The request, reproduced below along with a transmittal letter, asks for the OPR report that has long been promised by Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as an earlier OPR report completed during the last months of the Bush administration. The request also seeks the 10 page rebuttal of the 2008 report by then- Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Members of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee (RJSC) filed the request. Founded in September 2008, the RJSC works to bring about the criminal prosecution of top government officials in the United States alleged to have committed war crimes. The committee was named in honor of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who was the top U.S. prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. "We must never forget," Jackson had said in his Opening Statement, "that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our lips as well."
Charlotte Dennett, an attorney member of the RJSC and one of the authors of the FOIA request, said: "The time has come to squarely address the role of these lawyers. Did they create new laws redefining the crime of torture after American forces had already begun torturing prisoners? And if so, for what purpose and on whose orders? We cannot countenance further delays or accept a greatly watered-down version of the original report. We must know the facts and then decide whether President Obama's Department of Justice is continuing the cover-up begun under his predecessor."
David Swanson, Chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee who also worked on the FOIA request, said "Much awaits this report. Bar associations have delayed disbarment. Congressional committees have delayed subpoenas and impeachments. The Department of Justice has delayed prosecutions. One of the lawyers under review, John Yoo, is facing a civil suit from one of the victims of his actions, Jose Padilla. If the Justice Department is refusing to release the report in order to deny the report to Padilla's legal counsel, the public has a right to know."
Justice Robert H. Jackson's words in his opening statement as Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg have special relevance to today: "The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power... [for they, too,] as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, [are] 'under ... the law.' And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment."
Chair David Swanson is the author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union by Seven Stories Press, Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org. Swanson became chair in November 2009.
Past Chair Lawrence Velvel served as chairman of the Steering Committee of the Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals, or the Robert Jackson Steering Committee for short, through October 2009. Velvel is Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law.
John Bonifaz, Legal Director of Voter Action, author of Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush.
Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.
Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.
Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.