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ACTION ALERT: Impeach Torture-Memo Judge Jay Bybee


April 21, 2009
Kevin Zeese / Voters for Peace & Vincent Warren / Center for Constitutional Rights

Bybee was the primary author of legal memoranda justifying torture during the Bush administration. When he was confirmed for the federal bench this information was denied. Now that Bybee's fundamental role is known, how can he remain a judge in the US federal courts? His lifetime appointment will continue the legacy of torture under President Bush, rather than put it behind us.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1312/t/6850/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27086

ACTION ALERT: Impeach Torture-Memo Judge Jay Bybee
Voters for Peace

(April 20, 2009) Voters for Peace is joining in the call for impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bybee was the primary author of legal memoranda justifying torture during the Bush administration. When he was confirmed for the federal bench this information was not known, in fact it was denied by many. But now that it is known, how can he remain a judge in the US federal courts? His lifetime appointment will continue the legacy of torture under President Bush, rather than put it behind us.

Please write your representative in Congress urging his impeachment. Click here to take action now.

Torture violates US law: Section 2340A of title 18 of the US Code says this: "Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life."

And, torture violates international treaties to which the US has agreed to follow. The Convention Against Torture requires criminal prosecution of "an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture" or in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." And the Geneva Conventions ban "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture," as well as "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."

The purpose of the Bybee Memos was to provide legal cover for American torturers. To allow the "just following orders defense" and to be able to point to these absurd memos to demonstrate the orders were lawful. Everyone involved knew they were torturing, knew they were inflicting pain, knew they were violating the law. Rather than first focusing on those at the bottom of the torture totem poll, removing Bybee from the bench would be a good first step.

Click here to write your representative to urge impeachment of Judge Bybee.

As David Swanson, a Project Board Member of Voters for Peace wrote:

"Just take a look at the memos officially attributed to Bybee, and consider whether we can maintain any sort of legitimate government without impeaching him, and whether we want him overruling decent honest judges for the next 30 years. Bybee gave President Bush, upon request, "legal opinions" that a president can ignore international laws, that laws do not apply to various groups of people, that a president can kidnap, detain, and ship off to other lands human beings with no due process, and that Congress has no power to interfere with anything a president does."

How can the United States put this torture history behind us if we do not take the essential action of removing Judge Bybee from the bench? His actions constitute war crimes. Please act now and urge Congress to impeach Judge Bybee. Click here to write your representative to urge impeachment of Judge Bybee.

Kevin Zeese is Executive Director of Peace Action.
The Letter

I am writing to urge the impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee. As the former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee was the primary author of "legal" memoranda used to justify torture, including memos long known to the public and two memos recently released by the Department of Justice from March 13, 2002, and June 8, 2002.

The June 8th memo claims to justify depriving an American citizen of the right to a trial, claiming the power to imprison him without charge on the grounds that he was already guilty in the eyes of the memo's author, Jay Bybee. These positions are inappropriate for a federal judge to hold. He needs to be removed from the bench.

The International Committee of the Red Cross and other sources have described the brutal torture techniques employed in our name over the last several years under the legal analysis of Bybee. Bybee's signature is on the August 1, 2002, memo listing the supposedly "legal" illegal techniques. Torture violates US law and violates international treaties to which the US is a signatory.

He is now serving as a judge on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. A man who abuses his power to facilitate violation of laws and treaties banning torture has no business reversing the decisions of honest judges and juries.

Please immediately introduce either articles of impeachment or a bill requiring the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation into Judge Jay Bybee. We cannot have this judge in the position of making law in the United States, overruling other judges and sitting in judgment of American citizens. The actions he took as a Bush administration constitute war crimes and that makes Bybee inappropriate for the federal judiciary.

More Information:
The Torture Memos, Pro Publico
New York Times Calls for Impeachment of Judge Bybee
Impeach Jay Bybee, Bruce Ackerman, Slate
Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects
Eric Holder v. America's legal obligations
A Dark Day for Justice, Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports
No charges against CIA officials for waterboarding, Devlin Barrett, Associated Press



ACTION: Impeach Torture Architect Jay Bybee
Vincent Warren / Center for Constitutional Rights

ACTION: We need your help to impeach one of the legal architects of the Bush administration Torture Program who is now, incredibly, a federal judge. Click Here.

Last week, President Obama released four torture authorization memos written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under the Bush administration that devised a legal framework for the justification of the Torture Program. The memos were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the Center for Constitutional Rights helped file with the ACLU and other organizations.

The memos were intended to provide legal cover for officials to carry out abhorrent, illegal and ineffective techniques that were approved at the highest levels of the Bush administration in violation US and international law and the US Constitution.

One of the principal authors was Jay Bybee, the former head of the OLC and today a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. His flagrant contempt for the rule of law is utterly inconsistent with his judicial position and speaks directly to his competency to function in that office.

It is unacceptable for an individual who abused his status as a government lawyer and violated the law in conspiring with other members of the Bush Torture Team to sit as a federal judge, someone who hears and decides issues of constitutional import. At the time of his confirmation hearing, his role in the Torture Program was secret, as was the program itself. Jay Bybee's actions constitute High Crimes and Misdemeanors by any standard.

In a strong editorial yesterday, The New York Times called for Bybee's impeachment. We agree. Write to Rep. John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee today to demand they hold a hearing to determine whether grounds exist for Bybee's impeachment. When you send your letter, your name will automatically be added to a petition that we will use to build a national movement to demand the prosecution of those high level officials who committed crimes when they planned, authorized, justified and carried out the Torture Program.

Bybee's impeachment will be a first step in holding the Torture Team accountable for their actions. His August 1, 2002 memo is available here.

High level government officials are not above the law. We must send a clear message to all future officials and to the victims of the torture policies that the crime of torture is unacceptable and will not be swept under the carpet. If we allow these crimes to be committed with impunity, we are doomed to repeat one of the darkest chapters in our history. Join us to see Jay Bybee impeached and advance the movement for prosecutions and accountability.

Vincent Warren is Executive Director of CCR

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