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.
The 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.
Rodriguez 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...
Obama has handed a surveillance state and war machine to a maniac says Trevor Timm at The Guardian
Vicious attacks on Standing Rock protesters represent a violation of the Human Right to Water, notes Marjorie Cohn, Jefferson School of Law professor, and former president of the National Lawyers Guild:
"Those arrested were held at the Morton County Correctional Center in 10-by-14 foot cages, some in dog kennels. They reported being forced to wait for access to food, water, bathrooms and medical attention. Some charged with misdemeanors were strip-searched. Women were left naked in their cells and male guards harassed them. Some people were zip-tied in stress positions for hours."
Thousands of Indigenous people from the Sioux Tribe, and their allies continue their protest against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) today, undeterred by intimidation, harassment and prosecution by the federal government.
'Gasland' Director Josh Fox documents first-hand police violence at Standing Rock (includes video).
Saturday October 29th World Can't Wait San Francisco and friends took a stand against 'Torture Professor' John Yoo and his handlers at UC Berkeley Law School. "Today we represent the views and the hearts of many more tens of millions of people who know that torture is a war crime, and a crime against humanity. International and UN law both prohibit torture, under any and all circumstances, without exception," read the protest flier.
"Indict, Prosecute, Disbar... No More Torture in Our Name," chanted about 20 witnesses to university apologists for the lawless detention policy at Guantanamo prison camp and 'black sites' around the globe. John Yoo, a key player in the criminal enterprise of the Bush-now-Obama Regime, codified specific torture tactics used on wrongfully captured human beings, many of whom were sold to the U.S. government by bounty hunters.
Protest organizers staged a 'Boalt Hall Museum of Torture,' displaying the 10 'advanced interrogation techniques' approved for use by judge Jay Bybee, Yoo's boss during his stint at the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel.
John Yoo should be in prison, awaiting trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity; not mentoring the next generation of lawyers and judges. It is our responsibility to call out criminal and enabler alike.
"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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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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