As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, April 27, 2009

ACTION: Tell Congress To Open Impeachment Inquiry Into Jay Bybee

UPDATE: Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post has the full story of the passage of the resolution at the convention.

Thanks again to all of you who signed petitions and made phone calls and helped push the resolution to open a Congressional inquiry into Torture Judge Jay Bybee, which the California Democratic Party adopted at its convention yesterday. I have been told by the authors of the resolution that the pressure from the outside really aided their efforts.

The passage of the resolution was a beginning, not an ending. I view the impeachment of Jay Bybee from the 9th Circuit Court as a moral and legal imperative, but also an entryway into the larger fight for justice and accountability for those who authorized and directed torture in our name. I agree with Jerrold Nadler that impeachment should not be seen as a compromise measure, a way to satiate those concerned with accountability. "There can't be a compromise -- you have to follow the law ... If the facts say that some former high-ranking official should be prosecuted, the fact people will get angry should be irrelevant ... If we do not investigate the torture that is clear that it occured, and if the evidence is there prosecute, not only are we disobeying the law, not only are we being immoral, but we are inviting torture of our people in the future."

Bybee's impeachment can start us down the path to restoring the rule of law. And now the largest state Democratic Party in the country has spoken. They have said that the myth about torture being a useful tool to extract actionable intelligence from terror suspects is not only irrelevant when it comes to lawbreaking but also entirely false, according to the CIA's own inspector general. They have said that Judge Bybee's appalling judgment and slavish acceptance of John Yoo's flawed legal reasoning represents a greater evil - the evil of thoughtlessness - and a greater responsibility for the actions committed thanks to his off-handed signature. They have said that Bybee's understanding of his own wrongdoing outweighed by his desire to be a federal judge shocks the conscience, and that far from being rewarded for his obedience to his conservative minders, he should bear responsibility for it, to the fullest extent possible.

So what do we do now? Members of the California Democratic Party include 34 members of Congress, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and six men and women who sit on the House Judiciary Committee, where an impeachment inquiry would be remanded. They need to hear that their party just recommended that they open an immediate Congressional inquiry into Judge Bybee, with all appropriate remedies and punishments available. In fact, the entire House Judiciary Committee needs to hear this. Thanks to my friends at Firedoglake, they will. We have put together a contact list for the entire House Judiciary Committee, and you can, with just a few clicks, compose a letter to any member of that Committee telling them of the CDP's action and demanding immediate action on an inquiry.

House Judiciary Committee
John Conyers, Michigan Howard Berman, California
Rick Boucher, Virginia Jerrold Nadler, New York
Robert C. Scott, Virginia Mel Watt, North Carolina
Zoe Lofgren, California Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas
Maxine Waters, California Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts
Robert Wexler, Florida Steve Cohen, Tennessee
Hank Johnson, Georgia Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
Luis Gutierrez, Illinois Brad Sherman, California
Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Charles Gonzalez, Texas
Anthony Weiner, New York Adam Schiff, California
Linda Sánchez, California Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Fl
Dan Maffei, New York Lamar S. Smith, Texas
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Howard Coble, North Carolina
Elton Gallegly, California Bob Goodlatte, Virginia
Dan Lungren, California Darrell Issa, California
Randy Forbes, Virginia Steve King, Iowa
Trent Franks, Arizona Louie Gohmert, Texas<
Jim Jordan, Ohio Ted Poe, Texas
Jason Chaffetz, Utah Tom Rooney, Florida
Gregg Harper, Mississippi  

In addition, you can call your members of Congress and tell them that they must support an immediate inquiry into the actions of Jay Bybee, federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Congressional switchboard at 1-866-220-0044 can connect you to your member of Congress as well. Here are some talking points:

• Jay Bybee signed the August 1, 2002 memo approving certain torture techniques to be used on mentally ill terror suspect Abu Zubaydah.

• The CIA’s Inspector General found that the torture of Abu Zubaydah and others foiled no terror plots and sent intelligence personnel on wild goose chases and false leads around the world. (McClatchy, 4.24.09)

• The California Democratic Party is the largest state party in the country, and they have spoken with one voice to demand hearings on Bybee.

• We are required by the Convention Against Torture to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who authorized and committed acts of torture.

• Judge Bybee's presence on the 9th Circuit disgraces the federal bench and saps at our moral authority in the world. Congress has a duty to step in and impeach him.

We now have this resolution as a tool. Let's use it to pry open the Congress and provide the opening of some accountability for these heinous acts committed in our name.

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