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Dear Friends,

We are on the cusp of perhaps the most significant development in our multi-year quest for accountability:

Multiple sources are reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder is likely to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate possible crimes committed by and under the authority of the Bush Administration – particularly as they relate to the use of torture.

Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind: such an appointment is critical to the integrity of our system of government.   As you know, I have been pushing for such accountability for quite some time.

All of the evidence publicly available raises significant questions as to whether the Bush Administration or interrogators violated the law regarding the authorization and use of interrogation techniques.  Such techniques such as excessive waterboarding and extreme physical brutality likely violated existing American law and international treaties against torture and led to the death of prisoners held in US custody.

The Attorney General testified in the Judiciary Committee recently: "If somebody was tortured to death, clearly a crime would have occurred."

There are those who fear that an investigation will distract and divide us at a time when we need to focus on very pressing issues such as health care, the economy, and foreign policy.  The truth is that we can and must do both. Just as we must repair our health care and economic system, we must also repair of system of justice.

The appointment of a Special Prosecutor has nothing to do with politics.  It has to do with the seriousness of the allegations and the evidence that supports them.

In fact, by appointing a Special Prosecutor – the Department of Justice separates itself from the investigation, allowing the evidence to be considered totally independent of political or institutional influences.

I refuse to believe that many Americans, regardless of their political leanings, would want any President, Vice President, or Cabinet official to exist above the law.  That is not democracy.

Should we fail to investigate alleged abuses of power – even at this late date – we concede our rights and set dangerous precedents for the future.

Enforcement of our laws preserves the balance of power – not simply between branches of government – but between citizens and their elected leaders.

Sincerely,

Congressman Robert Wexler

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Originally posted to Wexler For Congress Campaign on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:07 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  It is IMPERATIVE to shine sunlight on this. (12+ / 0-)

      Especially since Congress wouldn't consider Impeachment back when we found out about it.

      Thank you Congressman!

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:10:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you Rep wexler! (8+ / 0-)

      We need more folks like you in Congress.  Do we need to pass an independent prosecutor law, if only for constitutional violations?  

      "Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House." -Bob Herbert

      by Nada Lemming on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:12:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Way To Go. Cong. Wexler! (7+ / 0-)

      Push, pull or shove as hard as you can to make this happen.

      Thank you for your courage and please help restore the rule of law to our country.

      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

      by mattman on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:12:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dear, Congressmen Wexler (6+ / 0-)

      I STRONGLY support H.Res 383 and strongly urge you to ask Speaker Pelosi to ask the House Rules committee to move it forward so that we may have open Congressional oversight and review of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their policies.

      For those who are not aware of H.Res 383 I will be have a diary up on the matter about it tommorrow

      This bill has been overlooked for a while now, having been first introduced on April 30th. My hat tip goes to slangist who first brought this House Resolution to my attention in a diary titled Help Congress Bite Back On Torture. We should not let this bill die quietly in committee.

          H.Res 383 has been referred to the House Rules Committee since first being introduced. The House Rules committee currently has 9 sitting Democrats as oppossed to 4 Republicans, so there should be no reason that we cannot get this H.Res put into effect soon.

         The question is if our Legislative branch is up to the task. That is where we come in.

      End the cover up

          If formed, the committee will consist of 4 members of the House chosen by the Speaker and 3 members chosen by the minority leader. The Speaker of the House shall determine who will chair this committee

         You can view H.Res 383 in full here at Govtrack.com

         Why is this committee proposed?

      Whereas the Patriot Act gave the Government the authority to spy on and collect information about innocent Americans;

      Whereas the National Security Agency spied on Americans for seven years without a warrant in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment;

      Whereas the FISA Amendments Act authorized the Government to collect the content of communications coming into and out of the United States without an individualized order and without any suspicion of wrongdoing;

      Whereas Congress has amended our surveillance laws many times since the tragedy of September 11 yet has not received meaningful information about how these new authorities have been used;

      Whereas there is no public information about how any of these powerful surveillance tools are currently being used;

      Whereas the three provisions of the Patriot Act will be sunsetting on December 31, 2009, and Congress will need to review and amend the surveillance laws this year;

      Whereas the United States has Federal laws, including Federal criminal laws, that prohibit the torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of any person in the custody of, or under the control of, the Federal Government;

      Whereas in contravention of Federal laws against torture and abuse, and beginning as early as spring of 2002, the Federal Government began to use torture and abuse during the detention and interrogation of its detainees, and to transfer detainees to countries that historically have used torture and abuse during interrogation and detention;

      Whereas important decisions on the development and implementation of United States policy on interrogations and detention were made by top White House officials, including presidential directives to set up CIA detention practices, attempting to bar the application of the protections of the Geneva Conventions to certain detainees, and former President George W. Bush’s public acknowledgment that he knew his top advisors were meeting to plan and approve interrogations and that he ‘approved it’;

      Whereas despite the deliberate efforts by top Government officials to hide the use of torture and abuse by barring the International Committee of the Red Cross from visiting detainees held in a secret CIA prison network, destroying 92 videotapes of interrogations, and refusing to provide, even to important standing committees of Congress, key legal memorandums that reportedly were written to try to justify torture and abuse, more than 100,000 pages of already released Government interrogation and detention documents show a deliberate and systematic program of Government-ordered torture and abuse.

          Do you really need anymore reasons to Loudly support this Resolution?

          What do you think we mean by Yelling Louder? It's the only way to be heard!

          Well, now I'm going to ask you to Yell Better, and Smarter too.

          So, what would this committee do?

      The select committee is authorized to--

      (1) require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance and testimony of any person (including at a taking of a deposition by counsel or consultant of the committee), and the production of such things; and

      (2) adopt a rule regulating the taking of depositions by a member, counsel, or consultant of the committee, including pursuant to subpoena.

      ~snip~

      The select committee shall report to the House from time to time the results of its investigations and studies as it may deem advisable. At least one public report shall be filed with the House not later than December 31, 2009, and shall include legislative recommendations based on its findings.

          Subpoena's you say? A public report you say?

          So, what can the House Rules committee do with H.Res 383?

      H/T to Casual Wedsnseday

          Often called the "Speaker's Committee" the Rules Committee effectively functions as an extension of the House leadership. The Rules Committee is unique in that the Speaker hand selects her party's members of the committee. This means that the Speaker essential has almost total control over the committee.

      ~snip~

          The special rules also allows for bills to come up for consideration out of turn. According to chamber rules, bills are considered in the chronological order that they are listed on the House calendar. Because of this rule, important bills might not be considered before adjournment. The Rules Committee has the power to give a bill priority, effectively moving it to the front of the queue.

      Considered Forthwith: The House Rules Committee

      Thank you so much for everything you do, Congressmen Wexler. I shall continue to support you and in your call for action, and I truly hope that when this committee is named you will be chosen to chair it.

      Thank you

      Sincerely,

      MoT

      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

      by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:17:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope this is true (10+ / 0-)

    It would be unconscionable to not prosecute the war crimes of the last 8 years.

    Thanks for all your work on this Rep. Wexler. I will never forget everything you did to try to hold the Bush admin accountable while most of congress put their fingers in their collective ears.  

    "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

    by heart of a quince on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:10:12 AM PDT

  •  Missing central element of announcement... (4+ / 0-)

    and this is

    The Justice Department official who confirmed the likelihood of an inquiry said it was not likely to focus on those legal opinions, the lawyers who wrote them or anyone who acted within the boundaries they set, even though the ground rules for interrogations have shifted.

    If an inquiry moves forward, it will attempt mainly to determine whether any interrogators acted outside the rules that were in place, and if so, whether they should be prosecuted. Some such excesses are thought to have occurred.

    Those who followed the criticized "torture legal memos" will not be challenged.  Waterboarding if following those detailed prescriptions will, in fact, be confirmed as legal under Holder's planed investigation.

  •  I was about to write off Eric Holder. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, polecat, tomjones, Nica24, allenjo

    But now I think I'll give him another week.

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:11:53 AM PDT

  •  Make it so. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, polecat

    /jeanlucpicard

  •  Thank you Congressman Wexler for being for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, allenjo

    whats right before many saw what has been clear to us at Daily Kos for so long.

  •  Sooner rather then later... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diogenes2008, allenjo

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Wexler for Speaker!

    "It's a gay witches for abortion party Flanders, you wouldn't be interested." - Homer Simpson

    by angry liberaltarian on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:19:30 AM PDT

  •  Please make sure to not let the Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    and the media spin their own storyline on this!  Usually the dems suck at messaging!  

    This isn't and shouldn't be about politics.  And I want every body to know it and talk that way!

  •  Serious question (0+ / 0-)

    And what will Congress do if/when Holder's proxy determines that nothing illegal or immoral occurred during the prosecution of the "war on terror"?

    Given the reaction we've been seeing all along to all mentions of torturing those held captive in America's prisons, I think it's frankly naive to think that there isn't a better than fifty-fifty chance that will be the ultimate conclusion.

    My point is: why wait for Holder to step up? Why doesn't Congress take it upon itself to act as America's immune system, baseless cries of partisan rancor be damned?

  •  In the court of world... (0+ / 0-)

    ...opinion, not addressing this issue and sweeping it under the rug will have the same negative effect as the original crimes. Simply proclaiming we won't do it again does not address crimes already committed.
    A legal opinion is just that - an opinion and does not absolve anyone.

    The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true. J. Robert Oppenheimer {-8.25 / -5.64}

    by carver on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:26:01 AM PDT

  •  Congressional investigation is ill-advised (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ajr111240, allenjo

    and unnecessary.  The Department of Justice has all the tools necessary . .. UNLESS Rep. Wexler is proposing public hearings with Rumsfeld, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Bybee, Tenet, Rice and Bush under oath and with only limited immunity.

    Otherwise, Congress should press for indictments, prosecution and conviction of the criminals.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:30:32 AM PDT

  •  McJoan from today's front page (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    It's up there right now.

    Not to minimize the seriousness of this breach [Cheney personally ordering the CIA to withhold information from Congress], because the Vice President ordering an agency over which he--as Vice President with Constitutional authority over nothing--had no authority over, but where in the hell have these people been for the past eight years? This is the administration that tortured. That instituted illegal spying on who knows how many Americans for who knows what reason. Outrage now, while appreciated, is several years too late.

    Congressman, we have had greater confidence in Democrats' dedication to the rule of law in days already gone by.

    The "Time to Answer for Torture", as you state, is not "now" - it was years ago.  I am a liberal progressive, but I have become a registered Independent, and Democrats need to earn me back, partly because of their lack of action on issues such as this.

    I'm not the only one, and Democrats have a lot to show me before I re-subscribe.

    "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self . . ." - M. Sanford

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:42:53 AM PDT

  •  I was wondering what happened to you. (0+ / 0-)

    We need more fire breathing around Congress these days.

    They [GOP] haven't clear logical ideas on one single subject except a sturdy, solid opposition to all change. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    by mscharizmaa on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:45:34 AM PDT

  •  Congressman Wexler, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo
    Thank you for your consistent advocacy for justice and legal accountability for torture.

    My husband was a Vietnam vet who survived torture. Dan suffered from his injuries for over thirty years, until his fatal heart attack four years ago. Since then, my mission has been to stop torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States, and to have those responsible held legally accountable. I hope we can work together to push for this to happen.

         With gratitude, and
    Standing with you, for justice and accountability,
              For Dan,
              Heather  

    Please vote your support for DFA Netroots Nation 09 Scholarship applicants.

    by Chacounne on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:47:16 AM PDT

  •  In what sane world...? (0+ / 0-)

    Per my comment elsewhere:

    How can there be any question that this would be investigated and people prosecuted?  In what sane world would ignoring it even be an option?

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 01:07:05 PM PDT

  •  IF they won't Prosecute You won't get SinglePayer (0+ / 0-)

    IT TAKES THE SAME PERSONAL COURAGE FOR BOTH.

    "The truth is that we can and must do both. Just as we must repair our health care and economic system, we must also repair (our) system of justice."

    If our Democrats get away with refusing to prosecute
    You can be sure you will not get Single Payer or much of anything else worth having from them.

    PUSH'EM HARD To Prosecute

    SIGN THE PETITIONS HERE ==>>  

    .

    SIGN THE PETITION To Prosecute Bush's Torturers at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG Over 250,000 signed - Add your Signature Today

    by 1stProtestInTheStreet on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 04:10:27 PM PDT

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