Charles Turchick, Evergreene Digest
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(August 15, 2012) Dear Senator Klobuchar:
I saw a copy of your (Klobuchar's) statement that was read at the August 13 Amnesty International/Women Against Military Madness program, "Ending Torture Now: Moving Forward by Looking Backwards."
I believe the title of that program was a reference to President Obama's oft-quoted comment in response to a question about holding those responsible for our torture program accountable. To be fair, frequently his entire response is not quoted. He said: "My view is also that nobody's above the law and, if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen. But that, generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards."
So the program title was intended to bring the focus of the discussion to what we can do to begin to hold ourselves and our country accountable for what was done in our names. I don't think your statement really addressed that issue.
I do realize that your position is that accountability is best left to the Department of Justice. But it is clear that the DOJ has decided there will be no civil or criminal liability for our torture program. The legislative branch has also failed to act.
You wrote in your August 13 statement: "As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am committed to ensuring that everyone is given equal justice." As you know, the Department of Justice has consistently argued against access to our courts -- and hence access to "equal justice" -- for alleged victims of U.S.-committed torture. But no one on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which you sit, has publicly expressed any opposition to this practice. We would like to see that "ensuring that everyone is given equal justice" is not simply words, but is translated into action and called to the DOJ's attention when that standard is not being met.
If you would like, maybe we could draft a suggested statement on this issue that you would be comfortable with posting on your website.
Unless we act, future generations will see this as our generation's failure -- a failure to uphold the law, our values, and a sense of common decency
For your information, I have attached or linked the following items to this email:
1. Rep. McCollum's statement in conjunction with the August 13 program (attached above).
2. Rep. Ellison's statement, which he posted on his website, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the torture memos.
3. Sen. Franken's statement, also posted on his website, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the torture memos.
4. A July 16, 2012, open letter to you on accountability for U.S.-committed torture.
5. An August 1, 2012, Minnpost.com article on the 10th anniversary of the torture memos.
6. An August 14, 2012, tcdailyplanet.net post on the Ellison and Franken statements.
Now that the primaries are over and the campaign has officially begun, we hope you raise the issue of accountability for U.S.-committed torture in the coming weeks. The unusual number of "likes" on the Minnpost.com article may well indicate that after ten years, the public is ready for this issue to be addressed.
U.S. has never held accountable those who authorized torture, Chuck Turchick, MinnPost
This failure has continued in spite of a worldwide trend of holding high government officials accountable for human-rights violations.