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CA Dem Party Passes Resolution to Impeach Bybee

VICTORY: CA Dem Party Will Pass Resolution of Impeachment Inquiry Into Bybee Today. UPDATE: Passed
by dday | Daily Kos

Several weeks of hard work have paid off, and the California Democratic Party, the largest Democratic Party in the country, is poised to provide a major tool in the fight for justice and accountability for the Bush torture regime. The Resolutions Committee included on their consent calendar the resolution to begin a Congressional inquiry into Judge Jay Bybee and other lawyers who wrote opinions justifying and providing the fig leaf of a rationale for torture, with all punishments allowable under the law, including impeachment. The language was softened slightly from the original resolution, but as Congress must begin the inquiry to get to impeachment, this has the same practical effect and can be used.

UPDATE: It passed moments ago. Yes!!!!

Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer's Private Regret (About Bybee)

Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer's Private Regret
Friends Say Judge Wasn't Proud of Outcome
By Karl Vick | Washington Post

On a Saturday night in May last year, Jay S. Bybee hosted dinner for 35 at a Las Vegas restaurant. The young people seated around him had served as his law clerks in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the post Bybee had assumed after two turbulent years at the Justice Department, where as head of the Office of Legal Counsel he signed the legal justifications for harsh interrogations that have become known as the "torture memos."

Five years along in his new life as a federal judge, Bybee gathered the lawyers and their dates for a reunion, telling them he was proud of the legal work they had together produced.

Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy: The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee

Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy: The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee
Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning | BradBlog

At the same time he took a step forward, releasing the four Justice Department torture memos he described as a "dark and painful chapter in our history," President Barack Obama assured CIA employees, who tortured under cover of these quasi-legal sophistries, they would not be prosecuted. The President said this was "a time for reflection, not retribution...nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb explained that the President insisted on "looking forward." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not only seconded the President's promise not to prosecute, but vowed to provide legal counsel to defend these war criminals and to pay the damages awarded to their victims.

Great Britain's Times Online, quoting an unnamed former official, suggested there may be cases where the CIA exceeded the DOJ guidelines; perhaps even killed detainees. The President's hint at immunity does not extend to officials who exceeded the guidelines. Although the President, in his remarks, made no mention of those who ordered torture, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last Sunday that the President did not believe "those who devised the policy" should "be prosecuted."

The President's promise not to prosecute generated a firestorm of protest from the legal community. Law Professor Jonathan Turley blasted the effort to equate law enforcement with "retribution."

He is trying to lay the ground work for principle when he is doing an unprincipled thing....President Obama himself has said that waterboarding is torture, and torture itself violates four treaties and is considered a war crime. So the refusal to allow it to be investigated is to obstruct a war crimes investigation.…There aren't any convenient or inconvenient times to investigate war crimes. You don't have a choice....You have an obligation to do it, and what I think the President is desperately trying to do is to sell this idea that somehow it's a principled thing not to investigate war crimes because its going to be painful…It will be politically unpopular because an investigation will go directly to the doorstep of President Bush…and there's not going to be a lot of defenses that can be raised for ordering a torture program.

The Jay Bybee Problem

Lyons: Torture memos' author has no place on federal bench

By Gene Lyons/Syndicated columnist

Anybody with an active conscience can understand why President Barack Obama ordered the Bush administration's "terror memos" released, overruling his own CIA director. No intelligence secrets were revealed. Much of the information in the documents had previously been widely reported. They weren't classified "Top Secret" to protect national security, but the craven careerists who wrote them, and the White House officials who ordered it done.

To a one-time constitutional-law professor like Obama, the memos' legalistic rationalization of methods indistinguishable from those of the Soviet KGB or South African secret police must have been sickening. Besides shaming themselves and their country, their authors have sullied their profession.

California group presses for impeachment of judge who wrote torture memo

By Frank Davies, Mercury News

WASHINGTON — For six years, a little-known federal judge, Jay Bybee, has worked in a Las Vegas courtroom, hearing cases for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, a furious debate over the use of torture by the Bush administration, fueled by the release of a memo written by Bybee giving legal protection to harsh interrogation tactics, has led to calls from liberal groups for his impeachment.

"He authorized illegal, unconscionable acts, and he should be held accountable," said Rick Jacobs, who chairs the Courage Campaign, a progressive grass-roots group in California. His group launched a petition drive seeking impeachment, and he hopes to spur the California Democratic Party to endorse that position at its convention this weekend in Sacramento.

Are Members of Congress (and Maybe Even the President) Being Blackmailed?

By Dave Lindorff

For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.

There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Take Heart and Have Courage

By David Swanson

We've pushed long and hard to put accountability, impeachment, prosecution, and the restoration of congressional power on the American table, and they've all just landed with a thud and splatter of gravy and cranberry dressing. So, eat up, take heart, and prepare to work harder than we have over the past several frustrating years of path breaking and pressure building.

Impeachment, specifically of torture memo author turned lifetime federal judge Jay Bybee ( http://impeachbybee.org ), is now supported by all the organizations that have backed impeachment of his bosses, plus: the New York Times, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Jerrold Nadler, Common Cause, Think Progress, and the Courage Campaign [and UPDATE: People for the American Way]. Local Democratic parties in California have passed resolutions and are urging the state party to do so this week requesting the impeachment of Bybee.

Response to Elizabeth de la Vega: Disagreement with a Friend and a Hero

By David Swanson

There are lots of supposed reasons not to appoint a special prosecutor. The first set of such supposed reasons to come from someone intelligent and well-informed with good intentions has come from Elizabeth de la Vega. Here is a response.

1. If we do not extend the statutes of limitations, the careful and considered delay could end up becoming immunity. Simply claiming that the clock doesn't start ticking until the last act of conspiracy to conceal does not do it, since half the legal experts like that reasoning and half do not and we would have to argue each case, including cases that do not clearly involve conspiracies to conceal. In fact, the most egregious crimes have involved open confessions from the highest officials.

2. The Senate as a whole will never ever approve any useful investigation except in committees, but it might convict following an impeachment that changes public awareness.

3. Congressional hearings produce relatively little.

Coalition Requests Impeachment of Jay Bybee

Post a comment below to join.

A coalition of organizations including the Center for Constitutional Rights, After Downing Street, Democrats.com, and Courage Campaign has sent a joint letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers requesting the impeachment of Jay S. Bybee. The coalition is encouraging other organizations to join them in this effort. The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Chairman Conyers:

Torturing Judge Bybee: Make Him Eat His Own Words

By Dave Lindorff

If the day comes that Congress finally does its duty and begins an impeachment effort against 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, the former Bush assistant attorney general who in 2002 authored a key memo justifying the use of torture against captives in the Afghanistan invasion and the so-called “War on Terror,” it would be fitting punishment to watch him squirm as his own words as a judge were played back to him.

It was as an Appeals Court Judge Bybee, sitting on a case being heard in 2006 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that he wrote the following words:

Nadler: Impeach Torture Memo Author

By Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called Monday for the impeachment of federal judge Jay Bybee, one of the principal authors of the torture memos released last week by the Obama administration.

"He ought to be impeached," Nadler said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "It was not an honest legal memo. It was an instruction manual on how to break the law."

Nadler, a New York congressman, is chairman of Judiciary's Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee. Bybee is currently serving a lifetime term on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed in 2003 and confirmed before it was publicly known that he had authorized the torture of detainees.

NY Times Finally Wants Someone Impeached: Jay Bybee

The Torturers’ Manifesto
By NY Times

To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.

Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.

Los Angeles County Democratic Party Unanimously Backs Resolution Urging Impeachment of Jay Bybee

That's the word from California last night. The resolution will be taken up at the state Democratic Party convention next week. Details on Bybee and other criminals and how to make citizen's arrests is here.

Fast Track This! CA Dems Seek Support for Impeachment Resolution of Torture Enabler Jay Bybee; Text & Background Available Here

Note: The deadline for resolutions is this Wednesday, March 25th. Please don't delay!

Hi... Just a note to let you know that I'm organizing a resolution from the California Democratic Party to impeach Jay Bybee.

Below, please find my letter requesting support, and the resolution itself:

Friends and Fellow Members of the California Democratic Party SCC:

This e-mail is marked "urgent" because new revelations are breaking daily about Bush-sanctioned torture, and the legal opinions that underpinned this unprecedented abuse of presidential power.

Next week's "Newsweek" magazine promises that the Obama administration will soon declassify three more key memos from 2005 by Bush's Justice Department detailing "enhanced interrogation" techniques, such as "waterboarding, head-slapping and other rough tactics."

Impeach Jay Bybee

TELL CONGRESS NOW.

Former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee was the primary author of "legal" memos purporting to justify torture.

He is now a federal judge.

Ask your Congress member to begin impeachment proceedings.

TELL CONGRESS NOW.

Obama and Holder Must Prosecute War Crimes or Become Guilty of Them Himself

By Dave Lindorff

The dithering and ducking going on in the Obama White House and the Holder Justice Department over the crimes of the Bush administration are taking on a comic aspect.

On the one hand, we have President Obama assuring us that under his administration, there will be respect for the rule of law, and on the other hand we have this one-time constitutional law professor and his attorney general declaiming that there is no need for the appointment of a prosecutor to bring charges against the people in the last administration, in the CIA, in the National Security Agency and in the Defense Department and the military who clearly have broken the law in serious and felonious ways.

What gets silly is that America is either a nation of laws…or it isn’t. It is either a place where “nobody is above the law”…or it isn’t.

There is really no middle ground here.

Sen. Leahy's and Rep. Conyers' Truth Commission Could Work but...

By Dave Lindorff

The similar calls by Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration are potentially a terrible idea, but one that could turn out to be an excellent one, if handled correctly.

It would be a terrible idea if a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was just another 9-11-type body. That commission turned out to be worse than nothing, given that it was manipulated by the Bush administration to be toothless and that it ended up covering up more than it uncovered. Aside from the behind the scenes manipulation, the biggest problem with the 9-11 commission, though, was that is was not linked to any attempt to prosecute official wrong-doing.

The Third-Party Delusion and the Need for a Mass Movement for Progressive Change

By Dave Lindorff

I can’t count how many people have bombarded me with criticisms, usually laced with insults and often obscenities, when I have written articles calling for pressure on Democratic politicians to do the right thing, whether that is impeaching the last president and vice president for war crimes or in the case of our new president, standing and fighting for a people’s bailout, instead of a Wall Street bailout.

The common refrain I hear is that the Democrats and Republicans are the same, and that we need a third party. Another common refrain is that “all you suckers” who voted for Obama are to blame. We should have voted for Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, they say.

Now I have nothing against McKinney and Nader. That ticket would make for a wonderful administration, I agree. But I also have to point out that there is zero chance of these two people being elected in my lifetime (I’m 59 and pretty healthy) or theirs.

Impeach Bybee

ImpeachBybee.org

One reason Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was forced to resign was the growing support for a bill in the House that read in its entirety:

Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Way Forward on Holding the Bush/Cheney Administration Accountable for its Crimes

By Dave Lindorff

As someone who has spent nearly three frustrating years actively advocating the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their many crimes and abuses of power, I have to admit that not only did it not happen, but that the likelihood of their being indicted and brought to trial now that they have left office is exceedingly slim.

MSU College of Law Professor: Can President Bush Be Impeached After He Is Gone?

MSU College of Law Professor: Can President Bush be impeached after he is gone? | The Earth Times

During his last press conference as the acting president, George Bush said there is “no such thing as short-term history” and time will vindicate his decisions to protect America from terrorism. But could President Bush’s actions during his years in office embolden his opponents to pursue the former president with articles of impeachment?

Brian Kalt, associate professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law, does not support any movement to impeach President Bush, nor did he back the impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton. But the constitutional law expert argues that this country could someday fall into circumstances – though admittedly rarer than regular impeachment – where late impeachability could be a practical consideration.

Impeachment Investigation Ahead for Bush and Cheney?

Impeachment investigation ahead for Bush and Cheney?
by Martha R Gore | Examiner.com

It came as no surprise that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers began talking about impeachement hearing against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on January 14, 2009. If such hearings come about, according to Conyers, it would be a means of reaffirming constitutional principals.

Many Bush critics think that Conyers put off an impeachment battle during the last two years because of concerns that it might have political repercussions that might have kept the Democrats from winning the larger congressional majorities and the presidency during the 2008 elections.

Obama and Congress Must Act to Restore the Constitution

By Dave Lindorff

The calls for a reckoning for the criminals of the Bush/Cheney administration are growing by the day, as the final few days of the Bush presidency tick down, and as new evidence of their crimes keep pouring out of the deflating gas bag that was the Bush White House.

For years, the Democrats in Congress, with a few notable exceptions, have sat on their hands, allowing the ongoing destruction of the Constitution, of the US military, of the nation’s reputation, and of the rule of law, as well as of the institution of Congress itself, by a cabal of Republicans in the White House, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, who have sought to establish an executive-led government that answered only to itself.

Conyers Explains Why He Hasn't Impeached

Over the past three years, a great many people have lobbied Conyers to impeach Bush and Cheney. I've worked with him and his staff, been arrested protesting in his office, and everything in between. Conyers includes in his new report a foreword that amounts to a seven-page letter to disappointed impeachment advocates.

The One-Minute Impeachment

The One-Minute Impeachment
By William Klein | Huffington Post

It took 10 weeks for the House Judiciary Committee to vote to impeach Richard Nixon, and decades later, seven weeks for Bill Clinton.

But it took the Illinois House just three weeks (with time off for Christmas and New Year's) to vote out articles of impeachment for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and the full House impeached him after a zippy ninety minutes of debate. Pretty good -- but I think we can do even better.

The popular One-Minute Manager books explain how to achieve "the gift" of getting results in less time. The three principles of the One-Minute Manager can be adapted to streamline previously drawn-out constitutional processes like impeachment.

Against Truth, Reconciliation, and Commissions

By David Swanson

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has introduced a bill, H.R. 104, that would create a commission to spend a year and a half looking at the various crimes of Bush and Cheney. While this might allow congressional Democrats to run election campaigns against Bush and Cheney yet again, even though those two will have been out of office for two years, it's not clear that it would do much else that would be positive.

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