Questions for John Yoo. Q. Do you regret writing the so-called torture memos, which claimed that President Bush was legally entitled to ignore laws prohibiting torture? A. No, I had to write them. It was my job. As a lawyer, I had a client. The client needed a legal question answered. NY Times, via Andrew Sullivan [more inside]
"An internal Justice Department inquiry into the conduct of Bush administration lawyers who wrote secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations has concluded that the authors committed serious lapses of judgment but should not be criminally prosecuted... The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask that state bar associations consider possible disciplinary action, including reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions..." Meanwhile, "former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften" the report.
A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, on whether they violated international law. The officials named in this present case include the most senior legal minds in the Bush administration. They are: Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general; David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff; Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence; William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s general counsel; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who were both senior justice department legal advisers. If America won’t have a Truth Commission maybe someone else will have to kick start it for them.
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A Vanity Fair reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes -- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense." Others say that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here and here.]
False Terrorist Organizations. Berkeley law prof. John Yoo has championed the War on Terrorism before in the now famous Yoo/Delahunty/Philbin Memos to the White House on the Geneva Convention. But the recent attacks in London, and the ever growing death toll in Iraq, are driving Yoo to push the envelope even further in search for a solution. He is now proposing that the US create a false terrorist organization. "It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes..."-- But is it wise to compete with terrorists? What if they are more competitive than we are?