Naive as I am, I actually thought the fifth column was going to be a contender. I mean, nobody is going to put a judge on trial unless the case is rock solid, right? As already noted, Garzón knows every trick in the book and has a good lawyer. So common sense dictated that every care should be taken to ensure that at least the procedure itself would be legally above reproach.
Well, common sense is not part of the fifth column vocabulary, or at least that’s the conclusion one reaches after the latest twist of the case. Last Friday judge Luciano Varela, who is instructing the case against Garzón, kicked out one of the fascist groups that had presented the charges for not adjusting the text of their lawsuit according to Varela’s recommendations. The other fascist group, which did adjust their lawsuit as the judge told them, is now the only remaining accusing party.
Now, if the paragraph above didn’t strike you as odd, read it again. Then you’ll understand why today Garzón’s lawyer presented a writ of dismissal against judge Varela for “material assistance to the accusation which violates the basic principles of impartiality and neutrality of a presiding magistrate.” Which translated from the legalese means: you’re not allowed to help the accusers, you chump! You’re the judge!
If this flagrant violation gets Varela chucked off the case, it’s over. Just like that. Unbelievable, right?
Snide comments about common sense notwithstanding, it actually IS hard to believe that this was just sloppiness. If anyone is used to doing things by the book, it’s a judge. So, then, what gives? Is it possible that Varela has decided to sabotage the case to avoid an even bigger mess, maybe even penal responsibilities against himself? Or has he really forgotten in his zeal the most basic norms of his guild? Maybe his med regime is severly maladjusted to his real needs. Either way, it would appear that he has screwed the pooch, or vice versa, because this could be the excuse the judiciary is waiting for to end the Garzón kabuki extraordinaire before the scene in which the peasants rise up and toss all the judges into a deep pit.
So is all this noise just going to end like that, not with a bang but a whimper? Maybe. But the momentum that this case has generated will continue until the real issue –recovering the remains of the disappeared– is resolved one way or another. As a wise man once said, men are not punished for their crimes, but by them. For the disappeared, that is little solace.