Sunday, October 26, 2008

Join NCNR on Nov. 10 at DOJ/Chile jails death squad officers/Judge Baltasar Garzón indicts a dead dictator and his henchmen



You may wonder why I am sending out articles about ancient criminal activity, including the indictment of a very dead Franco.  My intent is to give you hope that some day Bush and Cheney will be indicted.  In fact, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is holding a demonstration on Monday, November 10 outside the Department of Justice to call for the indictment of Bush and cheney.  Let me know if you want to join us.  The idea is to do this before the rascals leave Washington.  Kagiso, Max



Chile jails death squad officers

Chile's supreme court has jailed five retired senior military officers over the killing of dozens of government opponents under military rule.

The officers were all members of a military committee known as the Caravan of Death, which criss-crossed the country killing suspected leftists.

Their crimes date back to shortly after the late Gen Augusto Pinochet took power in a military coup in 1973.

The head of the committee, Gen Sergio Arellano Stark, is now 88.

He was jailed for six years for ordering the murder of four men at a military prison in Linares, southern Chile.

One of the other officers was also sentenced to six years, and the other three received four-year terms.

"It's great news, above all for the families of all the victims of the Caravan of Death which, we now know, got its orders to murder and kill from Arellano Stark," plaintiffs' lawyer Hugo Gutierrez said after sentence was passed.

But Arellano's lawyer, Claudio Arellano Parker, described the sentence as "extraordinarily unjust".

He said his client was in no condition to understand the proceedings of the trial.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/10/16 03:28:08 GMT



Spanish judge to probe Franco era

A Spanish judge has launched a criminal investigation into the fate of tens of thousands of people who vanished during the civil war and Franco dictatorship.

Judge Baltasar Garzon - Spain's top investigating judge - has also ordered several mass graves to be opened.

One is believed to contain the remains of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by fascist forces at the start of the war in the 1930s.

Correspondents say the historic ruling will be controversial in Spain.

They say there has been a tacit agreement among political parties not to delve too deeply into the civil war and Franco era.

In his 68-page ruling, Judge Garzon says that Francoists carried out "illegal permanent detentions" which he says falls within the definition of crimes against humanity.

Controversial step

He refers to 114,000 people who disappeared during a 15-year period after the outbreak of war in 1936.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone, in Madrid, says that never before has Spain's civil war been investigated by a judge.

And in using the phrase "crime against humanity" Judge Garzon is taking a highly controversial step.

Judge Garzon told the BBC: "These days, crimes against humanity are a burning issue, wherever you look in the world, be it Afghanistan, Iraq or Darfur - enough countries to make you realise that this theme never ceases to make the news, just as the fight against this scar, this impunity never ceases.

"And if we are referring to the investigations being carried out in Spain in relation to universal justice or eras gone by, then justice needs to follow its course within the parameters of the law. That is what we judges try to do."

The civil war was triggered by the military uprising of General Francisco Franco, whose supporters are said to have systematically eliminated left-wing opponents, even after the war was won in 1939.

Judge Garzon's document names Gen Franco and 34 of his senior aides as the instigators of the alleged crimes.

He even asks that their death certificates be produced, to prove that they can no longer face prosecution.

The judge has also asked Spain's interior ministry to provide names of senior members of the fascist Falange Party, which supported Franco, with a view to possible prosecutions.

He has ordered the opening of 19 mass graves, believed to contain victims of the Franco regime. The remains of the poet Lorca are thought to be buried in the southern province of Granada.

Judge Garzon is famous for bringing crimes-against-humanity cases against figures such as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Last year he was asked by the families of some of those who vanished during the Spanish civil war or during Franco's dictatorship to help find the remains of their loved ones, and clarify the circumstances of their deaths.

An estimated 500,000 people died in the civil war.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/10/16 21:31:49 GMT



Spain: Ghost story

Judge Baltasar Garzón indicts a dead dictator and his henchmen

By: The Economist, October 23, 2008


Judge Baltasar Garzón indicts a dead dictator and his henchmen

FRANCISCO FRANCO, the dictator of Spain for 36 years, has been dead for a while. His body was safely deposited in a grave marked by a pharaonic, 150-metre cross in 1975. He belongs to the past. So why has a Spanish judge decided that it is time to accuse the deceased general of committing crimes against humanity?

Judge Baltasar Garzón, the magistrate who is pursuing the general’s ghost, has a well-established reputation for testing the limits of the law. In 1998 he had one of Franco’s more notorious admirers, Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet, arrested in London while he tried to extradite him to Spain for similar crimes.

Now the controversial judge has declared himself competent to investigate 114,000 killings carried out by Franco’s people during and after the Spanish civil war. Along with Franco himself, he has accused 34 former generals and ministers of crimes against humanity committed between 1936 and 1951. All are dead.

That means that it is Spain’s history that is really on trial. This is no easy matter. The civil war and dictatorship that followed left painful memories. Spain has done its best to sweep these under the carpet. A tacit pact after Franco’s death saw politicians of all colours agree not to rake over the past. A 1977 amnesty law settled the terms in writing. None of Franco’s henchmen could be tried.

The spirit of that pact, however, had already died before Mr Garzón got involved. Groups of volunteers have been digging up mass graves left by Francoist death squads, returning thousands of victims’ remains to their families for reburial. Thousands more are still to be found.

Politicians on the left have meanwhile discovered that bringing up Francoism is a simple way to bait the right. Last year the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero passed an historical memory law aimed at helping Franco’s victims. The opposition People’s Party reacted angrily. The PP’s position is, however, ambiguous and open to challenge. After all, its founding president, Manuel Fraga, served as a minister under Franco.

Mr Fraga was among the first to criticise Judge Garzón, who has also ordered the digging up of 19 graves, including one in which the poet Federico García Lorca is thought to be buried. It was outlandish, complained Mr Fraga, given the 1977 amnesty law.

The judge has produced a fresh interpretation of those laws. Where a victim’s body has never been found, he asserts, a crime of kidnapping continues to this day. So it is not covered by the amnesty. To those who argue that international laws on crimes against humanity did not exist when the civil war ended in 1939, he points to the precedent of the Nuremberg trials of top Nazis. Yet Spain’s attorney-general is not impressed. He has accused Mr Garzón of launching an inquisition and lodged an appeal against his case.

Mr Garzón has previously used international human-rights laws to try, condemn and jail in Spain human-rights abusers who worked for military regimes elsewhere, notably in Argentina. Franco and the men he has named so far are dead, but campaigners believe that others who took part in the repression are still alive. Mr Garzón may have opened the way for them, too, to be tried. Copyright © 2008 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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