FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ending Torture, Prosecuting the Torturers

Recently released reports confirm that the United States still has very important unfinished business with regard to torture. Civilians at the highest levels of government as well as military generals have committed crimes. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger, and documents from 2003 and 2004 provide further evidence that the White House endorsed the use of torture. The Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of State, Intelligence, and other leadership have all been complicit. Congressional leadership has been far too passive and encouraged these acts. These are bipartisan crimes. They are crimes against the United States and the world community.

As usual, we read in the press that no one will prosecute these crimes. They will if we insist.

We need to criminally prosecute the perpetrators. We must prosecute them because low-level soldiers ordered to do their bidding have been prosecuted. Soldiers who served at Bagram and Abu Ghraib have been court-martialed for the heinous acts they were ordered to and urged to perform on detainees. These soldiers, sons and daughters from decent, ordinary American families, are serving life sentences for betraying their oath. It is time that their leaders who ordered them to betray their oath face the music. No one gets a pass just because they are high up.

These leaders not only consider themselves above the law, but above the United States. We need to prosecute them to reaffirm who we are as Americans. We are not vicious torturers. These people have no place in our city on the hill.

In September, the Massachusetts School of Law hosted a conference that resulted in ordinary American citizens coming together and forming a Steering Committee to develop the political will and the actual prosecution of these high-level civilians and military leaders. We ask all persons of goodwill to join us in this effort.

The range of actions we encourage are:

1) impeaching President George Bush before he leaves office particularly if prior to leaving office he tries to pardon himself and those who have done his bidding in violation of United States law. In the absence of that impeachment and consistent with precedent we should impeach him after he leaves office for crimes committed. Impeachment would ensure that President Bush could not hold any federal office on commission etc. for the rest of his life.

2) impeaching Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit. Judge Bybee signed the infamous August 1, 2002 torture memo ascribed also to Professor John Yoo at the University of Berkeley School of Law. It shocks the conscience that a person who enabled torture is permitted to sit on a federal bench.

3) criminally prosecuting high-level civilians in state courts. The legendary Vincent Bugliosi knows how to do it.

4) criminally prosecuting civilian and military leaders in federal and military courts. There are 2700 state prosecutors across the country. American families all over have suffered the loss of a loved one or live with an injured member who served in wars started by President George Bush. Some of these families are willing to assist their state prosecutors in seeking criminal trials. If a sufficient number of these cases are brought forth, a federal prosecutor might initiate a prosecution, notwithstanding Attorney General Mukasey’s unwillingness to faithfully execute our federal laws with regard to criminal prosecution of these leaders.

5) removing from academia former Bush administration officials who created and put in place the torture policies and practices. Ordering and abetting torture has nothing to do with academic freedom.

6) encouraging, to the extent courts allow, “citizen prosecutors” to exercise citizen mandamus and step in to prosecute where their state or federal prosecutors have failed to act. This was attempted recently in Minnesota to permit a citizen arrest of President Bush for murder if he came into St. Paul to attend the Republican Convention.

7) organizing peaceful civil actions that convey to those holding the levers of power in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches that we intend to vindicate United States law and United States international obligations and hold them accountable.

8) Seeking assistance from foreign and international tribunals to make sure that these perpetrators serve time for their crimes.

It is abundantly clear that President George Bush ordered torture. By dehumanizing others through torture and murder he dehumanizes America and Americans. Criminal prosecution is a viable means to demonstrate the importance for Americans of the most basic rules of US and international law. Let the world know that we are not barbarians.

BENJAMIN G. DAVIS is an Association Professor of Law at the University of Toledo School of Law.

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail