Weekly Torture Action Letter 9 – China And Rule Of Law

(8 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Welcome to the 9th in the Dog’s letter writing campaign series. This series is dedicated to taking action (even if it is a small action) every week on the issue of torture. Here is how it works, each week the Dog writes a letter highlighting some aspect of the torture issue and making the point this requires investigation. The Dog sends these letters to the President, the Supreme Court, AG Holder, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and Rep. John Conyers, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Your part, if you chose to act is pretty easy. Simply cut and paste the letter and send it under your own name.  

There is always a little worry when folks are sending exactly the same letter, so always feel free to fix it up to make it more personal to you. The important part is that you do send in some kind of communication that is different every week. This is a way to keep the point that there is a significant percentage of the population who is not going to just let this issue drop in front of those who can make the decision to do the right thing and investigate the Bush State Sponsored Torture program, and let the law go where is should.

This week’s letter is to AG Holder, with copies to all the others:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

Sir, I write today, as I have done every week for the past two months to urge you to do whatever is necessary to investigate the apparent State Sponsored Torture program of the Bush administration. With the release of the OLC memos and the Senate Armed Services Committee report, the amount of publically available evidence has increased and continued the arc of narrative which gives a preliminary conclusion War Crimes were planned, ordered and committed by high officials of the previous administration.  

There are many reasons, General Holder, why we should initiate an investigation, but today I would like to talk about the Rule of Law. Our nation has been an example of the importance of the Rule of Law for its entire history. It is, perhaps, because of this we seem to take this for granted, so I would like to call your attention to an example from China to show how valuable this premise is and how fragile it can be if not defended regularly with courage.

Up until a year ago the Chinese Judicial system was going through positive reforms as Judges were becoming more independent, more able to rule on the law, instead of what was best for the Communist Party. This has changed with the new Chinese Supreme Court President, Wang Shengjun. He has issued a new directive called the “Three Supremes” which in descending order are Party, People, Law.

This change has meant those lawyers defending rights cases are in very strong danger of becoming rights cases themselves. Even with this danger, which in China can included every penalty up to death, they are not dissuaded. They continue to fight for the concept of the Rule of Law because they are convinced, rightly, that this is the only way for any people to be free and prosperous.

General Holder, this is an example we should follow. The Rule of Law is something so precious and necessary to a democracy we should never consider doing anything other than following it. When there are those in a country much less dedicated to this proposition who are willingly risking their freedom and lives for this concept, how can we possibly consider politics a reason to turn away from our founding concept?

What we do in terms of investigating a known and apparent criminal act will have repercussions far beyond either of our lives. This is something which will echo through the next century of our nation. This is true whether we investigate State Sponsored Torture or not; either way this will tell future generation if there is such a thing in the United States as single system of justice for all citizens or not.

We can see how this is abused in China. It protects the politically powerful from the consequences of their actions, while holding the people to a higher standard. While it would not happen overnight in this country, if we do not apply the existing law to those who appear to have broken it, then sooner rather than later our system of justice will resemble the Chinese. Is this what you would have for your country General Holder? I do not believe it is. I believe you value the Rule of Law as much as I do, as much as those Chinese lawyers do. What we need now is the actions that match this belief.

Please, Sir, do the right thing, the lawful thing, initiate an criminal investigation of the actions of the Bush administration and let it go where the evidence takes it. To do anything less is to say the Rule of Law is not absolute and betray both courage of the Chinese lawyers and the Untied States’ example in the world. As former President Clinton said, “The power of our example is much greater than the example of our power”. At this moment in history, you hold the power of that example in your hands. Please preserve it, for us and for the world.



President Barack Obama

The Justices of the United States Supreme Court

Speaker of the House Pelosi

Senate Majority Leader Reid

House Judiciary Committee Chair, Rep. Conyers.

There is your letter, now for the links. As always if you are going to send a letter to the Supreme Court Justices it actually has to be a letter they don’t take e-mail.


US Supreme Court, Attention All Justices –

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Bldg.

Washington, DC 20543

The White House, Attention President Obama

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Majority Leader Harry Reid

Department of Justice, attention AG Holder – [email protected]

Rep John Conyers – Judiciary Committee Chair

Now it is up to you, the Dog asks that you please take a few minutes to do something concrete about torture.

The floor is yours.

Cross Posted At Square State


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  1. minutes to act?

    Thanks in advance,

    Something The Dog Said

  2. Here’s yet more people we can contact:

    It turns out that the Intelligence Committees have jurisdiction in this area. In fact, they are better positioned than Conyers to investigate torture. Intelligence Committee members have access to top secret documents, Whether we agree that documents like those procured by the ACLU should be classified is irrelevant. They are classified and Conyers will have trouble gathering evidence.

    Additionally, the Judiciary Committee might be limited to investigating Bybee, Yoo and the other lawyers who wrote the memos.

    Anyway, the chair of the Intelligence Committee is Silvestre Reyes of Texas. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois is the chair of the subcommittee on investigations. Rep. Schakowski might be particularly receptive (she posted an Orange Diary last year about the 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act). You can check out my latest diary for more info (sorry for the shameless pimp).

    On the Senate side, Diane Feinstein is the chair. However, by the rules of the committee, five members must agree to investigations. Here’s a link to the rest of the members.

    We can force investigations if we continue to contact the right people.

    • rb137 on May 4, 2009 at 21:33

    I have a webpage left over from the primary that I used to direct letter writing campaigns. I’m converting it to a site that promotes speaking and radio opportinities for Heather and such. We can also direct letter writing campaigns from that site.

    Let me suggest short letters written on postcards. Especially if we can get lots and lots of postcards out the door and into the relevant people’s offices.

    Postcards are better because they don’t have to be processed externally (letters in envelopes have to be opened on site) and they don’t disappear as easily as email.

    Just a thought.

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