Nationally Renowned Scholars, Writers, Artists, and Advocates Urge Attorney General Holder to Uphold the Rule of Law and Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate Allegations of Torture and Other Serious Crimes
SALT LAKE CITY - Several prominent Americans, including authors, artists, legal experts, and renowned voices of conscience, today transmitted a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture and other violations of human rights and civil liberties committed by former government officials and others. The signatories to the letter are:
* Daniel Ellsberg (former Marine commander, former assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, defense specialist, responsible for disclosure of the Pentagon Papers)
* Bruce Fein (specialist in constitutional and international law, former Associate Deputy US Attorney General (during Reagan administration))
* Andy Jacobs (represented Indiana's 10th and 11th Congressional Districts, 1965-1973 and 1975-1997, Korean War veteran)
* Paul Rogat Loeb (author Soul of a Citizen - Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time)
* Graham Nash (singer-songwriter (The Hollies; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young))
* Terry Tempest Williams (naturalist, author of several books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger; The Open Space of Democracy)
* Bill McKibben (environmentalist, international organizer, founder of Step It Up, author of several books, including The End of Nature; Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future)
* John Nichols (Washington correspondent for The Nation, author of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founder's Cure for Royalism)
* Robert Feuer (attorney, 2008 candidate for Massachusetts First Congressional District)
* Jeremy Pikser (screenwriter, co-wrote Bulworth; wrote The Lemon Sisters and War, Inc.)
* Rocky Anderson (lawyer, civil and human rights specialist, former Salt Lake City Mayor; Founder and Executive Director, High Road for Human Rights)
* Mimi Kennedy (author, activist, and television and screen actress, co-star, "Dharma & Greg," recently starring in In the Loop)
* Naomi Wolf (author of seven books, including The Beauty Myth, The End of America, and Give Me Liberty)
* Robert C. Fellmeth (Price Professor of Public Interest Law, University of San Diego Law School)
* David Swanson (activist, author, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union)
* Ralph Nader (lawyer, consumer advocate, author of several books, including Unsafe at Any Speed, The Menace of Atomic Energy, Who's Poisoning America?, Good Works, No Contest, The Good Fight)
High Road for Human Rights Education Project (www.highroadforhumanrights.org) is leading this effort to persuade the Attorney General to uphold the rule of law and longstanding traditions of human dignity and adherence to the values underlying our Constitution. According to Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post polls conducted in April, a majority of Americans favor a federal investigation into the treatment of detainees by government personnel.
"You can convey the message that we have become a nation where powerful, or formerly powerful, people can repeatedly violate the law (and call upon others to violate the law) with impunity," the letter reads in part. "Or you can convey that in this great country Lady Justice is still blindfolded and that the scales of justice are indeed balanced - that the law applies equally to all, without bias for or against any, regardless of wealth, power, or prestige. . . .Your principled application of the law . . . will be viewed for many generations as a crucial point in the history of a nation truly committed to equal justice, high moral principle, and the rule of law."
The complete text of the letter is attached to this release.
The letter calls on the Attorney General to appoint a prosecutor to commence an inquiry into whether government officials and personnel violated the law in connection with aggressive war, warrantless wiretapping, torture, extraordinary rendition, the illegal arrest and indefinite detention of US citizens without due process, the issuance of signing statements purporting to overrule laws passed by Congress, and the failure to inform members of Congress of intelligence programs or covert actions.
"We urge the Attorney General to affirm the crucial importance of upholding the rule of law, irrespective of political considerations, and appoint a prosecutor to investigate criminal activity committed in recent years by officials, other personnel, and contractors associated with the previous administration," said High Road's Executive Director, Rocky Anderson. "Investigating and, if appropriate, prosecuting perpetrators of these serious crimes is a crucial step to preventing the recurrence of this dark, demoralizing chapter in our nation's history, which has done so much to damage our national security and reputation abroad."
(801) 364-3560 ext. 117
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July 29, 2009
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
The Department of Justice
Dear Attorney General Holder:
We applaud your outspoken commitment to a "post-partisan" approach to criminal justice that is beyond politics and ideology. Your record, including many of your pronouncements, has made it clear you are dedicated to pursuing justice with integrity. From all appearances, you believe strongly in our Constitution and the rule of law.
You are at a challenging fork in the road, where you can choose either to (1) ignore evidence of egregious criminal wrongdoing by Bush administration officials and people working in concert with them, as urged by some in the White House, or (2) take a principled approach, regardless of political pressures or ideological concerns, in applying the law without bias and without favor toward those who have violated criminal laws.
No less than the rule of law is at stake. Your decisions and actions in this regard will be of historic importance.
You can convey the message that we have become a nation where powerful, or formerly powerful, people can repeatedly violate the law (and call upon others to violate the law) with impunity and escape any accountability because the present administration has an interest in avoiding the partisan attacks inherent in any investigation and prosecution of former government officials. Or you can convey that in this great country Lady Justice is still blindfolded and that the scales of justice are, indeed, balanced - that the law applies equally to all, without bias for or against any, regardless of wealth, power, or prestige.