FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Did Harvard Hire (Another) War Criminal?

by JASON LEOPOLD

A Harvard University Law School alumni and professor of international law and human rights has started a campaign to boycott the prestigious university he once attended as a result of Harvard’s hiring of Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith to join its law school faculty.

Goldsmith was identified earlier this year as one of several legal experts who drafted memos for the White House and the Justice Department saying the military could skirt the rules of the Geneva Convention when interrogating Iraqi prisoners. Legal experts have said that word about bypassing the Geneva Convention trickled down the military chain of command and lead to widespread abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Francis Boyle, who teaches at the University Of Illinois College Of Law and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1971, said he was informed by colleagues last spring that Harvard was considering hiring Goldsmith and that he immediately voiced his concerns to Harvard officials.

“These (Harvard) professors think they are above the law,” Boyle, a frequent contributor to CounterPunch, said in an interview. “They refused to tell me why they were hiring Goldsmith, who, many of us in the legal profession believe is a war criminal.”

Neither Goldsmith nor Harvard law school officials would return numerous calls for comment.

Boyle, according to his bio, has written extensively on international law and politics. He has published eight books. His book, Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law, has been used successfully in numerous foreign policy protest trials.

Boyle is also the lead counsel for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) currently pending before the International Court of Justice

Goldsmith’s March 19, 2004 memo, written for then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who was tapped a couple of weeks ago to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General, caused a furor in legal circles because it authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation – a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions, according to an Oct. 24 report in the Washington Post.

“One intelligence official familiar with the operation said the CIA has used the March draft memo as legal support for secretly transporting as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months. The agency has concealed the detainees from the International Red Cross and other authorities, the official said,” the Post reported.

Moreover, Goldsmith personally presented Gonzales, the White House counsel, with a “series of arguments that they claimed could be marshaled as defenses against U.S. torture statutes and the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), which has been ratified by the United States,” reported Inter Press Service last month.

The full extent to which Goldsmith advised the White House to ignore the Geneva Convention may be revealed during Gonzales’s Senate confirmation hearing in January.

Boyle, a former teaching fellow at Harvard and a former associate at its Center for International Affairs, became so incensed with his alma mater’s hiring of Goldsmith in June that he immediately launched an email campaign to boycott Harvard and said he plans to ask other alumni to withhold funds from the University, which is in the midst of a $400 million fundraising campaign.

“The Harvard Law School Faculty knew full well the nefarious activities that Goldsmith had performed at the Department of Justice and the Pentagon before they voted to hire him. Obviously, the Harvard Law School Faculty wanted a war criminal to join their ranks. For this reason, the Harvard Law School Faculty is not fit to educate students. I would strongly recommend that you discourage students from attending the Harvard Law School for any reason,” states one of a dozen or so emails Boyle has distributed to colleagues, students and Harvard faculty.

Boyle said he is asking colleagues and other alumni to “ding” Harvard law school in the national rankings and “drive their rankings down overall and by each specialty.”

“We need to drive home to the Harvard Law School Faculty that this behavior is completely unacceptable to their colleagues in the legal teaching profession,” Boyle said. “The Harvard Law School Faculty is not above the Law. Therefore, I recommend that we respond to each and every peer survey we get and rank the Harvard Law School last.”

It’s unknown whether Boyle’s actions have had a material impact on Harvard.

 

JASON LEOPOLD is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield. He can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail