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Posts Tagged ‘John Yoo’

by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee – 2010-02-23

The Justice Robert Jackson Steering Committee, a group of lawyers, journalists and advocates formed in the fall of 2008 to pursue the prosecution of top Bush administration officials for alleged war crimes while in office, is both greatly concerned and guardedly hopeful by the recent release of 2 different assessments from inside the Department of Justice on whether John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the lawyers who crafted “torture memos” inside the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel, engaged in professional misconduct.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17789
http://lawsnotmen.org/

Conspiracy to engage in aggressive and illegal war

Yoo, Bybee, and Disinformation

by David Swanson
After Downing Street – 2010-02-21

Everything you’re reading about torture lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee getting off the hook is wrong. They are not torture lawyers, they are not off the hook, there never was any hook, they may not be lawyers for long, impeachment and indictment are on the agenda, and you have a role to play.

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17754

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Yoo: ‘Sure,’ The President Could Order A Village Of Civilians Massacred

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | February 22, 2010, 10:10AM

In John Yoo’s vision of executive power, the president can legally order a village of civilians “massacred,” according to the internal Justice Department report released Friday.

But in a letter (.pdf) sent to the DOJ last October, Yoo’s lawyer, Miguel Estrada, accused the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility of ripping “out of context” Yoo’s statement on the massacre question.

Estrada argues that OPR included the exchange “in an effort to shock the reader and to make clear to all right-thinking people that Professor Yoo is a bad man, indeed.” (See page 5 of the letter.)

The massacre exchange comes during the OPR report’s discussion of Yoo’s August 2002 memo (.pdf) that is widely seen as one of the key opinions authorizing torture.

The document — which is known as the Bybee Memo because it was signed by Yoo’s boss at the Office of Legal Counsel, Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee — argues that the U.S. law banning torture would be unconstitutional if it “impermissibly encroached” on the president’s commander-in-chief power.

An OPR investigator asked Yoo “to explain how the torture statute would interfere with the President’s war making abilities.” Here’s the back-and-forth that followed, which is quoted in the OPR report and was first caught by Michael Isikoff at Newsweek:

MORE HERE

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John Yoo

ACLU Sues Justice Department On Torture Report

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | January 25, 2010, 9:08AM

The ACLU filed suit Friday in a bid to force the Justice Department to release its internal report on torture.

The long-awaited report from the department’s Office of Professional Ethics considers whether DOJ lawyers like John Yoo broke ethics rules in writing the memos that approved torture.

In November, Attorney General Eric Holder testified that it would likely be out by the end of the month. At that time, the department said it was going through the normal review process.

In December, the ACLU had filed a FOIA request for the report.

ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said in a press release:

Under the Bush administration, the Office of Legal Counsel issued a series of memos intended to permit interrogators to use methods that the United States had previously described as war crimes. As a result of those memos, hundreds of prisoners were abused and tortured, and some were even killed during the course of interrogations. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether the authors of the memos violated ethical rules as well as the criminal laws, and in ensuring that those who wrote the memos, as well as those who authorized torture, are held accountable. The release of the ethics report is long overdue.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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by Bob Egelko, The San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 8, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO – The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

[John Yoo is accused of authorizing the torture of a terror suspect. (AP)]
John Yoo is accused of authorizing the torture of a terror suspect. (AP)

Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose “the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military’s detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict,” Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Continues >>

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Robert Parry | Consortiumnews.com, April 17, 2009

Almost as disturbing as reading the Bush administration’s approved menu of brutal interrogation techniques is recognizing how President George W. Bush successfully shopped for government attorneys willing to render American laws meaningless by turning words inside out.

The four “torture” memos, released Thursday, revealed not just that the stomach-turning reports about CIA interrogators abusing “war on terror” suspects were true, but that the United States had gone from a “nation of laws” to a “nation of legal sophistry” – where conclusions on law are politically preordained and the legal analysis is made to fit.

You have passages like this in the May 10, 2005, memo by Steven Bradbury, then acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel:

“Another question is whether the requirement of ‘prolonged mental harm’ caused by or resulting from one of the enumerated predicate acts is a separate requirement, or whether such ‘prolonged mental harm’ is to be presumed any time one of the predicate acts occurs.”

As each phrase in the Convention Against Torture was held up to such narrow examination, the forest of criminal torture was lost in the trees of arcane legal jargon. Collectively, the memos leave a disorienting sense that any ambiguity in words can be twisted to justify almost anything.

Continued >>

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‘Get a good lawyer,’ lawyer tells former Bush official

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Monday March 30, 2009

After a former Bush official responded to a lawyer who’s suing him for alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay, the lawyer has fired back in kind.

Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense under President George W. Bush, is accused by Spanish human rights lawyers of providing legal cover to Bush policies under which detainees were tortured. The lawyers want to try a number of Bush officials — among them former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — in Spanish court.

Feith fired back in an interview Sunday, saying, “the charges as related to me make no sense.”

“They criticize me for promoting a controversial position that I never advocated,” Feith added.

In response, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers filing the complaint, advised Feith to get a “very good lawyer.”

MORE HERE

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Pinochet judge weighs criminal probe of Bush ‘torture lawyers’

Raw Story- Stephen C. Webster
Published: Saturday March 28, 2009

Spanish official says arrest warrants ‘highly probable’

Six Bush-era officials responsible for crafting the legal justifications permitting the military prison at Guantanamo Bay are the subject of a potential Spanish criminal probe which could place the men under serious risk of arrest if they travel outside the United States.

[Spanish newspaper] 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,” noted Scott Horton at Harper’s.

He called them Bush’s “torture lawyers.”

On March 17, Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, published an editorial in the Washington Note which accused Bush officials of knowingly holding innocent men in Guantanamo Bay for years.

“The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzón, the crusading investigative judge who indicted the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet,” reported the New York Times. “The official said that it was ‘highly probable’ that the case would go forward and could lead to arrest warrants.”

MORE HERE

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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.”

In early March, more shocking details emerged about George W. Bush legal counsel John Yoo’s memos outlining the destruction of the republic.

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

It was as if Milton’s Satan had a law degree and was establishing within the borders of the United States the architecture of hell.

I thought this was — and is — certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate — which scandalized the nation — seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.

The memos are a confession. The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.

As a non-lawyer, was I completely off base in my reading of what this meant, I wondered? Was I hallucinating?

Astonished, I sought a reality check — and a formal legal read — from one of the nation’s top constitutional scholars (and most steadfast patriots), Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of defending the detainees and our own liberties.

MORE HERE

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Sudhan @12:40 CET

We need a citizens commission to investigate how far the Bush White House wanted to take executive power after 9/11.

Tim Rutten | Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2009

Just how close to the brink of executive tyranny did the United States come in the panic that swept George W. Bush’s administration after 9/11? The answer, it now seems clear, is that we came far closer than even staunch critics of the White House believed.

On Monday, the Obama administration released nine legal opinions produced for the Bush White House by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That heretofore obscure office essentially serves as the president’s arbiter of what’s legal and what isn’t. Among other things, the memorandums issued by the office in 2001 asserted that Bush had the power to order the military to capture suspected terrorists on U.S. soil and to treat them as enemy combatants without any rights to due process.

In the course of such operations, according to the Office of Legal Counsel, the military was free to ignore 4th Amendment prohibitions on illegal search and seizure and to engage in warrantless wiretapping. 1st Amendment protections of free speech also could be suspended at the chief executive’s directive, according to these opinions, and the president has the power to abrogate any international treaty at will.

Continued >>

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More OLC Memos To Come?

Some followup by the New York Times on the Bush-era OLC memos released yesterday by the Justice Department…

Department officials have told the paper that they may soon release more secret opinions about counter-terror tactics. Those that contain classified information will need to be cleared with other government agencies before they can be released.

Separately, some Democrats are jumping on the controversial memos to bolster their argument for a commission to look into the Bush administration’s counter-terror policies.

Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy, who has called for such a commission, put out a statement Monday that praised the Justice Department for releasing “some of these long-secret opinions.” But it also argued that a “fuller review of these policies” by the new Obama team was needed.

And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said: “These memos appear to have given the Bush administration a legal blank check to trample on Americans’ civil rights. We need to get to the bottom of what happened at O.L.C. and ensure it never happens again.”

Also, the Times picks up on that footnote in the Steven Bradbury memo that we highlighted earlier. Reports the paper:

In a footnote to Mr. Bradbury’s Jan. 15, 2009, memorandum sharply criticizing Mr. Yoo’s work, Mr. Bradbury signaled that he did not want his repudiation of the legal reasoning employed by Mr. Yoo to be used against Mr. Yoo as part of the ethics probe.Mr. Bradbury wrote that his retractions were not “intended to suggest in any way that the attorneys involved in the preparation of the opinions in question” violated any “applicable standards of professional responsibility.”

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