Friday, after 5 delays, the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility finally issued its report on whether John Yoo and Jay Bybee are guilty of crimes associated with their role providing legal cover for torture while working in the Bush White House. Since the findings were leaked weeks ago, no one was surprised that the DoJ’s answer is: NO. They are not very competent lawyers; they engaged in “professional misconduct: says the Department of Justice, but they are not criminals.
NO crimes were committed, no one will be held accountable, says Attorney General Eric Holder. Every major newspaper in the country echoed this message Saturday in its coverage, as did the New York Times, DOJ Review Finds No Misconduct by Memo Authors.
Yet, some groups who have opposed and worked very intently to stop U.S. torture state are looking for the “best” in this report (see the ACLU for example) as the basis for Congress to act. Congress has held dozens of hearings going back to the abuse and torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib, and shown itself willing to look into, and then tolerate and accept the little bit of the reality that came out when lawyers, human rights workers, former guards and ex-detainees testimony was heard.
It barely qualifies as hand-wringing to call for next week’s Congressional hearings as any sort of real response to the OPR findings. Hearings on a Friday?? Without subpoenas?? And really: a single day of hearings? Is anyone supposed to take this seriously? The OPR report was over 5 years in the making.
The report’s findings deserve the strongest and most substantial opposition. See World Can’t Wait’s response to the report.
These are men covered with the blood of countless victims of unspeakably cruel torture, rendition, and imprisonment without any recourse to trial in hell hole dungeons across the planet. The OPR report essentially exonerates Yoo and Bybee – and those who ultimately called the shots for them, Bush, Cheney, Rice, and the rest of the criminal gang – and clears the way for embedding the practices of torture as an integral, condoned element of U.S. policy. These practices are, in fact, continuing today under the administration of Barack Obama, as they did in the years of the Bush Regime.
I looked around the internet to find condemnation of the DoJ’s “let them off the hook” report, and found:
Raw Story pulled out the most passage in the report most damning of John Yoo in Bush had the power to massacre an entire village: Torture author Yoo by quotin Michael Isikoff in Newsweek:
Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:
“What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally -”"Yeah,” Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. “Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.”
“To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?” the OPR investigator asked again.
“Sure,” said Yoo.
David Swanson, in Yoo, Bybee, and Disinformation goes after the need for war crimes prosecution:
How many villages could a president “legally” massacre? You’re missing the point. John Yoo’s president cannot be limited in any way when it’s war time, and it’s always war time. And can other nations’ presidents potentially “legally” massacre our villages? Again, you’re missing the point. The ONLY way to prevent them from doing so is to massacre enough of their villages first. And the only way to do that is to empower presidents. Thus think these psychopaths, and so will our children think like this if we do not put a stop to it now.
Yoo and Bybee are openly guilty of conspiracy to engage in aggressive war, banned by the U.N. Charter and Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, and of conspiracy to torture, a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 2340A-c and § 2441, and to spy without warrants, banned by the Fourth Amendment. Their memos are public. The fact that everyone waited for years to do anything about it, until they could see the Justice Department’s own report on the matter doesn’t change the absolute irrelevance of such nonsense. Yoo’s and Bybee’s actions, no matter what you make of them, consist entirely in authorship of a series of written documents available for all to read. And those documents constitute overwhelming grounds for impeachment and indictment.
Allison Kilkenny, on True/Slant goes to the irony that President Obama (We Do Not Torture!) now says Yoo can’t be prosecuted. Yoo argues president has authority to massacre entire villages.
This man teaches law at Berkeley and was hired as a columnist for the Philly Inquirer. He recently wrote a book, which will earn him lots of money. He gets to walk around every day, a free man.
Rest assured, if a government employee is another country — let’s say Iran — argued that massacring entire villages and using poisonous beetles on prisoners of war was acceptable behavior, President Obama would rightfully denounce that behavior as criminal.
Of course, since Cheney and Yoo are American former government employees, the law doesn’t apply to them.
World Can’t Wait, War Criminals Watch, FireJohnYoo.org, Code Pink and others have been protesting and disrupting Yoo’s book tour. See
A full schedule of protests at his tour in on WarCriminalsWatch.org. Join in! The biggest protest of John Yoo will be Friday March 19 in Charlottesville VA, just before the major march in Washington DC against the Afghanistan & Iraq Occupations.
This event supported by After Downing Street, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, CODE PINK: Women for Peace, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, War Criminals Watch, and World Can’t Wait.
March 19, 2010, Charlottesville, Va.: Year 8 Begins in Iraq War, as Afghanistan escalates
2 p.m. meet on grass across from Corner for Funk the War musical march.
3 p.m. meet in front of Minor Hall at the University of Virginia for rally to protest John Yoo, who speaks in Minor Hall at 3:30.