The Spanish Inquisition

Spanish courts assert world-wide jurisdiction over certain categories of “crimes,” and Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon has launched an inquisition into America’s treatment of terrorist detainees. Now Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration may choose to cooperate with such kangaroo investigations. Dafydd ab Hugh ponders the implications: does the Obama administration plan to outsource its retribution against Bush administration officials, establishing deniability by letting foreign “courts” do the dirty work?

If the Attorney General of the United States once accepts the absurdity that a Spanish court and Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, sitting in Spain and operating under Spanish law, actually have jurisdiction over American officials making official policy decisions inside the United States about how American military and intelligence agents can interrogate detainees at an American Marine Corps base inside Cuba… then how can Holder later limit such jurisdiction to “evidentiary requests?”

If Garzón has legal authority to demand we hand over evidence, he also has legal authority to demand we hand over “war criminals,” from American military personnel, to John Yoo, to Jay Bybee, to William Haynes, to Douglas Feith, to Alberto Gonzales, to Richard Myers, to Dick Cheney — even to former President George W. Bush himself. …

If we ever once accept that a European court — and not even a recognized “international” one! — has jurisdiction over actions committed by American officials here in the United States, and can prosecute them for “crimes” that are not even recognized here, then we have crossed a line from which we can never retreat: The United States will cease to be a sovereign power.

Sometimes you get the feeling that’s what some Democrats want.

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