Archive for the ‘Chile’ Category

Not indexed by Google: Trenchant Observer article with text of Security Council Resolution 2118; the unregulated power of a totalitarian instrument of thought control (updated November 27, 2013

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

One would think that a post containing the text of the first U.N. Security Council decision on Syria mandating anything—here, the destruction of chemical weapons—would be a timely subject for very quick indexing by Google and other search sites. This is even more true for a foreign policy blog that has followed Syria closely for the last two and a half years).

But this is not the case. It hasn’t happened.

The fact that Google is in effect censoring the blog by not indexing it in a timely fashion reveals the incredible power Google has achieved to affect the public discourse in many countries, including the United States. We now know that Google has cooperated with the NSA in violating Americans’ privacy rights, and that it cooperates with foreign governments in filtering content.

Several important points need to be stressed.

The technology created by Google and its dominant market position in the search industry has resulted in the existance of a totalitarian instrument with incredible power to shape political discussion by not indexing certain pages, or not doing so in real time. It systematically filters out the content of foreign newspapers, and news articles with which your previous searches indicate you would not agree.

It is like a newspaper distributor which has absolute power to unilaterally decide if you will get the New York Times the day it is published, or next week, or maybe a week after a critical debate in Congress–or even after the elections.

It is absolutely clear that “net neutrality” must be maintained to protect the free and timely exchange of ideas and opinions in a democratic state, with one exception: web pages of blogs and other pages containg commentary and comment or analysis of current events must be given priority over all other traffic.

And it is equally clear that the Congress must enact legislation that regulates the use of what is in effect a totalitarian instrument of thought control. The government in the U.S. and the European Union should be monitoring Google’s cooperation with authoritarian regimes to filter the free expression of ideas, and also its filtering in the U.S. and Europe.

The power of Google is far too great to be left to the unchecked discretion of a company which gathers and sells the personal information of its users in a manner which would permit a totalitarian dossier about every user in every country to be created.

Google’s motto of “Do no evil” is in urgent need of goverment regulation and enforcement, in the U.S, Europe, and other democracies in the world.

Following is a list of articles by the Trenchant Observer not indexed, or not indexed in a timely or thorough manner, by Google:

The real problem with U.S. policy toward Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai and the CIA,November 26, 2013 (11;47 p.m.)

Russian economic pressures and actions to force Ukraine not to ratify EU treaty violate international law principle of non-intervention, November 26, 2013 (22:13), (Updated November 27, 2013)

Karzai moves to get U.S. to guarantee his hold on power after 2014 elections, November 22′ 2013.

When societies cannot be bothered by mass murder occurring elsewhere, then a perilous threshold has been crossed, November 20, 2013.

Obama’s foreign policy incompetence, and what to do about it, November 1, 2013 (posted at 23:12 MDT)

Not indexed by Google: Trenchant Observer article with text of Security Council Resolution 2118; the unregulated power of a totalitarian instrument of thought control, September 28,2013 (published at 18:23 MDT).

U.N. Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2118 establishing regime for the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, September 27, 2013 (published at 22:32 MDT).

(List updated regulalrly)

The Trenchant Observer

The vote on John Brennan’s confirmation to be CIA Director: Opinion and Commentary

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Recent Commentary and Opinion

“It is not going too far to say that American foreign policy has become completely subservient to tactical domestic political considerations.”

This stern verdict comes from Vali Nasr, who spent two years working for the Obama administration before becoming dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In a book called “The Dispensable Nation,” to be published in April, Nasr delivers a devastating portrait of a first-term foreign policy that shunned the tough choices of real diplomacy, often descended into pettiness, and was controlled “by a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers.”

–Roger Cohen, “Beltway Foreign Policy,” New York Times,
February 18, 2013

Shaun Waterman, “Vote on Brennan for CIA post put off; On Benghazi attack, questions remain, “The Washington Times, February 27, 2012.

Dana Milbank, “‘Trust me’ is not enough on drone warfare,” The Washington Post, February 8, 2023 (02:38 PM EST)

Glenn Greenwald. “Debating Zero Dark Thirty and John Brennan; Both the critics’ favorite film of 2012 as well as Obama’s nominee for CIA Director are supporters of torture,” The Guardian, January 8, 2013 (18.01 EST)

See also the following articles by the Trenchant Observer:

What difference does it make if John Brennan is confirmed?
February 27, 2013

Brennan’s wristbands, McCain’s hold, and assertions of legality under international law based on secret operations and secret legal memoranda (with links to Brennan confirmation hearing video, transcript, and written questions and answers)
February 25, 2013

Secret Laws, the John Brennan vote, and the rule of law
February 24, 2013

Imagine: The Collapse of International Order, Syria, and Berlin in 1945
February 20, 2013

Brennan unclear in confirmation hearing as to whether “waterboarding” constitutes “torture” (with transcript)—The John Brennan File #2
February 14, 2013

Drone Killings, the Constitution, International Law, and the John Brennan File
February 7, 2013

The Trenchant Observer

What difference does it make if John Brennan is confirmed?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

In the end, what difference does it make if John Brennan is confirmed as CIA Director by the Senate?

1. Well, for one thing, it may be the last chance for the Senate to get control of a failed foreign policy, and to actually put someone in who would complement Secretary of State John Kerry–as a member of a team that can get the nation’s foreign policy back on a track that might avoid further disasters, and maybe even lead to some successes.

Vali Nasr, the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs, is publishing a book, The Dispensable Nation, which is coming out in April and is already making waves as one of the first hard-hitting assessments of Obama’s foreign policy in his first term.. And the story isn’t pretty. Obama has led the nation into one failure after another, but liberals and Democrats have been unwilling to hold him accountable. The president, after all, perfectly represents the mood of the American people, by and large, who just want to get out of Bush’s wars and focus on domestic issues.

But the world exists, regardless of what the public in general want, and it keeps turning. It keeps spinning, in fact, in ways that often seem adverse to U.S. interests, and sometimes it seems even to be spinning out of control.

Brennan’s confirmation will tilt the balance of Obama’s foreign policy team back to the place where it has been for the last four years, with Obama mainly interested in killing terrorists by drones, while at the same time dragging his feet in other international crIsis arenas, such as Syria, Mali, or even Libya (until the French and the British dragged the U.S. into it, once Security Council authorzation was secured). Obama, in the end, is not interested in foreign policy, and doesn’t know how to conduct it. So he, and we, need a strong team.

2. Brennan is the High Priest of the war on terror, the Holy Warrior leading “The Last Crusade” against the Islamic terrorist infidels. And the strategy is simple–simply to kill them before they kill us. He is not plagued by self-doubt. Obama, in becoming a warrior himself, may have modeled himself on Brennan.

The only problem is that we may have been so busy fighting this war of  targeted executions that we failed to notice, much less try to influence, strategic developments of enormous significance.

While Brennan was busy managing the “kill lists” and coordinating drone strikes on the infidels, Obama was giving up the ship to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, offering Morsi  support and not criticism when he launched his legal coup d’etat on November 22, abrogating the rule of law in the nascent democracy of Egypt. Morsi pushed through his illegitimate constitution, shutting down the Constitutional Court with brown-shirt tactics in the street.

What difference does that make?

Well, for one thing, al-Azhar university, which is the highest center of Islamic learning in the city which is the cultural capital of the Arab world, is now facing increasing pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists to assume a more fundamentalist approach to religious issues. These include those covered by the sharia, or Islamic law, now raised to a position of preeminence in Morsi’s Islamist constitution.

In effect, Brennan was leading Obama to go and try to kill terrorist leaders with drones, while the geotectonic plates of the Middle East were shifting in Egypt. As this was taking place, Obama and Hillary Clinton remained frozen, unable to act as events unfolded in Egypt. Yet the success of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa is likely to be determined much more by developments at al-Azhar that by mid-level terrorists being killed by drones in Yemen

3. Then there are the moral issues. Torture. Extraordinary renditions to states which torture. Secret CIA “black prisons”, hidden from everyone, even the International Committee of the Red Cross. And targeted executions, including “signature” strikes against unknown individuals who evidenced a pattern of activities indicating they were terrorists. Any male over 14 killed in a drone attack was automatically deemed to be a terrorist, which was one way of keeping civilian casualties down–at least for those living within the White House bubble.

It is interesting how Brennan makes his legal arguments purporting to justify targeted killings.  He paints a picture of the ideal case. The  real cases, however, where unknown boys 14 years of age or older merit having their guts spattered in the sand, are cases we don’t know about, and whose justifying legal memoranda we will never see, because they are secret, indeed if in individual cases they exist at all. A legal opinion to support an execution would have to be individual, taking the specific facts of the case into account, and public, and presented to a competent judicial authority.

4. There are also issues of individual moral responsibility, and guilt, incurred by killing people outside the civilizing strucures of law, including international law.

Senators voting on Brennan face this moral responsibility, and potentially moral guilt from sanctioning actions which, in strictly legal terms, might be characterized as presumptive war crimes or other international crimes.

Like the Argentine politicians and generals who argued they faced the cancer of terrorism, Brennan’s supporters may find plausible arguments for going along with international crimes.

Then there is the argument that we should let bygones be bygones. Just turn the page, and move on.  Of course that was not the position adopted by Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg.

If there is one book the Senators might want to read before voting on the Brennan nomination, it is “The Question of German Guilt”, by the famous German philosopher Karl Jaspers. Jaspers, in a series of lectures at the University of Heidelberg in 1948, articulated with elegant distinctions the kinds of criminal, political, moral and existential guilt Germans might feel or be accused of, as the blinders came off about what Hitler and the Nazis had done in the Third Reich. His analysis is exceedingly pertinent to “The Question of American Guilt”.

There are also a few films the Senators might want to watch before voting on the Brennan nomination. One of the best is “The Official Story”, winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1985, which addresses questions of individual moral responsibility in the Argentine context. “Judgment at Nuremberg”, with Spencer Tracy starring as Justice Jackson, would be another.

Given Brennan’s use of the “cancer” metaphor to describe terrorism’s advances, the Senators might benefit from watching “Z”, Costa-Gavras’ film about the right-wing coup in Greece. Then there is always “Missing”, a film starring Jack Lemon which in the context of Agusto Pinochet’s coup in Chile powerfully conveys the impact on individuals and families of those who abandon law in favor of pure force in their battle against the “cancer” of terrorism–as they see it.

5. We must bear witness to the truth and fight to uphold the rule of law. Just as the excesses of the “Palmer raids” in 1919, or the internment of Japanese citizens in World War II, came to be understood as great deviations from the rule of law, so too some day future historians will ask, “Did no one oppose these outrageous violations of fundamental rights, or seek to prevent them from being carried out?”

We and others, at least, must speak out–as loudly and effectively as we can–so that there is some evidence that people opposed these outrages upon the Constitution and the rule of law. The challenges we face are not as great as those faced by Sophie Scholl, who distributed pamphlets in Hitler”s Germany, for which she was executed, or others who faced the power of totalitarian states, yet nonetheless spoke out.

In seeking to answer the historians’ question, the vote of individual Senators on the Brennan nomination will be duly noted, and the judgment of history will be entered, and it will fall upon those who vote, or abstain or are absent, on the Brennan nomination in the Senate.

Did this or that Senator stand up for the rule of law, and vote against a confirmation that would send a clear signal to the world that America endorses holy warriors who have no regard for international law and human rights? Or not?

How did these Senators, on the dates of these votes, define the nature of American Democracy in 2013? That is the question historians will ask, and about which they will write.

The Trenchant Observer

REPRISE: “The League of Authoritarian States”—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #65 (July 19)

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

REPRISE: “The League of Authoritarian States”—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #50 (June 9)
First published June 9, 2012

Responses to events in Syria have etched in sharp relief the emergence of a new coalition of states, which might be termed “The League of Authoritarian States”.

Their Charter Members include Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba, in addition to Syria. Other states drifting within their orbit, or in and out of their orbit, include Uganda, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Where they have votes, they have consistently voted against U.N. resolutions addressing the crisis in Syria, including the Human Rights Council’s resolutions condemning the atrocities by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and the Security Council draft resolution on Syria of February 4, 2012, which endorsed an Arab League peace plan, called for end to the crimes being committed, and promoted a peaceful transition. The February 4 draft resolution explicitly ruled out the use of force, and contained no economic sanctions. Still, it was vetoed in the Security Council by Russia and China, who had blocked all action by the Security Council since the demonstrations in Syria began in March, 2011.

By supporting Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan, the League’s members have diverted members of the international community from taking effective action to stop the killing in Syria. They now call for “an international conference” and a continuation of Kofi Annan’s “mediation” process to further delay or avoid any such action. In their hard-nosed diplomacy, Russia has even made a veiled threat of nuclear war in the region, to which President Obama and the West have not responded in any way.

The fact that Russia and China have a veto in the Security Council gives the League of Authoritarian States enormous leverage in shaping the Security Council’s responses to situations in countries, like Syria, where authoritarian regimes use terror to repress movements pressing for respect for human rights and transitions to democratic governments.

It remains to be seen how many other authoritarian states will now go on the record in supporting the League of Authoritarian States. There is a cost associated with repression, and the avowed intention of blocking any action to halt war crimes and crimes against humanity in any country where violent repression is the government’s response to demands for human rights and democracy.

The key Founding Members of the League, Russia and China, have made it clear where they stand. They will use their vetoes in the Security Council to block effective action by the international community to halt war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to water down any resolutions which are adopted (such as Resolutions 2042 and 2043). Moreover, their true intentions and bad faith are revealed in their propaganda, which mirrors that of Syrian officials and state-controlled media.

They justify their actions by reference to the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of any state, as guaranteed in the U.N. Charter.

They ignore, however, that in the 21st century “sovereignty” does not include the right to commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, or even the violation of other fundamental human rights. The growth and development of international law has led to treaties and state practice interpreting international law that limit the sovereignty of a nation to undertake acts such as those referred to above.

We no longer live in a world (if we ever did) in which, to pose a hypothetical example, Adolf Hitler could set up extermination camps inside of Germany and exterminate millions of German citizens, so long as he did not invade other countries. If he lived today, he would not have that right.

No Dictator, no authoritarian regime, has that right.

The battle is joined, between the international community which supports human rights and international law, including international criminal law, on the one hand, and the League of Authoritarian States, on the other, whose members believe a Dictator should have such a “right”, and who are willing to block the effective responses of the international community by vetoing resolutions in the Security Council.

The rest of the nations of the world are looking, at least in public, to a future in which fundamental human rights are observed and effectively protected throughout the world. That is the aim of the Responsibility to Protect Resolution (Resolution 1674) adopted by the Security Council in 2006. That is the purpose of the Human Rights Council and all of its work to uphold observance of international human rights protected in U.N. and other treaties, and under customary international law.

Undoubtedly other governments will join the League of Authoritarian States, in order to protect their own ability to use terror including war crimes and crimes against humanity to retain their hold on power.

However, the trend in recent years, has been toward a consolidation of the principles espoused by the United Nations Charter, international treaties, international law, and the organs of the U.N. such as the Human Rights Council.

The League of Authoritarian States is determined to buck that trend, and indeed to reverse it so that they will not have to face the possibility of intervention by the international community in their own “internal affairs” in the future.

The verdict is still out on which group will prevail. Much will depend on the willingness of members of the international community to act in cases such as Syria, even by the use of force if necessary. In extreme cases, willingness to act must extend to military action to halt atrocities, notwithstanding obstruction of effective Security Council action by a League member’s veto.

We live in a world of seven billion people. Through the internet, satellite channels, and mobile telephones, we are all connected now. We can all talk to each other now, today by video on Skype, and tomorrow on smart phones with video call capabilities.

The world has changed, and the speed of that change is accelerating.

Who will prevail, the League of Authoritarian States, or those members of the international community who aspire to a world governed by international law, including U.N. treaties and customary international law guaranteeing the observance of fundamental human rights? These not only prohibit genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, but also protect rights such as freedom of the press and the right to participate in government.

The answer depends not on the United States or Europe or NATO or the Arab League alone. It depends of each of us, and what each of us does to shape the policies and actions of our own respective governments.

The outcome of the struggle is not determined. Whatever it is, it will decisively affect the course of history.

In that struggle, it will be important to bear in mind that one thing, however, has changed: We are all connected now.

The Trenchant Observer

For links to other articles by The Trenchant Observer, click on the title at the top of this page to go to the home page, and then use the “Search” Box or consult the information in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. The Articles on Syria page can also be found here. The Articles on Targeted Killings page can also be found here.

Ratko Mladic to join Radovan Karadic in The Hague; Moammar Qaddafi and Bashar al-Assad await similar fates

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The capture and imminent extradition of Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenice, to The Hague where he will join his partner in genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, Radovan Karadic, who is currently being tried, should give pause to Moammar Qaddafi and Bashir al-Assad, for a similar fate awaits them.

International justice administered through international tribunals, now including the International Criminal Court, is gaining momentum. Consequently, it is not likely to take as long as 15 years to bring Qaddafi and al-Assad to justice for the crimes they have been and are commtting against their people.

The world is changing, and those committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity should be increasingly concerned about their potential international criminal liabiity.

As demonstrated in the earlier cases of Augusto Pinochet of Chile and the generals in charge of Argentina during “the dirty war” of the 1970’s, justice may be slow at times, but it is always persistent.

The Trenchant Observer

Shooting Straight About Military Operations in Libya

Monday, March 21st, 2011

President Obama and his National Security team dragged their feet until the very last moment, before they gave support to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 (adopted 17 March 2011), authorizing the use of “all necessary means” to protect civilians in Libya.

See also U.N. Security Council Res. 1970 (26 Feb 2011) – text

Now they are being cute with words, and trying to “spin” the world’s perceptions of who is running the air campaign over Libya.

See General Jack Keane’s revealing reactions to questions on this subject, on the Charlie Rose Program, March 17, 2011

All of the talk about handing off primary responsibility to someone else is far removed from the hard and delicate work of implementing the Security Council’s resolution on the ground through military and other means.

In the long run, no one will care who was in charge of the air campaign if it is successful. By trying to be too clever, Obama has created an unnecessary problem for himself, which only serves to make him look weak and appear disingenuous.

The facts are that Nicholas Sarkozy of France and David Cameron of the United Kingdom moved the White House to reconsider its “hands-off policy” toward establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya. Fittingly, Sarkozy and the French conducted the airstrikes that saved Benghazi from further slaughter on March 20-21, and history will record that fact, to their great honor.

While populations in Arab and other countries may not pay too much attention to who is commanding air operations over Libya, one thing they will observe closely is whether the U.S. government is telling them the truth in a time of war.

Whatever benefit could be gained by letting the French lead the airstrikes on Libya–they seem to be the only ones who were prepared!–has already been won.

Now is the time for the United States–and all of its coalition partners–to present a united front. The leadership on the military side should be collective, whether the commander is American or from another (presumably NATO) country. It really doesn’t matter.

America has absolutely nothing to gain by appearing to distance itself from its own decision, and will appear weak and sow confusion if it tries to do so.

At this precise moment, the Middle East is in great ferment, at a time of great transition, from Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli to Manama and Sana’a. The geotectonic plates of history are moving. It is important to be paying close attention.

When President Obama gets back to Washington from his important but ill-timed trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, he needs to stay in town, stay focused on the Middle East, change some key people on his national security staff, and start acting like the leader of the free world.

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited

Se acusan a los acusadores de Garzón; el caso Garzón es una mancha en el Poder Judicial de España

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Judge Luciano Varela / foto Samuel Sánchez, <em/>El País

Judge Luciano Varela / foto Samuel Sánches, El País

El Observador Incisivo

El Juez Luciano Varela y el Presidente de la Cámara Penal del Tribunal Supremo, Juan Saavedra, han sido acusados, por medio de una querella, de prevaricación con relación al auto de enjuiciamiento (Varela) contra el Juez Baltasar Garzón y con respecto al congelamiento de los procedimientos (Saavedra) en el asunto subyacente que formaban la base para los cargos contra Garzón.

Con respecto al caso contra Garzón, no es una exageración afirmar que el Poder Judicial en España en su conjunto está en el banco de los acusados.

Es difícil comprender cómo el Tribunal Supremo de España ha rechazado recursos de apelación anteriores para sobreseer el caso. El Juez Varela, de acuerdo con reportajes de El País, se adelantó a las pruebas en calificar los hechos en disputa como tipificando el más grave de los dos delitos que son aún teóricamente concebibles.

El primer delito es el de Prevaricación (intencional) bajo el Artículo
446.3 del Código Penal de España, que establece:


Artículo 446.

El Juez o Magistrado que, a sabiendas, dictare sentencia o resolución injusta será castigado:

1. Con la pena de prisión de uno a cuatro años si se trata de sentencia injusta contra el reo en causa criminal por delito y la sentencia no hubiera llegado a ejecutarse, y con la misma pena en su mitad superior y multa de doce a veinticuatro meses si se ha ejecutado. En ambos casos se impondrá, además, la pena de inhabilitación absoluta por tiempo de diez a veinte años.

2. Con la pena de multa de seis a doce meses e inhabilitación especial para empleo o cargo público por tiempo de seis a diez años, si se tratara de una sentencia injusta contra el reo dictada en proceso por falta.

3. Con la pena de multa de doce a veinticuatro meses e inhabilitación especial para empleo o cargo público por tiempo de diez a veinte años, cuando dictara cualquier otra sentencia o resolución injustas.

El segundo es el de Prevaricación (negligente) bajo el Artículo 447 del Código Penal, que estipula:

Artículo 447.

El Juez o Magistrado que por imprudencia grave o ignorancia inexcusable dictara sentencia o resolución manifiestamente injusta incurrirá en la pena de inhabilitación especial para empleo o cargo público por tiempo de dos a seis años.

En vista de la jurisprudencia clara que existe en el derecho internacional, incluyendo una decisión del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos en 2003 sosteniendo la condena de Ely Ould Dah de Maritania por tortura, a pesar de que no estuviere presente en el proceso y no obstante una ley de amnistía en Mauritania, es difícil entender como el Tribunal Supremo de España pudo rechazar la apelación de la denegación de la moción de sobreseimiento de Garzón, lo que de hecho hizo.

La cuestión de si las decisiones de Balthasar Garzón son correctas o no, de acuerdo con el derecho español, es una cuestión para ser decidida por los tribunales de España y en última instancia por el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos. Cabe señalar que el Convenio Europeo de Derechos Humanos forma parte del derecho constitucional español.

Apelar contra las decisiones de un juez con fundamentos jurídicos es una manera correcta y adecuada de expresar la falta de conformidad con una decisión, en un Estado de Derecho.

Enjuiciar por delito al juez quien es el autor de esa decisión en un intento de terminar su carrera, es una cosa totalmente distinta.

Una burla de la justicia ya ocurrió, en dos niveles: primero, el auto de enjuiciamiento del Juez Luciano Varela y, segundo, la decisión del Tribunal Supremo de rechazar el recurso de apelación de Garzón contra la denegación de Varela de su moción de sobreseimiento del caso.

Cuánto tiempo esta burla de la justicia continúa, nos dirá mucho sobre el Poder Judicial español y las personas que actualmente ocupan los cargos judiciales más altos en España.

La idea de que un juez europeo podría ver su carrera terminada, en efecto, por las maquinaciones de sus jueces colegas contra él, por haber ordenado la investigación de dónde las víctimas de crímenes contra la humanidad (desapariciones forzadas y presuntas ejecuciones) están enterradas, es una mancha en el Poder Judicial de España, que permanecerá hasta Garzón haya sido absuelto de estos cargos y cualesquier otros de semejante naturaleza.

Si los tribunales españoles persistieren en dejar de corregir este abuso obvio de poder judicial, en última instancia esa mancha pasará a la historia por una decisión contra España del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos.

El Observador Incisivo

(The Trenchant Observer)

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.

Más reportajes y comentarios de El País

Reed Brody, “The dismal assault on Baltasar Garzón,” The Guardian (, Tuesday 13 April 2010

Pere Rïos, “El acoso al juez Garzón: Dos asociaciones de la memoria histórica se querellan contra los magistrados Varela y Saavedra,” El País, el 12 de abril de 2010

Julio M. Lázaro, “El acoso al juez Garzón: Dos asociaciones acusan a los jueces Varela y Saavedra de prevaricación,” El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

“El acoso al juez Garzón: El Poder Judicial rechaza los actos de apoyo a Garzón,” El País, el 12 de abril de 2010 El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

Natalia, Junquera, “El acoso al juez Garzón “Imaginación creativa” o delito permanente de derecho internacional; La Justicia europea ha restringido leyes de amnistía sobre crímenes universales, El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

Auto del juez Varela por el que abre procedimiento abreviado a Garzón
DOCUMENTO (PDF – 41,19Kb) – 07-04-2010

Manifiesto de Apoyo al Juez Garzón

Véase versión en inglés

Garzon’s Accusers are Accused: Abuse of Judicial Power in Garzón Case is Stain on Spanish Judiciary

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Judge Luciano Varela / foto Samuel Sánchez, <em/>El País” title=”Luciano_Varela” width=”200″ height=”300″ class=”size-medium wp-image-2394″ /><p class=Judge Luciano Varela / foto Samuel Sánches, El País

Judge Luciano Varela and the President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, Juan Saavedra, have themselves been accused in a private criminal complaint (querella) of serious violations of law in issuing an order of prosecution (Varela) against Judge Baltasar Garzón and in freezing the proceedings (Saavedra) in the underlying litigation which forms the basis of the charges against Garzón.

With respect to the case against Garzón, it is not an overstatement to say that the entire Judiciary in Spain is on trial.

It is difficult to comprehend how the Supreme Court of Spain has rejected earlier appeals by Garzón to halt the proceedings. Judge Varela, according to reports in El País, has jumped the gun by characterizing the facts in dispute as constituting the more serious of two possible crimes which the alleged facts could even conceivably have constituted.

The first crime is that of Intentional Unjust Decision (Prevaricación) under Article 446.3 of the Spanish Criminal Code, which provides:

Article 446

The Judge or Magistrate who, knowingly, shall issue a decision or resolution that is unjust shall be punished:

1) With sentence of from one to four years imprisonment in the case of an unjust judgment against the accused in a criminal case for a felony when the sentence has not yet been executed, and with one and a half times the same sentence if the judgment has been executed. In both cases there will be imposed the additional punishment of absolute disqualification for a period of 10 to 20 years.

2) With the sentence of a fine of six to 12 months (wages) and special disqualification from public employment or office for a period of six to 12 years, in the case of an unjust judgment issued against a defendant in the case of a midemeanor (falta),

3) With the sentence of a fine of 12 to 24 months (wages) and special disqualification from public employment or office for a period of 10 to 20 years, when he issues any other decision or resolution that is unjust.

The second crime is that of Grossly Negligent Unjust Decision (Prevaricación) under Article 447 of the Criminal Code, which provides:

Article 447

The judge or magistrate who, by gross imprudence or inexcusable ignorance (imprudencia grave o ignorancia inexcusable), shall issue a decision or resolution which is manifestly unjust shall incur the punishment of special disqualification from public employment or office for a period of from two to six years.

Given the clear precedents that exist in international law, including a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in 2003 upholding the French conviction of Ely Ould Dah of Mauritania for torture despite the fact that he was not present at the trial and despite a law of amnesty in Mauritania, it is difficult to see how the Spanish Supreme Court could reject the appeal of the denial of Garzon’s motion for dismissal, as they in fact did.

Whether Baltasar Garzón’s decisions were correct or not in accordance with Spanish law is a matter for the Spanish courts, and ultimately the European Court of Human Rights, to decide. The European Convention on Human Rights is itself part of Spanish constitutional law.

Appealing the decisions of a judge on legal grounds is a correct and proper way to express disagreement with a decision, within a democratic state governed by law.

Criminally prosecuting the judge who is the author of that decision in an attempt to end his career, is quite something else.

A travesty of justice has already occurred, at two levels: first, the order of prosecution by Judge Luciano Varela, and second, the decision of the Supreme Court to deny Garzon’s appeal of Varela’s denial of his motion for dismissal.

How long this travesty of justice continues will tell us a lot about the Spanish judiciary and the individuals who currently hold the highest judicial offices in Spain.

The idea that a European judge could have his career in effect ended by the machinations of fellow judges against him, for ordering the investigation of where victims of crimes against humanity (forced disappearances and presumed executions) are buried, is a stain on the Spanish Judiciary, which will remain until Garzón is cleared of these charges and any other charges of a similar nature.

Should the Spanish courts persist in failing to rectify this obvious abuse of judicial power, that stain will ultimately be sealed in history with a judgment against Spain by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.

Further Reports and Commentaries from El País

Reed Brody, “The dismal assault on Baltasar Garzón,” The Guardian (, Tuesday 13 April 2010

Pere Rïos, “El acoso al juez Garzón: Dos asociaciones de la memoria histórica se querellan contra los magistrados Varela y Saavedra,” El País, el 12 de abril de 2010

Julio M. Lázaro, “El acoso al juez Garzón: Dos asociaciones acusan a los jueces Varela y Saavedra de prevaricación,” El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

“El acoso al juez Garzón: El Poder Judicial rechaza los actos de apoyo a Garzón,” El País, el 12 de abril de 2010 El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

Natalia, Junquera, “El acoso al juez Garzón “Imaginación creativa” o delito permanente de derecho internacional; La Justicia europea ha restringido leyes de amnistía sobre crímenes universales, El País, el 13 de abril de 2010

Auto del juez Varela por el que abre procedimiento abreviado a Garzón
DOCUMENTO (PDF – 41,19Kb) – 07-04-2010

Manifiesto de Apoyo al Juez Garzón

Más Reportajes y Comentarios Sobre el Caso de Baltasar Garzón

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Más Reportajes y Comentarios Sobre el Caso de Baltasar Garzón incluyen los siguientes:

“A ‘Torture’ Judge’s Comeuppance: Spain’s Garzón is indicted for judicial overreach,” The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2010

Miguel-Anxo Murado, “Spanish justice on trial: The case of judge Baltasar Garzón underlines two major problems in Spain: a politicised judiciary and Franco’s legacy,” The Guardian (, April 9, 2010

Juan Carlos Algañaraz. “Dura crítica de EE.UU. al proceso contra Garzón: The New York Times tituló ‘La injusticia en España’ por la querella contra el juez,” Clarín, 10 de abril de 1010

“Baltasar Garzón–Judge not: Spain’s most famous magistrate faces trial—and possibly the end of his investigative career,” The Economist on-line, April 8, 2010

Manifiesto de Apoyo al Juez Garzón

Jean-Jacques Bozonnet, “Le juge Garzon devant la justice pour ses investigations sur les crimes franquistes,” Le Monde, le 9 avril 2010

Pablo Varas, “Baltazar Garzón y los crímenes de Franco,” 11 de abril de 2010,

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.

In Spain, Judge Baltazar Garzón, Champion of Human Rights, is Prosecuted

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Judge Baltisar Garzón

Judge Baltisar Garzónfoto Samuel Sánchez, 07-04-2010 El País

The great champion of international human rights and of the exercise of universal jurisdiction in human rights cases, Judge Baltazar Garzón, has been criminally charged by a judge’s order, in a private criminal action (querella) brought by right-wing groups, for alleged abuse of power and violation of an amnesty by investigating matters related the the civil war in Spain.

Garzón has appealed the order of prosecution to the Supreme Court.

In an Editorial on April 8, 2010, the New York Times stated the following:

Editorial: An Injustice in Spain

Spain’s best-known investigative magistrate, Baltasar Garzón, is now being prosecuted in a politically driven case that should have been thrown out of court.

Judge Garzón is charged with ignoring a 1977 amnesty law when he decided to investigate the disappearances of more than 100,000 people during Spain’s 1930s civil war and the decade of Francoist repression that followed. The charges were brought by two far-right groups who fear an open investigation of the Franco-era record. Unfortunately, one of Mr. Garzón’s fellow magistrates sustained the complaint and brought formal charges this week.

As a result, he will now be suspended from his duties pending trial. If convicted, he could be barred from the bench for up to 20 years, effectively ending a career dedicated to holding terrorists and dictators accountable for their crimes. That would please his political enemies, but it would be a travesty of justice.

The real crimes in this case are the disappearances, not Mr. Garzón’s investigation. If, as seems likely, these were crimes against humanity under international law, Spain’s 1977 amnesty could not legally absolve them. The suspected perpetrators are all dead, and Mr. Garzón long ago halted his investigation, passing jurisdiction to local Spanish courts in the areas where the victims were exhumed.

Mr. Garzón is a fearless and controversial prosecutor who has made many enemies over the years. He has brought cases against Basque and Al Qaeda terrorists, powerful Spanish politicians, Latin American dictators and Russian mafia thugs.

High-profile cases, like his bid to try the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, appeal to him, and sometimes he overreaches. But his consistent goal has been to deny impunity to the powerful and expand the scope of international human rights law.

Mr. Garzón should be allowed to resume that work at the earliest possible date. Spain needs an honest accounting of its troubled past, not prosecution of those who have the courage to demand it.

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.