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Silence in a time of torture is complicity


We have now come to a defining moment, where before the world's eyes the U.S. Congress is poised to legalize torture. We reject such a course outright. It does not represent us.

We remember the images from Abu Ghraib prison -- photos of depravity, even death. And what of the images we have never been shown from a world of even more disturbing and more "professional" horrors that have been concealed in secret prisons around the world?

To anyone of conscience, this is unacceptable. But this is exactly what your government will be making legitimate. With bi-partisan support, the "Military Commissions Act of 2006" will be made law unless people act to stop it.

Sold as a "compromise", this bill is fundamentally worse than what has gone before.

The bill takes what has existed in the shadowy world of clandestine action and now gives it the openly declared mantle of official, legal approval. While the compromise is being sold as complying with the Geneva Conventions, it gives the President huge freedom to, by executive order, define "special methods" of interrogation that HE feels "fit" that Convention. It removes the right of anyone to raise the Geneva Conventions in federal court to challenged government action against them.

The compromise allows the government the power to use confessions and other testimony derived from torture as evidence in criminal proceedings. The compromise officially, and legally, puts Congress on record approving that the president may, at his own discretion, declare anyone an "enemy combatant". This means the president can name anyone anywhere as such and remove them from the reach of family or legal counsel and hold them indefinitely without trial. It ends the Constitutional right of habeas corpus.

All this is now to be done openly, and in our name. All these actions -- and the Bush Regime which has commissioned war crimes -- must be brought to a halt. What is being met with silence in the halls of power must be manifested as a real opposition in the streets. At stake here is what kind of country and what kind of people we choose to be.

Let it not be said that the people did nothing when their government moved to make torture lawful. Let the world know that the people of this country did not acquiesce, but instead stood up and said:

Send this message with your comments to comments [A-T] whitehouse [dot] gov with a cc to notorture [A-T] worldcantwait [D0T] org and contact key members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee:

  • Sen. John Warner (Chairman), VA,
    Phone: (202) 224-2023, Fax: (202) 224-6295
  • Sen. John McCain, AZ,
    Phone: (202) 224-2235, Fax: (202) 228-2862
  • Sen. Carl Levin, MI,
    Phone: (202) 224-6221, Fax: (202) 224-1388
  • Sen. Susan Collins, ME,
    Phone: (202) 224-2523, Fax: (202) 224-2693
  • Sen. Edward Kennedy, MA,
    Phone: (202) 224-4543, Fax: (202) 224-2417
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, SC,
    Phone: (202) 224-5972, Fax: (202) 224-3808
  • Sen. Robert Byrd, WV,
    Phone: (202) 224-3954, Fax: (202) 228-0002
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton, NY,
    Phone: (202) 224-4451, Fax: (202) 228-0282

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