Thursday, December 2, 2010

Obama White House Pressured Spain To Drop Bush Torture Prosecution ...Bipartisan Effort!

Stop Talking People, And Come To Washington And Take Back Our Government 
And The Rule Of Law!


“We must take to the street. We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must  not make it easy for them. But we also must no longer live in self-delusion. This is a battle that will outlive us. And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.”

No wonder W. has been praising Obama lately. This makes me sick. obama is a guilty asbush/cheney/rumsfeld/rice. impeach him and go after the bushistas. 33 Anonymous. Obama/Bushat the Hague, yesterday. 34 Bamboo_Harvester ...

The Obama administration went to the mat to defend its predecessors from a torture prosecution in Spain last year, a leaked State Department cable shows.
The cable, released by WikiLeaks this week, shows that senior US diplomats teamed with Republican lawmakers -- including a former Republican Party chairman -- to put pressure on Spanish officials to drop a criminal investigation into the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques."
In the spring of 2009, Spanish Judge Balthasar Garzon launched an inquiry into six Bush officials linked to the torture policy. They were then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; Cheney adviser David Addington; Pentagon lawyer William Haynes; Pentagon official Douglas Feith; and Jay Bybee and John Yoo from the Office of Legal Counsel.
According to Mother Jones' David Corn, US officials began to put pressure on Spain almost as soon as the probe was announced.
Soon after the request was made, the US embassy in Madrid began tracking the matter. On April 1, embassy officials spoke with chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who indicated that he was not pleased to have been handed this case, but he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he'd have to pursue it. Around that time, the acting deputy chief of the US embassy talked to the chief of staff for Spain's foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice to convey, as the cable says, "that this was a very serious matter for the [US government]." The two Spaniards "expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary."

Corn reports that Mel Martinez, an ex-Republican Party chairman, along with a US embassy charge d'affaires, met with Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Lossada to discuss the prosecution. They reportedly told the foreign minister that the case "would have an enormous impact" on US-Spanish relations.
"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," writes Corn. "[A]s this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes."
Judge Garzon's probe was eventually handed over to another judge, who has effectively left the case languishing. Human rights lawyer and Harper's writer Scott Horton said in an interview that Judge Garzon is now the target of an ethics probe in Spain.
"It becomes clear from these cables that Spanish authorities and US diplomats agreed to use this as a procedure to remove him from handling the Guantánamo torture cases, which is just astonishing," Horton told DemocracyNow's Amy Goodman.
Horton, who was among the first in the US to report on the existence of the Spanish investigation, says the cables show that the then-US ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Aguirre, had far too much access to the inner workings of the Spanish judiciary than a foreign diplomat should.
"We see in these cables he has been briefed in tremendous detail about everything that’s going on in these courts, which means he has sources of information that evidently include either judges or prosecutors or potentially both, and he’s actively involved in strategies to shut down these investigations. Now, if that were going on in the United States right now, a foreign ambassador were doing such thing, the foreign ambassador would probably, in short order, be invited to leave," Horton said.
He notes in an article that Spain has been in a furor for three days over the revelations.
The revelations have "created deep concern about the independence of judges in Spain and the manipulation of the entire criminal justice system by a foreign power," Horton writes.


If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs 

Reference ID
DE RUEHMD #0392/01 1070607
O 170607Z APR 09
Friday, 17 April 2009, 06:07
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000392 
EO 12958 DECL: 04/16/2019 
MADRID 00000392 001.2 OF 003
Classified By: Charge D’Affaires Arnold A. Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) a nd (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY. On April 16, Candido Conde Pumpido, Spain’s Attorney General (AG), publicly stated that prosecutors will “undoubtedly” not support a criminal complaint, filed by a Spanish NGO with the National Court, to investigate six former USG officials, including former AG Alberto Gonzalez, for creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture. During a Q&A session of a previously scheduled public address, Conde Pumpido responded to a question on the issue by stating that he will not support the criminal complaint because it is “fraudulent,” and has been filed as a political statement to attack past USG policies. The AG noted that the GOS could not pursue a complaint that targeted USG advisors while a similar suit against the Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (see REF B) had failed. While Conde Pumpido defended the GOS’s investigation of universal jurisdiction cases to defend human rights, he said that the policy will not be used as a toy or a tool to force the GOS into investigating the decisions of another government. The AG added that if there is evidence of criminal activity by USG officials, then a case should be filed in the United States. Addressing next steps, the AG’s press chief subsequently told the media that the Prosecutor’s office will deliver the AG’s recommendation to the National Court, where it will be up to investigating judge Baltasar Garzon - an outspoken critic of the Guantanamo detention facility who has publicly stated that former President Bush should be tried for war crimes - to decide whether to pursue the case or not.  As reported in REFTELs, Conde Pumpido’s public announcement follows outreach to GOS officials to raise USG deep concerns on the implications of this case. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) As reported in REF B, a Spanish NGO - Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners - in March 2009 requested that the National Court indict six former U.S. officials for creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture. The six accused are: former AG Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to the Vice President; William Haynes, former DOD General Counsel; Douglas Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former member of Bybee’s staff. The NGO claimed that Spain had a duty to open a “universal jurisdiction” case because five Guantanamo detainees are either Spanish citizens or were/are Spanish residents. Although he seemed displeased to have this dropped in his lap, Chief Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza on April 1 privately told Embassy officials the complaint - at first glance - appeared well-documented and in all likelihood he would have no option but to open a case.
3. (C) Following revelations by the Spanish press that the complaint had been filed, the Acting DCM on March 31 and April 1 phoned FM Moratinos’ Chief of Staff Agustin Santos, and MOJ Director General for International Judicial Cooperation Aurora Mejia about the matter. Both expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary. The A/DCM stressed to both that this was a very serious matter for the USG and asked that the Embassy be kept informed of any developments.
MADRID 00000392 002.2 OF 003
4. (C) As reported in REF A, Senator Judd Gregg, accompanied by the Charge d’Affaires, raised the issue with Luis Felipe Fernandez de la Pena, Director General Policy Director for North America and Europe during a visit to the Spanish MFA on April 13. Senator Gregg expressed his concern about the case. Fernandez de la Pena lamented this development, adding that judicial independence notwithstanding, the MFA disagreed with efforts to apply universal jurisdiction in such cases.
5. (C) Zaragoza on April 14 called Embassy Madrid’s FSN Legal Adviser and informed her that a more thorough study had revealed that the complaint was targeted against legal advisors with no executive authority and that it was legally difficult to establish what type of offense the six had committed and the degree to which they participated in the alleged offenses. Zaragoza said the complaint lacked details and was directed against USG policy rather than a specific perpetrator. He said he would ask Conde Pumpido to review whether Spain has jurisdiction in this case and indicated that he hoped the Spanish AG would draft a clear set of rules on how and when Spain should prosecute universal jurisdiction complaints.
6. (C) As reported in SEPTEL, Senator Mel Martinez, accompanied by the Charge d’Affaires, met Acting FM Angel Lossada during a visit to the Spanish MFA on April 15. Martinez and the Charge underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the U.S. and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship. The Senator also asked if the GOS had thoroughly considered the source of the material on which the allegations were based to ensure the charges were not based on misinformation or factually wrong statements. Lossada responded that the GOS recognized all of the complications presented by universal jurisdiction, but that the independence of the judiciary and the process must be respected. The GOS would use all appropriate legal tools in the matter. While it did not have much margin to operate, the GOS would advise Conde Pumpido that the official administration position was that the GOS was “not in accord with the National Court.” Lossada reiterated to Martinez that the executive branch of government could not close any judicial investigation and urged that this case not affect the overall relationship, adding that our interests were much broader, and that the universal jurisdiction case should not be viewed as a reflection of the GOS position.
7. (C) Meanwhile, the Embassy has been involved in DOJ-led talks to have Zaragoza - who attended the April 16 press conference - lead a four-person team of GOS officials to Washington for a possible meeting with U.S. Deputy AG David Ogden or AG Eric Holder during the week of May 18. Zaragoza’s wife, who is Conde Pumpido’s chief of staff, would reportedly be one of the four.
8. (C) Although not legally binding on the National Court, Conde Pumpido’s announcement puts pressure on crusading judge Garzon, who has not yet accepted the case, not to proceed with the investigation. As described in REF B, Zaragoza has indicated to Post - and reconfirmed this in his April 14 phone call in Para 3 - that he would argue that the case should not be assigned to Garzon and instead would recommend that Garzon’s colleague, Investigating Judge Ismael Moreno, should be assigned the case. Zaragoza said the case ties in with Moreno’s ongoing investigations into alleged illegal “CIA flights” that have transited Spain carrying detainees to Guantanamo. Zaragoza acknowledges that Garzon has the “right of first refusal,” but has told Post that if Garzon
MADRID 00000392 003.2 OF 003
disregards his recommendation and takes the case, the prosecutor will appeal. When a judge disagrees with the prosecutor on how or what to investigate, then the prosecutor has the right to appeal to a higher court, in this case the National Court’s Criminal Chamber, led by Javier Gomez Bermudez. During this period in which the jurisdiction of the case is in question, Garzon could still proceed with the case, including preparing MLATs to question to the accused, formally naming the accused as defendants, and issuing arrest warrants against them. Investigating judges in Spain, including and especially Garzon, have used this tactic frequently, particularly when these actions are popular with sizable segments of the Spanish population. This worst-case scenario remains a possibility at this point. Zaragoza has also told us that if a proceeding regarding this matter were underway in the U.S., that would effectively bar proceedings in Spain. We intend to further explore this option with him informally (asking about format, timing, how much information he would need, etc.) while making it clear that the USG has not made a decision to follow this course of action. CHACON

Obama and  GOPers  Worked  Together  to  Kill Bush  Torture  Probe

A WikiLeaks cable shows that when Spain considered a criminal case against ex-Bush officials, the Obama White House and Republicans got really bipartisan.
Wed Dec. 1, 2010 2:47 PM PST
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.
The previous month, a Spanish human rights group called the Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners had requested that Spain's National Court indict six former Bush officials for, as the cable describes it, "creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture." The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon's former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel. The human rights group contended that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under the nation's "universal jurisdiction" law, which permits its legal system to prosecute overseas human rights crimes involving Spanish citizens and residents. Five Guantanamo detainees, the group maintained, fit that criteria.
Soon after the request was made, the US embassy in Madrid began tracking the matter. On April 1, embassy officials spoke with chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who indicated that he was not pleased to have been handed this case, but he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he'd have to pursue it. Around that time, the acting deputy chief of the US embassy talked to the chief of staff for Spain's foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice to convey, as the cable says, "that this was a very serious matter for the USG." The two Spaniards "expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary."
Two weeks later, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and the embassy's charge d'affaires "raised the issue" with another official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The next day, Zaragoza informed the US embassy that the complaint might not be legally sound. He noted he would ask Cándido Conde-Pumpido, Spain's attorney general, to review whether Spain had jurisdiction.
On April 15, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who'd recently been chairman of the Republican Party, and the US embassy's charge d'affaires met with the acting Spanish foreign minister, Angel Lossada. 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. Lossada replied that the independence of the Spanish judiciary had to be respected, but he added that the government would send a message to the attorney general that it did not favor prosecuting this case.
The next day, April 16, 2009, Attorney General Conde-Pumpido publicly declared that he would not support the criminal complaint, calling it "fraudulent" and political. If the Bush officials had acted criminally, he said, then a case should be filed in the United States. On April 17, the prosecutors of the National Court filed a report asking that complaint be discontinued. In the April 17 cable, the American embassy in Madrid claimed some credit for Conde-Pumpido's opposition, noting that "Conde-Pumpido's public announcement follows outreach to [Government of Spain] officials to raise USG deep concerns on the implications of this case."
Still, this did not end the matter. It would still be up to investigating Judge Baltasar Garzón—a world-renowned jurist who had initiated previous prosecutions of war crimes and had publicly said that former President George W. Bush ought to be tried for war crimes—to decide whether to pursue the case against the six former Bush officials. That June—coincidentally or not—the Spanish Parliament passed legislation narrowing the use of "universal jurisdiction." Still, in September 2009, Judge Garzón pushed ahead with the case.
The case eventually came to be overseen by another judge who last spring asked the parties behind the complaint to explain why the investigation should continue. 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.
Back when it seemed that this case could become a major international issue, during an April 14, 2009, White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from the Spaniards for information and documents related to the Bush Six. He said, "I don't want to get involved in hypotheticals." What he didn't disclose was that the Obama administration, working with Republicans, was actively pressuring the Spaniards to drop the investigation. Those efforts apparently paid off, and, as this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes.
David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook. Get David Corn's RSS feed.

The Madrid Cables

In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now. The reporting has been led by the level-headed El País, with its nationwide competitor,Público, lagging only a bit behind. Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional: the investigation into the 2003 death of a Spanish cameraman, José Cuoso, as a result of the mistaken shelling of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel by a U.S. tank; an investigation into the torture of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo; and a probe into the use of Spanish bases and airfields for extraordinary renditions flights, including the one which took Khaled El-Masri to Baghdad and then on to Afghanistan in 2003.
These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations. High-ranking U.S. visitors such as former Republican Party Chair Mel Martinez, Senator Greg Judd, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were corralled into this effort, warning Spanish political leaders that the criminal investigations would “be misunderstood” and would harm bilateral relations. The U.S. diplomats also sought out and communicated directly with judges and prosecutors, attempting to steer the cases into the hands of judges of their choosing. The cables also reflect an absolutely extraordinary rapport between the Madrid embassy and Spanish prosecutors, who repeatedly appear to be doing the embassy’s bidding. Here’s how El País summarizes the situation (my translation):

Over the last several years, the Embassy of the United States in Madrid wielded powerful resources in an extraordinary effort to impede or terminate pending criminal investigations in Spain which involved American political and military figures assumed to have been involved in incidents of torture in Guantánamo, violations of the laws of war in Iraq or kidnappings in connection with the CIA’s extraordinary renditions program. The American diplomatic legation documented these activities in a number of its thousands of secret documents, both formally classified or marked as confidential, to which El País had access. The American ambassador between 2005 and 2009, Eduardo Aguirre, an appointee of the Bush Administration, personally directed most of these efforts targeting the Spanish Government or the Spanish judicial authorities, and the secret cables note that he reckoned with and secured the support of powerful figures in Spain in the process. Prominent among these is the Spanish attorney general, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, together with several prosecutors attached to the Audiencia Nacional, in particular the chief prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza.
The cables show that the embassy was briefed in detail about the pending cases, receiving information that was not publicly accessible and would have been known only to the prosecutors and the magistrates handling the cases. The embassy engaged Spanish authorities in detailed discussions about the specific judges handling these cases and on at least one occasion extracted a promise from prosecutors to seek to have one sensitive case—in which former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales, former vice presidential chief of staff David Addington, John Yoo, Jay Baybee, Douglas Feith, and William J. Haynes figured as potential defendants—reassigned to a judge they considered friendlier to the United States. In fact, around the time of the cables in question the prosecutors acted just as the cable suggests they would.
The cables also reflect a high level of concern at the prospect that Spanish and German prosecutors—both looking at aspects of the kidnapping and torture of Khaled El-Masri—would share notes and begin taking action. In fact exactly this sort of cooperation occurred (as it has occurred between Spanish, German, and Italian prosecutors in several other cases involving the CIA extraordinary rendition program), and U.S. concerns that it would block their efforts were proven correct. After political pressure was applied to Germany to withdraw the arrest warrants, they were simply reissued by the Spanish magistrates, who were better shielded against political manipulation.
Diplomats routinely monitor and report on legal cases that affect national interests. These cables show that the U.S. embassy in Madrid had far exceeded this mandate, however, and was actually successfully steering the course of criminal investigations, the selection of judges, and the conduct of prosecutors. Their disclosure has created deep concern about the independence of judges in Spain and the manipulation of the entire criminal justice system by a foreign power.
I discuss the developments from Madrid this morning in a conversation with DemocracyNow’s Amy Goodman: 


Embassy (2008): "Our ability to break down the history was limited because we do not know what happened.""Our mantra is that we have not violated Spanish laws or bilateral agreement"
·         CIA FLIGHTS'

Cable in the embassy in Madrid alert the judge's investigation Moreno

In January 2007, the ambassador announced that the judge's collaboration with the German prosecutor complicate his "efforts to quietly handle the case of governments'
·         CIA FLIGHTS'

Cable where the embassy says that the Spanish Government does not hesitate to flights

"Moratinos said that the government wanted to give this issue the lowest profile possible," the embassy reported in 2006

Aguirre qualifies cable where Judge Garzon contrary to U.S. interests

In December 2007, the U.S. ambassador writes a report which criticizes Garzón: "It has a clearly anti-American stance, and certainly we have no illusions with it"

Cable on the talks with Zaragoza over prisoners claiming Garzón

"Garzon had a role day criticizing the existence of Guantanamo. Not think twice about having a successful similia" committed the legation in Washington in September 2007

Cable in the embassy warns of the danger of judicial idependencia in Spain

"In similar cases the Spanish judges have fiercely protected their independence," the statement quoted, December 2006, referring to the investigations of the CIA flights

Cable over the U.S. refusal to provide escort to the judge Garzon in a country visit

United States is justified on the grounds that it lacked personal because I had an "extreme demand"

Cable on Washington's concern for the interrogation of two prisoners at Guantanamo

In February 2004, the embassy report on the monitoring of Judge Garzon to cells of Al Qaeda linked to Spain
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable in the attorney general believes that the case "does not go anywhere"

Ambassador meets with Conde-Pumpido after the Supreme Court ordered the reopening of the investigation
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable in ensuring that the prosecutor understood the political implications of 'Couso case'

The embassy says in January 2007 that will monitor the process with the Government of Spain
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable in the embassy seeking contact with the chief prosecutor of the Audiencia

The embassy wanted to study the possibilities of the process opened by the death of journalist
·         COUSO CASE "

On a communication cable between De la Vega and the U.S. Embassy

The Vice President thanked the Government's response to U.S. request for judicial cooperation
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable on the work of Spanish ministers "to challenge the arrest warrants"

Holders of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar and Miguel Angel Moratinos, communicate with the U.S. ambassador to discuss the 'case Couso'
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable on the progress of judicial proceedings 'case Couso'

U.S. announces it will take action if their military accused the journalist's death
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable in the U.S. warned that the impact of processing on bilateral relations

The government says it disagrees with the Court, and Attorney reassure the embassy: "In the complaint lacks many details"
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable from Ambassador to Condoleezza Rice on the steps of La Moncloa

In May 2007, the embassy informed Rice that the Spanish government "helped between racks" to the prosecution to file the statement
·         COUSO CASE "

U.S. embassy cable to the State Department on developments in the case

The embassy informed Washington that "it appears that the arrest warrants [the military] are imminent"
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable on conversations with Judge Gómez Bermudez and the prosecutor

In May 2008, the embassy reported that the Court has returned to close the proceedings
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable in which the embassy says Conde-Pumpido "does what it can" to close the case

In July 2007, the state prosecutor says he will despite the pressure of family, leftist groups and the press
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable describing a telephone conversation with the prosecutor of the Audiencia

In May 2007, Javier Zaragoza said Couso's death was unintentional
The ambassador said that the Ministry of Defence supports the U.S. position on this issue
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable in ensuring that De la Vega is "very involved"

According to the embassy, the Ministry of Justice announced that the government will work to assist the U.S. in the process
·         COUSO CASE "

Cable on the alleged effort of Justice for filing the case

The embassy says in April 2007 by contacting the government will continue to get charges dropped
This raises the commitment to avoid the public perception that the U.S. is pressuring the government to interfere in the process
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable which connects to "Zaragoza has a strategy to twist the arm Garzón"

In May 2009 the chief prosecutor of the Court says, "can embarrass Garzón" if you continue with the case
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable in Zaragoza announced that the embassy would ask that Garzon does not address the case

In April 2009, the chief prosecutor recommended that the U.S. government to open an investigation to crack the case in Spain

Cable on the resignation of the chief prosecutor of the Audiencia Nacional

The Embassy in Madrid reported in 2006 on general fiscal pressures, Conde-Pumpido, that Fungairiño left office for his management of the court.

Cable in which indictments are criticized U.S. commanders for torture in Guantánamo

Madrid ambassador informed Napolitano, during a visit in 2009, on relations with Spain and the question "irritant" to try to prosecute several officers.

Cable in the U.S. Embassy says that Zapatero will moderate his message against the Iraq invasion

On March 23, 2007 the U.S. Embassy reports that Zapatero agrees "not add fuel to the fire" to the emerging Spanish petitions demanding accountability for the war in Iraq.

Cable on the Monitoring of the Spanish Government 'Couso case'

Aguirre reported that in 2007, on defense and talk of a meeting with De la Vega on the process by the death of the camera.

Cable in the U.S. Embassy in Madrid "losing patience" with Iraq-war climate that emerges in Spain

On March 21, 2007 the U.S. Embassy is concerned about the threat of the PSOE and the judge Baltasar Garzón, who speak of accountability for the Iraq war.

Cable on the acquittal in Spain of a Spanish prisoner at Guantanamo

In 2006, the Embassy notified the annulment by the Supreme Court, the sentence against Ceuta Abderrahaman Hamed Ahmed, accused of terrorism.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable in which U.S. urges Spain to fulfill its commitment to host Guantanamo prisoners

The ambassador said that it was an "important opportunity" to show that it is a serious country and leadership within the European Union.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cord over the choice of prisoners by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

U.S. accepted the "reservations", but made clear they were not forever. If another state is interested in them, they would then decide whether the left or let go.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable on the profiles of three Guantanamo prisoners proposed to be hosted in Spain

"They are not saints but not hard terrorists," defended the special envoy for closing the prison.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable on how to persuade Spain to Guantanamo to house prisoners

The State Department suggests that the U.S. take advantage of possible concern of Spain lag behind other countries that are committed with the U.S. over Guantanamo.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable on the decision of Spain to host Guantanamo prisoners on completion of the criminal

U.S. and Spain met in Washington and announced a "new phase" in bilateral relations.
·         GUANTANAMO '

Cable on the possibility that Guantanamo prisoners calling at Spain

"Almost impossible," responded from the Foreign Ministry, "the political situation in Spain and the risk that the public is put against it."

IF YOU were disturbed by this then read these!


Baltasar Garzón -- The Longest Arm of the Law

"Superjudge" Baltasar Garzón, Spain's preeminent anti-terror prosecutor, has shown that no one is beyond the reach of the law. After the Madrid bombings, his skills are in greater demand than ever.

Nobody Expects the Spanish Prosecution

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Will Obama bring the Bushies to account? Will Congress? Some local DA? A judge in Europe? Anyone...?

Inside WikiLeaks’ Leak Factory

Meet the shadowy figure who exposed the US military's deadly attack on a Reuters
  photographer and Iraqi civilians.

US officials tried to influence Spanish prosecutors and government officials to head off court investigations into Guantánamo Bay torture allegations, secret CIA "extraordinary rendition" flights and the killing of a Spanish journalist by US troops in Iraq, according to secret US diplomatic cables.

Among their biggest worries were investigations pursued by the magistrate Baltasar Garzón, who US officials described as having "an anti-American streak".

"We are certainly under no illusions about the individual with whom we are dealing," they said after he opened an investigation into torture at Guantánamo Bay prison camp. "Judge Garzon has been a storied and controversial figure in recent Spanish history, whose ambition and pursuit of the spotlight may be without rival."

The revelations contained in the leaked documents will be embarrassing to Spanish prosecutors who shared information on cases they were involved in, and whose identities the Americans wanted protected.

They included the attorney general, Candido Conde-Pumpido, national court chief prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza, and fellow prosecutor Vicente González Mota, responsible for the CIA flights affair.

Zaragoza is revealed as a valuable source who accuses Garzón of opening some human rights cases in order to "drum up more speaking fees". He proved to be an ally as the US tried to stem a flood of investigations at Spain's national court – one of the world's most vigorous courts in exercising international jurisdiction over human rights crimes.

A major worry was a torture case brought by a Spanish non-governmental organisation against six senior Bush administration officials, including the former attorney general Alberto Gonzales.
Senator Mel Martinez, a former Republican party chairman, and the US embassy's charge d'affaires visited the Spanish foreign ministry to warn the investigation would have consequences. "Martinez and the charge underscored that the prosecutions would ... have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship," the officials reported.

Officials in Madrid discussed with Zaragoza ways in which a US investigation into the same allegations might be opened in order to force the Spanish court to close its own case. "Zaragoza has also told us that if a proceeding regarding this matter were underway in the US, that would effectively bar proceedings in Spain. We intend to further explore this option with him informally," they said.

Garzón, who opened a separate torture investigation, was deemed to put self-promotion first. "We suspect Garzón will wring all the publicity he can from the case unless and until he is forced to give it up," said the officials.

"Zaragoza said he had challenged Garzón directly and personally on this latest case, asking if he was trying to drum up more speaking fees," they reported.

They noted that Garzón was already in hot water over his investigation into human rights crimes committed under Spain's former dictator General Francisco Franco. As a result Garzón now looks set to be removed from his job by supreme court judges next year.

"Zaragoza doubts Garzón will risk a second such complaint," they said.

But US officials worried he would go down fighting. "It is hard for us to see why the publicity-loving Garzón would shut off his headline-generating machine unless forced to do so," they reported. "We also fear Garzón – far from being deterred by threats of disciplinary action – may welcome the chance for martyrdom, knowing the case will attract worldwide attention."

When another Spanish magistrate began investigating the alleged use of a Spanish airport for secret CIA flights carrying terror suspects, officials noted that US policy was to deal with these cases in closed-door conversations with governments.

They were especially alarmed when magistrates and prosecutors in both Spain and Germany began comparing notes. "This co-ordination among independent investigators will complicate our efforts to manage this case at a discreet government-to-government level," they warned.

Officials noted, however, that their own government had not explicitly denied the allegations. "Our ability to beat down this story is constrained by the fact that we do not ourselves know, factually, what might have transpired five or six years ago as the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq began yielding large numbers of potentially dangerous terrorist detainees and unlawful combatants," they observed.

"Baring (sic) a categorical statement from the US government that no detainees passed through Spain – and we understand that might be undesirable from a policy standpoint even if factually correct – nothing but time is going to make this go away," they said.

González Mota, who was handling the CIA flights, was a valuable source. "The prosecutors do not intend to request information on this case from the embassy or from the US government in general," US officials said after a conversation with him.

When another Spanish magistrate issued arrest warrants for three US soldiers involved in the death of Spanish television cameraman José Couso in Baghdad, senior ministers in Spain's socialist government moved to stop the investigation. Couso was killed in April 2003 alongside Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk when a tank opened fire on a hotel known to accommodate journalists.

"Top ministers moved quickly to let us know that the government is working to resolve this situation," the officials reported, naming the deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, and justice minister, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

"The [Spanish] government must act carefully as it tries to influence Spain's fiercely independent judiciary," they noted. " In order to avoid aggravating the situation, Spanish government leaders must publicly show their respect for the independent workings of the courts."

U.N. Special Rapporteur Juan Méndez: Instead of Focusing on Assange, U.S. Should Address WikiLeaks’ Disclosures of Torture

One of the leaked U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks urges diplomats to gather intelligence about "plans and intentions of member states or UN Special Rapporteurs to press for resolutions or investigations into US counterterrorism strategies and treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo." We speak to Juan Méndez, the new U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He has called on the United States to investigate and prosecute torture committed under former President George W. Bush. He also said he hopes to visit Iraq and Guantánamo Bay to probe widespread torture allegations. Méndez says, "We seem to be focusing on whether disclosing these cables ... merits some kinds of action against Julian Assange... I’m very concerned about the documents that show that literally thousands of people were first imprisoned by American forces and then transferred to the control of forces in Iraq and perhaps even in Afghanistan, where they knew that these people were going to be tortured." [includes rush transcript]

Monday 22 November 2010

“We must take to the street. We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must not make it easy for them. But we also must no longer live in self-delusion. This is a battle that will outlive us. And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.”

There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power. The electoral process has been hijacked by corporations. The judiciary has been corrupted and bought. The press shuts out the most important voices in the country and feeds us the banal and the absurd. Universities prostitute themselves for corporate dollars. Labor unions are marginal and ineffectual forces. The economy is in the hands of corporate swindlers and speculators. And the public, enchanted by electronic hallucinations, remains passive and supine. We have no tools left within the power structure in our fight to halt unchecked corporate pillage.

The liberal class, which Barack Obama represents, was never endowed with much vision or courage, but it did occasionally respond when pressured by popular democratic movements. This was how we got the New Deal, civil rights legislation and the array of consumer legislation pushed through by Ralph Nader and his allies in the Democratic Party. The complete surrendering of power, however, to corporate interests means that those of us who seek nonviolent yet profound change have no one within the power elite we can trust for support. The corporate coup has ossified the structures of power. It has obliterated all checks on corporate malfeasance. It has left us stripped of the tools of mass organization that once nudged the system forward toward justice.

Obama knows where power lies and serves these centers of power. The tragedy—if tragedy is the right word—is that Obama, after selling his soul to corporations, has been discarded. Corporate power doesn’t need brand Obama anymore. They have found new brands in the tea party, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Obama has been abandoned by those who once bundled contributions for him by the millions of dollars. Obama and the Democratic Party will, I expect, spend the next two years being even more obsequious to corporate power. Obama clearly loves the pomp and privilege of statecraft that much. But I am not sure it will work.

Reformers on the outside, while they remain militant and faithful to issues of justice, nevertheless depend on the liberal establishment to respond to public pressure. If these reformers cannot pressure the liberal class and the power elite to evoke real change, they become ineffectual. Our fate is intimately tied to the liberals who have betrayed us. We speak in the language of policies and issues. We will find it harder and harder, given our impotence, to compete with the impassioned calls for new glory, revenge and moral purity that resonate with a public beset by foreclosures, long-term unemployment, bankruptcies and a medical system that abandons them. Once any political system ossifies, once all mechanisms for reform close, the lunatic fringe of a society, as I saw in Yugoslavia, rises out of the moral swamp to take control. The reformers, however well meaning and honest, finally have nothing to offer. They are disarmed.

We have reached a point where stunted and deformed individuals, whose rapacious greed fuels the plunge of tens of millions of Americans into abject poverty and misery, determine the moral fiber of the nation. It is no more morally justifiable to kill someone for profit than it is to kill that person for religious fanaticism. And yet, from health companies to the oil and natural gas industry to private weapons contractors, individual death and the wholesale death of the ecosystem have become acceptable corporate business. The mounting human misery in the United States, which could lead to the sporadic bursts of anger we have seen on the streets of France, will be met with severe repression from the security and surveillance state, which always accompanies the rise of the corporate state. The one method left open by which we can respond—massive street protests, the destruction of corporate property and violence—will become the excuse to impose total tyranny. The intrusive pat-downs at airports may soon become a fond memory of what it was like when we still had a little freedom left.

All reform movements, from the battle for universal health care to the struggle for alternative energy and sane environmental controls to financial regulation to an end to our permanent war economy, have run into this new, terrifying configuration of power. They have confronted an awful truth. We do not count. And they have been helpless to respond as those who are most skilled in the manipulation of hate lead a confused populace to call for their own enslavement.

Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician from Maryland who volunteers for Physicians for a National Health Program, knows what it is like to challenge the corporate leviathan. She was blacklisted by the corporate media. She was locked out of the debate on health care reform by the Democratic Party and liberal organizations such as MoveOn. She was abandoned by those in Congress who had once backed calls for a rational health care policy. And when she and seven other activists demanded that the argument for universal health care be considered at the hearings held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, they were forcibly removed from the hearing room.

“The reform process exposed how broken our system is,” Flowers said when we spoke a few days ago. “The health reform debate was never an actual debate. Those in power were very reluctant to have single-payer advocates testify or come to the table. They would not seriously consider our proposal because it was based on evidence of what works. And they did not want this evidence placed before the public. They needed the reform to be based on what they thought was politically feasible and acceptable to the industries that fund their campaigns.”

“There was nobody in the House or the Senate who held fast on universal health care,” she lamented. “Sen. [Bernie] Sanders from Vermont introduced a single-payer bill, S 703. He introduced an amendment that would have substituted S 703 for what the Senate was putting together. We had to push pretty hard to get that to the Senate floor, but in the end he was forced by the leadership to withdraw it. He was our strongest person. In the House we saw Chairman John Conyers, who is the lead sponsor for the House single-payer bill, give up pushing for single-payer very early in the process in 2009. Dennis Kucinich pushed to get an amendment that would help give states the ability to pass single-payer. He was not successful in getting that kept in the final House bill. He held out for the longest, but in the end he caved.”

 “You can’t effect change from the inside,” she has concluded. “We have a huge imbalance of power. Until we have a shift in power we won’t get effective change in any area, whether financial, climate, you name it. With the wealth inequalities, with the road we are headed down, we face serious problems. Those who work and advocate for social and economic justice have to now join together. We have to be independent of political parties and the major funders. The revolution will not be funded. This is very true.”

“Those who are working for effective change are not going to get foundation dollars,” she stated. “Once a foundation or a wealthy individual agrees to give money they control how that money is used. You have to report to them how you spend that money. They control what you can and cannot do. Robert Wood Johnson [the foundation], for example, funds many public health departments. They fund groups that advocate for health care reform, but those groups are not allowed to pursue or talk about single-payer. Robert Wood Johnson only supports work that is done to create what they call public/private partnership. And we know this is totally ineffective. We tried this before. It is allowing private insurers to exist but developing programs to fill the gaps. Robert Wood Johnson actually works against a single-payer health care system. The Health Care for America Now coalition was another example. It only supported what the Democrats supported. There are a lot of activist groups controlled by the Democratic Party, including Families USA and MoveOn. MoveOn is a very good example. If you look at polls of Democrats on single-payer, about 80 percent support it. But at MoveOn meetings, which is made up mostly of Democrats, when people raised the idea of working for single-payer they were told by MoveOn leaders that the organization was not doing that. And this took place while the Democrats were busy selling out women’s rights, immigrant rights to health care and abandoning the public option. Yet all these groups continued to work for the bill. They argued, in the end, that the health care bill had to be supported because it was not really about health care. It was about the viability of President Obama and the Democratic Party. This is why, in the end, we had to pass it.”

“The Democrats and the Republicans give the illusion that there are differences between them,” said Dr. Flowers. “This keeps the public divided. It weakens opposition. We fight over whether a Democrat will get elected or a Republican will get elected. We vote for the lesser evil, but meanwhile the policies the two parties enact are not significantly different. There were no Democrats willing to hold the line on single-payer. Not one. I don’t see this changing until we radically shift the balance of power by creating a larger and broader social movement.”

The corporate control of every aspect of American life is mirrored in the corporate control of health care. And there are no barriers to prevent corporate domination of every sector of our lives.

“We are at a crisis,” Flowers said. “Health care providers, particularly those in primary care, are finding it very difficult to sustain an independent practice. We are seeing greater and greater corporatization of our health care. Practices are being taken over by these large corporations. You have absolutely no voice when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. They tell you what your reimbursements will be. They make it incredibly difficult and complex to get reimbursed. The rules are arbitrary and change frequently.”

“This new legislation [passed earlier this year] does not change any of that,” she said. “It does not make it easier for doctors. It adds more administrative complexity. We are going to continue to have a shortage of doctors. As the new law rolls out they are giving waivers as the provisions kick in because corporations like McDonald’s say they can’t comply. Insurance companies such as WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna and Humana that were mandated to sell new policies to children with pre-existing conditions announced they were not going to do it. They said they were going to stop selling new policies to children. So they got waivers from the Obama administration allowing them to charge higher premiums. Health care costs are going to rise faster.

 The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that after the legislation passed, our health care costs would rise more steeply than if we had done nothing. The Census Bureau reports that the number of uninsured in the U.S. jumped 10 percent to 51 million people in 2009. About 5.8 million were able to go on public programs, but a third of our population under the age of 65 was uninsured for some portion of 2009. The National Health Insurance Survey estimates that we now have 58 or 59 million uninsured. And the trend is toward underinsurance. These faulty insurance products leave people financially vulnerable if they have a serious accident or illness. They also have financial barriers to care. Co-pays and deductibles cause people to delay or avoid getting the care they need. And all these trends will worsen.”

In Manuel de Lope’s novel “The Wrong Blood,” set during the first rumblings that led to the Spanish Civil War, he writes “... nobody knew this at the time and those who had premonitions wouldn’t go so far as to believe them, because fear rejects what intuition accepts.”

But the signs are now so palpable that even fear is not working. Our worst premonitions are becoming reality. Our intuition has proved correct. We are reaching the breaking point. An explosion, unless we halt the increased pressure, seems inevitable. And what is left for those of us who cannot embrace the contaminants of violence? If the system shuts us out how can we influence it through nonviolent mechanisms of popular protest? How can we restore a civil society? How can we battle back against those who will mobilize hatred to cement into place an American fascism?

I do not know if we can win this battle. I suspect we cannot. But I do know that if we stop resisting, if we stop rebelling, something fundamental will die within us. As the corporate vise tightens, as the vast corporate system begins to break down with fossil fuel decline, extreme climate change and the expansion of global poverty, even mundane and ordinary acts to assert our common humanity and justice will be condemned as subversive.

It is time to think of resistance in a new way, something that is no longer carried out to reform a system but as an end in itself. African-Americans understood this during the long night of slavery. German opposition leaders understood it under the Nazis. Dissidents in the former Soviet Union knew this during the nightmare of communism.

Resistance in these closed systems was local and often solitary. It was done with the understanding that evil must always be defied. The tiny acts of rebellion—day after day, month after month, year after year and decade after decade—exposed to everyone who witnessed them the heartlessness, cruelty and inhumanity of the oppressor. They were acts of truth and beauty.

 We must take to the street. We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must not make it easy for them. But we also must no longer live in self-delusion. This is a battle that will outlive us. And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and writes a column every Monday for Truthdig. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”
All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

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