Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spanish Judges Rule Case on US Torture Can Continue/Why Aung San Suu Kyi wants to keep sanctions on Burma



From: Max Obuszewski []
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2011 8:25 AM
Subject: Spanish Judges Rule Case on US Torture Can Continue/Why Aung San Suu Kyi wants to keep sanctions on Burma


February 25, 2011
CONTACT: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Jen Nessel, 212.614.6449,
David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000

Spanish Judges Rule Case on US Torture Can Continue

CCR Hails Major Victory for Accountability

NEW YORK - February 25 - In response to news that the full panel of Judges of the Audencia Nacional (Spain’s High Court) rejected a Spanish prosecutor’s effort to stop an investigation into the role of  US officials for torture on Guantanamo, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has submitted many papers in this and a related case in Spain, released the following statement:

This is a monumental decision that will enable a Spanish judge to continue a case on the “authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill treatment” by U.S. officials at Guantanamo. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding officer at Guantánamo, has already been implicated, and the case will surely move up the chain of command. Since the U.S. government has not only failed to investigate the illegal actions of its own officials and, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks,  also sought to interfere in the Spanish judicial process and stop the case from proceeding, this will be the first real investigation of the U.S. torture program. This is a victory for accountability and a blow against impunity. The Center for Constitutional Rights applauds the Spanish courts for not bowing to political pressure and for undertaking what may be the most important investigation in decades.  

For more information and filings related to the Spanish cases, both the above torture case and the Bush 6 case looking into the role of the lawyers in the torture program, visit the Spanish case page on the Center for Constitutional Rights web site.

CCR has also filed cases against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany and France, and, on February 7, released a Bush Torture Indictment under the Convention Against Torture in advance of the former president’s planned trip to Switzerland which was cancelled to avoid possible legal action. The Bush Torture Indictment stands ready to be tailored to the specific laws of any of the 147 signatory countries to the Convention Against Torture where he may travel. CCR’s partner in these cases is the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.



The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.


3 Comments so far

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Posted by Jill

Feb 25 2011 - 4:35pm

YES! I'm glad we don't own every judicial entity in the world! There must be justice for those the US so grievously harmed.

Posted by Archie1954

Feb 25 2011 - 6:35pm

It is essential that this information be widely disseminated. americans are ignorant of what is actually happening in the world and depend much too much on The US MSM which doesn't tell the turth or coveniently misses the story. It is also important to hold governments responsible for maintaining the independance of their judiciaries. Any attempt as in Spain to obstruct justice must be met with suitable penalties. The US will stop at nothing to prevent justice from being done so information dissemination is required to alert the world to its egregious activities.

Posted by nagamaki

Feb 26 2011 - 1:39am

This is the only way to begin reversing all of the nonsense that is happening here in the U.S. is by bringing these criminals to justice, otherwise it will simply continue.

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Why Aung San Suu Kyi wants to keep sanctions on Burma

Some analysts warn that democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-sanctions strategy may lose steam as Burma relies on its Asian neighbors for trade and investment.

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi (r.) greets members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) during a celebration to mark the 64th Union Day at its headquarters on Feb. 12, in Yangon, Myanmar. It was Suu Kyi's father, Gen. Aung San, the country's independence hero, who met with ethnic minority leader to sign the agreement that the holiday commemorates.

Khin Maung Win/AP

By Simon Montlake, Correspondent / February 22, 2011

Bangkok, Thailand

Three months after her release from house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi is back in the spotlight in Burma (Myanmar) over her support for Western sanctions, a stance that is increasing tensions between her political party and the military government.

Ms. Suu Kyi emerged as a democracy leader during a popular uprising in 1988 that was later put down by the military. She has long been a thorn in the side of Burma’s ruling generals, who held elections in November for a new parliament that is dominated by a junta-backed party.

In 2007, a monk-led protest movement in several cities sparked by rising fuel prices met a violent end. In an interview last week with Canada’s Globe and Mail, Suu Kyi praised Egypt’s Army for refusing to fire on crowds during recent protests there. But she said Burmese people were unlikely to take to the streets as in Egypt, for now, given their own Army’s willingness to crack down.

"But on the other hand, one cannot say that the Burmese Army is always going to shoot at the people,” she told the Globe and Mail.

Burma’s media have blocked all news about Egypt and other revolts, according to analysts and diplomats.

The row over sanctions

Since her release in November, Suu Kyi has focused on rebuilding her National League for Democracy (NLD) party and has made few public speeches. She hasn’t traveled outside Rangoon, the former capital, to meet supporters, but has said she wants to use new media to reach Burmese youths.

The row over sanctions comes as Burma takes its first steps toward constitutional rule after decades of military dictatorship. Critics say the transition is a sham that keeps the military in control. Other observers argue that new power centers are emerging and represent a form of partial democracy.

The US government is among those applying economic and political sanctions to Burma over its human rights record, though it also favors diplomatic engagement. The European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have also imposed strict curbs on trade and development assistance.

Last month, opposition parties in the parliament called for an end to sanctions as a way of easing the economic burden on Burma, which ranks among the poorest countries in Asia and yet receives a fraction of the international aid spent in countries like Laos and Cambodia.

In an internal review, the EU recently found that its sanctions had failed to achieve their political goals and had “undoubtedly contributed to the stagnation and continuing impoverishment of the people.” The EU review, which was obtained by the Monitor, also concluded that nonstatutory curbs on multilateral aid to Burma, such as World Bank loans, had primarily affected the rural poor.

But the NLD has argued that it was too soon to lift sanctions. In a Feb. 8 statement, it claimed that economic conditions had “not been affected by sanctions to any notable degree” and blamed the military for acute poverty and poor governance. It said it was ready for talks with Western governments on how the restrictions could eventually be modified with a view to improving human rights.

Suu Kyi's leverage?

Analysts say Suu Kyi sees sanctions as her political leverage in Burma, since the US and other governments take a lead from her stance. “She wants to show that she is modern and understands the needs of the country, but she doesn’t want to let go of the sanctions card,” says the Western diplomat.

Her supporters argue that the regime desperately wants to lift sanctions and had hoped that her release would trigger a change in Western policy. They say this explains why state media went on the offensive against the NLD when it stuck to its guns.

A Feb. 13 commentary that ran in several newspapers attacked the NLD’s pro-sanctions stance and warned of a “tragic end” for the party and its leader. In response, a US State Department spokesman said the regime “was up to its old tricks” by threatening Suu Kyi. However, one expert said the original Burmese-language expression used was less menacing and may have been taken out of context.

Some analysts warn that Suu Kyi’s strategy may lose steam as Burma relies on its Asian neighbors for trade and investment. China is building an oil and gas pipeline and is likely to invest in a new Thai-led industrial zone. By contrast, American and European companies have a limited presence in Burma and have been the target of campaigns by exiled Burmese groups allied to the NLD.

Thant Myint-U, a historian, said the government’s wish to see sanctions lifted must be set against Western demands for political reforms. “I think their default approach will be to try and make Western sanctions irrelevant, through expanding ties with China and the rest of the region,” he says.

Another longtime Burma watcher, who requested anonymity ahead of a scheduled visit there, said financial sanctions against regime members were more effective than blanket trade bans. He argued that the upheaval in the Middle East showed the dangers of doing business with such people.

“Going after the money of the leaders, tracking it, tracing it, sends the signal to potential business partners that their best interests aren’t served by their support or proximity to the regime,” he wrote by e-mail.

© The Christian Science Monitor. All Rights Reserved.


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"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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