04 April 2009


A Spanish magistrate recently began preparing "indictments" against former officials of the Bush administration for allegedly approving "torture" at Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunately this is more than a frivolous procedure on the part of the lunatic left. There are some countries where preposterous claims of "universal" jurisdiction hold sway. The same procedure was used by Spanish courts to tie up General Augusto Pinochet in the British legal system, notwithstanding the fact that he was from another country, Chile, not Spain. This pernicious doctrine essentially asserts that individuals from one country can be "indicted" by another country's legal system for "human rights" violations or "war crimes." That means that if this were to continue former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, advisers John Yoo, Douglas Feith and others could be arrested in a third country based upon a Spanish court indictment, threatening any travel or vacation they might take abroad. This is not a partisan issue, as it could be applied to officials of any administration on spurious grounds, or for that matter the American military. Nor is just an American issue; i.e. consider what would happen to Israelis under such political charges. Merely advising the President is certainly not a crime here,even if it is not good advice, and we cannot tolerate it being construed as such elsewhere.

It is bad enough that the Obama administration is considering joining the International Criminal Court, which engages in similar mischief. If this type of "indictment" is not forcefully resisted it represents a serious infringement of American sovereignty. While some cheerleaders on the far left welcome this kind of political persecution, the Obama administration has thus far wisely rejected it domestically. Activities of American officials in the United States can only be addressed in American courts and clearly this approach has no traction, which would otherwise lead to an endless round of retaliatory investigations between political parties.

Did we not do the same thing against Nazis in the Nuremberg trials? Apart from the outrageous notion of equivalency between the Nazis and Americans or Israelis, there are fundamental differences. We were victors in a war in control of territory without a functioning government, whose former officials had overthrown the laws of their own country. We do not currently recognize "international" jurisdiction over American citizens and this should not change, and certainly we cannot allow some pipsqueak prosecutor in a foreign country to issue "indictments" against American officials without severe consequences.

Our response must be strong and unequivocal. The administration must reject any such procedure as an infringement on American sovereignty. In the event that the Spanish government allows this to go forward we should withdraw our ambassador from Spain, make it clear we do not recognize their authority, and issue a strong warning that we will retaliate against any country that attempts to hold an American citizen under such bogus charges. Should this occur, we will respond militarily, just as we did against the Barbary pirates two centuries ago. The Spanish magistrates are morally no better and we should go after them in a reciprocal fashion for threatening Americans. This is, after all, a purely ideological abuse of power by foreign politicians, and ultimately it comes down to politics and power. In that respect we hold all the cards so there is no reason not to tell the European Socialists where to go.

Thus far the response of the Obama administration has been less than reassuring. This has been dismissed as "a matter for the Spanish courts," which in effect says it is none of our business. But it soon will be and the issue cannot be ducked indefinitely. In this light we must now be heard as forcefully possible. The American people will not knowingly surrender their sovereignty and we cannot allow it to disappear by stealth.

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