Congressman Nadler Asks for Special Prosecutor for Torture

Congressman Jerrold Nadler has just publicly asked that the Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor. Please THANK HIM, and please ask him and ask your congress member to jointly send to Eric Holder the letter that Nadler and 55 other congress members sent to Michael Mukasey requesting a special prosecutor last summer, or an updated version thereof.

Here is a release from Nadler’s office:

CONGRESSMAN JERROLD NADLER
8th Congressional District of New York
Nadler Applauds Obama Administration’s Transparency on Torture Memos
Renews Call for Special Prosecutor and Congressional Investigation

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, praised President Obama and the Department of Justice for releasing four legal memos on the torture of detainees that had previously been concealed by the Bush administration. Rep. Nadler, however, called on the Obama administration to go further and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute those responsible for authorizing the torture. He also said that a Congressional investigation is absolutely warranted. Rep Nadler released the following statement:

“While I applaud the Obama administration for releasing these torture memos in the spirit of openness and transparency, the memos’ alarming content requires further action. These memos, without a shadow of a doubt, authorized torture and gave explicit instruction on how to carry it out, all the while carefully attempting to maintain a legal fig leaf.

These memos make it abundantly clear that the Bush administration engaged in torture. Because torture is illegal under American law – as the U.S. is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture – we are legally required to investigate and, when appropriate, to prosecute those responsible for these crimes.

“I commend President Obama for his unequivocal rejection of torture and for his resolve to move forward. The President’s intentions are honorable, but don’t go far enough. All history teaches us that simply shining a light on criminal acts without holding the responsible people accountable will not prevent repetition of those acts.

I have previously urged Attorneys General Gonzalez and Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the torture abuses of the Bush administration, and now I will convey that same necessity to President Obama and Attorney General Holder. We sorely need an independent investigation that will provide accountability for these terrible crimes. This investigation should not be a witch-hunt to punish those rank-and-file C.I.A. operatives who acted in good faith on Justice Department instructions. At the very least, those who wrote and authorized the memos knowing full well that they were instructing others to torture must be held accountable to the law.

“We must have a criminal investigation if the U.S. is to reclaim its moral authority and prevent repetition of these crimes.

As Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights said yesterday, ‘Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed. If we are truly a nation of laws . . . a prosecutor needs to be appointed and the decisions regarding the guilt of those involved in the torture program should be decided in a court of law.’

“Furthermore, the revelations contained in these memos make it abundantly clear that we need additional Congressional oversight hearings on this matter. We intend to hold such hearings.

“Finally, I particularly want to thank the American Civil Liberties Union for their role in bringing these memos to light and for their vigilant efforts to ensure that the United States government does not engage in torture.”

Following are the memos released yesterday: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20090416_memos.pdf.

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Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New Yorks 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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