Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 4 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

The Man Who Refuses Silence

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Supported 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 1/24/12

Become a Fan
  (11 fans)
- Advertisement -

The Spanish Judge whose work triggered the investigation that nabbed Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet back in 1998 believes that Spain could bring charges against six Bush Jr. administration officials for clearing the way for the use of torture during the Iraq war - but he is being blocked by charges making him the culprit.

On 17 January 2012, Al Jazeera reported that Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon had "gone on trial in the country's supreme court on [three separate] charges of abusing judicial powers."

According to West Chester University history professor Lawrence Davidson, Spanish and US authorities want even the remotest possibility of charges against Bush Administration officials to go away - quietly. To this end Spain is attempting to silence "a very important truth-teller (who has) conducted a number of investigations into violations of international law against torture."
The truth-teller is Baltasar Garzón Real, 57, the Spanish jurist who in 1998 obtained a request for the extradition from the UK of former Chilean president, General, Augusto Pinochet, for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens. The former dictator was undergoing medical treatment in London.
Garzón was indicted in April 2010 for exceeding his authority when investigating crimes committed by the Franco regime that were included in an amnesty, and suspended on 14 May 2010, pending trial. He has been given permission to work as a consultant at the International Criminal Court.

Garzon used the principle of universal jurisdiction to go after Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet back in 1998, and said in March 2009 that Spain could now use the same principle to bring charges against Bush Jr. officials.

He charged that, "At least four men who are Spanish citizens, and also former prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison, have accused the U.S. military of torturing them."

It was at this point, Davidson claims, that the U .S. government appears to have placed Garzon in a category that would also include WIKIleaks case figures, (Pfc. Bradley) Manning and impresario Julian) Assange - "the category of the dangerous truth-teller."

Davidson notes that the U.S. Ambassador to Spain in 2009, Eduardo Aguirre, describes his actions (in a diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks in 2010) in relation to the Garzon investigation as follows, "...behind the scenes we have fought tooth and nail to make the charges disappear."

Davidson says the significant word here is "disappear" for "there are two approaches to suppressing an unwanted truth. The first is to create a counter-story that makes the truth appear untrue. The second is to simply suppress all evidence, all references, all interest so that the particular truth just 'disappears'."
 
He declares that the U.S. ambassador, Eduardo Aguirre, "managed to get the cooperation of Spain's Chief Prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza, who is quoted in another U.S. diplomatic cable (also made public by Wikileaks) to the effect that he had a plan to 'embarrass' Garzon into dropping his case against the Bush officials by misrepresenting Garzon's actions in previous cases. This sounds like a bit of blackmail."
 
However, he adds, Garzon did not relent and now he is on trial for "abusing judicial powers" in this and other cases.

- Advertisement -

Garzon and his supporters, which include almost every human rights group on the planet, claim that the charges are politically motivated and, "to be sure, the entire affair appears similar to the questionable rape charge facing Assange in Sweden."

Davidson documents that the U.S. Ambassador to Spain in 2009, Eduardo Aguirre, described his actions (in a diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks in 2010) in relation to the Garzon investigation. He wrote:

"...behind the scenes we have fought tooth and nail to make the charges disappear." The significant word here is "disappear" for there are two approaches to suppressing an unwanted truth. The first is to create a counter-story that makes the truth appear untrue. The second is to simply suppress all evidence, all references, all interest so that the particular truth just "disappears."

Davidson says, "This is precisely the outcome the U.S. government would like to see."
 
He notes that Aguirre managed to get the cooperation of Spain's Chief Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who is quoted in another U.S. diplomatic cable (also made public by Wikileaks), to the effect that he had a plan to "embarrass" Garzon into dropping his case against the Bush officials by misrepresenting Garzon's actions in previous cases. "This sounds like a bit of blackmail," Davidson says.
 
He adds that Garzon did not relent and now he is on trial for "abusing judicial powers" in this and other cases.

"Garzon and his supporters, which include almost every human rights group on the planet, claim that the charges are politically motivated and, to be sure, the entire affair appears similar to the questionable rape charge facing Assange in Sweden,"  Davidson charges.

- Advertisement -

In the case of Garzon, the Spanish Public Prosecutor (different than the Chief Prosecutor) has recommended acquittal on all three charges and yet there is still serious doubt that this will happen. If he is found guilty on any of the charges, Garzon "could be banned from serving as a judge for 20 years, in what would be a career-ending blow." 

Davidson says, "This is precisely the outcome the U.S. government would like to see."
 
The good news is that this battle to silence Garzon" has not yet intimidated all other Spanish judges." On January 20, another Spanish judge , Pablo Rafael Gutierrez, took up the case of the former Spanish citizens who allege torture at Guantanamo Bay. This judge, again used the principle of universal jurisdiction, and noted that the United States government has consistently refused to investigate the Spanish citizen's charges.
 
James Goldston, the executive director of Open Society Justice Initiative, described the situation this way, "These crimes [such as torture] are universal crimes and it is very clear that until the United States holds to account those responsible for these crimes, other judicial actors in other countries are going to press for accountability."

Davidson concurs. He says, "The most powerful and influential government in the world, the one with its capital in Washington, D.C., is going to fight to halt these foreign efforts. And so, we have a war that seeks to replace the truth with either lies or historical black holes."
 
"One of the major themes of George Orwell's classic novel, 1984, is the control of information...if government can control all media and all public records it can either impose a lie as truth or simply make selected past events disappear from society's collective memory," Davidson recalls.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://billfisher.blogspot.com

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Liberties Lost Since 9/11

The Silence of the Sheep

BAHRAIN: UNION LEADERS ON HUNGER STRIKE

Law Professors Outraged by Senate Vote on Indefinite Detention

Feel Safer Now?

The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable -- A Must-Read.

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Or, as Glenn Greenwald notes:   The Rules ... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 6:47:24 AM
That is why no government, no politician, no me... by WILLIAM FISHER on Thursday, Jan 26, 2012 at 2:30:33 PM
That the US Gov (Political and Corporate), wi... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Jan 26, 2012 at 4:12:01 PM