Monday, April 07, 2014

Torture will out -- in time

Those who order crimes against the bodies and souls of human beings can never be entirely confident their deeds won't come back on them. Today a story from Spain:

MADRID — José María Galante was a leftist college student when he was handcuffed to the ceiling of a basement torture chamber, his body dangling in the air. A police inspector laughed and taunted him, striking martial arts poses before repeatedly kicking and beating his face and chest.

The man who Mr. Galante says tortured him was an infamous enforcer of the Franco dictatorship in the 1970s, widely known as Billy the Kid for his habit of spinning his pistol on his finger. So Mr. Galante was startled last year when he located the man — living in a spacious apartment less than a mile from his own neighborhood in central Madrid.

“How did I feel when I saw him for the first time? We got you now, you bastard,” Mr. Galante said, adding: “I agree with the idea of reconciliation. But you just can’t turn the page. You have to read that page before you turn it.”

This week, Mr. Galante is again planning to see Billy the Kid, whose real name is Antonio González Pacheco. This time, it will be at a hearing at Spain’s National Court, where Mr. Galante and other victims are, for the first time, seeking to prosecute Mr. Pacheco in a case that is reopening the country’s painful Francoist past and threatening the political pact that helped Spain transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Whether anything will come of this involves tortuous legal maneuvers. Because Spain managed its transition from Franco's dictatorship to democracy by passing a broad amnesty law -- and largely choosing to "look forward, not backward" -- accused torturers from the fascist regime can't be tried in Spanish courts. But Argentina has asserted jurisdiction over these internationally condemned offenses and seeks to extradite the individuals named by hundreds of Spanish complainants. Argentina knows far too much about torture regimes. The Spanish government will have to decide whether it wants to protect Franco-era defendants. The stories are being told. The political friction still remains.

Past horrors in Spain still can catch the eye of an attentive tourist. Relics of Franco's coup against the democratic Republic that brought to power his long-lasting terror regime peek out amidst Spanish modernity. History is present. For example, within the gold encrusted Basilica–Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza is this martial monument displaying two bombs from that era which failed to detonate.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, David Addington and others of our criminal rulers of the '00s would do well to stay out of Europe and other civilized areas that take seriously international Convention against Torture. They can never be entirely sure they got away with it.

3 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

What really gets me is when i have a right wing friend say they need a special prosecutor to investigate Obama over some trivial detail in the ACA that he has changed without permission while they remain silent or see no need for one to investigate lying us into a war or using torture when it was clearly ineffective but one or all of them 'got off' on doing it. No need for that as they see it grrrrrrr

PseudoPiskie said...

Bush travels sparely. There are places like Switzerland which will arrest him. In a way it's kind of sad since he is probably a decent man but he surrounded himself with criminals and went along with their diabolical wants.

Hattie said...

Bush is not a decent man.

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