Activists Demand UC Berkeley Fire “Torture Memos” Author John Yoo

 By Elaine Pasquini

 AS U.S. SUPREME Court Justice Stephen Breyer and University of California Dean of Law Christopher Edley spoke inside Chevron Auditorium on the University of California’s Berkeley campus April 10, members of the World Can’t Wait and FireJohnYoo.org protested outside the hall the continued employment of law professor John Yoo. Human rights activists handed some 400 attendees literature urging Edley to take a stand against torture, indefinite detention and other crimes against humanity by dismissing the professor, who was granted tenure in 1999. As former deputy assistant attorney general for the Bush administration from 2001 to 2003, Yoo drafted memoranda justifying torture during interrogation of detainees.
Ignoring laws and legal precedents, Yoo’s  “torture memos” justified torture and illegal detention and claimed the Geneva Conventions on humane treatment of prisoners did not apply to suspects classified as so-called “enemy combatants.” His writings stated that in time of war the president as commander-in-chief could ignore international and domestic laws against torture. In a 2001 memo,
 
Yoo wrote that U.S. military forces could use “any means necessary” to seize and hold terror suspects in the U.S. without constitutional restrictions.
 
Dean Edley is not protecting academic freedom by refusing to fire Yoo, activists claim, but is sanctioning war crimes committed by the former Bush administration official. The National Lawyers Guild called for Yoo’s dismissal, arguing that his complicity in establishing a policy that led to the torture of prisoners violates the U.S. War Crimes Act.
 
Activists also protested April 25 outside the Hyatt Hotel on San Francisco’s Fishermen’s Wharf, where Yoo was the keynote speaker at the California College Republicans (CCR) Conference. CCR is an umbrella organization representing campus-based, student-run college Republican clubs throughout California.
 
This article originally appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

 

Main Torture Activists Demand UC Berkeley Fire “Torture Memos” Author John Yoo

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.