Dear Spain: Please do what the U.S. won’t. Prosecute Torture.
If you've wanted to be part of a powerful effort to bring Bush-era officials to justice for their crimes, now is your chance. Sign this letter and join our national campaign to reach out to the people of Spain, whose courts are considering prosecuting six of Bush's lawyers under international law.
Spanish Judge Eloy Velasco will determine if he will prosecute the "Bush Six" – the group of Bush-era government lawyers, including then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for violating international law by creating a “legal” justification for torture. It was a court in Spain that indicted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
On Valentine’s Day, we will deliver this letter to the Spanish public, to Spain's embassy in Washington, and to Spanish consulates in seven U.S. cities, to thank and encourage Spain to prosecute the cases.
The Obama administration declared last year that it would not pursue prosecutions, ignoring the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Recent documents released by WikiLeaks demonstrate that the Obama government has been heavily pressuring Spanish authorities not to pursue prosecution.
Add your name to our letter to Spain.
From the people of the United States of America
We are writing to thank you and to ask for your support as your courts consider cases to bring American officials to justice for the crime of torture. A Spanish judge, acting under international law, will soon decide whether to investigate U.S. officials' roles in authorizing torture. We hope you agree that such cases must go forward, despite pressure from the Obama administration to drop them.
The organizations signing this letter represent hundreds of thousands in the American public who believe the U.S. government must be held to the same rule of law as other countries. We are profoundly disappointed that our own government refuses to prosecute former officials, despite open admissions and government documents showing that they approved torture.
It will take a public show of support for the case to withstand pressures from Washington. WikiLeaks cables show the extremes to which U.S. officials have gone to thwart any attempt by Spain or other countries to uphold justice. We applaud the courage shown by Spanish officials who insist on giving priority to the rule of law.
Despite earlier assertions by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that waterboarding is torture, former President George W. Bush publicly stated three times last year that he authorized waterboarding and added proudly that he would do it again. In a TV interview aired on November 8, Bush said he considered waterboarding legal "because the lawyer said it was legal." Waterboarding and other forms of torture were banned by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994.
If international law is to serve any useful purpose, other countries must condemn violations "by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment," in the words of the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg.
We sincerely hope that the citizens of Spain and its judiciary will dispel the notion that any country is above the law.