Last Friday, the Spanish National Court agreed to continue its investigation into Guantánamo torture allegations made by a Moroccan-born Spanish resident. This is in addition to another ongoing Spanish court case (updated here) brought against six U.S. Department of Justice lawyers who provided legal support for the U.S. torture program during the Bush administration.
Switzerland is also considering legal action in regard to U.S. torture, as evidenced by Bush’s cancellation of a trip to Geneva last month out of fear of potential prosecution.
Why isn't the U.S. investigating its own torture program?
Not only is the U.S. government not pursuing this critical international legal matter, it is purposely trying to prevent other nations from doing so. In December, WikiLeaks revealed a U.S. diplomatic cable written in April of 2009 that highlighted a meeting between senior U.S. and Spanish government officials. The U.S. asked Spain to call off the "Bush Six" torture investigation because “the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the U.S. and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship.”
How can they say that torture investigations “would not be understood or accepted in the U.S.?” Who are they referring to?
By now, most Americans understand that torture was authorized by the Bush administration. In fact, we’ve heard both President Bush and Vice President Cheney admit that they authorized waterboarding (an internationally recognized torture technique). We also understand and accept the fact that no one is above the law in this country.
Furthermore, we recognize that we are placing our fighting men and women in increased danger. In the future, our enemies will be more inclined to consider using torture techniques against our forces, knowing that our leaders authorized the same practices to be used against our adversaries in the past - without facing any investigation or prosecution.
The momentum is building in the international courts to seek justice in regard to the U.S. torture program, largely because they see that no action is being taken by our own Department of Justice.
Eventually, justice will be served. It would best serve the interests of our nation, however, if justice is pursued in the U.S. court system rather than in the courts of our foreign allies.