Dirty Deeds, Dirty Hands

By Dennis Loo

The Nuremberg Verdict disallowed the shameful “I was just following orders” defense for torturers and murderers. Nuremberg is a sufficient reason onto itself to dismiss Obama and Holder's rationales for not investigating and prosecuting the ones who carried out torture and who were following the written orders of the OLC and the White House. 

But besides Nuremberg there is the further matter of the actions and intent of those who promulgated the orders to carry out torture. Just how good was their faith in issuing these orders? Did they do so because they were acting in good faith in defense of the nation?  

 This is where the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility Report comes into the picture. The OPR reports directly to the Attorney General of the U.S.

 Eric Holder continues to block the OPR Report's release.

 Why? Are not lawyers responsible for standards of professional responsibility? What does this report that Holder is blocking say? 

The OPR Report concluded that Yoo and Bybee issued knowingly fraudulent legal opinions. This means that the authors of these torture memos acted in bad faith when they directed the dirty deeds of torture:

 As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald wrote on Monday, August 24, 2009:

“Holder did not release today, but instead continues to conceal, the OPR Report which, it has long been reported, concluded that the DOJ lawyers who authored the torture memos (at least John Yoo and Jay Bybee) violated their ethical duties by producing legally fallacious conclusions -- i.e., they issued those memos in bad faith.  Withholding that OPR Report today is critical because it focuses attention on the flamboyant sideshow of the more extreme cases of CIA abuse, while obscuring the fact that it was high-level DOJ lawyers who, in bad faith, authorized a knowingly criminal torture regime.  Marcy Wheeler made this point perfectly yesterday:

“’If it is, indeed, DOJ's plan to release all the other torture documents save the OPR report, it will have the effect of distracting the media with horrible descriptions of threats with power drills and waterboarding, away from the equally horrible description of lawyers willfully twisting the law to "authorize" some of those actions. It will shift focus away from those that set up a regime of torture and towards those who free-lanced within that regime in spectacularly horrible ways. It will hide the degree to which torture was a conscious plan, and the degree to which the oral authorizations for torture may well have authorized some of what we'll see in the IG Report tomorrow.

“’If it is, indeed, DOJ's plan to release the IG Report and announce an investigation without, at the same time, releasing the OPR report, it will serve the goal of exposing the Lynndie England's of the torture regime while still protecting those who instituted that regime.’

“Precisely.  The fact that those DOJ memos were created with everything except "good faith" guts the argument for using them as a shield of immunity for high-level Bush officials.  To continue to conceal the OPR Report is to conceal how invalid were those memos and how warped it is to use them as guidance for who should and should not be prosecuted.”

Holder must continue to conceal the OPR Report, therefore, in order to maintain his fallacious position that he will a) not go after those who carried out waterboarding and other monstrous acts upon prisoners because they were just following orders "in good faith" and b) not go after the architects of these atrocities. 



Dirty Deeds, Dirty Hands. 



World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.