This year’s UC Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) commencement ceremony will be the site of an anti-torture protest initiated by the national organization World Can’t Wait and other anti-torture organizations, lawyers, and activists.
Yesterday, World Can’t Wait student organizer Giovanni Jackson said: “The University of California can’t continue to employ a war criminal, John Yoo.We’ll greet the graduates, inviting them all to join the fight to end America’s torture program, and end UC and Boalt’s complicity with it.”
As a key legal architect of the Bush-Cheney administration’s torture policies and practices, Yoo and his then-supervisor Jay Bybee are key subjects of the recently released report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Protest organizers claim the OPR report provides new evidence that both men are not only guilty of professional misconduct – but that by legal standards established through the post-World War II Nuremberg trials,Yoo and Bybee have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and should face prosecution.
For several years the protesters have been calling for Yoo to be fired from the University of California, and disbarred, as well as prosecuted for war crimes. Frequent protests and arrests in the Bay Area and other cities continue whenever or Bybee (and other members of the Bush-Cheney team) appear publicly.
“We’ll be there because the torture victims cannot speak for themselves. Justice and the law mean nothing if war criminals walk free, enjoying academic respectability and public celebrity while their victims go unheard,” said Curt Wechsler, editor of the website FireJohnYoo.org
Stephanie Tang, a World Can’t Wait leader arrested protesting outside Yoo’s classroom in 2009, added: “Yoo and Bybee represent a simple question: do people in the U.S. find torture an acceptable weapon in their government’s arsenal? Is torture part of the world we want to live in? And if we answer NO – what will we do to make that real?”
WHEN: Friday, May 14 8 a.m. Gates Open; 8:30 a.m. Graduates’ Processional;
WHERE: Hearst Greek Theater, Gayley Road, UC Berkeley
11:30 a.m. Reception at the Clark Kerr Campus, Gayley Road