Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate War Crimes …updated W/revisions

Dear Attorney General Designate Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

These crimes  are being euphemistically referred to as “abusive interrogation techniques” by such respected figures as Senator John McCain. These are euphemisms for torture. Torture is a War Crime. Waterboarding is a War Crime. The CIA has admitted waterboarding detainees. Recently, Vice President Cheney has brazenly admitted authorizing the program that lead to waterboarding, other forms of torture too numerous to list, and ultimately, the deaths by homicide of detainees.

As Major General Antonio Taguba, the Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison has stated:

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

The Washington Post recently summarized the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on detainee treatment thusly:

A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere.

Given the overwhelming amount of evidence, accusations, and admissions of War Crimes; evidence, accusations, and admissions that are only excused by thinly veiled euphemism and the weak and self-serving and widely disputed legal arguments commissioned by the Bush Administration to retroactively exculpate itself from legal jeopardy, we the undersigned citizens demand that a full and thorough investigation be implemented and pursued immediately upon your taking office. And that it be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be.

America is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of the Citizens of the United States. War Crimes have been done in our name. Torture has been done in our name. The only way to clear our name of War Crimes is to repudiate them through the aggressive prosecution to the full extent of the law of each and every official who participated or authorized these War Crimes.

As always, edits and suggestions are welcomed.

I can, haha, make it longer. But we do want to get this done and in circulation ASAP. Once wget strike while this iron is hot due to Cheney’s admission and the Senate report, we can go back to working on the other, more inclusive petition re the Big Picture of Bushco crimes. So throw out any suggestions or changes you have so we can turn it over to Democrats.com to put into petition form.

Then we can start pushing it around the web….and working on supporting essays to get people to sign, and then submit it.

Have it and Tally Ho, the game is afoot!

Revised version.


Dear Attorney General Designate Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

These crimes  are being euphemistically referred to as “abusive interrogation techniques” by such respected figures as Senator John McCain. These are euphemisms for torture. Torture is a War Crime. Waterboarding is a War Crime. The CIA has admitted waterboarding detainees. Recently, Vice President Cheney has brazenly admitted authorizing the program that lead to waterboarding, other forms of torture too numerous to list, and ultimately, the deaths by homicide of detainees.

As Major General Antonio Taguba, the Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison has stated:

 

 “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

The Washington Post recently summarized the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on detainee treatment thusly:

 

A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere.

Rewritten paragraphs

The amount of evidence, accusations, and admissions of War Crimes is overwhelming. It is only excused by thinly-veiled euphemisms and widely-disputed legal arguments commissioned by the Bush Administration to retroactively exculpate itself.

We the undersigned citizens demand a full and thorough investigation immediately upon your taking office. This investigation should be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be. Due to the grave and serious nature of these crimes, we strongly urge you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to shield this investigation from political interference of any kind.

Should we add this?

To this end, we also remind you that you work not on behalf of or for the President or the Congress, but for the People of the United States of America and for Justice itself. We urge you to, unlike your predecessors Attorneys General Mukasey and Gonzales, ignore these political considerations and consequences in the pursuit of justice, no matter what, or to whom, the cost.

America is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of the Citizens of the United States. War Crimes have been done in our name. Torture has been done in our name. The only way to clear our name of War Crimes is to repudiate them through the aggressive prosecution, by a Special Prosecutor, (added) to the full extent of the law of each and every official who participated or authorized these War Crimes.

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  1. Any further suggestions re the ‘badge” are welcome too!

    Photobucket

  2. are superfluous i think – the act of appointment carries an obligation for funding and support.

  3. My English teachers opposed run-on sentences:

    Given the overwhelming amount of evidence, accusations, and admissions of War Crimes; evidence, accusations, and admissions that are only excused by thinly veiled euphemism and the weak and self-serving and widely disputed legal arguments commissioned by the Bush Administration to retroactively exculpate itself from legal jeopardy, we the undersigned citizens demand that a full and thorough investigation be implemented and pursued immediately upon your taking office. And that it be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be.

    How about:

    The amount of evidence, accusations, and admissions of War Crimes is overwhelming. It is only excused by thinly-veiled euphemisms and widely-disputed legal arguments commissioned by the Bush Administration to retroactively exculpate itself.

    We the undersigned citizens demand a full and thorough investigation immediately upon your taking office. This investigation should be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be. To shield this investigation from political interference of any kind, you should appoint a Special Prosecutor.

  4. At the end of line 8, “to numerous to list” should be “too numerous to list.”

  5. Today’s NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12

  6. let’s get it out! Short, sweet and to the point. A great start. Once they roll back the stone all sort’s of creepy crawlies will emerge.

  7. well.  I’m a little confused as to which is now included in the “near-final” version.

    Also, if you were to add, “To this end . . . ” I’m not sure I like the way the last sentence of that paragraph “We urge you to, unlike your . . . . ” is worded.

    I wonder if Gen. Miller and Gen. Sanchez should be included — just a thought!  Yoo, definitely.  AG, Gonzo, not sure, but he DID condone it, as I recall!

    Also, bear this language in mind, as was recited before the House Judiciary Committee, — the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, by    

    Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law:

    What does torture have in common with genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression?  They are all jus cogens.  Jus cogens is Latin for “higher law” or “compelling law.” This means that no country can ever pass a law that allows torture. There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a jus cogens prohibition.

    “We urge you to comply with jus cogens, the compelling law and pursue justice in the name of the Citizens of the United States of America, irrespective of all political considerations and consequences, as is oath of your office.”   etc.

    Also, I presume the War Crimes are being limited to torture and not inclusive of war of aggression, the use of nepalm, white phosphorous and depleted uranium — all war crimes.

    Just thoughts!

  8. In an email received today, Wexler has this  to say about the “illegal acts” of senior Bush officials:

    There is much to celebrate, as there is only 33 days until George W. Bush leaves the White House.  In addition, Congressman Nadler, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, recently introduced a resolution expressing staunch opposition to any potential preemptive pardons of members of his Administration and the need for an Independent commission or select committee to “investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute illegal acts by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush.”

    I fully support this resolution and I have signed on as a co-sponsor.

    The issue of preemptive and/or blanket pardons has been a subject of much debate and frustration. There is great concern that Bush will abuse his pardon power and further cover up wrongdoing by his Administration.  

    However, as citizens, we have a responsibility to reject any abuse of the presidential pardon power to shield or manipulate investigations.

    Regardless of the legality of potential pardons, there needs to be a full accounting of this Administration’s abuses.  No doubt many of the players in the Administration will seek future positions or public office.  The public deserves a full accounting of what they have done, and the law, in my opinion, requires it.

    Many felt that President-elect Obama’s victory might free members of Congress to move forward with Impeachment Hearings.  However, the weeks since the election have been largely consumed with trying to formulate a balanced and thoughtful response to the economic crisis, which, no doubt, is affecting many of you.

    The struggles of the American auto industry, and the ongoing banking and credit crisis, skyrocketing unemployment, and our exploding budget deficit have taken center stage.  

    Some of our most critical issues – universal healthcare, Medicare and social security funding, alternative energy investment, and education improvements are all threatened by this crisis.  Although I am committed as ever to holding this Administration accountable, we are facing a historic crisis in this nation that Congress and President-elect Obama must work together to solve.

    Obama’s victory gives us a window to accomplish vital tasks that will have very direct impact on you and your family.  

    I thoroughly believe that President-elect Obama will return us to a government that respects the rights of its citizens and the rule of law.  I look forward to working closely with his Administration to not only repair the damage, but bring forth a renewed sense that government is, in fact, responsible and answerable to the people.

    With great respect and admiration,

    Robert Wexler

    Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s Resolution demanding Bush refrain from issuing pre-emptive pardons is H.Res. 1531.

    • robodd on December 18, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Read Greenwald today on the same deal.  If I didn’t know better, I would think G reads DD.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/g

  9. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Prepares for Cheney Torture Indictments (tried to imbed but had mucho problems).

    Also, I would like for you to read a comment of a friend, Nick Egnatz, a non-stop Veterans for Peace activist, from Indiana, here.

  10. I strongly recommend writing LTE’s to your local newspapers!  I do, pretty regularly, and was published recently! Time has come to impeach Bush

    Write, write, write.  Write here, write LTE’s, write blogs, write everywhere and anywhere — build up a “pulse” — do what’s right — you know and I know it!

  11. From Marjorie Cohn

    Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes

    Why is Cheney so sanguine about admitting he is a war criminal? Because he’s confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him or President-elect Obama won’t prosecute him.

    Both of those courses of action would be illegal.

    First, a president cannot immunize himself or his subordinates for committing crimes that he himself authorized. On February 7, 2002, Bush signed a memo erroneously stating that the Geneva Conventions, which require humane treatment, did not apply to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But the Supreme Court made clear that Geneva protects all prisoners. Bush also admitted that he approved of high level meetings where waterboarding was authorized by Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and George Tenet.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey says there’s no need for Bush to issue blanket pardons since there is no evidence that anyone developed the policies “for any reason other than to protect the security in the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful.” But noble motives are not defenses to the commission of crimes. . . . .

    When he takes office, Obama should order his new attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute those who ordered and authorized the commission of war crimes. . . .

  12. From The Nation

    December 17, 2008

    But the repose of the Cheneys, Bushes, Gonzaleses and Rumsfelds may not turn out to be so undisturbed. In his notorious torture memo, Alberto Gonzales warned about “prosecutors and independent counsels” who may in the future decide to pursue “unwarranted charges” based on the US War Crimes Act’s prohibition on violations of the Geneva Conventions. While no such charges are likely to be brought anytime soon, neither are they likely to vanish. In the short run, Obama and his team face inescapable questions about the legal culpability of the Bush administration. And in the long run, such charges are likely to grow only more unavoidable once the former officials of that administration have lost the authority to quash them.

    In April Obama said that if elected, he would have his attorney general initiate a prompt review of Bush-era action to distinguish between possible “genuine crimes” and “really bad policies.”

    “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Obama told the Philadelphia Daily News. He added, however, that “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

    Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder, speaking to the American Constitution Society in June, described Bush administration actions in terms that sound a whole lot more like “genuine crimes” than like “really bad policies”:

    Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution…. We owe the American people a reckoning.”

     

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