Apr 082010
 

This is in follow-up to email “Geo Bush will be arrested eventually”, sent March 15, 2010.

A MOST REMARKABLE DEVELOPMENT:

Ramsey Clark (born December 18, 1927) is an American lawyer and former United States Attorney General.  He is now “the chairperson of an international campaign to investigate war crimes committed by officials from the Bush administration.”  Hallelujah!  See Item #2.  The statement surrounding the announcement is stellar.

I encourage you to go to the “Indict Bush Now” web-site.   http://www.impeachbush.org/site/PageServer

You will be inspired.  There is a list of developments along the right-hand side of the web pages.

Item #3 below (CIA agents convicted – torture – in Italy) was an important development (Nov 2009) that I forgot to include in the chronology sent March 15th.  “They acted under orders from Bush and Cheney. … ”

George Bush will be arrested.  The only uncertainty is the timing.

A BAD DEVELOPMENT.

Spanish Judge Garzon, whose work we have followed through the prosecution of Pinochet, of 6 Bush lawyers, etc. is now to stand trial. There is a good podcast on CBC “As It Happens” (Item #4).  We need to find some way to voice support for Judge Garzon.  . . .  Well, maybe we don’t.  I just googled “Garzon Judge Spanish Trial” – – there are large protests well underway in Spain and internationally (Item #6).

Note that Garzon’s trial is spurred on by his “inquiry into Franco era killings”.  But it will have the consequence of putting his other work (like the prosecution of Bush lawyers) on hold.

/Sandra

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CONTENTS

(1) ‘A FREE PEOPLE WILL NOT PERMIT TORTURE’

(2)  *** RAMSEY CLARK CHOSEN TO HEAD COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE BUSH CRIMES

(3)  23 CIA AGENTS CONVICTED IN TORTURE TRIAL IN ITALY, NOV 2009

(4)  SPANISH JUDGE GARZON ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL, CBC “AS IT HAPPENS”, APRIL 8, 2010

(5)  CRUSADING SPANISH JUDGE FACES ABUSE OF POWERS TRIAL, THE GUARDIAN, APRIL 7, 2010

(6)  “WIDE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT” FOR GARZON, RADIO NETHERLANDS, APRIL 14, 2010

(7)  SPANISH JUDGE TO HEAR TORTURE CASE AGAINST SIX BUSH OFFICIALS, THE GUARDIAN, MARCH 29, 2009

(8)  BUSH TORTURE LAWYERS TARGETED IN CRIMINAL PROBE, HARPER’S MAGAZINE, MARCH 28, 2009

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(1) ‘A FREE PEOPLE WILL NOT PERMIT TORTURE’

A message from Ramsey Clark:

A free people will not permit torture. Throughout history, torture has always been an instrument of tyranny. The very purpose of the Grand Inquisitor was to compel absolute obedience to authority. Torture was the weapon he used in the struggle to force freedom to submit to authority.

Fear is the principal element in both public acceptance of torture and individual submission to it. The frightened public is persuaded that only torture can force confessions essential to prevent catastrophic acts—terrorism in the present context. The frightened victim is persuaded torture will be unbearable, or be his death.

(From the IndictBushNow website)

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(2)  RAMSEY CLARK CHOSEN TO HEAD COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE BUSH CRIMES

http://www.impeachbush.org/site/News2/564167183?page=NewsArticle&id=5431&news_iv_ctrl=1281

Indict Bush Now – 2010-04-08

We have exciting news to report.

On April 3, at a meeting of over 150 lawyers, legal scholars and human rights campaigners, Ramsey Clark, founder of Indict Bush Now, was chosen to be the chairperson of an international campaign to investigate war crimes committed by officials from the Bush administration.

Representatives at the meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon, came from all over the world. The campaign will investigate the lies, deceit and manipulation leading up to the Iraq war; the conduct of the war itself against an essentially defenseless country; and the horrors of the continued occupation.

Lawyers and judges in several countries are exploring prosecution.

Ramsey Clark emphasized that it is the imperative responsibility of the American people to relentlessly pursue this investigation, and to seek prosecution and indictment inside of the United States.

The culture of criminal conduct started at the top in the White House itself and seeped far down the chain of command. The White House is responsible for these crimes-from the hideous torture scenes at Abu Ghraib prison to the shockingly grotesque, cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians by U.S. helicopter pilots in Baghdad in 2007, as shown in a video released this week.

The chilling video came to light because two of the killed Iraqis happened to be Reuters journalists, and because of the heroic effort of a whistleblower inside the Pentagon who leaked the video posted by WikiLeaks.

(INSERT: If you haven’t seen the video – 3.19 minutes long, it’s included in a news report at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KANYo8Jv64E; also, a written Reuters report is at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6344FW20100406).

The Pentagon undoubtedly has hundreds or thousands of similar videos that are kept under lock and key.

Prosecuting only a few low-level people would be a calculated effort to deflect away from those in high places who are ultimately responsible.

Ramsey Clark made the point that all the war crimes and crimes against humanity flow from the commission of the most supreme crimes which he identified as the Crimes against Peace. This was the finding at the Nuremberg trial, and it is enshrined in the Nuremberg Principles.

This now galvanized international movement will also conduct independent inquiries in several countries to review the conduct of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Yoo and other Bush-era officials.

We want to thank you and the hundreds of thousands of people who are unflagging in their pursuit of justice and government accountability.

People around the world-including right here in the U.S.-are encouraged by these efforts. This is a struggle that will be defining not only for this but for future generations. The outcome will send a message to current and future leaders that criminal conduct will never be tolerated or condoned.

Please show your continuing support for this effort by making an urgently needed donation.

From all of us at IndictBushNow

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(3)  23 CIA AGENTS CONVICTED IN TORTURE TRIAL IN ITALY, NOV 2009

http://www.impeachbush.org/site/News2/564167183?page=NewsArticle&id=5400&news_iv_ctrl=1281

23 CIA agents convicted in kidnapping, torture trial in Italy

CIA station chief defense: ‘I am not guilty. I am only responsible for following an order I received from my superiors’

They acted under orders from Bush and Cheney. Today, however, an Italian court convicted 23 American involved in the CIA’s kidnap and rendition/torture program.

Around the world, and right here in the United States, outraged people are demanding that the architects of the criminal enterprise – Bush and Cheney – be brought to justice.

Twenty-two of the convicted Americans were immediately sentenced to five years in jail.

The other convicted American, Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady, was given the harshest sentence: eight years in prison. “I am not guilty. I am only responsible for following an order I received from my superiors,” Lady was quoted as saying by the newspaper Il Giornale. . . . .

(for the remainder of the article, go to the website).

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(4)  SPANISH JUDGE GARZON ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL, CBC “AS IT HAPPENS”, APRIL 8, 2010

http://www.cbc.ca/radioshows/AS_IT_HAPPENS/20100408.shtml

JUDGE GARZON CHARGED Duration: 00:06:06

He’s known for targeting international figures for their roles in alleged human rights abuses. Taking advantage of universal jurisdiction, Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has called for the arrest of Osama bin Laden, gone after American officials for alleged torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and was responsible for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998.

But now, his name is being connected with a different kind of abuse. This week, Judge Garzon was ordered to stand trial on charges of knowingly overreaching his power.

Reed Brody is the spokesperson and counsel for the European division of Human Rights Watch. We reached him in Brussels.”   . ..

Click on  http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/podcast.html  – scroll down to April 8, 2010.

– – – – – – – –  —  – – – – —

Don McAlpine has a book ready to go to press.  He wrote to Eduard:

The (CBC Radio) As It Happens summation of their presentation is pretty good at identifying why the listener needs to become concerned. . . .

Reed Brody notes that Garzon is a rare judge from Spain who insisted that judges should not be politically affiliated. Garzon insisted that judges had a duty to complete impartiality. He dared to insist that Spanish judges, notorious for being appointed by political friends and then sitting in matters related to them, should not be sitting in judgement of their political friends.

Garzon was therefore not a popular judge with the Spanish judiciary and the old Spanish politicians.

He was especially not popular because he had dared to start to engage in the indictments against people who had massacred civilians during the harsh days of the Spanish Nazi dictatorship. The remnants, and a very ragged remnant, of the old Nazi guard in this nation dared to charge Garzon because of this.

Why? Because, in 1976, as the last bastion of Nazism fell, the old political factions had passed a law making it illegal to indict anyone for atrocities committed before that date. Garzon, responding to public pressure for the nation to remove the impunity of this, as the Argentinian mothers had insisted must happen in their nation, refused to respect the 1976 law. As he rightfully said, a criminal misdeed against anyone cannot be removed by simply making a new law.

But, the old Nazi faction had used the old law to justify serving a warrant to charge Garzon criminally for “overstepping his bounds” as a judge.”

(Don challenges Canadians to see the same phenomena in Canadian justice and media as we are able to see more clearly when it’s happening in some other place.)

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(5)  CRUSADING SPANISH JUDGE FACES ABUSE OF POWERS TRIAL, THE GUARDIAN, APRIL 7, 2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/07/baltasar-garzon-trial-franco-disappearances

Crusading Spanish judge faces abuse of powers trial

Far-right groups accuse Baltasar Garzón of overstepping his jurisdiction with inquiry into Franco era killings

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Baltasar Garzón, who indicted Augusto Pinochet and Osama bin Laden, is accused of overstepping his authority by investigating Franco era atrocities.

Spain’s most popular and controversial magistrate, Baltasar Garzón, is to be tried for allegedly abusing his powers by investigating the disappearance of tens of thousands of people murdered under the Franco dictatorship.

Garzón, who had the Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet arrested in London in 1998, is expected to be suspended from his job as a magistrate in the country’s national court while the trial proceeds.

A supreme court magistrate, Luciano Varela, has ordered Garzón to stand trial on allegations made by a far-right lobby group and the extreme right fringe party Falange Española.

The private prosecution claims he deliberately and knowingly overstepped his powers by investigating the fate of 113,000 people who disappeared during and after the civil war sparked by a rightwing military rising in 1936.

General Francisco Franco’s nationalists eventually overthrew the republican government after a bloody three-year war. He remained dictator until his death in 1975.

Varela argued in a 14-page ruling that Garzón started his inquiry despite being “aware of his lack of jurisdiction” under a 1977 amnesty for Francoist crimes.

Garzón, 54, has argued that the amnesty does not apply because an ongoing crime of kidnapping exists where no body has been found. The crusading magistrate named the Falange, which backed Franco, as responsible for many of the disappearances.

Garzón later passed the investigation down to lower courts. He has been hailed as a hero by the families of victims who have begun to dig up the mass graves left behind by Franco’s death squads.

The British human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC has declared his support for a judge who has earned a global reputation for his use of international human rights law against the former military regimes that ruled parts of South America.

“It is ironic that one of Spain’s few internationally renowned jurists – as well as an incredibly brave investigating judge who has risked his life with the mafia, with Basque group Eta and with al-Qaida – is now having his reputation put at risk,” Robertson said.

“This is a trial of the integrity of Spain’s judges and of the reputation of Spanish jurists who will, if they find for the prosecution, be held in universal contempt by international lawyers.”

Robertson said that Garzón had been correct in international law in deciding to investigate crimes allegedly committed by 34 senior Francoist officials, all of whom are dead.

“His ruling that there can be no posthumous impunity for crimes against humanity is important to all descendants of the victims of such crimes worldwide, whether they be from the Armenian genocide or the Nazi holocaust,” Robertson said. “As a matter of international criminal law he was undoubtedly right.”

Emilio Silva, the head of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, which represents victims of Franco’s regime, said: “This is a sad day for justice.”

Garzón denies wrongdoing and has said he will clear his name. If found guilty he could be removed from the bench for 12 to 20 years – effectively ending his career as a judge.

He has built up a reputation at home for taking on political corruption, mafia networks and both domestic and international terrorism.

Garzón’s suspension from the national court in Madrid is expected to come within days and will prevent him pursuing several high profile cases.

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(6)  “WIDE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT” FOR GARZON, RADIO NETHERLANDS, APRIL 14, 2010

http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/outcry-over-spanish-judge%E2%80%99s-indictment

(EXCERPT)

Wide domestic and international support

On Tuesday a thousand demonstrators, including Spanish intellectuals and trade unionists, protested against the impending trial at Madrid’s Complutense University.

Garzón also enjoys international support, such as from the International Commission of Jurists, former International Criminal Court prosecutor Carla del Ponte and Chilean judge Juan Guzmán, who tried Augusto Pinochet in 1999.

Amnesty International Spain director Esteban Beltrán said last week that the 1977 Amnesty Law “tried to prevent the rights of truth, justice and reparation of the victims of the Civil War and the franquismo.”

“If this judgement occurs, it will be the first case that we know of wherein a judge, that tries to get hold of truth, justice and reparation for more than 100,000 disappeared, is tried,” Beltrán asserted, adding that Amnesty International will closely monitor the case.

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(7)  SPANISH JUDGE TO HEAR TORTURE CASE AGAINST SIX BUSH OFFICIALS, THE GUARDIAN, MARCH 29, 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/29/guantanamo-bay-torture-inquiry

Spanish judge to hear torture case against six Bush officials

Legal moves may force Obama’s government into starting a new inquiry into abuses at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib

Julian Borger and Dale Fuchs in Madrid

The Observer, Sunday 29 March 2009

Article history

Criminal proceedings have begun in Spain against six senior officials in the Bush administration for the use of torture against detainees in Guantánamo Bay. Baltasar Garzón, the counter-terrorism judge whose prosecution of General Augusto Pinochet led to his arrest in Britain in 1998, has referred the case to the chief prosecutor before deciding whether to proceed.

The case is bound to threaten Spain’s relations with the new administration in Washington, but Gonzalo Boyé, one of the four lawyers who wrote the lawsuit, said the prosecutor would have little choice under Spanish law but to approve the prosecution.

“The only route of escape the prosecutor might have is to ask whether there is ongoing process in the US against these people,” Boyé told the Observer. “This case will go ahead. It will be against the law not to go ahead.”

The officials named in the case include the most senior legal minds in the Bush administration. They are: Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general; David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff; Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence; William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s general counsel; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who were both senior justice department legal advisers.

Court documents say that, without their legal advice in a series of internal administration memos, “it would have been impossible to structure a legal framework that supported what happened [in Guantánamo]”.

Boyé predicted that Garzón would issue subpoenas in the next two weeks, summoning the six former officials to present evidence: “If I were them, I would search for a good lawyer.”

If Garzón decided to go further and issued arrest warrants against the six, it would mean they would risk detention and extradition if they travelled outside the US. It would also present President Barack Obama with a serious dilemma. He would have either to open proceedings against the accused or tackle an extradition request from Spain.

Obama administration officials have confirmed that they believe torture was committed by American interrogators. The president has not ruled out a criminal inquiry, but has signalled he is reluctant to do so for political reasons.

“Obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices, and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” Obama said in January. “But my orientation’s going to be to move forward.”

Philippe Sands, whose book Torture Team first made the case against the Bush lawyers and which Boyé said was instrumental in formulating the Spanish case, said yesterday: “What this does is force the Obama administration to come to terms with the fact that torture has happened and to decide, sooner rather than later, whether it is going to criminally investigate. If it decides not to investigate, then inevitably the Garzón investigation, and no doubt many others, will be given the green light.”

Germany’s federal prosecutor was asked in November 2006 to pursue a case against Donald Rumsfeld, the former defence secretary, Gonzales and other officials for abuses committed in Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But the prosecutor declined on the grounds that the issue should be investigated in the US.

Legal observers say the Spanish lawsuit has a better chance of ending in charges. The high court, on which Garzón sits, has more leeway than the German prosecutor to seek “universal jurisdiction”.

The lawsuit also points to a direct link with Spain, as six Spaniards were held at Guantánamo and are argued to have suffered directly from the Bush administration’s departure from international law. Unlike the German lawsuit, the Spanish case is aimed at second-tier figures, advisers to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, with the aim of being less politically explosive.

The lawsuit claimed the six former aides “participated actively and decisively in the creation, approval and execution of a judicial framework that allowed for the deprivation of fundamental rights of a large number of prisoners, the implementation of new interrogation techniques including torture, the legal cover for the treatment of those prisoners, the protection of the people who participated in illegal tortures and, above all, the establishment of impunity for all the government workers, military personnel, doctors and others who participated in the detention centre at Guantánamo”.

“All the accused are members of what they themselves called the ‘war council’,” court documents allege. “This group met almost weekly either in Gonzales’s or Haynes’s offices.”

In a now notorious legal opinion signed in August 2002, Yoo and Bybee argued that torture occurred only when pain was inflicted “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death”.

Another key document cited in the Spanish case is a November 2002 “action memo” written by Haynes, in which he recommends that Rumsfeld give “blanket approval” to 15 forms of aggressive interrogation, including stress positions, isolation, hooding, 20-hour interrogations and nudity. Rumsfeld approved the document.

The 1984 UN Convention against Torture, signed and ratified by the US, requires states to investigate allegations of torture committed on their territory or by their nationals, or extradite them to stand trial elsewhere.

Last week, Britain’s attorney general, Lady Scotland, launched a criminal investigation into MI5 complicity in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held in Guantánamo.

The Obama administration has so far avoided taking similar steps. But the possibility of US prosecutions was brought closer by a report by the Senate armed services committee at the end of last year, which found: “The abuse of detainees in US custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorised their use against detainees.”

None of the six former officials could be reached for comment yesterday. Meanwhile, Vijay Padmanabhan, a former state department lawyer, said the creation of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp was “one of the worst over-reactions of the Bush administration”.

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(8)  BUSH TORTURE LAWYERS TARGETED IN CRIMINAL PROBE, HARPER’S MAGAZINE, MARCH 28, 2009

By Scott Horton, Harpers

(Link works but is showing invalid.  Copy and paste it in:  http://harpers.org/archive/2009/03/hbc-90004640 )

March 28, 1:07 AM, 2009

Bush Torture Lawyers Targeted in Criminal Probe

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 case was opened in the Spanish national security court, the Audencia Nacional. In July 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a former Spanish citizen who had been held in Guantánamo, labeling the regime established in Guantánamo a “legal black hole.” The court forbade Spanish cooperation with U.S. authorities in connection with the Guantánamo facility. The current criminal case evolved out of an investigation into allegations, sustained by Spain’s Supreme Court, that the Spanish citizen had been tortured in Guantánamo.

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.

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