FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Don’t Disappear Into a Black Hole

by ANDREW WIMMER

This is a simple appeal addressed to anyone who has read about United States secret detention and torture in the past year and thought, “This has got to stop.” Over the course of the next 48 hours we all need to show up at the offices of our Senators and Representatives so that other human beings don’t disappear.

Without our intervention, the United States Congress, before it recesses on Friday, is poised to hand George W. Bush dictatorial powers to apprehend and secretly detain anyone, anywhere in the world. In essence, disappearing them into a black hole from which they will have no legal recourse. And the law contains no provision for expiration.
On September 6 Bush admitted the existence of a CIA program of extraordinary rendition, secret detention and torture. He called on Congress to authorize the program’s continuation and to pass legislation that would indemnify those who had already participated against being charged with war crimes. On September 15 he reiterated that call and issued an ultimatum:

“I have one test for this legislation. I’m going to ask one question, as this legislation proceeds, and it’s this: The intelligence community must be able to tell me that the bill Congress sends to my desk will allow this vital program to continue. That’s what I’m going to ask.”

And what does the program include? The apprehension and detention of human beings anywhere in the world at the discretion of the President.

The ability to hold them secretly and without charge indefinitely, and, by denying them habeas corpus rights, the ability to use whatever means of interrogation and punishment the Administration deems necessary during their imprisonment.

“So Congress has got a decision to make,” Bush said. “You want the program to go forward or not? I strongly recommend that this program go forward in order for us to be able to protect America.”

On September 20, after a week of negotiating with John McCain and others, Bush announced that he was happy with the “compromise” that had been reached. “The agreement clears the way to do what the American people expect us to do: to capture terrorists, to detain terrorists, to question terrorists and then to try them.”

Sometime today, tomorrow or Friday, the United States Congress will vote on whether to give George W. Bush authority to continue his program. As he says, they’ve got their decision to make. And we have ours. We need to show up to tell our legislators that what we, the American people, expect is something quite other than what Bush demands. We expect them to put an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition, to ensure that the Writ of Habeas Corpus is upheld for everyone, and that the United States firmly renounces the use of torture.

We have spent enough time on the sidelines. As Bush defiantly claims the right to disappear human beings at will, we must now appear in person to denounce his actions and demand that his administration be stopped.

During the next 48 hours, set aside business as usual. Gather your friends and colleagues and present yourself at the local office of your US Representative or Senator. Refuse to leave until you are satisfied. If need be, get arrested. Send another group later in the day. And another. And Thursday and Friday likewise.

Over the past year powerful testimonies have accumulated. We’ve heard of the involvement of doctors and other medical professionals in the torture of detainees. Many legal scholars have painstakingly exposed the ways in which this administration has perverted US and international law. Men and women in the military have blown the whistle on practices that demean their profession. Ethicists and theologians have decried the perversion of our most deeply held beliefs.

Today and tomorrow people from all these walks of life-doctors, nurses, judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, students, soldiers, ministers-and more need to show up and make their voices heard. Urge them to join you. Let us disrupt business as usual, even risking arrest, for the sake of those who would disappear.

By Friday evening, if Congress has passed this odious legislation, we will have allowed our own fears to drive us to embrace the very things we claim to despise. We will have sanctioned the relegating to a black hole any man or woman George W. Bush so chooses. We will have set the seal on the change that was begun on September 11, 2001, affirming to ourselves and the world that everything really did change that day.

Don’t disappear. For 48 hours stop all the fine things that you normally do and show up. Don’t be a bystander to the disappearing of human beings, our rights and our voice.

We are starting our actions this morning in St. Louis. We will post pictures, videos, and whatever else we have about our actions to a website, DONTDISAPPEAR.ORG.

Send us your accounts and pictures and we will add them as well.

ANDREW WIMMER offers this on behalf of the members of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis in Saint Louis and our Stop Torture Now campaign. He can be reached at: awimmer@newcommunities.net

 

 

More articles by:
January 18, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Destabilizer: Trump’s Escalating Threats Against Iran
John W. Whitehead
Silence Is Betrayal: Get Up, Stand Up, Speak Up for Your Rights
Andrew Day
Of “Shitholes” and Liberals
Dave Lindorff
Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power About the Real Reason Korea Has Nukes
Barbara G. Ellis
The Workplace War: Hatpins Might Be in Style Again for Women
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Sickness in May’s Britain
Ralph Nader
Twitter Rock Star Obama’s Silence Must Delight Trump
John G. Russell
#Loose Lips (Should) Sink … Presidencies … But Even If They Could, What Comes Next?
David Macaray
The “Mongrelization” of the White Race
Ramzy Baroud
In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence
January 17, 2018
Seiji Yamada
Prevention is the Only Solution: a Hiroshima Native’s View of Nuclear Weapons
Chris Welzenbach
Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir
Thomas Klikauer
The Business of Bullshit
Howard Lisnoff
The Atomized and Siloed U.S. Left
Martha Rosenberg
How Big Pharma Infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science
George Wuerthner
The Collaboration Trap
David Swanson
Removing Trump Will Require New Activists
Michael McKinley
Australia and the Wars of the Alliance: United States Strategy
Binoy Kampmark
Macron in China
Cesar Chelala
The Distractor-in-Chief
Ted Rall
Why Trump is Right About Newspaper Libel Laws
Mary Serumaga
Corruption in Uganda: Minister Sam Kutesa and Company May Yet Survive Their Latest Scandal
January 16, 2018
Mark Schuller
What is a “Shithole Country” and Why is Trump So Obsessed With Haiti?
Paul Street
Notes From a “Shithole” Superpower
Louisa Willcox
Keeper of the Flame for Wilderness: Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Sinister Plan to Kill the Iranian “Nukes” Deal
Franklin Lamb
Kafkaesque Impediments to Challenging Iran’s Theocracy
Norman Solomon
Why Senator Cardin is a Fitting Opponent for Chelsea Manning
Fred Gardner
GI Coffeehouses Recalled: a Compliment From General Westmoreland
Brian Terrell
Solidarity from Central Cellblock to Guantanamo
Don Fitz
Bondage Scandal: Looking Beneath the Surface
Rob Seimetz
#Resist Co-opting “Shithole”
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Unique
January 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Democrats and the End(s) of Politics
Paul Tritschler
Killing Floor: the Business of Animal Slaughter
Mike Garrity
In Targeting the Lynx, the Trump Administration Defies Facts, Law, and Science Once Again
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Hong Kong Politics: a Never-Ending Farce
Uri Avnery
Bibi’s Son (Or Three Men in a Car)
Dave Lindorff
Yesterday’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Can Become Classy Places Donald, and Vice Versa
Jeff Mackler
Lesser Evil Politics in Alabama
Jonah Raskin
Typewriters Still Smoking? An Interview with Underground Press Maven John McMillan
Jose-Antonio Orosco
Trump’s Comments Recall a Racist Past in Immigration Policy
David Macaray
Everything Seems to Be Going South
Kathy Kelly
41 Hearts Beating in Guantanamo
Weekend Edition
January 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
George Burchett
Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail