The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

My Photo
Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Letter to Attorney General Holder Re: Torture Investigation

Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

May 19, 2009

Dear General Holder:
There is more than ample probable cause to believe that war crimes of torture were committed on a widespread basis by military and civilian personnel of the United States government during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

I am sure that you are aware that The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1984 and entered into force in June of 1987.The United States ratified the Convention in October of 1994 and the Convention entered into force in this country on November 20, 1994. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States and no exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification for torture.

The current equivocations which one hears in the media regarding the meaning of torture can be described as nothing more than politically motivated distractions because the meaning of torture is clear in the law: Torture is defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted on a person for the purpose of obtaining information or for punishment or intimidation. Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment are included in the definition of the crime of torture.

That being the case, I find it inexplicable that the Justice Department has not moved forward with all due speed in investigating and in initiating appropriate prosecutions in this area. I received an email from Congressman Robert Wexler the other day advising that he was in the process of petitioning your office to appoint a Special Prosecutor for war crimes. It troubled me that a petitioning process would be necessary in an area as grave as this. One would think that the Justice Department would have already initiated the necessary investigative and prosecutorial processes on its own without the necessity for outside pressure of any kind. Given the extreme gravity of the situation I presume that your office fully realizes that full-scale criminal investigation is absolutely essential and that the good-standing of the United States in the world community is at stake here.

I fully understand that there have been enormous political tensions surrounding the issue of the criminal prosecution of war crimes; but I also know that you are a man of integrity and unquestionably devoted to the rule of law. I also know from your public statements that you will not under any circumstances tolerate the politicization of the Justice Department. Therefore I am confident that you would not hesitate to resign as Attorney General if you were in any way prevented by political forces from investigating and prosecuting criminal violations as serious and as detrimental to our national persona as those alleged. I am certain that you are aware that crimes of this tremendous magnitude simply cannot be swept under the rug to serve the needs of anyone’s political agenda.

Can you advise when you expect that a Special Prosecutor will be appointed in this matter and when we can expect that the criminal investigations will be in process? My own opinion is the sooner the better. The TV debates are becoming more and more tedious and immaterial; and delays in fully engaging these issues will result in irreparable harm to the very foundations of our national sense of justice.

Very truly yours,

Alfred E. McGuire, JD, Ph.D.

( Letter sent electronically to AG Holder on 5/19/09 and published in Diary Section of oped on the same date)