Avi Lewis interviews former Deputy Secretary of State for Aljazeera English:
1. He and his boss Colin Powell lost a major battle within the Bush administration on whether the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war applied to guerrillas captured during the “war on terror.”
2. That the Bush administration engaged in torture in the form of waterboarding, though he denied that he had sure knowledge of this practice at the time he was in office
3. That he probably should have resigned, but hung on for fear of how bad policy could get if he and others were not there to fight the battles
4. He says that the US Senate should have known about the torture, calls them “AWOL,” and implies that there will be no investigation of Bush crimes against humanity because such a process would implicate the senators themselves, as at the very least having been derelict in their duty to advise and consent. (I wonder if he is also implying that some Democratic senators knew about the waterboarding and remained silent, so that they will not now launch a prosecution?)
Armitage was one of three officials, including Karl Rove and Irv Lewis Libby, who revealed to US reporters that Valerie Plame was a covert operative in the CIA. Plame is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was the first to publicly undermine the Bush claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which was used to justify the war.
Armitage was also involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.
A Spanish judge is considering an indictment of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and several other Bush administration officials for having sanctioned torture at Guantanamo Bay. In breaking news Thursday morning, it was announced in Spain that the government prosecutor has advised the judge to drop the case; apparently he still has the discretion to continue.
The others who would likely be indicted if the case went forward, according to Scott Horton, are “Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.”
Armitage’s revelation that he and his boss “lost” a battle to preserve a commitment to the Geneva Conventions in Washington in this period seems likely to me to become part of the Spanish prosecution.
Japanese officers were tried for war crimes after World War II by the United States for having engaged in waterboarding.
It has been suggested that the six implicated Bush administration officials would, in case of formal indictmen, no longer be able safely travel to Europe, because judges claiming universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity might well order their arrest, as happened to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
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