No 1039 Posted by fw, April 26, 2014
There are three parts to this post: 1) Request from the peace organizations asking citizens to sign letter to the people of Spain – copy of letter included; 2) List of the 30 organizations supporting this action; 3) Copy of article by Agence France-Presse about the Spanish Judge who is defying government pressure not to proceed with this legal case.
First, explanation of the action and copy of the letter for you to sign that will be delivered to Spain
A Spanish judge has just decided to proceed with a case against Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. The Spanish legislature can be expected to try to block the case, unless perhaps they hear our voices loudly and clearly enough.
We began this effort in 2011, visiting Spanish embassies, generating media and placing advertisements in Spain, and communicating our appreciation for Spanish efforts to prosecute U.S. torturers. Now we need another big push.
Please sign this letter now, and we will deliver it to Spain:
To the people of Spain
From the people of the United States of America
We are writing to thank you and to ask for your support as your courts consider cases to bring American officials to justice for the crime of torture. A Spanish judge, acting under international law, will soon decide whether to investigate U.S. officials’ roles in authorizing torture. We hope you agree that such cases must go forward, despite pressure from the Obama administration to drop them.
The organizations signing this letter represent hundreds of thousands in the American public who believe the U.S. government must be held to the same rule of law as other countries. We are profoundly disappointed that our own government refuses to prosecute former officials, despite open admissions and government documents showing that they approved torture.
It will take a public show of support for the case to withstand pressures from Washington. WikiLeaks cables show the extremes to which U.S. officials have gone to thwart any attempt by Spain or other countries to uphold justice. We applaud the courage shown by Spanish officials who insist on giving priority to the rule of law.
Despite earlier assertions by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that waterboarding is torture, former President George W. Bush has publicly stated that he authorized waterboarding and added proudly that he would do it again. In a TV interview aired on November 8, 2010, Bush said he considered waterboarding legal “because the lawyer said it was legal.” Waterboarding and other forms of torture were banned by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994.
If international law is to serve any useful purpose, other countries must condemn violations “by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment,” in the words of the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg.
We sincerely hope that the citizens of Spain and its judiciary will dispel the notion that any country is above the law.
(Your name will go here)
Second, the list of peace organizations participating in this action —
List of Additional Signers —
Third, article by Agence France-Presse about the Spanish Judge who is defying government pressure not to proceed with this legal case
A Spanish judge on Tuesday defied pressure to scrap a probe into alleged torture in the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay which targets former U.S. president George W. Bush.
Judge Pablo Ruz at the National Court, in a written decision, refused to scrap the case despite a recent reform to restrict such human rights probes in Spain.
Ruz opened the investigations under universal jurisdiction — a principle that allows judges to try certain atrocities committed in other countries.
Spain’s parliament, dominated by the conservative ruling Popular Party, last month passed a government reform to restrict courts’ powers to apply universal jurisdiction.
That reform came after a lawsuit alleging atrocities by Chinese leaders in Tibet, which annoyed China, a major trading partner of Spain.
Rights groups have criticized the reform, saying it puts economic and diplomatic interests before human rights.
The Spanish courts agreed in 2009 to probe charges brought by four ex-Guantanamo detainees who say they were tortured during their detention in the camp between 2002 and 2005.
Among those cited in the charges are Bush, US former vice president Dick Cheney and ex-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The new law says courts in Spain can only probe atrocities committed abroad if the suspects are Spanish. But Ruz said in Tuesday’s judgement that Spain had an “obligation” under international treaties to investigate alleged atrocities even if the suspects were not Spanish.
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