Friday, May 26, 2006

war crime against journalist

Three Years after Couso Murder, the Struggle for Truth and Justice Continues
(Wednesday 5th April 2006)

Family to appeal unjust dismissal of case by Spanish high court
Protests will continue: April 8 at US embassy
3rd anniversary events bring victims of war to Madrid, including Iraqi mother and Giuliana Sgrena

The calendar tells us that three years will soon have passed since the US Army murdered José Couso in its attack on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine on April 8, 2003. But for the murdered journalist’s family, time has practically stood still, for this unpunished, uninvestigated and officially sanctioned war crime against their brother, son, uncle and father in his hotel room by forces carrying out an illegal war of aggression has made the family’s struggle for truth and justice a struggle to achieve peace, to achieve closure, to allow the clocks to move again.

With the help of Couso’s friends and colleagues, the Couso family has vowed to fight on until the demands of humanity prevail over the demands of empire.

That struggle was dealt a bitter setback recently by a senseless ruling by the Spanish high court dismissing the family’s lawsuit against the three US soldiers directly involved in the attack on the Hotel Palestine.

The court decided, on the basis of no evidence at all, that the attack on the Hotel Palestine was the result of an “act of war,” against an “erroneously identified enemy.”

As a communique of the Family, Friends and Colleagues of José Couso notes, “the judges neglect to provide certain facts that were widely reported in the press and obviously linked to the attack on the Palestine, with no special required to apply the law: the invading forces had previously attacked the offices of Al Jazeera TV, where they killed Tareq Ayoub, and Abu Dhabi TV.”

The illustrious judges in the Spanish high court are clearly firm advocates of the three little monkeys’ theory of judicial reasoning: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Deciding that the attack on a hotel protected by the Geneva Conventions was a “mistake” without interrogating the defendants - and against an avalanche of contrary evidence - compels us to believe that our judges glean information either from joining their hands in some sort of séance, or that they simply, well, just twisted their version of events and their legal arguments so as to sweep the Couso case under the carpet in an effort to please their overlords in faraway Washington.

As José Couso’s brother Javier states in his open letter to the judges: “I know that from this day on, you will be welcomed with open arms in Washington, where they will treat you like wise men, democratic defenders of human rights, champions of Texan righteousness, solid candidates for a congressional medal.”

It so happens that the judge handling the case, Santiago Pedraz, had only some weeks ago formally requested that the Ministry of Justice seek an explanation as to why the US authorities were not cooperating with his investigation. That would have put the Spanish government in a bind by forcing it to confront the Bush regime over a war crime, so the nice judges bailed them out by dismissing the case.

Again, Javier Couso: “There are times when you have to decide what side you’re on, who you serve and to whom you will be loyal. In our history, and in the history of humanity, there are thousands of examples that have inspired us all. Some judge bless the murder of civilians and other judges seek to prosecute these crimes, there are small systems of justice that capitulate but there are also others that, even though they are fully aware of being small, gain immense stature in their battle against large and powerful injustice.”

But the family is appealing this atrocious decision, and it intends to keep up a strong street presence to remind everyone with hearts, eyes and ears that certain certain people are getting away with murder because of who they are.

And now, on the third anniversary of José’s murder, the Family Friends and Colleagues of José Couso are organizing a series of events in Madrid (for further information, see to remember, discuss, learn and mobilize people for the very same essential demands that have driven this movement from day one:

Investigation and justice! Jose Couso, War Crime!