Happy Monday and welcome to my letter writing campaign for accountability under the law for the apparent torture program of the Bush administration. The point of this effort is to keep the issue of accountability alive. We all know there are other critical issues, and the President and many in the Congress would rather deal with those than an issue that is going to be as divisive as this one.

"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"

The way it works is every Monday I write a letter to decision makers urging them to fulfill their responsibilities in regards to fully investigation credible allegations of torture. A copy of the letter is sent to the President, the Attorney General, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the Chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. This week we will try something a little different, we are going to write the entire House Judiciary Committee. It is a little more work to contact them all, but I have done the leg work, all you have to do is send the letters. You can either cut and paste the one I worte over your signature or you can use the points presented for your own letter. The important thing is that you act to show this issue is not going to go away just because it is being neglected.

Below is this week”s letter:

Dear Judiciary Chair Conyers:

I write you today to ask for your help in your position as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. It is my understanding that your Committee has oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. As such you have the ability to call the Attorney General and his staff before your committee and ask them pointed questions about the operations of the DoJ.

It is in this capacity I need your help. Chairman Conyers it is no surprise that there was a torture program under the Bush Administration. Senior members of that administration have, under oath, admitted to the torture, by waterboarding, of three prisoners. We have other statements in the press and under oath that show a pattern of acts, which individually and in their totality rise to the level of torture, both under our statutes and the International Conventions Against Torture.

Up to know the Obama Administration has taken the “a few bad apples” approach in regards to investigation. They have appointed a career prosecutor to investigate the few known times where the actions of interrogators had clearly exceeded the atrocious Yoo and Bybee memos. While this seems to fall short of the requirements of the rule of law, it does seem to fall within the bounds of prosecutorial discretion.

However, these previously publicly known acts are far from the whole story. The recent revelation that about the so-called Guantanamo suicides of 2006 brings the whole premise of this limited investigation into question.

The Harper’s Magazine article detailing the inconsistencies between the official report and the eyewitness testimony of U.S. military personnel are stunning. Also stunning is the DoJ seemly perfunctory investigation of this new information.

Chairman Conyers, I urge you to call the Attorney General to testify about what is known internally at the DoJ about these new allegations and why the investigation has not moved forward. If the answers are not satisfactory to you, then I urge your committee to fully investigate the handling of these deaths from start to finish. I do not have to tell you that it is the role of Congress to oversee the performance of the Executive Branch Departments. If a cover up was ordered, then it is your Committee who is responsible for bringing it out in the open.

I understand this is not an easy thing I am asking. The Republican Party has a vested interest in protecting the actions of its last president from criminal scrutiny. However, you were a member of the Congress when Rep. Barbara Jordan famously said

“My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.” By failing to investigate these credible allegations of torture we as a nation are saying our laws do not apply to the powerful or will not be applied if it is politically difficult. This is a direct blow to the rule of law and the Constitution which is the base of our Republic.

I ask you Chairman Conyers is you faith in the Constitution as strong as Rep. Jordan’s? If it is, even though it is a hard thing to do, convening hearings into the possible death by torture of three of our prisoners is the right thing to do.


cc: House Judiciary Committee

That was the letter now for some links. There are a lot, but by the goal this week is to start a buzz within the Committee and to get the Representatives talking about this issue.

Rep. Conyers
Rep. Boucher
Rep Nadler
(New York Zip code to get past filter 11235)
Rep. Scott
(Rep Scott does not let just anyone E-mail him, so you can send a fax to – FAX (202) 225-8354)
Rep. Watt
Rep. Lofgren
(Rep. Lofgren will not reply to out of district but she will let you e-mail her)

Rep. Jackson Lee
Rep. Waters
Rep. Delahunt
Rep. Wexler
(Rep. Wexler will not accept e-mails from anyone not in his district, but you can fax him at fax: (202) 225-5974)
Rep. Cohen
Rep. Johnson
Rep. Quigley
Rep. Gutierrez
Rep. Sherman
(you will need a California Zip Code to get through the filter here, use 96002)
Rep. Baldwin
Rep. Baldwin
Rep. Gonzalez
Rep. Weiner
Rep. Schiff
(Again you will need a CA Zip code and city use Redding and 96002)
Rep. Sanchez
(Rep Sanchez filters her e-mail, kind of cowardly to my way of thinking, but you can fax her at Washington 202-226-1012)
Rep. Wasserman-Shultz
(You will need a Zip plus four to contact the Representative, use 33026-6037, it is the zip for her district office.)
Rep. Maffei
(This Representative understands that someone on in his district still might need to contact him and provides a non-constituent contact form. Good for Rep Maffei! )
Rep. Smith
Rep. Sensenbrenner
(Use the Zip code of the Reps district office which is 53005 )
Rep. Coble
Rep. Gallegly – (Rep. Gallegly hides from non-constituents e-mails too, so send him a fax at FAX: (202) 225-1100)
Rep. Goodlatte
(Rep. Goodlatte filters by Zip code too, use 24504-1600)
Rep. Lungren
(Rep. Lungren hides from the people as well, use a Redding city address, like 123 main, and 90062 for the zip)
Rep. Issa
Rep. Forbes http://forbes.house.gov/zipauth.html
(He also uses the filter so use Zip code 23320-5178)
Rep. King
Rep. Franks
(Rep. Franks filters, so use 85305-8555 as the zip code)
Rep. Gohmert
(Filter, use 75901-3252)
Rep. Jordan
(Filter, use 44902-1209)
Rep. Poe
(use 123 Main, Kingwood TX 77339)
Rep. Chaffetz
(the Rep from Utah hides from the people not of his district by e-mail, but you can fax him at (202) 225-5629)
Rep. Rooney
(another Rep. who hides, fax him at (202) 225-3132)
Rep. Harper
(Rep. Harper does not even give a Washington address, but you can fax him at 601.420.2223)

Now it is all up to you. Is your faith in the Constitution strong enough to take a few minutes to help assure it is not subverted?

The floor is yours.

Bill Egnor

Bill Egnor

I am a life long Democrat from a political family. Work wise I am a Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement project manager) and Freelance reporter for Govtrak.org