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Our Hearts Go Out to SpainFebruary 14, 2011
CODEPINK Greater Dallas w/the Dallas Peace Center
As part of a national effort to reach out to the people of Spain whose courts are considering cases to bring American officials to justice for the crime of torture, members of a consortium of over thirty national peace and justice groups visited the Spanish Consulate in Dallas today. These organizations represent hundreds of thousands in the American public who believe the U.S. government must be held to the same rule of law as other countries.
We were greeted by Jennifer Zimmer, assistant to the Spanish Consul, Janet Kafka, who welcomed us into the consulate. Holding a banner that read, "Gracias, Espana," we explained that we were there to express our heartfelt thanks for Spain's efforts in upholding international law. We took turns reading a letter of thanks, support, and encouragement to the citizens of Spain for their interest in investigating U.S. officials' roles in authorizing torture. The letter explained that:
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 expressed our sincere hopes that they and their judiciary will dispel the notion that any country is above the law.
We wished everyone a Happy Valentines Day and presented a bouquet of flowers, some heart-shaped balloons, and a hefty stack of papers - a photocopy of a billboard planned to go up in Spain which read, "Por favor, hagan lo que los EEUU no hara - procesar a los torturadores," and a petition, signed by over 7500 people, asking Spain to do what the U.S. won't: prosecute torture! Ms. Zimmer smiled, thanked us, and agreed to pass on our message.
Even as we remembered those whose hearts and bodies have been broken by torture and violence, our hearts were warmed at the thought of people around the world working together to uphold justice and restore the rule of law. New friends. Smiles all around. The perfect day for a heartfelt expression of love for humanity.
*Partner organizations behind this effort include CODEPINK Women for Peace, 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.
Additional signers include: Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Council for the National Interest, Democrats.com, Fellowship on Reconciliation, United for Peace and Justice, Velvet Revolution, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, War Resisters League, Witness Against Torture, and the Dallas Peace Center.