FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Skeleton in John Yoo’s Closet

by JAYNE LYN STAHL

If former White House lawyer and deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, John Yoo, were ever to decide to join the ranks of newfangled conservatives running for office he would be hard-pressed to hide the skeleton in his closet. Mr. Yoo, who now teaches international law at U.C. Berkeley, is married to the daughter of former wartime correspondent, Peter Arnett.

For those who remember Mr. Arnett from his days reporting on both Gulf Wars on CNN, and MSNBC, we can only sit back and savor the irony. The man whose name has come to be synonymous with the “torture memo” of August, 2002 which authorized so-called enhanced alternative interrogation methods, a man who said that the U.S. doesn’t have to abide by the Geneva Conventions if our enemies don’t, and one who, according to the Contra Costa Times, recently told a Sacramento crowd that he doesn’t “consider” waterboarding torture gets to sit down to turkey dinner every year with a father in law who was fired from NBC News for saying on Iraqi TV what every American now knows, that the Iraq War was a failure.

Yes, that’s right, the White House lawyer who opined that one has to effectively kill somebody before it’s considered torture is now next of kin to the reporter who broke the story, in 1998, on network news that U.S. forces killed their defectors by using Sarin gas on a Laotian village in 1970.

Arnett, a war correspondent with 40 years of experience, won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Vietnam as a reporter for the Associated Press. Yet, he quickly became George H.W. Bush’s biggest nightmare when he covered the allied bombing of a civilian baby milk factory. The Guardian U.K. reported that the senior Bush was so upset with Arnett, he called him a propagandist.

It quickly became clear that Peter Arnett was a whistleblower for U.S. military transgressions. But, it was his appearance on state-run Iraqi television back in March, 2003 that got him fired from his positions at MSNBC, NBC, and National Geographic. And, despite his official apology, he was forced off the air.

Peter Arnett now teaches journalism in China.

The discussions around the Yoo table must be fun to watch when Arnett comes to town now that the theatre of battle has moved to Afghanistan. In March, 1997, the seasoned journalist sat down to interview Osama bin Laden and, as he was later to tell CNN, as far back as 1997, U.S. intelligence “had figured out that bin Laden was a major potential threat.”

Arnett said that he gleaned from interviewing bin Laden, four years before the bombing of the World Trade Center, that it was bin Laden’s intention to convert Afghanistan into an Islamic state. He told CNN, only three months after 9/11, that it was clear four years earlier that Laden had “an apocalyptic vision about violent change, not only in the Arab world, but the whole Islamic world, including Indonesia and the Philippines.”

He could tell all this from one conversation with Osama bin Laden back in 1997, and still the CIA, those distinguished masters of political assassination, couldn’t figure out a way to target them.

In April, Arnett told a gathering of Vietnam era journalist colleagues that Vietnam was “the first foreign war the U.S. ever fought where the press challenged government thinking, challenged the decisions of generals, challenged the political decisions the war was based on.”

Maybe, during one of their meals together, Arnett can ask Yoo whether Yoo might expand his restrictive definition of torture, which requires organ failure, to include the more than 4500 American troops not to mention Iraqis who have died in that country alone, as well as those now being killed daily in Afghanistan.

Without a doubt, Peter Arnett’s career would be in as much jeopardy today as it was under both presidents Bush were he to report on Afghanistan with anything less than a positive slant.

Moreover, that Ward Churchill should have been forced out of the University of Colorado for writing a controversial essay about 9/11 while John Yoo continues to teach international law, of all things, at U.C. Berkeley is one irony that doesn’t fit in anybody’s closet.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

More articles by:
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail