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Obama administration backs immunity for author of Bush torture memos, Berkeley's John Yoo

by wsws (reposted) Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

In legal arguments before a federal court in San Francisco Friday, the Obama administration stepped in to defend one of most notorious figures in the Bush administration, John Yoo, author of legal memoranda used to justify torture and indefinite detention without trial as part of the "war on terror."

Monday Mar 9th, 2009 7:29 AM

The intervention makes clear that the Obama administration opposes any serious effort to shed light on the attacks against democratic rights carried out by its predecessor or to hold any officials of the previous administration accountable for their actions. Moreover, its court interventions amount to a defense of the Bush administration's assertions of quasi-dictatorial presidential powers.

Friday's court hearing before US District Judge Jeffrey White concerned a civil suit brought by Jose Padilla, the US citizen who was imprisoned without charges for more than three years in a US Navy brig after Bush designated him an "enemy combatant."

Padilla is now in federal prison, serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted on trumped-up conspiracy charges that had nothing to do with the sensationalized claims of the Bush administration that he was the leader of a plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in an American city.

He has filed suit against numerous Bush administration officials, charging that his detention at the Navy brig, during which he was held in isolation and tortured, violated his constitutional rights. Yoo is being sued as the author of the legal opinion that upheld the arbitrary presidential authority under which Padilla was being held.

The Bush administration vigorously defended Yoo and the legal opinions he issued and sought to have the case thrown out on the grounds that US government employees cannot be sued for actions taken in the course of their official duties.

Immunity from lawsuits over official acts is an accepted US legal principle, but there is a broad exception for known criminal acts and abuses of power. Under the precedent set by the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, "just following orders" is not an adequate legal defense, particularly for those who were in a position to give the orders or define how they were to be interpreted. Yoo's position in 2001 as an attorney at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which produces the official legal rationale for executive actions, clearly fits that description.

More

http://wsws.org/articles/2009/mar2009/jyoo-m09.shtml



Comments;

§If Obama Refuses to Prosecute Bush War Crimes

Results in Obama Becoming Criminal Like Bush

Tuesday Mar 10th, 2009 1:37 PM

If Obama refuses to prosecute members of the GW bush regime (like John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, etc...) for their role in war crimes during the invasion and occupation of Iraq, than Obama is himself guilty of war crimes collaboration if he allows Bush & Co. to escape the needed trial for war crimes..

This from Alex Jones;

“If waterboarding is torture — and Barack Obama has said that it is torture,” Turley emphasized, “and torture is a war crime, then the president has committed a war crime if he did order waterboarding. You have to do some heavy lifting to avoid the simplicity of that logic.”

Turley noted that individual CIA officers who carried out torture may be able to invoke the so-called “Gestapo defense” — that they only followed orders they were assured were legal — but that defense does not hold for those who gave the orders.

“It only works if you can reasonably rely on the advice, and it generally does not protect people like Bush,” Turley explained. “You really can’t go out and get radical or extreme lawyers, like John Yoo and Viet Dinh, and get them to enable you to do things that you know is a war crime.”

“There’s no real question that crimes were committed here by {Obama’s] predecessor,” concluded Turley, “and he can either begin his administration as a man of principle, and allow the law to take us wherever it may lead, or he will inherit the same type of moral relativism that really corrupted the previous administration. I’m going to say a silent prayer for principle.”

article cont's @;

http://www.prisonplanet.com/turley-obama-owns-bush-war-crimes-if-he-looks-the-other-way.html

BTW - If Obama refuses to act in holding GW bush & Co. accountable for their war crimes, international interests who are willing to try Bush can use the option of hiring mercenaries to extract Bush et al from their hiding places in Texas and elsewhere, physically bringing them to a country that is willing to detain them and hold a war crimes trial..

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