Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Torture Indictments

Six members of the Bush administration are on the hook today. The same Spanish court which managed the case against Augusto Pinochet, former dictator of Chile, is seeking the indictments arising out of an investigation into allegations that Spanish citizens held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were tortured. The six officials to be charged are former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.

The accusations being made are that these men not only gave the official approval for the techniques used in Gitmo, but that they actually conspired to establish a series of faulty legal justifications and exceptions to both domestic and international law in the process. These are the men that crafted the memos which Cheney and Bush used to declare their actions legal and moral. If they are found to be guilty of legal malpractice it will open the floodgates to prosecution of all those who acted on their flimsy justifications.

It is going to be interesting, politically, to see how this unfolds. Since the Spanish court is acting purely on evidence that their own citizens were tortured the people who will shout that this is an outside intrusion into American domestic politics have no footing. Furthermore, the Spanish prosecutors have repeatedly offered to suspend the investigation if American courts would initiate an investigation of their own - begging the question of why we have not yet begun ANY kind of serious examination of human rights abuses by our government. Allegations and evidence continue to pour in from unimpeachable sources, like the International Committee of the Red Cross. The longer we let this go, the more pressure mounts, and the more we look like either cowards or villains for not making amends.

1 comment:

Doug Hagler said...

Not 'look like'...'are'.