Spanish and US governments conspired to squash prosecution of soldiers who killed Reuters journalist

Link. Wikileak’d documents suggest that the Spanish government worked behind the scenes to squash the prosecution of three soldiers accused of shelling an Iraqi hotel where journalists were staying in 2003, killing a Spanish journalist and a Ukrainian cameraman.

If this is true (and apparently, this may be the first time Wikileak’d documents are going to be used in a court case), I have to admit I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep at the thought of all Spanish politicians involved being dragged into the street and lynched by their fellow countrymen. (Same with the turncoats revealed to be relaying information to the US in Australia and Germany. Scum working against the best interests of their own countrymen for the benefit of a foreign power.)

That’s “quash.”

Hmmm… squash soup is my favorite.

Anyway, it’s about time the Spaniards did something to piss off the world, it’s been long since Macarena and Aserejé.

Carry on.

Isn’t “quash” any number of gourd-like vegetables that grow on vines?

no wait, isn’t that the ball in quidditch?

I’m picturing a press conference. The district attourneys are about to announce that they are pressing charges, and a corps of journalists anxiously gather round.

Just as the attorney steps up to the podium there’s a huge crash and the ceiling caves in, and a huge unclothed foot squashes the prosecution like Monty Python.


Heh. Press conference.

Out of curiousity, what do you think of the prospect of American troops fighting a war in Iraq facing a trial for wrongful death in Spain? Does a Spanish claim to universal jurisdiction in a case like this bother you, or is it a good thing?

Universal jurisdiction for war crimes against its citizens? Wouldn’t the United States claim that, e.g., against the guys being held in Gitmo? If it’s good enough for the United States, it’s good enough for other countries.

UUmm, they have jurisdiction because the person killed was Spanish.

I’m pretty sure that if US citizens where killed abroad by the troops of a foreign government under dubious circumstances then US courts would feel that was within thier jurisdiction. IANAL though so who knows …

I’m really not seeing why there’s any case at all. If you’re in a war zone, you stand a chance of being killed; journalists don’t have a magic shield.

Just because a city is a war zone doesn’t give the military permission to attack non-military targets, like a hotel.

But the US being interested in prosecuting Julian Assange is not acceptable somehow?

It’s exactly the same - the US dosn’t have to extradite these troops after all. shrug

Spanish universal jurisdiction only covers cases involving war crimes, torture or terrorism (cite). If the Spanish could build a convincing case that the actions of the soldiers amounted to a war crime, then I have no problem with it. It’s not like the Spanish legal system is a third world shambles.

I do have a problem with Spanish politicians subverting their own legal systems to bow to American pressure, though.

And no, before you make the retarded comparison, intentionally shelling a designated safe zone for journalists is not anywhere comparable to the Julian Assange case. Embarrassing elected officials is not the same as intentionally shelling journalists.

Is committing war crimes against US laws? Does the US have a judicial system that can fairly adjudicate such matters?

If the answers are yes and yes, then there is no reason why Spain should be able to claim jurisdiction of such cases. That view might be familiar – it’s the same view as expressed by the person who was quoted in the citation you provided. It’s also the view of the International Criminal Court, FWIW.

That assumes that the US would actually prosecute them, which seems unlikely.


Because the investigations of incident show that there was information that other Army units were being targeted by spotters in that building. The soldiers who fired the shot erroneously believed that the journalist was the spotter, but being wrong while acting without criminal intent isn’t a war crime.

Even if a place would be normally protected from attack, that protection is discarded if the place is used for hostile purposes. This is true of hospitals, schools, museums, and hotels.