Sunday, February 7, 2010

See John Yoo's Claim: Presidential Authority to Torture Dependent on "Need" (Astounding Statements)

(One Heart Blogger's Note: This would be so urgently and extremely alarming were we not so numb by years of this! So how do we get back enough shock to DO SOMETHING as citizens? Surely this is just another timely reminder as to the background to the
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui case when Judge Berman wouldn't consider allowing even the smallest contextual reminder of the way torture figured in...and the media for the most part seemed unconcerned.)

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: YooTube, cleanzor)

John Yoo Renews Claim That President's Authority to Torture Depends on What Is "Necessary"

Friday 05 February 2010

by: Stephen Rohde, t r u t h o u t | Report For original GO HERE

Challenged for his 2005 statement that whether the president could lawfully torture a person's child depends on "why the President thinks he needs to do that," undaunted, John Yoo repeated his claim that it would depend on whether the president finds it "necessary."

Promoting his new book "Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power From George Washington to George W. Bush," Yoo spoke in Los Angeles Thursday at a program sponsored by the Federalist Society and the Libertarian Law Council.

After Yoo traced his views on how great presidents are the ones who have interpreted their executive powers broadly, especially in war time, I asked Yoo whether he could more clearly define whether there were any limits to presidential power. I reminded him about the following exchange he had with Professor Doug Cassel in December, 2005 at a debate in Chicago:

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.

(FIND a longer excerpt of these remarks in context - Video form)

Today, Yoo did not disclaim these remarks. At first, he said there was more to the 2005 debate than this excerpt (although he did not say what it was) and that the example was entirely "hypothetical." But far from proposing that there were any constitutional limits on the president's authority or even a set of principles that would categorically place such gruesome torture beyond the power of any president, Yoo stated that the president's powers are "limited to what is necessary."
He added that "terrible things happen in war" such as the dropping of what he called nuclear bombs on Japan in World War II, but such decisions are left to the president. In the end, Yoo concluded, a president always faces the possibility of impeachment.

As reports emerge that a long awaited Justice Department ethics investigation is likely to clear Yoo of any wrongdoing, Yoo exhibited an air of confidence and assurance throughout his remarks, indicating that he was in no mood to apologize for what he said in 2005. Indeed, he began his talk by describing how he "beat" Jon Stewart during his recent appearance on "The Daily Show." After subjecting Stewart to "two or three minutes of the Socratic Method," Yoo proudly declared, "he was mine."

This work (including the video) by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Stephen Rohde, a constitutional lawyer and partner at the firm of Rohde & Victoroff, is author of American Words of Freedom and Freedom of Assembly.

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Yoo would get on all fours
Don't you get the logic of these guys? It's unconditional and perfect obedience. Let me guess: Woo is a dominionist Christian like the president he took orders from. Plus, add neoliberalism to Woo's basic temperament and you've got the whole picture. An obedient jackass who just takes orders while simultaneously believing that the world domination of US corporations over the whole planet is a good thing blessed by the creator god. Slime-bags like Yoo have been around since the advent of human civilization. Hitler's staff was loaded with Yoo like characters. They are Machiavellian to the core.

Under the Nuremberg
Fri, 02/05/2010 - 17:23 — Curt (not verified)
Under the Nuremberg Principles, authored by justices from and representing the US, Yoo would be guilty of an offense for which hanging was the punishment. Under the same principles, any member of Congress that voted for invasion of Iraq would be guilty of an offense for which hanging or life imprisonment was the punishment, depending on specifics. Under the principles, any member of Congress that votes to continue funding the war in Iraq would be guilty of an offense for which life imprisonment was the punishment. This "American exceptionalism" is great, huh? Amazing what you can do when your guns are bigger than everyone else's and you have the arrogance to match.

Amazing. This guy keeps
Fri, 02/05/2010 - 18:11 — Anonymous (not verified)
Amazing. This guy keeps providing evidence of his criminal culpability. His self-incrimination is not only arrogant but defiantly. But, he knew that he was not going to be prosecuted, never. It was never considered by this administration or by the Democrats in Congress. He was part of the system and knows it very well. He knows that there is a state of superior law for the untouchables and privileged. This law is written by the actors of royal elite. The lower law is for the rest of us. Now he is making millions with his self-incrimination and laughing about all of us.

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 18:26 — Carl (not verified)
Yoo is an insult to the American people. Why do the "radicals" at Berkeley not run him out of town.

He seems to think the Geneva Conventions has a clause that exempts the President of the USA.

Divine Right! It is too bad
Fri, 02/05/2010 - 18:47 — Curtis (not verified)
Divine Right!

It is too bad we still have to go through elections.

Maybe things will get so bad that we can dispense with them.

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 20:25 — CURT good commentary again. Thank you.
Nuremberg honestly was more about victor's justice than "universal principles." The US clowns just wanted to "teach a lesson" to their enemies; the legal charges were just an excuse. The mentality of the US elite is just more obvious now.

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 20:45 — morgan1 (not verified)
I watched John Stewart that night and he (Yoo) did not win that discussion. He wasn't even close and kept stumbling over his answers like the GD liar he is. Everyone was laughing at what a fool Yoo made of himself and he convinced no one of his possession of morality or principles. He is a traitor and the very kind of worshipper Hitler and his Nazi Brownshirts loved. His kind sent millions to death camps and enslaved an entire continent. He needs to be in Gitmo and see and feel firsthand what his rulings for the fascist Bushites brought about. Waterboarding 86 times is not near enough for this murderer.

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 21:42 — Anonymous (not verified)
It has been well documented that torture does not yield credible intelligence but has the opposite effect. So, did we torture these men, women and children so a headline could be written to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan using false claims of "terrorist connections", or have we descended so far from lower animals that we no longer care and, like cats, injure and play with our food simply for sport? Either way, it's sick, wrong, criminal and should not be tolerated in any society - even during times of war.

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 23:18 — Richard C. Placone
Many good comments here. But I wonder what Yoo would say if by some set of circumstances it was his son upon whom the president was to order his testicles be crushed in order to extract "information" from him. Would that be OK, Mr Yoo, since the president deemed it necessary? I'm a UC Berkeley graduate ('55, '58)and I can tell you the university is not the kind of place one might think it is because of Yoo's employment there - not then and not now. I've written twice to the Dean of the law school asking that Yoo be discharged. He answers citing "tenure" regulations. I know that based on my many years at Stanford University that is so much BS -he could be removed if the will was there. But I don't have the clout or the money to make it so. And our own DoJ just made it likely that will never happen

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 23:30 — Vic Anderson
Why is this war criminal still at-large? Same reason as Kissinger et al, ad nauseum?

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 00:31 — Robert the Cynic The United States and Israel: the two most dangerous terrorist nations on earth. John Yoo, Bybee, Mukasey, Ashcroft, Gonzales, et al, are psychopaths, however much they might wish to conceal it, who were employed by psychopaths: Bush & Cheney. And no one in government or out seems to have the balls to prosecute any of them. All of them should face war crimes tribunals in the Hague; following their convictions -- on evidence from their own arrogant bragging mouths -- they all should be executed. Include in that members of the military, "contractors" and CIA operatives who participated in their treachery and sadistic debauchery. Next: Olmert, the General Staff of the IDF, and all participants in the Gaza and Lebanon atrocities.

GW Bush got one thing right: we need to rid the world of 'evil-doers'. But we need to start with the "home-team" of evil doers. Sadly, it's unlikely to happen.

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 02:34 — Anonymous
I am ashamed to be amongst the midst of 300000000. This makes all of us criminals. A Vet.

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 03:01 — Anonymous Rahm Emanuel and James Carville also
brokered a Persilschein for Miscreant Yoo. As for the U. (Berkeley) , they don't give a damn, they not only employ the bastard at their law school, they are going to rename Boalt Hall to "The BP-John Yoo School of Law"

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 03:07 — Mark Ostrom (not verified)
John Yoo is one of the most terrifying breed of college grads with no moral fiber whatsoever.

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 05:29 — Genessender (not verified)
So what are we going to do about it?

Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a military intelligence specialist who conducted interrogations in Vietnam, Panama and Iraq during Desert Storm, and who was sent by the Pentagon in 2003 -- long before Abu Ghraib -- to assess interrogations in Iraq. Aside from its immorality and its illegality, says Herrington, torture is simply "not a good way to get information." In his experience, nine out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk with no "stress methods" at all, let alone cruel and unusual ones. Asked whether that would be true of religiously motivated fanatics, he says that the "batting average" might be lower: "perhaps six out of ten." And if you beat up the remaining four? "They'll just tell you anything to get you to stop."

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 06:26 — Anonymous
Students everywhere need to boycott any classes taught by this kind of person wherever they teach. Have a demonstration outside the classroom instead of entering the classroom. Keep refusing until they just aren't teaching anymore and force them out of the university. Of course they'll always get a gig at some low-life law firm or think tank but they will be affected. As for Yoo personally, I love the idea of him being waterboarded 86 times. Or is that too eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth? And if he does have children at home, they should certainly be put in child protective services. People with much lesser crimes get their kids taken away all the time

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 07:23 — TommyB While there are many thoughtful comments here, a couple of them are down right horrific, and a few others would do well to review their history. We've become worse since the Nuremburg trials? Weren't we confining japanese americans in camps at the time, looking the other way from Jim-Crow, and forgetting incidents like what our soldiers did to the Phillipines or native americans even earlier than that. Im so tired of that mentality of if only we could return to such and such time....

I used to always think that there are no black and white issues. There's always a shade of gray. But I find myself increasingly gravitating towards a philosophy of absolute non-violence. Why? How on earth can we ever solve the problems of violent behavior, like that for which Yoo has provided a legal framework, with more violent behavior? It can't be done. Those who would beat him senseless do so because they feel circumstance justifies the think hard here, where the hell does that sound familiar?! Once you accept violence as ok in one situation due to circumstance, how can you reason limits to justifiable violence, or "necessary" violence in a way that is not subjective? Only in self-defense? What is that exactly? At what level of perceived aggression is violent retaliation justified? Against a common burglar, only against nazis? Where is the line between self defense and preemptive?

I don't care if it's cliché to reference Ghandi because he was exactly right, "we must first be the change we seek in others",to not do so begins the dangerous process of absolving the individual of any personal responsibility for the condition of our world, and thus people continue doing horrible things to other people for whatever reason. In any given moment, in any situation where individuals are confronted with the prospect of violence, you always have a choice: will you personally choose to engage in violence and help continue the cycle, or will you choose not to on principal regardless of the personal costs. Anyone who would torture a torturer and pretend it was the right thing to do has already lost in the worst of ways as they've already become what they claimed to abhor.

Three cheers for TommyB!
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 13:37 — Curt (not verified)
Three cheers for TommyB! America has always seen violence or the threat of violence as the solution to every conflict, and if we seek to use it to resolve our issues then we are no better than John Yoo. Violence may 'resolve' conflicts, but it will never resolve issues, and it must be rejected in ALL its forms (especially our child rearing practices which are full of both physical and emotional violence). It is only capable of breeding more violence and serves only those that profit from violence.

The world needs to grow up.
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 14:43 — Vajra (not verified)
The world needs to grow up. We're living in the 21st Century. Act like it.

That evil, awful man, admits
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 15:20 — Tim Riley (not verified)
That evil, awful man, admits to war crimes and begs to be sent to the Hague to defend himself in front of the International Criminal Court.
We need to sign that treaty immediately and send him to make his case in front of a tribunal instead of in public appearances.

RE: "Many good comments
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 15:41 — Ken Carman (not verified)
RE: "Many good comments here. But I wonder what Yoo would say if by some set of circumstances it was his son upon whom the president was to order his testicles be crushed in order to extract 'information' from him"

Great point. Of course when it comes to anyone but Right Wing candidates such questions like that get asked, like Mike Dukakis. Otherwise the MSM would consider in inappropriate. "Liberal press" my ass.

The thing about totorture
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 16:17 — Anonymous (not verified)
The thing about totorture being an ineffective way to obtain information is really off the point. Torture is not done to obtain information.

Torture is done to terrorize the populace, so they will comply with the dictates of the government. If you do not comply, you or a loved one will be tortured.

It seems to me that the
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 22:11 — Anonymous (not verified)
It seems to me that the Constitution has always been voided for the powerful elites. They only follow it when it benefits them for the sake of staying in power. We are the ones who are meant to follow the laws to keep us in check. The system of government has always benefited the rich and powerful. The Constitution was written by lawyers in a way to keep the system the way it is even up to modern times. Yoo is just one of those people who the elites use to get their way. Nothing more than pawns to the elite. Torture is morally wrong no matter how you present it. It wasn't meant to get answers but to kill the spirit of those who want to rebel.

Sat, 02/06/2010 - 22:27 — Straight-Ahead
There is a question that the torture mongers never address and that no-one ever asks them: How many innocent people (i.e. non-terrorists) should be tortured? Everyone allows the debate to be framed in terms like, "If you knew that this guy was a terrorist and had information about an imminent attack that would kill hundreds . . ."But that's a BS s GO HEREtatement of the situaton. We don't know that there's an imminent attack, and most of the guys held in the US torture camps we don't even know they're terrorists. In fact, we know that many of the people held in Guantanamo torture camp were not terrorists and had no information about terrorist attack plans. What justification can the shallow-thinking Yoo give for torturing innocents? I ask how many innocents should be tortured?

Those who have commented here proclaiming Yoo as a war criminal are right on and at the same time understating the seriousness of his evil.

What is the difference
Sun, 02/07/2010 - 01:06 — Orizaba Farm] What is the difference between torturing a person's child because you "deem it necessary" to fulfill some political agenda (e.g., the "War on Terror"), and killing numerous unarmed civilians, including women and children, and claiming they are "collateral damage"? In both cases, the deaths and suffering of innocents are brushed off as a necessary evil, a means to an end. In both cases, human life takes a back seat to ideology and political or economic goals. This is just another case of our gov't putting an abstract set of principles before living, breathing human beings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.