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
"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.
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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
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
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
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.
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.