A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law.
The World’s Press is all over this in a quiet sort of way thoughthe¬† NYT writes an informative article with plenty of links.
Back in 1999 after  trying to get the Brits to prosecute Pinochet; Garzon got an indiction against 98 Argentinian officers.
“…the lawyers, and the victims they represent, argue that every step Garzon takes is at the very least a warning to rulers that they are accountable for their human rights abuses”.
The officials named in this present case include the most senior legal minds in the Bush administration. They are:
Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general;
David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff;
Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence;
William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s general counsel; and
John Yoo and
Jay Bybee, who were both senior justice department legal advisers
It is interesting that the lawyers presenting the case are gunning for those just under the prime power level. The advisers. If a case is approved an investigation has to be opened. The defendants obviously won’t show up but they may as well throw their passports away as any step outside US territory could result in arrest viz. Pinochet. It will also be interesting to see what kind of cans of worms emerge during the subsequent investigations. We can only hope. If America won’t have a Truth Commission maybe someone else will have to kick start it for them.
update 09.03.30 more from Andrew Sullivan


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Something else which needs to be emphasised is what an aslboute cop-out any kind of truth and reconciliation commission’-style granting of immunity or reduced sentences in return for confessions would be. Firstly because the events being talked about did not happen to some now-roundly condemned regime decades ago, as was the case in South Africa, and secondly because, in a large part we already have their confessions. We already have memos showing the approval of torture techniques such as sleep-deprivation, stress positions, simulated drowning, and prolonged standing by Donald Rumsfeld, we already have the enabling opinions grated by John Yoo and Addington, we already have evidence of Dick Cheney’s knowledge of these techniques they have nothing to give.In the case of the British government, as of yet there is no evidence of direct government involvement although it is hard to imagine how MI5 agents could have acted in this capacity without government knowledge. Knowledge of torture as the object of rendition flights (which would also infringe Art. 3 ECHR) has been shown, although a case is yet to be brought against the British government for this.

Muhammad added these pithy words on Nov 12 15 at 04:10

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