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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 26, 2017
John W. Whitehead
Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind
George Capaccio
“Beauty of Our Weapons” in the War on Yemen
Ramzy Baroud
Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv: Is Israel Losing the Syria War?
John McMurtry
Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion
Ted Rall
The Democrats Are A Lost Cause
Pete Dolack
Trump’s Re-Negotiation Proposal Will Make NAFTA Worse
Tom Gill
Is Macron Already Faltering?
Ed Kemmick
Empty Charges Erode Trust in Montana Elections
Rev. William Alberts
Fake News? Or Fake Faith?
James Heddle
The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California
Binoy Kampmark
Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures and Race
Jeff Berg
Jonesing for Real Change
Jesse Jackson
The ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission Itself is Fraudulent
July 25, 2017
Paul Street
A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not
David W. Pear
Venezuela on the Edge of Civil War
John Grant
Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike
Charles Pierson
Like Climate Change? You’ll Love the Langevin Amendment
Linda Ford
Feminism Co-opted
Andrew Stewart
Any Regrets About Not Supporting Clinton Last Summer?
Aidan O'Brien
Painting the Irish Titanic Pink
Rob Seimetz
Attitudes Towards Pets vs Attitudes Towards the Natural World
Medea Benjamin
A Global Movement to Confront Drone Warfare
Norman Solomon
When Barbara Lee Doesn’t Speak for Me
William Hawes
What Divides America From the World (and Each Other)
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Chandra Muzaffar
The Bilateral Relationship that Matters
Binoy Kampmark
John McCain: Cancer as Combatant
July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail