From the Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights:
**PLEASE READ, CALL YOUR SENATOR, AND FORWARD** Key states: NY, CA, WI, & MD
“The reason we don’t have an attorney general…is because the last one broke the law, and this one refuses to say torture is torture.” –Richard Clarke, former U.S. counterterrorism chief, speech before the Massachusetts Bar Association (Nov. 1, 2007)
Michael Mukasey, the man who wants to be our next attorney general, refuses to say that waterboarding is torture. Waterboarding dates from the time of the Spanish Inquisition. It is an ancient torture technique of repeated partial drowning. Water is forced into the prisoner’s lungs until he or she nears the point of death by drowning. The prisoners are then pulled back from the brink — usually. Waterboarding is torture, and torture is unconstitutional. All four of the top lawyers in the military unequivocally agree (see links at the bottom).
We need your help. Please take 30 seconds today to call your senators today and tell them to vote “NO” on Mukasey’s confirmation as attorney general [see senate phone numbers below]. The vote is on Tuesday, so please call your senators now! Without exaggeration, this is the best chance in years to take a stand against torture.
Senators from the key states of New York, California, Wisconsin, and Maryland are undecided.
The stakes are high — the Senate can stop Mukasey’s nomination. But if the Senate fails to act, it may well do the opposite, tacitly endorsing the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture. At Mukasey’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Richard Durbin, (D-IL), explained to Mukasey that the United States has prosecuted waterboarding as a war crime for more than a century. But Mukasey wouldn’t budge. This country cannot stand for yet another attorney general who doesn’t know right from wrong, who can’t state clearly what the laws and history of this country already make clear, who will not renounce torture.
Just two weeks ago, Mukasey’s confirmation looked like a sure thing. But his refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture has cast a dark shadow on his prospects. This turnaround was possible thanks to the pressure of voters like you. Since then, senators from both parties have called on Mukasey to clarify his position, but he has clung to an evasive answer. In a written response, Mukasey dismissed the controversy as “academic” and with “scant practical effect or value.” [For more information about waterboarding, its reported use by the U.S., and Mukasey’s letter on it, please see the links at the end of this e-mail].
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on sending Mukasey’s nomination to the full Senate this Tuesday, Nov. 6. But if the Committee votes “NO” on Mukasey, his nomination to the post of attorney general will likely fail.
Please take 30 seconds today to call your senators and tell them to vote “NO” on Mukasey’s confirmation.
Thank you for your help and for taking a stand against torture.
SAMPLE TEXT OF WHAT TO TELL YOUR SENATE STAFF:
[Note: Mukasey’s name is pronounced “mew-CASEY.”]
1. Good morning/afternoon.
2. My name is ______________________.
3. I am a [optional: affiliation/occupation] and a constituent of Senator ____________.
4. I live at [your full address with ZIP — this information is very important to show that you are a voter—they do not use your address for anything else or pass it on ].
5. I’m calling to urge the senator to vote “NO” on Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as attorney general because I’m concerned about the issue of torture.
6. Waterboarding is torture, and it is a crime. If Mr. Mukasey can’t say that, he shouldn’t be attorney general.
7. The senator must not endorse Mr. Mukasey’s views on waterboarding by supporting his confirmation.
8. Thank you for your time.
KEY SENATORS ON THE ISSUE (these are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who are undecided/swing voters)
* New York — Sen. Schumer (D) — (202) 224-6542 [*KEY*]
* California — Sen. Feinstein (D) — (202) 224-3841 [*KEY*]
* Wisconsin — Sen. Kohl (D) — (202) 224-5653
* Maryland — Sen. Cardin (D) — (202) 224-4524
* Wisconsin — Sen. Feingold (D) — (202) 224-5323
* Pennsylvania — Sen. Specter (R) — (202) 224-4254
* South Carolina — Sen. Graham (R) — (202) 224-5972
SENATORS WHO HAVE SAID THEY WILL VOTE AGAINST MUKASEY (please call them, thank them for their support, and urge them to filibuster if necessary)
* Vermont — Sen. Leahy (D) — (202) 224-4242
* Delaware– Sen. Biden (D) — (202) 224-5042
* Illinois– Sen. Durbin (D) — (202) 224-2152
* Massachusetts — Sen. Kennedy (D) –– (202) 224-4543
* Rhode Island — Sen. Whitehouse (D) –– (202) 224-2921
FOR ALL OTHER SENATORS
Please see the single-page Senate directory: http://www.senate.gov/general/resources/pdf/senators_phone_list.pdf
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT WATERBOARDING, ITS USE BY THE U.S., AND MUKASEY’S WRITTEN RESPONSES
Harvard Law School faculty letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on waterboarding:
New York Times frontpage coverage on the waterboarding controversy, Nov. 1, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/washington/01mukasey.html?ref=washington
Michael Mukasey’s response to Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats:
Human rights groups’ letter explaining that all four of the top lawyers in the military unequivocally agree that waterboarding is torture: http://www.humanrightsfirst.info/pdf/071101-etn-mukasey-oppo-let.pdf
GET THIS URGENT ACTION IN DOC.