Friday, February 19, 2010

Please. Act.

There are two serious issues that need an immediate response. I am pleading with anyone that reads this post to contact your congressional leaders, and the Obama administration requesting action.

This past weekend Dick Cheney opened a door that can not be shut. On ABC's This Week he said "I was a big supporter of waterboarding," a public statement that he conspired to torture. Section 2340 of the federal criminal code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture.

(The following are excerpts. The complete text can be found at
Sec. 2340. Definitions

As used in this chapter -
(1) "torture" means an act committed by a person acting under
the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical
or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering
incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his
custody or physical control;
(2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged
mental harm caused by or resulting from -
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of
severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened
administration or application, of mind-altering substances or
other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or
the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be
subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the
administration or application of mind-altering substances or
other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or
personality; and

(3) "United States" means the several States of the United
States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths,
territories, and possessions of the United States.

Sec. 2340A. Torture

(a) Offense. - Whoever outside the United States commits or
attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to
any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be
punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction. - There is jurisdiction over the activity
prohibited in subsection (a) if -
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States,
irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged

(c) Conspiracy. - A person who conspires to commit an offense
under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other
than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the
offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

By making this statement Dick Cheney has publicly admitted to a crime under U.S. law, and under international law. He has publicly opened the door to prosecution. This door swings both ways. If we prosecute we have set the precedence that no one is above the law, and that we hold our own leaders to the same legal standard that we hold foreign leaders.

If we do not prosecute, a precedence has also been set; a precedence that those in the White House are no longer are subject to our law, nor to international law. If we do not prosecute we will have no standings internationally to require other world leaders to abide by international law. If we do not prosecute we will have lost our moral standing to request that our citizens be treated humanely when captured by other nations.

For this reason Dick Cheney's public statement admitting his actions requires us to take action against him. We must put pressure on our congressional leaders, on the President, and on Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately start a public investigation of Dick Cheney. I ask Attorneys General across this country to examine state laws to see if Cheney can be detained if he travels into your state. I ask world leaders to immediately issue arrest warrants for Dick Cheney, and to request extradition, thus forcing our government to address this issue.

The other important issue requiring immediate action is the revelation that the Israeli government has again stolen the identity of travelers to Israel, and used this stolen identity to commit murder in a third country. Innocent people have Interpol arrest warrants out for them. Innocent people could have a knock on their door and end up arrested, or worse, they could end up dead as a consequence of something they did not do.

I have not heard of any U.S. Citizens, or Americans with dual citizenship being caught up in Israel's crimes against foreigners . That limits what direct actions our government can take. But, our government has a responsibility to protect American travelers. For that reason the State Department needs to issue a travel warning against traveling to Israel. For that reason the State Department must warn Americans not to present their passports to any Israeli citizen. For that reason the U.S. government needs to make a clear statement: No government has the right to steal the identities of real people. No government can commit crimes using the identity of innocent people.

Dick Cheney and Israel have raised the stakes. How long can our great American experiment last if our leaders are above the law? Passports are only as good as the trust placed in them. Without a strong responses that trust has been severely damaged.

Please contact your government. Please tell our leaders that we must prosecute Dick Cheney. Please tell our State Department that travels to Israel can cost you your freedom or your life.

Please. Act.