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Evidence of the criminal activities of the Bush administration is exceedingly well documented – in memos, FOIA documents, congressional hearings, court documents, the testimony of victims, innumerable investigative news articles and books, and direct admissions by intelligence, military and former administration officials.
It is abundantly clear that officials at the very highest level were directly involved in illegal activities, including torture and war crimes. From Bush himself, to the National Security Council’s Principals Committee – Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet, and Attorney General John Ashcroft – to the lawyers who created made-to-order (il)legal justifications for the Torture Program like Jay Bybee, Steven Bradbury, John Yoo and others, the Torture Team’s trail is well-marked.
Now is the time for us to be accountable to our democratic principles, our laws and our international obligations. Now is the time to investigate the Torture Team.
This is a key opportunity for us to put the Obama administration on the right track: Dick Cheney admitted his role in waterboarding and said he would do it again; Attorney General Eric Holder said that waterboarding is torture; and the Convention Against Torture, which is U.S. law, requires the administration to initiate a meaningful criminal investigation when torture occurs.
We must demand the Attorney General not limit the scope of the prosecutor’s investigation to low-level CIA operatives while letting those who ordered, designed, and justified the Torture Program off the hook. The Prosecutor must be allowed to let the investigation go as far up the chain of command as the facts lead. Should Eric Holder limit the scope of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation to focus on “just a few bad apples” he would be allowing high level government officials to shield themselves with the very torture memos they created to break the law in the first place.
President Obama has told us and the world that no one is above the law. Prosecuting the high-level former officials responsible for torture can give a measure of justice to the victims and provide the strongest deterrent against future administrations going down this dark path again. Prosecution will also be a clear signal to countries around the world that the U.S. has drawn the line at torture. No executive order, policy change or new legislation will have that same power.
Eric Holder appears to want to limit the scope of the prosecutor’s investigation to low-level CIA operatives and let those who ordered, designed, and justified the torture program off the hook. Before it’s too late, please write Holder today, and tell him not to tie the Prosecutor’s hands but to let the investigation go as far up the chain of command as the facts lead. Should Eric Holder limit the scope of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation to focus on “just a few bad apples” he would be allowing high level government officials to shield themselves with the very torture memos they created to break the law in the first place.
On April 19, 2009, President Obama released four torture memos that make clear the involvement of Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, and other Bush administration lawyers in authorizing torture. Click here to join our campaign to impeach Bybee.
Jay Bybee, once head of the Office of Legal Counsel and now a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was the author of one of the most chilling torture memos of the Bush administration, written expressly to attempt to provide legal cover for illegal activities – specifically, the use of torture, including waterboarding, in the Torture Program. A person who conspired to violate the Constitution and human rights should not be deciding critical questions of constitutional law. Click here to send a letter to Rep. John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee calling for Bybee to be impeached.
Despite the health professions’ universally recognized duty to do no harm, doctors and psychologists have played a key role in the U.S. government’s Torture Program. They crafted and justified torture tactics, inflicted pain, oversaw abuse, and enabled, covered up, and turned a blind eye to cruel treatment. Yet, in the face of clear evidence, government officials, licensing boards and professional associations defend their failure to take action against these health professionals by claiming that they do not have enough information.
It is time to hold accountable the healers who have harmed. Accountability is vital to survivors of medical torture and to health professionals, most of whom take seriously their commitment to do no harm. It is also necessary for the rest of us – as patients and members of civil society, we have a right to treatment by health professionals who we can trust, and a right to a government that upholds the law.
Read here about Dr. Larry James, John Lesso and others’ role in abusive interrogations: www.whenhealersharm.org.
Michael Ratner talks about this issue on Democracy Now (March 5, 2009) - Part 1
Michael Ratner talks about this issue on Democracy Now (March 5, 2009) - Part 2
Michael Ratner talks about this issue on Democracy Now (March 5, 2009) - Part 3
In one impeccably researched and provocative volume, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld compiles the evidence that the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes and presents it in the form of a court case brought by one of the premier civil and human rights organizations in the United States. The book lays out the proof that high-level officials of the Bush administration ordered, authorized, implemented, and permitted war crimes, in particular the crimes of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in the name of fighting the “war on terror.”
Using primary source documents ranging from Rumsfeld’s “techniques chart” and Iraqi plaintiffs' statements to the testimony of whistleblowers and key pieces of reportage, the book sets forth evidence of a torture program that took place throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, and other places unknown.
Check back for more resources as we continue to build the case against the Torture Team.