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Major NGOs Call For The Impeachment Of Torture Lawyer Jay Bybee
Washington, DC--A campaign is building to demand the impeachment of Jay Bybee, a sitting federal judge and the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Council (OLC), who wrote memos to facilitate offensive war and torture.
DisbarTortureLawyers, www.DisbarTortureLaywers.com, is joining with many allied organizations at www.impeachbybee.org to lobby for immediate impeachment hearings and the introduction of a bill that would create such hearings. Allies have planned protests at courthouses of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in three West Coast cities on Thursday, February 4th.
Newsweek reported on Friday that the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility's (OPR) report on the actions of Bybee and his subordinates has been edited to remove the finding of misconduct that was reached in the report's original version. This alteration occurred after Bybee and the other subjects of the report were permitted to review and suggest changes to it. Newsweek concludes:
"The original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action which, in Bybee's case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry."
Impeachment, however, is the prerogative of the legislative branch rather than the executive branch. Bybee has committed impeachable offenses whether or not the very department of government he worked for agrees. Bybee wrote legal memos that were, and to some extent still are, treated as laws which legalized offensive wars of choice and a variety of acts of torture.
These facts are public, and the House Judiciary Committee does not need the permission of the Department of Justice in order to move forward on impeachment.
It has been almost a year since Congress Members Jerrold Nadler and Jan Schakowsky each said that Bybee should be impeached. We call on them and other House Members to introduce a bill to begin that process, and to hold hearings to investigate both Bybee's original abuses and the years-long process of editing the OPR report. Indeed, a resolution announcing impeachment proceedings could result in Bybee's disbarment and resignation.
It should read: "Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Jay Bybee, for high crimes and misdemeanors."
"If the Newsweek piece is true that the OPR report has been further manipulated to give torture lawyers a free pass, then Congress should immediately launch a full scale investigation to determine if politics, political pressure, or something worse entered into this decision," said DisbarTortureLawyers spokesperson and attorney Kevin Zeese. "Jay Bybee, John Yoo and the others did not merely exercise poor judgment, they violated their oath of office and the rules of legal ethics. We intend to work aggressively with Congress to get to the bottom of this matter, to seek impeachment of Judge Bybee, to press our complaints for disbarment, and to work with lawyers and judges in foreign countries to have these torture advocates fully prosecuted for crimes against humanity. It is a real shame that the United States Department of Justice is whitewashing the very torture that was made possible by its own employees. That torture has resulted in many deaths, not just of torture victims, but of our own soldiers who were killed by those who turned against America because our government tortured."