Archive for John Yoo – Page 2

Yoo claims he ‘helped save Obama’s presidency’

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By GottaLaff

Yoo gotta be kidding!

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal Wednesday titled "My Gift to the Obama Presidency," Yoo declared that he "may have just helped save [Obama's] presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe."

First John McCain claims Obama suspended his 2008 campaign, too.

Then someone on ClusterFox blames Obama for Nevada's domestic violence.

Now this? Concocting legal justification for abuse of power, and abuse of humans, is nothing to boast about, Sparky. And the only think you've managed to save is your own ass.

Yet another WTF moment. Welcome to Opposite World.

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The Torture Memo Author- + Executive Power to Massacre- You've Never Heard Of

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By GottaLaff

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Recently, we were told that John Yoo and his band of merry torturers got the equivalent of a "bad dog" scolding for crafting the rules that allowed BushCo to legalize the brutalization of human beings into submission in order to get worthless testimony.

Good job, BushCo.

Now we discover that someone at OLC slipped under the radar.

Yes, there was another architect involved. Little Miss Sunshine aka Jennifer Koester, was young and new and bored and had a pile of spare time and must have been like, rilly rilly tired of posting on MySpace. What's a girl to do?

The Office of Legal Counsel remedied that. They closed their eyes, stuck out Mr. Pointer Finger, spun around, stopped, opened their eyes, and wham! Mr. Pointer was aimed directly at Lawyerette Jenny:


Though Koester was clearly the junior partner in the process, and appears to have had no authority to approve the final versions of the memos that went out from the department, it's notable nonetheless that OLC assigned the task of drafting what was essentially the government's position on the legality of torture to an attorney just two years out of law school, who appears to have been around 28 at the time. And that it did so in part because Koester, having just joined the unit, "had some time available," according to the report. It's also perhaps surprising -- given the intense level of scrutiny that Yoo has rightly received for his role in producing the memos -- that Koester has until now remained almost entirely under the radar. [...]

But the report also makes clear that, despite apparently having been given the assignment almost at random, Koester played a more active role in the process of producing the memos than perhaps anyone else at DOJ, with the possible exception of Yoo. [...]

Indeed, according to the report, it was Koester who drafted perhaps the most controversial section of the memos: the discussion of the "commander in chief" power, in which OLC essentially advises the government that the president, as commander in chief, can disregard any law he wants during wartime. "Koester also told us that she thinks she ended up writing the Commander-in-Chief section, with 'a lot of input' from Yoo and Philbin," writes OPR (p. 50).

Oh, but wait. That's not all. An internal Justice Department report released Friday revealed this little exchange:


Q: I guess the question I'm raising is, does this particular law really affect the President's war-making abilities ....

Yoo: Yes, certainly.

Q: What is your authority for that?

Yoo: Because this is an option that the President might use in war.

Q: What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? ... Is that a power that the president could legally--

Yoo: Yeah. Although, let me say this. So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief's power over tactical decisions.

Q: To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?

Yoo: Sure.

You read that correctly. Boy Georgie could order the extermination of entire villages. How WWII of them. Georgie, Yoo, and Lawyerette Jenny sure did think alike! They must have been BFF.

I wonder if Little Miss Sunshine came up with that gem, too. After all, she had more free time than everyone else did to slip in all kinds of innovative laws that rational people never would have been able to come up with.

After all, she did, per the report, draft the part of the memo that gave the "commander in chief power to disregard any law he wants during wartime."

And then, as all Lawyerettes do, she ate her P, B and J sammich, watched Barney, grabbed her blankie, and took a nap.

She slept very soundly and dreamed good dreams, because little boys and girls with no consciences never have nightmares about death and torture.

H/t: Gr8RDH

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Leahy To Hold Hearing On Free Pass To Yoo And Bybee

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By GottaLaff

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I was in tears yesterday when I heard the outrageous news about John Yoo and Jay Bybee wriggling out from under a prison sentence for their part in legalizing torture.

But there is good news. It comes from Senator Pat Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Commitee:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Office of Professional Responsibility Report on the Office of Legal Counsel, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today. The report was released to Congress today.

The hearing will be held Friday, February 26, at 10:00 a.m. Witnesses will be announced in the coming days, and the hearing will be webcast live online.

I will be watching.

One hearing won't do it, but maybe, possibly, hopefully it will open the door to much more... at the very least, disbarment.

More details here.

********

All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only Fayiz al-Kandari's story here. Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you'd like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side. You'll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I'm all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz's story here, at Answers.com.H/t: VNDNBRG

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Quickie: Yoo v. Tiger edition

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By GottaLaff

Today's Quickie:

There was a lengthy three-person panel discussion about Tiger Wood's apology worship on the Tee Vee Machine this morning, preceded and followed by extensive reporting on the subject.

There were no panels, three-person or otherwise, about our Department of Justice [sic] allowing torture architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee to skate.

Manufactured contrition for serial boinking monopolizes the air waves. The complete lack of contrition (or consequences) for war crimes gets a brief mention.

Such is the state of the news [sic] media... and our justice system.

That was today's Quickie. Was it good for you?

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F Yoo

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By GottaLaff

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Via a news alert e-mail, just one sentence, one that I can't seem to process:

Justice Department finds no misconduct by lawyers who authorized harsh terror interrogations.

First, it's not "harsh terror interrogations". It's torture. And one cannot interrogate terror.

Next, they can legalese this all they want, but we all know what Yoo and Co. did was dead wrong. Once again, BushCo skates.

It seems "Justice Department" is still an oxymoron.

UPDATE:

The Justice Department has concluded Bush administration lawyers showed poor judgment - not professional misconduct - in writing memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques.

"Poor judgment"? "Poor judgment"?

No, poor judgment is when you drink so much that you don't remember who's lying next to you the next morning.

Poor judgment is spending money you don't have.

Poor judgment is not creating legal justification for torture.

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Yoo asked for it

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By GottaLaff

Yoo hooooo!

As reports circulate that the Justice Department has softened its criticism of attorney John Yoo for memos approving the Bush administration's treatment of terrorism suspects, several prominent lawyers are urging a federal appeals court in San Francisco to hold Yoo accountable.

They have submitted arguments opposing dismissal of a prisoner's lawsuit that accuses the former Justice Department attorney of providing a legal cover for torture. The suit covers much of the same ground as the department's ethics investigation of Yoo. [...]

Yoo says he always gave good-faith legal advice and denies authorizing torture. Those claims could be tested in a San Francisco federal court, however, unless Yoo can persuade a court to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit. [...]

Yoo has appealed, saying the suit would interfere with presidential war-making authority. The Obama administration has taken his side, arguing that courts should not meddle in questions of national security.

But in filings over the last 10 days, groups of constitutional law professors, legal ethics scholars and former government attorneys urged the court to keep Padilla's suit alive.

They argue that this is not a dispute over legal advice, as Yoo contends, but the case of a lawyer who allegedly stepped out of his role to take part in planning detention and interrogation policies, and then devised legal opinions to justify those policies.

And who are some of these very principled, very learned, very ethical lawyers who support the novel concept of upholding the-- What's it called again? Oh yeah-- U.S. Constitution? Here's who:

Erwin Chemerinsky, law school dean at UC Irvine; Alan Morrison, an assistant law dean at George Washington and former director of Public Citizen Litigation Group; and Norman Dorsen of New York University, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Also, Stanford's Deborah Rhode and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, not to mention Bruce Fein, special assistant to the director of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in President Ronald Reagan's administration.

They stressed the importance of applying ethical standards to lawyers who advise the president on constitutional issues.

There is much more here. (h/t: VNDNBRG)

And here:

*****

All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only Fayiz al-Kandari's story here. Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you'd like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side. You'll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I'm all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz's story here, at Answers.com.

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DOJ official reportedly clears torture memo authors Yoo and Bybee.

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By GottaLaff

I'm sure I'll hear from die-hard Obama supporters about how anti-Obama I am (which is laughable if you read TPC regularly), but this, in a word, sucks:

Newsweek now reports that a senior DOJ official has essentially cleared the two men of misconduct in an upcoming office of Professional Responsibility report:

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors — Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor — violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action — which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

Emptywheel (Marcy Wheeler, who you can see here in Blunt, the Sequel), has more.

I'm heartbroken, angry, frustrated, baffled, you name it. But I pretty much expected this outcome. How depressing.

Apparently, Margolis didn't get "input" from A.G. Holder. Maybe he should have.

I simply don't understand sweeping the entire foundation for legalizing torture under the rug, as it obviously was in a Friday night dump (when it was released).

Don't even bother trying to talk me down. I'm way past that.

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