[Marxism] Justice Dept memo:No international laws applyto US

Stacey Barber emusis at adelphia.net
Sun May 23 08:32:12 MDT 2004

[Marxism] Justice Dept memo:No international laws applyto US


  a.. To: Marxmail <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
  b.. Subject: [Marxism] Justice Dept memo:No international laws applyto US
  c.. From: Christopher Carrico <ccarrico at temple.edu>
  d.. Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 22:13:21 -0400
  e.. Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
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Double Standards?

A Justice Department memo proposes that the United States
hold others accountable for international laws on detaineesâ?"
but that Washington did not have to follow them itself

By Michael Isikoff
Investigative Correspondent
Updated: 1:42 p.m. ET May 22, 2004May 21

In a crucial memo written four months after the September
11, 2001, terror attacks, Justice Department lawyers advised
that President George W. Bush and the U.S. military did not
have to comply with any international laws in the handling
of detainees in the war on terrorism. It was that
conclusion, say some critics, that laid the groundwork for
aggressive interrogation techniques that led to the abuses
at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The draft memo, which drew sharp protest from the State
Department, argued that the Geneva Conventions on the
treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to any Taliban
or Al Qaeda fighters being flown to the detention center at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because Afghanistan was a â?ofailed
state� whose militia did not have any status under
international treaties.

But the Jan. 9, 2002 memo, written by Justice lawyers John
Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty, went far beyond that
conclusion, explicitly arguing that no international lawsâ?"
including the normally observed laws of warâ?"applied to the
United States at all because they did not have any status
under federal law.


At the same time, and even more striking, according to
critics, the memo explicitly proposed a de facto double
standard in the war on terror in which the United States
would hold others accountable for international laws it said
it was not itself obligated to follow.

Berkeley Professor Denounced for POW Memo By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press
Writer BERKELEY, Calif. - Some graduating University of California law
students used their commencement Saturday to denounce a professor who helped
the Bush administration develop a legal framework that critics say led to
the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. About one-quarter of the 270 graduates of
Berkeley's Boalt School of Law donned red armbands over their black robes in
a silent protest of a legal memo law professor John Yoo co-wrote when he
served in the U.S. Justice Department (news - web sites)'s Office of Legal
Counsel. Outside the ceremony, they also passed out fliers denouncing Yoo
for "aiding and abetting war crimes." Yoo said beforehand he didn't plan to
attend the graduation. "I respect freedom of thought, but I think he should
abide by some basic moral standard," said Andrea Ruiz, 35, one of the
armband-wearing students. "Respect for human persons is at the core of what
the law is about." The Jan. 9, 2002, memo, first reported by Newsweek
magazine Monday, laid out the legal reasons why the United States didn't
have to comply with international treaties governing prisoner rights. It
argued that the normal laws of armed conflict didn't apply to al-Qaida and
Taliban militia prisoners because they didn't belong to a state. Yoo, who
worked for the Justice Department between 2001 and 2003, wouldn't comment on
the memo or his government work, but said the students have a right to
express their opinions. "I'm happy to listen to their viewpoints. Beyond
that I'm not going to change what I think," Yoo, 36, said during a telephone
interview Friday. A petition signed by nearly 200 law students and alumni
since Thursday alleges that Yoo's memo "contributed directly to the
reprehensible violation of human rights in Iraq (news - web sites) and
elsewhere." "We're embarrassed that he's at our institution," said law
student Abby Reyes, who launched the petition. "We came to law school in
order to uphold the rule of law, not to learn ways to wiggle our way out of
compliance with it." The student petition urges Yoo to repudiate the memo,
declare his opposition to torture and encourage the Bush administration to
comply with the Geneva Conventions that protect the rights of prisoners of
war. Otherwise, he should resign, the petition says. Yoo said he had no
plans to resign. "To the extent that the petition goes beyond expressing
views, I worry that it's an unfortunate effort to interfere with academic
freedom," he said. Interim Dean Robert C. Berring Jr. said the law school
had no plans to discipline Yoo. "The image of Berkeley is the very
progressive image," Berring said, "but I think you'd find at Berkeley a
pretty wide range of opinions. Professor Yoo is certainly not the only
conservative on campus or at the law school." During a May 13 appearance on
"The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," Yoo said he thought the pictures of
prisoners being abused at the Baghdad prison showed clear violations of the
Geneva Conventions. "So the question is not whether the Geneva Conventions
apply or really whether they're violated or not but how we're going to
remedy the situation, and the military is undertaking that," he said, adding
that violators should be punished and tried.

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