Back in our archives, which I can’t seem to access at the moment, you can find post after post about my giddiness over Spain’s efforts to prosecute BushCo for torturing detainees. I’ve expressed subsequent frustration over the Obama administration’s reluctance to so much as investigate possible (probable) war crimes perpetrated by George Bush, Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, et al… allegedly. I’m bending over backwards here to sound legally correct, although come on, could this be any more obvious?
President Obama has stated repeatedly that he’s determined to look forward, not back. But how does one prosecute a future crime? They’ve already happened, unless I’m missing a dimension somewhere.
In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.
When I heard David Corn discuss this on this morning’s Thom Hartmann show– well, let’s just say my cats were lucky they weren’t in the room.
Bush wasn’t on the list, but the others who Spain targeted were David Addington, Cheney’s chief of staff and legal adviser; William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel; former undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith; Jay Bybee, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, from the Office of Legal Counsel.
The Americans, according to this cable, “underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the US and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship” between Spain and the United States. Here was a former head of the GOP and a representative of a new Democratic administration (headed by a president who had decried the Bush-Cheney administration’s use of torture) jointly applying pressure on Spain to kill the investigation of the former Bush officials. [...]
Several human rights groups filed a brief urging this judge to keep the case alive, citing the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute the Bush officials. Since then, there’s been no action. The Obama administration essentially got what it wanted. The case of the Bush Six went away.
Before this report by Corn came out, there was a lot of reporting on controversy surrounding Judge Baltasar Garzón, and another judge eventually took over.
Keith Olbermann is now reporting about this as we speak. Jonathan Turley is his guest. Paraphrasing slightly: The Obama administration is in violation of our own treaty, Turley says, then tried to come down on other countries when they tried to enforce the law.
David Corn has more here.