Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yoo make my dreams come true...

More on the Yoo problem from Scott Horton, brilliant Lawyer and, now, blogger and columnist at Harper's

Dean Edley asks what appears to be a rhetorical question:

Did the writing of the memoranda, and his related conduct, violate a criminal or comparable statute?

The answer to that question is "yes." The liability of an attorney dispensing advice with respect to the treatment of persons under detention in wartime is subject to a special rule. It cannot be viewed in the same manner as advice given in a complex commercial dispute, for instance... United States v. Altstoetter.... Following on the guidelines established by Justice Robert H. Jackson, the U.S. chief prosecutor, Telford Taylor, and his deputy, Charles M. La Follette, established clear principles of accountability for lawyers dispensing legal advice in circumstances virtually identical to those faced by John Yoo.... Each of these criteria is satisfied with respect to Yoo's advice under the torture memoranda. They explicitly address persons under detention. It was reasonably foreseeable that persons would suffer serious physical or mental harm or death as a result of the application of the techniques (in fact there have been more than 108 deaths in detention, a significant portion of them tied to torture). And the analysis was false, a point acknowledged ultimately by the OLC itself. Accordingly, a solid basis exists under the standard articulated by the United States under which John Yoo may be charged and brought to trial. In his defense Yoo will certainly rest almost entirely on notions of immunity crafted in derogation of non-derogable international law. These arguments will work with courts in the ideological thrall of the Bush Administration, but not elsewhere.

However, my point here is not to make the prosecutor's case against Yoo. It is to show that what he did raises not merely ethics issues, but actual criminal culpability. Edley's failure to appreciate that is very troubling. Yoo is protected by the political umbrella of the Bush Administration for the moment.... So Professor Yoo will want to think twice before boarding a jet for one of those stays on Lake Como of which he is so fond.