Letter to Leahy: What the Citizens Already Know About Torture

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

On the eve of the formation of his Truth Commission tomorrow, please copy and paste this letter to Senator Leahy’s e-mail address here. If you are a constituent, please use this address. The more people (YOU) who mail it, the more impact it will have. Please include the link  to it https://www.docudharma.com/show… so that Senator Leahy can peruse the links within the story. Thank you.

Dear Senator Leahy,

While we thank you for being the only government official to stand up and challenge the crimes of the last eight years, we are also deeply concerned about the idea of ONLY a ‘fact finding’ commission. And so we want you to know.

We The People are watching.

As you prepare to open your Truth Commission on Torture and other Bush Administration crimes, you will be pressured from many sides to cover-up, gloss over or completely omit some of the horrible and shocking facts. Facts that will lead to prosecutions when officially recognized by your Commission. This open letter is to let you know that we citizens are already aware of many of them. As well as to let you know that we will be watching your Commission VERY carefully, to make sure that no cover-ups or omissions are allowed. Among those watching will be the nearly 45,000 citizens who have already signed The Petition for a Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes, as well as the nearly 45,000 people who have signed your petition for a Truth Commission.

We are here, we are watching, and we intend to raise the alarm if your commission does not do it’s job thoroughly, openly, and well. As both you and we know, if your Commission does it’s job and formally exposes the truth……prosecutions will be necessary. At the highest levels of the Bush Administration, where the authorization and planning of the Bush Torture Conspiracy originated.

We The People know that government commissions are often where truth goes to die, so lest you be tempted to let that happen, here is just some of what the citizens already know of the truth.

We know that torture started BEFORE there was the ‘cover’ of the ludicrous Yoo and Bybee memos. That they were written to ‘fit’ the law to what had already been done.

We know from Gitmo guard Brandon Neely’s testimony that torture at Gitmo was not just routine, but standard operating procedure.

We know that General Geoffrey Miller imported the torture techniques from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib and that he ‘took the fifth’ when questioned on torture.

We know from the General Toguba’s report that torture at Abu Ghraib was sytematic, routine and approved. Approved at the highest levels of the Bush Administration. And that it included the following:

…Intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

a. Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

b. Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;

c. Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

d. Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

e. Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;

f. Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

g. Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

h. Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture; …

j. Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;

k. A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;

l. Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee …

These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements. …

In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):

a. Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

b. Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

c. Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

d. Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

e. Threatening male detainees with rape; …

g. Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.”

We know that the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib have been covered-up:

What is shown on the photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon has blocked from release?


A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of “rape and murder.” Rumsfeld then commented, “If these are released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse.”

We know that women and children were tortured, and that they were used a weapons in the torture of their loved ones.

We know from the Senate Armed Services Report that

…. ….”former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” and “that Rumsfeld’s actions were ‘a direct cause of detainee abuse’ at Guantanamo and ‘influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques … in Afghanistan and Iraq'” — raises an obvious and glaring question:  how can it possibly be justified that the low-level Army personnel carrying out these policies at Abu Ghraib have been charged, convicted and imprisoned, while the high-level political officials and lawyers who directed and authorized these same policies remain free of any risk of prosecution?   The culpability which the Report assigns for these war crimes is vast in scope and unambiguous:


The executive summary also traces the erosion of detainee treatment standards to a Feb,. 7, 2002, memorandum signed by President George W. Bush stating that the Geneva Convention did not apply to the U.S. war with al Qaeda and that Taliban detainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or legal protections.

   “The president’s order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment,” the summary said.

   Members of Bush’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed, according to the report.

The policies which the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously concludes were authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and several other top Bush officials did not merely lead to “abuse” and humiliating treatment, but are directly — and unquestionably — responsible for numerous detainee murders.  Many of those deaths caused by abusive treatment have been formally characterized as “homicides” by autopsies performed in Iraq and Afghanistan (see these chilling compilations of autopsy findings on detainees in U.S. custody, obtained by the ACLU, which reads like a classic and compelling exhibit in a war crimes trial).

Yes Senator, we know that Under the Bush Torture Conspiracy MANY detainees were tortured to death.

We know that the former President of the United States has admitted authorizing torture.

We know that the former Vice-President of the United States has admitted authorizing torture.

We know that the former Secretary of Defense of the United States has been implicated in torture by the U.S. Senate.

We know that waterboarding has been authorized by these officials and has taken place, and that the Attorney General has stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture.

We know that the top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military has tortured.

We know that both U.S. laws and binding treaties have been violated by the Bush Torture Policies.

We know then, that this constitutes a criminal conspiracy to violate both U.S. laws and binding treaties.

What we don’t know is why with all of these reports and evidence we need a Truth Commission instead of a Special Prosecutor to move directly against the Bush Torture Conspiracy.

We do know that the attorneys of the same caliber of integrity as those who wrote these shocking memos falsely giving the President what amounts to dictatorial powers…powers under which he authorized torture…will try to weasel their clients out of the accountability and justice they deserve.

We know that further cover-ups will be attempted.

And we want YOU to know that we know, that we are watching, and that we will NOT let these crimes go unpunished, by your Commision or by the Department of Justice.


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  1. What did I leave out or get wrong?

    I will post this at Dkos later for the widest distribution possible, so here is your chance to improve it!

    We want to make a good impression. lol.


    • Alma on March 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    What is the rational behind sending it to his fundraising group email, instead of one of his government emails?

    • robodd on March 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    under teh secret law:


  2. I may be totally wrong but Ill toss this out there anyway. Im worried its too…. mean! too adversarial, challenging, confrontive…. in tone. All that is fine, though, its what is needed, but Im wanting to add… (thinking out loud now)…

    I know WE are the activists and THEY are the politicians, but I …a tad of diplomacy perhaps? erm.

    Leahy is on our side with this, right?  And this is a bold and Big Deal thing for him to take on, yes? I want to acknowledge and thank or respect him for that, and then go on to say… (something like) we will hold his feet to the fire and watch to ensure its done right and well, and if it IS we will applaud that, and push for more but we will also have his back. If it isnt, we will call him out.

    Some gesture of support just seems appropriate to me. (I anticipate a groundswell of public support on this. Of course there will be heaps of crap too.)

    However, I could be completely off the mark. I know, Im a wuss.

    Good work, buhdy.

  3. You might also want to add the language of Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture here.

    Also, you might want to take a look at this and this, Obama and Holder Must Prosecute War Crimes or Become Guilty of Them Himself


    • Edger on March 4, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Sorry I haven’t commented earlier on it… my internet connection’s been down since last night till a little while ago.

    Why not send it also to some media and reporters as well? People like Ari Melber, maybe? Marc Ash at Truthout? I’m sure we can think of a few others as well?

  4. email list. I get stuff from hima all the time. I got on the list by sending him an email as Aalma recommended by passed the contact form and just sent it straight using my own email for return. Since that time he sends emails addressed to me with my name on them they say

    Dear Cynthia,

    Thank you for the letter.

    Help me with gettintg your habeas corpus back, after I’m through blowing hard, while I’m blowing hard support the DCCC. This is a disgrace and I intend to make some noise but unfortunately I can’t do anything else as I’m just a helpless Senator and have to abide by the political shams both parties perpetuate.  


  5. wow very nice article thanks!!!!

    great comments too 😉     No Prescription Needed

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