US Senators Leahy and Feingold Call for Investigation of Bush/Cheney Crimes

February 11th, 2009 - by admin

The Huffington Post & After Downing Street – 2009-02-11 22:55:53

Senator Leahy: Investigate Bush Now
Huffington Post

WASHINGTON (February 9, 2009) —Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy insisted on Monday in firm and passionate terms that a comprehensive investigation be launched into the conduct of the Bush administration, saying anything less would prevent the country from moving forward.

Speaking at a forum at Georgetown University, the Vermont Democrat suggested the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission to uncover the “misdeeds” of the past eight years.

“Many Americans feel we need to get to the bottom of what went wrong,” said Leahy. “I agree. We need to be able to read the page before we turn the page.”

The Senator also stated that Attorney General Eric Holder never gave assurances to Republican Senators that he would not prosecute Bush administration officials who may have been involved in illegalities such as authorizing torture or warrantless wiretapping.

“There are some who resist any effort to investigate the misdeeds of the recent past,” he said. “Indeed, during the nomination hearing of Eric Holder, some of my fellow Senators on the other side of the aisle tried to extract a devil’s bargain from him in exchange for the votes — a commitment that he would not make… That is a pledge no prosecutor should give and Eric Holder did not give it. But because he did not it accounts for some of the votes against him.”

At one point, Leahy slammed the lectern with his right fist, underscoring the emotion he brought to the debate. His remarks referred to claims that Holder had provided Republicans on the Judiciary Committee a pledge not to prosecute Bush officials — claims that the Obama administration denied.

Leahy framed his commission idea — which he had not discussed publicly prior to Monday — as a middle ground of sorts between those who adamantly oppose investigations and those who say “we must prosecute Bush administration officials to lay down a marker.”

The Senate, he proposed, would “authorize a group of people universally recognized as fair-minded and without any axe to grind” to investigate the Bush administration’s actions.

“Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened,” he said.

This is “not to humiliate people or punish people, but to get the truth out, so we don’t make the same mistakes again,” Leahy said later during the question and answer session. “We fought Revolution in this country so we could protest the actions of government. We should protect that.”

After the speech, Leahy elaborated a bit on what he had just announced: The commission could, if needed, be granted subpoena power and it would investigate everything from torture to the faulty information that brought the country into war in Iraq. He had not, he acknowledged, discussed the idea with the Obama administration or Holder. After 35 years in Washington, he said, “I like being able to say what I want to say.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes
Bob Fertik / After Downing Street

• As of 10 PM February 11, 41,228 of 100,000 people had signed this petition.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on the Need for Accountability for Bush Administration Wrongdoings

WASHINGTON, DC (February 11, 2009) — “I applaud Senator Leahy’s leadership in proposing the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission. Getting all the facts out about what happened over the last eight years is a crucial part of restoring the rule of law.

As President Obama and Attorney General Holder have said, nobody is above the law. There needs to be accountability for wrongdoing by the Bush Administration, including the illegal warrantless wiretapping and interrogation programs. We cannot simply sweep these assaults on the rule of law under the rug.”

Petition to Demand a Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes

(December 18, 2008)— Dear Attorney General Eric 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 torture and other war crimes.

Update 1: Initially, we emailed Mr. Holder at his law firm. On 12/20/08 we received a reply from Mr. Holder: “Enough folks. I hear you.” So out of respect we stopped forwarding each signature individually.

Update 2: After his Senate confirmation on 2/2/09, we began forwarding each signature to the Justice Department. We are trying to schedule a meeting to deliver the full list of signatures.

The Petition

Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in torture and other 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. Former Vice President Cheney brazenly admitted authorizing the program that led 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 summarized the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on detainee treatment:

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.

We the undersigned citizens demand a full and thorough investigation immediately. This investigation should be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be. To this end, we 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.

The United States is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of its citizens. War Crimes have been committed 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 of each and every person involved to the fullest extent of the law through the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.