Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 18, 2009

NPI signs onto effort to disbar torture lawyers

Earlier today, Velvet Revolution, a coalition of over one hundred different and diverse progessive organizations, launched a campaign to disbar twelve Bush administration attorneys who authored or approved legal opinions justifying torture in deliberate violation of U.S. and international laws.

The coalition lodged disciplinary complaints with state bar licensing boards in four states and the District of Columbia 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 complaint seeks a suspension of the twelve's licenses to practice law "for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees" as attorney Kevin Zeese, who represents the coalition, phrased it.

In announcing the complaints, the coalition noted:
We have asked the respective state bars to revoke the licenses of the foregoing attorneys for moral turpitude. They failed to show “respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others,” and intentionally or recklessly failed to act competently, all in violation of legal Rules of Professional Conduct.

Several attorneys failed to adequately supervise the work of subordinate attorneys and forwarded shoddy legal memoranda regarding the definition of torture to the White House and Department of Defense.

These lawyers further acted incompetently by advising superiors to approve interrogation techniques that were in violation of U.S. and international law. They failed to support or uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the laws of the United States, and to maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers, all in violation [of] state bar rules.
The Northwest Progressive Institute supports this effort to hold key figures of the Bush administration accountable for their illegal, unethical, and immoral conduct.

We have joined this effort as a signatory because we do not believe that justice is served by allowing those who condoned torture to freely continue on with their legal careers as if they did nothing wrong.

We cannot merely express regret over what these people did and move on, as President Obama has suggested. We can't forget what happened. We have to prevent it from happening again. For that, we need as close to a full accounting as we can get of the crimes that were committed in our name, and we need to prosecute those responsible for breaking the law and abusing their powers.


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