Upon the request of this site’s Master, I am posting a diary that was originally published on Daily Kos over one year ago, and read on the Mike Malloy show on January 30, 2007. Of course, the diary remains as strong today as it was a year ago. The Opposition Party has yet to act appropriately on putting a stop to the Bush Crime Family and their criminal activities, at home and abroad.
When the Democrats were the Minority Party, it was always somewhat encouraging to hear about this or that Democratic Senator or Congressperson sending letters to senior Bush Administration officials letters regarding the officials’ bad behavior. There was a sense one experienced of being along with others in a fight, that if only we had a majority, would be won.
So, everyone on this site worked hard this past year, handing out fliers, making phone calls, going to rallies, and looking forward to voting on Election Day. Well, we did our jobs quite nicely. Most of us can now say that our candidate won! Whether it be a congress, senate, state senate, or governor, most of were successful. Now, we look and several of us are happy with the progress being made, or are content knowing that there are many in Washington that are dedicated to completing a Democratic agenda. While others of us want to see some of those outstanding letters considered with more intensity and urgency.
This diary discusses a letter of John Conyers, now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. If you read nothing else below, please click on the link to the letter, read it, and note the signatures of fifty elected officials who, as far as I can tell, have remained silent on this issue for the past year…
One of the most encouraging letters written, while the Democrats were a minority, is the John Conyer’s letter, dated May 12, 2005, addressed to Attorney General Gonzalez, suggesting the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996, and the Anti-Torture Act, against senior members of the Bush Administration.
If there was one issue that was the most important one to me, it was seeing a Democratically elected Congress who would, with that majority, make sure that senior Bush Administration were held to account for the several war-crimes committed.
If the United States is every to regain a single shred of respect from the international community, it must hold its leaders accountable for its acts of aggression in its invasion of Iraq, and it most hold those responsible for the war-crimes committed.
Fortunately, there is an existing US statute dealing with war-crimes, the War Crimes Act:
§ 2441. War crimes
(a) Offense.- Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
(b) Circumstances.- The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).
(c) Definition.- As used in this section the term “war crime” means any conduct-
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians
And, the Anti-Torture Act:
(a) Offense.- Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction.- There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if-
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy.- A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
I have personally made at least a dozen attempts to get a response from Representative Conyers requesting an update on any correspondence regarding this letter, and whether he will use his newly-minted status to pursue the letter with more aggressive methods. Since the Representative is a diarist at this site, I am hopeful that he or one of his aides will respond to this with a diary, or, at least a comment.
N.B. This has nothing to do with having Impeachment proceedings tabled by the Democratic Majority, including Chairman Conyers. Investigations pursuant to an existing statute is not a political option, as Impeachment is. No, it is a duty to uphold the Constitution and statutes that the Congress have passed pursuant to it.
Further, these investigations need not be only against the President and the Vice-President. They would lead to the Attorney General Gonzalez; his assistants at the Justice Department, former such as John Yoo, and present; Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and the military generals who violated the statute.
If this letter was written in earnest last year, and was co-signed by fifty members of Congress, the Chairman Conyers ought to be obliged to pursue the matter now that he is the Chairman of the Committee charged with the matter. To do otherwise, to do nothing, is giving a de facto pardon the senior Bush Administration officials. Is that what we fought so hard to achieve with a Democratic majority? This voter certainly did not do so.
DIARY READ ON MIKE MALLOY’S RADIO SHOW, 1/30/2007