Spain to indict Gonzalez, 5 others, for torture

They are basing their prosecution on the testimony of 5 Spanish prisoners held at Guantanamo who claim they were tortured while in our custody.

Now, aside from the dubious notion of believing anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone held at Guantanamo (or their lawyers), it is strange indeed that the Spaniards are indicting people who may, or may not, have had direct involvement in the torture of those prisoners.

They can't prove that Gonzalez specifically ordered the torture of the men. And they will have a devil of a time trying to prove that the six Americans had much of anything to do with ordering torture for anyone at all:

The six defendants—in addition to 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—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.” The case arises in the context of a pending proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges against the six American lawyers. Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward. “The evidence provided was more than sufficient to justify a more comprehensive investigation,” one of the lawyers associated with the prosecution stated.

But prosecutors will also ask that Judge Garzón, an internationally known figure due to his management of the case against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and other high-profile cases, step aside. The case originally came to Garzón because he presided over efforts to bring terrorism charges against the five Spaniards previously held at Guantánamo. Spanish prosecutors consider it “awkward” for the same judge to have both the case against former U.S. officials based on the possible torture of the five Spaniards at Guantánamo and the case against those very same Spaniards. A source close to the prosecution also noted that there was concern about the reaction to the case in some parts of the U.S. media, where it had been viewed, incorrectly, as a sort of personal frolic of Judge Garzón. Instead, the prosecutors will ask Garzón to transfer the case to Judge Ismail Moreno, who is currently handling an investigation into kidnapping charges surrounding the CIA’s use of facilities as a safe harbor in connection with the seizure of Khalid el-Masri, a German greengrocer who was seized and held at various CIA blacksites for about half a year as a result of mistaken identity. The decision on the transfer will be up to Judge Garzón in the first instance, and he is expected to make a quick ruling. If he denies the request, it may be appealed.

Just to be clear, the Americans are to be prosecuted based on the word of 5 Spanish citizens charged with terrorism. That, and any open source documents that have come to light in the last few years.

And what is our president doing about this outrage?

Spanish officials are highly conscious of the political context of the case and have measured the Obama administration's low-key reaction attentively. Although Spain is a NATO ally that initially supported "the war on terror" under Bush with a commitment of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, relations with the Bush administration deteriorated after Zapatero became prime minister and acted quickly to withdraw the Spanish contingent in Iraq.

Business as usual with Spain. They don't want the case to get in the way of improved relations with the Spanish. This makes me think that if the International Criminal Court makes a play for Bush, Obama will sit back and let it happen.

Why isn't Obama telling the Spanish where to get off? The idea of taking the word of terrorists to indict high level American officials is outrageous.

Socialist Spain is going to have this come back and bite them in the ass one day.