Pardoning Torture

Pardons: Will he or won't he?

There's a real risk that President Bush may issue pardons to a number of high-ranking Administration officials for any activities related to torture, extraordinary rendition and other abuses.

That's right. Even before they're charged with a crime, Bush has the power to prevent any criminal investigation into the activities of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Gonzales and others whose behavior raises serious questions.

We must make it clear that preemptive pardons aimed at letting high-ranking officials escape accountability for undermining the Constitution and violating the law go against American values of justice and due process.

Today, the ACLU is urging concerned people all across the country to speak out against these pardons. Americans -- and the world -- have a right to know the truth about torture and other abuses carried out in our name.

This weekend, both The New York Times and The Washington Post issued powerful editorials calling on President Bush to resist taking this inflammatory action. We need you to do the same.

As the Post put it, "no country should be in the business of concealing its history." We should be getting at the truth, not excusing those involved in shameless acts.

So, in a preemptive campaign of our own, the ACLU is urging people all across the country to tell President Bush that you won't stand for preemptive pardons for people who were involved in torture, illegal detention, and other abuses.

In its editorial, the New York Times made the case clearly:

The Bush administration distorted statutes and case law to legally justify interrogation techniques that had long been considered torture under domestic and international law. It relied on sloppy or aggressive legal analysis as a basis for evading judicial review of a warrantless wiretapping program. It has at every turn chosen the most expansive interpretation of the law to rationalize indefinite detentions and deny federal court review to those in custody. It has, in short, determined its preferred course of action first and then stitched together absurd readings of the law to defend those choices.

The last thing America needs as we set out to restore the rule of law and repair America's reputation in the world is a last-ditch Bush effort to pardon those who guided our country so far off course.

ACT NOW! Help the ACLU raise a powerful wave of protest expressing outrage that pardons by President Bush are even under consideration.

In America, no one is above the law!

Speak out against preemptive pardons and restore the American values of justice and due process.


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director