Spanish Judge Opens Guantanamo Torture Investigation

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón has decided he will investigate allegations of torture by four released Guantanamo detainees.

Via Center for Constitutional Rights:

The writ did not name specific officials as defendants but speaks of investigating the roles of those responsible for authorizing, planning and executing the torture program, particularly in light of the newly release torture memos and the Senate Armed Services Committee report. The case could lead to arrest warrants in Europe....

This is a different and broader investigation than the one we've written about here. [More...]

According to CCR:

Last month, Spain moved to begin criminal investigation into the role of six Bush administration lawyers responsible for creating the legal justification and framework for the torture program. The brief history of that case is as follows: Judge Garzon accepted the initial complaint; the Spanish prosecutors were set to recommend pursuing it; in an effort to stop the case, the Spanish attorney general intervened to recommend against it; a lottery reassigned the lawyers case to Judge Eloy Velasco, who now has the authority to decide whether to open the investigation..

In the present case, the Guardian reports:

The Spanish investigation was sparked by torture complaints from former Guantánamo detainees Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, Lahcen Ikassrien, Jamiel Abdul Latif al Banna and Omar Deghayes.

The four men, who had terrorism allegations made against them in Spain dropped by the courts, told the judge that they had been tortured "under the authority of personnel from the US Army".

Judge Garzón reportedly cited "documents declassified by the US administration" as giving evidence "of what previously could be intuited: an official plan of approved torture and abuse of people being held in custody while facing no charges and without the most basic rights of people who have been detained."

Scott Horton at Daily Beast has more.

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    Meanwhile back at the ranch (1.33 / 3) (#8)
    by Iamme on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:11:37 PM EST
    The taliban continues to plot against the US.  They are beheading, raping, destorying schools, and torturing people.  

    Oh yeah they are laughing at us.  Because clearly this is the most important issue of our time. Clearly slapping the American face has become the past time.  Clearly this is what Obama nation wants.  We have no other worries going on right now.  I am so glad that our President chose to spend his time on this issue.  

    I am ashamed to see our country cast in this light.  I hope everyone one of Obama's mistakes and there will be many are publicly aired on the international stage, tried in courts around the world.  Hopefully Bushes will as well, lets get it all out.  Hopefully all these countries will place embargo's and sanctions against the bad Americans.  Hopefully they will isolate us to our own means.

    End game = America is the worst country ever.  Whatever happened to we will clean up our own mess.  Lets keep it internal.  While your morality is fed and you feel better about yourself you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    You want to tear America down.  In these blogs its punish them all on the international stage.  I thought you were on this team (America) win lose or draw this is your team.  Your venom towards Bush is so complete you dont even know you are tearing apart the country to please your morality.  Please give me one example where a country went on the international stage and said YEP WE DID IT.  Then show me how it helped that country.

    Please leave my country.  Yes it has warts but let us take care of it.

    Forget it (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by FreakyBeaky on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 10:29:38 AM EST
    I was here before we were a torture nation, and I plan to be here when we are not one again.  You leave.

    The Taliban plots against the US? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Romberry on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:28:04 PM EST
    I'm not sure where to even begin responding to that. You think that the Taliban wants to attack the United States? You think the Taliban wants to overthrow our government? If those are the kinds of thoughts running through your mind, disabuse yourself of those notions because they simply are not true.

    The Taliban was not behind 9/11. The Taliban is a rag-tag band of poorly financed religious zealots. They represent no threat to the United States. They never did.

    Suggestion: Look into the BBC documentary "The Power of Nightmares" and see what a bill of goods our leaders have sold us concerning Al Qaeda, terrorism and (apparently, based on your post) the Taliban. This documentary can be watched on line, purchased on DVD and/or downloaded. I recommend it.


    I don't give two hoots ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:56:56 PM EST
    ... "who is laughing at us."  

    I am ashamed to see our country cast in this light.

    Nor do I care about "this light" (whatever that is).  I am, however, deeply ashamed that our country has sunk to such a level that officials of this nation engaged in and are defending torture.  


    How on Earth did we get here!?!


    I am ashamed (none / 0) (#27)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 09:09:50 AM EST
    of what Bush/Cheney did. We have a rule here in America. It is called the Rule of Law. It is not a Monarchy, but a Separation and Balance of powers. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, defiled the Constitution, committed war crimes in our name, and lied to everyone to avoid paying the price. Charles Graner, Lynndie England, and others WENT TO PRISON for their crimes. You can't have it both ways. Either what all of them did was not a crime, or by the decision of the court, it was a crime. Why should we take the word of criminals, about their own crimes? This is why accomplice testimony requires corroboration.

    If you wish to commit crimes without accountability, I suggest you find a true Banana Republic. Are you also proud of My Lai? The government coverup that followed? Or can you at least have a clear conscience after the trial and convictions? There is a long list of these "corrections", and they have always made America stronger.

    Fortunately, the crimes of which you speak are war crimes. We have a duty under our law to prosecute them. When we don't then international Law takes over and Spain and other civilized countries must take the lead because we are no longer one of them. We have become fascist barbarians, destroyed by our own leaders.

    You don't really seek to defeat the Taliban, or wahabi Islam, or even the IslamoFascists. You seek to defeat America. When you stand by people who committed TREASON, outing a non-official cover agent, a covert soldier of the Republic, merely for political cover for their lies, you stand in support of treason.

    It isn't your country. It doesn't belong to you and it NEVER DID. It belongs to the People, to the Republic for which it stands, to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice - lives, limbs - to preserve and protect - what? What is it that the oath of an officer says?

    I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.[1]

    Remember that Bush, Cheney, et al are ENEMIES OF THE CONSTITUTION. If you ever swore this oath, then you are obligated to fight them, or your word means nothing.

    So if you choose to defile the Constitution that I have sworn to protect and defend, against all enemies, foreign and domestic; if you choose to defend war criminals and side with treason; if you choose to defile the blood sacrifice of my family and my countrymen; if you choose blind ideology over your own sworn oaths; then realize that you and your kind are my enemy and will be given no quarter. You are nothing more than a pirate of the mental seas, without morality or conscience.


    Thanks Spain (none / 0) (#1)
    by CST on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 03:27:48 PM EST
    For taking care of our dirty laundry...

    Too bad we won't do it ourselves.

    Nothing will happen (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 03:32:17 PM EST
    You really think if they convict higher ups, possibly including a former President of the United States, we will hand them over to serve time in a Spanish prison?

    No (none / 0) (#3)
    by eric on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 03:40:43 PM EST
    but we don't have to hand them over.  They would be picked up when they land at the airport abroad.  Pinochet was picked up in England.

    Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 03:49:55 PM EST
    Bush didn't travel abroad before he was President, and as for the others, all they'd have to do is stay in the US.

    It's going to take an international body like the ICC, not another country, to prosecute this.  I wonder how many crimes the US Courts could find that took place under Franco? (And yes, I realize Franco is dead and can't be prosecuted, but it's the same concept).  If they do this, it opens the doors for the US Judicial System to look into crimes committed by other nations' leaders.

    Not saying the US shouldn't be vocal about other countries' crimes, but this can't be done by one individual country except our own. It would be a diplomatic nightmare.


    Well, one good thing would be (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:49:54 PM EST
    that we could get away from them.

    I love Spain.  It would be nice to go on holiday knowing that the nutters won't be showing up.


    You mean like (none / 0) (#6)
    by eric on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:02:34 PM EST
    There is a little difference (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:08:30 PM EST
    The torture trial took place in Miami because he arrived in 2006 with a passport he obtained after giving a false name for his father on its application.

    It's fine ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by sj on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:50:00 PM EST
    ... if all of them -- if convicted -- should remain in the US.  

    I'm having a hard time deciding how I want them described in news stories after their conviction:

    1.  "...who remains in this country to avoid arrest..."
    2.  "...who was convicted of war crimes by Spain..."
    3.  "...who is unable to visit Thailand with his brother Neil..."

    They're all sounding good.  That could be way more effective than a "make them deny it" offensive.  

    But, you know.  baby steps.


    shoot (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 03:42:19 PM EST
    I have been waiting for Cheney to stumble into that town in VT, where he has a warrant out for war crimes, for a while now...

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 05:54:17 PM EST
    he's not that dumb.  But we've got our tubs of tar and sacks of feathers ready if he does show up.

    Bush and Cheney are cowards (none / 0) (#9)
    by joze46 on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:23:40 PM EST
    This is great!!! Bush and Company made jokes about the world arena before election time. Remember Cheney's comment about what John Kerry said.

    Anyway, the Republicans have to be scared. One should wonder if Obama will honor treaties. Does a warrant issued by an international sovereign country be legal here?

    Can they come into America and issue a warrant to pick up indicted criminals to appear in their court?

    These are wild times considering America Juris prudence shuttled detainees around Europe gulags. The whole thing is a mess, and Bush needs to face it. But as many say Bush and Cheney will hide in America. Some brave men they are not.

    Holder was right, Bush and Cheney are cowards...

    Yeah that helps the country (1.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Iamme on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:27:48 PM EST
    Oh boy.  With you guys running the country we are clearly in better shape.  I want an American president arrested and sent to another country to be imprisoned.

    Dont really see how that helps anyone except your moral ego.  Blinded by hatred but my morality is fed.  Ironic.


    This is nation of laws not men. (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 04:55:03 PM EST
    At least we hope it will be again sometime in the very near future.

    It isn't about hate for me.

    If it were about hate, I'd get Lynndie England released and make Dick and Lynne Cheney house and feed here and her baby for the rest of their lives.  And we're not talking about housing in another house.  We're talking about England living in their house, eating every meal with them and taking care of her baby.  Oh and I think throwing the boyfriend and his family in - hell her whole family too.  That's what I'd do for revenge.  At least with the court system, they have a chance of getting their own room and some peace and quiet in some jail cell.


    When select men live above the law (4.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 06:12:06 PM EST
    it creates contempt for the law....as a judge recently pointed out.

    Go Spain Go! (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 06:06:43 PM EST

    Why doesn't Spain go after some real criminals (1.00 / 0) (#20)
    by maddog on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 06:45:03 PM EST
    Like try prosecuting the leaders in Iran who have killed gays and lesbians.

    The taliban is no threat to the US.  I guess you missed the terrorist training grounds in the country prior to US intervention.  

    Wow you guys are dolts.


    Yeah, like the people in the past (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 07:39:48 PM EST
    administration cared about gays being murdered in Muslim countries.  They empowered the extremists in every Muslim nation when we started torturing Muslims.  And the people of Iran used to be the most proAmerican Middle Eastern population before BushCo began torturing Muslims in faith based ways by stripping them naked.....but that wasn't enough either when photographing their nudity was even more potent in shaming them. And now we wonder why Iran is allowing extremists to run the show?  Who's the dolt here?

    I am not talking about the past administration (none / 0) (#24)
    by maddog on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 06:53:13 AM EST
    Are you now comparing how America under Bush treated gays and lesbians to how Iran treats gays and lesbians.  Not even close.  I guess based on your argument, Spain should also indict President Bush on crimes against gays and lesbians.  How about President Obama also, because did you you know that he is against gay marraige.

    You hatred of President Bush taints any argument you are trying to make.


    You know very well what I'm saying (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 08:28:19 AM EST
    "Christian based" nations invading Muslim based nations, and then torturing the population in religiously offensive, defiling, and shaming ways empowers the Muslims extremists in all Muslim based nations and gets gays in those countries murdered.  That is exactly what I'm saying!

    Like I said upthread.... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Romberry on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 09:17:27 PM EST
    Look into the BBC documentary "The Power of Nightmares" and see what a bill of goods our leaders have sold us concerning Al Qaeda, terrorism and (apparently, based on your post) the Taliban. This documentary can be watched on line, purchased on DVD and/or downloaded. I recommend it.

    The Taliban didn't have "terrorist training grounds", no matter what sort of flawed info you choose to believe.

    Find yourself a copy of that Power of Nightmares documentary. It will do you good.


    So tell me then (none / 0) (#25)
    by maddog on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 06:55:53 AM EST
    What was Osama Bin Laden doing in Afghanistan?  Was he on vacation?  What were his followers doing at those camps in Afghanistan, sunning themselves?

    I will look at this movie you reference but I am certain, like the 9/11 nut jobs that think it was pulled off by the government, this will show bits and pieces of full research to support thier claims.  Things taken out of context can always prove any point you are trying to make.


    remember John McCain (none / 0) (#23)
    by diogenes on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:17:28 PM EST
    Spanish courts happily investigate Pinochet and Bushco.  On the other hand, the whole world knows that the Vietnamese government tortured John McCain.  Why don't Spanish magistrates pursue this case.  Surely there have been some cases of torture in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba in the past decades.  Where are the investigations?

    If there are any Spanish citizens involved ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by FreakyBeaky on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 10:32:40 AM EST
    ... Spain just might prosecute.  I wouldn't feel too comfortable about torturing Spaniards if I were one of the other guys ...

    On the other hand, since in this country torture is plainly legal, we can't prosecute anyone on behalf of Senator McCain.  Sorry John.


    two sides (none / 0) (#30)
    by Iamme on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 11:01:41 AM EST
    1.) I am moral torture is bad.  The end.

    2.) I am moral dont torture those that dont deserve it.  It is the concrete postion that I have an issue with.  If your family was in danger and guy X knew what was going to happen to them.  I would certainly torture the crap out of them to get your family safe from harm.  Go home tell your wife, son, daughter, and relatives your position.

    Sorry kids I dont believe in torture so we are going to let you die this afternoon.  This guy we are holding has information we could use to prevent your death and he wont tell us when we ask him please.  So sorry kids you have to die today.

    You talk as if these people were normal Americans picked up at the local starbucks while having a latte.  Oops no.  They were shooting AK47's at people and had documents on bomb making in their houses.  

    Please put him up in a nice cozy cell somewhere and ask him please to answer your questions.  

    Meanwhile the bomb goes off and more people die.  Thats a great argument.  See any website "Bomb goes off today killing X number of people".  Those are the people we are talking about.  So please be moral but when the sh** hits the fan you are going to want people like me around.  Oh wait there are 3000 people in NY who will never see there kids smile again.

    Can anyone here say it? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Iamme on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 11:04:04 AM EST
    If you could have obtained information via torture and stopped the attacks on 9/11 would you have done it?  Or would you have maintained your MORAL position and let them die?

    STRAWMAN (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 11:12:54 AM EST
    They had the information that could've stopped 9/11 and didn't use it.

    They didn't need to torture anyone to get it either.

    Personally, I think the fact that we used torture is more likely to cause another 9/11 than if we hadn't.  Could you live with those deaths???


    you didnt answer the question (none / 0) (#33)
    by Iamme on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 12:57:06 PM EST
    I dont believe they had the information necessary to stop it but that is an argument no one can win.  Sure if you dont need to torture them to get it then dont.  But if you need to use it to save American lives I am all for it.  Wether we torture them or not the extremist view is "all infedels must die".  Therefore I dont believe that torture or not is going to cause any more deaths than they already plan on.  So your point is moot.  More specifically, yes i can live with it as long as I am saving more than we lose.  If we stop and they stop then I am more for that.  But alas see the point above if they are true to their extremist religious views "infidels must die" then does it really matter how we prevent them from doing it.  It would be nice if we just asked them to stop but lets be real.  We all know thats not likely.  How long have they been fighting in the middel east.  Well the oldest book around is the bible and they were killing each other then.  Do you think asking them nicely to stop is going to end it?

    You didnt answer my question as I knew you wouldnt.  If you personally could save your family or stop 9/11 from happening, would you personally torture someone to get information to prevent it.  You asked nicely he has part of the plan written on a tablet in his house but not all of it.  Or will you let it happen killing everyone including your family?  

    I find that when it gets to this personal level the morality gets gray.  So step up and say I would tell my family they have to die because of my moral position.  You cant because you know you would use any means to prevent harm to them.


    The fact is (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 01:06:26 PM EST
    you think torture saves lives.

    I think torture loses lives.

    So there is no way I can answer the question, because to answer it I would have to accept your premise - which I do not accept.

    If someone had a gun to my family member's head I would try to kill them first.  But that isn't torture, it's self-defense which is completely different.  Absent that, I don't know how else to answer your question because I do not believe torture works, so I wouldn't use it under any circumstances.

    There is no middle ground here.


    At least thats an honest answer (none / 0) (#35)
    by Iamme on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 03:51:04 PM EST
    I support your right to feel how you do on this topic.  

    Thanks to the blogs I get to express my opninion and see the opionions of others.

    So we agree we both have different opionions and are entitled to them.


    You arte also entitled (none / 0) (#36)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 09:15:42 PM EST
    to be prosecuted as a war criminal for acting on yours.

    Please try to get some facts.... (none / 0) (#38)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 09:39:49 PM EST
    So much wrong (none / 0) (#37)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 09:33:18 PM EST
    it is hard to correct it all.

    Torture doesn't work. "24" aside, they used it over and over again at Guantanamo. The result? It shut off the flow of information they were getting from - wait for it - conventional interrogation.See FBI agent 'got valuable information without torture'. Second, torture never provided anything of value, see Robert Mueller: Taking on the Terrorists, and CIA official: No proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks on America.

    There is proof that the FBI and the CIA had the information to stop 9/11, but they did not do it.

    So what we are left with is that you are a powerless, quisling of a person; nothing more than a sick bastard who wants to hurt his fellow human beings. It won't make you whole. It won't ease your pain. And it doesn't produce anything other than false confessions. So letting people die or torturing them is a false choice. You have to know, since you side with the Khmer Rouge, the Gestapo, Japanese war criminals, and Cheney, that you are not taking an American position. As any Domanatrix will tell you, torture does not bring truth, only compliance. I refuse to live in a country where these "legal" methods are used to coerce confessions from anyone. Do I want Wahabi Islam wiped from the face of the Earth? You betcha. Is torture the way to stop them? Not on YOUR miserable life. Good to know you don't have the stones to answer me directly. So take you pain and your fear and get some counseling, and quit committing war crimes or supporting the people who do.