US army killing of Spanish cameraman in Iraq investigated

This video from the USA is called Leaked Cables: US Pressured Spain to Drop Case of Journalist Killed in Army Attack in Baghdad 1 of 2.

And this video is the sequel.

From Al Jazeera:

Spain can probe camer[a]man’s killing by US tank

Spanish court rules criminal investigation into killing of Jose Couso by a US tank shell in Iraq in 2003 can be pursued.

Last updated: 07 Jun 2014 10:27

Spain’s High Court has ruled that a criminal investigation into the killing of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso by a US tank shell in Iraq in 2003 can be pursued, despite a new law placing limits on judicial powers in international cases.

Judicial authorities have sought the arrest and questioning of three US soldiers accused of involvement in Couso’s death.

Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, was also killed by the shell that crashed into a Baghdad hotel.

A law passed by Spain’s centre-right government in March curbed the powers of judges to prosecute human rights cases under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The High Court must now rule on the legality of all pending cases one by one.

Cases now must be dismissed if they do not meet the new legal requirements that those accused of alleged human rights abuses must themselves be Spanish citizens.

Despite the alleged perpetrators of Couso’s death not being Spanish, the High Court ruled on Friday that the case could be continued under terms of the Geneva Convention, which defines the rights and protection afforded to civilians in war zones.

In November 2004, a US Defence Department report stated that US forces bore “no fault or negligence” in the shelling of the hotel, where about 100 international journalists were staying at the time.

Pinochet arrest

Universal jurisdiction, the principle that crimes such as genocide and torture are so serious they can be prosecuted across borders, was pioneered by Spain in 1985.

It led to the detention in London of the former Chilean military ruler General Augusto Pinochet in 1998 through an arrest warrant issued from Spain.

“It’s been said that when people could not find justice, they came to Spain,” said European University of Madrid law professor Nieves Noval.

He said about 13 cases in areas from El Salvador to Rwanda were being processed in Spanish courts.

However, China, Israel and the United States have all bristled at Spanish judicial investigations into allegations of genocide, rights abuses or war crimes.

Critics say this led to the tightening of the law to prevent diplomatic disputes.

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Aunt of Spanish crown princess pro-republic

This video from Spain says about itself:

‘Monarchy? No, Thanks': Thousands demand referendum after Spanish King’s abdication

3 June 2014

Thousands gathered in Madrid to celebrate the abdication of the Spanish King Juan Carlos. The crowd jumped and chanted slogans “Spain tomorrow will be republican”, alongside calling for a referendum to end the monarchy in Spain.

See also here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Princess’s aunt stirs up revolution in Spain on social media

Aunt of Spain’s soon-to-be queen tweeted in support of republican movement, calling for a referendum on the monarchy

Ashifa Kassam in Madrid

Thursday 5 June 2014 18.18 BST

Ever since King Juan Carlos announced on Monday that he planned to abdicate, demands for a referendum on the monarchy have dominated Twitter in Spain. But one might wonder why a tweet urging people to sign a petition on the referendum earned so much attention.

The woman who sent it was Henar Ortiz Álvarez, aunt of Spain’s soon-to-be queen, Letizia Ortiz. “It’s time for the people to speak. Sign and retweet,” she tweeted one day after the king announced he would be handing over power to his son, Felipe.

She retweeted several other calls for a referendum along with a picture bearing a text that read, “this person thinks that the title of head of state shouldn’t be hereditary”.

When asked by one of her 3,000 or so followers about her stance, Ortiz Álvarez replied, “I’m not against my niece. Let’s not confuse blood with politics.”

The princess’s aunt has made headlines before, for example in an interview with Vanity Fair in Spain last year where she described herself as “secular, red and republican”, and suggested that Letizia held republican views before marrying Felipe. “I think everyone has the right to change, to take in new data, modify themselves and become what creates most opportunity,” she told the magazine.

Ortiz Álvarez’s comments rank her among the tens of thousands of Spaniards who flooded into squares in towns and cities across the country on the night of the king’s announcement to demonstrate for an end to the monarchy. Many of them brought republican flags, shirts and anything else they could find in the red, yellow and purple colours of the 1930s Spanish republic. Some called themselves republicans, others said they were Juancarlistas – those who remain grateful to the king for the role he played in Spain’s transition to democracy, but who dispute the need for the monarchy to continue.

The abdication announcement has created a rare opportunity for Spain to have a frank discussion on the monarchy, said the United Left coalition, which announced on Thursday morning that it had brought together half a dozen leftist parties in Madrid to devise a strategy to push for a referendum.

The group’s first action, said Ricardo Sixto of the coalition, would be a large rally on Saturday in Madrid and several other cities as a show of force by 50 or so anti-monarchist groups. Other actions are to follow, including a “parallel act” on the day of Prince Felipe’s coronation as Felipe VI.

This, a royal family spokesperson told El País, was likely to take place on 19 June in a secular ceremony to which foreign leaders and royalty would not be invited.

More than 90% of Spanish parliamentarians have voted in a new law allowing the royal handover, and Sixto conceded that that it was unlikely that any referendum would happen before the coronation.

He described the republican campaign as a “long-term battle” and said the 20% share of the vote held by leftist and anti-monarchical parties in last month’s European elections showed that times were changing and that the issue would play out in municipal and regional elections next year. “The dominance of Spain’s two parties, who sustained the monarchy for 39 years, is lessening. That will make holding a referendum easier,” he said.

This week Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, dismissed demands for a referendum, arguing that the monarchy had majority support. Recent polls back him: one in January found three in five Spaniards supported the monarchy. But Sixto argued this was all the more reason to move forward with a referendum. “If Rajoy thinks the majority of Spaniards support the monarchy then he shouldn’t have any problem in calling a referendum.”

Rajoy‘s hesitation, he argued, played into the idea that the monarchy in Spain had run its course. “It’s an anachronism. In an advanced nation, it doesn’t make sense to maintain a tradition from the middle ages.”

The new king and queen plan to dedicate July and August to travelling in Spain and countries including France, Morocco and Portugal. The royal family spokesperson said that once Felipe becomes king, he will outline his father’s salary, title and role.

BBC claim that “Only a few hundred” are protesting in Spain for a republic. Meanwhile, in Madrid, see here.

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Columbus’ Santa Maria ship discovered?

This video says about itself:

Is ColumbusSanta Maria ship found?

13 May 2014

Explorer Barry Clifford says he discovered the wreckage of Columbus’ Santa Maria ship off Haiti. Miguel Marquez reports.

See also here.
See also here.

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