06 April 2008

The case against John Yoo mounts

Professor Lederman:

the March 14th Yoo memorandum, and the April 2, 2003 [Department of Defense] DOD Working Group Report that incorporated its outrageous arguments about justifications for ignoring statutory limits on interrogation, was secretly briefed to Geoffrey Miller before he was assigned to Iraq, and became the source of all the abuse that occurred there in 2003 and early 2004.

Here’s the role the OLC plays in US governance:
An OLC legal conclusion does establish the official views of the Executive branch unless overruled by the President, the Attorney General, or OLC itself (as Jack Goldsmith did in the last week of 2003). Therefore, it's a very solemn function for the Office to have. Actually, by law the function has been assigned to the Attorney General ever since the Judiciary Act of 1789; but in recent decades, the AG has delegated the opinion-rendering function to OLC.
and indeed that’s how the Department of Defense interpreted the significance of Yoo:
The DOD General Counsel, Jim Haynes, pretermited the debate by informing the JAGs that OLC's view of the law was determinative -- that no matter how much they disagreed, OLC establishes the law for the Executive branch. OLC's view of the law was . . . the Yoo March 14th memo.
The connection to Cuba is now more than that our presence on Guantanamo is an insult to the dignity of Cubans.

The scary part is that the torture may become grounds for an international effort to evict.