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Act! Tell Your Member of Congress to Cosponsor H.R. 104, the Bill to Kick-Start a Torture and Surveillance Commission

Since George W. Bush left office, information has emerged to blow the Bush lie that “we do not torture” out of the water, replacing it with the uncomfortable count of hundreds of instances of U.S. torture and the hint that still more instances of torture remain hidden from the public. Torture and conspiracy to commit torture are federal crimes under U.S. Code Chapter 18, Section 2340.

Before he assumed office, Barack Obama promised to oppose warrantless surveillance, search and seizure. He broke that promise as Senator by voting for the FISA Amendments Act. Since Obama took the Presidential Oath of Office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America” in January, your government has continued to spy on you and your communications without a warrant, to a massive extent. Search and seizure of you, your property and your communications “effects” is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the supreme law of this land.

With the emergence of information about the extent of American torture and warrantless surveillance, and given these practices’ clear contravention of federal law and the United States Constitution, you think the Congressional solution would be to hold hearings, impeach federal lawbreakers who still in office, and pass legislation to increase measures for enforcement of truth, justice and the American way. You’d think so if you weren’t paying attention. No legislation has been passed, and no hearings of consequences have been held.

No, hang on, that’s not entirely fair. You see, legislation has been passed regarding government snooping this year; the Senate enacted rules this month making it more difficult for anybody proposing wiretapping reform legislation to even get their bill onto the floor. Those new rules passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Besides that measure, nothing has come through the Congress. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Something’s got to get started if anything is going to get done. Think about it, folks: while we’ve been standing here blinking, a quarter of the first session of the 111th Congress has already passed. I’d like to be able to tell you about a great reform bill that I hope to see passed, but such legislation isn’t even on the horizon.

The next best thing we can hope for is an effort to discover and disseminate the truth. Earlier this year, J. Clifford introduced us to a bill to accomplish that:

On January 6th, U.S. Representative John Conyers introduced H.R. 104, a bill to establish a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties, which would have the power to investigate the totalitarian powers claimed by President George W. Bush. Those powers include torture, arbitrary imprisonment, massive spying programs against huge numbers of Americans not even suspected of any crime, the revocation of habeas corpus, and the establishment of secret prisons beyond the reach of the law.

Since the day that Congressman Conyers introduced that legislation to the House of Representatives, however, nothing has been done to move it forward to passage. The bill is stuck in the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. I’m not seeing anything on the schedules of any of these committees to suggest that the Conyers bill will be addressed any time soon.

Sadly, since J. Clifford wrote these words in March the bill hasn’t progressed in any procedural way. 14 more cosponsors have signed on in recent days, however, lending some momentum to Conyers’ bill. The following is a list of those 44 members of Congress who have formally indicated their support for H.R. 104 and the commission on torture and surveillance it would establish:

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, District 14), District Office Phone Number: 313-961-5670 — principal sponsor
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ, District 1), District Office Phone Number: 856-546-5100
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI, District 2), District Office Phone Number: 608-258-9800
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 540-980-4310
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA, District 8), District Office Phone Number: 617-621-6208
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY, District 11), District Office Phone Number: 718-287-1142
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 901-544-4131
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD, District 7), District Office Phone Number: 410-465-8259
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA, District 53), District Office Phone Number: 619-280-5353
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 541-440-3523
Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA, District 10), District Office Phone Number: 800-870-2626
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX, District 25), District Office Phone Number: 512-916-5921
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 301-562-7960
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN, District 5), District Office Phone Number: 612-522-1212
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA, District 17), District Office Phone Number: 800-340-3277
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA, District 51), District Office Phone Number: 619-422-5963
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 508-999-6462
Rep. Al Green (D-TX, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 713-383-9234
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ, District 7), District Office Phone Number: 520-622-6788
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 773-342-0774
Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL, District 17), District Office Phone Number: 309-793-5760
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, District 22), District Office Phone Number: 607-273-1388
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ, District 12), District Office Phone Number: 609-750-9365
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, District 1), District Office Phone Number: 206-361-0233
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX, District 18), District Office Phone Number: 713-227-7740
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 770-939-2016
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC, District 3), District Office Phone Number: 800-351-1697
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 419-259-7500
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 510-763-0370
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, District 14), District Office Phone Number: 718-932-1804
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA, District 3), District Office Phone Number: 508-460-9292
Rep. James Moran (D-VA, District 8), District Office Phone Number: 703-971-4700
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY, District 8), District Office Phone Number: 718-373-3198
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ, District 4), District Office Phone Number: 602-256-0551
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA, District 39), District Office Phone Number: 562-860-5050
Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL, District 9), District Office Phone Number: 847-328-3409
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA, District 29), District Office Phone Number: 626-304-2727
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA, District 3), District Office Phone Number: 757-380-1000
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY, District 28), District Office Phone Number: 716-282-1274
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH, District 13), District Office Phone Number: 330-865-8450
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, District 20), District Office Phone Number: 954-437-3936
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA, District 35), District Office Phone Number: 323-757-8900
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, District 19), District Office Phone Number: 561-988-6302
Rep. David Wu (D-OR, District 1), District Office Phone Number: 800-422-4003

If you believe that the illegal and unconstitutional behavior of your government must be accounted for, and if you see your member of the House of Representatives on the above list, call that phone number next to his or her name and express your thanks and support. If you don’t see your Representative’s name, that means you’ve got a shirker on your hands. Click here to find his or her contact information and get on the horn to ask what gives. Let your Representative in Washington know that you care about how the U.S. government treats the people under its power, about the rule of law, about freedom. Ask him or her, politely but firmly, to cosponsor H.R. 104.

2 comments to Act! Tell Your Member of Congress to Cosponsor H.R. 104, the Bill to Kick-Start a Torture and Surveillance Commission

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