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It has been the massive pressure from the people that has put the prosecution of Bush-era officials on the agenda. As expected, there is a countervailing campaign from the neo-cons and their apologists. Now, the Obama administration has opted to try to shield Bush administration officials who are guilty of torture and war crimes. We cannot and will not let up.

Tens of thousands of you have flooded government officials with the demand for criminal prosecution. The people of this country and the world are standing up to demand justice. We reject the idea that Bush administration officials who ordered torture and crafted legal justification for the most barbaric and inhumane practices should escape criminal prosecution.

With the popular will of the people growing in support of prosecution, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder just assured officials in the CIA that those agents who carried out torture will not be prosecuted by Justice Department lawyers, but rather will be defended by them. This announcement does not stop legal actions against torturers from going forward, or stop Congressional investigation, however, as the Justice Department does not have the authority to do so.

President Obama said: "This is a time for reflection, not retribution. ... nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." By this logic, the Justice Department should prosecute no one, ever. This flies in the face of internationally and nationally recognized human rights laws that prohibit torture. The International Red Cross has issued a report insisting on prosecution of Bush administration officials.

The Red Cross report provides in graphic detail the shocking and sickening methods of torture executed by U.S. officials. These methods are also described in legal papers authored by Bush administration officials and lawyers who sadisticly wrote up and authorized details of torture - papers that are being revealed today at the same time as the White House attempts to stop prosecution of torturers.

As they are exonerating CIA torturers, the administration is also putting intense pressure on the Spanish Government not to proceed with the criminal prosecution of former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other officials of the Bush administration, including those who wrote the torture authorizations.

This battle is just opening up. There were also attempts by various governments to shield Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet at first - attempts that ultimately crumbled.

We must take action right now:
* Click here to send a letter to your elected official
* Send a letter to your local newspaper
* Call the White House at 202-456-1111 (or TTY/TDD: 202-456-6213)

Tell them that in order to uphold and defend the Constitution the criminal prosecution of officials - high and low - is an absolutely necessity. Prosecution of Bush-era officials is not retribution, it is the maintenance of law, and the repudiation of torture and other illegal acts.

This is an international grassroots movement. We can't do it without the generous donations of you and thousands of others who believe in justice. Please make a donation by clicking this link now to support this critical effort.
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