Weekly Torture Action Letter: If We Don’t Do It, Others Will
Welcome to the fourth in the Dog’s ongoing letter writing campaign diaries. This has two purposes. First off it is designed to, on weekly basis send the President, the Attorney General, the Justices of the Supreme Court, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid a letter every week discussing one aspect of why we must investigate, indict, and prosecute those that ordered torture and those that carried it out. The other purpose is to provide those that would like to join the Dog in this effort a letter that they can cut and paste or a topic to use as the jumping off point for their own letter.
This week we will make the point that if the United States does not fulfill our obligations, some other country will.
Dear President Obama:
CC: The Justices of the Supreme Court
Attorney General Holder
Speaker of the House Pelosi
Majority Leader Reid
I am writing once again to urge you to fulfill our obligations under Federal Law and the International Conventions Against Torture, and investigate the actions of the previous administration in regards to the State Sponsored Torture program they initiated. We know from the available public statements of Bush Administration officials that water boarding was carried out on at least three prisoners in our custody. This in and of itself should be enough to start an investigation.
I recognize that this is not going to be a politically popular move. There are many in this country that do not feel that torture of potential terrorists is really a crime. However, there were many that did not feel that lynching of African Americans was a crime either. Both of these groups are and were flatly wrong in their assumptions about the law and its application. The statue of Justice is typically depicted with a blindfold on. This is to make the point that justice is only justice when it is applied to all, regardless of who the offenders might be or how they are viewed by segments of society.
As disruptive and divisive as an investigation and prosecution would be, I ask you to imagine what it will be like in this country if another nation takes the lead from us on this issue. This very week, a Spanish Magistrate has said that he would investigate the alleged torture of a Spanish national by the Untied States. This is completely legal under Article Five, Section One, Subsection 3;
1)Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
1.When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
2.When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
3.When the victim was a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.
The Spanish are our NATO allies and there could be nothing more damaging to the alliance than if one country was to indict the former leader of another. To make matters worse, this is not likely to be the last ally whose citizen we have allegedly tortured. We know from their actions against the former dictator Augusto Pinochet that they have the political will to do so.
If we do not act and act soon to bring the rule of law to bare on the previous administration we may have far worse domestic and international problems than we will if we do it ourselves. Do not allow our country to be disrupted and divided more than it has to be. One way or the other the previous Administration will be held accountable for its State Sponsored Torture program. Isn’t it far better if we, as Americans, are the ones to take the needed action?
As you can see from the header on this letter, nearly everyone to whom it is being sent is an officer of the Court, and all of them have sworn to uphold the Constitution. These are obligations that you took on voluntarily, I ask only that you follow those oaths and make sure that the rule of law is something all citizens can believe in. Without that belief, I have grave doubts if this Republic can survive as we have known it. It is in your power to prevent that, please do not let a difficult challenge dissuade you at the cost of our national identity.
That is this week’s letter. If you would, gentle reader, please take the time to send it to the people below, it would be very helpful. The Supreme Court does not accept e-mails so you will have to print it, put it in an envelope and mail it. Surely that is not too hard an effort after what we are asking the President to do?
US Supreme Court, Attention All Justices –
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Bldg.
Washington, DC 20543
The floor is yours.