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
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
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 challenge 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
"TORTURE DOES NOT REPRESENT US!
THIS REGIME DOES NOT REPRESENT US!
WE WILL DRIVE IT OUT!"
Send this letter to all your
friends and have them send it to their friends. Tell them THIS MUST NOT
PASS and that you are pledging to be in the streets on October 5
because The World Can