Posts Tagged lawyers

Obama Justice: Officially, Yoo & Bybee Are Not Criminals

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.

War Crime indictment at

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.

Jay Bybee Mug

war crime indictment at

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,, Code Pink and others have been protesting and disrupting Yoo’s book tour.  See

(Video) John Yoo speech disrupted at Johns Hopkins Univ – Va. campus next

A full schedule of protests at his tour in on 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.

Flyer and newspaper ad: PDFEmail Alert.  –  Map and directions.  –  Song lyricsMedia Advisory.

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Challenging Bush Torture Architect John Yoo

Shut Down Guantanamo! in San Francisco

Tuesday January 12, on both coasts, World Can’t Wait, Code Pink and other people of conscience demanded the prosecution of John Yoo, the principal legal architect of the justification of torture by the United States.

In Berkeley, where his 2010 class schedule called for the first class of the semester, UC officials made the location secret, they said, because of “concerns for students’ safety.”   One might note that it would be more dangerous for a law student to be taught Constitutional law by someone who opposed international law on the subject of torture (not to mention U.S. law) than for those students to encounter advocates against torture.

But no matter.  20 people delivered the message that John Yoo should be prosecuted for war crimes; disbarred from practicing law; and fired from his teaching position at Boalt Hall School of Law.  Not, as we have said many times, for what he thinks, writes, or speaks as a professor, but because he provided the legal justification for torture while working for the Bush regime, which led to the deaths of detainees.

Jackson West blogged on NBC News in the Bay Area “John Yoo Charm Campaign ‘Secret’ Classes at Cal” that “Torture memo” author John Yoo has nothing to hide, except John Yoo.

The protest took the question directly to Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley’s office on Tuesday.  Anna Bloom noted all the subterfuge the Law School administration is practicing in The New York Times Bay Area blog noted it Wednesday in John Yoo’s Spring Course at Boalt: Hide and Seek.

This story is so not over!  More upcoming at

The Audacity of War Crimes

Protesting John Yoo

In NYC, Yoo promoted his new book at the Cornell Club.  Outside, we talked to members of the Cornell Club entering the building who had no idea why Yoo would be speaking there; and to people attending the event.  A dozen told us they were going in to question Yoo on torture, and of course there were Federalist Society members and others who vocally defended torture, racial profiling, nuclear weapons, and the swift, violent demise of people like us who questioned the “war on terror.”

Protesting John YooThe night went to those inside who questioned, challenged, and denounced Yoo for promoting torture.  First was Richie, wearing an “Audacity of War Crimes” message on his shirt, who added to the introduction of Yoo.  “John Yoo is a war criminal!”  He was roughly dragged from the room, but seems to have gotten everyone’s’ attention.

After Yoo’s presentation, the first question was from Stephanie Rugoff, co-ordinator of War Criminals Watch, a project of World Can’t Wait.  “With so many lawyers in the room, I want to know why John Yoo isn’t being prosecuted for war crimes?”

3 women from Code Pink brought a banner “John Yoo is a War Criminal” and were escorted out for holding it up.  Another woman challenged Yoo, and stalked out, saying she was disgusted to be in the company of those who promote torture.

Outside, a lively discussion followed, as people filing out stopped to ask why we felt so strongly about Yoo and torture.  We found many people who opposed it.  One of the common questions, though was, “He just gave his legal opinion.  Why is that a crime?”

We’ve encountered law students recently who have never heard of the Nuremberg war crimes trials.  But to the older lawyers, there’s one word: Nuremberg.  The U.S. prosecuted the Nazi lawyers in 1946 on the premise that the lawyers have the “penultimate” responsibility to ensure that laws of war are followed by a government.

The Bush regime was, and remains, forever marked by its flagrant disdain for international and U.S. law that didn’t serve its agenda.  Bush made his own law through hundreds of executive orders and signing statements, beginning with his doctrine of pre-emptive, agressive war against countries which did not attack the U.S.

If you knew torture and the culture supporting it could be stopped, wouldn’t you protest Yoo?

Friday, he will be at the Federalist Society in Washington DC. The event is said to be sold out, but as we learned last night, being outside with the message of prosecuting the torturers is very effective.

Rather than engaging in a wild goose chase to locate the venue, World Can't Wait has decided to bring the question directly to Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley. Join us 3:00pm on Tuesday at the Dean's Office to ask: "What will be taught behind closed doors that needs to be kept secret? Will this initiate a new policy for Boalt Hall to hide from public accountability?"

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White House asks to drop charges against Prof. Yoo

12-07-09 WASHINGTON (KGO) — The White House is asking a federal appeals court to drop charges against UC Berkeley professor John Yoo.  His memos approved the torture, including water boarding of terrorism suspects.  The Obama administration says federal law doesn’t allow damage claims against attorneys who advise the president on national security issues.  It says such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions, and pose the risk of deterring ‘full and frank advice,’ especially during times of crisis, or war.

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