Above Photo: FB/ Medea Benjamin
At the Senate confirmation hearing for Steven Bradbury as general counsel for the Commerce, Science and Transportation Department, members of Veterans for Peace and CODEPINK protested Bradbury for his authorship of the “Torture Memos” under the Bush administration. Three members of Veterans for Peace were arrested for speaking out at the hearing: Tarak Kauff, Ken Ashe and Ellen Barfield.
All three veterans, in response to why they protested today, affirmed that Bradbury should not hold any kind of position in the United States’ government and called on the senators to oppose his nomination.
“Anybody whose moral compass is so broken that they would condone torture doesn’t deserve a position in the US government,” stated Ken Ashe as he was handcuffed by Capitol Police.
“I disrupted the hearing for a man, Steven Bradbury, who should be on trial for war crimes,” said Tarak Kauff as he was pulled out of the hearing by police. “He sanctioned, condoned, and confirmed torture practices that were used by the Bush administration, practices that disgraced our country.”
“I am a veteran. I am deeply concerned about our soldiers, who are at risk for torture if our nation tortures,” said Ellen Barfield.
From 2005-2009, Bradbury was acting head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel under George Bush. During this time he authored the “torture memos” that contradict domestic and international law regarding the treatment of prisoners. In 2008, Bradbury was blocked from holding Senate-confirmable positions due to his role in Bush’s torture program. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) used procedural maneuvers to prevent Bradbury’s nomination to a senior Justice Department position. With President Trump, he has resurfaced in vying for a key government position.
Human Rights First, along with 14 other human rights groups, have also called on senators to oppose the nomination.