Monday, May 18

Human Rights Groups File Complaints against 12 Bush Attorneys over Torture

In what looks like a very serious shot across the bow, numerous Human Rights Groups have banned together to file 500 pages of formal complaints to several state bar associations with detailed allegations of support for Torture and War Crimes by 12 Key Bush Administration Attorneys.

Those attorney's include: John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington.

Although the OPR investigation of memo written by three of the attorney's John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury may also recommend disbarment when it is finally released, this set of complaints is much broader.

In testimony at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told a committee panel that Bush administration officials engaged in a ‘collective failure’ on detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. He called the torture memos "unsound" because "the lawyers involved ... did not welcome peer review and indeed would shut down challenges even inside the government." Another witness testified that the legal policy constituted "an ethical train wreck" because it violated constitutional, statutory and international law.


Torture is illegal under both United States and international law. The Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, and it states that treaties signed by the U.S. are the "supreme Law of the Land" under Article Six. The Geneva Convention and The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment both prohibit torture and have been signed by the United States. These laws provide no exception for torture under any circumstances. Moreover, the United States Criminal Code prohibits both torture and war crimes, the latter which includes torture. The Army Field Manual prohibits the use of degrading treatment of detainees.

Further argument provided Attorney Kevin Zeese:

Torture is illegal under United States and international law. It is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, domestic law and international treaties to which the United States is a party.

This includes:

1. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), Articles 1, 2, 3 and 16 (ratified in October 1994). Article 2(2) of the Convention states that:

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

2. The Geneva Conventions, Article 3, (ratified in August 1955). Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), held that the Geneva Conventions are applicable to accused members of al-Qaeda. Thus, due process protections apply to all detainees in U.S. custody, including those in military prisons.

3. The Eighth Amendment against "cruel and unusual punishment."
4. The United States Criminal Code, Title 18, Prohibitions Against Torture (18 USC 2340A) and War Crimes (18 USC 2441).

Torture is a clearly defined term under international and U.S. law. The Convention Against Torture defines torture as any act by which: "severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental; is intentionally inflicted on a person . . ."

The torture memoranda did not provide objective legal advice to government decision-makers, but instead twisted the state of the law so that it was unrecognizable. They were so inaccurate that these memoranda are more justifications about what the authors and the intended recipients wanted the law to be, rather than assessments of what the law actually is.

The Raw Data:

Our State Bar Complaints
Jay Bybee-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Douglas Feith-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
David Addington-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Stephen Bradbury-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Chertoff-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Ashcroft-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Timothy Flanigan-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alice Fisher-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Haynes-California Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Yoo- Pennsylvania Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alberto Gonzales-Texas Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Mukasey-New York Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Exhibits Attached To Each Complaint
ACLU List of Known Torture Documents
Army Field Manual On Detainee Treatment
Bradbury 20 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury 46 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury Memo 5-30-05
Bybee to Gonzales Memo 8-01-02
Bybee to Rizzo Memo 8-01-02
Geneva Convention Article 3
Haynes Memo 11-27-02
Red Cross Detainee Treatment Report
Senate Detainee Treatment Report
UN Convention on Torture
U.S. Criminal Code
Yoo Memo 8-01-02
Yoo Memo 3-14-03

Republicans for Impeachment
Progressive Democrats of America
Impeach Bybee
Prosecute Bush/Cheney
After Downing Street
Buzz FlashOp Ed News
Coalition Repair Project
Progressive Magazine
Global Network
Justice Through Music
Media With Conscience
Bend-C Friendship Project
Citizens for Legitimate Government
Center for Study of Democratic Societies
The World Can’t Wait
American Freedom Campaign
Liberty Tree
BFUU Social Justice Campaign
Peace for Justice Forums
WESPAC Foundation
PDA Marin County
Central Jersey Impeach Group
Chesapeake Citizens
Topple Bush
Stop Recruiters WWU
Whatcom Peacebuilders Club
Iraq Veterans for Justice
Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The Democratic Activists
The Solution Zone
Patrick Henry Democratic Club
Epluribus Media
Consumers for Peace
No Nukes North
Veterans for Peace
Florida Peace Action Network
Reclaim the GOP
Boston Anti-War League
Voters for Peace
Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics

Bob Fertik
Ann Wright
Tim Carpenter
David Swanson
Benjamin David
William Crain
Phoebe Sorgen
Sphie de Vries
Bob Schecht
Susan Serpa
Peggy Love
Bruce Jones
Ben Maski
Andy Worlington
Mark Adams
William J. Cox
David Lindorff
Ann Wright
Steve Fox
Peggy Love
Pamela Selwyn
John H. Kennedy
Robley George
Bettejo Indelicato
Mike Woloshin
Bill Warick
Story Fitz
Nick Mattern
Dr. P. Thomas
Mark Hull-Richter
Laura Bonham
Amy Ferrer
Christiane Brown
Chris Borland
Chip Pitts
Ann Rick
Flux Rostrum
Evan Knapperberger
RJ Crane
Melinda Pillsbury Foster
David Wittner
David Slesinger
Mary Marino
Anita Fieldman
Nada Khader
Leslie Cagan
Kristina Borjesson
Debra Sweet
Lori Price
Timeteo Jeffries
Shahram Vahdany
Bruce Gagnon
Matthew Rothschild
David Robinson
Srena Crew
Lisa Boyd
Rob Kall
Peter Phillips
Mark Karlin
Doug Fuda

The Released Torture Memos

Recent Articles About Accountability For Torture
Accountability for Torture, The Nation, John Nichols, 4/22/09
Accountability Does Not Stop At White House Door, Harvard Law Record, Andrew Kallock, 4/16/09
Pressure Grows For Accountability, Amnesty International, 4/17/09
Medically Assisted Torture, New York Times, Editorial, 4/9/09
The Torturer’s Manifesto, New York Times, Editorial, 4/18/09
The Second Bybee Memo, Jurist Legal News and Research, Jordan Paust, 4/22/09
Federal Prosecution of War Criminals, Lawrence Vevel, 1/9/09
Faithfully Executing The Laws, UCLA Law Review, Dawn Johnsen, 2007
The Torture Team, Harpers Magazine, Scott Horton, 3/28/08
Torture Isn’t Patriotic, The Boston Globe, Editorial, 5/16/09
Efforts to Halt Harsh Tactics Thwarted, Washington Post, Carrie Johnson, 5/14/09
Obama Can’t Turn The Page On Bush, New York Times, Frank Rich, 5/18/09

"There is a very exclusive club, whose membership is very few, the tormentors of the human race, history will not forget you."

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