Tortured Logic (video): ACLU launches campaign to ask Eric Holder to investigate Bush and Cheney’s war crimes

7.8.09

The ACLU's Accountability for Torture projectYesterday, as part of its “Accountability for Torture” project (to which I contributed here), the ACLU launched a new campaigning video, “Tortured Logic,” in which ten people (including Oliver Stone, Philip Glass and a relative of one of the 9/11 victims) read out passages from the notorious torture memos, issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which were released by the Obama administration in May.

The purpose of the video, as ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero explained on the Huffington Post, is not only to raise awareness of the illegal techniques that were cynically endorsed by the OLC’s lawyers (the very lawyers charged with interpreting the law as it applies to the Executive), but also to encourage Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s crimes.

As Romero wrote:

Recent reports that US Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to investigate illegal torture carried out during the Bush administration is a positive sign, especially given President Obama’s desire to avoid what he has called “a backward-looking” inquiry. When Holder began studying the brutal acts carried out in America’s name, some of them even exceeding the horrors authorized in the infamous Justice Department torture memos, he reportedly said it “turned my stomach.”

Romero also noted that it was “deeply troubling” that reports have also emerged suggesting that any investigation “would focus only on low-level interrogators and contract employees,” and explained why the appointment of a independent prosecutor — put in place without limits on the scope of his or her investigations — remains of paramount importance:

There is ample evidence already in the public domain that the widespread and systemic torture of detainees was authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration. This evidence comes from congressional reports, the torture memos themselves and even the boastful admissions of officials including former vice president Dick Cheney, who has been aggressively forthright in his defense of waterboarding. But notwithstanding all this evidence, there are still those who would reduce the authorization of these crimes by government officials to discretionary policy decisions. This cannot be the case in a nation where the rule of law means anything.

The video is available below (via YouTube), but please visit the ACLU’s “Tortured Logic” page for information about how, with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can share it with friends and, most importantly, send a message to the Attorney General asking him to do the right thing, and to begin the essential process of reclaiming America’s moral stature in the world, to ensure that no one, least of all the occupants of the White House, is above the law.

Remember, if Eric Holder fails to act, it will send a clear message that the President, the Vice President and their closest advisors can break the law with impunity — and shape America into a nation that tortures — so long as they’re voted out of office at the end.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

For a sequence of articles dealing with the use of torture by the CIA, on “high-value detainees,” and in the secret prisons, see: Guantánamo’s tangled web: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, dubious US convictions, and a dying man (July 2007), Jane Mayer on the CIA’s “black sites,” condemnation by the Red Cross, and Guantánamo’s “high-value” detainees (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) (August 2007), Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008), Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now? And What About the Torture? (February 2008), The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Confirms FBI’s Doubts (April 2008), Guantánamo Trials: Another Torture Victim Charged (Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, July 2008), Secret Prison on Diego Garcia Confirmed: Six “High-Value” Guantánamo Prisoners Held, Plus “Ghost Prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (August 2008), Will the Bush administration be held accountable for war crimes? (December 2008), The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part One) and The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part Two) (December 2008), Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers (March 2009), Abu Zubaydah: The Futility Of Torture and A Trail of Broken Lives (March 2009), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part One), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two), 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow Condemns Bush Torture Program, Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah?, CIA Torture Began In Afghanistan 8 Months before DoJ Approval, Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low (all April 2009), Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Has Died In A Libyan Prison , Dick Cheney And The Death Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, The “Suicide” Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: Why The Media Silence?, Two Experts Cast Doubt On Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s “Suicide”, Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney On Use Of Torture To Invade Iraq, In the Guardian: Death in Libya, betrayal by the West (in the Guardian here), Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney’s Iraq Lies Again (And Rumsfeld And The CIA) (all May 2009) and WORLD EXCLUSIVE: New Revelations About The Torture Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (June 2009). Also see the extensive archive of articles about the Military Commissions.

For other stories discussing the use of torture in secret prisons, see: An unreported story from Guantánamo: the tale of Sanad al-Kazimi (August 2007), Rendered to Egypt for torture, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni is released from Guantánamo (September 2008), A History of Music Torture in the “War on Terror” (December 2008), Seven Years of Torture: Binyam Mohamed Tells His Story (March 2009), and also see the extensive Binyam Mohamed archive. And for other stories discussing torture at Guantánamo and/or in “conventional” US prisons in Afghanistan, see: The testimony of Guantánamo detainee Omar Deghayes: includes allegations of previously unreported murders in the US prison at Bagram airbase (August 2007), Guantánamo Transcripts: “Ghost” Prisoners Speak After Five And A Half Years, And “9/11 hijacker” Recants His Tortured Confession (September 2007), The Trials of Omar Khadr, Guantánamo’s “child soldier” (November 2007), Former US interrogator Damien Corsetti recalls the torture of prisoners in Bagram and Abu Ghraib (December 2007), Guantánamo’s shambolic trials (February 2008), Torture allegations dog Guantánamo trials (March 2008), Sami al-Haj: the banned torture pictures of a journalist in Guantánamo (April 2008), Former Guantánamo Prosecutor Condemns “Chaotic” Trials in Case of Teenage Torture Victim (Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld on Mohamed Jawad, January 2009), Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo’s Forgotten Child (Mohammed El-Gharani, January 2009), Bush Era Ends With Guantánamo Trial Chief’s Torture Confession (Susan Crawford on Mohammed al-Qahtani, January 2009), Forgotten in Guantánamo: British Resident Shaker Aamer (March 2009), A Child At Guantánamo: The Unending Torment of Mohamed Jawad (June 2009) and the extensive archive of articles about the Military Commissions.

4 Responses

  1. Tortured Logic: ACLU launches campaign to ask Eric Holder to investigate Bush and Cheney’s war crimes by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] by Andy Worthington Featured Writer Dandelion Salad http://www.andyworthington.co.uk 8 Aug. 2009 […]

  2. Women and mosques, Afghan War Books, | Tea Break says...

    […] Tortured Logic (video): ACLU launches campaign to ask Eric Holder to investigate Bush and Cheney’s… […]

  3. Sharon Tipton says...

    Thank you so much for doing this. We need to keep the petitions, the phone calls, the protests alive. Torture is illegal under US Code Title 18, which I got to remind Judge Jay Bybee about, in a loud voice in his Pasadena Courtroom. Justice is nothing to making a fool of.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Sharon. Keep up the good work!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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