“This is pretty good.”
A former Justice Department official who wrote controversial memos authorizing the Bush administration to conduct torture was the object of a prank by an Australian comedian during one of his recent law class lectures.
John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general who has faced intense criticism for authoring constitutionally-questionable memos justifying torture and the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, was confronted last week during a lecture he was giving on international law at Chapman University School of Law, a private school in Southern California.
After Yoo mentions the Constitution during his lecture, and asks the students if they have any questions, an Australian comedian from the show Chaser’s War on Everything is seen wearing a black-hooded robe and standing on top of his desk with his arms outstretched, recalling one of the most iconic images of U.S. torture captured in the now-infamous Abu Ghraib photos.
The comedian says, “Actually, professor, I’ve got one question. Uhm, how long can I be required to stand here ’til it counts as torture?”
Yoo cuts his lecture short and replies, “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to end class,” as he packs up his lecture notes.
As Yoo apologizes to the class for the interruption, the comedian replies, “If this is awkward for you, it’s very uncomfortable for me, I can tell you…. I’d love to move but every time I do my balls get buzzed.”
The students are heard complaining angrily to the interloper, and applauding their professor.
Yoo tells the comedian that he’ll give him “a certain amount of time” before he reports him to security, after which a stern woman is shown entering the class and ordering any non-students to leave, saying, “This is a private classroom.”
The comedian, still wearing the black hood, says, “OK. I’ll just go to the human rights class down the road, professor. I think you probably won’t be teaching there.”
The Chaser’s War on Everything is an ABC Australia show starring Chris Taylor, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel, Andrew Hansen, and Chas Licciardello.
In 2006, the team pulled a prank on Virgin Blue airlines staff at the Sydney Airport when they purchased online tickets for a flight from Sydney to Melbourne under the names Al Kyder and Terry Wrist. When the passengers failed to show up for the flight, Virgin Blue staff made a final boarding call over the airport PA system calling for the missing passengers, whose names sounded like Mr. Al Qaeda and Mr. Terrorist.
An airline spokeswoman said about the comedians and their stunt, “They obviously have Bart Simpson as a consultant and while we are happy to take the $282 taxpayer dollars they spent on the bookings, we don’t think in the current climate, their childish humor is appreciated by anyone.”
In 2007 in Sydney, they breached security during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit by driving a fake motorcade up to the restricted zone where nearly two dozen world leaders were meeting. The convoy, consisting of three black cars, was waved through two security check points and drove within yards of former President Bush’s hotel before being stopped, at which point Licciardello, dressed as Osama bin Laden, stepped out of one of the cars and asked why he’d not been invited to take a seat at the APEC table. Authorities arrested 11 people from the team, who were wearing “insecurity” passes. The prank exposed vulnerabilities in the summit’s $250 million security operation.