By MARTIN WISCKOL The Orange County Register
"Protestors from organizations such as Code Pink, Orange County Peace Coalition and World Can’t Wait have been protesting visiting law professor John Yoo’s appointment intermittently since he began teaching this semester. The protesters are calling Yoo a war criminal because he co-authored the so-called “torture memos,” written legal opinions the presidential administration of George W. Bush used to justify controversial war interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. Organizers of the protests can be seen in front of the Rinker Law Library on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
“We would like to see [Yoo] fired and disbarred,” said Nicole Lee, a member of the Los Angeles chapter of World Can’t Wait. “The fact that he’s been teaching … law when he’s been breaking those same laws is unacceptable.”
World Can’t Wait is a national organization that aims to reject all of the Bush administration, according to its Web site. Other organizations protesting include Code Pink, a group working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Orange County Peace Coalition, which advocates peace for international conflicts."
March 19, 2009
By Jennifer Mascia and Jason Grant
New York Times
On the eve of the sixth anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq, hundreds of protesters in New York City made it clear on Thursday that while they welcomed the change in American political leadership, they would not relent in urging President Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.
The protests were perhaps more muted than the massive demonstrations of years past, but no less fervent.
In Union Square, where about 120 people huddled together under the awning of a subway station, staying out of the rain, some protesters said that Mr. Obama, the new president, who as an Illinois state senator had opposed the war, had continued some of the Bush administration's most controversial policies.
Debra Sweet, 57, one of the protest organizers, said the Obama administration had continued the policy of secret renditions of terrorism suspects, and she called for "righteous anger at this occupation." Many in the crowd were high-school students.
February 11, 2009
Yoo is a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, on leave from his tenured post at UC Berkeley to teach foreign relations law.
But a small group of local activists said they hope to stir up anger at the 14-year-old law school in the thick of conservative Orange County.
"Our aim is to get the man fired -- he has no business being in our community," said Pat Alviso, 56, of Huntington Beach, who heads the Orange County chapter of Military Families Speak Out. Her son is a Marine serving in Afghanistan who completed two tours in Iraq.
Yoo, a former Justice Department attorney, achieved notoriety by crafting memos -- later withdrawn by the department -- that narrowly defined torture and argued that Bush's authorization of controversial interrogation tactics against Al Qaeda did not violate the Geneva Conventions. The memos justified harsh treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, including the controversial waterboarding technique.
"People obviously love having someone as accomplished as he is there," said first-year law student Roxana Amini, adding that she would have preferred a different visitor. "Since Chapman's relatively new, we're just getting our name more out there. . . . Any publicity's good publicity."
That seems to be what Dean John C. Eastman had in mind when he invited Yoo, a friend from their days as clerks for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to the Orange campus.
"We are working very hard at fostering a broad ideological diversity here at the law school," Eastman said. Another of Chapman law school's visiting professors this school year is human rights expert Richard Falk, who has criticized the war in Iraq.
Yoo, who has taught at a number of universities around the world, said he was eager for the chance to spend time on a smaller, newer campus and to experience living in Southern California. Students and faculty, he said, have received him amiably.
"At Berkeley," Yoo said, "if you had three or four people, weird people dressed up in costumes in the same place, that would just be like people in line buying coffee."
As a conservative voice on the liberal UC campus, and with reams of essays and articles blasting him, Yoo said he is accustomed to being in the minority.
"I certainly don't get upset about being criticized," said Yoo, sitting in his fourth-floor campus office. "I would feel I wasn't doing my job as an academic if I wasn't writing or saying things that other people disagreed with."
For the most part, students at the Chapman law school have taken Yoo's presence in stride. Even those who don't agree with Yoo's conservative-leanings aren't mobilizing for his ouster. Rather, they seem to welcome his policy experience.
"I think it's interesting to have him there," said Billy Essayli, a second-year law student who heads the campus California Republican Lawyers Assn. Still, Essayli conceded that he was surprised there wasn't a greater public outcry at Yoo's arrival in January.
Chapman law professor M. Katherine B. Darmer "vehemently" opposes Yoo's ideas on broad executive power, but respects that he has taken responsibility for his views. However, she wrote in an e-mail: "There are many other faculty members -- including others on the political right -- whom I personally would have chosen rather than someone who is so closely associated with the use of tactics such as waterboarding."
The Berkeley City Council, for one, isn't crazy about Yoo. In December, city leaders agreed to send a letter to the U.S. attorney general supporting prosecution of Yoo and other Bush administration officials for war crimes, and urged UC Berkeley to fire him if he is convicted of human rights violations.
A spokeswoman for Berkeley Law said that the university respects city officials' opinions but that the city can't direct university policy. Most agitation against Yoo comes from the community, rather than students, although some law students have worn armbands against Yoo at graduation, said spokeswoman Susan Gluss. Outside protesters crashed one of Yoo's classes at Berkeley several years ago and were escorted out by police; he's been a faculty member there since 1993.
The anti-war activist group World Can't Wait has been most active in organizing against Yoo. The group maintains a website in protest, FireJohnYoo.org, and hopes to stage panels and distribute petitions at Chapman.
Yoo's ouster is more relevant than ever, according to organizers, as last month President Obama ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA prisons, and barred torture.
For his part, Yoo has stayed true to form since arriving at Chapman: Last month, he wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal criticizing President Obama, saying he had opened the door to future terrorist acts in the U.S.
The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley (CA)
November 10, 2008
Demonstrators stage waterboarding in the Quad, Oct. 30
The Inquirer, Diablo Valley (CA) Student Voice
Issue date: 11/6/08
Political activists from World Can't Wait and Contra Costa Radical Action groups simulate waterboarding, the highly criticized interrogation method used by the U.S. government on suspected terrorists. This demonstration was held Oct. 30.
Media Credit: Adalto Nascimento
Students passing by the Main Quad at 12:15 p.m., Oct. 30, would have witnessed a young man being dragged through the crowd by someone wearing army fatigues.
"What do you know about Shaheem Pedir?" the man in fatigues repeatedly shouted.
With the help of two men dressed in shirts and ties, the captive was hustled into an orange jumpsuit and informed he had no rights.
Delivering his final address before the United Nation's General Assembly Tuesday morning, President George W. Bush reiterated his pledge to honor human rights and urge other nations to follow.
For years, Bush has criticized the U.N. as an indecisive and costly bureaucracy. But in his speech Tuesday, he stressed the need for multinational diplomacy and said the organization is needed more urgently than ever.