Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How John Yoo Became White & Learned to Perform Whiteness

How did John Yoo become white? How did John Yoo learn to perform Whiteness?

John Yoo, the law professor at Berkeley, a US-born citizen played a key role, along with Judge Jay Bybee of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in crafting the legal argument underlying the 'torture memos' of the Bush administration.

The US system of Whiteness is the core ideology of the state - a set of beliefs which makes possible the exercise of racialized, supremacist, dominant POWER at home and around the globe. Because this set of beliefs originating with white male supremacists, including the so-called Founding Fathers, is so entrenched it shapes the thoughts and actions of everyone, no matter what their racial membership, their ethnicity, social class,religion, gender, age, sexual orientation.

see my Theory of Systemic Whiteness on this Blog. Itmay help to clarify how a Chinese American, a person of color, became a recruit into the US Whiteness System.
If we want to remain progressive and ethical, we have to exercise vigilance accompanied by critical thinking in order to prevent ourselves from being unwittingly recruited into Whiteness.
Associated Press copyrightes article
Bush attorneys who wrote terror memo face backlash

File - In this June 26, 2008 file photo John Yoo, a law professor at the AP – File - In this June 26, 2008 file photo John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at …

* No charges seen over interrogation memos Play Video Video:No charges seen over interrogation memos AP
* Bush era memos on waterboarding released Play Video Video:Bush era memos on waterboarding released AP
* Interrogation Memos Play Video Video:Interrogation Memos FOX News

By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Writer Terence Chea, Associated Press Writer – Wed May 6, 9:21 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Pressure is mounting against two former Bush administration attorneys who wrote the legal memos used to support harsh interrogation techniques that critics say constituted torture. John Yoo, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is fighting calls for disbarment and dismissal, while Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals faces calls for impeachment.

Justice Department investigators have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, but suggest in a draft report that the two men should face professional sanctions. A number of groups across the country agree, and some want even stronger action.

"We believe there is a lot of evidence to suggest that war crimes were committed," said Laura Bonham, deputy director of the Progressive Democrats of America, a group dedicated to rebuilding the Democratic Party. "We believe the memos provided the Central Intelligence Agency with the cover they needed to begin torturing detainees for information."

Bybee and Yoo worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and played key roles in crafting the legal justification for the interrogation techniques.

The draft report from an internal Justice Department inquiry sharply criticizes Yoo and Bybee and recommends referring their cases to state bar associations for possible disciplinary actions, a person familiar with the inquiry said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiry.

Action was not recommended against a third lawyer, Steven Bradbury, who was head of the office at the time the memos were created, a person familiar with the inquiry said. The person, who also was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said investigators found that Bradbury played a lesser role in the creation of the memos. Bradbury is now in private practice.

The recommendations come after an Obama administration decision last month not to prosecute CIA interrogators who followed advice outlined in the memos.

The long-awaited report is still in draft form and subject to revisions. Attorney General Eric Holder also may make his own determination about what steps to take once the report has been finalized.

Yoo's attorney, Miguel Estrada, would not comment, citing an agreement with the Justice Department not to discuss the case. Bybee's attorney, Maureen Mahoney, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

But at a forum last month on the campus of Chapman University School of Law where Yoo is visiting professor, he defended his role in establishing the legal rationale for using waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques.

"Three thousand of our fellow citizens had been killed in a deliberate attack by a foreign enemy," Yoo told a packed audience on the Southern California campus, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That forced us in the government to have to consider measures to gain information using presidential constitutional provisions to protect the country from further attack."

"Was it worth it?" he asked, brushing off hecklers. "We haven't had an attack in more than seven years."

John Eastman, dean of the Chapman law school, defended the memos.

"He wrote a comprehensive legal analysis of a gray area of the law," Eastman said. "I think John's legal analysis taps into the founders' understanding of the executive."

Yoo, 41, who worked for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, has drawn intense criticism and protests since his role in the interrogation memos became public in 2004.

In December, the Berkeley City Council, known for wading into politically charged national and international issues, passed a measure urging the federal government to prosecute Yoo for war crimes.

Human rights and anti-war activists are planning a demonstration at the Berkeley School of Law's May 16 commencement ceremony to press for Yoo to be fired.

"It's unconscionable that the legal architect of the torture apparatus is teaching the future generation of lawyers and judges at UC Berkeley," said Stephanie Tang, an organizer with the group World Can't Wait.

Robert Cole, a professor emeritus at Berkeley's law school, said he believes the university should conduct its own investigation to determine if Yoo's work for the Bush administration violated the campus' faculty code of conduct.

"The university has got to protect its integrity," Cole said. "Every professor we put in the classroom has to have professional competence and ethical integrity."

California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a likely Democratic candidate for governor, said the memos raised questions about whether Yoo should be allowed to teach law at UC Berkeley and called for a full accounting.

"This is not something that should be swept under the rug," he said.

Christopher Edley Jr., Berkeley's law school dean, has rejected calls to dismiss Yoo and says the university doesn't have the expertise or resources to conduct an investigation involving classified intelligence. A tenured professor would have to be convicted of a crime that demonstrates unfitness to be a faculty member to be dismissed by the university.

"Assuming one believes as I do that Professor Yoo offered bad ideas and even worse advice during his government service, that judgment alone would not warrant dismissal or even a potentially chilling inquiry," Edley said in a statement. He added that Yoo "remains a very successful teacher and prolific (but often controversial) scholar."

In Nevada, debate over Bybee's role has been more muted, largely playing out on the opinion pages and among his colleagues at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bybee taught constitutional and administrative law and civil procedure from 1999 until 2001 and remains on the faculty.

Legal colleagues, while praising Bybee as a scholar and caring colleague, have criticized the memos, particularly for what some of them say was legal sloppiness and faulty constitutional logic not indicative of his other work.

John Podesta, president of the liberal Center for American Progress and the leader of President Barack Obama's transition team, said, "If he would do the right thing, he should just simply resign."

If he doesn't quit, Podesta said, he should be removed from office.

Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign, who with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., sponsored Bybee for the federal judgeship, has defended him and said calls for his impeachment were "outrageous."

"To call for him to be impeached when he was trying to give the proper legal advice is just ridiculous," Ensign told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Reid, who has said he was disturbed by the memos, has taken a wait and see attitude.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said impeachment was a "possibility a little down the road," but said he first wanted to see the pending Justice Department report.

He said if the report indicates "Bybee violated professional ethics, we'll have to see whether a special counsel is appointed and the impeachment issue will come after that."


Associated Press Writers Paul Elias in San Francisco, Tom Tait in Las Vegas, and Devlin Barrett and Larry Margasak in Washington contributed to this report.

US State-sponsored Terror -- with Apologies

My published NYT COMMENT #98.
May 06, 2009 2:12 pm


May 6th, 2009 1:41 pm
US State-Sponsored Terror -- with Apologies
Talk is cheap -- your apology means nothing, Secretary Clinton, you too President Obama and the rest of the White House/State Dept. crew.

Pashtun civilians are dying and we know who is causing the deaths. Wake up and smell the acrid odor of burning flesh in a drone airstrike, America.

The US is engaged in state-sponsored terror in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area of the South Asia region

Remember the US trained, armed and paid the Mujahideen to fight the Cold War(invented by the US), with the Soviets in the 80's.

Now those same Mujahideen have become the Taliban. Historically, Pashtuns (now Mujahideen and Taliban) have never tolerated invaders and occupiers on their soil. They taught the Brits a bitter lesson during the colonial period. Then the Soviets got a 9-year taste of Pashtun medicine. Now it's the turn of the Americans to learn the same bitter bloody lesson.

But who's paying the price? Innocent women, children and men who live in the westernmost part of my South Asia region.
And who's footing the bill? The US taxpayer, me.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy as Lived Practice
NYT copyright
High Civilian Toll Seen in U.S. Raid in Afghanistan

The Red Cross said dozens died, but Afghan officials put the toll at more than 100, offering a grim backdrop to a U.S. visit by the Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday

Russia's Role in the New Global Order of Competing Fundamentalisms

The US Whiteness system which has its origins in slavery and genocide for profit, is strongly ideological while posturing as progressive, pragmatic and ethical. This is the core ideological system in which Obama performs Whiteness. I voted for Obama because I clearly understood he is the lesser of two evils within the US Whiteenss System of racialized dominant power based on extreme exloitative profit.

Who armed, trained and paid the Mujahideen who morphed into the Taliban? The US has been a state sponsor of terror throughout the world for over 50 years. Its latest military adventurism, along with US led-NATO, is in my region of South Asia. The US is seeking strategic depth" in South Asia in order to counter Russia and Iran while continuing satellization of Israel. All three adjoin the South Asia region, which the US is cultivating as the main theater of US geopolitical operations.

But fingerpointing at the US does not absolve each nation-state. We each have to do whatever we can to promote social and economic justice in the world for the billions of our fellow citizens of earth. This requires ethical thinking and practice over strategic thinking thinking and practice.

We need idealistic pragmatism that demonstrably promotes prosperity under conditions of peace for the billions of hungry, diseased and homless in our world today.

Russia has to do considerably more by developing a visibly open society (look at India) that takes a more responsive and responsible place in the world.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Russia today copyright

US: State Sponsor of Terror In South Asia Region

Comment #84. May 6, 2009 4:46 am Link
US: State Sponsor of Terror In South Asia Region

What's new? The US is the chief irritant and instigator of instability in my South Asia region.
The US is a state-sponsor of terror in the South Asia region.

Get out.

Stop droning and killing civilians. That's terror.

How dare the US 'invite' Saudi Arabia, that pillar of democracy and proponent of wahabbism, into the region.

Pakistan's weakly resurgent democracy has not been given a chance to work, by the US and US-led NATO.

Do not give Pakistan military aid, but do give Pakistan civil society assistance, though international and local NGOs.

The sovereign nation-states of the South Asia region will have to work this out among themselves. They have the capability to do so.

Both the IAEA and the UN's several agencies can and must take a more comprehensive role. They are impeded by the US seat in the UN Security Council.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

p.s Among your panel of so-called experts, why don't you have one each from Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
Room For Debate
May 5, 2009, 5:39 pm
Pakistan’s Nuclear Scenarios, U.S. Solutions
By The Editors