To date most of the coverage from the recent WikiLeaks disclosures has centered around calls for Julian Assange’s prosecution, or worse, execution. And perhaps that has been purposeful in order to distract from the few cables that actually contain some damning information for the United States.
Take as an example the revelation that in its first months in office the Obama administration, working hand-in-hand with Republicans in Washington, leaned on Spanish investigators to drop their criminal inquiry into Bush administration officials for war crimes in connection with the torture of detained terror suspects.
A “confidential” cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department details just how the case against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney David Addington; former general counsel to the Pentagon William Haynes; former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith; former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and current federal judge Jay Bybee; and former official in the Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo avoided prosecution for what is universally acknowledged as a fundamental breach and violation of human rights laws.
According to the cables, Republican Senators Judd Gregg (N.H) and Mel Martinez (Fl) took the lead in pressuring Spanish officials to drop the matter entirely, indicating that the prosecutions would not be accepted in the United States and would have an “enormous impact” on the bilateral relationship of the two countries.
The message was received as almost immediately the Spanish Attorney General publicly declared that he would not support a criminal complaint, calling it “fraudulent and political” and one that should be left to the United States to pursue.
In many ways these revelations, as disappointing as they are, should come as no surprise. This country has an abysmal record of demanding accountability from its elected officials in the face of criminal action. However, the extent of the crimes of the Bush administration, combined with the brazen disrespect for both domestic and international law displayed by Cheney, Gonzales, and their enablers, is of a level never before witnessed and hopefully never again repeated. Unfortunately, the surest and most necessary way to ensure justice for the victims, restoration of the rule of law and faith in the constitutional principles of this country, not to mention the acknowledgment of the dignity of all humankind embraced in human rights jurisprudence is through criminal prosecution. And that will never happen.
Who says bi-partisanship is dead?
photo courtesy of takomabibelot via Flickr