The U.S. Senate is poised to give President Obama and the next president unprecedented war powers that amount to declaring martial law upon the entire world. Majority leader Mitch McConnell surprised almost everyone last week by saying he has a war resolution ready to be voted on at any time.

The resolution is a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) for declaring war on ISIS. It would give the president even more power than the AUMF granted to Bush after 9/11, which is still in place today...

Ba Odah v. Obama

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Make no mistake: indefinite detention is torture. Just ask Tariq Ba Odah.

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"There is no shortage of blame to go around for Guantánamo's continued operation," wrote Omar Farah, NYU Press. "In Tariq's view, the courts, lawmakers, and the president are all part of the same system that keeps him locked up and far from his family. I am hard-pressed to disagree. But, surely, as the person with ultimate power over Tariq's fate, President Obama bears unique responsibility for the fact that, as of this writing,* Tariq remains in isolation at Guantánamo, having passed the eighth anniversary of his hunger strike, bracing himself for his next feeding session."

*Tariq Ba Odah was transferred to Saudi Arabia on April 16, with no small thanks to the people who have stood by him.  
More than 800 pages of "new" CIA documents were released Tuesday, which the ACLU says highlight the "inhumanity of the torture conceived and carried out" by the CIA under the George W Bush administration. "It bears emphasis that these records document grave crimes for which no senior official has been held accountable," said deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer. 

Find bios for Bybee, Yoo, Haynes and more at warcriminalswatch.org.
519Ph5EIZZL.jpg"From the look of the presidential campaign, war crimes are back on the American agenda," writes Mainstreaming Torture author Rebecca Gordon"We really shouldn't be surprised, because American officials got away with it last time -- and in the case of the drone wars continue to get away with it today. Still, there's nothing like the heady combination of a 'populist' Republican race for the presidency and a national hysteria over terrorism to make Americans want to reach for those 'enhanced interrogation techniques'. That, as critics have long argued, is what usually happens if war crimes aren't prosecuted." 

Gordon demands a full accounting for actors in America's war of terror, including one of the top candidates for prosecution, John Yoo.

"The belief that the men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay are the 'worst of the worst dangerous terrorists' is still commonly held, due in large part to the mainstream corporate media and politicians," writes London-based human rights activist Aisha Maniar. "But as early as 2006, Seton Hall University School of Law identified, using U.S. Department of Defense data, that only 5 percent of prisoners were captured by the U.S. military. Of the current 80 remaining detainees, only three were captured by U.S. forces, including Pakistani prisoner Saifullah Paracha, who was kidnapped in Thailand... 

"The vast majority of prisoners 'were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody' in return for a bounty," which former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf called "prize money."

Hopefully, by the time he gets on the stand in federal court in late November, Trump will simply be a former Republican presidential candidate on trial for his predatory business practices. Instead of being inaugurated in Washington, D.C., he'll be cross-examined in San Diego. Having lost in the court of public opinion, he'll have to defend himself in a court of law...

For 16 years or more, establishment centrists have been complicit in a historically reckless trend. Come 2017, it may place Donald Trump at a big table, much like the one on The Apprentice, where he'll decide not which B-list celebrity to fire, but which humans to kill,

CIA destruction of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture fails to erase the history of, or culpability for the horrors practiced at Guantanamo. No one will be able to put that particular genie back in the bottle. U.S. and international law provide no statute of limitations on the prosecution of war crimes.

Congress Can't Make a War Crime Moral. "The Hague and Geneva Conventions and other international treaties to which the United States is a party ban the crimes that are always part of any war," posted David Swanson at Global Research, including "War Crime #55 -- Torture." (David will be presenting the second edition of his book, War Is a Lie, at multiple engagements in the Bay Area towards the end of this month.) Torture apologist Senator Richard Burr was not alone in trying to keep the Senate torture report from the public, notes Chip Gibbons of BORDC/DDF:

"The Obama Administration and the CIA have both argued in response to the ACLU's lawsuit that the report is a Congressional record, not a federal record subject to FOIA. The Department of Justice has even asked the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to refrain from commenting on whether they considered the torture report a federal record due to the ACLU's ongoing lawsuit. This is significant, because NARA has the responsibility to preserve the torture report if it is a federal record. NARA also has the authority to determine whether a record is a federal record or not and other agencies, such as the DOJ or CIA, must follow NARA's determination -- not the other way around."

ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi said in a statement that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling against release of the Report "has the disappointing result of keeping the full truth about the CIA torture program from the American public, and we're considering our options for appeal."

The federal court decision is disgraceful, but what we already know, "that captives were deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, at times with their hands shackled above their heads, and the report recorded cases of simulated drowning or 'waterboarding' and sexual abuse, including 'rectal feeding' or 'rectal hydration' without any documented medical need," is more than adequate to prosecute accomplices to the State Torture crimes carried out in our name.   
Out of ExcusesPresident chuckles at criminal legacy of indefinite detention:

"..there's one area where Donald's experience could be invaluable and that is closing Guantanamo, because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground." -- Barack Obama, White House Correspondents' Dinner, April 30, 2016
Obama's extrajudicial drone assassination program is "constitutional and legal."  

In addition to the the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Sanders supports the deployment of 250 soldiers to Syria (announced Monday), the continued presence of 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that airwars.org estimates have killed more than 1,000 civilians.

"While he may be less inclined to deploy the U.S. military than Clinton, who he has knocked for backing the 2003 invasion of Iraq," observes telesurtv.net, "he is no dove himself."
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Thanks to the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report, Guantanamo prisoner's defense lawyers can now talk in court about what was done to their clients. "By all accounts, that's made a big difference," says National Public Radio's national security correspondent David Welna

"For the first time people who were involved in implementing and designing the CIA's torture program will be compelled to answer for their conduct in federal court," adds Jameel Jaffer, who is representing the plaintiffs. "That is literally unprecedented."

"The real problem with the Guantanamo military commissions is that there's no legitimate reason for them to exist." -- Daphne Eviatar, Human Rights First 

Guantanamo's Future

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"Should and Will Guantanamo Close? is the theme of a panel discussion from 4 to 6:30 p.m. April 29 at UC Berkeley's North Gate Hall, Room 105. The event is free and open to the public."  -- Tom Lochner, eastbaytimes.com

Help us distribute the following, with orange ribbons, outside the event, 3:30 - 4:30
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"The Justice Department recently released another of the now-notorious Office of Legal Counsel memos written by John Yoo -- memos that authorized torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention," reports Patrick Toomey for justsecurity.org. "The new memo, written as a 'letter' to then-presiding FISC Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in May 2002, addresses the legal basis for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of Americans' communications under the 'Stellar Wind' program."

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Nearly 15 years later, the Obama administration continues to "embrace" Yoo's legal arguments to spy on Americans, allowing that privacy interests of US persons in international communications are "significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated," when communicating with foreigners abroad.

Obama's Cyberwarfare First Strike directive "essentially reiterates the doctrine of preventive warfare, enunciated by George W. Bush in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq," wrote Patrick Martin in 2013, globalresearch.ca. "Bush declared that the United States had the right to attack other countries, not merely to preempt an impending attack, but to prevent any potential attack at any time in the future -- a formula for unlimited worldwide aggression."

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ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo





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