The trauma Donald Trump's administration caused to young children and parents separated at the US-Mexico border constitutes torture, according to evaluations of 26 children and adults by the group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR):

The Last Prosecutor From the Nuremberg Trials Says We're Committing Crimes Against Humanity: "Law Always Beats War"

John Yoo's diatribe condemning the International Criminal Court cannot go unchallenged ("Prosecuting the Peace-Can international tribunals curb future atrocities or is the intervention of a great power needed?," Books, Jan. 7). His absurd argument that the threat of prosecution may "exacerbate humanitarian atrocities" denigrates the deterrent effect of law enforcement. He dismisses U.S. Ambassador David Scheffer's "All The Missing Souls" as "a soporific memoir" but extols the virtues of American sovereignty and exceptionalism as justifying the unilateral use of our military might. He also distorts William Shawcross's thoughtful conclusion in "Justice and the Enemy" that "legal proceedings against violent extremists are a crucial defense of our civilization." [Shawcross's] father Sir Hartley Shawcross, the chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, remained a strong supporter of having an international criminal court all his life.

Mr. Yoo also ignores President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1958 warning: "In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law." Mr. Yoo fails to recognize that law is always better than war.

Benjamin B. Ferencz
Delray Beach, Fla.
Mr. Ferencz was a combat soldier in World War II and a prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

[Source: By Benjamin B. Ferencz, The Wall Street Journal, January 2012]

"It's imperative that every single American now recognizes all this for what it is," says umair haque, Eudaimonia and Co. "The game we've been playing for the last few years -- looking away politely, hoping the bad guys come to their senses -- was always a losing proposition. The bad guys don't have consciences or morals -- would they be bad guys if they did? Until and unless all these things are recognized for what they are -- genuine crimes against humanity, the real thing, identified by a prosecutor of fascism as fascism -- who will have the power to stop them?" 


Featured Artists: Mansoor Adayfi, Moath al-Alwi, Djamel Ameziane, Mohammed al-Ansi (Pier, 2016 above), Ghaleb al-Bihani, Towfiq al-Bihani, Assadulah Haroon Gul, Khalid Qasim, Sabry Mohammed al-Qurashi, Ahmed Badr Rabbani, Abdulmalik al-Rahabi, Mohamedou Salahi

"From acrylic landscapes on canvas to model ships made from scavenged materials such as plastic bottle caps and threads from prayer rugs, Guantánamo [Un]Censored celebrates the creativity of the artists and their resilience...

"Guantánamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice, abuse, and flagrant disregard for the rule of law. Since the prison camp opened in 2002, 780 men have been unlawfully imprisoned. Many were subjected to torture and other brutal treatment. Today, 40 men remain, nearly all held without charge or trial. While some have already been cleared for release by the U.S. military and national security agencies, they continue to languish in prison."

After eight years of pretrial hearings, trials may begin of five detainees involved in 9/11. They've been in Guantanamo now for 14 years. "We are stuck in a kind of legal morass caused really by the nature of [their] detention and later treatment," says Julian Borger, world affairs editor for The Guardian and author of The Butcher's Trail

The CIA is hiding the names of those who ordered and carried out the torture, charges Marc Steiner at The Real News Network. Even after years of legal battles, the United States is likely still using black sites and torture. Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen and "almost everyone else involved in the extensive ['enhanced interrogation'] program... has remained in the shadows in terms of legality. It's still the dark side of the moon," says Steiner. "So I mean, for all we know, these black sites... could still be going on. We don't know how far up the chain this could go."

Remembering Jim Lehrer

| | TrackBacks (0)

The October 20 [2009] edition of PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer featured a report on the battle at the University of California, Berkeley, (UCB) to fire war criminal John Yoo, an architect of the torture begun during the years of the Bush Regime and currently a law professor at UCB. The report features a short interview with World Can't Wait activist Stephanie Tang, and video of protests against Yoo, including right in his class room. 

Andy Worthington, British journalist and co-founder of Close Guantanamo, spoke at Revolution Books NYC on January 16, 2020, together with Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, attorney for current and former Guantanamo prisoners.

Peter Jan Honigsberg, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and the founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo Project, offers the most comprehensive picture to date of the lives that were deeply and often traumatically transformed by Guantanamo. From how alleged terrorists were captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan and sold to the US to the Bush administration's use of the term "enemy combatant" to bypass the Geneva Conventions, Honigsberg details how the law was broken in the name of protecting Americans-and how that lawlessness was experienced by everyone who came into contact with Guantanamo. 

The fate of the 9/11 attack defendants may be determined in part on the testimony of the very same people who tortured them. 

Dr. James E. Mitchell and fellow psychologist John Bruce Jessen devised the program of violence, sleep deprivation and humiliation that the C.I.A. would employ on detainees, some at Mitchell's own hands. His team waterboarded Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 183 times over a two week period in 2003.

"Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen started off as contract consultants to the C.I.A. and went on to waterboard three other prisoners now at Guantánamo in addition to Mr. Mohammed, starting with a Palestinian man called Abu Zubaydah. By 2005, they set up a business, Mitchell Jessen and Associates, that grew to provide all of the contract guards at the black sites and 80 percent of the agency's interrogators. The United States government paid the business $81 million for their services." -- Carol Rosenberg, The New York Times

"It is unclear how much of the testimony the public or the defendants will get to see," notes Rosenberg. Air Force judge Col. W. Shane Cohen must decide how much evidence to allow about the men's torture. Considering the government's extensive use of national security privilege over the years, and how much information has been shielded from defense lawyers to date, the chances of a fair trial appear slim.

Jury selection is scheduled for January 22, 2021.

This January 11th, 2020 will mark the 18th year anniversary of Guantanamo's opening in the War on Terror in 2002. Witness Against Torture will join other human rights organization in once again calling attention to the brutality of the prison, including indefinite detention and for an end to any and all uses of torture.

Freed at Last

| | TrackBacks (0)

Three Afghans sent to Guantanamo in 2002 and 2003 are finally home

Hamidullah, who has been freed after 16 years in detention in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and the UAE, is finally home in Kabul. Two other Afghans sent to the UAE, Obaidullah and Mohammed Kamin, both from Khost, have also been released and allowed to return to their families. (Photo: The New York Times'

Hamidullah, who has been freed after 16 years in detention in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and the UAE, is finally home in Kabul. Two other Afghans sent to the UAE, Obaidullah and Mohammed Kamin, both from Khost, have also been released and allowed to return to their families. (Photo: The New York Times' "Guantanamo Docket")

Drawings done in captivity by the first prisoner known to undergo "enhanced interrogation" portray his account of what happened to him in vivid and disturbing ways.

Abu Zubaydah suffers indefinite detention -- in itself a form of torture -- while the architect of American torture techniques, the subject of drawings published by the New York Times, enjoys University of California protection from prosecution for his crimes. The most protested professor in the legal academy also finds refuge at Stanford's Hoover Institution.  

Everyone else can catch the movie.

Ahmed Rabbani is from Karachi, Pakistan. He has been detained in Guantanamo Bay for more than 15 years.

"Trump has, time and again, called the handful of American soldiers convicted by military courts of war crimes 'heroes'," notes Sasha Abramsky at Truthout. "These include Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is standing trial for thrill-killing civilians in Iraq; Nicholas Slatten, a Blackwater contractor found guilty in 2007 of killing numerous Iraqi civilians; Green Beret Mathew Golsteyn, who stands accused of killing an unarmed Afghan man; and several Marine Corps snipers accused of urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters."

The legal theories which vest the President with literally unlimited power remain largely in place -- including pardoning U.S. military personnel convicted of, or standing trial for, war crimes -- with no small thanks to the legitimacy afforded torture advocate John Yoo by media institutions and UC Berkeley Law. 

In a 2006 memoir of his government service, entitled War by Other Means, the professor promulgated that a president could take a number of steps so that people criminally charged with allegedly torturing prisoners would go free:

"There are ways that the legal system could develop effective approaches toward coercive interrogation. A president could decline to prosecute an officer whom he believed properly acted in self-defense or in an emergency, or out of necessity.  A President could pardon those involved.  Even if a prosecution occurs, a jury must find that that the defense is not met, and convict the agents and his superiors of violating the law.  It would require the only juror to agree that it was reasonable for the defendants to believe the coercive interrogation would yield information that would save lives, and that it would be necessary under the circumstances, to prevent the conviction."

The general framework on which John Yoo's infamous "torture memo" rests is one under which we continue to live under the fascist regime of Trump/Pence; the "twisted" notion that the president's DOJ has the authority to immunize government officials or private actors from the reach of the law is a recipe for inevitable lawlessness, wrote former Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald on release of the document.

While prospective pardons failed to materialize on Memorial Day (facing a barrage of criticism from military top brass, he pulled back), Trump's pardons are expected to be resurrected and "dangled as red meat" before the MAGA crowd. Abramsky concludes that "Trump's glorification of violence and knee-jerk defense of people such as Gallagher are part of a much bigger pattern. Over the past four years Trump has stated that he believes American soldiers ought to be able to torture terrorism suspects, kill the families of terrorists and use such methods as dipping bullets in pigs' blood before firing them at Muslim fighters as a way of humiliating them. In other words, Trump has repeatedly advocated the carrying out of war crimes by American military personnel. 

"Have we learned nothing from the past?"

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

Donations via PayPal
are not tax deductible.

Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo