Anti-torture Coalition Files Disciplinary Complaints Against 12 Bush Administration Lawyers

18.5.09

The following is a statement issued today by Disbar Torture Lawyers, a newly-formed organization that has just filed disciplinary complaints against the twelve Bush administration lawyers who were most closely involved with “violat[ing] the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture, which is illegal under both United States and international law.”

On Monday, May 18, 2009, a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to accountable government, and representing over one million members, filed disciplinary complaints with state bar licensing boards against twelve attorneys who advocated the torture of detainees during the Bush Administration. These detailed complaints with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits have been filed against 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. The complaints, filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, seek disciplinary action and disbarment. Copies of the complaints and exhibits are available on the Disbar Torture Lawyers website.

The 12 lawyers targeted in the disciplinary complaints filed by Disbar Torture Lawyers.

The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture, which is illegal under both United States and international law. Specifically, the Geneva Convention, UN Convention Against Torture, the Eighth Amendment, the Army Field Manual and the United States Criminal Code against torture and war crimes all prohibit torture of detainees. The memos written and supported by these attorneys advocating torture have now been repudiated by the Department of Justice, the White House, the Department of Defense and other experts in the field. The recently released Senate and Red Cross reports on detainee treatment provide uncontroverted evidence that the torture techniques advocated by the attorneys were used on human beings over an extended period of time.

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 [law professor David Luban] testified that the legal policy constituted “an ethical train wreck” because it violated constitutional, statutory and international law.

Kevin Zeese, the attorney for the coalition who signed the complaints, said, “It is time to hold these lawyers accountable for violating their legal oath. Just as the bar would suspend an attorney who advised a police officer to torture and brutalize a detained immigrant or criminal defendant, the bar must suspend these attorneys for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees. The disciplinary boards that hear these complaints must act or they will be seen as complicit in the use of torture. This is an important step toward the ultimate accountability of criminal prosecution.”

The coalition expects these twelve complaints to be followed with others after the involvement of additional attorneys is confirmed.

In addition, the coalition is asking other organizations to sign on to this campaign by sending an email to Disbar Torture Lawyers. Individuals can sign on using a form on the campaign’s website.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

4 Responses

  1. Anti-torture Coalition Files Disciplinary Complaints Against 12 Bush Administration Lawyers « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] Against 12 Bush Administration Lawyers Posted on May 18, 2009 by dandelionsalad by Andy Worthington Featured Writer Dandelion Salad http://www.andyworthington.co.uk 18 May [...]

  2. Frances Madeson says...

    If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land…

    TD knows the rest of this song. I think I hear over a million voices singing it. Sounds good from where I sit on Grand Street.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Frances, though I must admit that the song that’s been running through my mind is “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan:
    http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/masters-war

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin’
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it’s your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain

    You fasten the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion
    As young people’s blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud

    You’ve thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain’t worth the blood
    That runs in your veins

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I’m young
    You might say I’m unlearned
    But there’s one thing I know
    Though I’m younger than you
    Even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul

    And I hope that you die
    And your death’ll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I’ll stand o’er your grave
    ‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead

  4. lonnie says...

    im being tortured in florida mentally tallahassee florida law enforcement

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