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Lawyers Move To Get Torture Memo Author Yoo Tried As War Criminal

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« on: April 11, 2008, 12:58:55 pm »

Lawyers Move To Get Torture Memo Author Yoo Tried As War Criminal
National group targets testicle crushing advocate at Berkley Law School
Steve Watson
Friday, April 11, 2008

 The National Lawyers Guild has called for the firing from Berkeley Law School of former assistant to the Attorney General John Yoo for what it describes as "complicity in establishing a policy" that has led to war crimes.

During his time in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo authored various controversial memos in which he advocated the possible legality of torture and decreed that enemy combatants could be denied protection under the Geneva Conventions.

Yoo, a co author of the PATRIOT ACT, also suggested that it was legal to declare war anytime, any where, and on anyone the President deemed a threat.

In a press release, National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn stated:

"John Yoo's complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes Act,"

The National Lawyers Guild makes the case that Yoo's memos violate US law and establish a unduly expansive definition of presidential powers.

The release concludes:

"Congress should repeal the provision of the Military Commissions Act that would give Yoo immunity from prosecution for torture committed from September 11, 2001 to December 30, 2005. John Yoo should be disbarred and he should not be retained as a professor of law at one of the country's premier law schools. John Yoo should be dismissed from Boalt Hall and tried as a war criminal."

These demands are not to be taken lightly, founded in 1937, The National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States.

(Article continues below)

Yoo is a stalwart within the neoconservative movement, being as he is a member of the American Enterprise Institute, the neocon cess pool founded by Irving Kristol, that became one of the leading architects of the Bush administration's public policy. Other members include Paul Wolfowitz, Lynne Cheney, John R. Bolton, Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich.

The National Lawyers Guild see Yoo as the man ultimately responsible for the fact that Bush administration officials all the way up to Vice President Dick Cheney signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality.

Just last week the ACLU disclosed details of further memos written by Yoo which argued that the Fourth Amendment could be effectively suspended where domestic counter terrorism operations are concerned.

It is almost certain that Yoo's memo was written to provide a legal basis for the NSA, a military intelligence agency, to begin its warrantless wiretapping program, which was initiated in the same month.

The House Judiciary Committee has asked Yoo to testify at a hearing next month. Yoo has indicated he would prefer not to appear, reports the Washington Post.

Yoo is also well known for comments he made during a December 1st 2006 debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel, when he gave the green light for the scope of torture to legally include sexual torture of infants.

The debate ran:

Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Several months later, when asked by an Infowars reader to explain the moral justification for crushing a child's testicles or raping a child in front of a parent, Yoo suggested that his comments were taken out of context and stated "you can't believe everything you hear on the internet".

As the National Lawyers Guild makes clear, there are several laws that make such actions illegal, the federal maiming statute is just one example.

However, Yoo argues that federal statutes against torture, assault, maiming and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of the war.

Yoo cannot deny that there is no moral justification for the actions he argued were technically legal, he is using a legal argument to hide behind a clear avocation of genocide.

In September 2006 the Senate officially gave President Bush the legal authority to abduct and sexually mutilate American citizens and American children in the name of the war on terror when it passed new detainee legislation.

"Yoo argues presidential powers on Constitutional grounds, but where in the Constitution does it say the President can order the torture of children?" Georgetown Law Professor David Cole has previously written.

"Yoo reasoned that because the Constitution makes the President the 'Commander-in-Chief,’ no law can restrict the actions he may take in pursuit of war. On this reasoning, the President would be entitled by the Constitution to resort to genocide if he wished."

The National Lawyers Guild call to indict Yoo for war crimes has also been echoed by The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, who also made the point that if Yoo was to face such an indictment then so would other officials such as Donald Rumsfeld and former Cheney advisor David Addington.

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