Friday, February 10, 2012

Sentence against Garzón: too little, too late

Jabier Salutregi 'Salu', journalist and victim of Garzón
As you may know maverick Spanish political judge B. Garzón has been declared guilty of prevarication (power abuse), for tapping into communications between prisoners and their attorneys, but he still gets away without jail and will just be banished from the exercise of his profession as judge and paying a fine. 

He will probably spend the rest of his life giving conferences around the World on how he almost-but-not-quite did something very cool for Human Rights, like almost-but-not-quite jailing Pinochet, etc.

His closure of newspapers, radios and research journalism magazines, jailing of reporters, systematic support of torture, central role in the extension of the concept of "terrorist" to every other citizen with dissident ideas... will be forgotten (not without our protest, of course).

Teresa Toda, journalist, victim of Garzón
In the Basque Country, where Garzón anti-democratic history is (sadly) much better known than elsewhere, the reactions have ranged between coldness and happiness, with only the occasional pro-Spanish hypocrite grunting a bit.

The major left independentist coalition Bildu reminded that this is a judge who has closed several media and who has systematically ignored all denounces of tortures. Meanwhile Nafarroa Bai speaker Patxi Zabaleta emphasized that what Garzón has done is exactly what all the other judges of the Audiencia Nacional (political tribunal) have been doing in the last 20 years, so it is about time that the AN itself is revised. 

Spanish nationalist parties had confronted opinions, none of them based on Garzón's role in the political repression in the Basque Country.

(Source: Gara[es])

Iñaki Iriondo (general redactor of Gara) wrote this open letter to his colleagues Teresa Toda and Jabier Salutregi, still in prison for their work as journalists, thanks to Garzón's love for Judge Dredd's comics. Letter that I translate in full here:

by Iñaki Iriondo 
I write to you to say that, when I knew of the sentence against Garzón, my first thought was for you two. And not just because the prevaricating feet of the judge would have been stopped earlier, then our Egin would have never been closed nor so many of the abuses that have taken place in the Basque Country would have ever occurred.  What calls my attention, what irks me is that this judge, for doing bad his job knowingly, has been sentenced to a fine of 2520 euros and 11 years of incapacitation in which he will still be able to travel around the world giving profitable conferences, while you -Teresa, Jabier- for doing well your work in a newspaper are kept in prison.

This [Spanish] Left has made its own the anti-democratic idea that we must not judge acts but people. As those involved in the Gurtel affair are shameless and evil -something we all can agree with-, the judge who investigates them can do as he pleases. As the Spanish transition was an insult and a treason to the victims of the dictatorship, in which PSOE, PCE and other varied letter soup collaborated, now 'heroes' and 'villains' are sought after for conscience cleansing. If the roadsides are still full of corpses, it is not because there was not a Garzón earlier, but because the Spanish Constitution was agreed so they were buried there for all eternity, while their murderers kept control of the centers of political, economic and ideological power. 

And it is precisely this conception of judging people and not actions what keeps you two still in jail: you, Teresa, in Cordoba and you, Salu, in Burgos. There was nothing in your professional activity legally questionable, save that the paper in you directed was Egin, that there was a Prime Minister named José María Aznar who wanted to demonstrate that he dared to close it and a judge -today officially prevaricator- who needed to jail people for "membership" [in ETA] to justify such closure. In this also the Supreme Court took the reason from him. In this also too late.

Kisses and a bear hug to both of you and the others.

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