Revolution #165, May 24, 2009

Protests Confront Author of the Torture Memos at UC Berkeley Law School Graduation

On Saturday, May 16th, graduates of Boalt Hall—the University of California Law School—were greeted by people calling on them to wear orange ribbons and demand the firing and prosecution of John Yoo. Yoo is a law professor at UC Berkeley’s Law School, and he was one of the White House lawyers who authored the torture memos that provided a stamp of legitimacy and legality to the wave of torture in the Bush years that extended from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to still-secret sites around the world. Dozens of demonstrators challenged graduates and their families along a mile stretch of Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley on Saturday morning. Graduates and their families were challenged to wear orange ribbons as a sign of protest, and over the course of the day, many did. (Additional photos are available at



Graduation procession passes “tortured prisoners.”  Law school officials tried to hide the protest from graduates by leading them in through a side entrance, but protesters alerted to the switch raced there in time to meet the hundreds of students.


A sequence of signs, that began with “Crimes Against Humanity” and listed war criminals now in the SF Bay Area:  “Haynes Requested It”­—“Yoo Wrote It”—“Judge Bybee Upholds It”—“Rice Authorized It”—“Pelosi Protects It.”  The last sign:  “Bring Them To Justice”

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