Liberal Coalition Says Forget the Truth Commission, Bring on the Special Prosecutor

Washington has been dominated for weeks by the debate over forming an independent “truth and reconciliation commission” to uncover details about human rights and civil liberties abuses committed during the Bush administration. Prominent Democrats from Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) to Rep. John Conyers (MI) to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) have indicated their support for the concept.

But one day after Barack Obama’s Pentagon was lambasted by human rights groups for reporting that conditions are humane, a coalition of liberal advocacy groups is done with taking it slow. In a statement released this morning, the 20-plus groups ask Attorney General Eric Holder to directly appoint a special prosecutor to probe former Bush administration officials.

It remains to be seen whether today’s statement will move minds in Congress, where the “truth commission” plan remains controversial. Still, this call is a perfect illustration of John Judis’ recent message to the American left: Expand the playing field, and do not let the White House be the most left-leaning force in the capital.

The full statement is after the jump:

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or “truth” commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

Signed By:

Center for Constitutional Rights

The National Lawyers Guild


American Freedom Campaign Action Fund

High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project

After Downing Street

Gold Star Families for Peace

Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserve Colonel and US diplomat

Delaware Valley Veterans for America

Voters for Peace

Wisconsin Impeachment / Bring Our Troops Home Coalition

Backbone Campaign

CODE PINK: Women for Peace

Velvet Revolution

Justice Through Music

Progressive Democrats of America


Brad Blog

Cities for Peace

National Accountability Network

Northeast Impeachment Coalition

Republicans for Impeachment

Op Ed News

Marcus Raskin, cofounder of Institute for Policy Studies, member of editorial board of The Nation, member of the special staff of the National Security Council in Kennedy Administration

The Progressive

Peace Team

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Defending Dissent Foundation

Grassroots America

Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored

Peace Action

Grandmothers Against the War

World Can’t Wait

United for Peace and Justice

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

War Crimes Times

Veterans for Peace 099

Veterans for Peace 26

Veterans for Peace

Naomi Wolf, author of “End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot,” and “Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries”

Iraq Veterans Against the War

Daniel Ellsberg, Truth-Telling Project