

Judge Garzon's most famous target was Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile who was detained in 1998 under the judge's warrant while he was visiting London for medical treatment.

British authorities kept him under house arrest for two years before he was allowed to return home to Chile, because his lawyers said he was too ill and infirm to stand trial. He lived on for eight more years and died peacefully, without ever facing trial.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I do wish Pinochet had stood trial, at least the whole event left him unable to leave Chile and internationally humiliated, which wasn't so bad either. I know the US will never extradite these crimnals, but to have them unable to travel outside the US without risking arrest would be a good thing too. Any level of punishment these criminals receive is a step in the right direction.

Maybe after warrants are issued, they should receive lots of good paying speakers invites in countries with extradtion treaties that will honor Spain's warrants. To see Gonzales and et al rotting in a foreign hotel room in disgrace, fearing they may have to stand trial might cause the next official who wants to commit such crimes to think a little harder about it first.

March 30, 2009 4:34 PM  
Anonymous criminal lawyer houston said...

This could be a breaking case for sure.

March 30, 2009 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

It's worth remembering that Pinochet escaped Garzon because high-level officials in Clinton's and Blair's governments chose to protect him.

The scum who treat us with smiling contempt --who rule, exploit, and sacrifice us without a moment's thought --they always take good care to protect each other.

March 31, 2009 6:05 AM  

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