Complete Recipe for Accountability: Just Add Sweat

By David Swanson,

The First Step Is Prosecutions:


Sign a petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes. Sign now.

Collect signatures in the real world by printing out this PDF. Please enter the data you collect on the petition online and/or mail the completed (or partially completed) forms to JDS, 4407 Garrison Street NW, Washington DC 20016.

Phone and Email the Office of the Attorney General at 202-514-2001 to request a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes.

In June 2008, 56 Democratic Congress members, led by Congressman John Conyers, wrote to Attorney General Mukasey asking for a Special Prosecutor. Conyers and Congressman Jerrold Nadler wrote to Mukasey again in December 2008. Please ask them to re-send these letters to the new Attorney General, Eric Holder. Conyers 202-225-5126, Nadler 202-225-5635.

Congressman John Conyers has proposed extending statutes of limitations on Bush-Cheney crimes. Help make this happen.

Contact the State Department’s Office of War Crimes Issues and urge them to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes.

Here are tips and info. on contacting Congress.

State and Local:

Bush and others can be indicted at the state or district level for murder. Please take these steps.


The International Criminal Court can also indict. Please request it.


Our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights are coordinating with attorneys pursuing prosecutions in other countries.


While Bush and Cheney can and should still be impeached, a more likely success would be the impeachment of Jay Bybee. Please ask your Congress member to pursue it: 202-224-3121.

The Second Step Is Production of Information:

Overwhelming evidence of probable cause for prosecutions is in the public realm, in some case including public confessions and other evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No one should be denied a fair trial, but no trials should be delayed which are already compelled by the evidence. A prosecutorial investigation would be the most effective tool for producing additional evidence. The facts on Bush and Cheney are well known, and those on their chief co-conspirators somewhat less so. Making these facts better known and producing more of them is a worthwhile task, secondary to pursuing prosecutions.

Purchase The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecution.

Ask the Justice Department not to coverup torture With “state secrets” claims, as it is doing. Phone and Email the Office of Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-514-2001

Last year, Senators Edward Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, and Arlen Specter, introduced the State Secrets Protection Act, which would severely limit the use of the “state secrets” claim. Call and ask them to reintroduce this bill right away and to encourage the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor: Kennedy, 202-224-4543; Leahy, 202-224-4242; Specter, 202-224-4254.

In the House, Congress members Nadler, Petri, Conyers, Delahunt, and Lofgren have just reintroduced the State Secrets Protection Act. Ask your Congress member to sign on: 202-224-3121.

Senator Russ Feingold has requested a classified briefing to explain the “state secrets” claim. Encourage him to pursue the matter and to encourage the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor: Feingold, (202) 224-5323.

President Obama has promised transparency, but has not released even these incriminating memos that we already know about. Ask him to do so: 202-456-1111.

Ask Congress to reissue the subpoenas that were refused during the 110th Congress, and to enforce them through inherent contempt.

Senators Sheldon Whiteouse, Russ Feingold, and Patrick Leahy, as well as Congressman John Conyers, have made statements in 2009 in support of some form of accountability, and Conyers has explicitly advocated for a Special Prosecutor as well as introducing a bill to create an investigative commission. Such a commission might be counterproductive, as argued by Jonathan Turley, Peter Dyer, David Swanson, and Bob Fertik.

More on Conyers’ proposal for a commission and the lengthy report he released when making the proposal go here. If you think your Congress member should sign on to H.R. 104, give them a call: 202-224-3121.

Indirect Pressure:

States and localities can pass resolutions. Here’s how.

Make a citizen’s arrest of a war criminal.

Taking Them to Court:

Organizations and individuals can file other types of law suits. Please do so.

Mandamus: You can ask a judge to order a prosecution. It’s been tried in Minnesota with this writ, yielding this refusal.

Filing Complaints With State Licensing Authorities:

Many of the people described on the citizen’s arrest page are lawyers or psychologists, and we should file complaints with licensing agencies.

Restoring the Structure of the Rule of Law:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a resolution rejecting as unconstitutional the treaty that President George W. Bush made without consulting Congress to establish three more years of war in Iraq. Ask your Congress member to sign onto H.Res. 72: 202-224-3121.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has announced her intention to reintroduce a resolution urging the reversal of a number of Bush-Cheney abuses of power. We should be prepared to support this, and we should ask members to sign on as original cosponsors: 202-224-3121. Likely cosponsors are members of the progressive caucus.

We also need to:

Demand that President Obama reverse all of President Bush’s signing statements that altered laws, and demand that Congress ban the use of funds for any activities created in violation of the law by presidential signing statements.

Amend the Constitution to clearly ban the use of presidential pardons to pardon crimes authorized by the president.

Amend the War Powers Act and the Constition to include the requirement that Congressional authorizations of war include time limits of no more than 12 months, after which Congress must vote again to extend the war or end it.

Make war profiteering by any war maker a major felony. This would apply to any employee of the federal government or anyone who had within the past decade been an employee of the federal government.

Legislate a requirement that, in any war, the military aged children and grandchildren of the president, the vice president, all cabinet officials, and all Congress members serve on the front lines in the most dangerous combat positions — no exceptions, no exemptions.

Prohibit the use of mercenaries or any armed contractors, as well as the use of any military force on American soil except when directly engaged in defensive war against a foreign nation.

Repeal the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the 2008 FISA “modernization” act, the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the PATRIOT Act.

Ban secret budgets, secret laws, and secret agencies.

Change the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster.

Amend the Constitution to eliminate the Senate.

End all rendition.

Amend the Constitution to make the ban on ex-post-facto laws include any laws that would retroactively grant immunity for crimes.

Amend the Constitution to bar the vice president from exercising executive power.

Amend the Constitution to clarify the Congressional power of inherent contempt.

Amend the Constitution to include the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted publicly at the polling place.

Give Washington, D.C., voting representation in Congress.

Amend the Constitution to ban private financing of campaigns, create public financing, and provide free air time to candidates.

Sign and ratify the Rome treaty to join the International Criminal Court.

Spreading the Word:

Be a media activist. Be the media and submit your reports, videos, photos here.

Please place this graphic toolkit on your website.

Put this theme song wherever you play music.

Buy a shirt or sign.

Join After Downing Street.

Join the United for Peace and Justice Working Group on Accountability and Prosecution as soon as the listserve is created.

Join the Progressive Democrats of America Issue Organizing Team on Accountability.

Join the National Accountability Network.

The Robert Jackson Steering Committee was formed at a September 2008 conference in Andover, Mass. Watch video.

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