Created on Thursday, 19 June 2008 20:29
Written by Paul Craig Roberts
John Yoo, Totalitarian
by Paul Craig Roberts
ohn Yoo stands outside the Anglo-American legal tradition. His views lead to self-incrimination wrung out of a victim by torture. He believes a president of the US can initiate war, even on false pretenses, and then use the war he starts as cover for depriving US citizens of habeas corpus protection. A US attorney general informed by Yooâ€™s memos even went so far as to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Constitution does not provide habeas corpus protection to US citizens.
Yooâ€™s animosity to US civil liberties made him a logical choice for appointment to the Bush Regimeâ€™s Department of Justice (sic), but his appointment as a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, shatters that universityâ€™s liberal image.
19/06/08 "ICH" - Habeas corpus is a centuries-old British legal reform that
stopped authorities from arbitrarily throwing a person into a dungeon
and leaving him there forever without presenting charges in a court of
law. Without this protection, there can be no liberty.
especially adamant that â€œenemy combatantsâ€ have no rights to challenge
the legality of their detentions by US authorities before a federal
judge. Yoo would have us believe that the detainees at Guantanamo, for
example, are all terrorists who were attacking Americans. Nothing could
be further from the truth.
The question is whether any of the
detainees are â€œenemy combatants.â€ Yoo would have it so because the
president says it is so. As the president has already decided, what is
the sense of presenting evidence to a judge? For Yoo, accusation by the
executive branch is the determination of guilt.
But what we know
about the detainees is that many are hapless individuals who were
captured by war lords and sold to the Americans for the bounty that the
US government offered for â€œterrorists.â€
Some of the other
detainees could be Taliban who were engaged in an Afghan civil war that
had nothing whatsoever to do with the US. The Taliban were not fighting
the US until the US invaded Afghanistan and began attacking the
Taliban. This would make Taliban detainees prisoners of war captured by
invading US troops. How POWs can be tortured, denied Geneva Conventions
protections, and tried by military tribunals without the US government
being in violation of US and international law is inexplicable.
you were a traveling businessman grabbed by a tribe and sold to the
Americans. Would you consider it just to be detained in Gitmo,
undergoing whatever abuse is dished out, for 5 or 6 years of your life,
or forever, without family knowing what has become of you?
the greatest injustice was done to John Walker Lindh, an American
citizen who, like Americans of a previous generation who fought in the
Spanish Civil War, was fighting for the Taliban in the Afghan civil war
against the Northern Alliance. Suddenly the Americans entered the
Afghan civil war on the side of the Northern Alliance. Lindh was
captured and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
This kind of punishment is a new form of tyranny. It is not law, and it is not justice.
had no opportunity to withdraw once the US entered on the opposite
side. The only point of treating Lindh as if he were some dangerous
traitor was to demonstrate that American citizens can be treated to a
Kafka-type experience and have the American public accept it.
stands for the maximum amount of injustice, illegality and
unconstitutionality that can be committed in the name of the national
No American security was at stake in Afghanistan
or in Iraq, and none is at stake in Iran today. The Bush Regime may be
creating security problems for Americans in the future by fomenting
hatred of Americans among Muslims. This security problem is
insignificant compared to the threat to our liberty and freedom posed
by John Yoo and his Republican Federalist Society colleagues who are
committed to tyranny in the name of â€œenergy in the executive.â€
on the Wall Street Journal editorial page on June 17, Yoo denounced the
five Supreme Court justices who defended the US Constitution against
arbitrary â€œenergy in the executive.â€
Yoo believes that the
Constitution and liberty rank below â€œthe nationâ€™s security.â€
Fortunately, Yoo wrote, a fix is at hand. â€œThe advancing age of several
justicesâ€ means that President McCain can give us more judges like
Roberts (no relation) and Alito who will make certain that mere civil
liberties donâ€™t get in the way of arbitrary executive power justified
by national security.
In a Yoo-McCain regime, the terrorists you
will have to fear are those in your own government, against whom you
will have no protection whatsoever.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an
assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Reagan
Administration, is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal
and coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.