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John Yoo Meets Torture and At Last Recognizes It?

John Yoo Meets Torture and At Last Recognizes It?

By Dennis Loo (12/17/14)

John Yoo, principal author of the Office of Legal Counsel’s “Torture Memos” that gave the green light to the CIA and other governmental agencies to carry out torture under Bush, has this week surprisingly distanced himself from some of the torture techniques, saying on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show on December 11, 2014 that if the Senate’s Torture Report accounts are true, that the CIA was acting outside of the Justice Department’s authorization and could be prosecutable for that.

Yoo, as those who follow these things know, has been an unabashed proponent of torture and so his sudden discovery of the law and a conscience seems startling. He famously stated in a public debate on December 1, 2005, for example, that if POTUS ordered a boy’s testicles to be crushed in order to extract information from his father, that this would be acceptable if POTUS was doing it to protect the US. Yoo needs to explain how crushing a boy’s testicles is better than sodomy with hummus, keeping detainees awake for up to seven days (a sure technique for driving someone literally mad), putting people into coffin boxes for protracted periods of time, and waterboarding people until they are unconscious and had to be revived.

As ex-Representative Jane Harman, who sat on the House Homeland Security Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, points out in the CNN broadcast with Yoo, the OLC and Yoo at the behest of the Bush White House, redefined torture to mean only if it caused “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or death,” so that the techniques employed that Yoo is now objecting to were still within the OLC/Yoo/Bush Regime’s own self-serving definition.

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US Policy: Only Some Lives Matter

US Policy: Only Some Lives Matter

By Dennis Loo (12/7/14)

This is Part 2 of a series. The first installment was entitled “The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy.”

The first article of this series’ main point was that the unjust and murderous actions of officers such as Pantaleo and Wilson are not aberrations but in fact a logical outgrowth of, entirely consistent with, inspired by, and necessary corollaries to, US governmental policies, both here and abroad.

Consider the rationale for the so-called “war on terror” and the invasions and occupations of numerous countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House, through both the US military and various agencies such as the CIA and NSA, during the Bush years and the Obama years, has been and is still: carrying out torture, including of entirely innocent individuals, indefinite and preventive detention (e.g., Guantanamo, Bagram and other secret locations – aka “black sites”) where due process and the right to have your day in court have been explicitly suspended indefinitely, using anti-personnel weapons such as degraded radioactive warheads, cluster bombs, and free fire zones on densely populated civilian neighborhoods resulting not only in mass dislocations, deaths, and dismemberments but extraordinary increases in horrible birth defects, drone assassinations of thousands of overwhelmingly innocent “collateral” victims including hundreds of children, and massive surveillance upon whole countries.

All of these acts have been and are being carried out under the official rationale of “protecting American lives” by torturing and killing very large numbers of people. Well over a million Iraqis alone have died since our unjust and illegal invasion of their country based on a lie.

The immoral calculus for these actions? If it’s to save American lives, then anything is justified, even massive crimes routinely committed against innocents. The ends apparently justify the means.

Read more: US Policy: Only Some Lives Matter

The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy

The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy

By Dennis Loo (12/5/14)

This is Part One of a multi-part series

This is the dilemma that those who run this political and economic system confront with the incredible popular upheaval in city after city, the likes of which I have never seen, even when comparing it to the 1960s:

If authorities were to do anything that would in any way cause the police to feel that they did not have complete license to constantly harass, brutalize, and kill, then this system could not continue.

Before examining this claim from different angles and justifying it, first an overall orientation:

The nature of economic and political power today under neoliberal regimes is so outrageously unfair, unjust, cold-blooded, deceitful, destructive, murderous, and belligerent, and becoming more so with every passing week, the only way to hold back the flood of outrage that has finally been unleashed against it is to continue to use repression on an even grander scale than that which unleashed this storm of resistance and disgust in the first place.

Ask yourself, why would the government blatantly uphold the obvious crime committed by Daniel Pantaleo who choked Eric Garner to death in front of the camera while Eric pleaded that he could not breathe over and over until he was suffocated? Pantaleo mugged for the camera that he knew was recording his murderous actions after he killed Garner and he and his fellow cops did nothing to try to revive Garner's lifeless body on the sidewalk. 

Authorities certainly did not anticipate that they were opening the floodgates by issuing this non-indictment in the immediate aftermath of the fury and protest of so many to Ferguson. That is certain.

But they also could not afford to slap Pantaleo on the wrist because Pantaleo was doing exactly what the police have been training to do. To sanction Pantaleo is to make a mockery of what they have been directing and socializing their police force to do.

Read more: The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12