The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Two-Thirds of Americans Want to See Bush Investigations for Torture and Wiretapping; 40 Percent Want Prosecutions

Statement from CCR President Michael Ratner, Author of The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld


In a USA Today Gallup poll released today, two-thirds of Americans
say they want investigations into the role of Bush administration
officials in torture and warrantless wiretapping, and 40 percent want
to see prosecutions. CCR President Michael Ratner issued the following statement in response:

Americans want to see justice done. If crimes have
been committed - and there is ample evidence that they have - then the
people who committed those crimes should be prosecuted. You don't
decide it's better or more politically expedient to look forward than
to go back and prosecute someone who commits any other kind of crime.
Why should this be different? More to the point, prosecutions do look
forward-they look forward to deterring torture in the future.

War crimes, terrible crimes of torture and abuse, were knowingly
committed by senior members of our government, and the only way to
ensure it doesn't happen again, and to show the world that we are
sincere in our desire to keep it from happening again, is to prosecute
the people responsible. If every administration knows it has carte
blanche to break the law because the next administration will always
let them off the hook, I shudder to think what new crimes will be
committed in the future.

As of this moment, the Obama administration is in violation of U.S.
law. Dick Cheney admitted his role in the waterboarding of suspects and
said he would do it again; the attorney general, Eric Holder, said that
waterboarding is torture; and the Convention Against Torture, which is
U.S. law, requires the criminal investigation of torture. There is zero
doubt that the law has been broken.

The country seems to be ahead of President Obama on this question. I hope he will listen.

Michael Ratner is the author of The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld (The New
Press 2008) and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He
and the Center filed war crimes cases against Donald Rumsfeld and other
high-level officials including Alberto Gonzales in Germany and France
under their universal jurisdiction laws. CCR has cases representing the
torture victims at Abu Ghraib, former Guantanamo detainees who were
tortured and abused, and current Guantanamo detainees who continue to
be held indefinitely, without charge, in dire conditions.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last six years -
sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the
first attorney to meet with a former CIA "ghost detainee." CCR has been
responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono
lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantanamo,
ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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