War Crimes: Spanish criminals get our criminals off the hook

The big news while I was in Spain last month was the investigation by a local judge of the policy of systematic, institutionalized torture by Bush administration officials as part of the "war on terror." When I got home, I wasn't surprised to find the story hadn't gotten similar play in American papers, even though the six former Bush officials in the judge's sights include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, torture memoist John Yoo, and David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff.

The judge in question, Baltazar Garzon, one of six investigating magistrates of the Criminal Court of Spain, acts on the legal theory that there is no statue of limitations on war crimes or crimes against humanity. He has pursued investigations of massacres of political opponents by Spanish fascists, murderous regimes in Chile and Argentina, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's involvement in Operation Condor.

Now it looks like the Bush co-conspirators can rest easier in their beds, if not their souls. Judge Garzon is being targeted by the Spanish Right for investigating "disappearances" during the Spanish Civil War and Franscisco Franco era in contradiction to the granting of an official amnesty by the Spanish state. Since it seems clear the United States will not clean its own house with regard to criminal activity by past leaders, all we can hope for is now is that an international tribunal like the World Court will be moved to hold responsible for their crimes the torture perps of the Bush era.

Further reading:
Spain considers prosecuting U.S. officials for torture by Marjorie Miller (Los Angeles Times 2009-05-06)
Spain rejects US 'torture' probe (BBC News 2009-04-16)
Spanish judge opens probe into Guantanamo torture (Agence France-Presse 2009-04-16)
Spain Allows Case Against Noted Judge by Andrés Cala (New York Times 2010-03-25)

Also, although it is only tangently related, the drily titled Secondary Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century is worth filing for future reference.

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