Eastman has "retired."

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A virtual program streaming on Youtube and Facebook

Online with Facebook Live
Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 1 PM PST - 3 PM PST

Andy Worthington, the British journalist and co-founder of "Close Guantanamo", will speak from the UK in a livestream event about the horror of the Guantanamo detention camp and the courage and humanity of prisoners who have died, those who have been released, and those who have resisted for years.
This virtual program will stream on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionBooks1
Andy will be joined by Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, lawyer for several Guantanamo prisoners and victims of U.S. drone strikes outside war zones.



"According to former Obama senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, putative Democratic Party candidate for president Joe Biden picked a 'superstar' when he appointed ex-CIA Deputy Director and White House attorney Avril Haines to head his national security and foreign policy team," wrote Jeffrey Kaye some months ago.

"No matter how much Obama/Biden administration officials praise her, Avril Haines' role always seems to be making the unpalatable palatable, whether it's prettifying companies like [data mining] contractor Palantir, agencies like the CIA, policies like 'targeted killing,' or war criminals like current CIA chief, 'Bloody' Gina Haspel...

"The problems with Haines don't stop with her shady connections to torture. It's known that Avril Haines was Obama's CIA deputy director. But most of the public doesn't know she was also Obama's direct advisor in constructing his targeted assassination 'Kill List' policy."

When the President-elect declared "America is back" on Tuesday, the list of nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign posts he presented should give everyone pause. All Washington veterans with ties to former President Barack Obama's administration, these nominees carry a lot of baggage. "[Obama's] actions on counterterrorism provide a case in point," noted Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth in an article following Donald Trump's ascendancy to the White House: 

".. rather than reaffirming the criminality of torture, Obama leaves office sending the lingering message that, should future policymakers resort to it, prosecution is unlikely. 

"Obama's efforts to close Guantánamo have been equally halfhearted. Early in his tenure, he moved slowly, enabling Congress to adopt legislation -- which he refused to veto -- imposing various obstacles to transferring detainees overseas and barring their transfer to the United States even for trial."

With respect to surveillance, Obama continued and expanded programs begun by George W. Bush that lead to massive invasions of privacy.

To his credit, Joe Biden replaces a fascist thug in the highest office. But a return to "normal," whatever that is considered, is a poor rebuttal to the hateful legacy of American exceptionalism that enabled today's horror story.

Students and faculty at University of North Carolina, Charlotte called for the removal of John Bogdan from his position as the associate vice chancellor for safety and security. American Association of University Professors chapter president John Cox said Bogdan's hiring "had already prompted us, a lot of professors, to get together and begin to talk about the serious and deep problems at the university, as central problems of democracy and of what kind of a university is this that hires someone who presided over the Guantanamo Prison Camp for two years?" he said. (Home to the author of the 'Torture Memos' UC Berkeley comes to mind.) "Why would the university even seek to hire someone, why would they be attracted to someone with that resume?"

Thanks for forwarding this article, Ed Charles:

Professors' association revamps efforts to #FireJohnBogdan!


Unfinished Business

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Berkeley Law enables the nightmare we refuse to accept

Fascist in Chief: John Yoo's Fight for a Unitary Executive

The attorney who helped craft the Bush administration's 2002 legal justification for torture told The Guardian he was giving advice to the White House on how President Trump could bypass Congress and impose his own policies.

Protesters are being snatched from the streets without warrants. Can we call it fascism yet?

Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist, July 20, 2020
"Through the Trump years, there's been a debate about whether the president's authoritarianism is tempered by his incompetence. Those who think concern about fascism is overblown can cite several instances when the administration has been beaten back after overreaching. But all too often the White House has persevered, deforming American life until what once seemed like worst-case scenarios become the status quo."
"President Trump and top White House officials are privately considering a controversial strategy to act without legal authority to enact new federal policies -- starting with immigration," report Alayna Treene and Stef W. Kight. "The White House thinking is being heavily influenced by John Yoo, the lawyer who wrote the Bush administration's justification for waterboarding after 9/11."

"Yoo detailed the theory in a National Review article, spotted atop Trump's desk in the Oval Office, which argues that the Supreme Court's 5-4 DACA ruling last month "makes it easy for presidents to violate the law."

"The fact that John Yoo is employed and free to opine on legal matters is an example of the culture of impunity in the United States," says prisoner defense counsel Alka Pradhan

No one has ever been held responsible for the torture, illegal detention and other human rights violations that have been and are still being committed at Guantánamo Bay -- not even the author of those "enhanced interrogation" methods. 


On May 27th, via a live stream, you can meet Mohamedou Ould Slahi who spent 14 years at Guantánamo Bay where he was illegally imprisoned and subjected to torture. Despite living under inhuman circumstances, he learned to speak English from listening to his prison guards and wrote down his experiences in letters to his lawyers. "Guantánamo Diary" was published (albeit partly censored) while he was still captive, and it became a best-seller.



Next week, the Supreme Court will hear lawyers argue the president's claim that he has absolute immunity while in office, write law professors Claire Finkelstein and Richard Painter. NOTE: Spanish version here. Thanks Ed Charles!

"What is at stake is no less than the accountability of a president to the rule of law... If the justices endorse this extreme view, they will make it impossible to hold this president, and all future presidents, answerable in courts for their actions."
Donald Trump's lawyers have introduced a novel argument -- that the president should not be distracted from attention to the Covid-19 crisis. (As if he has bothered to manage it at all, short of sacrificing thousands of lives to the health of the stock market.)
The president has availed himself of John Yoo's "unitary executive theory," declaring himself the "chief law enforcement officer" of the country, "asserting a right to ignore the traditional independence of the Justice Department."
Should the Supreme Court side with the defendant in Trump v. Vance, the justices will make it impossible to hold this, and all future presidents, answerable for their actions.
Shame on John Yoo. Shame on Berkeley Law.

'pandemic' contempt for medical advice characterizes the Trump/Pence regime's response to COVID-19. Many White House cheerleaders share in the Christian Right's denial of science; suppressing truth and accountability. When asked about his own culpability for delayed action in addressing the crisis, placing millions at risk of infection, Trump answered, "Yeah, no, I don't take responsibility at all."  

Trump supporters, usually enchanted with 'unitary executive' theory, now defend the President on legal grounds, arguing that the federal government has a limited role in fighting COVID-19. "Under our federal system, Washington, D.C., has only limited powers to respond to a pandemic," writes UC Berkeley Law's John Yoo. "The Constitution grants the national government a limited set of enumerated powers. Stopping the spread of disease is not among them."

Many nations, from South Korea to Germany, have done far better at responding to the virus, notes David Remnick at The New Yorker. "The pandemic is an event in the natural history of our species, but it is also a political episode. Its trajectory is shaped by policy measures specific to particular governments. The fact that the United States is experiencing tremendous losses--that it has far more covid-19 cases than any other country in the world--relates to a number of collective risk factors and The Preëxisting Condition in the Oval Office."

The Cook County Jail in Chicago is America's biggest coronavirus hotspot. Why did we allow this?
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

"A mix of fanatical punitiveness and a callous disregard toward how much incarcerated people suffer under routine circumstances, to say nothing of during a pandemic, has made America's jails and prisons into habitats of sustained torture... 


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