John Yoo, Totalitarian

John 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 Yoo`s memos even
went so far as to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee
that the
Constitution does not provide habeas corpus
to US citizens.

Yoo`s animosity to US civil liberties made him a
logical choice for appointment to the Bush Regime`s
Department of Justice (sic), but his appointment as a
law professor at the University of California, Berkeley
shatters that university`s liberal image. 

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.

Yoo is especially adamant that "enemy combatants"
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

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The question is whether any of the detainees are
"enemy combatants."
  Yoo would have it so because
the President says it is so.  As the President has
already decided, what is the sense in 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 "terrorists."  

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
Convention protections, and tried by military tribunals
without the US government being in violation of US and
international law is inexplicable.

Suppose 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?

Perhaps the greatest injustice was done to

John Walker Lindh,
an American citizen who, like
Americans of a

previous generation
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.  

Lindh 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.

Yoo stands for the maximum amount of injustice,
illegality and unconstitutionality that can be committed
in the name of the national security state.

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

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 "energy in the

Writing on the Wall Street Journal editorial
page on June 17, [The
Supreme Court Goes to War
], Yoo denounced the
five Supreme Court justices who defended the US
Constitution against arbitrary "energy in the

Yoo believes that the Constitution and liberty rank
below "the nation`s security."  Fortunately, Yoo
wrote, a fix is at hand.  "The advancing age of
several justices"
means that President McCain can
give us more judges like Roberts (no relation) and Alito
who will make certain that mere civil liberties don`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.  

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.