In 2002, as deputy assistant attorney general to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo was the principal author of the notorious series of briefs now known as the “torture memos.” The briefs made the case that prisoners captured in the course of the war on terror were exempt from the Geneva Conventions, laying the groundwork for the Bush administration’s program of “extraordinary rendition,” which outsources the interrogation of suspected terrorists to torture-friendly countries such as Syria and Egypt, and for the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and, most likely, Guantanamo Bay and whatever covert “black sites” the CIA has. Now a professor of constitutional law at the University of California’s law school, Yoo recently published a book detailing his thinking, The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11 (University of Chicago Press). He’ll go head-to-head with Douglass Cassel, director of Notre Dame Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights and a frequent contributor to WBEZ’s Worldview, at tonight’s discussion “The Truth Can Hurt: Torture and Security in the Age of Terrorism.” Moderated by Worldview host Jerome McDonnell, the event is the latest in the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations’ GOAt series, a program launched last year to foster public debate on global affairs among Chicagoans more likely to be found in a bar than a boardroom. This one could be a doozy. Thu 12/1, 7 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 773-525-2508 or 312-726-3860, $10, 18+.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/courtesy of University of Chicago Press.