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Way Beyond Waterboarding

Posted on Jul 1, 2008
John Yoo

Last week Rep. John Conyers tried to get a straight answer out of John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer who argued that the president had a legal right to order torture. The spectacle of Yoo equivocating over whether the president could have someone buried alive is something to behold.

Watch it:


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By Pacrat, July 5, 2008 at 6:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to John YooHoo the president can do anything he pleases, the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions be damned! Live burials have been used by all empires.

If the body can be exhumed immediately an autopsy can determine if the deceased is a suitable candidate for a key position in the administration. How else could there be so many deadheads in the Bush House of Shame?

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By cann4ing, July 3, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

What’s amazing, Cyrena, is that U.C. Berkley’s law school, considered one of the most prestigious in the nation, retains this war criminal to teach law!

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By cyrena, July 3, 2008 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Cecil Green,

Thanks for the link to Yoo finding validation for torturing children. I wasn’t surprised. I’ve heard this asshole far too many times before.

But, it brought me to another few that were of particular interest from the despicable Richard Perle and then Michael Levin, (a professor of law) who both feel the need, (along with Alan Dershowitz) to pre-approve torture for all ‘ticking bomb scenarios’ This has always been of particular interest to me, since nobody can come up with ANY occasion of such a situation existing.

They are just soooo full of shit.

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By troublesum, July 3, 2008 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Every one of the pychopaths in the Cheney/Bush administration will be waterboarded before leaving this world if there is any justice in the universe.
There have been about 35000 soldiers wounded and 4000 killed in Iraq.  Surely one family can be found to bring Bush to trial as outlined by Vincent Bugliosi.  Once Bush has been successfully prosecuted it will be easier to go after the others.

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By cyrena, July 3, 2008 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

John Kessler writes:

“.. There are hundreds of ways to get a well-considered, factual answer if you want it. Conyers goes the other way…”

And obviously Mr Kessler, you’ve never bothered to listen to any other testimony or ‘answers’ from Mr. Yoo.

If there are hundreds of ways to get a well-considered FACTUAL answer, then John Yoo has thousands of ways to avoid doing exactly that.

What’s amazing is that he’s managed to get away with it for as long as he has. Then again, the same could be said of a criminal administration engaged in a Totalitarian operation.

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By Armand Cyrus, July 3, 2008 at 1:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We all know what kind of person Mr yoo is, but i wonder
how a well known university is willing to give such a man the opportunity to teach law, and that what sort of
role model he would be to his students, is what bothers me the most

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By jack, July 3, 2008 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the purpose of the torture gulag is not to get information - they already know everything they need to about the global war of terror - they run it - the purpose of the torture is to terrorize everyone - everyone on the inside as well as the outside - if declared a national security threat, e.g. a suspected terrorist, anyone can be detained on literally no evidence and due process is no longer enforced - anyone could be next - we are being prepared to accept a new world order, run by a new world oligarchy, enforced by contracted security, e.g. Black Water - unwitting, useful fools like Woo are required to legitimize it - the Nazis did the same thing - protection…oldest game in the book

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By Alan, July 2, 2008 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment
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Yes and no,
many will think that “waterboarding” is just
another “sport”.  You have to awaken the
sensibilities of an electorate besotted with
rupert nonsense. It may be too late.
They are drinking a starbocolacoffee and
hardly looking at the wall-mounted big-screen
tv which displays with rupert’s blessing a corner
of the truth decorated with monstrous lies;
rupert knows he’s got them
between sugar and a lie.

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By cann4ing, July 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

Alan, everywhere in the universe except Bush World waterboarding “is” torture.  And in my father’s case, quite descriptive since he was pinned to a wooden platform by several Japanese soldiers.  One soldier held a sponge over his mouth and nose while another poured water onto the sponge.  Of course, this method does not really require the presence of a wooden platform.

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By samosamo, July 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

This yoo and another , boy would it ever be so easy to use the usual racial slurs on this two clowns, oriental creating interrogation policy, I think his name is viet dienh or something, these 2 are pure evil crud same as w and they all belong in prison for life, though I think w should be made to work minimun wage jobs for the rest of his life and live in a trailor in the middle of the desert.

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By John Kessler, July 2, 2008 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The intentionally-entrapping question Conyers poses to Mr. Yoo is typical for a politician trying to get re-elected, soon or in the future.  It is like the famous one, “Do you still beat your wife?”.

There are hundreds of ways to get a well-considered, factual answer if you want it. Conyers goes the other way.  And interupting and browbeating the witness doesn’t help.

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By PatrickHenry, July 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Yoo is just another lawyer, not a judge.  How is it he can interpret law?

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By Jonathan, July 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I understand it, waterboarding involves slowly drowning a person, so when the MSM refers to ‘simulated drowning’, they’re not even close.  It is difficult to empathise with an ‘enemy’ when all suffering is sanitized.  And perhaps that is part of the problem we have with this war.  Most of us are far removed from any of the gore.  The T.V. news reports make it all look like just another video game.

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By montymarket, July 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s one thing for UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school to protect a tenured professor’s right to hold various opinions with regard to the law, but quite another thing for UC to tolerate lousy legal reasoning, dishonesty, and prevarication displayed by Professor Yoo.  Is Yoo’s testimony before congress the example UC would set for its graduates to take when they become attorneys?  And in Yoo’s torture memo and unitary executive arguments, Yoo doesn’t even cite the most important case on the limits on presidential power during wartime, Youngstown Steel.  The guy has some serious issues.  Wonder why?

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By Alan, July 2, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: “Waterboarding”, the euphemism:

Has anyone noticed that during the entire
discussion of torture since Abu Gharaib, the
term “waterboarding” has been used instead of
“water torture”.  That is, the dissimulating
John Yoo lingo has been used instead of the
more salient term.  “Waterboarding” sounds
almost fun don’it? Like snow-boarding maybe?

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By Cecil Green, July 2, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Here’s another great John Yoo moment:

During a in a debate with Doug Cassel (Notre Dame):

Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress—that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Freedom Fries, anyone?

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By cann4ing, July 2, 2008 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

It looks like John Yoo attended the Albert Gonzales School of Evasive Answers, undoubtedly under the sponsorship of the same Federalist Society which coached Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito on how to approach their confirmation hearings.

heavyrunner:  the program your Marine acquaintance participated in is known as the S.E.R.E. program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape) which was designed to train select members of our military on how to survive interrogations by an enemy which does not abide by the Geneva Conventions.  In June 2002, the Pentagon began looking into having S.E.R.E. reverse engineered for use against prisoners captured by the U.S.

Your friend understates the impact of waterboarding, perhaps because he knew it was merely a training exercise.  My father was waterboarded by the Japanese Kempetai in 1942.  He could hold his breath only so long.  When he tried to breathe water ran up his nostrils, down his throat, into his lungs.  He described it as “exquisitely painful.”  After several hours and multiple lapses of consciousness, he signed a confession he was a British agent even though he knew it wasn’t true and even though he thought he was signing his own death warrant.

My father’s testimony at the War Crimes Trials in 1948 helped to convict a Japanese general and subordinates.  What was a war crime then is a war crime now.

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By bestpix, July 2, 2008 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

JimM Yoo is a professor at UC Berkley Law School.  Teaching aspiring lawyers!

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By Alan, July 2, 2008 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Years ago ‘VC’ meant Viet Cong, now it means
‘venture capitalist’.  Years ago in Berkeley,
‘FSM’ meant ‘Free Speech Movement’, now it means
‘flying spaghetti monster’.  What does this have to
do with John Yoo?, with Berkeley?, with kids today?
With the Starbucks where Cody’s used to be?
YOU figure it out.

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By chris herz, July 2, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The US population supports, elects and pays taxes to these jerks.  McCain calls for 100 years of war. Obama sneaks around the issue, prepared to do exactly the same as his rival. 

Standard and Poor’s have already made clear that the next administration will dismantle Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security or face financial de-rating. 

That, not ending snooping, torture and war is the program for the next four years.

I’ve lived around Washington all my life.  If elected officials are not crooks before they come here (and most are) they sure jump on the bandwagen right away.

Chris Herz

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By Juanjo, July 2, 2008 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This issue is one more of many why we have to stay focused like a laser beam and make sure we elect Barack Obama president and get a filibuster proof senate.

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By nrobi, July 2, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

To see for yourself, the equivocation and hedging by the counsel to the Dept. of Justice, really makes me believe in the Tooth Fairy.
I have never in my life seen such a bunch of hypocrites and equivocators as the current administration has in place and had in place in the run-up to the illegal and immoral act of deposing the head of a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with terrorism and the events leading up to and including 9/11.
Would that these people who, are the architects of the invasion, be brought to trial in the World Courts for the crimes of genocide and the torture of innocent civilians.
Most of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had nothing to do with the acts of terrorism that they were never charged with but were held incognito for, for many years without the benefit of counsel, without a word to their families, without so much as one of the protections granted to prisoners of war, that are guaranteed by us as signatories to the Geneva Conventions.
Why in the world have the American people put up with the president, “his shrubness,” and Darth Vader and the cabal of neo-cons, that surround the White House, doing these despicable and horrific acts of torture to men, women and children, without charges being brought against them in a real and valid court of law? 
I, for one am outraged that most of these people will get off scot free, without so much as a sanction brought against them in this country let alone the court of world opinion and the World Court in the Hague.
Surely there is someone, brave enough, with the right diplomatic papers, that can in the open, bring charges against those men and women, whom are responsible for this illegal and immoral debacle.
As to John Yoo, and his appearance before Rep. john Conyers, D. Ga., you know see the real men and women, these are the ones whom under oath cannot answer a straight question if their lives depended upon it.
If I had my way, their lives would depend upon what they said under oath, in front of a court and jury of their peers. Not in the United States, but in the Hague, where there are no legal tricks that could be used for their equivocations and deceptions. Where they do not have the legal right, to the 5th amendment and all of the rights granted them under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
These same documents that they have shredded at the will for the sake of an illegal and immoral war that has nothing to do with the acts of terrorism and helping terrorism.
People like John Yoo, have only served to strengthen the resolve of the people for whom terrorism is the only way that they can express themselves and let their voices be heard in the halls of power loud enough to make a difference in their lives.
Will you listen close enough, to hear the cries and pleas for mercy, these loud cries that are heard in the secret prisons of the CIA and all of the facilities that are now being used to torture prisoners at the request of the US?  We are indeed our brother’s keeper, whether that brother or sister, is Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghani, or any of a number of people for whom the US has tortured and imprisoned without the legal protections afforded to them under all the laws and treaties that have been signed by previous presidents and Congress.

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By Don Stivers, July 1, 2008 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

John Conyers!!!

Instead of letting Yoo sit comfortably in that chair, why not subject him to the same treatment he and our President of the United States thinks is not torture?

Ask him those same questions while he is standing naked with a sack on his head with his testicles being shocked with electricity or while they are being squeezed real hard by a sadist?

And don’t even apologize if he is innocent.  After all he guilty if he is there.

How much more of this shit must we tolerate before Justice is served.  These assholes (our administration) talk about people as if they are comic book characters.

I’m curious.  Has Yoo seen war casualties on the battle field?  Has he ever been slapped in the face?

And it goes on and on and on and nothing will happen in the form of Justice.

Someone should put a nail through Yoo’s penis and then ask him some easy questions like “Can you say the abc’s?”  See how cognoscente he would be.

I bet he would cry.

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By skulz fontaine, July 1, 2008 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Why does Congress tolerate…nevermind. John Yoo, George Bush, Gonzales, Addington, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Myers both his and hers, and fill in an exceedingly large war criminal blank. Lord Ah-mighty, this grows very old and treasonously tiresome! What would be wrong with just sending this evil pack of traitorous scum on a nice visit with the judges that man the bench of the International Criminal Court at the Hague? How could that be wrong?

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By heavyrunner, July 1, 2008 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

I have an acquaintance who was a Marine for 16 years and an Army Ranger for 16 years after that.  He is retired now. 

When the first stories about waterboarding broke, he said, “What whiners!  So what if somebody pours water in your face?  They did that to me.  What really sent me out was when they buried me up to my neck and stuffed my mouth and nose full of dirt. Now that’s torture.”

He was describing his own training by the U.S. Military designed, supposedly, to harden him for what might be done to him if captured.

But another effect is to desensitize and accustom our troops to behavior that they otherwise would find abominable and unthinkable, making it more likely that our soldiers would violate the Geneva Conventions if so ordered.

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By JimM, July 1, 2008 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Please write, call and email Yoo’s employer inquiring why they are employing a war criminal.
This coward should be subject to his own lurid and sadistic desserts.


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