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Scahill: Spain Launches Wide-Ranging Criminal Investigation into US Torture, When Will Obama?

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By Jeremy Scahill

Spain is doing what should be done in the US: Treating these severe crimes as crimes. Human rights lawyers say Obama should follow suit.

Despite rhetoric coming from the White House that Americans should look "forward not backwards" when it comes to pursuing those responsible for torture, Spain doesn't seem to be listening. Judge Balthazar Garzon, who has been pursuing a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials for torture, has now authorized a wide-ranging criminal investigation into the US torture program at Guantanamo. The recently released torture memos and declassified Senate reports, Garzon said, show that at Guantanamo there is "an authorized and systematic plan for torture and harsh treatment of people deprived of their freedom without any charges and without the most basic elemental rights for detainees, set forth and demanded by international treaties."

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Garzon's "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 and, according to CCR attorneys, places new pressure on the Obama administration to appoint its own special prosecutor to investigate the crimes committed by former officials."

CCR said in a statement today that new case could also include the torture memo lawyers and "may well lead to investigations of top officials," including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. There are at least four Spanish citizens alleged to have been tortured by the US at Guantanamo.

"The torture conspirators are in deep trouble," says CCR president Michael Ratner. "Even if the U.S. fails in its obligation to criminally investigate, Spain will. The conspirators can run, but they can't hide. It is conceivable that arrest warrants have already been issued or will be soon. Indictments will almost surely follow. The torture team's travel options are narrowing."

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Read full report here.  Read CCR release here.

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In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.

Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.

She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.

All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Tell the truth anyway.

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