On Thursday, May 28, the Berkeley Daily Planet newspaper published an article encouraging people to join a vigilante-style protest in front of the private home of Professor John Yoo. The article read in part:
Neighborhood Alert: Berkeley Home to Possible War Criminal
Last week the Grizzly Peak neighbors of John Yoo received a “Neighborhood Alert” regarding Professor Yoo, in the form of a flyer letting them know he lives among them and providing information about his crimes, namely providing unethical and shoddy legal advice and cover to Bybee, Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc. …
Unlike a sexual predator or burglar, Mr. Yoo is a criminal whom the police are not likely to point out to Berkeley citizens, though his crimes are horrific. …
I question the acceptability of sheltering a war criminal in Berkeley. I don’t feel safe living in the vicinity of someone who believes torture is legal. …
Finally, there is a growing group of Berkeley citizens who are standing in witness in front of Yoo’s house on a weekly basis, starting this Sunday, May 31, at 2 p.m. Join this group on Grizzly Peak for an hour or so. If there’s any justice in this world John Yoo is going to have problems living a normal life now, unless he apologizes to us all.
So, like the vigilantes of old, these freelance protesters have decided on their own that John Yoo is guilty of a crime and needs to be punished. No longer content to let the courts decide whether he is even to be charged with anything, much less found guilty, much less determine the punishment, the anti-Yoo protesters have decided to stalk him at home, menacing him and making sure that “John Yoo is going to have problems living a normal life now.”
IndyBay, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Indymedia, then published a detailed guide for how to attend the “protest” in front of John Yoo’s home; because Indymedia routinely redirects incoming links, copy and paste this URL into a new browser window to see the listing:
Zomblog correspondent Chicken Kiev pedaled by the rally on a bicycle and snapped these pictures of the vigilante protesters stalking John Yoo in front of his private home:
Chicken Kiev reports via email:
“I snapped this photo as I passed the protest on my bicycle. There were actually five or six people there, but some were across the street talking to someone in a car.”
“This picture shows that they went up onto John Yoo’s private property and wrote graffiti in his driveway (I think it says ‘All torture is a crime.’) Sorry that it’s blurry, but it’s hard to control the camera on the bicycle.”
Is it proper to harass and menace people in their private homes? Have we entered a new era of vigilante justice? Or have the protesters crossed a line into illegal territory? Is it OK for the protesters to tell John Yoo’s neighbors he is a criminal? Are they allowed to write slogans on his private property? Did the Berkeley Daily Planet violate journalistic ethics by promoting this event?
Readers, whatever your opinion on waterboarding and torture and the “War on Terror”: What do you think?