Spanish prosecutors reportedly will seek criminal charges against 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. In a particularly embarrassing moment for the United States, the Audencia Nacional court in Madrid asked if or when the United States was going to investigate and said that it would not order the investigation if such an investigation is begun — yielding to the United States. This is precisely what was discussed in previously on Countdown.
The Court noted that there was clear evidence of torture — a view shared by the vast majority of experts in the field. These men will not be able to travel freely once such charges are brought due to the threat of extradition. While the scene of a former Attorney General and a sitting judges accused of war criminals is shameful for our nation, it is far more shameful that the Obama administration has forced other nations to uphold international law because it is politically inconvenient to investigate known war crimes. This places the United States in the company with such countries as Serbia in shielding accused war crimes.
Bybee is particularly frustrating for civil libertarians. Bybee’s role in the torture program was already known when he faced confirmation. Despite objections, the democrats refused to block the confirmation, given a man accused of war crimes a lifetime appointment on the federal bench to rule on hundreds of cases.
The Spanish court has a credible claim in the investigation due to the alleged torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo. Now, the Obama Administration may actually seek to obstruct the investigation while preventing any special prosecutor from seeing the evidence in a domestic investigation.
The Investigation judge, Baltasar Garzón Real, gained international attention due to his investigation of Augusto Pinochet. I previously discussed the similarity of the status of Pinochet and George Bush due to the allegations of torture and war crimes. t Judge Garzón may have to step aside in presiding in the case given his role as investigator.
For the first story, click here.