Blog of Rights

Chris
Anders

Christopher Anders (@andersacluis senior legislative counsel in the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, where he represents the ACLU before Congress and the Executive Branch. Since joining the ACLU legislative team in 1997, Anders has represented the ACLU on a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues. For the past eight years, Anders has led the ACLU’s Washington, D.C. advocacy on torture, detention, war authority, and Guantanamo issues. Since 2006, he has led a national coalition of human rights, civil liberties, and religious groups working on detention and Guantanamo issues. He also has served as a human rights observer at military commission proceedings held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Prior to joining the ACLU’s Washington office, Anders spent eleven years with Washington law and lobbying firms.

Mukasey Must Appoint a Special Prosecutor

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:11pm
Yesterday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the CIA's destruction of videotapes depicting the "harsh" interrogation of detainees in its custody. It's good that Mukasey is feeling enough heat that he's forced to do something. On the other hand, he has refused to appoint an independent prosecutor and instead is allowing the DOJ to investigate itself and others in the Bush administration. This just isn't good enough, because the Bush administration will still control the investigation. The prosecutor he named will report directly to the deputy AG - where the nominee refuses to say if waterboarding is illegal, who will then report to Mukasey - who also refuses to say if waterboarding is illegal. There is no independence. Not only that, Mukasey has limited the investigation only to whether crimes were committed related to the destruction of the tapes. But there are other questions that need to be asked, including whether what was being videotaped is a crime and whether failing to disclose the existence of the tapes to the 9/11 commission also violated the law. The ACLU will be sending a letter to Mukasey calling on him to appoint an independent prosecutor - one with real independence and transparency - who can undertake a comprehensive investigation into all of the potential crimes surrounding these videotapes. This is the only way Americans will be able to rest assured justice is carried out. And as today's New York Times editorial points out , this or any other investigation does not affect the ACLU's contempt motion currently pending in district court. Last month we filed a motion asking a judge to hold the CIA in contempt for flouting a court order in our torture-related Freedom of Information Act lawsuit . While the criminal investigation proceeds, the CIA should be sanctioned for flagrantly flouting a court order.CORRECTION: A earlier version of this post stated the New York Times' position to be that the investigation should not be used to stall our contempt motion. In fact, the Times op-ed stated that the investigation does not affect the motion.

White House Heavily Involved in CIA Tape Destruction

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 7:44pm
The CIA is on a roll lately with news that it destroyed taped “harsh” interrogations of detainees. The Justice Department recently warned a federal judge to back off of an inquiry as to whether the tapes’ destruction violated a court order. The…

Gitmo, Habeas Corpus and the Long Haul to Fix the MCA

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:11am
There’s a fight brewing in Congress that goes to the core of the Bush Administration’s entire Guantánamo policy. With Guantánamo, top officials in the White House and Justice Department thought they had found “the legal equivalent of a black…

Roberts Confirmed

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:07pm
After three days of debate, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Just three hours later, Justice Stevens, who is the most senior justice and acted as chief justice after the death of Chief…
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