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John Yoo - UC Berkeley Law School Endowed Chair

By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 14 July 2014

By Debra Sweet   Curt Wechsler writes on "The selection of John Yoo to fill an endowed faculty chair at Boalt Hall has raised righteous indignation across the board, from academics to un-credentialed people of conscience. The appointment represents a huge leap in institutional complicity in war crimes. Where neglect in enforcement of ethical conduct was excused by platitudes of powerlessness from the former dean, the current administration (new Dean, new Chancellor) appears to embrace the politics of exceptionalism: that international law may be selectively employed. Indeed, promotion of John Yoo's hyperbole has helped to normalize illegal government policy on what might be better labelled a 'war of terror.' ""

Since Yoo returned to the University of California Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law to teach, there have been years of protest about his authorship of specific White House memos providing legal justication for "enhanced interrogation."  That memo's contents were put to use within hours to waterboard prisoners in Guantanamo in 2002. Criticism from within the law school has been private and muted, as he's been a key part of the post 9/11 adoption of torture and indefinite detention, and even though the torture camp remains populated by a majority of "cleared for release" prisoners without hope after 12.5 years.

Yoo's public role continues to grow as he promotes expanded Presidential powers, increased state surveillance, and targeted killing, and everything else that is favored by the neocons and effectively executed by the Democrats. He is a heavily featured speaker on the state security lecture circuit.

Although World Can't Wait's projects FireJohnYoo.netand already document Yoo's political activities and although we continue to organize protests whenever possible, we see the response to this appointment as a potential turning point in public opinion among alumni, faculty, and in the wider community.  

This fall is the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement that erupted at Berkeley in 1964 and opened up resistance to arbitrary authority across the country and for a generation.  Will the university be allowed to co-opt that movement, or will we challenge everyone to reject the university model of supporting the status quo?

We seek your thoughts as to how we might mount an effective public campaign sanctioning U.C. for its complicity and, at a minimum, deplorable lack of ethical judgment evident in this appointment, while at the same time parlay such a campaign into an effective condemnation of the so-called "legal" justification for the use of torture and for Guantanamo's legitimacy.

Write me with your rants, proposals, poems, articles.  And please share this news with anyone you know who has a connection to UC Berkeley or the UC system.


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