Voters for Peace – 2009-02-24 23:00:11
WASHINGTON (February 24, 2009) — Voters for Peace is part of a coalition of groups seeking a special prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes committed by the Bush-Cheney administration. See statement below.
While we are looking forward to the closing of Guantanamo and steps to end torture by the U.S. government, we also need to uphold the rule of law. The United States is a nation that holds that no one is above the law. And, if war crimes were committed during the last seven years, accountability is required unless the nation is to become complicit.
This week, the first prisoner was released from Guantanamo since President Obama was elected. This British resident claimed he was brutally tortured at a covert CIA site in Morocco for 18 months. He was finally freed from Guantanamo after nearly seven years in U.S. and British captivity. Britain’s Attorney General has opened an investigation into whether there was criminal wrongdoing on the part of Britain or a British security agent from MI5, who interrogated him in Pakistan.
Several lawsuits are underway in the United States against a Boeing subsidiary that allegedly supplied planes for rendition flights to Morocco and for the disclosure of Bush-era legal memos on renditions and interrogation tactics. Shouldn’t Attorney General Holder do the same?
Also this week, the International Commission of Jurists issued a report on counter-terrorism tactics and their impact on human rights. The highly respected Commission held 16 hearings in 40 countries in all parts of the world. The report described what it called “shocking” evidence of violations of law in the name of the “war on terror” that undermine human rights.
The Commission pointed to “notorious counter-terrorism practices such as torture, disappearances, arbitrary and secret detention, unfair trials, and persistent impunity for gross human rights violations in many parts of the world.” While acknowledging the need to respond to terrorism, the report notes that established law is “being questioned and at times ignored, not only by regimes whose record for doing so is well known, but also by liberal democracies that used to be in the forefront of promoting and protecting human rights” ? a reference to the United States.
The world knows the U.S. government has violated international law in recent years, some Bush administration officials were open about such violations. How does the U.S. demonstrate adherence to the rule of law without investigating allegations of such violations and holding responsible those who have ignored the law?
Please urge a special prosecutor to examine these crimes as a key step to getting the United States on track to following international and domestic law. You can contact President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and let him know your thoughts.
Kevin B. Zeese
GROUPS REQUEST SPECIAL PROSECUTOR FOR BUSH, CHENEY
Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or “truth” commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.
Drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
The National Lawyers Guild
American Freedom Campaign Action Fund
High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project
Voters for Peace
After Downing Street
Gold Star Families for Peace
Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserve Colonel and US diplomat
Delaware Valley Veterans for America
Wisconsin Impeachment / Bring Our Troops Home Coalition
CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Justice Through Music
Progressive Democrats of America
Cities for Peace
National Accountability Network
Northeast Impeachment Coalition
Republicans for Impeachment
Op Ed News
Marcus Raskin, cofounder of Institute for Policy Studies, member of editorial board of The Nation, member of the special staff of the National Security Council in Kennedy Administration
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored
Grandmothers Against the War