Results matching “Lisa Hajjar” from FIRE JOHN YOO!

'What's the Matter with Yoo?'


'The most shocking memo was authored by John Yoo who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel between 2001 and 2003," writes Lisa Hajjar ( in her new book, 


The War in Court: Inside the Long Fight against Torture 

"Written for the CIA, this August 1, 2002 memo laid bare justifications for gruesome and violent tactics while emboldening the Bush administration to believe that using them would not violate any applicable laws. I started giving public lectures titled 'What's the Matter with Yoo?' The Nation invited me to review a bunch of books about the 'war on terror,' including several collections of the torture memos, which deepened my understanding of US torture and the law." 

"Torture haunts U.S. politics like a ghost... hidden, repressed, denied and lied about," said sociology professor Lisa Hajjar, 

The U.S. "War on Terror" has always been about persecuting Muslims, torture being the modus operandi of a cruel system of institutionalized Islamophobia. The nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency confirmed what we already knew: political impunity thrives in an authoritarian environment. And blaming the subjects of abuse endears you to white supremacists.

images.jpg"Torture haunts U.S. politics like a ghost... hidden, repressed, denied and lied about," says sociology professor Lisa Hajjar. Secrecy, unaccountability, and lies conspire to suppress public protest of its use. President Obama's aversion to prosecution of the officials responsible for ghastly crimes undermined the power of international law -- and enabled the resurrection of torture policy by Donald Trump. Obama's executive order ending the use of John Yoo-approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" failed to abandon the use of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspected terrorists were sent to black sites, including the notorious facility in Thailand ruled with depraved indifference to human life. 

"Because of U.S. exceptionalism, or the idea that we are a country without flaws, any deviation from our idealistic notions of who we are is treated as just that -- a deviation," writes Dr. Maha Hilal, Co-Director of Justice for Muslims. An estimated 3.45 million Muslims in the U.S. are "living in a climate of hostility," reports National Geographic, "their faith distorted by violent extremists on one end and an anti-Muslim movement on the other."    

Don't count on Congress to disqualify CIA director nominee Haspel for her role in the spy agency's torture program. Without sustained nonviolent protests in the streets, creating the kind of political situation in which Trump/Pence appointees are removed from power is met, "Bloody Gina" will be promoted next week with accolades for her "service." In the name of her victims, we say NO to torture and the system that employs its use.   

..terms of the agreement would prevent lawyers from helping their clients reach out to human rights organizations or UN agencies that deal with torture. Judge Pohl, no expert in international law, rejected their [defense teams for 9/11 suspects] motion for the right to seek remedies under the Convention against Torture, and this is something that they want to relitigate. If they sign the agreement in its current form, they would in essence be voluntarily abandoning that option.

anti-torture lawyering in the U.S.

The total failure to hold the intellectual authors of illegal detention practices accountable obstructs justice for the victims of America's war OF terror. 

"Although the torture policy did not garner the political opposition it deserves, those Americans who have challenged it mainly lawyers - did so because they recognise that torture violates the most basic tenet of the rule of law and is a gross crime under international law (in the same company with genocide and crimes against humanity). Moreover, the prohibition of torture is universal and applicable to all human beings under all circumstances, including in war and conflict. Challengers rejected the Bush administration's proposition that the law could be disregarded or reinterpreted to grant the government the right to systematically abuse and harm people in custody...

Lisa Hajjar traces the detention policy debacle as it has evolved over the last ten years

The use of "Law" to protect war criminals raises questions of legitimacy of the institution itself. But we should not lose sight of those individual practitioners who continue the good fight. When we recognize that the indefinite detention practices of the Obama regime have no moral or legal basis, we are emboldened to demand repudiation.

The Power of Kings

Kill-LIst-300x231.jpg"If the disposal of people's freedom and dignity on the basis of secret and uncontestable information is the sine qua non of the power of kings, so much more so is the power to dispose of their lives*... to claim infallibility and deny evidence to the contrary, and to stonewall requests for information about who is classified as killable 
and why, is outrageous. -- Lisa Hajjar

Lisa Hajjar narrates how the "legalization" of targeted killing has evolved over the course of the last twenty years...

Training photo of Israeli special forces; Image from Zvi Koren/Polaris Images.

Barack Obama: Torturer in Chief

Despite Attorney General Eric Holder's attempt to grant impunity to those who authorized or provided legal cover for over 100 deaths at Guantanamo and other prison camps, the book is not closed on accountability for facilitation or concealment of these atrocities.

There is no statute of limitations on murder by torture. And yes, we have the bodies to prove crimes have been committed.

Attorneys Marjorie Cohn and Glenn Greenwald, and others, have raised the question of whether we are witnessing A Free Pass for Torturers

I think not, if we refuse to accept the crimes of this government. Lisa Hajjar, associate 
professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, evaluates the legal campaign against 
american torture (where we're at now) and challenges the bleak conclusions that our 
decade-long anti-torture campaign has been a failure, acknowledging that the 
prospect of returning the U.S. to a state of law is no sure thing. But,

"to make it a possibility, there is work to be done in the court of public opinion. This involves challenging the specious lies that torture 'works', and attacking interpretations of law that would create rights-free zones and rightless individuals. When national leaders of the world's lone superpower endorse or excuse torture, and courts provide impunity, the adverse consequences are international and global. By the same measure, every fight against torture anywhere in the world is an expression of respect for the rule of law and a defense of the most important human right. In the US, the fight against torture has been hard, often frustrating, and has produced few victories. But it is the good fight, and those who have made this history have done a service for us all."
Note: You may remember Professor Hajjar from Berkeley's Town Hall debate, June 27 2008, "No To Torture! John Yoo Must Go!". Video of that event is available through the San Francisco chapter of World Can't Wait, .

According to [Professor] Hajjar, three significant issues were brought to light during Khadr's trial: the veracity of the government's evidence, which the defense contends was derived through torture; the legitimacy of militarily prosecuting a person who was a child at the time of arrest; and the legal legitimacy of the Bush-Obama reformulations of the laws of war that have, in essence, fabricated new kinds of war crimes.

[Can the United Nations spell "U.S.A."? UN rights chief says torturers will face justice. (AFP)]Can the United Nations spell "U.S.A."? UN rights chief Navi Pillay says torturers will face justice. (AFP)

June 26 is International Day for the Victims of Torture. Take a moment to sign a statement against your government's participation in these crimes. Reject the notion that the United States is "above" or an "exception" to the law. 

There is a harmony among the three branches of government in the shared and cooperative unwillingness to hold US officials accountable for their roles in perpetrating or abetting grave breaches of law. As long as the accused are Americans, the "new normal" is impunity for torture. Ironically, however, US courts are still amenable to hearing and deciding cases against officials who perpetrate or abet torture for foreign regimes, like Haiti's Emmanuel Constant and Liberia's Charles Taylor, who were recently and successfully sued by their victims in America. - Professor Lisa Hajjar

Prosecution of torture policy makers is key to restoring due process rights and remedy to victims. World Can't Wait works to hold war criminals accountable; check for local events here

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