Two Spanish investigating judges are pressing forward with their probe into the role that six Bush Administration lawyers, headed by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, played in the torture and mistreatment of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo. They have now asked Attorney General Eric Holder about the U.S. Justice Department’s role in the affair. I report the details in a feature just up at the Huffington Post.
The judges have asked for responses by the end of October, setting up another major test for Attorney General Eric Holder. This time, the question is whether Holder will choose to oblige or stymie international criminal investigations of Bush officials for torture, in the absence of any domestic efforts in that direction. Holder has thus far threaded the needle between torture critics and torture apologists by launching a narrowly tailored preliminary inquiry into a small group of incidents that exceeded Justice Department guidances in place at the time. Had he launched a more wide-ranging investigation, the Spaniards would almost certainly have abandoned theirs, which is based on the principle of universal jurisdiction when it comes to such things as war crimes.