July 4th, 2007


"Silence Betokens Consent"

On this 231st anniversary of our nation's founding, an inspiring story that demonstrates independence and courage.

During a routine photo op with President Bush and a group of 135 other Presidential Scholars, Mari Oye handed him a letter rebuking his administration for its position on torture, illegal rendition and detainee rights.

A small group of students got together and wrote the letter in a twelve-hour period the day before their scheduled visit to the White House. "If I was going to be alone with the president I had to say something, because silence betokens consent and there's a lot going on right now that I don't want to consent to," said Leah Anthony Libresco.

The handwritten letter said that the students believe they have a responsibility to voice their convictions.

"We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants."

Bush stuck to the administration's script after reading the letter and said again and again, "America doesn't torture."

"High Schoolers Who Confronted Bush On Torture Tell Their Story."