ACLU's Jamil Dakwar marks the date with a call for independent criminal investigation of the U.S. torture program:
..100 organizations from around the world delivered a statement [Wednesday] to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva calling for accountability for the CIA torture program and reparations to its victims. In September the council will adopt a report on the United States' human rights record as part of the Universal Periodic Review process. The statement urges the council to demand that the United States "take measures to meet the full spectrum of its obligations under international law to ensure accountability, transparency, reparations and non-repetition, including declassification of the full Senate report on the CIA detention program, independent comprehensive criminal investigation, and the issuing of apologies and compensation to victims."
Instead of arguing for alternatives that might not involve military force, U.S. humanitarian lawyers discuss the appropriate degree of transparency and the legal procedure for lethal violence. Those issues aren't negligible but they are secondary to considerations of prudence and morality, first-order questions that legalistic approaches to warfare obscure...
photo: Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former director of Harvard's Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy and self-described "genocide chick" for advocating military intervention in Libya and Syria.
"Perhaps the [prohibition on torture] amendment would be unnecessary if Obama would've pursued criminal charges against the architects of the torture program, as an international treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and ratified by the U.S. Senate required him to do." -- Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic
The alleged Al Qaeda operative (it turns out that he wasn't even a member) lost his left eye while in CIA custody, sometime between 2002 and 2006. As of today he has suffered the Guantanamo torture camp for eight years nine months.
His attorney Brent Mickum says "there is absolutely no question that on the night he was captured he had two completely functional eyes.'' A CIA spokesman claims a pre-existing condition caused the eye to "disintegrate" on its own. But eighty-three waterboardings (Zubaydah was the first suspect officially subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques") didn't help.
John Yoo's 2003 memo determined that to put out or destroy an eye could be legal as long as no specific intent to cause the prisoner severe pain could be proved. "It is an unconscionable document" says law professor Dawn Johnsen.
CIA videotapes of Zubaydah's interrogation were destroyed. But the physician from Johns Hopkins University who treated Abu Zubaydah could shed some light on what happened.
UC Berkeley professor Stuart Russell warns that automated weapons systems "could violate fundamental principles of human dignity by allowing machines to choose whom to kill," and calls on his colleagues to take a stand -- in a recent op-ed piece for the science journal Nature.
"It's a very easy step to go from remotely piloted drones to fully autonomous weapons," Russell says. "The AI [artificial intelligence] community may be too late. We might decide that we don't like our technology being used to kill people, but we may not have a say in it."
Restoration of livelihood to the wrongfully detained is an obligation that can't be rescinded.The deal foisted on Guantanamo refugees in Uruguay fails to provide stability for the men released. Objections to terms of that agreement are maligned for discouraging sponsorship by other countries. Turning the finger of blame on to victims whose lives it has destroyed sets the bar even lower in how far the US will go to cover up its crimes against humanity.
FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk tells the dramatic story of the fight over the CIA's controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture. Based on recently declassified documents and interviews with key political leaders and CIA insiders, the film investigates what the CIA did -- and whether it worked.
Berkeley Law Shelters a War Criminal: Indict John Yoo
Friday May 15
Hearst Greek Theatre
8:00 am sharp, to be in place for arrival of Processional; Ceremony begins at 9:00
John Yoo was a UC Berkeley Law professor when he took a leave of absence to accept a position in the Bush Department of Justice. He was the principal legal author of justification for the torture program exposed to the world thru Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Employing a dangerous philosophy of exceptionalism -- that American lives are worth more than other people's lives -- Yoo provided advice and cover for illegal policies inherited and embraced by President Obama.
Last week's international conference, Reflections on the Legacy of Nuremberg, sponsored by the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies provided an excellent venue to protest the University of California's advancement of state torture policy. World Can't Wait activists were on hand to demand accountability for John Yoo -- and his enablers.
A university that allows a war criminal to teach constitutional and international law courses to the next generation of lawyers and judges under prejudice of "academic freedom" is protecting war crimes. There is historical precedent for prosecuting Berkeley Law's resident torture advocate.
In the case U.S. v. Altstoetter, judges, prosecutors, and Ministry of Justice officials who had served the Nazi regime were charged, tried, and convicted of war crimes because their "legal" work enabled the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust under color of law. Recall the role of Adolf Eichmann, sometimes referred to as "the architect of the Holocaust" because he facilitated and managed the logistics of mass deportations of Jews and others to the Nazi extermination camps. His bureaucratic role was critical to the death of millions in the Holocaust.
John Yoo utilized his employment in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush regime to promote crimes of torture, massive surveillance, unlawful and indefinite detention, and war. As a direct result of Yoo's legal memos thousands have been subjected to torture, tens of thousands incarcerated, tens of millions spied upon, and a million have died in U.S. imperialist wars. Without the provision of "legal cover" many of these crimes would not have been possible.
End the Silence.
Say NO to normalization of war crimes.
Fire, Disbar and Prosecute John Yoo and ALL the Torture Lawyers.
Adding to the disturbing nature of the CIA's ability to kill people in complete secrecy, the agency apparently now has a carte blanche to conduct drone strikes on its own. According to the New York Times, President Obama doesn't individually approve them anymore - he lets the CIA unilaterally decide to kill people if the strikes "fit certain criteria." We have no idea what those conditions are since virtually everything about drone strikes at the CIA is secret...
Contrary to its constitutionally-protected requirement towards respecting of human rights, the United States has been internationally criticized for its violation of human rights, including denying access to basic healthcare, the least protections for workers of any Western country, the return of imprisoning people for debt, shutting off water to impoverished citizens who cannot afford it, deprivation of housing and criminalization of homelessness and poverty, invading the privacy of its citizens through surveillance programs, institutional racism, gender discrimination, police brutality, the incarceration of citizens for profit, the mistreatment of prisoners and juveniles in the prison system, crackdowns on peaceful protesters, the continued support for foreign dictators who commit abuses (including genocide) against their own people, unconstitutional denial of voting rights of certain races or political affiliations, and the illegal detainment and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
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Events & Calendars
Important ReadingPhysicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives
NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...
The President's Executioner
Detention and torture in Guantanamo