Legal expert Baltasar Garzón has been overseeing the international aspects of Assange's defence since 2012; he is THE missing piece in the landscape we have been sketching. His past as an investigating judge at the Audiència Nacional (*), not unlinked with his present activities, brings to the defence picture its darkest nuances.
(*): This is the Madrid Court holding nation-wide jurisdiction, formerly known as El Tribunal de Orden Público, which was Franco’s repression center.
Theory and practice
In 1992, Spanish democracy is under construction. Its constitution is 14 years old, the country joined the European Union six years earlier, the country roads are being transformed into motorways with large signs "EU funded". Symbol of renewal, the Olympic Games are being prepared in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, which obtained a relative autonomy status in 1978. This bastion of anti-Francoism has particularly suffered during the 40 years long dictatorship, but people are not driven by hatred or resentment. The majority trend is towards peaceful demands, driven by a pugnacious desire for democracy that can only emerge through a relaxation of the yoke of Madrid.
In the mid-1980s, the tension rose up; a 50 people demonstration had been violently repressed for no reason. An officer nostalgic for the good old times, a few obedient henchmen are enough to spill blood; as a result, the following Catalans march gathers 5000 citizens. A small movement makes the choice of violent actions, its name is Terra Lliure - Free Land. They are not truly armed struggle professionals: among the five deaths caused along its existence, four are militants who blow themselves up with their homemade bombs, and one woman dies when a wall collapses; Terra Llure apologizes for this "mistake". The object of the organization is not armed struggle, but "armed propaganda".
Things got worse when in 1987 the Basques of ETA carried out deliberately murderous attacks in Catalonia. The local autonomists then condemned this "negative interference against the interests of Catalan independence", and from 1987 onwards the local movements gradually opted for peaceful and democratic struggle within political parties; the last branch of Terra Lliure dissolved itself in 1991. On the eve of the Barcelona Olympics, the risk of attacks rests on ETA, located on the opposite side of Spain, and on possible dissident groups from Terra Lliure.
The examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón then enters the scene, aged 37. He launches police raids ending in 40 arrests under the anti-terrorist law, incommunicado detention included. Journalist Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, who became a writer in Franco's jails, said: “We are facing an outbreak of torture in Spain“. Ramon Piqué testifies: “When I went before Judge Garzón in July 1992, among other visible injuries, I had a huge purple stain, caused by a crack in my cheekbone resulting from beatings by the Civil Guard. It was very visible and when Garzón asked me about the injury, I explained to him in detail what the treatment had been. He did not panic and asked for nothing more”. Garzón signs a report with the sworn doctor, where “they both conclude that all the injuries were self-inflicted”.
According to the newspaper Directa, “Garzón knew perfectly well that the detainees had been humiliated, exhausted, plunged into terror, suffocated with bags and water, beaten in every possible way, threatened and electrocuted”. Fifteen detainees filed a complaint, but the Spanish justice system did not follow up. By dint of perseverance, in 2004 the plaintiffs obtained from the European Court of Human Rights, a call to order for “incommunicado detention not in conformity with Article 3 of the ECHR”. In 2012, Baltasar Garzón is banned from practicing as a judge, by unanimous decision of the seven judges of the Spanish Supreme Court, for illegal eavesdropping of lawyers to detainees’ communications related to the Gürtel corruption case. On that occasion, the Catalans unearthed the former judge's past, which led him to justify himself: “Of the people who appeared before me, not one, not even one, reported torture". It is a whole book (*a) that goes back over the case, with supporting evidence, including this document signed by the judge himself, where the detainee's lawyer writes: “...and in one room they put a bandage over his eyes and a plastic bag, held around his neck from behind, until he felt suffocation, then he was hit in the neck, karate-style, blows to the testicles...”. We find here the classics of torture, to which is added the standing posture, forced for 18 to 20 hours, all possibly facilitated by the practice of police officers trained under Franco’s era.
According to numerous testimonies, Judge Garzón logically turned a blind eye, or worse, encouraged torture. The document shows that Garzón was aware of detailed depositions; its authenticity has not been challenged since. When he states in 2012 that " not one, not even one, reported torture" he is blatantly lying. The number and accuracy of the testimonies, the unwavering will of the victims to bring these crimes to justice years and years later, the denunciations that flourish twenty years, twelve years and four years after the different affairs dealt with similar methods, people who keep in mind “the head of the Guardia Civil Luis Roldán and the Minister of the Interior Rafael Vera”, “because these facts are difficult to forget and have been present, for years, every day of the calendar in the memory of the tortured", all these events are worth the legal condemnation that has not taken place : the one that would have made it possible to certify and sanction these acts of torture. Ex-Judge Garzón is legally safe, he is morally defeated. The quotation marks in our title reflect the missing Spanish judgement, the content refers to the Catalan article, “Garzón, el torturador”. It is out of respect for institutional justice as it should be applied that we keep these quotation marks, since the European Court of Human Rights has condemned the failings of Spanish justice, not the judge.
The road to essentialism
Basque country is another kettle of fish. The Basque separatists grouped together under the banner of ETA fifteen years before the death of General Franco, and adopted violent action as early as 1968. In 1973, they killed Franco's designated successor, Admiral Carrero Blanco; far from calming the organisation, the 1978 constitution was followed by an upsurge in attacks culminating in 98 deaths in the single 1980 year. For their part, the Spanish secret services fed paramilitary commandos who murdered ETA militants, particularly in the French Basque country, with an average of 40 deaths per year in the mid-1980s. The air is not prone to negotiation.
The arm wrestling lost none of its vigour when Judge Garzón took charge of the problem from 1998 onwards. Following his “All is ETA” rationale, he raided all the Basque language newspapers, on suspicion of “belonging to or collaborating with the terrorist organisation ETA”. The newspaper Egin, the radio station Egin Irratia, the newspaper Egunkaria - the only one published entirely in the Basque language - were closed down preventively, and dozens of journalists were arrested. In 2000, were again raided the magazine Kale Gorria and the magazine Ardi Beltza, its publisher Pepe Rei being alleged to “facilitate targets for ETA” (a piece of advice to the InRockuptibles: don't advertise the Bataclan concerts again, it could harm you). Thirdly, in 2003, with another judge from the Audiència Nacional, who has been rushing into the breach to take care of editor Martxelo Ortamendi, who will testify after Egunkaria's closure about the torture he suffered. This alleged terrorist is so relentless that he later sets up the newspaper Berria. Where the hell are the cops?
Guardia Civil ramains damned focused, overstressed by Judge Garzon. Nineteen leaders of the Association for the Teaching of Basque (AEK) are summoned for alleged presumed membership of a terrorist group. The accusatory bellows deflate, but the dynamics are settled: AEK is brought in to the Bilbao Court for “tax fraud”. The European Association Xaki keeps local solidarity alive while denouncing “the violations of the rights of citizens and the Basque people in the international sphere”; the Court pronounces its cessation of activity. While the KAS collective advocates civil disobedience, Judge Garzón inevitably rings alarm, renames it a “project of disobedience of ETA-KAS”, rebels against its “explicit objectives of subverting the constitutional order and creating spaces for counter-power”, and calls for nine KAS members arrests.
There was a time when “spaces of counter-power” were part of democracy. In the mouth of Baltasar Garzón it sounds criminal. Twenty years ago, civil disobedience was not fashionable; today it is rather trendy, as long as it is associated with the authorized themes, Climate, Green, Deal or Thunberg. This is however not the case regarding counter-powers, the judge was right. The Ekin political party militants arrested by the Guardia Civil did not risk clemency, because Ekin had a proven link with the armed organization ETA, a historical link. In 1959 Ekin students had instigated the creation of ETA in order to actively fight against the repression of the fascist Francisco Franco.
The whole event is a big victory for Judge Garzon. The associative, cultural, militant and informative network of the Basque country is seriously affected in several important cities including Bilbao. Well, they are terrorists, aren’t they? Terrorists of popular education, that's for sure. For the rest, convictions are handed down in the almost total absence of evidence of any crime. Baltasar Garzón's major victory is the transcription of his doctrine “All is ETA” in the judicial executive of the Audiència Nacional and beyond, wonderfully supported by the mass media under the benevolent watchful eyes of the government services.
Resurgence of the absolute arbitrary
The analysis of the association of lawyers ACDdh present at the hearings of the 18/98 proceedings is astounding: "No relevant fact is condemned from the point of view of criminal law", the judgment criterion relies essentially on "mere attitudes, motivations", applicable to persons involved in "absolutely legal and peaceful" activities. The trajectory taken through the “extension of the 'terrorism' concept” leads to the creation of a “criminal law of intent” sublimated by the “absolutely subjective” assessment of the judges involved in what might have been called called the 18/98 experimental project, if history had not been punctuated by experiments of this kind, from the trials of the Grand Inquisition to those of Stalin or McCarthy.
A volunteer teacher who transmits the Basque language within a network of mutual aid thus becomes an atom linked to a molecule, which in turn is linked to other molecules that together form the ETA organ as decreed by the institution. Before this reduction, the possible motivations of the individual (now atom) were multiple: pleasure in teaching, cultural or human affinities specific to such environment, free time to occupy, making friends, political affinities in the broadest sense, or the desire to train Basque speaking ETA soldiers. Only the last option is of interest to judges, who will look for appearances and elements that lead to the given objective. If the Court considers that the host molecule is compatible (the jurisprudence now says "complementary") with the ETA organ, it is enough to find an aggravating property (attribute) of the atom to incriminate it, him or her.
The Egin newspaper case study.
Molecular scale: In 1992, editors of Egin met with a senior ETA official in order to plan, according to Egin, a journalistic interview. Conclusion of the Court fifteen years after the fact: “From 1992 onwards, the newspaper EGIN became entirely subordinate, both in its functions and in its organisation, to the overall strategy of ETA, albeit under the apparent cover of being a plural and independent newspaper”.
Most interesting is the end of the sentence, which means that after eight years of publication, the judges found no article, no clue, no consistency that could prove political or operational collusion between EGIN and ETA. And therefore no incitement to violence, no pro-ETA proselytizing, nothing. And during the judgment, they did not even confront the journalists' version (interview settling), they simply ignored it.
Atomic scale: It is tremendously simple. The managing editor and the editor-in-chief are by definition responsible (hierarchical property) for the structure (molecule) incriminated. The journalists who attended the 1992 meeting got off to a bad start. Reprehensible facts: ephemeral proximity to the enemy (property of the involved atoms). Since the judges do not try to find out what was said there and what was agreed in 1992, it is only the spatial proximity that comes into play in the verdict, because in fact the question of "motivation" is fully taken up by the authorities, who set themselves up as a kind of Thought Police capable of reading our intentions with such assurance that they do not need to conduct a confrontation of points of view, nor to provide tangible proof.
Justice is as simple as a pre-digested scheme.
It is appropriate to call body the level above the ETA organ. The body's headquarters standing at (Spanish) national level diagnose an ETA organ as suffering from a cancer called "terrorism", thus achieving first-level reduction. The complex problem included originally the following terms (indicative sketchy list) :
- History of a landlocked territory between the sea and the Pyrenees where specific language and culture have persisted, strong sense of belonging to their land, specific opposition to the Franco dictatorship supported by the Nazis - let us recall that Guernica is a Basque town.
- Strong claims and a prolonged choice of arms after the death of Franco for various considerations:
o Persistent marks of the Franco era in the Spanish power structures - Maintenance of a conflictual situation for deep reasons.
o Nested claims, centred on the “Right of peoples to self-determination”, with various tendencies: autonomy, nationalism, democracy, right to be respected, cultural conservatism…
o Human groups living clandestinely over a very long period of time, some of which are involved in the handling of weapons. This is a reality with various implications.
The assignment (or non-assignment) of ETA to a terrorist organization is not the core of the problem. It lies first and foremost in the suffering endured by the entire Spanish population (victims of attacks, societal consequences, etc.) in connection with a conflict that the State has been unable or unwilling to resolve. The problem is aggravated when the fight against terrorism leads to the neglect or negation of the specificities outlined above. The politico-judicial reduction of this complexity prohibits any democratic resolution of the conflict. In this way, the peaceful "resolution" of the Spanish Basque case can only be achieved by a levelling down, revealing the inability of a central power to manage smartly the human wealth of its territories, inability to deal with differences, to generate democratic dynamics, which in the long run can only produce the opposite dynamics leading to what will never be strictly Fascism, Nazism or Stalinism but will surely end down liberticidal.
The innovative legal scheme of the Audiència Nacional is thus the result of three consecutive reductions, which can be condensed into the strata called organ, molecule, atom: terrorismisation, structural stigmatization, negation of the individual. Not much remains of the original reality; it is a process of annihilation in which the Investigating Judge Garzón is a drive belt, a zealous executor in direct line with the central power, promoter of the doctrine "All is ETA" declined downstream by other judges.
It should be noted that Board of appeal’s judges of the Audiència Nacional, at the request of the defence, has deconstructed point by point the argument of the criminal chamber, which they said is "devoid of any rational basis". The three judges, who defended the application of the law and their profession as much as the defence lawyers, were disgraced by media herds and dismissed for six months on a pretext that was later officially recognized as illegitimate. Democracy does not work better inside the Audiencià Nacional than outwards.
Fiction against Law
The German lawyer and observer Martin Poell told the press: “The have been trials without evidence, but in this one there are not even any crimes". The arbitrariness of this Spanish judicial phase finds some echoes in the wave of repression of Yellow Vests by the French institution, which sometimes is not far from sanctioning the bare fact of wearing a yellow jacket. It is legitimate to wonder if the "anti-terrorist" fight is not primarily a laboratory for the misuse of justice, with the intention to extend such practices to all citizens. The parallel with what is happening in the Westminster Court concerning Julian Assange is less flagrant, since the defence lawyers are not claiming any rights or legal text, they are not bringing any witnesses to the stand, and they are not encouraging, to say the least, Julian Assange to speak out. When he did so on October 21, referring to the theft of his " DNA’s children" in possible reference to his work as a computer scientist, his lawyers turned a deaf ear.
Thanks to the observers of the ACDdh and the pugnacity of the lawyers of the Basque side, some kind of similarity becomes perceptible. The Audiència Nacional criminal chamber was obliged to produce a report on the allegations of torture which, if proven, would invalidate the "depositions" of the accused concerned. According to the ACDdh, the judges' conclusions “are expressed in a superficial manner”, interspersed with comments such as “their words are orphaned from any kind of evidence”, or quite sharply, “we are faced with mere absurd manifestations”.
The contempt of the judicial machine culminates when it broadly qualifies as “fictitious” the statements and documents reported by the defence, and hence brush aside the concrete elements that contradict the prosecution's thesis. When judges avoid any confrontation between the arguments of the defence and the civil party, arbitrated in principle by the same judges, it is easy to classify the defence's pleadings as “fictitious”.
The reality is quite different. Fiction does indeed manifest itself, but merely through the reductionist and opportunistic thesis of the prosecution, which, as we have seen, puts off the road whole blocks of reality that would otherwise oppose its passage in force. Now, considering the parody of the trial free of any confrontation between judges and Assange lawyers, because of the passivity of the lawyers in this case, indeed the fictional character appears in the form of a theatre scene. A fiction that leaves the issue of the torture suffered by Julian Assange on the judicial sidelines.
Baltasar Garzón launched his latest campaign of arrests against ETA in 2008, and there again the number of testimonies for torture has been flourishing. The judge claims to have imposed a protocol aimed at preventing torture practices, with systematic registration of defendants, but the lawsuit brought by ETA members casts doubt. Only videos of the cell corridor are provided by the Spanish police; the obscene attitude of one of the jailers is appalling. Beatings, humiliations, sensory isolation, forced fasting, threats, simulated rape are reported by the victims. The habits of the Spanish Guardia Civil have changed so little that a 2018 academic paper takes stock of complaints by Spaniards to the Strasbourg Court, noting that “the tendency to violate Article 3 of the Convention appears to be on the rise”. This article of the European Convention on Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
In September 2003, Judge Garzón indicted 35 alleged al-Qaida members, including Osama bin Laden. This makes him appear, according to Californian SFGate news site, “to be the U.S. Justice Department's best friend”. Do they need a Spanish judge to indict Bin Laden? Not sure. More interesting is the investigation against the Spanish-Syrian Al-Jazeera journalist Tayssir Allouni, whom Baltasar Garzón says was “the head of 'the Spanish cell' of Al-Qaeda”. On what is his assertion based? On a letter from the FBI addressed to the Spanish government Aznar, according to various media; French internal services call this a "white note", anonymous by nature, the kind of reliable gossips which might explain that in 2005 the Al-Qaeda allegation was dropped by Garzon, downgrading his charge in terms of “collaboration with a terrorist network”, a motive so vague that evidence is still being sought, after Tayssir Allouni, although he was supported by the International Federation of Journalists, had served a seven-year prison sentence. A small detail, Tayssir Allouni is supposed to have interviewed Osama Bin Laden in October 2001, an hour of discussion in which enemy-number-one never claimed responsibility for the attacks. The journalist knew a lot for sure (too much?) about the jihadist whose direct responsibility for the September 11 attacks has never been proven.
Baltasar Garzón against Augusto Pinochet
Outside the Latin countries, Baltasar Garzón remains in people’s minds the slayer of the dictator Pinochet. The case nourished the newspaper headlines 17 months long and ended in the failure of his extradition to Spain, with the image of the execrable guy running out from his wheelchair on his return to Chile in 2000. Given the magnitude of what was at stake, one cannot put the blame on judge Garzon; at least he apparently tried. The virtuous episode shed light on these dark years of bloody Juntas perpetrating massive murders of opponents in Latin America. There are some aspects that are worthy of further study, however.
Between 2013 and 2015 Baltasar Garzón supervised the writing of a book coordinated by historian Stella Calloni, "Operation Condor, 40 years later". The book is edited by the Argentine branch of UNESCO, the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights (ICHRP), where Baltasar Garzón was appointed after his ban from practicing as a judge.
Augusto Pinochet is the linchpin of Operation Condor, the “pact of death in the years of terror” as Stella Calloni describes it, a pact sealed in December 1975 in Santiago de Chile between Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia. In the prologue to Operación Cóndor, 40 años después, Baltasar Garzón denounces “a diabolical operation by the intelligence services coordinated by the CIA and Latin American military dictatorships designed to eliminate left-wing movements in the region, through the detention, elimination and disappearance of political, trade union or social leaders”. He goes on to speak of coordination “between services”, with ramifications “that extended outside Latin America to commit crimes in the United States, Italy, France and Spain”, then mentions “the protection and support of the country of the North, whose alleged perpetrators, led by Secretary of State Kissinger, have not yet been brought to justice”.
This is what can be called a naturalist vision, where dictatorships would be endemic in South America, where criminals would have been joined by that bastard Henri Kissinger (number two in the United States government in charge of foreign affairs from 1973 to 1977), forming a criminal association hidden from Presidents Nixon and Ford awareness, perpetrating crimes in Europe and in the “North“ (USA) fomented from Latin America (these are at least possible options of Garzon's comments), with the CIA involved as coordinator among them, in a co-leadership or “support” fashion, in a harmony that one imagines perfectly symmetrical between the countries of the South and the most powerful country.
The former judge praises President Salvador Allende, elected by the Chileans in 1970: “I especially wish to remember those who, like constitutional President Salvador Allende, wanted a different, more equal and fairer world”. B. Garzón does not bother to recall that General Pinochet seized power in 1973 in a coup d'état backed-up by CIA, nor that the “constitutional” man died the same day, nor that a pro-Allende General abduction was planned by CIA as early as 1970 (and killed, but CIA claim it was not their decision), neither that the 1969 Nixon Doctrine drew the lines of such dictatorship settlement.
Perhaps Garzón misread the book he edited? 17 pages of prologue along, he writes the term CIA a second and last time to describe "the illegal transfer of prisoners by the CIA to clandestine detention centres"; poor American agents, they were doing the job of couriers on top of that mess. Torturing couriers nonetheless, according to the UN definition - it would be an affront to the CIA agents to think that they thought they were deporting opponents to secret detention in dictatorial countries, just to be petted -. The former judge does not refer to the UN Convention against Torture, worse:
He writes: “Actions such as the illegal transfer of prisoners by the CIA to clandestine detention centres where they are kidnapped, tortured or forced to disappear, with no other control than that which derives, in fact, from the will of the person ordering these actions” (*b). If only the person giving orders “controls” the acts of torture, then those who comply with the orders received, whether or not they know of the future treatment, are completely relieved of responsibility. The Nazi Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to be hanged in 1961 for having ensured the logistics of the concentration camps, without ever torturing anybody, just obeying the will of the hierarchy.
It should be remembered that the anti-terrorist judge Garzón was not the one who gave the orders on the State affairs in Catalonia and Basque country. The subtlety of his sentence, more literary than legal, is based on the verb "derives" or "drifts", which opens up to interpretation as to the responsibility of the executor; how, to what extent does “control” derive from the order towards the executor? With such a conception of the facts, Nazi Eichmann might as well have been exonerated.
Disregarding the UN Conventions, the former judge opens the door to impunity for one of the most heinous crimes. This is extremely worrying coming from UNESCO institution that claims to be a defender of human rights.
Import-Export: Unspeakable and Un-numbered Nazis
In the UNESCO book, Stella Calloni explains: "Based on two old-style dictatorships in the Southern Cone, in Paraguay (1954-1989) and Brazil (1964-1985), there has been a veritable 'sowing' of military coups d'état in accordance with the objectives of the US National Security Doctrine, establishing the practice of state terrorism under US control with the aim of eliminating opposing voices, mainly from the left".
The "old-style" dictatorships are the result of a long history marked by the intrusion of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors, external influences and a complex interbreeding. The Nazi refugees after 1945 contributed heavily to the establishment of the dictatorships. Klaus Barbie, known as the Butcher of Lyon, who sailed between Bolivia and Peru, played a major role in the Bolivian coups of 1971 and 1980, advised on torture the army of the 1964 putschist, and dealt with the powerful drug trafficker Roberto Suarez, by organising an arms-to-cocaine barter crucial for the clandestine supply of ambitious generals. In the mid-1970s a Bolivian official received from the Nazi butcher “information concerning the operations of the secret services of several South American countries”. Thus Klaus Barbie would be a key man in Operation Condor? We don't know more, because this information, despite the openness of the Bolivian, “was not solicited” by the either indifferent or all too well-informed American government.
According to the Daily Mail, the Chilean and Brazilian archives list 9,000 Nazi officers hosted in South America, including 5,000 in Argentina, less than 2,000 Nazis in Brazil, and between 500 and 1,000 based in Chile. Knowing that the Argentinean army today counts 70,000 soldiers, each German officer hosted there was potentially in charge of training and commanding 14 soldiers. This is more than enough to establish fascist practices at all levels.
How could the continent be contaminated to such an extent? First of all, through a well-known escape route, which passed through the Tyrol and the port of Genoa in Italy, with false passports provided by the Red Cross, and inevitably the complacency of the path-through states, mainly the defeated bled white countries, Germany and Italy. In other words, they were doing what the occupier demanded, namely the United States, omnipresent militarily and in the ministries. This evidence is corroborated from various angles. The butcher of Lyon, for example, was recruited by US military espionage until 1951, then moved to Bolivia where the Germans of the BND paid for his services for some time through a Californian bank. If the Nazis were able to act for so long on the spot, exercising their criminal skills during decades (some made a fortune, others practiced torture and assassinations in organized gangs, or advisors to "allied" governments or companies, promoters of coups...), it could only rely on the benevolence of the great powers, the northern neighbour in particular.
A Chilean historian invited by CNN states that Margareth Thatcher's relationship with Chile “was marked by her friendship with General Augusto Pinochet”. Margareth Thatcher was minister of education from 1970 to 1974 in a tory government, so she had privileged information around Condor alliance premises. The support to the Chilean military junta is public: right after the 1973 coup, embassy attaché David Spedding, who was to become director of MI6, commented on a report denouncing the ongoing crimes, deploring that it was “quite hostile to the junta” led by General Pinochet. What shocks the British representative in Chile, is to be hostile to soldiers who torture and eliminate opponents. The direct participation of MI6 in the Condor plan is not demonstrated, but the British supported the dictator, and explicitly authorized, diplomatically, the exactions while they were taking place. In other words, the Nazis used to terrorize Latin American democrats had nothing to fear, neither from MI6, BND, nor the CIA.
Within Operación Cóndor, 40 años después, Stella Calloni mentions no more than the ghostly Nazi Martin Borman who officially died in 1945. However, in her own work "Operacion Condor Pacto Criminal", she names Nazi officers knowingly active, as if the historian had been restrained by Baltasar Garzon, retracing the role of the Nazis in an abstract way. Behind these names, there are places, methods, a chronology. When she is not writing for UNESCO, Stella Calloni tells us that in 1956 the angel of death Joseph Mengele was welcomed in Paraguay in the Hohenau colony, run by the Nazi "dentist" Alban Krug. The “old-style“ dictatorships allowed the Nazis to settle quietly and to negotiate the terms of their conversion. The CIA knew what was going on for the simple reason that it recruited the Nazis directly. One of them was Gerhard Mertens, an international arms dealer, with links to the CIA and the German BND, but also to the butcher of Lyon Klaus Barbie, based in Bolivia, himself officially hired by the US military secret service until 1951. In the 1960s, Klaus Barbie was Gerhard Mertens' central contact, probably because he knew how and to whom he would import arms into South America. In 1978, Gerhard Mertens launched a propaganda campaign to preserve the Colonia Dignidad, a Nazi camp in Chile, after survivors had testified about the horrible crimes committed there. If we add that the angel of death Mengele was warmly welcomed there, we come full circle: that of a perfectly oiled Nazi system, complementary to the juntas business, consolidated during Operation Condor but operational as early as the 1950s and 1960s, under the benevolent watch of at least three major powers, the United Kingdom, West Germany and the United States.
Needless to say, this fascist contagion is not apparent in the version directed by Baltasar Garzon, who has not even had it translated into Portuguese, French or Italian, the languages of the countries involved in the Condor plan assassinations, or even into English. We will therefore not wait for the judge who has been removed from office to ask the resulting questions:
- To what extent were the CIA and other agencies involved in the Nazi meta-network?
- Is the context of the Cold War sufficient to explain this civilizational regression?
- Which strata of decision-making powers were imposed to reach this point?
- What is the ideology that makes such extremes possible? Is it an ideology? What does it teach us about the causes of the current geopolitical situation?
The history of Colonia Dignidad provides some answers. This vast estate had a school, a hospital, an underground network and a 13,000 hectares land cultivated by enslaved workers. The so-called sect was lead since 1962 by the deviant leader Paul Schäffer, a Nazi doctor who was used to abuse, rape and murder children. From 1973, the Moloch of Suffering served as the headquarters of DINA, Pinochet's secret police force that was rampant throughout the continent. Opponents were tortured there underground and often eliminated. The place also served as a warehouse for the most sophisticated weapons, rifles, rocket launchers and the latest James Bond gadgets. But it was also an essential telecom infrastructure for the transmissions of Operation Condor, the Condortel, equipped with kilometres of cable, a phone exchange platform connected to a long-range antenna facing Argentina. The specialist on the subject, John Dinges, found that “the CIA provided them with the encryption equipment”. We are moving far away from the shy CIA "coordination" evoked by B. Garzon. Let us add that the hinge man of this infamous place, a sort of technical director skilled in electronics when it comes to setting off an explosion, skilled with his hands when it comes to torture, the man who revived the use of sarin gas in Chanel No. 5 vials - perfect for sudden deaths by heart failure -, this agent keen to assassinate on command was valued by all services. His name is Michael Townley, he worked for DINA chile secret militia, he was interviewed by the CIA, which supposedly did not hire him, and among other exploits, he assassinated Salvador Allende's former foreign minister in a place well known to the CIA: Washington DC; a crime for which the American justice system has not found a way to convict him. But Townley is above all a torturer and mass murderer on behalf of the Condor plan.
Led by B. Garzon, Stella Calloni leaves a doubt as to Townley's membership in the CIA. When she signs her own name, she unambiguously refers to “the CIA agent in DINA”, which is consistent with the attitude of the German embassy in Chile, notoriously complicit in the activities of Colonia Dignidad. This wide scope concentration camp where torture was supervised by Nazi "doctors" naturally included an experimental dimension. A complete sound and visual recording laboratory made it possible to record the horrific suffering, the rapes, no doubt, the slow deaths. How long does a human survive the removal of a few organs? How much electroshock from the brain to the genitals is the body able to withstand? How do you turn a man or a woman into a vegetable, half a vegetable, a receptacle to multiple personalities? So many exciting experiments from which the CIA might have received exciting images and sounds, as an option of course; or trained some agents? From his side, Michael Townley had no use of any training. He was a trainer.
Did the CIA-DINA agent benefit from the MK-Ultra programme? No clue, but this CIA experimental project had run 20 years long in the mid 1970s. In an investigative book, Stephen Kinzer explains that in Fort Detrick, Maryland, a research laboratory was handled by Nazi doctors teams, selected for their expertise in vivisection or in substances such as sarin gas or mescaline. Not only was the MK-Ultra not starting from scratch, but it “was essentially a continuation of the work initiated in Japan and in the Nazi concentration camps”, Kinzer writes. In 80 American universities, clinics, military bases and detention centres, the CIA studied or carried out absolutely cruel and traumatic “behavioural modification” trials on defenceless people, US citizens or foreigners, from all social classes - the samples must be representative -, drugged unwittingly, methodically abused, lobotomized sometimes, incalculable lives atomized when they were not suddenly cut off. Children, of course, had a front-row seat; brain plasticity is crucial when it comes to programming a human being. Make no mistake, it was for the sake of science, nothing more. When the case leaked out, it caused a scandal, that's true; and very quickly a Senate committee investigated what it could (a CIA agent is not very much talkative), and decreed swearing on the bible that this mess is finished ; this happened year 1977. Colonia Dignidad, denounced by citizens' associations as early as 1978, was not worried until 1996. Eighteen years of suffering, which can only be the consequence of the complicity of at least some US secret services. Why this extension? Was the CIA continuing its MK-Ultra experiments by subcontracting or renting the infrastructures? Was it simply recovering the "data"? What we learned from the rendition process, in any case, is that torture by delegation has become a common practice of the CIA, tolerated and even supported by the US Supreme Court.
In order not to expand too much, let us focus on decision-making circles. Secretary of State Harry Kissinger has been on the front line since the inception of the Condor plan, his responsibility is overwhelming. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, all presidents have remained attentive to Kissinger or sought his help, with the exception of Jimmy Carter who tried to counter his influence; Bernie Sanders vilified him loud and clear, let's hope he is sincere. The anomaly lies in the persistent respectability of Kissinger among the ruling circles, half a century! As if, from the depths of the underground forces, emerged hawks all of the same species. Kissinger has two trump cards:
- He “understood that networks are more powerful than federal government hierarchies” (*x), and set up his international consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, as soon as he left government in 1977.
- His decision-making criteria follow a simple and clear line, very pleasing to people in power who disregard democratic principles in the name of supposed efficiency. His vision is concentrated in his geopolitical definition of legitimacy which “should not be confused with justice. This means nothing more than international agreement on the nature of workable arrangements”. Confronted with reality, Kissinger complains of the “tyranny of the weak” and converges on a conception of diplomacy where the law of the strongest reigns, provided that the resulting balance protects the planet from a world war. In domestic politics, this is tantamount to allowing inequalities to rise just below the threshold of social chaos or civil war, which is harmful to a country's economy. The current French example shows that this conception of legitimacy is compatible with the exercise of a president delegitimized by three quarters of the population, whatever the cost of it.
Mixing of genres: Judge Garzón had asked to hear Henry Kissinger for the investigation against the dictator Pinochet, without success. In 2005, the same judge organized the colloquium "Dialogos Transatlanticos" at New York University (in which he gave lectures thanks to the support of the Santander bank, very controversial in Spain), where he invited Henry Kissinger as well as Felipe Gonzalès and the president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe. The caricature of the Argentinian Ricardo here below recounts the dinner that followed (paid for by Santander), with Henry Kissinger, B. Garzón and F. Gonzalès. Colloquium photo: H. Kissinger is circled in red on the right, B. Garzón circled in the centre.
For such a poor and cynical conception of politics to last more than half a century, all it takes is for networkers to ensure that only the proponents of such conception are elected, or malleable individuals otherwise. Without studying the nature of these networks here, let us just say that those we are talking about bend to hierarchies of complacency to the detriment of hierarchies of knowledge and competence. Civilization is fragile.
Judge Garzon's gift of ambiguity
Baltasar Garzón is incredible. In front of ETA, he uses the most authoritarian methods in perfect synergy with the most right-wing government in Spain since Franco's death, testimonies of torture rain down around him without getting him wet, he ruins his own investigation (and his job, by Supreme Court decision) with illegal wiretaps in the sprawling corruption affair that affects the Popular Party (the same one that governed "in front of ETA"), while he remains in 2020 the protégé, or at least personna grata of the so-called progressive European forces, even worldwide ones. One week ago, the UN Human Rights Committee came to the rescue of this “victim of persecution and reprisals”, dixit himself, “for his investigations into the crimes of Franco's regime and the Gürtel affair”, says the UN who announce they “will ask for explanations from the Spanish State within six months”. The WJJA association must be jealous, having received no more than an erroneous and negative response from the UN following its request for an investigation into the ongoing torture Julian Assange is suffering from.
Persecuted ? by whom? By the government of Mariano Rajoy, who was in office in 2012 when his disqualification was voted by the Supreme Court? M. Rajoy was Minister of the Interior when Judge Garzón did his proudest service to nation against ETA. Barely credible. By the Supreme Court that made the decision? This Court is the equivalent of the French Constitutional Council, a most conservative body, well aware of his services to the homeland. Strange. By the Catalans, Basques and Argentinians who are not inclined to forget his past? No doubt, but these citizens have no other power than their hands, their mouth and their pencil.
Is he persecuted, as he claims, for his judiciary examination on Franco era disappearances? Associations dedicated to the memory and reparation of the victims of Franco's regime criticised his action from the outset, such as the Association of Friends of the Fallen for Freedom, which immediately expressed its “distrust” of Judge Garzón's initiative. In fact, it was these associations that started the search for the missing, setting in motion the local authorities - mayors and courts in particular - but also contacted Judge Garzón, who had not replied to them. He thus initiated a parallel procedure without consulting them, short-circuiting their ongoing process. This precipitate and centralized action by the Audiència Nacional, of which the Spanish-speaking collective Nizkor pointed out “the lack of competence” and criticized, among other things, “the use of ill-adapted types of crimes”, ended down with the intervention of the Supreme Court which interpreted the amnesty law of 1978 in the sense of the Franco's criminals immunity. The Nizkor team recapitulates the proceedings, deploring “a serious defeat for the nascent movement of victims of the Franco regime and especially for the Republican victims”. We do not see why the nostalgic for Franco era would hold a grudge against Judge Garzón. The disgruntled associations, from their side, do not have the power to influence Supreme Court.
Seen from far away, Judge Garzón is a great defender of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, those Argentinean women who in 1977 defied the ruling junta, demanding answers about their missing children. One of them, Noemie Gianotti, was kidnapped in 1980 in Peru, from where she was brought down to Madrid with the help of Spanish accomplices before being murdered there.
The victim's family relied on journalist Danilo Albin's investigation to file a complaint, which Judge Garzón eventually took up in 1996. The presumed perpetrator of the murder is the former Argentine commissioner Morales, exiled in Spain at that time; the judge refuses to summon him. Several Spanish officials, the Varig company, Peruvian officials, the Spanish customs, all the hints that could lead to the murder are known. Baltasar Garzón does not exploit them.
During the Argentinean dictatorship, Morales's rise in the criminal hierarchy followed that of his comrade and deputy commissioner Almirón, both instigators of the sinister Triple A alliance. From 1980 to 1983, Almirón was the bodyguard of Manuel Fraga, a Franco-era figure who authorized the execution of political prisoners. In 1976 he founded the Popular Alliance, which played a central role in the creation of the current PP, the Popular Party of Spain. The PP came to power in 1996, the year Baltasar Garzón buried the case of Noemie Gianotti's murder.
This is what it looks like, seen up close: Judge Garzón is highly efficient when it comes to repressing popular rebellions, Catalonia and the Basque country, the end justifying the means, and conversely, when he takes over cases that implicate fascist elites (Pinochet, Franco's disappearances...), the efficiency is deplorable. The cases are certainly complex and subject to intense political pressure, and Garzón is probably not the unique cause of failure.
The sixth of February UN plea, mainly relayed by the newspaper El Pais (from the Prisa press group headed by Javier Manson, an independent manager "on behalf of" the Santander Bank - Spain), is symptomatic of Garzón's self-centred action. The UN communication does not raise either the problem of reparation for Franco's victims, nor the large scale corruption revealed through to the Gürtel-PPE case, but the 11 years ban on a judge.
Human rights built in reinforced concrete
Unlike Henry Kissinger, who acts in the open, carried by subterranean strata, Baltasar Garzón acts behind the banner of human rights, while being carried by the same strata along similar veins. When he says that Kissinger “has not yet been brought to justice”, his statement is neutral. A few lines later, he describes flatly and positively Kissinger's strategy (diplomatic rehabilitation of the Chinese giant...) and recites the dominants written lesson. It is by the way highly unlikely that UNESCO would offer high responsibilities to any out of standard thinker: 2005 UNESCO World Report makes the structure a spearhead of neoliberalism through the socially devastating merchandisation of culture and education).
After the 2012 judgement, Baltasar Garzón takes all directions. In parallel with UNESCO office, he creates the Fibgar Foundation whose primary objective is to “Promote a culture of activism, communication, security, development and defense of Human Rights (HRDH) and cooperation for the development of peoples in a culture of legal security and peace”, no less. The Spanish construction group Eurofinsa is making two consecutive donations to the foundation for a total of 375,000 euros; the nascent love affair between builders and human rights is unfortunately marred by a recent case of corruption. Eurofinsa is said to have exchanged EUR 16 million in kind for a EUR 300 million contract in Angola. Fortunately, Judge Pedraz will drop the charges in 2011, to the great surprise of the prosecutors.
The Mexican foundation Aliter donates Fibgar 433,000 euros at once. It shares its office and phone number with the consulting firm Aliter Soluciones Legales, which deals with foreign investment, the real estate market and industrial property, among other things. And here we are on the verge of a second marriage, since the Aliter Foundation deals with “the defence and promotion of human rights”, sponsoring forums with topics such as “security, legality and human rights”; and it was in May 2012 that Judge Pedraz, who spared Eurofinsa, was invited to Mexico for this forum, a month before the forum held in Tijuana, which was supervised by Baltasar Garzon.
It is enough to scratch the surface to find ambivalences and strange conjunctions piling up around Baltasar Garzon.
Focus on his Fibgar associate, Shlomo Ben Ami, vice-president of the Toledo International Centre for Peace, a Spanish organization “geared toward contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts... within a framework of respect and promotion of basic human rights and democratic values.”. This former member of the Knesset, who was appointed Minister of Public Security and then Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1999, now writes articles for the Project Syndicate network. At the beginning of January, he reacted to the assassination in Iraq of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, with the neutral newspeak “targeted killing” words. The double diplomatic affront, Iran AND Iraq, is not even touched upon. Reading Shlomo Ben Ami, the reader finds himself in the middle of an Iran-US western movie duel, same calibre bullets, same weapons: “Over the course of this undeclared war, the parties have used tactics ranging from targeted killings and cyber attacks to economic sanctions and destruction of infrastructure”. Have you heard of Iran banning Americans from investing in Iraq or Lebanon? Not pronouncing the term embargo (reactivated by Trump against Iran) is to deny the violence of these economic measures, which, let us recall it, caused widespread malnutrition of children in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Baltasar Garzón surrounds himself with "white" doves whose any peaceful idea is taken from the dominant point of view. We know how dominant-side people handle the “human rights”, especially when they claim to promote them. It is therefore with some apprehension that we approach the activity of ILOCAD, the law firm headed by the tireless Baltasar Garzon. It presents itself as a classic law firm with an international outlook, dealing with “appeals to international human rights organizations and courts”. In particular, ILOCAD “guides its corporate clients in their international expansion process, providing on-the-ground legal and regulatory support....”.
At least it's clear, the emphasis is on business, clients will be able to handle the constraints of law and “international human rights” thanks to the experience of B. Garzón who will be their “international representative”, which suggests that he will be able to assert his high-ranking relationships. Connecting people is one of his strengths: he punctuates in 2005 (flash back) with a “hug” his friendly letter to the Director of the Spanish group Santander, a giant bank established in Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and in the United States. The judge asked his friend to convince Timothy Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States (FED) and later on member of the Trilateral Commission, to accept his invitation to the “Dialogos Transatlanticos” event; Mr. Garzón knows how to build networks.
ILOCAD's scope of action is not explicit but a logic is emerging through its partner law firms, one in Brazil, two others in Paraguay, Del Canto Chambers in London and Qatar, and Paris with Juan Branco. Targeted clients could invest in South America, with a funding base from Europe and the Gulf countries. The Fibgar Foundation, “Pro derechos humanos y jursdiccion universal”, is expanding its “development programs” in Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Mexico, bringing knowledge of the local legal field, as well as high level relationships. We are sure of one thing: in countries such as Argentina or Brazil, where people have experienced torture at close quarters, business lawyer Baltasar Garzón is more quiet than the human rights lawyer. He has been forced to cancel several times his planned conferences in Argentina, where associations against torture are familiar with the former judge's curriculum. In this six-minute excerpt at the University of Buenos Aires, the judge remains silent in the presence of the protesters. When he speaks on Radio Nacional, the anti-riot police is mobilized...
Baltasar Garzón closes the lawyers' Ball
It's a long journey to cover the pedigrees of Assange's lawyers. The broad outlines having been drawn, time has come for a recapitulation. The defence covers three major areas:
- Local justice, London in this case. Leaders: Gareth Peirce and Geoffrey Robertson.
- International, with a focus on Spain and the continent of Ecuador. Leader: Baltasar Garzon.
- The potential host country, the United States. Alleged leader: Alan Dershowitz.
Gareth Peirce, Baltasar Garzón and Alan Dershowitz all expressed lax views on torture, using the medium of reflection, writing. The first wrote an entire book on the subject ("… On Torture and the Death of Justice"). According to Catalan and Basque testimonies, more than a hundred people were tortured under the jurisdiction of Judge Garzon. Alan Dershowitz has successfully contributed to the pseudo-legal tolerance of torture by the American justice system, making proposals for legal texts that would frame and therefore authorize torture; it is not in the form of laws, but of secret directives via "torture memos" that the renditions have been carried out in total impunity.
They all defend a man, Julian Paul Assange, who has been diagnosed as undergoing “psychological torture” by expert Niels Melzer and UN doctors. The qualifier "psychological" tends to underestimate the seriousness of the case, it is debatable. The UN defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted...", where no distinction is made between physical and mental, for one simple reason: torture goes through the body - the thorough independent report of the WJJA doctor illustrates this matter of fact. Julian Assange is being tortured, none of the lawyers has filed a complaint against this situation, none of them has requested a medical report from the judicial authorities. During the hearings, the indifference of the lawyers to the pain of their client, to their client at all, is striking.
Geoffrey Robertson introduced Alan Dershowitz (a former lawyer of the paedo-criminal Epstein) in the defence circle, they debated together in public. Both are involved in the highest interests of the current United-States administration. Geoffrey Robertson is involved in Australia's promotion of an ersatz of the "Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act", of which harming potential has been reviewed. Together with the Patriot Act, this set of laws constitutes an alternative to the principle of "universal jurisdiction" experimented by Baltasar Garzon. The former judge does not seem to have given any comments on this American approach to international justice.
Almost all of Assange's lawyers are heavily involved in state affairs that are in major conflict with the interests of their client Julian Assange. Mark Summers of Matrix Chambers is representing the United States in a case involving the extradition of Credit Suisse employees. He read in a May 2019 hearing the letter of contrition written by Julian Assange in a situation of torture, a kind of moral self-condemnation, left unpublished thus unauthenticated, and above all uncontested by lawyers after the statement of UN torture rapporteur Nils Melzer.
Jennifer Robinson is Geoffrey Robertson's subordinate at Doughty Street Chambers, she has been managing for fifteen years her propaganda for the independence activist of New West Guinea exiled in England, Benny Wenda (*c). The legitimacy of the Papuan militant is disputed in his country, he is logistically supported by Great Britain, his "revolutionary" army recruit children and is involved in the current chaos spreading in his country. Jennifer Robinson is also co-director of the Bertha Foundation, funded by Georges Soros who is more than suspected (*d) of fostering "revolutions of colour", which consist of taking advantage of a country's instability to place leaders at its head, thus ensuring the country's submission to the interests of the United States. The "philanthropist" Soros has poured millions of dollars into Ukraine since 1990, targeting population groups preferably opposed to Russia, creating an artificial imbalance of which the 2013 civil war is necessarily related to. If the entry of three neo-Nazis politicians into the Ukrainian government is necessary to maintain Western influence, the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius comes meekly to the rescue.
Baltasar Garzon experience in Basque country makes it hard to believe that his prime motivation in Assange case stands in the “freedom of press” mantra of the legal team. Because of his polymorphic links with South America, his role in the choice to place Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy deserves to be elucidated. It should be recalled that in the same building, the embassies of Ecuador, Colombia and a Spanish consulate coexisted, with the presence of personalities from the Gulf countries owning the place, as well as Spaniards from Under-Cover Global, suspected of spying on Julian Assange on behalf of the CIA. Through Ilocad and Fibgar, Baltasar Garzón has professional links with all the countries mentioned, and as a former anti-terrorist judge (Spain, Al-Qaeda), he necessarily had direct or indirect contacts with diverse State secret services. Who better than Baltasar Garzón would have been able to foresee the hostile environment in which Julian Assange was locked up for eight years?
(*a): I introduce you Judge Garzon, from Sònia Bagudanch, Saldonar Editions, 2013.
(*b): Excerpt from Operation Condor, 40 years later: "Acciones tales como los traslados ilegales de prisioneros por parte de la CIA a centros de detención clandestinos en los que son secuestrados, torturados o forzados a desaparecer, sin ningún tipo de control más que el derivado, de hecho, de la voluntad de quien dispone esas acciones;". Note the awkward statement with people “forced to disappear”.
(*c): The term "propaganda" applies here to the communication of Jennifer Robinson, who tweeted a blatant, serious "mistake" in a field she is specialist on, the law. It relates to Indonesia's alleged illegal occupation of the Benny Wenda’s region. We have not found any easily verifiable lie from Benny Wenda. The explanation is given in the article linked in the text body.
(*d): The International Renaissance Foundation alone admits $230 million in funding for Ukraine and 9000 projects since the fall of the Wall. Knowing that the rapidly imposed neo-liberal model left a majority of Ukrainians in the lurch, Georges Soros' dollars are attracting people to him like bees to a jar of jam. The billionaire is obviously not alone (there is even talk of a "Marshall Plan"), but his foundations have a huge influence in Ukraine, having been acting at the heart of its society for "29 years". In the leaked cables related to the 2014 unrest, he informs the American ambassador that President Obama is "too soft on Putin". Hence, economic sanctions already in place would become more severe in the coming months. Main victims: Ukraine, Russia and Stupid Europe - Fabius, Holland and Merkel in pole position. Now that the people of the West understand that George Soros and others despise democratic principles on their own soil, the pretext for benevolent actions in the "totalitarian" East and elsewhere is no longer credible. Only the mainstream media turn a blind eye on this nasty reality, as well as on the history of the impacted peoples and regions. But if we still believed in the emancipatory will of these sad Sires without memory, there would still be a solution: rush to Leroy Merlin shop and buy the lower price shovel to realise the ultimate sovereign gesture: digging one’s own grave.