1485198713984.jpgOf the 41 who remain today -- overseen by some 1,650 troops and civilians -- only 10 have been charged with war crimes. The majority have been detained for more than a decade, and none were captured by the U.S. military. -- Foreign Policy reporter Molly O'Toole 

The $8.4 million renovation of Camp 5 proceeds as planned, presumably to house "bad dudes" of Donald Trump's choosing. Guantánamo supporters argue that the expense is cause to expand use of the American concentration camp. "We've invested a lot of money" in Guantánamo, and it's a "safe place to keep prisoners," says Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "It fits that purpose marvelously well."

Prisoner defense lawyers find a different motivation at work. "Guantánamo is at its core a place to send Muslim men and boys to be abused and forgotten, with only the most minimal judicial oversight and visibility to media," says Shayana Kadidal.

"So of course Trump loves it."

So Who Is John Yoo, Exactly?

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"He's a lawyer and professor most famously known for helping give President George W. Bush the authority to torture suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks," begins Laura Hankin at Romper... 

Yoo is no liberal "snowflake." This is the guy who, when he served in Bush's Justice Department, authored a series of memorandums providing legal arguments that the torture of detainees in the War on Terror was within the law, and not a war crime. According to tapes of a debate found by The Intercept, Yoo even defended the legal right of a president to torture children. As NBC News reported, he's part of the reason that the United States went to war in Afghanistan, and that Bush was able to open the ethically-dubious detention center in Guantanamo Bay. And when it came to President Barack Obama, Yoo supported his problematic use of drone strikes.

"John Yoo unleashed the 'unitary executive' theory that enabled Bush's torture program," adds Heather Digby Parton at Salon: 

This essentially holds that during wartime a president can exercise virtually unlimited authority, which can be checked by Congress only by using the "power of the purse." Since the "war on terror" was a unique construct that could not possibly have a definitive end, that meant the president was to have nearly dictatorial power for the foreseeable future. Among other things, according to Yoo, the president could suspend the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the government to deploy the military for domestic police actions, and the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures, by holding that they don't apply to domestic military operations undertaken during a "war on terror."

Donald Trump's "enthusiastic endorsement of torture," as Parton puts it, mirrors that of members of the last Republican administration. "And they didn't just talk about it; they actually did it." While it is doubtful that the new President fully grasps Yoo's theory, he demonstrates the conviction that 'if the President does it, it's legal'.

Parton notes that "unfortunately, while Trump may not know or care about the legal precedents behind his actions, his lawyers surely do, and you can be sure they'll be citing Yoo's work on the unitary executive theory. No one could have predicted that Trump, of all people, would become president, but that's exactly why the cumbersome checks and balances were put in place to begin with."

The protestations that "Torture Professor" (who remains in the employ of the University of California, teaching 'ethics' to Constitutional Law students) makes against the way Trump exercises power do not begin to exonerate Yoo's contributions to operation of the State of Horror we suffer.
People are mad as hell, and rightfully so, over the President's outrageous action this weekend, his denial of free passage to Muslim air travelers on suspicion of religious affiliation.

"We have a President who says 'I don't follow the law, I don't care, I'm already sitting in the seat'," argues 'Young Turk' Cenk Uygur. "There really isn't any other legal action to be taken against the President who won't follow the law other than impeachment." Impeachment is a possibility that many find unlikely, but...

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Are we really stuck with President Trump? asks Georgetown University Law Center professor Rosa Brooks.   

"Yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared," she confirms. Pre-inauguration fantasies that Trump would modify his views after taking office have been dispelled during the earliest days of his administration. 

Brooks considers four ways to discharge a president in her commentary to the Washington Post. She missed a fifth, a move exemplified Monday night by acting attorney general Sally Yates: the refusal of millions of people across this country to follow his orders.

Resistance to illegitimate governance blossomed today as retired Colonel Ann Wright interrupted the confirmation hearing of Trump's nominee for U.S. Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. "I say no to Jeff Sessions, no to hatred, no to racism, no to the ban on refugees," shouted the co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience before being roughly yanked out of the room by a guard. Of special note: the former soldier received the State Department's Award for Heroism in 1997, the same year an Alabama judge accused Jeff Sessions' State Attorney General's office of gross prosecutorial misconduct.

We look forward to more disruption to business-as-usual in the coming days.
The Opinion of Deputy Assistant Attorney General (a position previously held by torture advocate John Yoo) Daniel L. Koffsky came in handy to contravene the anti-nepotism statute hindering appointment of the President's son-in-law Jared Kushnerclear as senior White House adviser. But Deporter-in-Chief Donald Trump didn't bother to consult his Office of Legal Counsel for approval to conspire to deny the civil rights of members of the Muslim faith. 

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President Donald Trump has tapped his controversial senior adviser and chief strategist Stephen Bannon for a seat at National Security Council Principals Committee meetings in what some experts are calling an "unprecedented" political appointment to the panel, reports Alexander Mallin at ABC News...

In an executive memorandum signed by Trump on Saturday, the president also downgraded the status of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the security council's Principals Committee. Both will now only attend meetings "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."

"We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory," said Bannon. "We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda."

Not if we deny the legitimacy of the whole damn bunch of American fascists!
If we bomb a country or help destabilize its society, we will then ban its citizens from being able to seek refuge in the United States," writes journalist Zaid Jilani at The Intercept.

President Trump is expected to sign an Executive Order today to restrict visits and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. Titled "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals," the draft text reads "In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our country and its founding principles." Which is a lot to ask of people being bombed to oblivion. The U.S. Terror program has little to do with humanitarian aid and everything to do with sustaining American hegemony in the Middle East.

"What all seven countries have in common is that the United States government has violently intervened in them," concludes Jilani.
but a "serious legal and moral failure that leaves us all at risk of further human rights violations," says Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "We are extremely concerned that President-elect Trump will make good on his threat to subject more people to indefinite detention without charge or trial."

Donald Trump's revival of John Yoo's torture techniques -- and worse -- would provide a green light to other authoritarian regimes, fear human rights experts. With good reason. United Nations' special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer warns that the consequences around the world "would be catastrophic."

It's up to us to stop that from happening. 

"I would be guided by" American's support for waterboarding and other tactics says the president-in-waiting. NO! We refuse to accept any such collaboration with the crimes of a Trump regime.

Demonstrate your opposition to expansion of U.S. torture practices:
Wednesday January 11, the 15th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay prison camp
Meet-up 1 PM, Homeland Security's 450 Golden Gate Plaza entrance, San Francisco
"If President X has the power to prohibit torture, it follows that President Y has the power to permit it," blogs novelist Barry Eisler. "Well, now we have President Y. This was not only predictable; it was predicted."

"Wasn't it banned already?" asked independent journalist Rupert Stone. "Laws are futile if they are not enforced. During his time in office, Obama has failed to punish former members of the Bush administration for prisoner abuse, even though Obama admitted that 'we tortured some folks'. Not only has the Justice Department declined to prosecute any Bush officials, but it has also repeatedly invoked state-secrets privilege to stop civil litigation brought by torture victims. Without the deterrent provided by possible criminal prosecution, future presidents might feel they can torture with impunity. . .

"Obama has taken important steps to end torture, but the door remains ajar. If prisoners are tortured once again, people might well ask, Why didn't he close it?"

Long-term Close Guantanamo advocate Andy Worthington expects up to 18 prisoners to be released before Donald Trump assumes office. An additional 41 lives hang in the balance. The time for attrition has run out. Mr. Trump has vowed to keep Guantanamo prison operating and "load it up with some bad dudes." We must mobilize NOW to stop him in his tracks.

U.S. Honors Torturers

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151203132251-dick-cheney-bust-december-3-2015-exlarge-169.jpgThe House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of one of the planet's most notorious war criminals yesterday, reports Glenn Greenwald. "Obama's immunizing Bush-era torturers converted torture from a global taboo and decades-old crime into a reasonable, debatable policy question, which is why so many GOP candidates are now openly suggesting its use." 

Current Vice President Joe Biden thanked the assembled Republicans for including him in the festivites and added his accolades. "I actually like Dick Cheney," he confessed. "I can say without fear of contradiction, there's never one single time been a harsh word, not one single time in our entire relationship." 

Biden announced fresh presidential aspirations to reporters Monday: "I'm going to run in 2020. So uh, what the hell, man."
but his appointment to the Office of Legal Counsel job once occupied by Berkeley Law employee John Yoo would prove a dangerous addition to the white supremacist program being developed by cabinet position apologists for presidential war crime. 

It's doubtful that Yoo will be asked to join the Trump administration; his questioning of the president-elect's ideological reliability should preclude that nightmare. Disgraced former West Point instructor William Bradford is "all but wetting his pants in his incontinent eagerness to fill the post," writes libertarian blogger William Grigg. "The idea that academic dissenters from the 'Global War on Terrorism,' and attorneys who represent terrorism suspects, should be treated as enemy combatants" should be wake-up call to all witnesses to Donald Trump's ascension to power.

"As the incoming [National Security Law Journal] Editorial Board, we want to address concerns regarding Mr. Bradford's contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants," editor-in-chief Myers wrote. "The substance of Mr. Bradford's article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits. We cannot 'unpublish' it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers."
"President-elect Trump and his immigration advisers have taken an illegal and long-ago abandoned post-9/11 program, the National Security Entry-Exit System, and now threaten to reignite it," said ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project director Cecillia Wang in a statement. "Let's be clear: Trump is talking about a federal dragnet that targets people for registration, surveillance, interrogation, or detention because of their religion. Such a dragnet would be unconstitutional."

John Yoo's defense of 2006 detainee measures provides a chilling reminder that a decade of denial occasioned the rise of a truly fascist regime.
At a Heritage Foundation event Thursday, John Yoo, a Berkeley Law professor and scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, got a warm reception from the crowd by cracking about the closeness. . .

"I'm surprised there are so many people here because I thought everyone at Heritage was working over at transition headquarters," Yoo said on the panel about Trump's win. "I asked the taxi cab driver to take me to Trump transition headquarters and he dropped me off here, instead."

The crowd let out an appreciative laugh.

"As long as President-elect Trump appoints people to this administration that are going to do things that are consistent with the promises he made while campaigning for this office that the American people clearly supported, then I'm optimistic about where we're going," says James Wallner, group vice president of research at Heritage.

Shame on John Yoo. Shame on his enablers.

* https://www.law.berkeley.edu/giving/big-give/berkeley-law-effect-resonating-impact-law-policy-lives/
OO-rodriguez_1280X960-1.jpgRodriguez directed the National Clandestine Service and "helped develop the CIA black sites, secret prisons operated in foreign countries where interrogators used a range of torture tactics, including the use of 'waterboarding'," The Intercept writes...

Rodriguez is also infamous for destroying 92 tapes of CIA personnel torturing detainees. "I was just getting rid of some ugly visuals that could put the lives of my people at risk," the torture architect said in defense of the decision, according to his book published in 2012.

Other Bush officials that may snag positions in the new Trump administration include Stephen Hadley as Secretary of Defense, and Chris Christie as Attorney General. 

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton sponsors the return of waterboarding, claiming that the technique "isn't torture."

The Obama administration could have prosecuted torturers and war criminals in the Bush administration and sent an unmistakable message to the world: torture is illegal and unconscionable. Instead the president said they would "look forward, not backward", basically turning a clear felony into a policy dispute. Trump has bragged that he will bring back torture - waterboarding and "much worse...

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