March 2009 Archives

based on responses from John Yoo, Steven Bradbury and Jay Bybee":
DOJ Watchdog 'Revising' Highly Critical Report On John Yoo's Legal WorkPDFPrintE-mail
Written by Jason Leopold   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 00:00

By Jason Leopold

A Justice Department watchdog report that is said to be highly critical of the legal work conducted for the Bush administration by three attorneys who worked at the agency's powerful Office of Legal Counsel is in the process of being revised after the agency received responses on the report's conclusions from the attorneys under scrutiny, according to a letter sent to two Democratic senators by a Justice Department attorney obtained by The Public Record. 

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye works in his office in Madrid Monday March 30, 2009. Boye,

AP - Lawyer Gonzalo Boye works in his office in Madrid Monday March 30, 2009.

The Panther March 30, 2009

Faculty members at UC Berkeley are debating whether to fire John Yoo from his tenured position for his off-campus work as a legal adviser to the Bush administration as the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation on Yoo's conduct winds down.

Under UC Berkeley's code of conduct, a criminal conviction would lead to dismissal even for tenured professors, although criminal conviction may not be necessary in Yoo's case, according to Christopher Kutz, law professor at UC Berkeley. Disbarment proceedings and "serious professional ethical violations," such as knowingly giving bad advice, could also lead to Yoo's firing, he said.

"I know many faculty, like all citizens, are very concerned about the production of these memoranda, and about possible breaches of professional ethics," said Kutz.

Berkeley's administrators do not plan to dismiss or disciplining Yoo yet, but its Academic Senate - which handles disciplinary actions against faculty including tenured professors - has received complaints about Yoo's actions while working for the Bush administration from faculty, students and alumni, said Kutz, who is also vice chairman of UC Berkeley's Academic Senate.

"It is possible that the Academic Senate will take up an inquiry based on these complaints," he said. "Yoo would not be disciplined for his work outside the university unless, and until, there are credible findings."

Yoo's legal opinions while working with the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice under the Bush administration advocated the expansion of presidential powers during wartime. These were used to justify torture, warrant-less wiretapping and rendition - where those captured by the United States are sent to another country with lax legal limits for interrogation.

About 430 people have to date signed an online petition at "Chapman Community Against Torture," a Facebook group.

"While I support his right to voice his opinions, I wanted to provide the Chapman community an avenue to voice [its] objections to the policies Yoo endorsed while working for [former] President Bush," said the group's founder and Chapman alumnus Will Matthews.

Berkeley alumnus and prospective law student at Chapman Jeremy Ficarola would still apply at the School of Law, even though he does not agree with Yoo. 

"You barely hear or see anything about Yoo down here. Up there it was impossible to ignore it since everyone is so politically active at Berkeley," said Ficarola, who grew up in Orange.

"I am interested in what he has to say and if I were given the choice to take his class, I would do so out of curiosity," said Ficarola.

...the man described by President Bush and others within his administration as a "top operative", the "number three person" in al-Qaida, and al-Qaida's "chief of operations" was never even a member of al-Qaida, much less an individual who was among its "inner circle".

The truth about Abu Zubaydah

The Bush administration's false claim that my client was a top al-Qaida official has led to his imprisonment and torture

This article was submitted to the CIA prior to publication. Passages redacted by the CIA are marked [...].

Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, more commonly known as Abu Zubaydah, is my client. After being extensively tortured by the CIA and imprisoned in various black sites around the world, Zayn may finally be approaching his day in court. I and my co-counsel welcome that day. But what if we are successful and establish that Zayn is not an enemy combatant? Would any country agree to take our client? The Bush administration's misrepresentations about Zayn make that virtually impossible unless I am allowed to tell his side of the story. This article is the first step in that reclamation process.

danner_flyer_final540px-wide.jpgDownload the above flyer(PDF4mg)
For more info, contact Jaime Wright:

In the days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and after agreement by the highest government officials, the United States began to torture prisoners. Beginning as far back as late 2002, and especially after the Abu Ghraib photographs were revealed in the spring of 2004, this torture has increasingly become public. Americans have tortured, they had done so officially, and they know they have done so. The question that remains is how the polity - American citizens as a community - will cope with these actions and with their knowledge of them. We have tortured. Now: What is to be done?

Mark Danner is a writer and reporter who for 25 years has written on politics and foreign affairs, focusing on war and conflict. Recently, he broke a story based on a secret document from the International Committee of the Red Cross that concluded that the Bush administration knowingly allowed treatment of prisoners that "constituted torture." Danner is Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs, Politics and the Humanities at Bard College.
New York Review of Books: "U.S. Torture: Voices from the Black Sites"

The Corruption That Is Torture

by George Hunsinger

No doubt can any longer exist that the United States has engaged in torture. Recently released chunks of a report by the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) make it distressingly clear that our government has not only systematically tortured, but lied about it through barefaced denials: "We do not torture." As journalist Mark Danner, who leaked the report, points out: "The ICRC is the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, and when it uses those words"--words like torture or cruel and degrading--"they have the force of law." A strong prima facie case exists that war crimes of the worst order have been committed.

These crimes cannot be ignored without terrible consequences for our society. A Commission of Inquiry is now essential. The Commission, if it is to be effective, needs to be independent, nonpartisan and impartial. It needs to be composed of persons who are above the fray of politics and known for their ethical integrity. It needs the full cooperation of the executive branch. It probably also needs subpoena power. It should not grant blanket immunity, because its findings may well compel the Department of Justice to take action.

A Commission is no substitute for prosecution. The American people first deserve a full accounting of what has been done in their names. Yet without prosecution the future of the rule of law is in jeopardy. It would not be too much to say that the foundation of civilization is at stake, for torture is not just one issue among others. It is archetypal. It marks the clear bright line throughout history between civilization and barbarism, between dictatorship and constitutional government.

The time has come for our nation to engage in serious self-examination. The "secret" resort to torture has already corrupted our society. Once torture enters into a system, it is very hard to get it out. Torture always comes home. It does not remain confined to the remote corners of detention facilities in the war zone. It always returns to police stations, to state prisons, even to households. A young Presbyterian minister once told me that he had been trying to figure out all his life what had gone wrong with his father. Why was he always so violent and volatile at home? He eventually learned that in Vietnam his father had served in the Special Forces. After participating in the Phoenix Program involving CIA torture and assassinations, he was never the same.

Torture corrupts everything it touches. It corrupts the medical profession when, as Danner makes chillingly clear, torture doctors monitor the victim's vital signs so that pain can be inflicted to the breaking point without death. It corrupts the psychological profession when torture psychologists help "reverse engineer" techniques of abuse and recommend which ones will be effective. It corrupts the legal profession when torture lawyers draft government memos in torture's support and devise rationales for war crimes after the fact. It corrupts the media when craven journalists cannot call waterboarding by its proper name while consistently looking the other way. It corrupts the military by undermining the essentials of honor, professionalism and morale. It corrupts the "entertainment" industry by broadcasting forms of mass propaganda that glorify torturers, wonderfully transforming them from monsters into heroes. Not least, it corrupts our nation's religious communities, who by their silence and needless ignorance become torture's willing enablers.

As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel insisted, while few may be guilty, all are responsible. We must all must take responsibility for our nation's lapse from dignity into torture, from the rule of law into unspeakable crimes. At every level of our common life, we need a season of repentance and renewal. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln called our nation to repentance, to a confession of national sins. Now more than ever we need to do this again. The United States must never again allow itself to be driven by blinding fears and bitter resentments in responding to national tragedy. In a dangerous world torture only undermines our security, while also corrupting our souls.

George Hunsinger is the McCord Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the founder of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Among his recent books is Torture Is a Moral Issue: Christians, Jews, Muslims and People of Conscience Speak Out (Eerdmans, 2008).

The U.S. Government Tortured Children: 
Demand War Crimes Prosecutions Now!

A new book by Michael Haas reveals that the Bush Regime detained and tortured thousands of children in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo. In George W. Bush, War Criminal? Haas reports that, while imprisoned, these children were subjected to various forms of physical and psychological torture that included: Rape; severe physical beatings; solitary confinement; denial of contact with parents for years at a time; use of dogs.

* In May 2008, Human Rights Watch reported that the U.S. had detained 2400 children in Iraq since 2003, including 100 new children per month in 2007. 
* Haas reports that, in 2002 alone, the U.S. captured "at least 800 boys, aged 10 to 15" in Afghanistan, and sent 64 of them to Guantanamo.


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The Spanish national security court has opened a criminal probe of Bush torture lawyers.

The Wheels Of Justice



In a very serious development in the attempt to bring former Bush officials to justice for committing war crimes, we find this out today:

Spain's national newspapers, El País and Público reported that the Spanish national security court has opened a criminal probe focusing on Bush Administration lawyers who pioneered the descent into torture at the prison in Guantánamo. The criminal complaint can be examined here. Público identifies the targets as University of California law professor John Yoo, former Department of Defense general counsel William J. Haynes II (now a lawyer working for Chevron), former vice presidential chief-of-staff David Addington, former attorney general and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, now a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith.

More ominous for Yoo and Addington et al is that the judge involved is the one who nailed Pinochet. That dude doesn't mess around. Spain's action means these war criminals are vulnerable in 24 European countries for arrest and prosecution for enabling torture. It's a start.

(Photo: David Addington by Melissa Golden/Getty.)

MORE here


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I think not:

Ashcroft: Some forms of waterboarding might be legal

David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
the Raw Story Friday March 27, 2009

Is it any surprised that a man who spends free time making sculptures out of barbed wirestill does not believe his approval of torturing prisoners was wrong?

"I think history will be very kind to the President," said former Attorney General John Ashcroft, speaking recently at the University of Texas at Austin. "I don't have a mark on my conscience."

Speaking with former Nixon White House counsel John Dean on Thursday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann tried to make sense of Ashcroft's justification for signing off on waterboarding. 

"There are things that you can call waterboarding that I am thoroughly convinced are not torture," said Ashcroft in a video shot by an attendee at the UT lecture. "There are things that you can call waterboarding that might be torture. And the point that ought to be understood is that throwing a term around recklessly for its emotional content doesn't really get you anywhere."

"Are there multiple forms of waterboarding that I don't know about? One that's legal and one that's illegal?" asked an incredulous Olbermann. 

"Maybe this is a defense that John Yoo came up with, the memo hasn't been released yet, that says how much water you pour may make it waterboarding or not waterboarding," said Dean. "But, this is pretty silly, actually."

Olbermann wondered aloud whether Ashcroft had joined the Bush legacy tour and if this appearance was an attempt to soften the blow from allegedly pending memo dumps by the Obama Justice Department.

The first series of Bush-era memos to be released by the Obama administration pertained to legal justifications of torture that were rescinded in the final days of Bush's second term. 

"These memos provide the very definition of tyranny," Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley told Olbermann on March 5. "These memos include everything that a petty despot would want."

"General Ashcroft was read into these activities and did approve these activities...from the beginning, I believe, from the very beginning," Ashcroft's predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, 2007.

"... Must be great to go through life without a conscience or without embarrassment," concluded Olbermann.

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Mar. 26, 2009.

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U.K. To Investigate Its Role in U.S. Torture Policies

By DAPHNE EVIATAR The Washington Independent 3/26/09 

It's interesting to note the contrast when someone charges government complicity with torture in the United Kingdom, versus here in the United States.

Ever since Binyam Mohamed -- the Ethiopian-born Guantanamo detainee who claims he was tortured as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program (and whom I've written about previously here) -- was returned to Britain, his case has caused an uproar there because he claims that the British intelligence agents colluded with the United States government in his torture.

Today, Baroness Patricia Scotland QC  -- said she would refer the evidence, both classified and not, to the police, to begin an investigation.

"I have expressed to the Commissioner the hope that the investigation can be taken forward as expeditiously as possible given the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved," she said ina statement released today.

Meanwhile, here in the United States, despite repeated calls for the attorney general to launch an investigation into the CIA's extraordinary rendition practices and the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, Attorney General Eric Holder has equivocated (as has President Obama) and no such criminal investigation has begun. (The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on the other hand, is investigating the CIA's practices, as I've reported, but not for criminal culpability. And a previous Senate Armed Services Committee investigation, despitedamning results that orders for abusive and inhumane conduct came from the highest levels of the Bush administration, has likewise not led to a criminal investigation.)

When Mohamed and other torture victims brought their case to court by suing Jeppesen Dataplan, the private Boeing subsidiary that assisted the CIA perform renditions, the U.S. government moved to have their case dismissed.

As Glenn Greenwald at Salon has noted, nobody in the United Kingdom is making the Obama administration's argument -- that we ought to all look forward rather than backward. And it's not like the United Kingdom doesn't have an economic crisis of its own to deal with, too.

So why is the British prosecutor willing to look "backward" to find out whether crimes were committed, while we seem committed only to burying our heads deeper in the sand?

3-25-09grandlakemarquee-yoo.jpgThe Grand Lake Theater is a historical movie palace located at 3200 Grand Avenue and Lake Park Avenue in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland, California. Kudos to the owner. Support him by taking your friends or family there to see a movie at this wonderfully restored classic! Click here for the current schedule. Maybe a few more business owners in the East Bay near UC Berkeley could show their political awareness and spine and use their storefront so strongly. If you put a political message about John Yoo in your store front or promote the cause in some other way wherever you are, send us a picture and we will probably post it and link to your website. We get lots of hits.

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Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes  Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

By Naomi Wolf, AlterNet. Posted March 25, 2009.

Legal expert Michael Ratner calls the legal arguments made in the infamous Yoo memos, "Fuhrer's law."

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Guantanamo inmates in new legal fight

Published: Monday March 23, 2009

Lawyers have filed two court challenges against the Obama administration's treatment of Guantanamo detainees and its future plans for the men, most of whom have been held for years without trial.

One motion obtained by AFP on Monday was filed on behalf of Chinese Uighur, Huzaifat Parhat. He was among 17 Uighur ordered released by a US court in June seven years after their arrest, but who remain in detention at the remote US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, southern Cuba.

The lawyers filed a motion of contempt against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates denouncing his "continued refusal to comply with a final order" by a Washington appeals court to release Parhat, the document said.

The lawyers also demanded that a new court ruling should include "a threat of sanctions" in order to ensure Gates complies with the order to release Parhat.

The other lawsuit filed by about 15 inmates takes issue with new rules laid down by the administration of US President Barack Obama earlier this month justifying the state's right to hold terror suspects.

On March 13, the Justice Department said it was dropping the "enemy combatant" designation for terror suspects and vowed to apply international law to its detention policies. It said only those who "substantially supported" the Al-Qaeda network, Taliban Islamic militants or "associated forces" would be held under such laws.

But the detainees' lawyers downplayed the new policy as only a "partial retreat" from the positions held under the previous administration of former president George W. Bush.

"The conceptual approach they now advance has not greatly changed," they argued in the court filing.

They also lashed out at the government for justifying detaining suspects without charge or trial solely on the basis of a congressional decision authorizing the US-led "war on terror" after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The political decision to hold suspects indefinitely without charge because they are deemed too dangerous to be free is a policy choice that under the US Constitution "must be resolved by Congress, not by the executive branch," they wrote.

On Friday, lawyers for 30 detainees filed a motion accusing the Obama administration of violating the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the estimated 240 prisoners remaining at the controversial prison camp.

Obama has vowed to close the camp within the next 12 months, and has ordered individual reviews of the cases against each of the remaining prisoners.

"a gentle soul"?

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The definition of torture

UNLV colleagues of man who advised Bush on interrogation techniques agonize as they try to reconcile that work with the legal scholar they knew

By J. Patrick Coolican  The Las Vegas Sun   Mar 22, 2009

Jay S. Bybee is described as a gentle soul. His legal scholarship was considered rigorous and his positions well reasoned and, though conservative, not dogmatic.

Even as he moved up easily through the elite echelons of government and academe, Bybee remained true to his nature, generous and kind.

So how could Bybee, now a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sign his name to a legal document that seemed to sanction the use of torture?

This is the question now facing Bybee's colleagues at UNLV's Boyd School of Law, where he remains a tenured professor, and others who have worked with him. How he answers that question, if he ever decides to, will decide his legacy, those colleagues say.

The Woes of a Torture Lawyer

By Scott Horton HARPER'S MAGAZINE, March 21, 2009 

The San Jose Mercury-News carries a story about the possibility that John Yoo may be disciplined or fired by the University of California at Berkeley:

UC Berkeley leaders are wrestling with that decision as a federal investigation into John Yoo's legal advice to the Bush Administration apparently winds down.

The dilemma is rare. At risk are the tenets of academic freedom that have long allowed college faculty members to speak their minds in the name of scholarship. Yoo's case revolves around his advice on dealing with accused terrorists, including a notorious memo that provides legal justification for torture. Yoo, who is temporarily teaching at Orange County's Chapman University, has long attracted protests on his home campus, but some surprising allies have come to his defense.

"I think this is simply a left-wing version of McCarthyism," said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor who disagrees strongly with Yoo's views on torture. "He should be judged solely on the merits of his academics."

But Berkeley administrators and faculty leaders said they would be concerned about Yoo teaching law students if he were found to have violated ethical or legal standards. Critics have called Yoo a yes-man for President George W. Bush, essentially telling him what he wanted to hear.

Update : OAS panel receptive to rights groups

Rights Groups To Call for Prosecutions of Bush Officials Before International Commission

By DAPHNE EVIATAR  The Washington Independent 3/20/09

Human Rights USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union are expected to make their case why the United States must prosecute former Bush administration officials for war crimes and grave violations of international law before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights this afternoon in Washington.

At a special hearing, leaders of each organization will present evidence and testify about why the commission -- which is a body of the Organization of American States (and includes the United States) -- should issue a recommendation that the United States appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute war crimes such as torture and abuse of prisoners committed and authorized by senior U.S. officials in the Bush administration.

by William Blum 
SleptOn Magazine March 09, 2009

In Cambodia they're once again endeavoring to hold trials to bring some former senior Khmer Rouge officials to justice for their 1975-79 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The current defendant in a United Nations-organized trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who was the head of a Khmer Rouge torture center, has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders.[1] As we all know, this is the defense that the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected for the Nazi defendants. Everyone knows that, right? No one places any weight on such a defense any longer, right? We make jokes about Nazis declaring: "I was only following orders!" ("Ich habe nur den Befehlen gehorcht!") Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken in favor of it. Here's the new head of the CIA, Leon Panetta: "What I have expressed as a concern, as has the president, is that those who operated under the rules that were provided by the Attorney General in the interpretation of the law [concerning torture] and followed those rules ought not to be penalized. And ... I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals. I think they did their job."[2] Operating under the rules ... doing their job ... are of course the same as following orders. 

The UN Convention Against Torture (first adopted in 1984), which has been ratified by the United States, says quite clearly, "An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture." The Torture Convention enacts a prohibition against torture that is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide. 

Of course, those giving the orders are no less guilty. On the very day of Obama's inauguration, the United Nation's special torture rapporteur invoked the Convention in calling on the United States to pursue former president George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.[3] 

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report two years ago that the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners "constituted torture" in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The findings were based on interviews with prisoners once held in the CIA's secret black sites. Author and journalist Mark Danner broke the story when he published extensive excerpts of the report in the New York Review of Books. The Red Cross said the fourteen prisoners held in the CIA prisons gave remarkably uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding.

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report two years ago that the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners "constituted torture" in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The findings were based on interviews with prisoners once held in the CIA's secret black sites.

The revelation was made this weekend when the author and journalist Mark Danner published extensive excerpts of the Red Cross report in the New York Review of Books. In the article, Danner quotes from a speech President Bush delivered from the White House on September 6th, 2006. Danner writes the speech is "perhaps the only historic speech [Bush] ever gave." In it, Bush admitted the US was using what he called "an alternative set of procedures" to interrogate terrorism suspects.

Yesterday I spoke with Mark Danner about the secret Red Cross report he obtained and what it reveals about the Bush administration"s treatment of prisoners. Danner is a contributor to The New York Review of Books and is a Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of "Torture and Truth."

Mark Danner, contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is a professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and a professor of human rights and journalism at Bard College. He is the author of Torture and Truth.

"A Higher Standard"

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'Torture Memos' vs. Academic Freedom

A review of a Berkeley law professor's memos to the White House about counterterrorism policies prompts calls for his job

By DAVID GLENN The Chronicle of Higher Education From the issue dated March 20, 2009 

When people gathered last May for the commencement ceremony at the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, they were greeted by chanting activists from the National Lawyers Guild and other left-wing groups.

The university, protesters shouted, should fire John C. Yoo, a tenured professor who has taught at the law school since 1993. While on leave at the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel between 2001 and 2003, Mr. Yoo drafted what have come to be known as the "torture memos" -- a series of secret memoranda that gave benediction to President George W. Bush's interrogation and surveillance policies.

Some scholars believe that Mr. Yoo's memoranda were so shoddy that they amounted to professional misconduct. Several of those critics also think that Mr. Yoo's academic job should be in jeopardy. But others -- including some who agree that Mr. Yoo's memoranda were pernicious -- argue that penalizing Mr. Yoo for his work in Washington could set a troubling precedent for academic freedom.

Now the debate over Mr. Yoo's presence at Berkeley has taken on new urgency. At the beginning of March, the government released several previously undisclosed memoranda by Mr. Yoo. And the Justice Department will soon complete a review of his conduct. According to a Newsweek report, the department might allege that Mr. Yoo improperly colluded with the White House to craft justifications for dubious counterterrorist policies. It could be the credible charge of misconduct that critics have been waiting for.

A Higher Standard

At the center of the storm sits Christopher Edley Jr., dean of Boalt Hall, who is fielding anxious phone calls from faculty members and students.

"The analogy on everyone's mind here is the McCarthy era, when professors were harassed and sometimes prosecuted for their outside political endeavors," Mr. Edley says. "That explains the attractiveness of a bright-line rule that requires an actual criminal conviction before a professor can be disciplined for outside work."

But Mr. Edley also says that a higher standard should apply to law professors and other instructors in professional schools. In those fields, Mr. Edley says, the university should investigate credible allegations of serious off-campus professional misconduct, even if a criminal conviction is nowhere in sight.

"Law professors, after all, are charged with preparing the next generation of professionals to live their lives according to our ethical canons," he says.

If the Justice Department's review includes serious allegations, Mr. Edley says, the university might be justified in formally reviewing Mr. Yoo's extracurricular activities. Such a move very likely would be triggered by the universitywide Academic Senate; the dean cannot initiate it. Mr. Edley emphasizes that he is speaking hypothetically, and he says that any punishment need not necessarily include revocation of tenure. The university's rules allow far milder sanctions, including written censure and a reduction in salary.

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The Panther Published March 15, 2009

Left) Dean Inada and (right) Sharon Tipton protest against visiting professor John Yoo on Mondays and Wednesdays in front of the Rinker Law Library .

As students walk past the Chapman University School of Law, protestors Sharon Tipton and Dean Inada, from Code Pink and the Orange County Peace Coalition, quietly hold up a banner that reads, "Hey Chapman College, Prof. John Yoo Teaches Torture. Fire John Yoo."

While a couple students politely take a flier, most walk past with nary a glance.

Protestors from organizations such as Code Pink, Orange County Peace Coalition and World Can't Wait have been protesting visiting law professor John Yoo's appointment intermittently since he began teaching this semester. The protesters are calling Yoo a war criminal because he co-authored the so-called "torture memos," written legal opinions the presidential administration of George W. Bush used to justify controversial war interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. Organizers of the protests can be seen in front of the Rinker Law Library on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. 

"We would like to see [Yoo] fired and disbarred," said Nicole Lee, a member of the Los Angeles chapter of World Can't Wait. "The fact that he's been teaching ... law when he's been breaking those same laws is unacceptable."

World Can't Wait is a national organization that aims to reject all of the Bush administration, according to its Web site. Other organizations protesting include Code Pink, a group working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Orange County Peace Coalition, which advocates peace for international conflicts.

However, most Chapman students' response to the protesters' presence remains apathetic, according to Lori Han, professor of political science.

The number of people able to participate is limited because the protests are organized at the same time as Yoo's class, according to Tipton. 

"Most people work during the day," said Tipton. "Two people is OK, but four people would make more of an impact."

A lack of student curiosity may be the cause of the minimal student reaction, according to freshman Greg Johnson.

"People aren't sure what to think and aren't inquisitive enough to look into the facts," he said. "People think it only affects the law school students and don't consider how it affects Chapman." 

Some students have a stronger opinion about the protesters than the issue being protested because of a lack of knowledge. 

"I think it's cool that they're standing up for a cause," said freshman Tyler Sadler, who has little knowledge of the issues surrounding Yoo.

When freshman Shannon Kelly received a flier from the protesters on Wednesday, March 1, it was the first she had heard of the controversy.

"I just heard about [Yoo]," said Kelly. "If [the protesters] are trying to get their point across, they might want to be more vocal."

Student opposition to Yoo has found more of a home on the Internet with the Facebook group "Chapman Community Against Torture." The group currently has 350 members and an online petition with more than 140 digital signatures, stating that the signers of the petition do not want Yoo's views to be considered representative of the university, according to the Web site.

"I haven't noticed [the protesters]," said Johnson. "I do like the petition though, it's something physical that people can see and comment on."

Contact this reporter:

16 Mar 2009 01:38 pm

Compare And Contrast

Andrew Sullivan THE DAILY DISH The Atlantic

From the Red Cross's summary of Bush-Cheney torture techniques:

1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program  
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime...

The Gestapo's list of torture techniques that fit into their "enhanced interrogation program" - a torture regime designed to avoid too-obvious or incriminating physical scars:

Bush and Cheney were, in fact, more brutal in their "enhanced interrogation" than the Gestapo was. And note that I am not engaging in the slightest hyperbole here. I'm not saying that the US is Nazi Germany in any way. I am saying that the torture program used by Bush and Cheney follows exactly the specific methods used by the Gestapo. This is not in any historical dispute, although the irony of using the exact same phrase for the exact same methods is one reason the Bushies dropped the term.

We also have a very specific legal precedent. When the US captured officials who had done to prisoners exactly what the last president did, the US prosecuted them, found them guilty andexecuted them. The price Cheney pays is a fawning interview on CNN.

That's who we are. That's what we've become.

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This past weekend we got a deeply troubling glimpse into the heart of the Obama administration's counter-terrorism policies.

On Friday, in a symbolic break with the past, the Obama administration announced it would drop the term "enemy combatant" - only to argue in the same breath that the administration has the legal authority to hold detainees indefinitely, without charge. 1

We're beginning to fear the worst: that the Obama administration will hold onto the failed counter-terrorism policies of the Bush administration. Such a move would solidify and make indefinite detention and other Bush policies the new norm in America. 

Our most powerful antidote to these cancerous counter-terrorism policies is a full investigation that includes holding those responsible accountable.

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NLGSF Files Complaint With California State Bar Against William Haynes

Former Department of Defense General Counsel Recommended Torture, Harsh Interrogation Techniques

San Francisco - The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) is filing a complaintwith the California State Bar today against former Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes. The complaint against Haynes, who now works for the Chevron Corporation in San Ramon, states that he "breached his duty as a lawyer and advocated for harsh tactics amounting to torture in violation of U.S. and international law ... advocacy that directly lead to detainee abuses at the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib facilities."

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In Torture Cases, Obama Toes Bush Line

Legal Stance Appears to Contradict Earlier Statements From Obama and Holder

By DAPHNE EVIATAR 3/16/09 3:02 PM
Donald Rumsfeld (WDCpix) and John Yoo (Wikimedia)

Donald Rumsfeld (WDCpix) and John Yoo (Wikimedia)

While Congress debates whether senior Bush administration officials should be called to account for the torture, humiliation and indefinite detention of prisoners taken during the "war on terror," some of those prisoners aren't waiting around for lawmakers to make up their minds. A growing number of private lawsuits brought by former detainees against former Bush officials are slowly making their way through the courts. And to the dismay of some of its strongest supporters, the Obama administration has, in every case so far, taken the side of the Bush administration, arguing that these cases should all be dismissed.

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The Evil that John Yoo Wrought

The East Bay Express March 16, 2009

Just reading through the disturbingInternational Red Cross report on torture under the Bush-Cheney regime, and the idea that anyone would argue against war crimes investigations is now ridiculous. Make sure you read all the way through the post. You'll come out the other sideknowing that Bush and Cheney deserve all that's coming to them. And so does notorious UC Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo. If it hadn't been for him, they could have never gotten away with it. It's unbelievable that Berkeley keeps him on staff. Just as unbelievable is what our country did in the so-called "War on Terror." -- Robert Gammon

As a third-tier law school - there are only four tiers - this was a big gamble and it won't pay off...
It is not on the grounds of his ideology, his advice, or his practice of the law that we disapprove of Yoo's appointment. Instead it is that in terms of Chapman's law school and the university itself. The publicity and exposure that Yoo has brought is not the type of introduction we need to achieve the credibility and standing we are reaching for.

c/o Daniel, ; be sure to check out "Prosecuting Condoleezza Rice" as well. 

Torture and Truth

US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites

By Mark Danner

ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody
by the International Committee of the Red Cross

43 pp., February 2007 

We think time and elections will cleanse our fallen world but they will not. Since November, George W. Bush and his administration have seemed to be rushing away from us at accelerating speed, a dark comet hurtling toward the ends of the universe. The phrase "War on Terror"--the signal slogan of that administration, so cherished by the man who took pride in proclaiming that he was "a wartime president"--has acquired in its pronouncement a permanent pair of quotation marks, suggesting something questionable, something mildly embarrassing: something past. And yet the decisions that that president made, especially the monumental decisions taken after the attacks of September 11, 2001--decisions about rendition, surveillance, interrogation--lie strewn about us still, unclaimed and unburied, like corpses freshly dead.

Edge of dictatorship

By Robert F. Jakubowicz

Saturday, March 14

Two years ago, my son Peter gave me a book entitled "The End of America." Its author, Naomi Wolf, issued a warning of how a dictator could take over our country "by invoking emergency decrees to close down civil liberties; creating military tribunals; and criminalizing dissent." Wolf described the "echoes" of such events in America. She made a plausible case that it could happen here. But when I read the book, I did not think so.

I had second thoughts when I found out that the groundwork was being laid for it to happen here by the "torture memos" written by John Yoo, a Justice Department lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel (OCL) for former President George W. Bush. And I was shocked that all it would take is a government lawyer's made-to-order legal opinion, no matter how flawed, to a president bent on exercising dictatorial powers.

The Legacy of Bagram Lives On

by: possum

Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 07:44:13 AM EST

Bagram Air Base has for some time now housed a detention center in which people captured outside the U.S. soil are held under conditions of secrecy.  Recent news told the story of expansion of the detention center under the Obama administration.  The planned expansion will allow the continuing detention of as many as 1100.

As with all the news these days of detention and of prisoner abuse we always must be wary of what is not being learned.  What is hidden to this day?  Under the Bush administration we heard the terrible stories of Abu Graib and missed the issue of rendition.  Today we have Bagram and an administration admitting to continued support for rendition.  The tales continue to arrive on a near daily basis.
The United States government is planning to do all it can to cover-up the crimes of the Bush Administration. It must find a way to blow off steam related to societal outrage over the torture, the unnecessary and deadly wars, the attacks on civil liberties. I expect we will hear more reports from the government like the whitewash report on current conditions at Guantanamo given by Admiral Walsh last month. - Valtin

Daily Kos Wed Mar 11, 2009

Rasul v. Rumsfeld

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Obama Justice Department Urges Dismissal of Another Torture Case


In another move that suggests the Obama Department of Justice is not making many big policy breaks with its predecessor when it comes to the legal rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees, the department filed a brief renewing the government's motion to dismiss the case of Rasul v. Rumsfeld.

The case is very similar to the lawsuit filed by U.S. citizen and former enemy combatant Jose Padilla against former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, which I've been following.The plaintiffs in Rasul v. Rumsfeld allege that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior Bush officials are responsible for their torture; prolonged arbitrary detention; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; cruel and unusual punishment; denial of liberties without due process, and preventing the exercise and expression of their religious beliefs.

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Former U.S. President George W. Bush, seen here departing the White House on January 20, 2009. A lawyers' group is asking RCMP to ban Bush from visiting Canada. THe group accuses Bush of commiting war crimes.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, seen here departing the White House on January 20, 2009. A lawyers' group is asking RCMP to ban Bush from visiting Canada. THe group accuses Bush of commiting war crimes.

Photograph by: Kevin Lamarque , Reuters

A lawyers' group has asked the RCMP to bar former U.S. president George W. Bush from entering Canada, citing torture and war crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a letter to the RCMP war crimes section and copied to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other federal ministers and opposition MPs, the Lawyers Against the War group claims that Bush is "inadmissible to Canada . . . because of overwhelming evidence that he has committed, outside Canada, torture and other offences" as detailed in Canada's War Crimes Act.

Bush is expected to visit Canada on March 17, to give a speech in Calgary as a guest of the city's chamber of commerce.

The letter, dated Wednesday, asks the Mounties to "begin an investigation of George W. Bush for aiding, abetting and counselling torture between Nov. 13, 2001, and November 2008 at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Bagram prison in Afghanistan, and other places."

It also asks the prime minister, attorney general and ministers of immigration and public safety to ban Bush for heading an administration that "engaged in torture and other war crimes against humanity."

The group offers to provide evidence of incidents of torture.

This isn't the first time the group has protested against Bush.

In 2005, a B.C. Supreme Court judge rejected their attempt to put the then-U.S. president on trial for war crimes.

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John Yoo: UC Berkeley Is a "Magnet for Hippies, Protesters and Left-Wing Activists"

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Protesters in  Berkeley, California.

Protesters and police in Berkeley, California. John Yoo, who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under Bush and wrote several controversial legal memos on torture and executive power, dismissed his critics at UC Berkeley as "hippies, protesters and left-wing activists." (Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP)

is currently the subject of a federal investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility concerning a legal memorandum he authorized while serving in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Impeach Bybee


By David Swanson

I'm fairly sure that the step that would most strongly deter future crimes by high officials in Washington would be criminal prosecution and incarceration of Bush and Cheney. At the federal level, that means asking the attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor. And, of course, Bush and Cheney did not act alone -- others on their team should be in prison too.

But what role does this leave for Congress? How can any separation of powers be restored? How can the people's representatives reclaim our right to the rule of law? Well, probably not by impeaching Bush and Cheney. Whatever it was that prevented Congress from impeaching Bush and Cheney while they were in office has probably not changed, and now added to it is the additional problem that most Americans falsely believe you cannot impeach someone who is out of office.

Congress is pursuing at least a couple of the many outstanding subpoenas that were laughed off during the past two years. But thus far there is little reason to hope that Congress will use its own power to enforce the subpoenas, preferring as before to defer to what we still call the "executive" branch.

Having lost the power of the purse to repeated misspending by Bush and now the banker bailout, having given up the power to declare war -- most recently to a three-year war treaty with Iraq created without Senate consent, having surrendered the power to legislate to the routine abuse of "signing statements," and so on, Congress is in dire need of reclaiming some remnant of power, some indication that it still exists as something other than a debate society.

Impeaching Jay Bybee would not just put Congress back on the map. It would also derail a potentially very lengthy career as a powerful appeals judge for a man whose work was central to facilitating the crimes of the past eight years. And that might help move the criminal prosecutions along as well.

President James L. Doti

"Before we started discussing the issue on campus, as a result of the notoriety of Professor Yoo's visiting appointment, I would have said [torture is] never justifiable. But now I've become a little uncertain." -  Chapman University President Jim Doti

Doti does not have an opinion on whether Yoo's memos adhered to the Constitution...
"I'm aware of the investigation, but I don't know very much about it." 


Some believe John Yoo's presence on faculty can only hurt the university's reputation
THE PANTHER  March 7, 2009

Memo by memo, John Yoo's legal history is starting to affect the law school. From across Glassell Street, students, faculty and administrators from the main campus are taking notice.

Why Is the Obama Administration Defending John Yoo?


The question has come up a lot lately, particularly since oral arguments last week in Jose Padilla's lawsuit against John Yoo made clear that the federal judge was taking the case very seriously. After all, it was a bit odd to see Barack Obama's Justice Department defending Yoo -- who Padilla's lawyers claim is responsible for their client being tortured in U.S. custody -- and urging the court to dismiss the case.

When the Center for Independent Media's own Ed Brayton put the question to me on his radio show last week, I had to admit I wasn't really sure of the answer. Like many people, I assumed that the government was required to defend a former employee being called to account for something he did while in government office. But does the DOJ always have to defend government employees, or are there limits? If that former employee has broken -- or at the very least twisted -- the law, can the Justice Department refuse?

I asked Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller yesterday, who responded by sending me a lengthy excerpt from the relevant section of the Code of Federal Regulations. (I'll spare you the seven pages of fine print.) The quick answer is, according to 28 C.F.R. § 50.15, a former federal employee "may be provided representation in civil, criminal and Congressional proceedings in which he is sued, subpoenaed, or charged in his individual capacity . . . when the actions for which representation is requested reasonably appear to have been performed within the scope of the employee's employment and the Attorney General or his designee determines that providing representation would otherwise be in the interest of the United States."

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"Bush's Secret-Keeper"

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What's the president's rationale for keeping so many legal skeletons in the closet?

Having inherited an undifferentiated mass of legal "war on terror" doctrine from the Bush administration's constitutional chop shop, President Obama finds himself in the position of being Bush's Secret-Keeper. Picking its way warily through a minefield of secrecy and privacy claims, the Obama administration this week released nine formerly classified legal opinionsproduced in the Office of Legal Counsel (while holding back others that are being sought) andbrokered a deal whereby Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will finally testify about the U.S. attorney firings (but not publicly). Meanwhile, the administration clings to its bizarre decision to hold fast to the Bush administration's all-encompassing view of the "state secrets" privilege, and theNixonian view of executive power deployed to justify it. The Obama administration has also been quick to embrace the Bush view of secrecy in cases involving the disclosure of Bush era e-mails and has dragged its feet in various other cases seeking Bush-era records. If there is a coherent disclosure principle at work here, I have yet to discern it.

Judge Weighs Dismissing Case Involving Torture Memorandums

Melissa Golden/Getty Images

John C. Yoo, flanked by David S. Addington and Chris Schroeder, testified before the House Judiciary Committee in June 2008.

Published: March 6, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- Lawyers for the Obama administration struggled on Friday to persuade a federal judge here to throw out an unusual civil lawsuit against John C. Yoo, the former government lawyer whose memorandums on torture were used by the Bush administration to justify sweeping policies on detention and interrogation.


Times Topics: John C. Yoo

Despite their efforts, the judge did not seem inclined to dismiss the lawsuit, which was brought by Jose Padilla, an American citizen who spent more than three years in isolation in a military brig as an enemy combatant.

The judge, Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court, explored the arguments of Mr. Padilla's lawyers thoroughly, but he appeared to be skeptical of elements of the government's argument.

In fact, Judge White, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, even told the government's lawyers that Mr. Yoo's 2001 memorandum stating that the constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures can be overridden was "a pretty scary position."

The case, of course, could go in any direction, and predictions of judges' rulings are often proved wrong. Nonetheless, the lawyers for Mr. Padilla left the courtroom smiling.

"We were very encouraged by the court's questions," said Hope Metcalf, a lawyer with the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School.

Mr. Yoo, a visiting faculty member at Chapman University Law School in Orange, Calif., did not attend the hearing.

Obama's mixed signals on terror policy

The White House is seeking to protect at least some of its Bush-era privileges.

Reporter head shot

Reporter Warren Richey discusses how President Obama is rejecting some of Bush's policies on detained terror suspects but embracing others.

Lawyers with the Obama administration are working to prevent full judicial review of one of the most controversial aspects of President Bush's war on terror - his claim of authority to hold US citizens and legal residents in indefinite military detention without charge as enemy combatants.

On Friday, the Supreme Court justices will meet to consider a motion by the Obama administration to dismiss a petition that raises the issue. On the same day, Justice Department lawyers will urge a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out a civil lawsuit that seeks judicial scrutiny of the work of John Yoo, a former Bush administration adviser who helped draft memos that laid the legal groundwork for President Bush's counterterrorism approach.

In recent weeks, President Obama has rejected some Bush policies in the war on terror while embracing others. His position on executive power in antiterror efforts remain ill-defined.

Rosa Brooks

Rosa Brooks poses the "Big Lie" theory in today's Los Angeles Times


See also "Why Did So Few Americans Give a Damn?"

fighting words

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Rice engages critics

MASARU OKA/The Stanford Daily

Condoleezza Rice was in her Hoover office yesterday after her official return on March 2. Rice's office was already set up with sports memorabilia, pictures with world leaders, a model of the USS Condoleezza Rice, and other memorable objects from her time in office as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for the Bush administration.
 a-  A+ 

Daily Exclusive Interview

Condoleezza Rice officially returned to Stanford just this week, but the political science professor already appears at home in her Hoover Institution office. Her shelves are neatly organized, displaying autographed footballs, photos of Rice with world leaders and even a model of the USS Condoleezza Rice.

The former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor is confident that she will have a smooth transition back to the Farm. In an exclusive interview with The Daily yesterday, Rice displayed poise and composure, and she dismissed student concerns about the Bush administration's authorization of harsh interrogation methods.

Watch Keith Olbermann's interview of Scott Horton on MSNBC's Countdown, courtesy of

John Yoo Hearts Orange County


Just as the publication of another batch of his memos--repudiated by the Bush Justice Department just as it was handing the keys over to its successor--is causing quite a stir in legal circles, John Yoo appears in an interview in the Orange County Register.


Condoleezza Rice has officially returned to Stanford, after working eight years as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under the Bush administration. The student group STANFORD SAYS NO TO WAR is initiating a coalition of Stanford community members to create a campus-wide movement to hold Condoleezza Rice accountable for human rights & international law violations.

Where is dean Edley?

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John Yoo Should Be Disbarred, continued


Newly released secret memos of the Bush Administration include more evidence that notorious Berkeley law professor John Yoo should be disbarred. Two of the memos, written in January by Bush appointee, Steven Bradbury, a successor of Yoo's in the Justice Department, strongly repudiate Yoo's work. It was the second known repudiation of Yoo by a conservative legal scholar within Bush administration.

The memos released by the Obama administration yesterday also include opinions written by Yoo, okaying warrantless wiretaps and the use of the US military against targets inside the United States. Yoo also authored the previously disclosed "Torture Memos," which authorized CIA and military interrogators to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere.

The Justice Deparmtent's Office of Professional Responsibility is finishing an internal investigation of Yoo and is expected to recommend disbarrment proceedings against him and other department lawyers who advocated that Bush be allowed to do essentialy whatever he wanted in the so-called "War on Terror." Bush then used the memos to justify his actions. Yoo is a tenured professor at Berkeley, who took a leave of absence to work for the Bush Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. Yoo has his law license from the state of Pennsylvania. If he's disbarred, it will further pressure UC Berkeley to fire him.

-- Robert Gammon

author of  "The Torture Professor: Why UC Berkeley should fire John Yoo, the legal scholar whose work led to Abu Ghraib and secret spying on Americans" 

and "John Yoo, War Criminal? The chances that the notorious UC Berkeley law professor will be investigated for war crimes appear to have increased in recent weeks" 


Today, London-based journalist and author of "The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison," releases the first definitive list of the 779 prisoners held in the United States prison of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The list, which is the result of three years' research and writing about Guantánamo, provides details of the 533 prisoners who have been released, and includes, for the first time ever, accurate dates for their release. It also provides details of the 241 prisoners who are still held, including the 59 prisoners who have been cleared for release. Although some stories are still unknown, the stories of nearly 700 prisoners are referenced either by links to Andy's extensive archive of articles about Guantánamo, or to the chapters in "The Guantánamo Files"
where they can be found.

Andy Worthington underscores:

"It is my hope that this project will provide an invaluable research tool for those seeking to understand how it came to pass that the government of the United States turned its back on domestic and international law, establishing torture as official US policy, and holding men without charge or trial neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects to be put forward for trial in a federal court, but as 'illegal enemy combatants.'

"I also hope that it provides a compelling explanation of how that same government, under the leadership of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, established a prison in which the overwhelming majority of those held -- at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned in total -- were either completely innocent people, seized as a result of dubious intelligence or sold for bounty payments, or Taliban foot soldiers, recruited to fight an inter-Muslim civil war that began long before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or international terrorism."

Links to the list are included below:

Part 1 (ISNs 002 to 200):

Part 2 (ISNs 201 to 496):

Part 3 (ISNs 497 to 732):

Part 4 (ISNs 743 to 10030):


WASHINGTON -- The Central Intelligence Agency destroyed 92 videotapes from the agency's detainee interrogation program, a far larger number than previously believed, the Justice Department said in a court filing Monday.

The disclosures in a New York federal court case marked the first major step by President Barack Obama's administration to reveal details of the controversial detention program approved by the Bush White House after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Obama administration is still uncertain about how to pursue allegations of wrongdoing against officials in the Bush administration. CIA Director Leon Panetta said last week he opposed prosecuting CIA officers who followed legal advice in putting suspects through such tactics as waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning that the Obama administration labeled torture.

At the same time, Mr. Obama is making significant breaks with the past, including the move Monday to disclose long-secret information. The government made the disclosures in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking details of the CIA program.

"We want to give the people that work in the CIA the tools they need to keep us safe, but do so in a way that also protects our values," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

The Justice Department on Monday released memorandums that had laid the groundwork for the Bush administration's broad assertion of presidential power, overriding congressional oversight, international treaties and constitutional freedoms.

In one memo, Department of Justice lawyers said the president could order the U.S. military to mobilize domestically to combat terrorism, in contravention of laws that generally prohibit such use of the military on U.S. soil. Other memos described the president's power to conduct surveillance without court warrants.

Many of the legal opinions were written by John C. Yoo, a former official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, and now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The Obama administration is defending Mr. Yoo and other former Bush officials who are being sued over their national-security legal work. In an October 2001 memo, Mr. Yoo asserted that "the president has both the constitutional and statutory authority to use the armed forces in military operations, against terrorists within the United States." He added that such a move wouldn't be subject to Fourth Amendment restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures so long as they are acting in a military, not law-enforcement, function.

The government also released memos from the final months of the Bush administration that renounced the legal reasoning of the early post-9/11 period. In one October 2008 memo, a top Justice official called earlier opinions "either incorrect or highly questionable."

Continue reading here.

DOJ Releases Previously Secret Legal Opinions Written By John YooPDFPrintE-mail
Written by Jason Leopold
The Public Record 
Monday, 02 March 2009 12:25

The Department of Justice today released two previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memoranda and seven previously undisclosed opinions many of which were written by John Yoo, the former OLC attorney who now teaches law at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

The documents can be found here.

"Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "It is my goal to make OLC opinions available when possible while still protecting national security information and ensuring robust internal executive branch debate and decision-making."

The two memoranda memorialized that certain legal propositions in ten OLC opinions issued between 2001 and 2003 no longer reflected the views of OLC and "should not be treated as authoritative for any purpose." They further explained that some of the underlying opinions had been withdrawn or superseded and that "caution should be exercised" by the executive branch "before relying in other respects" on the other opinions that had not been superseded or withdrawn.

In light of the legitimate and substantial public interest in many of the questions raised in those opinions and in the evolution of OLC's views on those questions, the Department has released the six of those underlying opinions from 2001-2003 that are not classified and that had not previously been disclosed.

In November 2008, the Department filed a motion in a pending civil action to submit two of those underlying OLC opinions, along with one other, to the court under seal. The Department has determined that there is no longer any reason the three opinions should remain under seal and is therefore withdrawing its motion.

The legal opinions, many of which are explosive in the way in which it gave former President Bush broad, unreviewable war powers, are:

See also "Constitution Disposal and Yoo" by Scott Horton

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Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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