FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk tells the dramatic story of the fight over the CIA's controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture. Based on recently declassified documents and interviews with key political leaders and CIA insiders, the film investigates what the CIA did -- and whether it worked.
Berkeley Law Shelters a War Criminal: Indict John Yoo
Friday May 15
Hearst Greek Theatre
8:00 am sharp, to be in place for arrival of Processional; Ceremony begins at 9:00
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.
Last week's 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 provided an excellent venue to protest the University of California's advancement of state torture policy. World Can't Wait activists were on hand to demand accountability for John Yoo -- and his enablers.
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.
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 promote 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.
Adding to the disturbing nature of the CIA's ability to kill people in complete secrecy, the agency apparently now has a carte blanche to conduct drone strikes on its own. According to the New York Times, President Obama doesn't individually approve them anymore - he lets the CIA unilaterally decide to kill people if the strikes "fit certain criteria." We have no idea what those conditions are since virtually everything about drone strikes at the CIA is secret...
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 debt, shutting 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 programs, institutional racism, gender discrimination, police brutality, the 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.
"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 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.
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.
..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."
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.
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
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Events & Calendars
Important ReadingPhysicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives
NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...
The President's Executioner
Detention and torture in Guantanamo