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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/16/09

Obama Protecting Bush from Spain?

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The official story is that Spain has decided not to prosecute Bush's torture lawyers.  Yet the known facts suggest something else entirely.

1-We know that the prosecutor who initiated this effort wants to prosecute Bush.  He wrote about it months ago.  We know that he and his colleagues see targeting the lawyers first as a step in Bush's direction and more likely to move forward than a case that starts at the top.

2-We know from Scott Horton's reporting that Spain and the Obama administration have been communicating about this case.

3-We know that the White House's press secretary was asked this week about those communications and avoided answering the question at all, rather than simply going with the story already reported that the U.S. was just observing and "gathering information."

4-We know that Obama wants to "move forward," does not want to prosecute Bush, and is going to extraordinary lengths to maintain and expand the power of the presidency (including the power to detain without charge, rendition, illegal foreign occupations and strikes, the power to make treaties without Congress, rewriting laws with signing statements, making laws with executive orders, keeping most of Bush's signing statements and executive orders in place, unprecedented claims of state secrets and classification and sovereign immunity and executive privilege, the power to fire whistleblowers, keeping memos and Emails secret, etc.)

5-We know that the top law enforcement official in Spain has made an argument for dismissing the case against the lawyers that an 8 year old would spot as an illegal absurdity, that was not a necessary argument for dismissing the case, but that would be a necessary argument for preventing a case against Bush.  While he could have argued, like Doug Feith, that those engaging in the torture or ordering it were more culpable than the lawyers (as they are indeed), he instead argued that ONLY those present for the torture are culpable, thus exonerating Hitler, Pinochet, and every other official who has ordered a crime from a distance.

6-We know that if the top law enforcement official in Spain lacked the mental acumen of an 8 year old, Fox News would have pointed that out to us during the past couple of days of xenophobic screeching.  

7-We know that the rightwing was preparing big attacks on Obama for allowing Spain to proceed, and that the official "left" was not going to have his back.  Senator Russ Feingold said yesterday that Spain was behaving inappropriately.

These facts are at least extremely suggestive of a less than independent decision by the Spanish to deny justice and stick to "looking forward," a decision that certainly does not follow public opinion in Spain and was not predicted by reporters in Spain but was predicted by Doug Feith on Fox News:

"I hope and expect that the Obama administration will communicate to the Spanish government that they — that they do not view this as simply an attack against some former officials; they view it as an attack on the U.S. government — because as I said, the principle that's involved here would attack current officials as much as former officials."
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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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