Apr 17: VCS Urges Members to Write Spain’s Ambassador and Request War Crime Probe of Bush Torture

The Spanish government may be moving forward with an investigation of war crimes – specifically – by the Bush administration.  Earlier this week, VCS wrote Spain’s ambassador to the United States and asked that the investigation continue.

Spanish Judge Wants to Keep Gitmo Torture Case Alive
By Al Goodman
CNN Madrid Bureau Chief

April 17, 2009, Madrid, Spain (CNN) — A Spanish judge moved Friday to keep alive an investigation into six former Bush administration officials for alleged torture of prisoners at the U.S. detention camp for suspects at Bay. Cuba.He acted just hours after prosecutors urged the case to be dropped, according to a court document.

Veterans for Common Sense letter to Spain’s Ambassador: VCS asks you send your own e-mail letter to: emb.washington@maec.es 

April 15, 2009

Dear Ambassador Dezcallar:

According to a news report published yesterday by the Associated Press, “Spanish prosecutors will likely decide this week whether to recommend a full investigation into allegations that six Bush Administration officials sanctioned torture of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, an official in the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday” (“Decision Likely in US Torture Case in Spain,”April 14, 2009).

Due to the urgency of the matter and the pending decision by the Government of Spain, Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) respectfully asks the Government of Spain to consider any and all legal options in bringing to justice anyone suspected of ordering or committing acts of torture, including former officials of the United States government. Founded by veterans in 2002, VCS is a charity based in Washington, DC.  VCS and our 15,000 members provide advocacy and publicity about policies related to veterans’ healthcare, veterans’ disability benefits, national security, and civil liberties.

VCS believes torture is wrong.  Torture violates human rights laws and destroys our civil liberties.  VCS works to fight against torture because it needlessly endangers our soldiers who may be captured on the battlefield.  As part of the global community, we believe all nations must abide by international laws such as The Geneva Convention to protect the world’s citizens and service members in times of peace and war.

In our view, there is sufficient evidence already publicly available that would justify the Government of Spain from taking legal action against eight former U.S. officials, including President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Douglas Feith, David Addington, John Yoo, Jay S. Bybee, and William Haynes.

We base our view on the fact that VCS is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies that forced the U.S. government to release hundreds of official U.S. government documents about torture and extraordinary rendition.  View our original October 7, 2003, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, sent with several other organizations: http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/legaldocuments/nnACLUFOIArequest.pdf.

We respectfully ask you to share torture-related documents with authorities in Spain that were released by the U.S. government in response to our FOIA lawsuit.  The extensive collection of official documents is available at the American Civil Liberties Union FOIA web site: http://www.aclu.org/intlhumanrights/gen/13794res20050429.html  VCS is not alone in our view that former U.S. officials ordered torture.  Two years ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recommended that, “U.S. authorities investigate all allegations of ill-treatment and take steps to punish the perpetrators, where appropriate, and to prevent such abuses from happening again.”  The ICRC report, dated February 14, 2007, is attached. 

Veterans for Common Sense asks the Government of Spain to do everything legally permitted under Spanish law and international law to investigate torture and extraordinary rendition by anyone, including U.S. government officials, especially if the allegations involve Spanish citizens.  VCS believes the U.S. government may not take these steps as quickly or as aggressively as warranted by the ICRC report or the documents released as a result of our FOIA lawsuit.

If the facts reviewed by the Government of Spain justify prosecution, and we believe they do, then we ask you to move forward with all deliberate speed while documents and witnesses can be identified quickly. VCS believes strongly in the due process rights of those accused of crimes.  Any war crimes trial must be open to the public and provide extensive due process protections for the accused. We would appreciate an answer from the Government of Spain about this very serious issue.

Sincerely, 

Paul Sullivan

Executive Director

Veterans for Common Sense

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Visit the Amesty International web site, where you can write Congress to demand investigation into torture:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&aid=12150

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