August 2010 Archives

Dignified, but broken, "one must wonder whether [the survivors] will ever fully move on 
from what they suffered in that hell we call Guantanamo." -- Peter Jan Honigsberg

Witness to Guantanamo

Peter recalls his meeting with one of the leading architects of abuse here
Once described by U.S. News and World Report as the "most powerful man you've never heard of," Addington served as legal counsel to Cheney from the beginning of the administration until 2005, when he became chief of staff to the vice president...

Heritage Foundation picks up former Cheney aide
U.S. Wary of Example Set by Tribunal Case

"Optically, this has been a terrible case to begin the [military] commissions with," said Matthew Waxman, the Pentagon's top detainee affairs official during the Bush administration.

Updates on the Omar Khadr case here
'We're at war!' For almost a full decade, this has been the all-justifying cliché for everything the U.S. Government does -- from torture, renditions and due-process-free imprisonments to wars of aggression, occupations, assassination programs aimed at U.S. citizens and illegal domestic eavesdropping. -- Glenn Greenwald

Boalt Hall has come to be identified as home to a nasty ideology that anything goes as long as actors are able to dodge accountability, teaching students how to "work" the law to potentially criminal advantage. UC's accommodation for "Torture Professor" John Yoo was challenged yet again on August 16 by the Berkeley community at large: 

Speakers throughout the demonstration discussed historical and legal issues relating to torture, and one second-year law student talked about the shame of being a Boalt Hall student while a war criminal is teaching Constitutional Law. 

Anti-torture activists have several events planned throughout the semester, including a Berkeley Says No To Torture Week beginning October 10.

uncomfortable with the Boalt Hall message?

"That was not an order to murder the Jews, it was an order to exclude them from participation in society. Once you start excluding a group for whatever reason you are on the path to the ultimate exclusion. -- Stephen Smith, executive director of the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute

The Nuremberg Laws, which laid the legal groundwork for the execution of six million Jews during the Holocaust, have been handed over to the US National Archives.
Visitors get a close view of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, promulgated by the Third Reich as the beginning of persecution of Jews AP Photo

The Bush administration's establishment of a 'rights-free-zone' at Guantanamo was similarly predicated on exclusion of an arbitrarily selected group of individuals from the protections accorded other citizens of the world. We would do well to heed lessons from the not-so-distant past to enforce accountability for war criminals like John Yoo who employed law in their own project of dehumanization. 
CIA: CIA LogoIf the US were seen as an exporter of terrorism, foreign partners may be less willing to cooperate with the United States on extrajudicial activities, including detention, transfer, and interrogation of suspects in third party countries...

Contrary to what Dean Edley claims, the conclusions of the OPR report, rather than exonerate John Yoo, make the case for disciplinary action...

CodePink member Toby Blome holds up her hand covered in red paint at a protest inside Boalt Hall. Anti-war activists are protesting at UC Berkeley to demand the removal of  John Yoo, a law professor who crafted legal theories for the Bush administration on waterboarding and other torture techniques.  Jeff Chiu c/o Sacramento Bee

AP gets 'poor judgment' conclusion on Yoo wrong

By: George Cammarota

19 Aug 2010

Challenging John Yoo on the first day of Fall 2010 classes at UC Berkeley School of Law, attorneys, Peace and Justice leaders and activists, and students held a successful press conference and protest action on the steps of Boalt Hall. [1]  The AP followed up with a report entitled "Berkeley Protesters Call for John Yoo's Removal." [2]  In the report, the AP incorrectly states that the "Justice Department investigation ... found that Yoo ... showed 'poor judgment' but did not commit professional misconduct."

Sadly, the large majority of news reports ran with the AP theme and even expanded on it.  For example, the Oakland Tribune informs us that the "Department of Justice ... clear[ed] Yoo and the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel of any professional wrongdoing," and without challenge quotes Dean Edley going so far as to say, "I hope these new developments will end the arguments about faculty sanctions." [3]

The fact of the matter is the Justice Department OPR report found that Yoo "committed intentional professional misconduct when he violated his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice." [4]  It was DOJ attorney David Margolis who stated his opinion, ostensibly speaking for the entire Justice Department and contrary to the conclusions of its own report, that Yoo and Bybee merely exercised "poor judgment." [5]

Contrary to what Dean Edley claims, the conclusions of the OPR report, rather than exonerate John Yoo, make the case for disciplinary action against John Yoo.

"Intentional professional misconduct" is grounds for Yoo's disbarment and dismissal from the UC Berkeley faculty. Why the DOJ is tripping over itself to protect Yoo and Bybee is a question worth pondering.  But justice demands the immediate dismissal, disbarment, and, I dare say, criminal prosecution of John Yoo for war crimes.



Ivy League of Torturers

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The mother of Pat Tillman and filmmaker Michael Moore also challenge Yale University's hiring of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Mary Tillman, whose discovery that McChrystal orchestrated the cover-up of her son's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, is depicted in Amir Bar-Lev's documentary "The Tillman Story" tells us the Ivy League institution's hiring of the general that President Obama fired is "insulting."   MORE

McChrystal's involvement in the tortures at Camp Nama 
and cover-up of Pat Tillman's death has never been satisfactorily scrutinized.

Judge allows "confessions" elicited by torture and abuse 

Juror removed from trial for saying Gitmo should be closed


We're not... are you? Video here

I just want to know why this happened to me."

American Civil Liberties Union lawyers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the FBI, CIA and other federal intelligence agencies, accusing them of detaining and torturing an American citizen later convicted on terrorism charges in the United Arab Emirates...

Hamdan, 44, who now lives in Lebanon with his family, was released in October 2009 after being convicted and sentenced to time served.

ACLU staff attorney Jennie Pasquarella alleges the government arranged for Handan's arrest by using a foreign dictatorship to do its dirty work.

Judges in Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland and Lithuania are preparing to hear allegations that their governments helped the CIA run secret prisons on their soil or cooperated in illegal U.S. treatment of terrorism suspects. Spanish prosecutors also have filed criminal charges against six senior Bush administration officials who approved the harsh interrogation methods that detainees say were employed at U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and other sites.

Another former prisoner whose case the Supreme Court dismissed, Khaled El-Masri of Germany, has sued the government of Macedonia for handing him over to CIA agents, who he charges tortured him in Afghanistan. His case is pending in the European Court of Human Rights, in France...

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Quaker Initiative to End Torture Conference 

Quaker Center  Ben Lomond, CA 
September 24 - 26 2010!  

Keynote Speaker:  Scott Horton

Special Guest: Fr Roy Bourgeois

More information here

John Yoo's Patriot Act

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ample evidence suggesting that individualized, subject-based monitoring of communications themselves is yielding to a broader algorithmic approach that seeks to monitor entire data streams. John Yoo, who wrote the (now repudiated) memoranda providing the legal basis for the NSA wiretapping program, for example, has described a system in which "computers are initially searching through communications first and only bringing correlations to the attention of a human, to a security officer when there's a certain level of confidence that they might involve terrorism." Where once we identified targets and then looked for suspicious behavior or incriminating communications, the "new" approach -- whose closest precedent may be the NSA's scandalous SHAMROCK program uncovered by the Church Committee's investigations in the 1970s -- involves monitoring behavior patterns and communications streams in search of targets...

we'll be back!


Speakers throughout the demonstration discussed historical and legal issues relating to torture, and one second-year law student "talked about shame of being a Boalt Hall student while a war criminal is teaching Constitutional Law"... 

organizers have several events planned throughout the semester, including a Berkeley Says No To Torture Week beginning October 10.


The prestigious school announced that General Stanley McChrystal will take a position as a lecturer at a newly opened center on global affairs.

"People of conscience must insist on accountability for the actions of U.S. officials. The status of the United States as a major world power does not make its officials less accountable for their crimes than the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia or any other country. It is the obligation of citizens who recognize that no country or government is above the law of human decency, as currently embedded in international law, to demand public accountability in a court of law. Only then will it be clear that this country repudiates the course set by the Bush administration on the issues of "preemptive war" and treatment of prisoners." -- War Criminals Watch

Why this War Criminal must be prevented from teaching Constitutional Law

A community speaks out, demands accountability
UC Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) steps
Monday August 16, 2010

World Can't Wait, Fire John, Progressive Democrats of America, the National Lawyers Guild's Committee Against Torture, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, the National Accountability Network, Code Pink, and other human rights and legal community speakers held a NOON PRESS CONFERENCE followed by a public nonviolent protest procession. Media coverage here.

If you missed the speak-out, please consider a donation to help continue the work of removing war criminals from our classrooms (make checks payable to: "World Can't Wait SF" Mail to: 2940 16th Street, Room 200-6, San Francisco, CA 94103 and write "accountability" on subject line of your check so it goes to the right place). And, start thinking of ways to participate in the "Berkeley Says NO To Torture" Week, October 10 thru 16.
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

How are we going to solve it?

(clue: not by awarding war criminals with positions in academia)

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger teaches at Georgetown University, as does former Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet... John Yoo, the deputy assistant attorney general who gave the Bush administration guidance on torture, is now a law professor at the University of California Berkeley. Other government officials have gone on to be college presidents or law school deans.

NBC Bay Area

Yoo's legal confusions

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You might think that a man who achieved infamy as one of the authors of Justice Department legal memos authorizing torture, thereby undermining the rule of law, would be happy to retreat to a life of quiet obscurity -- hey, at least it isn't a prison cell! But such is evidently not the case with University of California, Berkeley, law professor John Yoo... 

The US Believes It's Okay to Threaten Teenagers with Rape:

McClatchy's Carol Rosenberg discusses Omar Khadr's "confession" here
Obama could have, and should have, opted to tell the American people the truth at the onset of his presidency... most importantly, to acknowledge the truth of America's amorality in matters of human rights, making the necessary amends... Obama is fully aware that bringing these criminals to justice is a no-winner in the game of politics, particularly when we have such a divided country where half or more of the people believe - or have been brainwashed to believe - that torture is in "our case" justified, always under the pretense of ubiquitous self-preservation.

bodies of evidence

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Secret detainee transfer to CIA "black sites" silenced prisoners' stories of abuse -- including waterboarding and holding a gun to the head -- for a while. 

We now know that these acts of torture were a product of "widespread, systematic torture policy". Such policy will always be illegal, not a "choice" as the current administration suggests. 

Streamed live on Saturday, August 7 at 10am Pacific time

justine sharrockThis will be a live presentation in St. Louis, MO featuring the following panelists.  The event will be live streamed on this webpage on August 7th.

  • Justine Sharrock:  Justine is author of "Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things," will be live streamed from San Francisco, CA
  • Andy Duffy:  Andrew Duffy enlisted as a medic in the Iowa National Guard two days after he turned 17. He testifies to incidents in which Iraqi detainees in Abu Graib Prison desperately in need of medical treatment were denied it.
  • Woody Powell:  Served in the USAF, 1950-54, in Korea 1952-53. Air Police, K-9 Corps. Air Base Defense.  Was Executive Director of Veterans For Peace from 2001 to 2005.
  • Moderated by John Chappell:  Dr. Chappell is an Associate Professor of History at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is author of the book, Before the Bomb: How America Approached the End of the Pacific War.   In May 2010, he was panelist in the workshop, "The Atomic Bombings and Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians," at the International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World held at Riverside Church in New York City.
Yesterday the American Medical Association released a study revealing that CIA physicians played an even greater role in facilitating the torture of detainees than was previously recognized.  

Scott Horton reports here

Noting that nothing about Berkeley is quite as straightforward as it seems..."We're actually a fairly broad church here," Birgeneau says, "we've got the law professor John Yoo, who has been a prime advocate of the US government's torture policy, and the biggest student club on campus is the Republican."

Birgeneau is too much of a diplomat to admit to any disappointment at this; rather he mentions it in the spirit of live and let live. For whatever anyone might say about Berkeley, most people rub along fairly well together...  

Fortunately, the administrator's accommodation of a war criminal on the Boalt Hall faculty has been challenged by the community at large. 

Economics Professor Brad DeLong submitted a letter to the chancellor: 

I have reached the conclusion that what Berkeley Law School Dean Chris Edley calls John Yoo's "Torture Memo" is professional misconduct of a level demanding his dismissal from the University of California.

The National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Chapter wrote their own: 

the University of California should step forward with strong moral leadership, granting Yoo the due process that his memos denied many others at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, by instituting a formal investigation and implementing whatever discipline the investigation justifies.

The City of Berkeley passed a Resolution:

Under these circumstances asking for a University investigation is an appropriate step that will allow the University to determine whether of not Mr. Yoo should be sanctioned by the University.

Berkeley Law students' Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture asked

"whether a lawyer-professor who seriously breaches standards of professional conduct should be teaching future lawyers."

National Accountability Action Network director Cynthia Papermaster protested outside California Hall, clarifying that

academic freedom was not the issue. "Its about his actions [at the Department of Justice]."

World Can't Wait, Progressive Democrats of America, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee, and Reverend Kurt Kuhwald have initiated a "Berkeley Says NO To Torture" Week.

People of conscience continue with their message: 


no nation has tried a child soldier for war crimes since World War II, and the decision to prosecute Khadr has drawn protests from UNICEF, headed by a former U.S. national security adviser, as well as every major human-rights group...

military trial now set for August 10

NOTE: Omar's older brother Abdullah was released August 4th after Canada denied 
extradition to the U.S. Judge Speyer cited "gross misconduct" by both governments.

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

Donations via PayPal
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Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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