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Abu Ghraib Crucifixion Death Demonstrates Need for Independent Criminal Investigation into U.S. Torture Program
CIA Torturers Should Be Held Accountable
U.S. Cannot Move Forward Without Facing the Full Truth of What the Country Has Done
Washington, DC -- A report published in the June 22nd issue of The New Yorker magazine that a prisoner had been crucified by the CIA at the Abu Ghraib prison highlighted the need to apply the rule of law to the U.S. torture program. This issue will be discussed at a press conference at 9:30 on Monday morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Kevin Zeese, who is filing complaints on Monday against three CIA lawyers who facilitated torture said: "The United States must face the reality of the extent of the torture program under the Bush-Cheney administration. War crimes were committed. The toxic poison of torture will not be removed from the body politic unless the rule of law is applied." Zeese said "the filing of complaints against CIA torture lawyers is a first step in ensuring an independent legal review of the U.S. torture program."
According to the New Yorker report authored by Jane Mayer "A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs. Military pathologists classified the case a homicide." Mayer further reports "No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment."
One of the lawyers whom Zeese is filing a complaint against is Jonathan Feldman, who is now an attorney in the Obama administration, said "If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong." Indeed prisoners have been killed as a result of U.S. torture. Human Rights Watch reports nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan and many more are unaccounted for.
John Hendren reported in the Los Angeles Times that one Manadel Jamadi died "of blunt-force injuries" complicated by "compromised respiration" at Abu Ghraib prison. Another, Abdul Jaleel, "died while gagged and shackled to a cell door with his hands over his head." Yet another prisoner, Maj. Gen. Abid Mowhosh, former commander of Iraq’s air defenses, "died of asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression" in Qaim, Iraq.
"The American people do not know the worst of what occurred to people in detention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba and other detention centers around the world. The United States needs to face what is has done and can only put torture behind us by holding those responsible accountable for their actions," said Zeese, who is executive director of VotersForPeace.US and on the board of Velvet Revolution. Under the auspices Velvet Revolution Zeese filed one dozen complaints against lawyers who facilitated torture. On Monday he is filing complaints against three CIA lawyers. See www.DisbarTortureLawyers.com for more information.
DETAILS OF PRESS CONFERENCE
WHAT: Press Conference at the National Press Club (NPC) with former Associate Deputy Attorney under President Reagan, Bruce Fein, Shahid Buttar, Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a national grassroots organization defending civil liberties eroded by the War on Terror and Velvet Revolution Boardmember and Executive Director of VotersForPeace.US, Kevin Zeese.
WHEN: 9:30AM – 11:00AM, June 29, 2009
WHERE: National Press Club, Murrow Room, 529 14th Street NW; 13th floor, corner of 14th and ‘F’ St.
*National “Disbar Torture Lawyers” Coalition to File Formal Disciplinary Complaints and Call For Dismissal Of ‘Torture Architects’ Top CIA Lawyer, John Rizzo, and DNI lawyer Jonathan Fredman*
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 29th at 9:30AM in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club , three prominent D.C. lawyers, including a former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, will discuss the legal case against the lawyer architects of a program of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees held in the custody of the U.S. Government.
The sponsoring coalition, Velvet Revolution, has called for the disbarment of over a dozen lawyers filing formal complaints in five states as part of a national campaign at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.
“On Monday we’ll call for dismissal of two torture architects still working in the Obama administration,” says board member Kevin Zeese, “and we will be calling for the President to keep his campaign commitment to accountability and transparency. Documents and photographs related to the torture program should be de-classified, lawyers who implemented the program still working in government should be dismissed, and a Special Prosecutor should be appointed. The President must uphold the rule of law and State disciplinary committees and courts should disbar these torture lawyers”
As part of a growing international movement demanding accountability for an unlawful program of “enhanced interrogation,” the coalition will be announcing the filing of three additional complaints against current and former CIA lawyers. Two of the lawyers continue to work within the intelligence community under President Obama; John Rizzo is acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and Jonathan Fredman is Counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“These lawyers have no business practicing law, especially under salary in the Federal Government given their involvement in furthering the torture of detainees,” insists Zeese.
Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration lawyer, and Shahid Buttar, Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, will join Zeese. They will make introductory remarks outlining applicable U.S. and international law, and mounting evidence of an unlawful conspiracy to commit torture and other inhumane treatment of detainees held by U.S. authorities in detention facilities.
The three additional complaints will be filed next week with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in New York State and with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.