Berkeley Says NO to Torture

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NOTE: coverage of week's events, as they transpired, here

On June 7, 2010 the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission approved the proposal for a City Resolution, "Berkeley Says No to Torture" Week. A City Council vote on the measure has been postponed until September 21. Endorsers urge all interested parties to attend. This website will post the City Council Meeting Agenda for that date when it becomes available, but please MARK YOUR CALENDARS.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION: "Berkeley Says NO To Torture" Week

WHEREAS Chapter 3.68 of the Berkeley Municipal Code sets forth functions of the Peace and Justice Commission including "Advise the Berkeley City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley's role in issues of peace and social justice, including, but not limited to support for human rights and self-determination throughout the world", and,

WHEREAS, the City of Berkeley has previously passed the following resolutions: 

12/8/08 resolution on John Yoo/Bush Administration Torture Memos
 3/13/07 resolution 63613-NS supporting prosecution of Rumsfeld and other Government Officials; and

WHEREAS, one particular human rights issue - torture, specifically torture policies and practices formulated and set into motion under Bush and Cheney, and not yet repudiated or reversed under their successor Obama - has been directly relevant here in Berkeley ever since UC Berkeley allowed John Yoo's return to his Berkeley Law teaching post after his two year sabbatical employment in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), during which time Yoo wrote key legal memos enabling the administration to commit illegal, cruel and inhumane practices (torture, rendition, etc.) and to make these practices permanent weapons in U.S. foreign policy; and

WHEREAS, under international laws and treaties (the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment {10/94}; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination {10/94}; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights {9/92}, torture is a crime against humanity and a war crime, and has also been condemned by such groups as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and;

WHEREAS, the shameful display of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, approved of and sanctioned from the highest levels of our government, is well-known to the world, and contributes to a horrifying intensification of anger, hatred, and violence in the world at a time when humanity needs the very opposite; and

WHEREAS, the recent release of the highly-publicized report from the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has now even further revealed the criminal roles of John Yoo and his OLC supervisor Jay Bybee in the matter of illegal governmental sanctions of torture (Jay Bybee's active role in crafting torture policy at OLC was rewarded by former President George W. Bush with a lifetime appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Judge Bybee now sits on the bench); and

WHEREAS, torture and John Yoo are again very much in the news now because of his current book tour and because of the recent federal court Al-Haramain decision, which excoriated the legal work of John Yoo in enabling illegal governmental surveillance; and

WHEREAS, designating an official civic week would enable a concentrated, multi-dimensional, community effort including  school teach-ins, community art/culture events, religious communities' events, protest actions, speakers, film showings --  combining efforts by diverse and leading organizations including legal and civil liberties institutes and organizations, peace groups, human rights groups, veterans groups, and faith-based communities; and will make news and give encouragement to people in, near, and far beyond Berkeley;


Be it therefore Resolved that:

The City of Berkeley declares the week of [October 10-16], 2010 as "Berkeley Says No to Torture" Week.  During this week a diverse range of community and social groups will speak and act publicly, making clear that the community finds it unacceptable for an American torture apparatus to remain operational while those responsible remain unaccountable. 

The Peace and Justice Commission is authorized to work in co-operation with concerned community members to present an educational forum or program on the topic of torture during the "Berkeley Says No to Torture" Week at a public venue provided by the City.

Submitted to the Peace and Justice Commission by:

World Can't Wait and Fire John

Progressive Democrats of America

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Social Justice Committee

Rev. Kurt Kuhwald, Berkeley

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This page contains a single entry published on July 23, 2010 12:20 PM.

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