CommunityMy FDLSeminal

Torture Accountablity Letter 7 – OPR Report

Happy Monday and welcome to my letter writing campaign for torture accountability. Last week was not a good week for the cause. The release of the Office of Professional Responsibility report with the conclusion that Mr. Yoo and Judge Bybee showed only poor judgment in their ginning up of legal cover for torture is a travesty. The Associate Attorney General David Margolis overrode the two previous versions of the report which called for them to be referred to their local Bar Associations for professional misconduct. Instead they are very mildly admonished and let go their merry way.

"Originally posted at"

There is still an avenue to pursue and that is House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. I would love to tell you this was going to be a place where things will be different, but the reality is that it is likely to be a lot of smoke and very little fire. However giving up is not an option, at least me. So let’s take all the shots we can and keep this issue alive.

Today we will be writing to Judiciary Chair Conyers, below is this weeks letter:

Dear Representative Conyers;

I write you today in the hopes that you, in your role as Judiciary Committee Chairman will act to redress a grave injustice. You are aware of the release of the long awaited Office of Professional Responsibility report in the matter of the so-called Torture Memos.

The conclusion that this report comes to has widely been reported to be the work of Associate Attorney General Margolis. He overrode the conclusion of the report that Judge Bybee and Professor Yoo should be referred to their State Bar Associations for disciplinary action.

Under normal circumstances this might be an acceptable conclusion, if the matter they were being sanctioned for were not so serious. It has become clearer over time that Mr. Yoo and Judge Bybee actions were intended to facilitate the circumvention of Federal Law and International Treaties. There are only two conclusions for the actions of these men, either they are so incompetent as attorneys as to be unfit to be members of the Bar or they acted in a way that was premeditated to provide a particular outcome.

Chairman, that outcome was the torture of United States prisoners. Torture is anathema to civilized societies. It is so dangerous that it is kept in check only by absolute prohibition and strong punishment of any perpetrators. Recent history shows that once torture becomes accepted by a society it only ever grows in its use, until such a time as it is prosecuted and punished.

The actions of AAG Margolis have put this nation on a course where it is likely we will torture again. Without being able to put pressure on Mr. Yoo and Judge Bybee we are less likely to be able to find the scope of this infection and address it.

We will be treated to the sight of a former Vice President bragging about his support for what are war crimes that the United States has formerly prosecuted. This will not be the last time that this will happen, as the goal of the group who perpetrated these crimes to so normalize them as to make prosecution impossible.

You have it in your power to stop this course, Chairman Conyers. I did not favor the Congress starting full scale investigations as long as there was a chance that the Department of Justice would act in accordance with the law. It is now clear they will only act to cover up their own failings in this regard, and so it falls the Congress to provide oversight and clarity.

This will not be a popular course. The Republicans in Congress has a vested political interest in having the misdeeds of one of their presidents and Executive Branches not be tarnished by the second worst crime imaginable. They will make this out as political witch-hunt. However, Mr. Chairman, you should not reward a strategy that was part and parcel of the crime by inaction. The very fact of the political difficulty in prosecution is what allowed them to take these heinous actions. If you validate this tactic by inaction, as the DoJ seems to be intent on doing, then you all but grantee that this tactic will be used repeatedly by unscrupulous administrations in the future.

We are a crossroads Rep. Conyers; if we can not investigate and prosecute those in high office that conspire to and order the commission of torture, then where is the check on executive power? Is murder of prisoners up for consideration? It is the only crime higher than torture. If we do not draw line and re-assert accountability under the law then the future of our Republic is at stake.

These are strong words and I do not use them lightly. I do not see how a nation founded to of laws and not men can survive if those who achieve high political office can commit war crimes with impunity. It would as if after 234 years we have reestablished an aristocracy and have one set of laws for the lords and another for the commoners.

I beg you as a citizen who cares for and believes in our system of government not to participate in this wound to the to Republic by inaction or tepid action. Do no leave this mess to future generations to clean up.


cc: President Barack Obama
Attorney General Holder
Speaker Pelosi
Majority Leader Reid
Judiciary Chair Leahy
Rep. Jerry Nadler

There is the letter, below are the links:
Rep John Conyers – Judiciary Committee Chair

The White House, Attention President Obama
AG Holder, can be reached at Be sure to put Attention then his name in the subject line.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Majority Leader Harry Reid
Chairman Leahy
Representative Jerry Nadler
(to get past Rep. Nadler’s filter use Zip Code 11224-4561 and the address of 445 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY)

Please, if you have read this series, or are reading it today, don’t just shrug and turn away. If on no other Monday write and let your voice be heard for the rule of law.

The floor is yours.

Previous post

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) To Introduce DADT Repeal Bill in Senate

Next post

Daily Health Care News - 2/22/10

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

1 Comment