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."
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
Tear Down Guantanamo copy 3.jpg

"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."

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."
Hiding in Plain Sight closes by examining the post-9/11 landscape and the United States' increasing reliance on military force to capture--or more often to simply kill--suspected terrorists, with little or no judicial scrutiny.

Tuesday, April 12
4:00 - 5:30pm
Warren Room, Berkeley Law
Former Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of Guantánamo between 2002 and 2004, "was a no-show in a French court [last month]," where he had been summoned to answer questions stemming from accusations that he oversaw the torture of three French nationals at Guantánamo.

Andy Worthington posts the full complaint from February 2014, as a reminder of some of the horrors of Guantánamo's long and disgraceful history.
h_butoday_16-9795-DEANSYM-018.jpg"The impunity of the United States presents a big drawback in the global fight against torture," said the United Nations special rapporteur Wednesday. When the subject of torture comes up in his travels to other countries, he often hears the same refrain: "If the United States does it, why can't we?"

Juan E. Méndez discussed human rights issues facing prisoners, like force-feeding, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. 

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

The School of Public Health Dean's Symposium invited scholars and policy makers from across the country to discuss crucial questions: do humans have a right to health? And, if so, what does it entail?
obama_garland1-255x326.jpgBefore jumping on that loveboat of support for Supreme Court candidate Merrick Garland, consider his record. The DC circuit court decisions he was a part of -- and the chief of -- closed down habeas corpus options for Guantanamo prisoners. 

"As one wartime detention case after another has pitted state security powers against individual rights, he has often -- though not always -- deferred to the government," notes NY Times correspondent Charlie Savage.

Allegiance to former President George W. Bush's policy of indefinite detentions (that federal courts had no jurisdiction to hear Guantánamo detainee lawsuits, Al Odah v. United States 2003, later struck down by the Supreme Court) might endear Obama's nominee to Republican senators -- with expectation of impunity for collusion in state terror.

But "if the story is, as to me it should be, whether Justice Garland would meaningfully improve governmental accountability in the exercise of national security and counterterrorism policy, it seems clear to me that the answer is both that he wouldn't, and, without more help, that he couldn't," writes Steve Vladeck at Just Security.
c/o caucus99percent.com:

This Friday: 5pm April 1st at UC Berkeley Haas Pavilion 

"From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted--and Hillary Clinton supported--decimated black America." - Michelle Alexander, The Nation, February 10th.

On April 1st former US President Bill Clinton is speaking at UC Berkeley during the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference. His presidency engineered the structural racism of mass incarceration. The Welfare Reform Act (1996) pulled the rug out from under African American communities. The "Tough On Crime" Bill (1994) destroyed families as it incarcerated masses of jobless black men and barred them from employment, housing and welfare. In short, his presidency slashed public welfare programs and transferred the funding to a massive expansion of policing and prisons. A black child born today has a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison, a latino child 1 in 6, and a white child 1 in 17. This is on Bill Clinton.

We want to remind Clinton of the real destructive consequences of his policies. Mass incarceration and structural racism exist today. Apologies are not going to give the incarcerated their freedom back and restore destroyed families. The positive image that the Clintons' sponsorship of education and research creates should not go unchallenged. They should not be allowed to forget and neither should we. In 1992 Clinton used the execution of the mentally impaired black man Ricky Ray Rector as a publicity stunt to prove that he was tough on crime: "I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I'm soft on crime," he said afterwards. All the philanthropy in the world should not be allowed to overshadow this legacy.

This protest is organized by activists from Socialist Alternative and other organizations, on and off campus. 

We refuse to let the Clintons use our campus as tool for whitewashing their legacy. Join us at 5pm outside the Haas Pavilion April 1st to protest mass incarceration. We demand:

- End mass incarceration!
- End racist police violence!
- Defund the prison-industrial complex!

Donald Trump's pledge to murder the civilian relatives of terrorists could be considered quite modest -- and, in its bluntness, refreshingly candid -- when compared to President Obama's ongoing policy of loosing drones and U.S. Special Operations forces in the Greater Middle East. Those policies, the assassinations that go with them, and the "collateral damage" they regularly cause are based on one premise when it comes to the American public: that we will permanently suspend our capacity for grief and empathy when it comes to the dead (and the living) in distant countries... 

The American Way of War Campaign 2016

when I read about all the innocent civilians we've been killing over the years with the airpower that presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls "a blessing," I tend to think about the people left behind. Those who loved the people we've killed. I wonder how they received the news. I wonder about the shattering anguish they surely feel at the loss of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends. I wonder what memories come to them when they squeeze their eyes closed in grief. And I wonder if they'll ever be able to pick up the pieces of their lives and return to some semblance of normalcy in societies that are often shattering around them. 

-- Mattea Kramer, This Life After Loss
NOTE: Press Release and link (should you elect to open it) to Yoo letter contained therein by Office of the Director of National Intelligence, c/o government website, 

ODNI & DOJ Announce the Release of a Previously Classified Letter
from Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Yoo to former FISC
Presiding Judge Kollar-Kotelly 

February 29, 2016

The Letter

The Department of Justice has released today in redacted form a previously classified 2002 letter from former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo of the DOJ Office of Legal
Counsel addressed to former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Presiding Judge,
Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The letter was designed to address certain questions that Judge
Kollar-Kotelly raised during her first briefing on May 17, 2002, concerning certain collection
activities authorized by President George W. Bush shortly after the attacks of September
11, 2001, referred to as the President's Surveillance Program. As described in the publicly
released Inspectors General reports concerning the PSP dated July 10, 2009 (published April
25, 2015 and September 21, 2015), Judge Kollar-Kotelly was permitted to read the
letter, but was not authorized to retain a copy or take notes. The 2002 letter purports to
generally outline the scope of the President's legal authority to conduct possible
electronic surveillance techniques after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Beginning in
2004, the Department of Justice thoroughly reexamined the factual underpinnings and
legal analysis for the PSP culminating in a legal opinion issued by the Office of Legal
Counsel on May 6, 2004. (That opinion is also publicly available in redacted form)

Additional Background

As previously released in the IC on the Record posting of December 21, 2013, President Bush
authorized the NSA, via a series of classified authorizations beginning in October 2001, to
collect three "baskets" of information, including: (1) the contents of certain international
communications (which was later referred to as the Terrorist Surveillance Program); and the
bulk collection of non-content (2) telephony and (3) Internet metadata, subject to various
conditions. NSA's content interception activities under the TSP were limited to the acquisition of
specific international communication (i.e., to or from the United States) involving persons
reasonably believed to be associated with al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations. Over
time, these presidentially-authorized activities were transitioned to the authority of the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act. The collection of communications pursuant to the TSP ended in
2007, and the Government transitioned this collection to be undertaken pursuant to FISA
authority and orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Later, in August 2007,
Congress enacted the Protect America Act as temporary authority to provide for the acquisition
of certain communication content. The PAA, which expired in February 2008, was replaced by
the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which was enacted in July 2008 and remains in effect.
Today, content collection targeting non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located
overseas for foreign intelligence purposes is conducted pursuant to section 702 of FISA. No
U.S. person or person located in the United States may be intentionally targeted pursuant to
section 702. The bulk collection of Internet metadata under the PSP was transitioned to the
authority of the FISA in July 2004 (and ceased in December 2011, when the U.S. Government
decided to not seek reauthorization from the FISC).The bulk collection of telephony metadata
under the PSP was transitioned to the authority of the FISA in May 2006. In November 2015,
the USA FREEDOM Act ended the NSA's collection of telephone metadata in bulk, and
provided a new mechanism for the Government to obtain the targeted production of call detail
records relating to authorized investigations to protect against international terrorism through
applications to the FISC.
The transition of PSP activities to authority of the FISA is described in greater and more specific
detail in documents previously disclosed in IC on the Record. 
President Obama's plan to transfer Guantanamo detainees to super-max prisons in the U.S. could actually worsen their conditions of detention:

"Guantanamo Bay is not as exceptional as we might like to imagine," argue Monia Mazigh and Azeezah Kanji at thestar.com. "Physical and psychological abuse are not restricted to spaces expelled from the normal American legal system. American prison brutality did not begin at Guantanamo, and will not end with its long-promised closure."

Photo c/o Jump Cut

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