Disbar the torture lawyers: Sign on today

Preventive Detention, at What Cost?
July 14, 2009
The truth shall set you free, unless the facts are being with held
October 20, 2009

Over the past several months, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and its supporters and allies across the country have demanded a complete and thorough investigation of alleged torture and prosecution of all former and current officials involved. Thank you for adding your voice to the chorus demanding accountability throughout the chain of command. We are pleased to note that your efforts have borne some fruit: on August 24, Attorney General Eric Holder responded to these and other efforts by announcing the appointment of prosecutor John Durham to conduct a limited inquiry. While the Justice Department’s pursuit of accountability is welcome, the investigation is unfortunately limited. Durham’s mandate extends only to junior officials who allegedly strayed beyond interrogation techniques approved by senior officials—effectively immunizing those who authorized torture in the first instance and reinforcing the supposed legality of the policies themselves. A limited inquiry that includes only scapegoats—therefore providing immunity to senior officials who bear the greatest responsibility—is not enough. Justice demands a full investigation and prosecution wherever the evidence merits. We continue to press for formal investigation and prosecution: we are currently seeking lead counsel for a mandamus action aiming to compel prosecution as a non-discretionary obligation required by international law. Today, BORDC and the People’s Campaign for the Constitution’s legal professionals group launched a series of sign-on letters seeking disbarment of officials who authorized torture. The letters demand a robust and thorough investigation of the lawyers in question and offer a chance for all concerned to raise their voices in favor of a private sector check on crimes committed by senior executive officials. If bar associations take these complaints seriously rather than dismissing them prematurely, their findings may help to support formal prosecution throughout the chain of command. As you know, assaults on the rule of law continue under the Obama administration. Holding executives accountable for their actions is a critical part of restoring respect for justice. Add your voice to our call for executive accountability and to restore the rule of law. If inspired, please also share this information with like-minded friends, colleagues, and classmates. We’ll deliver the letters to the appropriate state bar associations and keep you updated about the results.