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The Spanish’s Judge vs. Bush’s Architects of Torture

Hallelujah, finally someone in authority is going after at least some of the Bushies who were the architects of the torture policies.

Tellingly, it's not President Barack Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder.

In fact, it's not anyone in the United States.

No, it's the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, the same man who took down General Augusto Pinochet.

He's drawn up a 98-page complaint (here's a crude, computerized translation) against six former Bush Administration officials and has handed the complaint over to Spanish prosecutors.

The officials under investigation are:

Alberto Gonzales, who was White House counsel, and then Attorney General.

David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff.

John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer who wrote up some of the most infamous memos on torture.

Jay Bybee, who also drafted Justice Department policy on torture and amazingly is now an appellate court judge.

And William Haynes and Douglas Feith, who were high up in the Defense Department.

I've looked at the complaint, in rough translation as well as in its original Spanish, and it lays out, in detail, how these six individuals tried to "justify the unjustifiable" and legalize war crimes.

For instance, it cites a visit by Addington and Haynes to Guantanamo on September 25, 2002, where Addington ordered a lieutenant colonel to "do what needs to be done" in direct reference to obtaining information from a prisoners there.

It says that a memo Haynes drew up, and Rumsfeld approved, a list of "18 forms of torture."

It says that the six people named were all lawyers and, malevolently used their legal skills "actively and decisively in the development, approval, and launching" of a dubious legal framework.

This framework denied "basic rights to a number of important prisoners," it protected "people who participate in illegal activities and torture, and it was designed, "above all, to establish the absolute impunity for all officials, soldiers, doctors, and other staff" in Guantanamo.

Congratulations to Judge Garzón for refusing to accept impunity.

My only wish is that Judge Garzón would expand his list of targets to include not only the six mentioned above, but also Rumsfeld, Cheney, and yes, Bush, too.

Because they all were in on it.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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