It's Time for Holder to Go After the Big Fish
Organizations Unite, Demand: Top Bush Officials Must Be Prosecuted
A large coalition of human rights organizations and prominent lawyers sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last
week urging him to hold firm against pressure from Dick Cheney and
others to narrow the scope of a Special Prosecutor investigating
each passing day the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are
being revealed. IndictBushNow and thousands of people throughout the
country are taking to the streets, lobbying Congress, mass petitioning, issuing sign-on letters and taking out newspaper ads to demand that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld – and not just low level operatives – be held accountable for their criminal acts.
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IndictBushNow supporters and volunteers are active mobilizing
support for a serious prosecution of Bush and Cheney. The coalition
that sent a letter to Holder includes the American Association of
Jurists, Center for Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, U.S.
Human Rights Network and more than sixty others.
Open Letter to Attorney General Holder
We, the undersigned, are writing to request that you hold firm
against any attempts by former Vice President Dick Cheney, the CIA
directors, and the media to silence those who demand that the United
States hold accountable those who have committed and authorized torture.
We call on you to appoint a special independent prosecutor who is
not part of the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute all
those who ordered, approved, justified, abetted or carried out the
torture and abuse. The people who are held accountable should not be
limited to low-level operatives.
We are particularly disturbed by the efforts of the reporters at
the Washington Post to distort the facts and ignore the illegality of
torture. They cited anonymous sources who allegedly said that torture
works; these “reports” contradict the newly released report of the
CIA’s Inspector General.
Cheney’s claim that your decision to open an investigation into the
conduct of the CIA is a politicization of this issue is shameful. If
anything, political pressure has led to your office taking too narrow
an approach to the investigation.
The world community has expressed its revulsion at the use of
torture in any form. Torture is illegal under all circumstances. The
prohibition against torture is considered in international law on par
with laws against genocide, slavery and wars of aggression. Under the
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, it is a crime
The United States is a party to the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the
Geneva Conventions. Both treaties expressly require the United States
to either extradite or initiate prosecution of persons who are
reasonably accused – this is a legal obligation. The U.S. Torture
Statute that Congress passed to fulfill our obligations under the CAT
outlaws torture committed outside the United States. The U.S. War
Crimes Act punishes torture as a grave breach of the Geneva
Conventions. In 2006, the Supreme Court affirmed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
that all prisoners in U.S. custody are protected by the Geneva
There are many who claim we should ignore the facts and the law and
refuse to hold accountable all those responsible for the use of
torture. Whether actionable intelligence was gained is not the issue.
Nor is the morale in the CIA.
We believe the oath of office you took requires that you not pick and choose those laws you will enforce.
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