The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mary Boyle, (202) 736-5770

Torture Whistleblowers Commended by Common Cause, President Carter and High-Ranking Military Officials


Common Cause on Thursday released acommendation lettersigned by 15,000 people,
including former President Jimmy Carter, former Congressman Bob Barr,
former Defense Secretaries William Perry and William Cohen and retired
Army Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, to those who resisted and fought
against the policies of the last Administration that sanctioned and
promoted the torture of foreign detainees. Recipients of the
commendation letter include US Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, Criminal
Investigation Task Force Commander Col. Col. Brittain Mallow, Deputy
Commander Mark Fallon, former U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora,
Lt. Col. Stuart Couch and former Army Lt. Col. Darrel J. Vandeveld. Profiles of the honorees may be found here.

One of the honorees, Vandeveld, will be given the commendation letter
Friday in Washington. He is speaking at a panel co-hosted by Common
Cause and the National Press Club entitled: "After Guantanamo: Accountability for torture and moving forward."

Profiles of the notable signatories of the letter can be found here
and include former President Carter, Brigadier General Stephen A.
Cheney, USMC (Ret.), Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, Jr., US Army (Ret.),
Brigadier General John H Johns, US Army (Ret.), the Hon. Lee H.
Hamilton, Lawrence J. Korb, the Hon. William J. Perry, Paul R. Pillar,
Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, US Army (Ret.), and Brigadier General
Stephen N. Xenakis MD, US Army (Ret.).

During the last decade, former Vice President Dick Cheney, his counsel
David Addington, and a close circle of high level insiders within the
previous Administration developed policies and a legal framework to
systematically circumvent the requirements of the Geneva Conventions
and U.S. law regarding the treatment, interrogation, and trial of
detainees. They did this largely in secret and over the objections of
many of their colleagues. As a result detainees in U.S. custody were
tortured in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and undisclosed "black" sites around
the world in violation of U.S. and international law.

A number of military and civilian personnel objected strenuously to
these policies and voiced their concerns up the chain of command and
ultimately went public. For their objections, some of the honorees
faced personal threats and harassment from their peers and superiors.
However, ultimately, because of their actions, U.S. policy has been
changing and policies condoning torture are no longer sanctioned.

"Common Cause is honoring the military and civilian officials who stood
up for the rule of law and worked to stop misguided policies and
practices involving torture of detainees," said Bob Edgar, president of
Common Cause. "We have selected a few individuals for special
recognition, but this is by no means an exhaustive list of the many
heroes who took steps to put an end to torture. The honorees here
represent the many men and women who were deeply troubled by the
torture policies and risked their personal safety and their careers to
put a stop to them."

The text of the letter is below. A link to the letter can be found hereand a list of the 15,000 signers can be found here.

We the undersigned commend you for your uncommon courage in defending the rule of law and standing up against torture.

We've been horrified by photos and torture accounts from Abu-Ghraib,
Guantanamo and other prisons. We've read about the torture that some
Administration and defense officials condoned and ordered carried out.
But we've also learned that you are among the few brave military and
civilian officials who stood up for the rule of law and worked to stop
the misguided policies and practices.

We echo the sentiments of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who
recently said, "In our current struggle against international
terrorism, when others surrendered faithful obedience to the law to the
circumstances of the time, it was the brave men and women in the JAG
Corps who stood up against the tides, many times risking their careers
to do so. We all can learn from their example."

We are heartened to know that in one of America's darkest chapters,
there were people like you defending the ideals and principles upon
which our great nation was built.

We thank you for your integrity and bravery, your convictions and your principles.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

(202) 833-1200