May 2012 Archives

Berkeley Law takes the cake.

Many know that UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall harbors a war criminal, John Yoo.  But what he teaches under cover of administrative secrecy remains a mystery, revealed only to a chosen few.

Since 2010 the school has secreted locations for it's torture classes. Unashamed of the "Torture Professor's" crimes against humanity committed while in the employ of the Bush administration (indeed the school promotes publication of the repugnant and widely discredited opinions used to establish the current U.S. torture state), Dean Christopher Edley has resorted to concealing meeting times. To the point of slipping a condensed (in-and-out, before anyone notices) summer course under the radar, disguised by "Fall Semester" cover.
The University of California shares in the institutional complicity in torture exhibited by your government. What a bizarre situation we face, when UC is paying an advocate/designer of illegal government action (rendition, aggressive war, torture) to teach constitutional law to the next generation of lawyers and judges!

In this season of graduations - and the rush to bestow honorary degrees on the "great and powerful" - one ironic moment will play out at Fordham University, where Jesuits are giving top billing among its honorees to White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan...

Honoring a 'Terror War' Architect

Ray McGovern protests Fordham's choice of a torture advocate for commencement speaker in a letter to the school paper, here

And that is our problem. 

"...It was primarily a separation-of-powers concern that fueled the inter-branch drama of 2004 to 2008, during which a shrinking majority, over increasingly sharp dissents, pushed back against the Bush administration and Congress to assert the court's own institutional authority. -- Linda Greenhouse, Yale Law School professor and commentator for The New York Times

Goodbye to Gitmo?

Hell NO! President Obama's attempt to sweep the "mess" of Guantanamo under the carpet only serves to exemplify his culpability in obstruction of justice for crimes of the Bush regime.

Both were seriously lacking in the 9th Circuit's holding that John Yoo could not [be] sued for the role he played in causing Jose Padilla's torture. Hopefully, the 9th Circuit will grant en banc review and reverse this decision. What was done to Padilla was cruel, inhumane, and torture by any definition. Those responsible should be held liable. -- Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Irvine School of Law

see Why the 9th Circuit got Padilla wrong


The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, held a Grand Chamber hearing in the case El-Masri v. "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" on May 16, 2012.

This represents the first case to come before the court against a European nation for complicity in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program.

see Victim of Torture Gets His First Day in Court

Mr Masri's case is still pending at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

All claim to be protected by the "golden shield" offered by their inside man, John Yoo, part of a group of lawyers who aggressively pushed the lawlessness of the "war on terror." Abusing his position as a lawyer in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, whose mandate is to provide impartial legal advice to the executive branch, Yoo instead attempted to redefine torture and approved its use -- including the use of waterboarding, an ancient torture technique and a form of controlled drowning -- on an alleged "high-value detainee," Abu Zubaydah, in two memos, dated August 1, 2002, that will forever be known as the "torture memos"...

see Andy Worthington's Bush Administration on Trial

names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Haynes to be entered and included in the Kuala Lampur War Crimes Commission's Register for public record

Scott Horton interviews one of the prosecutors, war crimes expert and professor of international law Francis Boyle, here


By now everyone at Boalt knows exactly what the orange ribbon means.  Constant protest, agitation and education everywhere Yoo goes have made it clear: "No Torture In My Name."

More photos here... thanks Ashley!

Message to Berkeley Graduates.jpg

Over the past few weeks we have witnessed a resurgence of argument by Bush administration pundits that torture "works" to keep Americans safe. To attempt to justify use of this universally prohibited practice in the interest of national security is a legal and moral travesty, as unconscionable as the brutality inflicted upon those captured.

Torture is inhumane and immoral...period. Why is one of the central perpetrators of a systematic torture program (still) teaching at Boalt Hall?


Many people know the name of John Yoo, but most do not know his full role in the criminal enterprise known as the Bush Regime. Yoo is associated with the infamous 81-page "torture memo" written while he was a Department of Justice lawyer, on a two-year leave from the UC Berkeley Law faculty. He is one of the many Bush administration attorneys who provided legal justification and cover for the illegal actions of the Bush regime during its eight years in power, including the lies prefacing the immoral and illegitimate war on Iraq. 


Well guess what, no surprise, John Yoo is at it again, promoting an exaggeration of Iran's nuclear capabilities and agitating for U.S. military action against Iran. 


"It's amazing how lies grow. You start with a small one that seems easy to cover, then you get boxed in and tell another one. Then another. People believe you at first, and then act upon your lies, and you catch yourself wishing you'd simply told the truth."  - 'The Client' by John Grisham 


The University of California's advocacy for the current U.S. Torture State began with a rather banal defense of its employee John Yoo, whose conduct and work at the Bush/Cheney Justice Department fell far outside established ethical standards. Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley sticks with his misapplication of the principle of "academic freedom" to provide safe harbor to his subordinate, despite repeated rebuttals from those, including numerous constitutional lawyers, who correctly understand that unethical, criminal and immoral action in the service of government are not protected.

Dean Edley taught Barack Obama at Yale and provided consultation services for his presidential campaign, and has upheld the President's decision to avoid investigation of criminal actions of the Bush administration. But political calculation must not be the basis for decisions involving the most basic principles of universal human rights. World Can't Wait urges people of conscience to reject the pretext of Fear being sold to the American public and to repudiate the illegal practices being used in the global "war" on terror.

"this is the reality of the country we live in: those in elite political and intellectual circles exist in a special bubble where they can commit radical, far-reaching crimes of the highest order and never be subject to prosecution or punishment. The rest of us poor saps are lorded over by this law...

Routine Exoneration for Government Criminals

Even the New York Times finds Wednesday's decision by Ninth Circuit judges to grant immunity to torture advocate John Yoo "misguided and dangerous" and finds the ruling based on "an unworkable standard."

in unsettling example of moral turpitude, judges pass the buck:

In 2008, convicted terrorist Jose Padilla sued former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo for writing controversial Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos justifying the use of torture. The suit said Yoo's memos, which were signed by OLC head Jay Bybee, provided the legal justifications for what the suit said was Padilla's unconstitutional confinement and "gross physical and psychological abuse."

Today, the 9th Circuit Court, of which Jay Bybee is a memberruled that Yoo is protected from the lawsuit, claiming that the law defining torture and the treatment of enemy combatants was unsettled when Yoo wrote the memos...

Ninth Circuit Court harbors war criminal, protects his coconspirator

More on judicial abdication of responsibility, c/o Glenn Greenwald, here.

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

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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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