To the People of Spain
From the People of the United States of America
We are writing to thank you and to ask for your support as your courts consider cases to bring American officials to justice for the crime of torture. A Spanish judge, acting under international law, will soon decide whether to investigate US officials' roles in authorizing torture. We hope you agree that such cases must go forward, despite pressure from the Obama administration to drop them.
The organizations signing this letter represent hundreds of thousands in the American public who believe the US government must be held to the same rule of law as other countries. We are profoundly disappointed that our own government refuses to prosecute former officials, despite open admissions and government documents showing that they approved torture.
It will take a public show of support for the case to withstand pressures from Washington. WikiLeaks cables show the extremes to which U.S. officials have gone to thwart any attempt by Spain or other countries to uphold justice. We applaud the courage shown by Spanish officials who insist on giving priority to the rule of law.
Despite earlier assertions by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that waterboarding is torture, former President George W. Bush publicly stated three times last year that he authorized waterboarding and added proudly that he would do it again. In a TV interview aired on November 8, Bush said he considered waterboarding legal "because the lawyer said it was legal." Waterboarding and other forms of torture were banned by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994.
If international law is to serve any useful purpose, other countries must condemn violations "by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment," in the words of the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg.
We sincerely hope that the citizens of Spain and its judiciary will dispel the notion that any country is above the law.
High Road for Human Rights, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Pax Christi USA, Progressive Democrats of America, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Robert Jackson Steering Committee, RootsAction.org, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Tackling Torture at the Top Committee of Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Voters for Peace, War Criminals Watch, WarIsACrime.org, WeThePeopleNow.org, and World Can't Wait.
Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Code Pink, Council for the National Interest, Democrats.com, Fellowship on Reconciliation, United for Peace and Justice, Velvet Revolution, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and Witness Against Torture.