"Persuading any given individual is only part of the purpose of a discussion like this one. In fact, there's a much more important function: by subjecting dogmatic, fearful, irrational opinions to the light of reason, we expose them for what they are. And over time, views that were once respectable become untenable, and then increasingly disreputable, until finally even the few people who still cling to them are too embarrassed to utter them in polite society. This is the very history of the fight against racism, bigotry, and intolerance." And torture, author Barry Eisler adds.

Indict John Yoo for War Crimes
Saturday October 29, 1:00 pm
Boalt Hall, Room 105  

For years Berkeley Law administrators feigned helplessness to respond to charges of ethical misconduct against professor Yoo. That academic hand-wringing has been supplanted by promotion of the un-constitutional construct of 'unitary executive theory' advanced in defense of imperial warfare. Failure to hold the author of the 'Torture Memos' accountable contributes to the lawlessness exhibited by today's endless wars for Empire. 

Many of us remember Barry's participation in Berkeley's "Say No to Torture" Week. The author of Inside Out continues to expose the crimes of our government to readers outside the usual cadre of human rights activists -- including students struggling to find their role in construction of a just, and habitable, future.  

It is up to us to call out criminals and enablers alike. Please respond to this solicitation with determined commitment to repudiate the illegitimate ramblings of an unrepentant war criminal. Contact World Can't Wait to tell us how you want to contribute to this Saturday's action, sf@worldcantwait.net. We especially need volunteers to present the contents of our Bush/Bybee Torture Museum, those 'enhanced interrogation techniques' reviewed and approved by Berkeley's own state torture architect. 

John Yoo Belongs in Prison, Not Mentoring the Next Generation of Lawyers and Judges!
Thanks to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against CACI Premier Technology today, for the corporation's role in torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

CCR lawyers note that prior dismissal of Al Shimari v. CACI et al. represented a return to the widely discredited Bush-era legal theories of Torture Memo author John Yoo. Today's ruling repudiates application of immunity for private contractors: "The military cannot lawfully exercise its authority by directing a contractor to engage in unlawful activity." 

"The prohibition on torture and inhuman treatment is a universal and absolute legal requirement; it is not a policy judgment left to the discretion of the military or its contractors," said Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy.
"It's breathtaking that the body-bags keep piling up, without any attempt to go after the systemic problems -- racism, police brutality, excessive use of force, a sick gun culture that makes them the first not the last resort (clearly not in Garner's case, but in most others) -- that have brought us to this tragic place," comments AhBrightWings on the chocking death of Eric Garner by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo.

"The same mentality that has infected foreign policy is rife here. It's not just that we, as a nation, have empowered ourselves to break international laws without consequences, regret, or apology...we don't hold ourselves to our own best laws, refuse to acknowledge the anguish these deaths cause, and continue on in the same criminal manner. It's a Bully Culture writ large.

"If the 'law says' that Wilson can gun down an unarmed man, if the 'law says' that a police officer can choke to death a man crying out that he can't breathe, if the law says that Martin, armed with Skittles, can be killed because someone else 'feels scared' (of course he does; he just killed an unarmed kid) then the law is, to quote Dickens, an ass."

'Lawfare' employed in service to the U.S. War of Terror is a damning example of the distortion of constitutional principles advanced by the Berkeley Law project to dissemble UC complicity in crimes against humanity. Subscription represents a serious breach of the professional standards demanded of law students.

105 Boalt Hall, School of Law
October 29, 1:00 pm

UC Berkeley continues to harbor and employ a war criminal. Torture is a war crime under all U.S. and international law, and John Yoo was a principal legal architect of the Bush/Cheney torture machinery, before returning to Berkeley Law where he now teaches constitutional law and other core courses to the next generation of lawyers and judges.

The torture operations designed, ordered, and carried out under Bush -- and which continue today under Obama, whose promises to close Guantanamo and end illegal torture have evaporated in the wind -- only became possible through the work of the "torture team" lawyers including UC's infamous John Yoo.

Despite a worldwide outcry, UC has still not taken a single step to investigate John Yoo's status on the faculty. A lawyer whose career hallmark is his stint in Bush's Justice Department providing legal-sounding excuses so that torture could be used under color of presidential power, can not be a role model mentoring students.

To volunteer, for details, and to suggest ideas for this protest, please contact World Can't Wait to tell us how you want to help:  sf@worldcantwait.net

Take Torture Off the Table

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"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," wrote Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The House of the Dead. The cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment -- torture -- inflicted on disfranchised subjects, from Pelican Bay in California to Bagram, Afghanistan, must not only end; the presumption of American immunity to international law must be repudiated. Dismantling of U.S. torture camps can't wait. And that is up to us.

On New Year's Eve 2011, President Obama signed an appropriations bill into law that effectively reneged on his election promise to close Guantanamo. The duties he assumed as Commander-in-Chief, "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution," are not supposed to be negotiable. Journalist Andy Worthington notes Obama's failure to effect closure, even though he had the means to do so. 

The human cost of this failure has been documented. The New York Times maintains a docket of the roughly 780 men detained at Guantanamo over the years, nine of whom died while in custody. A new book by Jeffrey Kaye, Cover-up at Guantanamo, explores the the circumstances of three suspicious deaths. His Guantanamo Truth website contains documentary material for Naval Criminal Investigation Service reports on Abdul Rahman Al Amri, Mohammed Salih Al Hanashi and Adnan Farhan Abd Latif "suicides." 

It's time to be honest. You can't blame it on Congress. We say no more excuses and mixed messages. Release the 61 illegally detained men left at Guantanamo, including 20 uncharged "forever prisoners." Raise your voices everyplace Obama and presidential contenders appear. 

While Obama dallies, Congress threatens to institutionalize the indiscriminate application of criminal laws and the wanton treatment of suspected criminals at Guantanamo. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would block transfers of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the U.S. mainland or any foreign country, reports Sputnik News. Security Human Rights expert Elizabeth Beavers urges a presidential veto, and speaks to election season silence on the issue. "It is unfortunate that they [candidates] don't talk about it because the decisions that the future president will make will have implications for generations to come."

What happens when you don't deal with the crime of indefinite detention? 800 years of Habeas Corpus law, the right to know why you are being held captive by the State, comes undone. We witness no savior from the Democratic Party. It's up to people living in the United States to mobilize against agents of denial and neglect. 

Deferring responsibility for the closure of Guantanamo, on an arbitrary timetable, to President Obama has prolonged the misery of illegally held prisoners. It implies legitimacy for the lawless practice of military tribunals employed to sidestep due process. The Periodic Review Boards instituted by Executive Order 13567 on March 7, 2011 enable a legal limbo for victims of warrantless prosecution.

One of those victims, former child prisoner Hassan bin Attash, is the last to face Obama's Periodic Review Board. Deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release, he languishes at Guantanamo while authorities quibble over applicability of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Attash was just sixteen or seventeen when he was captured). 

"Closing Guantánamo the right way requires ending indefinite detention without charge or trial; transferring detainees who have been cleared for transfer; and trying detainees for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing in our federal criminal courts here in the U.S.," posts the ACLU. "Our federal courts routinely handle high-profile terrorism cases. If a prosecutor cannot put together a case against a detainee, there is no reason that person should continue to be imprisoned."

Close Guantanamo NOW. 

"Cover-Up at Guantanamo"

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372px-Guantanamo_celldoor,_Camp_Delta_-_1.jpgPsychologist/reporter/activist Jeffrey Kaye's new book examines so-called suicides at the Cuba-based U.S. interrogation and detention camp, between 2006 and 2009. 

Among the explosive details revealed in this book is the fact government agents themselves, most likely from NCIS, the very agency charged with investigating the deaths, interfered with the gathering of evidence, ordering the shutdown of Guantanamo's computer database of prison activities within minutes of one detainee's death. Even worse, after the FOIA for this material was filed, the computer logs suddenly went missing! That is only the beginning of the story, as Kaye's investigation shows material evidence was thrown out in the trash, prisoners who were intensely mentally ill were provided with material to kill themselves, and medical personnel turned their backs on detainee complaints of torture... 

Announcing his campus appointment, conservative scholar Steven Hayward joked that in the class he plans to teach with John Yoo, they are "thinking of offering the students a choice for course grading: a 25-page research paper, or being waterboarded," reports Austin Weinstein for The Daily Californian.

There are 61 illegally detained men left at Guantanamo, including 18 uncharged "forever prisoners." Not a single senior official has yet faced accountability for the systematic torture of detainees.

Guantánamo's ill-conceived structures cannot provide justice. "Instead of fair trials in federal court, the U.S. government chose to create a pseudo-court system from scratch, in the form of military commissions that fall short of international fair trial standards," writes Amnesty International USA's Elizabeth Beavers. "The failed military commissions could continue without change and without justice, if the public continues to ignore that they're happening."

"Indefinite detention is a violation of international human rights law," continues Beavers... "By continuing to prop up a parallel detention system in which individuals can be held for more than a decade without charge or trial, the United States has a built a dangerous precedent upon which human rights violations can be normalized and then expanded upon. 

bush_obama-620x412.jpg"If a constituency exists for Trump's extreme anti-terror agenda it's because Republicans and Democrats alike have spent the last fifteen years cultivating paranoia, secrecy, and deference to executive authority," writes Sam Adler-Bell, policy associate at the Century Foundation in New York. 

"We already live in a country engaged in an interminable, boundless war against an ill-defined enemy -- a war in which any degree of constitutional compromise can be justified. If we don't want to live in that country, we have to do more than reject Trump's abhorrent policies... 

The U.N. special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association just spent 17 days traveling across the United States, observing "a long arc of systemic oppression that African Americans have faced in the United States, from the era of slavery to the Black Lives Matter movement," writes Max Bearak, Staff Writer for The Washington Post. 

"From the grief-stricken cities of Baton Rouge and Ferguson, Mo., roiled by the killings of unarmed black men by police officers, to the contentious political battlegrounds of convention-week Cleveland and Philadelphia, Maina Kiai witnessed a country riven by inequality and ideological polarization." His report will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June 2017.
Human Rights Watch has just released its report, Extreme Measures: Abused Children Detained As National Security Threats.

During U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces apprehended and detained thousands of boys suspected of participating in armed activities. In Iraq alone, the U.S. confirmed that between 2003 and 2008, it detained at least 2,400 children.

Institute for Political Economy blogger Paul Craig Roberts recalls the torture memos written by Department of Justice officials: "The positions held by [Berkeley Law professor John] Yoo and [U.S. federal judge Jay] Bybee tell the world all that is needed to know that the United States is a lawless entity and that this lawlessness is accepted by America's legal, political, and educational institutions and by the American people." (
Many of us remember Yoo's argument that there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody - including by crushing that child's testicles.)  

"What self-respecting parent would send a son or daughter to study law at a university that hosts a 'legal scholar' who discounts law in behalf of torture?" asks Roberts. We think not one who recognizes that no country or government is above the law of human decency.
800px-TortureWaterboarding.jpg"Mr. Trump is on record as saying that he thinks 'torture works' and if elected president he'd not only bring back waterboarding but 'a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding'" opines Dr. Kelly Anspaugh. "Mr. Trump is also on record as asserting that he would fight terrorists by going after their family members...
See The Trojan Drone: An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised as Technological Advance by Rebecca Gordon, philosophy professor at the University of San Francisco

Who Is the "We"?

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Interpersonal racism, when it exists, is only one part of the equation. Another part is systemic, structurally racist policies, and yet another is class conflict between the police and the poorest, most dangerous communities they patrol, and between those who are better off and those who are not...

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