Moral Low Ground

War & Peace

WIKILEAKS RELEASE: Bush Officials Tried to Corrupt Spanish Investigations of U.S. Torture, Rendition & Killing



Top Bush administration officials were very worried about Spanish investigations of American war crimes, new documents released by the whistleblower website Wikileaks reveal.

Even as they mocked the notion of universal jurisdiction and the validity and potency of the inquiries coming from “puny” Spain, they still worried about the outcome of those investigations. This was especially true when Spain and Germany began “comparing notes.” The US warned Spain that relations between Washington and Madrid would suffer enormously if the inquiries continued.

Spanish “celebrity judge” Baltasar Garzon, who rose to worldwide fame for his instrumental role in bringing former US-backed Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet to justice, was shocked by the grave crimes being committed by the United States in the name of fighting terrorism and equally shocked to see his country actively aiding Washington. He investigated Bush officials for war crimes, including the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition (the practice of sending captured terror suspects to third countries for interrogation and torture) and the killing of a Spanish journalist when US forces attacked a Baghdad hotel known to host foreign press.

Garzon justified his inquiries under the legal concept of “universal jurisdiction,” whereby states claim judicial authority to prosecute crimes which happen anywhere in the world under the premise that they are in actuality crimes against all of humanity. The United States supports universal jurisdiction when applied to countries or individuals it does not like, as in the case of Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic or Liberia’s Charles Taylor. But Washington, in its infinite hypocrisy, will not tolerate other countries subjecting it to universal jurisdiction.

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