Saturday, February 12, 2011

U.S. Groups look to Spain for torture-related indictments of Bush era officials

From Roots Action:

Press Advisory. Until now, US officials who authorized torture have escaped punishment. Now as a Spanish court considers a key case, dozens of US groups take their appeal directly to the Spanish people.

Press Advisory

Contact: Aimee Allison info@rootsaction.org
U.S. Groups Encourage Spain to Prosecute Bush Officials

"Please Do What the U.S. Won't. Prosecute Torturers."

Dozens of U.S. human rights groups will present an open letter to the Spanish public to consulates and Madrid officials on Valentine's Day. They will encourage support of Spanish courts in prosecuting U.S. officials who authorized torture.

What: By appointment will deliver the letter and flowers to the consul general or ambassador on Valentine's Day, a celebrated holiday in Spain.

When: Monday February 14. Valentine's Day. Meetings scheduled throughout day. Details at http://rootsaction.org

Where: Spanish Consulates in New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami. Organizers will deliver a copy of the letter of appreciation, a mockup of the billboard, and some roses to each of the Spanish consulates. To get more information, email the local contact listed below.

Boston - Ralph Lopez, ralphlopez2008@gmail.com, 31 St. James Avenue, Suite 905
New York - Bernadette Evangelist,  sleet15@nyc.rr.com, 150 East 58th St, 30th Floor
Houston - Leslie Harris,  JHarris866@aol.com, 1800 Bering Drive, Suite 660
Miami - Sandy Davies,  peacetopower@aol.com, 2655 Le Jeune R, Suite 203
Chicago - Jay Becker, futurenotwritten@yahoo.com, 180 N Michigan Avenue, Suite 1500
Los Angeles - Sharon Tipton,  sharonktipton@gmail.com, 5055 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 860
San Francisco - Susan Harman,  susanharman1@gmail.com, 1405 Sutter St.
DC - Gael Murphy,  gael@codepinkalert.org , 2375 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Madrid - Manuel Tapial,  manurefugia@gmail.com
March 1 is the deadline set by Spanish Judge Eloy Velasco to determine if he will prosecute the "Bush Six" – the group of Bush-era government lawyers including former White House Counsel and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for violating international law by creating a "legal" justification for torture.  It was a court in Spain that indicted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

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.

"The Obama administration has been pressuring Spain not to proceed, and thus let the Bush administration actions stand. But justice must be served." –Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent.

On Valentine's Day, representatives from groups will deliver copies of an open letter to the Spanish public, to the embassy of Spain in Washington, and the Spanish consulates in seven US cities, to thank and encourage Spain to prosecute the cases. They will fundraise to place billboards and ads in Spain.

This action comes just days after former President George W. Bush cancelled plans to travel to Switzerland after he learned the Center for Constitutional Rights and Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights sought indictment of him there for torture. George Bush has openly admitted authorizing waterboarding on national television, explaining that "the lawyer" said it was legal.
###

Partner organizations behind this effort include CodePink Women for Peace, High Road for Human Rights, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Pax Christi USA, Progressive Democrats of America, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Robert Jackson Steering Committee, RootsAction.org, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Tackling Torture at the Top Committee of Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Voters for Peace, War Criminals Watch, WarIsACrime.org, WeThePeopleNow.org, and World Can't Wait.

Additional signers include: Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Council for the National Interest, Democrats.com, Fellowship on Reconciliation, United for Peace and Justice, Velvet Revolution, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, War Resisters League, and Witness Against Torture.

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