April 01, 2009

Spain Seeking to Indict Former Bush Officials

New York Times reported this week that Spain has begun a criminal investigation of six former Bush administration officials including Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, and Douglas Feith.  The "investigation" seeks to ascertain "the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the campaign against terrorism."  I can't imagine this turning into anything more than a kangaroo court.  As the Times notes:
"[S]ome American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical ... The United States, however, would be expected to ignore an extradition request for former officials, although other investigations within the United States have been proposed. Calls for the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation have so far been resisted by the Obama administration, but for more than four years, the Justice Department ethics office has been conducting its own investigation into the work of Mr. Yoo and some of his colleagues."
One thing the Times fails to mention is that none of these individuals were in decision making positions.  They were all advisors, whose job was to advise those in decision making positions of all their options.  As the Hamdan line of cases has shown, this is not exactly a slam dunk area of the law. 

Andrew McCarthy has detailed response at National Review that  is well worth the read.  I just want to highlight the part about the attorney who filed the complaint.
"So who is the heroic “human-rights” activist behind the effort to criminalize the provision of legal advice to America’s commander-in-chief? The complaint was filed by one Gonzalo Boye, whom the New York Times charitably describes as a “Madrid lawyer.” Unmentioned is how Boye came to be a Madrid lawyer. He obtained his law degree in a Spanish prison. According to reports in the Spanish press (read here), Boye, a Chilean, was a member of the terrorist Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) when, in collusion with the ETA, Spain’s Marxist-Leninist Basque terrorist outfit, he participated in the abduction of a Spanish businessman, Emiliano Revilla. 

For 249 days in 1988, from Revilla’s seizure at gunpoint until his family paid the multi-million-dollar ransom, the social-justice activists of MIR and ETA stashed their hostage in a cell that, as Revilla has recounted, measured 2 meters long, 1 meter wide, and 1.8 meters high. Apparently, he was not given Miranda warnings, access to counsel, or a date certain for his release. Boye was ultimately prosecuted and sentenced to ten years in prison, during which time he obtained his law degree from something called the National University of Distance Education."
If that doesn't highlight the absurdity of this whole circus, then I don't know what does.

It will be interesting to see if this comes up during the confirmation hearing of Harold Koh, and whether he thinks we we should respect any ruling coming out of this mess.

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