Prosecute U.S. Torture Crimes


Target: Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General

Goal: Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the U.S.’s use of criminal torture methods

The moral standing of the U.S. has been severely damaged by the release of the Senate Torture Report. As long as the senior officials who authorized such programs evade investigation, future CIA directors and executive branch officials will continue to bend international laws and seek legal circumvention, undermining any U.S. efforts to promote human rights abroad. We respectfully demand that a special prosecutor be appointed to conduct a complete independent investigation into the CIA’s torture practices and into the senior officials who not only approved of but sought legal cover for such transgressions.

Since the publishing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (aka Senate Torture Report), many Americans have called for an acknowledgement of the illegality of the interrogation techniques and for some sort of legal rectification. CIA director John Brennan assures the discontinuation of such methods during the rest of his term but cannot commit to outright prohibition. In addition, the incoming Senate Intelligence Committee Chair, Richard Burr, has refused to rule out using the methods again and President Obama’s weak 2009 executive order, ‘Ensuring Lawful Interrogations,’ could easy be overturned by future administrations. The future use of torture persists as implicitly legal.

The Convention Against Torture, ratified by the U.S. in 1991, considers “[n]o exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency…as a justification of torture.” It also obligates countries to prosecute torture by government officials. Clearly the act of protecting past officials from accountability, even erroneously invoking exigent circumstances, ensures the continuation and possible escalation of such behavior.

The horrific crimes detailed in the report include torture, conspiracy, sexual assault, and homicide. Surely, at a lower level, criminal prosecution would proceed on any of these charges. Demand that the justice system be evenly applied and senior governmental officials be held accountable. Sign below and demand that the U.S. Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the criminal activity detailed in the Senate Torture Report.


Dear Attorney General Holder,

Past officials of the White House, CIA., Department of Justice, and Department of Defense have recently been implicated in the authorization and implementation of torture interrogation techniques and the quasi-criminal appeal for legal justification.

I acknowledge that you are in your last few weeks of office but I must urge you to appoint a special prosecutor before the next Attorney General takes over. The reason for this urgency is to garner the maximum popular support for indictments as the Senate Torture Report remains current in the news cycle. By the time a new AG is appointed, outrage over these vast criminal activities might be replaced by exaggerated consternation over trivial scandals.

I am not interested in prosecution of past officials as a triumph of vengeance but as a symbolic, national repudiation of their behavior. To salvage American values we have no alternative but to shed the post-9/11, security state mentality adopted by high-level officials. This begins with the prosecution of informally exonerated CIA., DOJ, DOD, and White House officials. I respectfully demand that you appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this historic mutation of American values and international human rights.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. MIlitary via WikiMedia Commons

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