Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Actions YOU Can Take Against Torture

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) lists several actions which U.S. citizens who are people of faith can take against torture:

  • NRCAT’s own Liliana Segura wrote an article summarizing the worst of the just released Bush torture memos.  NRCAT wants you to copy that article and distribute it at your church, synagogue, mosque, etc. this weekend.
  • Send a letter to the editor of your local paper (while we still have newspapers in this economy!).  They give a model here.
  • Print copies here of NRCAT’s petition for a bi-partisan “Commission of Inquiry” into these matters which will thoroughly expose the matter and send criminal recommendations to the Attorney General.

Faithful America asks that you write letters to local papers urging your local newspapers to write editorials demanding both a Commission of Inquiry and an independent special prosecutor against the authors of the torture memos.

Democrats.com urges you to write Congress and demand NO AMNESTY for torturers and those who authorized the torture.

I have some other suggestions: 

  • Contact the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and demand that CIA Director Leon Panetta FIRE all agents involved in the torture. (As many as he knows. He wasn’t CIA Director under Bush!) They need to be AT LEAST purged and their names sent to the Dept. of Justice for possible legal action and they need to be (forgive the term) “blacklisted” against hire by any other intelligence agency.  Even if Panetta fails to get all the culprits, this action will send a warning to CIA operatives that they cannot take such torture measures, even if authorized by a particular administration to do so.
  • Also urge Director Panetta to turn over the names of the medical personnel involved in interrogations to the American Medical Association. The AMA may want to police its own (who have gone down the Nazi doctor route!) and strip those involved of their licenses to practice medicine.  At the very least, each person named should be reviewed separately by the AMA.
  • Contact the leadership of the American Bar Association (the main professional organization for attorneys at law in the U.S.) and urge them to take steps to strip the authors of the torture memos of their law licenses so that they no longer have the right to practice law in the U.S.–and whatever other sanctions the ABA deems appropriate.  Also, urge the ABA to send a letter to Pres. Obama and Attorney General Holder urging the appointment of a special prosecutor in these cases.
  • Contact Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and urge that the House Judiciary Committe begin impeachment procedures against Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Yes, one of the torture memo authors, Bybee, was later appointed by Bush to a federal bench just one step below the Supreme Court of the United States!  It’s a lifetime appointment, but judges can be impeached (though they seldom are).  No one who authored one of these horrendous memos should be adjudicating law in the American courts!  One Yale Law professor has already called for his impeachment.  We should try to get prominent Republican judges and lawyers to be part of this movement, because this is not partisan. (I would go after any Democrat who did any of these things, too!) Pres. Bill Clinton lost his law license for perjury in the Lewinsky scandal.  This is far worse.  If I can track down contact information for her, I will ask that retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner (a longtime Republican and a protege of the late Barry Goldwater, she was Reagan’s first Supreme Court appointee and the first woman on the Supreme Court of the U.S.), who administered Bybee’s oath, join the call for his impeachment.

With these kinds of actions, we can create the groundswell of public opinion to go after AT LEAST those who authorized the torture.  And we take steps to prevent this from recurring under some other administration.


April 17, 2009 - Posted by | torture


  1. I’m honestly confused about this. I read the the article you suggested by Liliana Segura

    New Bush Torture Bombshell Memos: 10 Horrifying Discoveries

    She says, “Each method is described in sadistic detail, and each would surely be heinous if experienced on its own.” She then lists them. I honestly don’t see how anyone could describe most of these methods as “heinous” and certainly not as torture. For instance she quotes from # 2. The Facial (or Insult) Slap (Bybee memo, August 1, 2002)

    “With the facial slap or insult slap, the interrogator slaps the individual’s face with fingers slightly spread. The hand makes contact with the area directly between the tip of the individual’s chin and the bottom of the corresponding earlobe. The interrogator invades the individual’s personal space. The goal of the facial slap is not to inflict physical pain that is severe or lasting. Instead, the purpose of the facial slap is to induce shock, surprise, and/or humiliation …”

    I may be missing something here but can any sane person view this as to be as she says “surely be heinous if experienced on its own.” Doesn’t seem all that heinous to me. And is it fair to call this “sadistic”? And I don’t see how anyone would see this as torture. So, can you explain to me how slapping someone under these highly controlled situations is “heinous” or counts as “torture.”

    Thank you.

    Comment by TIM | April 20, 2009

  2. Good question.

    Comment by Donald | April 21, 2009

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