For Immediate Release
FOIA Request Filed for OPR Report on Bush's Lawyers
WASHINGTON - An organization of attorneys, journalists, and advocates today filed
a request under the Freedom of Information Act requesting the
long-suppressed report from the Department of Justice's Office of
Professional Responsibility (OPR) regarding the conduct of President
Bush's top lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel who authored memos
purporting to authorize torture and aggressive war.
The request, linked below along with a transmittal letter, asks for
the OPR report that has long been promised by Attorney General Eric
Holder, as well as an earlier OPR report completed during the last
months of the Bush administration. The request also seeks the 10 page
rebuttal of the 2008 report by then- Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Members of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee (RJSC) filed the
request. Founded in September 2008, the RJSC works to bring about the
criminal prosecution of top government officials in the United States
alleged to have committed war crimes. The committee was named in honor
of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who was the top U.S.
prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. "We must never forget,"
Jackson had said in his Opening Statement, "that the record on which we
judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge
us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it
to our lips as well."
Transmittal Letter http://lawsnotmen.org/
FOIA Request http://lawsnotmen.org/
Charlotte Dennett, an attorney member of the RJSC and one of the
authors of the FOIA request, said: "The time has come to squarely
address the role of these lawyers. Did they create new laws redefining
the crime of torture after American forces had already begun torturing
prisoners? And if so, for what purpose and on whose orders? We cannot
countenance further delays or accept a greatly watered-down version of
the original report. We must know the facts and then decide whether
President Obama's Department of Justice is continuing the cover-up
begun under his predecessor."
Peter Weiss, another RJSC
attorney member and author of the FOIA request, added: "We are not
simply requesting that a long-promised report be released sooner rather
than later. We are requesting transparency in the unprecedented
procedure of letting the very subjects of a DOJ misconduct report
propose changes to it. The current Chilcot Inquiry in England of the
build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq has revealed an editing process
in which the attorney general of that nation reversed his opinion that
the war would be illegal. If a similar editing job has been performed
on the original OPR report, the American public has a right to know it."
Swanson, Chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee who also worked
on the FOIA request, said "Much awaits this report. Bar associations
have delayed disbarment. Congressional committees have delayed
subpoenas and impeachments. The Department of Justice has delayed
prosecutions. One of the lawyers under review, John Yoo, is facing a
civil suit from one of the victims of his actions, Jose Padilla. If
the Justice Department is refusing to release the report in order to
deny the report to Padilla's legal counsel, the public has a right to
Justice Robert H. Jackson's words in his opening
statement as Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg have special relevance to
today: "The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop
with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also
reach men who possess themselves of great power... [for they, too,] as
Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, [are] 'under ... the
law.' And let me make clear that while this law is first applied
against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a
useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations,
including those which sit here now in judgment."
Members of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee are:
David Swanson is the author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial
Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union by Seven Stories Press,
Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org. Swanson became chair in November
Past Chair Lawrence Velvel served as chairman of the
Steering Committee of the Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference On
Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals, or
the Robert Jackson Steering Committee for short, through October 2009.
Velvel is Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of
John Bonifaz, Legal Director of Voter Action, author of Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush.
Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more
than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.
Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, immediate past
president of the National Lawyers Guild, author of Cowboy Republic: Six
Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law (PoliPointPress, 2007), and
editor of "The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration
and Abuse" (NYU Press, Fall 2010).
Colleen Costello, Staff
Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of
its efforts involving torture by the American government.
Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law,
where he teaches Public International Law and International Business
Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international
and related domestic law.
Charlotte Dennett, investigative
journalist, attorney, 2008 candidate for Attorney General of Vermont,
and author of The People v. Bush: One Lawyer's Campaign to Bring the
President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She
Encounters Along the Way (Chelsea Green, January 2010).
Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney.
Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.
Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches
Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American
Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many
books and articles, including Getting Away with Torture: Secret
Government, War Crimes, and the Rule of Law..
the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of
Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for
Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center
For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently
involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany against former
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.
Worthington, British journalist and author of The Guantanamo Files: The
Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison (Pluto Press,
Kevin Zeese, attorney, activist, serves as Executive
Director of Voters for Peace and Prosperity Agenda. He has filed
complaints with bar associations seeking the disbarment of 15
Bush-Cheney lawyers for facilitating torture (two who also served
Obama-Biden) as part of the Disbar Torture Lawyers Campaign of Velvet
Revolution on whose board he serves.
Transmittal Letter http://lawsnotmen.org/
FOIA Request http://lawsnotmen.org/
THE LAST FIREWALL AGAINST THE LIES
Independent media has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support our critical Winter campaign now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing.