Sunday, March 6, 2011

WikiLeaks cables recount how U.S. pressured allies


They have received little attention in the United States, but a set of WikiLeaks disclosures of confidential documents has caused an uproar in Europe by showing that U.S. officials pressured Germany and Spain to derail criminal investigations of Americans.

After German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in el-Masri's abduction, a February 2007 cable quoted the deputy U.S. chief of mission in Berlin as advising a German diplomat to "weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S." if the agents were prosecuted.

The German government withdrew the warrants five months later.

How d'ya say 'spineless wimps' in German?

A Spanish judge announced a criminal investigation in January 2009 into whether six lawyers in President George W. Bush's administration had approved torture. They included former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor whose memos as a Justice Department attorney authorized the near-drowning technique called waterboarding.

WikiLeaks cables from April and May 2009 said Spanish officials were being warned about the case by diplomats from the Obama administration and by a visiting U.S. senator, Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who allegedly told Spain's foreign minister that the prosecution would have "an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship." The Miami Herald has reported that Martinez was carrying that message for the Obama administration.

The documents also quoted U.S. diplomats as urging Spain to transfer the case from Judge Baltasar Garzón, known for far-reaching investigations of suspected international law violations and for criticism of U.S. policies. The cables described Garzón as a "publicity-loving" jurist with an "anti-American streak" and said Spain's chief prosecutor was trying to remove him.

Spain's government has since suspended Garzón for allegedly exceeding his authority in another case. Another judge has taken up the case of the Bush administration lawyers but has not decided whether to reopen it.

No doubt all the perps are safe as long as the Spaniards have a guy sitting on the case with no intention of reopening it.

Note to U.S. war criminals: Have at it. Nobody's going to come after you.

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