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Bush had the power to massacre an entire village: Torture author Yoo

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One of the top Bush-era lawyers who authorized waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics exercised “poor judgment” but should not be disbarred, an internal Justice Department review showed.

According to the Office of Professional Responsibility, John Yoo engaged in “professional misconduct,” a finding that could have stripped him of his law license.

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But now the California law professor will be free to offer his controversial views on almost entirely unbounded presidential authority for future administrations.

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff notes that Yoo also “told Justice Department investigators that the president’s war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be ‘massacred,’ according to a report released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.”

Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:

“What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally -”

“Yeah,” Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. “Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.”

“To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?” the OPR investigator asked again.

“Sure,” said Yoo.

“The views of former Justice lawyer John Yoo were deemed to be so extreme and out of step with legal precedents that they prompted the Justice Department’s internal watchdog office to conclude last year that he committed ‘intentional professional misconduct’ when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects,” Isikoff notes.

The Washington Post reports that Yoo and Bybee “allegedly worked with officials in the White House and at the CIA to structure their controversial legal analysis.”

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The Post added: “In its final report, the OPR said it had tried unsuccessfully to access Yoo’s e-mail messages during his time at the Justice Department, and was told that ‘most of Yoo’s e-mail records had been deleted and were not recoverable.'”

“Justice Department lawyers have an obligation to uphold the law, so when they write legal opinions that were designed to provide legal cover for torture, they need to be held accountable with more than a slap on the wrist,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch.

Jameel Jaffer, who heads the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, called on the Justice Department to expand its investigation into the interrogation practices.

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(with AFP report)

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Cheerleader who was punished for taking a knee during football game wins $145K settlement

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A former cheerleader for Kennesaw State University who took a knee during the National Anthem during a football game has been paid $145,000 in an out-of-court settlement, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Tommia Dean sued KSU’s then-President Sam Olens, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time, after her public protest with four other cheerleaders which took place in 2017. She dropped her lawsuit after settling with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services for $145,000.

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Trump appointee flails in Senate hearing as he tries to explain contradictory Pentagon statements

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In the wake of news reports that the Trump administration is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, potentially doubling the current amount of US troops sent to the region since May, the Pentagon's attempts to deny the revelations aren't going to well, according to Task & Purpose.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that there are no plans for a troop increase "at this time."

"As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options," Farah said. "We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation. Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time."

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‘Make America 36th Out of 41 Developed Nations Again’: Social justice index of developed nations puts US near bottom

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Meanwhile, the democratic-socialist Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden enjoy the top spots in detailed survey of OECD nations.

Not dead last, but close to it.

That's where the United States came out in a new survey of the world's 41 highly-developed nations measuring access to social justice and the opportunities they afford their respective citizens and residents.

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