The President’s Henchmen
June 10 2008
In memory of the 41st Birthday of Torture Professor John C Yoo
John C Yoo’s legal opinions
“ It is NOT torture unless the interrogator was inflicting pain associated with a sufficiently serious physical condition or injury, such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment to body functions.”
“There are no treaties to prohibit for interrogators to crush the testicles of child of terrorist in order for getting information.”
Since the 911 Kamikaze attacks on the United States, there are two University academics that are going down in the US history notoriously dubbed as “The Torture Professor”, Alan Dershowitz and John C (Choon) Yoo.
Dershowitz is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, who argued that authorities should be permitted to use non-lethal torture in a "ticking bomb" scenario, regardless of international legal prohibitions.
Yoo is currently a tenured Korean-American Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, who was known for his work from 2001 to 2003 in the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, advising and dispensing his legal opinions to the Bush Administration regarding the Geneva Conventions, the Torture Memos, and the Wire-tappings.
Both are surely belonged to the category of what Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil” and Ward Churchill’s “Little Eichmanns”, the former’s theory is obviously overwhelmed by the latter’s power that legalizes and enables people to be tortured and quite possibly murdered.
In other words, the memos that Yoo dispensed were not some professor writing a book or submitting a paper at symposium, but the official government documents that “have almost the precedental effect of judicial decisions and lay the groundwork for the commission of war crimes by others, but his legal advice was itself a promotion of crime.”
The OLC where Yoo worked from 2001 to 2003 belongs to the Justice Department that issues legal opinions for the Executive Branches and the OLC opinions are relied on by these offices in order to carry out their jobs: “If OLC says OK, then it must be OK.”
In other words, Yoo’s legal opinions travel beyond a mere file of legalese essays into the interrogation rooms of the CIA, torturing, maiming, harming, and eventually murdering the detainees without the due process that his theory produced to numerous lawless actions by the executive branch.
In this context, torrents of opinions that Yoo churned out during his work at the OLC ended up legalizing the Bush Administration’s war on terror whatever it may be:
1. Yoo redefined the torture and justified the CIA’s waterboarding techniques on the enemy combatants.
2. Yoo reinterpreted the US Constitution that the President has an exclusive right as a Commander-in-Chief to defy the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties.
3. in Bybee/Yoo memo, he advised that habeas corpus and other legal protection don’t apply to CIA detainees because Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Prison are not in the US soil.
4. the White House is not bounded by the Federal law prohibiting wireless eavesdroppings on communication.
Though all above legal opinions that the Bush Administration executed by Yoo’s advices were rescinded either in later the OLC memos or voided by the US Supreme Court decisions, Yoo’s opinions that carry the weight of law had already inflicted the irrevocable harms on many people, in some cases, likely led to the deaths of prisoners. (Since his first torture memo in August 2002, hundred detainees died while in US custody, according to the Human Right First, the Watchdog group.)
Yoo and Gonzales, Addington, Haynes II, Delahunty, et al, the other members of “War Counsel”, who hobnobbed and huddled together to plot the legal strategy about the war on terrorism, came to a conclusion that the criminal justice system couldn’t handle the new paradigm of terrorism and no time for interrogations being unduly constrained by international rules.
So the new war paradigm was needed to do away with criminal and international laws approach that opened the door to the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, in which there would be no refuge for the torturer or international criminal, as Chile’s General Pinochet, South Korea’s General Chun DW and Roh TW.
In other words, these political lawyers would be prosecuted in violation of the Geneva Conventions, if they elect to travel certain countries except perhaps Saudi Arabia, Israel, South Korea, and obviously USA.
Then, who are a cabal of these renegade laywyers? What were they motivated to advise the legality to crush the testicles of innocent child ? Were there any idealogical part or personal ambition to it? Are they fanatics or sociopaths who lack the moral, ethical, and social conscience?
They are mostly decent men with no mask of hobgoblin, graduates with summa cum laude from Ivy League, the distinguished bureaucrats with good family background, with lovely wife, adorable kids, and aging parents like ordinary folks living in the quiet suburbs.
The English dictionary refers to a “henchman” an unscrupulous supporter or adherent of a political figure or cause, especially, one motivated by the hope of personal gain.
They only chose to become a pack of henchmen who are expendable adherents of the villan, always ready to do the master’s bidding, to kill or be killed.
Let’s focus on Yoo, a key figure who crafted major legal opinions regarding torture, Geneva, wiretappings, habeas corpus, et al.
As a poster boy for the ultra-right conservative Federalist Society, he was a darling of Republican power house, clerked on Silverman, Thomas, and Hatch, day-dreaming and fantasizing a latter-day nominee for the US Supreme Court Justice. (he fondly quoted later saying that he was a ‘Robert Bork’ of my generation.”)
He was nurtured, tutored, and programmed to be ready to snap to attention and say “Yessir!!” to the President that your wishes are my command.
All the indications have shown that he wanted to be an Asian-American version of Clarence Thomas, a Black Supreme Court Justice who sold his fellow black men and women down the river in every legal judgements rendered.
Yoo crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1967, piggybacked on the back of his affluent physician parents (both were shrinks) from Seoul, South Korea, and settled in Philadelphia.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth in anti-communist household, he went to private religious school, off to Harvard for college and Yale for Law School, becoming a professor at UC Berkeley Law School.
According to the NY Times, he was massively influenced by his conservative parents who hated the communist North Korea, even though Yoo was saddled on a diaper too young to know what the Commies did to his native country, as if the second generation of the Cuban-Americans in Miami are constantly ga-gaing over Fidel Castro’s regime.
Obviously, Yoo’s ancestry had accommodated and well served the Japanese colonial occupiers in early 1900s and prospered financially sending Yoo’s parent to the medical school…you, as a collaborator to betray your native country, prostitute to serve your master, then you get the personal gain in wealth and status.
During the Japanese colonial occupation, there were hundreds of thousands of Koreans who became the sycophant henchmen to serve the whims of Japanese empire, torturing, exploiting, robbing, and raping their own brothers and sisters in return for their personal success.
And it’s beyond an imagination why Yoo’s parents were otherwise an exception, considering their status quo at that time.
For the most of the first generation of the South Korean-Americans who ran away from their native country immediately after the Korean War and During the Military Dictatorship, the Commies were bogeymen and money is the be-all and end-all of their existence, in which their sons and daughters are taught and indoctrinated accordingly.
This man of “testicle crusher”, antipodal characteristics to his cherubic-faced and mild-mannered in all appearance, Yoo appears to be an quintessential epitome of “banality of evil”, Little Eichmanns, or Pro-Japanese collaborators.
One scholar derided Yoo, a 34-year-old junior adviser at the time of service in the DoJ: “a sorcerer’s apprentice whose half-learned incantations unleash chaos within a few hours of the master’s departure.”
Yoo even showed his reckless audacity with an unusual degree of certainty that he knew the “original intent of the US Constitution Framers”, drawing a derision that “Yoo was right there at the Founding of the USA.”
Just imagine a half-baked, flat-faced Asian-American lad with no on-site experiences whatsoever on the interrogation techniques , unabashedly, held power to draw the line:
You can beat people to a pulp (half-dead), deprive one’s sleep for weeks, leash to one’s neck like a dog, force one to bark like an attack dog, make one stark naked and blindfolded with hood, force one to wear a bra on and to dance with abandon, pour water on one’s mouth, etc. with just a couple of condition: Don’t let him die or Don’t make a mess to his bowls spewing out from the belly.
Man! Yoo must be an animal! How could he think it’s OK to inflict such an atrocious treatments on his fellow humans? Has he ever contemplated a second thought how he would react if he ever were a receiving party to such atrocities?
In his native country, South Korea when he was born, the waterboarding was one of the common interrogation techniques during the Military dictatorship, more enhanced and cruel type than what Yoo subscribed as an legal technique: the suspects (both Commies and common criminals like thieves or robbers) were subject to an “enhanced” water-boarding torture, in which interrogators at the KCIA and National Police Forces add teaspons of finely-ground red pepper into the water in a kettle and pour it directly on the nostrils without a wet towel on mouth.
Would Yoo recommend the CIA to add hot peppers in waterboarding technique if he knew about this “enhanced” additives?
You bet he would !!
Currently, Yoo was sued by the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School on behalf of American enemy combatant, Jose Padilla.
Ironically, Yoo was sued by his alma mater, Yale, and in addition, the Dean of Yale Law School is a Korean-American native of Boston, Mass., Harold Hongju Koh who is prominent as an advocate of human rights and civil rights.
And Professor Koh is a strong candidate for the nominee for US Supreme Court, if the Democratic Party candidate were elected a next President, while Yoo is possibly facing prosecution for masterminding policies in the commission of war crimes, destroying miserably his ambition becoming the FIRST US Supreme Court Justice of Asian-American Descent.
Another irony is that ALL the main architects of laws that affect the minorities in America were henchmen from the minority groups itself: Alberto Gonzales, ex-Attorney General, is a Mexican American, Viet Dinh, ex-Assistant Attorney General who was a chief framer with Yoo of the Patriot Act, is a Vietnamese, and John C Yoo, the Torture Professor, is a Korean American native of Seoul, South Korea.
They were such a bunch of despicable low-lifes that were eager to bury their own brothers and sisters alive, if their kiss-ass actions as a henchman bring a personal gain whatever it may be.
Finally, it is interesting to see how Yoo defends himself at the end of June 2008 when he appears at the House Judiciary Subcommittee regarding CIA interrogation techniques.
Will Yoo ever stand in dock or convicted of war crime?
It is highly unlikely the US court would ever convict him for the war crime, since the Courts are full of political appointees who were Yoo’s co-conspirator, like Jay Bybee, the former boss at the OLC, who is a federal appellate judge in the Ninth Circuit.
However, Yoo would better have a second thought having a ski vacation on Alps, since the Internatonal Criminal Court and other Jurisdictions are not too kind to look other way when they have a chance to grab him on the ski slopes.
Or would the Berkeley where he works kick his ass out from the academia?
The Dean of the Law School already determined that Yoo enjoys academic freedom as others and he was a mere adviser, not a decider, therefore he has the secrurity of employment.
Yoo’s critics argued that Yoo’s actions as the government official are not relevant to academic freedom, and the policies of torture Yoo largely crafted are not academic at all when his legal opinions intend to harm others bodily and mentally.
It seems to be a prima facie case that Yoo is unfortunately an expendable and not reusable henchman to be killed, unlike Dershowitz who is a Jewish and an undisputed mouthpiece for Zionism that carry a heavy weight status in the US Academia.
Pity on Yoo and his South Korea compatriots who work 24/7 and 365days year around to produce hundreds of thousands of henchmen like Yoo for a chance to serve their masters in return for a personal gain, whoever their master be, Chinese, Japanese, American or Mammon.