President George W. Bush’s legal counsel and chief “torture architect” John Yoo didn’t receive a warm welcome from everyone at the University of Virginia during a speech Tuesday.
Yoo, who was instrumental in constructing the legal framework with which the Bush administration carried out harsh interrogation techniques, intended to speak about his new book, Crisis and Command. But some members of the audience refused to ignore his transgressions.
According to the Charlottesville, VA newspaper C-Ville, one man shouted at Yoo and then told the audience, “I can’t believe that you all would actually tolerate a war criminal in your midst! It speaks volumes about this country and the state that we’re in!” He was promptly escorted out by the police.
“John, what about the torture memos? Can we talk about those?” someone else interjected during his speech. Yoo didn’t flinch, replying, “We’ll get to that, don’t worry.”
“There’s nothing that justifies torture, John Yoo,” said another, to which others responded with calls of, “Oh shut up,” and “Throw her out.”
One spectator held up a pink sign that read in block letters: “SHAME ON YOO.”
C-Ville reports that five members of the audience were ejected from Yoo’s forum, and one was briefly held by the police. Lieutenant Melissa Fielding of the UVA Police Department “said that she has not witnessed protests of this magnitude during her time at UVA,” the paper added.
Outside the Miller Center where he spoke, another protest reportedly ensued throughout the afternoon, which local law enforcement officials kept a close eye on.
The Bush lawyer was last month cleared of criminal charges by a Justice Department probe, and escaped with a slap on the wrist for “professional misconduct.”
George Gilliam, who chaired the event, expressed “great personal sadness” at the behavior of some of the dissenters, saying, “We pride ourselves in this room on extending simple civil courtesy to our speakers.”
The video is from Yoo’s speech, filmed by StarkReports.com and uploaded to YouTube.