Law School Dean Calls Conference to Plan Bush War Crimes Prosecution
Posted Jun 17, 2008, 06:51 am CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is planning a September conference to map out war crimes prosecutions, and the targets are President Bush and other administration officials.
The dean, Lawrence Velvel, says in a statement that “plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."
Other possible defendants, he said, include federal judges and John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote one of the so-called torture memos.
“We must insist on appropriate punishments,” he continued, “including, if guilt is found, the hangings visited upon top German and Japanese war criminals in the 1940s."
Velvel elaborates in an introduction to a series of articles published in The Long Term View (PDF). He writes “there is no question” that Bush and other officials are guilty of the federal crime of conspiracy to commit torture.
He also criticizes Justice Department officials for their legal memos. “The DOJ lawyers who wrote the corrupt legal memos giving attempted cover to Bush's actions have been rewarded by federal judgeships, cabinet positions, and high falutin' professorships,” he writes. Yoo is a professor at the University of California-Berkeley law school, while another former Justice Department official who signed a Yoo memo, Jay Bybee, is a judge on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Velvel tears into President Bush as well, writing: “The man ultimately responsible for the torture had a unique preparation and persona for the presidency: he is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy's friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial published today stands in stark contrast to Velvel’s criticism. It assails House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers for issuing subpoenas seeking information about the possible torture of Sept. 11 suspects. The editorial mentions the testimony of British professor Philippe Sands, who also contends U.S. officials are guilty of war crimes.
“Nearly seven years after 9/11, the U.S. homeland hasn't been struck again and American civil liberties remain intact,” the newspaper writes. “So how does Congress say ‘thank you’? By trying to ruin the men who in good faith set the legal rules that have kept us safe.”