Justice Department Asks
By David Swanson
The U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs, has sent a 7-page letter to the Spanish court (PDF) in response to Judge Eloy Velasco Nunez's request for information. The letter does not provide any information but asks the Spanish court to submit all of its information to the
In the next paragraph, the DOJ's letter announces that there is no basis for a prosecution of any of the men named -- which sort of gives away the game of guessing which "investigations" might be deemed "appropriate."
The letter then argues that bad apples (a couple of private contractors) have been prosecuted or investigated, that the CIA gets to keep its self-investigations secret, and that Congress, too, has concluded that all is well. Of course, this all misses the point. Prosecuting a couple of lowly torturers does not excuse the criminal actions of top officials authorizing torture. International law does not include a waiver for agencies that claim the right to secrecy. Congressional committees have reached very different conclusions from what the DOJ suggests. In fact, the DOJ's letter doesn't actually assert that the Senate Armed Services Committee reached any particular conclusions, just that it issued a report. The report is actually damning. The DOJ letter is signed by Mary Ellen Warlow, Director, and Kenneth Harris, Associate Director,
The Center for Constitutional Rights has produced a 17-page response to the
"The U.S. Submission does nothing to alter the conclusion that the criminal case against the so-called "Bush Six" is properly before the Spanish court
There has been, and will be, no criminal investigation or prosecution into either the treatment of the named victims or the actions of the named defendants. There have not been and are not now any criminal investigations into the actions of senior Bush administration officials who participated in the creation or implementation of a detention and interrogation policy under which the plaintiffs and other individuals detained at Guantánamo, in Iraq, Afghanistan and in secret detention sites, were subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other serious violations of international law."
"The US submission is misleading – and disingenuous – in its depiction of the significance of the OPR process
As discussed in more detail below, the
"Margolis is absolutely clear that the result of his rejecting the OPR‟s finding of professional misconduct, and replacing it with a finding that Yoo and Bybee exercised "poor judgment" is only that their cases will not be referred by the DOJ to the state bar disciplinary authorities;33 there is no suggestion, let alone possibility, that the result of Margolis‟s analysis could be what the US submission suggests, namely that there is no basis for criminal prosecution. The U.S. Submission is simply incorrect in stating that Margolis concluded that no "legal norms" were violated by Yoo or Bybee; Margolis did not examine criminal law precedents for holding lawyers criminally liable. The issue of criminal prosecution was wholly outside the mandate of the Margolis review, just as it was outside the OPR investigation."
"The U.S. Submission cites the prosecution of two civilian contractors as evidence that the U.S. Department of Justice can and will address the myriad accounts of torture and other serious violations committed against hundreds, if not thousands of individuals, held in
The U.S. submission appears to be under the mistaken impression that all it must do to satisfy the Spanish court that it should defer jurisdiction over this case is to demonstrate that the legal system in the U.S. could – theoretically – allow for prosecutions of the defendants. No doubt the
"President Barack Obama has embraced a policy of impunity, when he says that we must "look forward, not back." One recent example demonstrates the culture of impunity that exists in the United States
The U.S. Department of Justice has actively blocked all forms of redress for victims of the