Obama Fought to Protect Bush Officials from Torture Charges in Spain

Friday, December 03, 2010
Alberto Gonzalez, saved by Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton
After a human rights group in Spain tried to get six former Bush administration officials tried for justifying torture of terrorism suspects, Obama officials, along with Republican lawmakers, lobbied the Spanish government to drop the criminal case. Ultimately, the case went away.
The Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners wanted Spain’s National Court to indict six former Bush officials for “creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture,” stated a U.S. document published by WikiLeaks.
The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Department of Defense’s former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel.
First, the acting deputy chief of the U.S. embassy complained about the case to the chief of staff for Spain’s foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice. Then, Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) and the embassy’s chargé d'affaires spoke with another official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the indictments. Finally, on April 15, 2009, Senator Mel Martinez (R-Florida) and the U.S. embassy’s chargé d’affaires met with the acting Spanish foreign minister, Angel Lossada, to inform him that the prosecutions “would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship” between the United States and Spain.
The next day, Spain’s attorney general, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, announced that he would not support the prosecution of American officials, stating that it was a matter for the Americans to deal with domestically. The case eventually faded away. In the words of David Corn of Mother Jones, “Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
U.S. Embassy Cable (WikiLeaks)


Leave a comment