WikiLeaks Revelation: The U.S. State Department Obstructed Spanish Torture Investigations

Coat of Arms of SpainMore from Scott Horton at Harper’s:

In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now. The reporting has been led by the level-headed El País, with its nationwide competitor, Público, lagging only a bit behind. Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional: the investigation into the 2003 death of a Spanish cameraman, José Cuoso, as a result of the mistaken shelling of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel by a U.S. tank; an investigation into the torture of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo; and a probe into the use of Spanish bases and airfields for extraordinary renditions flights, including the one which took Khaled El-Masri to Baghdad and then on to Afghanistan in 2003.

These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations. High-ranking U.S. visitors such as former Republican Party Chair Mel Martinez, Senator Judd Gregg, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were corralled into this effort, warning Spanish political leaders that the criminal investigations would “be misunderstood” and would harm bilateral relations. The U.S. diplomats also sought out and communicated directly with judges and prosecutors, attempting to steer the cases into the hands of judges of their choosing. The cables also reflect an absolutely extraordinary rapport between the Madrid embassy and Spanish prosecutors, who repeatedly appear to be doing the embassy’s bidding.

Read more here.

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11 Responses to WikiLeaks Revelation: The U.S. State Department Obstructed Spanish Torture Investigations

  1. 5by5 December 3, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    This is THE biggest story over in Spain right now. And the Spanish are PISSED about this.

    • damg December 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      and quite frankly, no wonder.

  2. 5by5 December 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    This is THE biggest story over in Spain right now. And the Spanish are PISSED about this.

  3. damg December 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    and quite frankly, no wonder.

  4. VoxMagi December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    You’d think that Obama admin officials going to bat to shut down Spain’s investigation of Bush admin crimes would count for a little something with GOP stalwarts…but alas…not so much. If anything ever spelled out that parties means nothing in US politics, and that business as usual is the name of the game, then this would be it.

    • Haystack December 5, 2010 at 6:57 am #

      I think Obama is secretly happy that GWB expanded the executive powers that he now has at his disposal. His predecessor set the precedent and took all the flack; all he has to do is continue the policies. As they say, “emergency” powers have a way of staying in effect long after the crisis is over.

      • Hadrian999 December 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

        politicians only dislike power when it isn’t in their hands

  5. VoxMagi December 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    You’d think that Obama admin officials going to bat to shut down Spain’s investigation of Bush admin crimes would count for a little something with GOP stalwarts…but alas…not so much. If anything ever spelled out that parties means nothing in US politics, and that business as usual is the name of the game, then this would be it.

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  7. Haystack December 5, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    I think Obama is secretly happy that GWB expanded the executive powers that he now has at his disposal. His predecessor set the precedent and took all the flack; all he has to do is continue the policies. As they say, “emergency” powers have a way of staying in effect long after the crisis is over.

  8. Hadrian999 December 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    politicians only dislike power when it isn’t in their hands

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