President Obama, Don’t Become Complicit in Their Crimes!

On Thursday, January 29th, I sent President Obama this message:

“Mr. President: The Bush Administration lied to the people in pursuit of war. As a result, at least one million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers are dead. Thousands more are maimed. The stature of the U.S. is severely damaged. The U.S. Constitution is in shreds after signing statements, wiretaps, and torture. Your obligation is to investigate and bring to justice those who violated U.S. and international law, such as the torture treaty. Failure to do so makes you complicit in their crimes.”

On Wednesday, January 28th, I sat in front of the television and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Exactly what I’ve been saying, myself. But it was coming from an unexpected source: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak. I wrote down every word. He said that the United Nations has proof that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knowingly approved of torture as a policy for the United States. He said that President Barack Obama has a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who condoned, conducted, or approved of torture.

Further, Jonathan Turley, in an MSNBC interview stated that if Obama fails to investigate or prosecute that he would be an “accessory.”

This is significant. It means that all of us, sadly, were right to pursue impeachment of the key figures in the Bush Administration. Impeachment was the Constitutional imperative; but the Constitution didn’t mean anything to either the Republican or Democratic national leadership.

And to think, on this day filled with impeachment news, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment “off the table” for this cast of villainous characters. I never will forget watching Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, say on national television that Nancy Pelosi should be impeached for impeding impeachment. But Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only one who obstructed justice.

In fact, how could Dick Durbin and Harry Reid, so voluble in standing up to Roland Burris because he was Governor Blagojevich’s pick for Obama’s vacated Senate seat, sit as quiet as church mice in the face of repeated calls for impeachment because of the reckless criminality of the Bush Administration?

And now, we have the United Nations tell us the equivalent of “Houston, we have a problem.”

Some of us knew all along, from the very beginning, that the Bush Administration was the quintessence of election theft, graft, corruption, and war criminality. Some of us recognized early on that our struggle was “against principalities, against powers, … against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is impossible to “go along and get along” with illegal and immoral acts. But that is exactly what the national leadership of this country asked us all to do, and that is exactly what they did.

Dr. King was confronted with the expediency of staying on the civil rights track, remaining with his friends in the civil rights movement, or doing what his conscience impelled him to do. That’s when he made his famous statement, that popular chroniclers of Dr. King seem to have forgotten:

“When I first decided to take a firm stand against the war in Vietnam, I was subjected to the most bitter criticism, by the press, by individuals, and even by some fellow civil rights leaders. There were those who said that I should stay in my place, that these two issues did not mix and I should stick with civil rights. Well I had only one answer for that and it was simply the fact that I have struggled too long and too hard now to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to end up at this point in my life segregating my moral concerns.”

Dr. King had to leave behind some of his best friends in the movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War. Dr. King could have bowed to the pressure and stayed in his “civil rights” lane. But he knew that the war was wrong and he had to use every fiber in his being to stop it. Even his life, itself.

One of the first under-reported acts of President Obama was to sign an order continuing the drone airstrikes, resulting in at least 22 killed so far. For the dead children of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Gaza, it doesn’t matter to their parents if the bomb was dropped by Bush or Obama or the client state they support. And President Obama has made it clear that the bombs will continue to drop; it is up to us–the people of the United States–to stop them. That’s why it was on my birthday, in front of the Pentagon in 2007, that I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed in the name of U.S. wars. I said it, and I meant it, and I knew I was going to have to do something I’d never done before if I was ever going to have something I’d never had before. So I left the Democratic Party.

I don’t regret my decision one minute. I draw my strength from Dr. King, who in his own way, did the same thing when he refused to segregate his moral concerns.

My neighborhood in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central, is already a police state. Tonight, 25 to 30 young black men, standing handcuffed, outside the barber shop. Every night, routine dehumanization is carried out in black and brown neighborhoods by LAPD. I see it. I never miss it. It’s all around me.

Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood by law enforcement. Robert Tolan, murdered in cold blood by law enforcement, for driving his father’s car, mistaken for stolen.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios assassinated by the U.S. government; I met his wife and heard the entire story of what happened as he was shot by the FBI and then bled to death.

Innocent black and brown and poor white men on death row. How many Troy Davises and Mumia Abu Jamals will we allow to exist in our country?

Native Americans trying to survive despite genocide and ethnic cleansing, struggle against drug and alcohol abuse and poverty, and try to keep their culture alive.

And yet the likes of Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, and now Barack Obama say nothing about the pain I see on the mean streets and reservations across our country, and the miscarriages of justice that are its regular feature, but they allow Bush and company to get away with the highest of crimes, involving millions of deaths.

In each of these writings, I ask you, too, to write to the White House and let them know that you exist. We didn’t recruit President Obama to run, so I am clear on the limitations of a White House letter writing campaign. But trust me, our collective efforts will congeal into the movement for dignity, real peace, and true justice that we so desperately need for ourselves and the rest of the world.

Cynthia McKinney was a presidential candidate for the Green Party in the 2008 election. Read other articles by Cynthia, or visit Cynthia's website.

33 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Tevye said on January 30th, 2009 at 10:12am #

    Nancy Pelosi was always a willing accessory to Bush/Cheney crimes!

  2. SharkGirl said on January 30th, 2009 at 10:44am #

    How can you expect Obama to investigate violations of the Constitution when he himself may be in violation of it?

    I learned, during the campaign, that the Obamas can not relate to poor people. Look at the clothes they wear. Look at their millions of dollar in income. $500 per outfit their kids wear? C’mon! The Obamas have picked up where the Bush administration left off. They are keeping in power the very same administration, and also keep in power the Clintons.

    They don’t care about the poor, the Black, the Brown, the Yellow and whatever other color people are referred to.

    And the courts? I stood before a judge who degraded me because I’m poor.

    Corporate America is what we are, and our political members are not poor and can’t relate to “we the people”, nor do they want to. That’s the point of getting in power. You get to stomp on the little people and make them work for you.

    I turn my head when Mrs. Obama is on TV. I, as a poor woman, know she could care less about me. She’s playing the good little rich girl poses for the cameras. She’s no different than any other political show-off who gets millions in donations.

  3. RG the LG said on January 30th, 2009 at 10:55am #

    Yeah … O’Bama (he’s really Irish ya know?) is going to pursue impeachment? Congress sure as hell won’t … they are up to the same old bs of pretending to deliberate when all they really do is make sure the status quo is maintained.

    Not in our life times! That would not fit in with the idea of the O’Bama-ist concept of ‘cool.’ And Congress? Not one spine in the whole damned shootin’ match!

    Worse, we don’t want the leaders of our empire to be convicted of anything because WE are the great United States of Hypocrisy … the empire that will and does strike back. And, like all of those soldiers in the Star Wars White Uniforms that support Vader and the Emperor … they are complicit and they are us!

    RG the LG

  4. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 11:11am #

    Cynthia McKinney, ok so you don’t like whats going on, huh, So whats stopping you and your from going to the street to change things. Would you rather sit on your ass and whine about things or would you like to see them changed. All I ever read in here is how bad things are but you do nothing. The shades of the October Reveloution are laughing at you and what you call the left in America. If they were as sorry as you and yours they would still be kissing the Czar’s ass.

    My guess is, that you are one of those people who will fight to the last drop of others blood and then make an accomadation with whoever wins.

  5. Myles Hoenig said on January 30th, 2009 at 11:11am #

    For impeachment to be successful, a trial by the Senate had to happen. Believe it or not, the truth often comes out of a trial. We would then see the complicity of Pelosi and co. and their indictment for war crimes would be pushed by conservatives and others who want to see that full justice is carried out.
    That’s why impeachment was always off the table.

  6. Tree said on January 30th, 2009 at 11:46am #

    Danny Ray, stop play acting and slowly back away from your copy of the Communist Manifesto.
    You clearly have no idea of Cynthia McKinney’s accomplishments so why don’t you learn? This isn’t a freshman humanities course, you know.

  7. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 11:59am #

    Hi Tree, I know full well what the distinguished ex congress woman has done, Her last escapade on a boat in the Eastern Med. read better than a Clive Cussler Novel. She has a rabble rousing resume’ that makes Abbe Hoffman look like a member of the eagle forum. But in the end of it all, exactly what has she done? What has she changed? I’ll tell you what, not a damn thing that’s what. The point I wanted to make is why whine, why don’t they do something? You are all agreed that P.B.H.O will do nothing. So its time for you to do something. Take to the streets, burn something down, lets get the revolution started. Start putting people up to a wall in a real way not that literary crap you do most of the time

  8. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 12:07pm #

    And while I am on this soap box let me say one other thing, If the people on this site had of had any real balls or disire to change things Ms Mckinney would be in the oval office now, but it things were changed what would you people have to bitch about,

  9. Tree said on January 30th, 2009 at 12:09pm #

    You’re full of shit. And, you’re also on this site, so am I to assume you are burning things down between posting comments?
    I would suggest you burn your soap box.

  10. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 12:39pm #

    Well yes, I am full of shit, all men are, No I am not burning things down between posts, I got addicted to this site while doing research for my M.A., now I have to check it every day. This is the most entertaining thing on the internet. I only get about an hour on line every day so after reading Ted Rall or looking at his cartoon and reading Tank . This is where I head. And before you ask I am so far to the right I am damn near back to the left. But I love you all. I feel like some of you are my friends. I will fight to the death for you and Ms McKinney to have the right to say and write anything you choose, I just get tired of this eternal open letter crap, PBHO don’t care about the American left I could have told you that six months ago. So if you will have change you will have to walk the walk cause talking the talk don’t get it.

    Many people read this site just to have a feel of what the far left thinks.

  11. Tree said on January 30th, 2009 at 12:57pm #

    I feel like a specimen under the glass.
    At least the far left is not being hunted. Yet.

    Not sure what PBHO means but whatever it is, I’m sure you’re correct and they don’t care about the Left. This country is not by nor for “the Left.” But that doesn’t mean we can’t live with some fucking dignity.

    People are oppressed everywhere, that’s what I am concerned with.

  12. mary said on January 30th, 2009 at 1:24pm #

    Yes ‘Danny Ray’ this courageous woman was in a boat with 15 others including three surgeons and aid workers going to Gaza carrying 3.5 tonnes of supplies. In the middle of the night of the 30 December and 50 miles from the Gazan shore in International Waters, two Israeli navy gunships approached them and played their searchlights on the boat for thirty minutes. The lights went off and all went quiet. Without any warning, one of these gunships rammed the boat not once but three times and then left. They ignored the Mayday that the captain of mv Dignity put out. The boat was very badly damaged and in rough seas the passengers could have drowned (the depth of the Mediterranean is 1 mile where this happened) but they managed to make it to Tyre in the Lebanon. I know all this because my brother was one of the surgeons on board.

    Not to be deprived of 16 more victims, one of the Zionist entity who lives in the US put out death threats and a price of $25,000 on the heads of these brave people and on those ISM workers in Gaza.
    His site has since been taken down.

    One of them,Eve Bartlett, has written this account of what has happened to just one family. I thought the defecating by the Israeli IDF was particularly disgusting.

  13. Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! said on January 30th, 2009 at 1:33pm #

    Nobody is going to impeach any of those murderers for any crimes, face it. They’re well protected and you know it.

  14. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 1:35pm #

    Please don’t feel like a specimen, The extent of my research was charting the change in peoples preception of current events as time and the news cycle went on.
    Findings, The Left is damn near A.D.D.
    the right somewhat less so.

    P= President
    B =Barack
    H = The name we dare not say
    O =Obama

    And yes people are oppressed everywhere, but nothing is done about it. that was my whole point.

  15. Danny Ray said on January 30th, 2009 at 1:38pm #

    Tree I would never hurt you if I could help it. I have grown fond of your comments, and I have grown fond of your wit, I have to get off now one of my team is whining about wanting to look at pic’s of his new baby, like it was special or something.

  16. Tree said on January 30th, 2009 at 1:51pm #


    You didn’t hurt me. No worries.
    Just say the baby is the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen, he’ll believe you.

  17. bozh said on January 30th, 2009 at 2:57pm #

    yes, clothes speak. and much, much clearer than words. or one cld say, an eyeful is lot more truthful than any utterance. and, of course ‘brilliant’ utterances are the bigest lies.
    dare i ask you, Are you for sale or on sale? did you know that when women wear long pants, they are not for sale. thnx

  18. Mark E. Smith said on January 30th, 2009 at 7:46pm #

    “did you know that when women wear long pants, they are not for sale.”

    Is the opposite also true, that when men wear long pants, they are for sale?

    That would explain most of our politicians. ROFL

  19. Rahb said on January 30th, 2009 at 9:57pm #

    A’right, men time for the kilts to come out! I don’t know from clothes, I heard Mrs. Obama shops at Target, maybe supporting sweatshop labour makes you feel better about her?
    Cynthia, surely you were not surprised about Rumsfeld and the like, were you not around when Wolfawitz, Cheney, and him were lying to the public and manipulating Reagan regarding the power of the Soviets? Went something like, ‘we know that the Soviets are responsible for all terrorist groups (from PLO to IRA) ’cause there’s no proof and we made some convincing shit up with the CIA that ended up in a feedback loop (while we’re funding Mujaheddini, and rejecting Soviet aims to remove themselves at a reasonable pace from Afghanistan, diplomatic efforts and so on…), plus they are somehow funding all kinds of weapons etc. despite the collapsing economy, have secret undetectable subs, proven by the fact that we can’t find them, etc.’ They’ve been lying to you your whole life, and now even happiness is using you – Obama, Clinton, whoever is in power must be out of touch with the majority as the majority are not the elite. Meanwhile, Obama signs to go ahead and kill more kids with drones, and his special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell (Former chairman of Disney Corporation, at which time when the company was reported as using sweatshop labour, including abusive child labour) goes to Gaza and speaks with “leadership” there as reported in the BBC (regarding the UN request for $600+ Million to rebuild Gaza), which turns out to be Fatah leaders and whom he talks to about reducing arms import into Gaza, not only ignoring the elected government of Hamas (called “the Hamas Militant Group” in the article) but saying that he has “no intention” of speaking with them at all – this of course will lead to the death of more children as Israel continues expanding its fascist movements into Gaza and West Bank, and using each and every opportunity to kill more Palestinians or Jews that oppose them. (Something many people don’t realize is that the Israeli government has actually killed more Jews than all of the Israeli wars combined, that excludes Nazi Germany when Israel didn’t exist. The Ashkenazim majority (which used to only represent 3% of Judaism and now over 80%) has discriminated against and killed Mizrahi in droves (see the ringworm children for an example) as well as stamping out anti-Zionist Jewish movements. To be pro-Israeli Zionist government is to be anti-Semitic. Yet the US (boasting over 90% of its Jewish population as Ashkenazim), including Obama’s team goes along with Israeli “leadership” as the “good-guys” “defending themselves” from “antisemitism”….

  20. bozh said on January 31st, 2009 at 12:10pm #

    mark, yes,
    politicians who wear pants/skirts are for sale, but not in the alleys but in fancy hotels, restaurants.
    men who wear short shorts are for sale in the allleys.
    suit and long pants are ok for higher class professionals but you won’t find them in the alleys but in hotels.

  21. Ramsefall said on February 2nd, 2009 at 12:31pm #

    These elite pricks are almost above the law, and the only way that they’ll eventually be subjected to the law is if public prosecution takes place either domestically or internationally — already in the works in many esoteric circles. Needless to say, nobody in the government is going to do a damn thing to disrupt the hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil protocol. Expecting anything of the sorts is unrealistic…trolls and gnomes don’t exist by the way.

    Danny Ray, if you end up deciding to burn something down, how about starting with the White House for starters?

    Best to all.

  22. roseanne said on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:28pm #

    cynthia doesn’t just talk, she acts, and that is the ultimate taboo of the left in america….showing up and acting your will upon public gestalt and policy. that is what is needed, greens electing greens. she shows up on boats and on websites and in homes and churches. she talks about the end of suffering and torture in public with no bodyguards, and not just on websites where things are typed in secret rooms. she shows up. nothing else matters really. nothing needs to burn. we need a march upon washington by every person in this country, and we need to sit there for a while, peacefully and wait for our taxdollar to buy us something besides ruin and death.

  23. Danny Ray said on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:30pm #

    Not me brother, As I stated above , I am a confirmed Cossack, I will be waiting behind the barricades when you future Bolsheviks come to storm the winter palace 🙂

  24. Ramsefall said on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:37pm #

    Good try, but not me either bru, I bailed on that US BS years ago, am now happy to be an expat who observes the farce from a distance.

    Maybe we could get Brian Koontz to burn it down for us? lmao.

    A thought…what if we’re all specimen under the glass? Who knows?

    Best to you.

  25. deadsteve said on February 2nd, 2009 at 8:35pm #

    your some kind of footstool?

  26. James said on February 3rd, 2009 at 1:51pm #

    OH PLEASE! This nappy headed ho disgraced herself in the past, and has nothing of importance to share with anyone. A typical liberal who got her azz thrown out for playing the race card. She is an abomination!

  27. Danny Ray said on February 3rd, 2009 at 2:13pm #

    My ne klanyaemsya nikomu, okromya Gosudarya

    If you don’t know what a Cossack is maybe you are dead.

  28. mary said on February 3rd, 2009 at 3:31pm #

    We do not bow to anybody, except Tsar
    (My ne klanyaemsya nikomu, okromya Gosudarya)

    Where do you keep your horse?

  29. mary said on February 3rd, 2009 at 4:06pm #

    My ne klanyaemsya nikomu, okromya Gosudarya
    “We do not bow to anybody, except Tsar”

    Where do you keep your horse?

  30. bozh said on February 3rd, 2009 at 5:10pm #

    mary or marija,
    ja se ne klanjam ni caru. spasibo

  31. Danny Ray said on February 3rd, 2009 at 7:40pm #

    Bozh, old Friend you never cease to amaze me,

    Mary, Very good job, these days I keep him the same place I keep my saber, In my heart,

  32. Danny Ray said on February 3rd, 2009 at 8:04pm #

    ????? ????? ??????

  33. SharkGirl said on February 4th, 2009 at 9:04am #

    Mark E. Smith, I’m trying to decipher your comment to me, but I don’t understand. Sorry.

    What does wearing long pants have to do with anything? When I was in Honduras, I was required to wear a dress or a skirt and blouse because wearing pants indicated you were for sale. So, whenever I left the compound, I dressed according to the way their culture required.

    I’m lost as to what you’re talking about.