Public Comment

Going After Cheney

By Cynthia Papermaster
Thursday September 03, 2009 - 11:12:00 AM

To borrow terminology from Dick Cheney’s world, it’s open season for hunting Dick Cheney. 

Starting this month, the universe of human rights, accountability, legal, and social justice groups have Cheney in their sights and are optimistic that they’ll bag their trophy and bring him in to be held accountable for myriad violations of U.S. and international laws. 

Conditions are converging to make this Cheney hunting season a total success. 

First, Cheney has admitted openly to breaking the law. That should make it easy to investigate, prosecute, indict and convict him. 

Second, Cheney’s no longer working for us, so he doesn't have immunity from prosecution and we don't have to be concerned whether he’s in the executive or legislative branch. Sure, we’re still paying for his secret service detail and a hefty benefits package, and he’s got some of the media fawning all over him, but he doesn’t have the authority to command anything or anyone—in short—the way is clear, and he’s fair game. 

The National Accountability Action Network (NAAN, at www.actforjustice. 

org), ACLU, CODEPINK, Center for Constitutional Rights, MoveOn,, and other groups are working to ensure accountability and justice for the fifty or so officials who, while working in the White House, Departments of Justice, Defense and State, CIA, and elsewhere clearly violated U.S. and international laws by lying us into a war on Iraq and on terrorists worldwide, by providing legal opinions and cover for torture, illegal wiretapping, suspension of habeas corpus and other human and civil rights, and by working to establish a unitary executive branch which stole power from Congress and the people and consolidated it in the hands of criminals.   

What’s the quail hunting term? Flush him out and take aim? 

Why the hunting metaphor? Well, it just sort of suggested itself, and I think it’s pretty apropos and clever. Of course, we’re not real hunters and don’t believe in violence. We’re not vigilante stalkers and don’t carry guns. We just want the proper authorities to do their jobs. 

• Attorney General Holder must order investigation and prosecution of high-ranking officials like Dick Cheney  

• State bar associations must investigate and disbar lawyers who enabled torture 

• Congress must impeach 9th Circuit Judge Jay Bybee 

• University of California must dismiss John Yoo, Stanford must fire Condi Rice, Chevron must fire Jim Haynes, etc. 

We need to keep making noise and lots of it, pointing at Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Bybee, Gonzales, Yoo, Haynes, Bradbury, Rove, and more—to ensure that accountability and justice are served.  

Whenever one of these outlaws is nearby, consider organizing a citizen’s arrest. Why? Because the more we keep the spotlight on these criminals, the more likely that they will be investigated and prosecuted. We have a role to play—identifying and “outing” the criminals. But we’re not vigilantes. Our job is simply to “finger” the outlaws and demand that the proper authorities do their jobs. 

Take a look at the “Arrest the War Criminals” campaign on CODEPINK’s website Each criminal has a description. There are instructions for doing citizen’s arrests and organizing protests and other actions. Look at the “locals spotlight” to see what CODEPINK chapters have done in their areas. You’ll find “Shame on Yoo” actions, “Bye Bye Bybee” protests, arrest Karl Rove attempts, and other inspiring resources. Look too at NAAN’s website for a nationwide action calendar, list of groups working on accountability, music videos, documents providing evidence of criminal acts, and more. See also Voters for Peace, The Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, Amnesty International, PDA, Common Cause, MoveOn and other accountability groups and campaigns for more ideas. Take action now—we can and must win this campaign for accountability and justice! 


Cynthia Papermaster is a Berkeley resident and a member of CODEPINK Golden Gate (San Francisco Bay Area).