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.

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 29, 2017
Dave Lindorff
Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin ‘Attack’
Chuck Collins
What Happened to America’s Wealth? The Rich Hid It
Rev. William Alberts
When the Bible is the Root of Evil
Jeff Mackler
Trumps ‘No Fly Zone’ Escalates U.S. War Against Syria
Bill Willers
The Next World War Won’t Just Be “Over There” 
Ellen Brown
Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style
Jack Laun
Will There Finally be Peace With Justice in Colombia?
Binoy Kampmark
Holding the Police to Account in the UK
David Swanson
Against Ignoring the KKK
Rima Najjar
Israel’s Illegitimate Tactics Against Palestinian Armed Resistance vs. Legitimate Global Security Concerns
Mel Gurtov
Advise, Assist, Arm: The United States at War
David Welsh
Berkeley Capitulates to Police Militarization and Spying
Marion Andrew
Not Being Considerate of One’s Audience: US Television’s Coverage of Olympic and International Sports
June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail