Berkeley Law Shelters a War Criminal

John Yoo was a UC Berkeley Law professor when he took a leave of absence to accept a position in the Bush Department of Justice. He was the principal legal author of justification for the torture program exposed to the world thru Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Employing a dangerous philosophy of exceptionalism - that American lives are worth more than other people's lives - Yoo provided advice and cover for illegal policies inherited and embraced by President Obama.

An upcoming public international conference, Reflections on the Legacy of Nuremberg, sponsored by the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies provides an excellent venue to protest the University of California's advancement of state torture policy. We will flyer outside Panel III - "History, Memory, and Morality: Revisiting the Holocaust and Nuremberg through the Lens of Today,"


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Tuesday, April 28th

2:00 pm 

Bancroft Hotel

2680 Bancroft Way 

(near College Avenue)

Berkeley



Indict John Yoo for Crimes Against Humanity

A university that allows a war criminal to teach constitutional and international law courses to the next generation of lawyers and judges under prejudice of "academic freedom" is protecting war crimes. There is historical precedent for prosecuting Berkeley Law's resident torture advocate. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. 

In the case U.S. v. Altstoetter, judges, prosecutors, and Ministry of Justice officials who had served the Nazi regime were charged, tried, and convicted of war crimes because their "legal" work enabled the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust under color of law. Recall the role of Adolf Eichmann, sometimes referred to as "the architect of the Holocaust" because he facilitated and managed the logistics of mass deportations of Jews and others to the Nazi extermination camps. His bureaucratic role was critical to the death of millions in the Holocaust. 

John Yoo utilized his employment in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush regime to provide legal cover for crimes of torture, massive surveillance, unlawful and indefinite detention, and war. As a direct result of Yoo's legal memos thousands have been subjected to torture, tens of thousands incarcerated, tens of millions spied upon, and a million have died in U.S. imperialist wars. Without the provision of "legal cover" many of these crimes would not have been possible.

End the Silence.

Say NO to normalization of war crimes.

Fire, Disbar and Prosecute John Yoo and ALL the Torture Lawyers.

Contrary to its constitutionally-protected requirement towards respecting of human rights, the United States has been internationally criticized for its violation of human rights, including denying access to basic healthcare, the least protections for workers of any Western country, the return of imprisoning people for debtshutting off water to impoverished citizens who cannot afford it, deprivation of housing and criminalization of homelessness and poverty, invading the privacy of its citizens through surveillance programsinstitutional racism, gender discrimination, police brutalitythe incarceration of citizens for profit, the mistreatment of prisoners and juveniles in the prison system, crackdowns on peaceful protesters, the continued support for foreign dictators who commit abuses (including genocide) against their own people, unconstitutional denial of voting rights of certain races or political affiliations, and the illegal detainment and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Switch Off the T.P.A.

url.jpgThe bar of justification for extrajudicial killings is high, and necessarily so, even among suspects accused of crimes. Killing sanctioned by courts in the form of executions are problematic enough, as evidenced by recent exonerations of men who spent decades on death row. How much more problematic could killings be of people who don't live to get a trial?

"Of course, many people in society disagree with the decision [to use torture to interrogate people], and I knew when I was making it that it would be a controversial and difficult decision," Yoo said. "But I still think ... it was still the right decision to make."

The Epitome of Shame

The University of California harbors a war criminal. Please help sustain resistance to the hideous ideology that holds high officials above the law. Contribute generously to the national organization that makes the Fire John Yoo! blog possible: The World Can't Wait.

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The Chagossians - the rightful inhabitants of the islands - have sustained a very different sort of torture. They were not beaten or raped, they were not waterboarded or forcibly deprived of sleep, but they were threatened, they were ripped from their homelands (ancestors, communities, schools, homes), they were forced onto the hull of a ship, and they were dropped on foreign islands and forgotten. And this didn't happen in long ago history, it happened only 40 years ago - a slow and pronounced torture that continues today.


illustration: http://inforeunion.overblog.com/2014/05/torture-et-prison-secrete-a-diego-garcia.html

Torture of Neglect and Marginalization Renders a People Invisible

..but after more than a dozen years, we are no closer to an answer. Who exactly Is the U.S. at war with? Clue: "The list is classified and not for public release" says a Pentagon spokeswoman. 

How many people will Obama kill to secure American hegemony? 

The President's embrace of Congress' Authorization for Use of Military Force protects the presumed power of unlimited executive privilege championed by George W. Bush's Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General: At its most basic level, John Yoo's legal analysis restated Richard Nixon's famous line that "when a president does it, that means that it is not illegal." 

see A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History  

Bush's 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) set into motion the drone war, torture, and mass warrantless spying. Under Obama's proposed AUMF the government will be free to wage endless, expanding wars all over the world without geographic limits. All of this imperial military doctrine is absolutely illegal, whether Congress approves it or not.

New Documents identify Geoffrey Miller's role in the U.S. torture program.

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Tasked with "Gitmo-izing" Abu Ghraib, 
Major General Geoffrey Miller used dogs and 
daily doses of degradation with intent 
to break prisoners mentally and emotionally. 
The infamous Abu Ghraib photos were taken about two months after Miller's visit. 

When confronted about the illegality of his procedures the general responded that these 
detainees would never be brought to trial, 

Upon retirement, Miller was awarded a medal 
for distinguished service and a citation for "innovation" in his career.  


"That the United States is wholly unwilling to investigate and prosecute the very serious claims of torture involving high-level U.S. officials is the very reason for France to thoroughly investigate this case-- not shelve it, thereby extending impunity across borders," said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher, who is also Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights. "Geoffrey Miller should be summoned and questioned about his role in the U.S. torture program at Guantánamo."

The whole idea [of] fighting or defending against "terrorism" needs to be challenged. Terrorism, particularly inside the borders of the U.S., has been and remains an issue for police, not the military. There is no justification for defining the U.S. as a "war zone" -- much as today's militarized cops might pretend it is... terrorism is not an issue for the military anywhere in the world.

The Senate Torture Report gave a pass to culpable actors beyond the CIA, especially in the White House, the Cabinet, and the Justice Department. At every point where the White House and the DOJ could have and should have said no to tactics that were patently illegal, they said yes.

see New Torture Files by David Cole

Contents of the Senate Intelligence Committee report are largely public record, have been for years, but lawyers for the defendants can now talk in court about what was done to their clients, thanks to its release. Guantanamo clients were brutally interrogated by the CIA. 

"It gives much more authority to the arguments that we're making, it's just not us making up things to try and convince somebody of something," says attorney James Harrington. "Now we have an independent source, and obviously a very high source that verifies the things that we would want to say."

see Report Lends Credence To Defense

Meanwhile, incoming Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr has indicated there will be no follow-up to the report: "Put this report down as a footnote in history." North Carolina Stop Torture Now has other plans.

"Had I come forward a little sooner, these programs would have been a little less entrenched, and those abusing them would have felt a little less familiar with and accustomed to the exercise of those powers... Once you grant the government some new power or authority, it becomes exponentially more difficult to roll it back."

Edward Snowden's One Regret

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When the CIA looked for legal cover for its post-9/11 torture programme, it is little surprise it looked to Israel. Washington's ally has its own Guantanamo, Camp 1391, which the Israeli Supreme Court has consistently shielded from investigation.

see U.S. looks to Israel to justify torture

In 2009, the UN Committee Against Torture asked for access to this Camp, but their request was summarily denied.

 

photo: uruknet.info

Although American politicians and their legal advisors are often the public face of this attack, the root of this movement is a coordinated and deliberate attack by law professors hostile to its philosophical foundations, including Eric Posner, Jack Goldsmith, Adrian Vermeule, and John Yoo. In a series of influential writings, they have claimed that since states are motivated primarily by self-interest, compliance with international law is nothing more than high-minded talk. These abstract arguments provide a foundation for dangerous legal conclusions: that international law is largely irrelevant to determining how and when terrorists can be captured or killed; that the US President alone should be directing the War on Terror without significant input from Congress or the judiciary; that US courts should not hear lawsuits alleging violations of international law; and that the US should block any international criminal court with jurisdiction over Americans.

-- International Law Reporter, February 1, 2015

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Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo





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