Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Demand Accountability for Torture!
Tell Attorney General Holder to Appoint an Independent Prosecutor
The week before last, the Justice Department released four secret memos written by the Office of Legal Counsel under the Bush administration. The memos authorized and documented waterboarding, in addition to other illegal "enhanced interrogation techniques." Among other things, they revealed that individuals suspected of terrorism were waterboarded as many as 183 times in a single month. Watch LinkTV's new video explaining the severity of torture committed under the Bush Administration.
The Department of Justice has withdrawn the memos and says they no longer represent its legal views, but President Obama initially indicated that government officials responsible for torture would not face prosecution. The New York Times reported here that the Obama administration also opposes the establishment of an independent commission, or even an inquiry into torture policies. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated that the Justice Department would not prosecute those who participated in torture if they acted in "good faith," while telling the press that the Obama administration would "follow the evidence wherever it takes us."
These halting steps toward accountability fall far short of restoring the Rule of Law to the United States. Government officials who authorized torture may have violated several constitutional provisions in the Bill of Rights, including the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; U.S. statutes such as the War Crimes Act and Uniform Code of Military Justice; and international treaties including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture.
If government officials were personally involved in authorizing such grave violations, they must face appropriate consequences. The Obama administration wants to look forward instead of focusing on the past. But to move forward, we must first look back, investigate human rights violations, and ensure justice to restore America's credibility at home and abroad. No one is above the law.
Based on the available evidence, Attorney General Holder should now appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate who authorized and carried out the U.S. government's torture policies. If evidence emerges confirming criminal wrongdoing, the individuals responsible for it must face prosecution.
Contact AG Holder today and demand that he appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate-and if evidence warrants, prosecute-war crimes and constitutional violations committed by U.S. government officials responsible for torture.
Call the Office of the Attorney General at (202) 353-1555. Then email the Justice Department.
What else can you do?
* Write a letter to the editor or opinion-editorial for your local paper endorsing the appointment of an independent prosecutor.
* Meet locally with your members of Congress during their next recess, May 25-29.
* Ask the editorial board of your local paper to write an editorial supporting a torture inquiry by an independent prosecutor.
Use our talking points to help you. If you pursue any of these initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Address: 8 Bridge Street, Suite A, Northampton, MA 01060
Posted by CN at 10:47 AM