By Curt Wechsler
Why is the media pandering to the opinions of a war criminal? Does it really matter what John Yoo thinks?
Actually, it does. To give credence to the opinions of torture advocates serves to 'normalize' the insufferable attack on human rights promulgated under pretext of national security by the Bush regime, embraced by Obama, and promised to Jeff Sessions.
How 'bad' is bad? There are no 'lesser evils' of torture; in application or attribution. The idea that American lives are more important than other's must continue to be discredited. Now more than ever.
Past failure to hold torturers accountable demands renewed passion to halt the fresh assault on immigrants and others denied legal protection from the genocidal policies of the Trump administration, including revival of torture techniques sanctioned by Berkeley Law administrators, and determination to refuse the 10 Point Plan to Put America [as opposed to Humanity and the Planet] First.
We say NO! The world can't wait to stop the crimes of the Trump Regime!
So who Is John Yoo, exactly?
"He's a lawyer and professor most famously known for helping give President George W. Bush the authority to torture suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks," begins Laura Hankin at Romper.
"John Yoo unleashed the 'unitary executive' theory that enabled Bush's torture program," adds Heather Digby Parton at Salon. Donald Trump's "enthusiastic endorsement of torture," as Parton puts it, mirrors that of members of the last Republican administration. "And they didn't just talk about it; they actually did it." While it is doubtful that the new President fully grasps Yoo's theory, he demonstrates the conviction that 'if the President does it, it's legal.'
Parton notes that "unfortunately, while Trump may not know or care about the legal precedents behind his actions, his lawyers surely do, and you can be sure they'll be citing Yoo's work on the unitary executive theory. No one could have predicted that Trump, of all people, would become president, but that's exactly why the cumbersome checks and balances were put in place to begin with."
The protestations that "Torture Professor" (who remains in the employ of the University of California, teaching 'ethics' to Constitutional Law students) makes against the way Trump exercises power do not begin to exonerate Yoo's contributions to operation of the State of Horror we suffer.
By Jon Schwarz
From The Intercept | Original Article
In a New York Times op-ed today, John Yoo wrote the following words: “even I have grave concerns about Mr. Trump’s uses of presidential power.”
That should get your attention, since Yoo, a fancy law professor at Berkeley, is best known for authoring much of the legal advice claiming the U.S. could legally engage in torture when he served in George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
In fact, Yoo believed this so fervently that in 2005 he said that a president can torture children if necessary, and there’s nothing that Congress or international law can do to stop him.
Yoo explained his perspective during a debate with Doug Cassel, then the director of Notre Dame Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights:
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.
You can listen to the audio of Yoo making that case here.
Yoo’s legal reasoning, as he (together with his superior Jay Bybee, who’s now a federal judge) advised the Bush White House, is that “the Department of Justice could not enforce Section 2340A [the federal probation against torture] against federal officials acting pursuant to the President’s constitutional authority to wage a military campaign.” In other words, the president can’t crush a 6-year-old boy’s testicles for fun, but if he thinks some child-testicle-crushing is needed to win the war, it’s totally constitutional.
The good news for Trump is that Yoo doesn’t express any concerns about Trump’s actions regarding foreign policy. Moreover, his qualms about Trump’s domestic actions are fairly mild. Yoo feels that Trump can’t pull us out of NAFTA, because that was enacted by Congress, and he can’t put a tariff on Mexican imports by himself. But he does think Trump can legally halt immigration from any countries he wants, although he believes Trump should be sure no one talks about it in public as a “Muslim ban.”
In the end, Yoo’s main quarrel with Trump is that Yoo thinks presidents can go totally hog-wild in foreign policy but should cooperate with Congress domestically — whereas Trump believes he can do whatever he wants overseas and at home. This troubles Yoo, because it could lead to Trump “dissipating his political capital and haphazardly wasting the executive’s powers” to really give foreigners the business.