"The approval of torture on detainees must be labeled an intentional, calculated decision that resulted from post-9/11 hyper-patriotism justifying the unethical treatment and dehumanization of detainees, who at times held no relevant knowledge regarding terrorism or were completely innocent," writes Claire Oh for International Policy Digest. President Trump's attempts to bury the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture (he has ordered the return of all copies of the report to the Senate vaults) undermine the integrity of the United States' government.

 

"By disregarding these commitments [Geneva Conventions and UN Convention against Torture] and attempting to sweep the violations into a vault, we leave ourselves vulnerable to criticism and accusations of hypocrisy from other nations," Oh adds.

 

Let alone delivering justice to the 41 remaining prisoners illegally held at Guantánamo. Far from facilitating closure of the hated U.S. concentration camp, Trump has promised to "fill Guantánamo up with bad dudes." 

 

"It is also critical to bring the idea of torture from the abstract to the concrete in the minds of Americans, preventing ourselves from falling prey to historical amnesia," concludes Oh. "The future of America's use of torture is unknown, especially considering that a 2017 Pew Research national survey found that roughly 48% of Americans say there are some circumstances under which the use of torture is acceptable in U.S. anti-terrorist efforts...

 

"Although debating the use of torture has unfortunately become a norm, it is because of society's current attitude on enhanced interrogation techniques that make the information within the report imperative."

Will Trump allow Guantanamo prisoners kill themselves? asks Maha Hilal,
Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. "For those on [hunger] strike, rather than feeding the inmates through a tube, Guantanamo authorities appear prepared to allow striking prisoners to suffer serious organ failure -- or possibly even death.

"In other words, the only way out of Guantanamo might be for the prisoners to starve to death on the government's watch," concludes Hilal. "It is the U.S. government's failure to implement justice that has led to the hunger strikes.
 
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"Muslim prisoners who have constantly been vilified in the War on Terror are using this last, dangerous form of resistance -- despite the personal harm it's causing them -- to re-claim ownership over their bodies in a system that has denied them all other levels of agency."

Join World Can't Wait and friends in an orange-jumpsuited contingent, representing the 41 illegally held Guantanamo prisoners, to Refuse Fascism action on November 4. This Nightmare Must End.

In San Francisco, rally at 3pm, Union Square. March begins at 4pm.
A leading booster of killing machines extols emotional detachment from traditional legal and political safeguards. Jim Hightower asks "where is the morality in that?"
"Eight years ago, when I wrote a book on the first days of Guantanamo, The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo's First 100 Days, I assumed that Gitmo would prove a grim anomaly in our history," remarks Carol Rosenberg. "Today, it seems as if that 'detention facility' will have a far longer life than I ever imagined and that it, and everything it represents, will become a true, if grim, legacy of twenty-first-century America."

Some observers speculate that the base will also provide space for the surge of undocumented migrants deported from the United States since Donald Trump took office. The half-billion dollar Pentagon budget for new construction at Guantanamo includes $100 million for a 13,000 migrant tent city. Spokesmen for the Navy, Southcom and the Department of Homeland Security are reticent to reveal its purpose, although DHS spokesman David Lapan says Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "does not have any plans to use this facility for any new/additional detention." 

At this time, the Navy is accepting site bids to build a skeletal structure for kitchen areas, dumpsters and a headquarters building. A public-address system has been proposed. The facility is expected to have a "minimum life of 50 years." 

To our collective dismay, the extralegal terrorism policies of the Bush administration have found a second life in the Trump era. We must find the courage and conviction to end this nightmare. On November 4 we take to the streets to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power.
John Yoo's colleague at the Berkeley Law School will say anything to discredit wind energy. Steven Hayward is on the board of directors for the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit whose main contributor is Charles Koch and other 'friends of the earth', and claims wind energy subsidies are not cutting emissions.  

North Dakota physician Lyle G. Best wonders why we should listen to someone with little training in physics, engineering or biology. "Hayward may be of the opinion that mercury and other heavy metals are good for you, sort of like the benefits of 'waterboarding', but I think not." 

Editorials in the Denver Post and the chairman of the University of Colorado faculty assembly found Hayward's statements "border on hate speech." The professor counters that those offended "need to get a sense humor." 

UC Berkeley administrators purport to solicit conservative scholars to counter 'liberal bias'. But "bigotry is not diversity," argue Chris Schaefbauer and Caitlin Pratt. "The academic imperative to promote a diversity of ideas and experiences ends when the ideas being expressed are oppressive and discriminatory." 
Authorities at Guantánamo Bay have ceased force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners, reports Reprieve. "On September 20th, a new Senior Medical Officer stopped tube-feeding the strikers, and ended the standard practice of closely monitoring their declining health."

Medical professionals have an obligation to bring attention to the plight of the hunger strikers in Guantanámo Bay say signers to a new petition for independent medical oversight. "The moral and ethical issues may readily be resolved. Where, as here, a prisoner has been denied liberty or a fair trial for 15 years or more, most people would agree that he has a valid cause for complaint. The simple solution would be to give him justice."

Forced feeding is a hideous process employed to relieve government embarrassment over custodial death. The brutish Trump/Pence regime exhibits no such shame or compunction to release the 41 men falsely  imprisoned in Guantanamo. "Not only will the detainees die as a result of their peaceful protest," notes lawyer Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, "but their deaths will spark still more anger if the military coerces them by manipulating their medical treatment. The Trump Administration must urgently allow independent medics to examine these detainees, before it's too late."

One of the men on a hunger strike is Ahmed Rabbani, a Pakistani prisoner held -- without charge or trial -- since September 2002. He has been on a hunger strike since 2013, reportedly weighs just 95 pounds, and is suffering internal bleeding. "I don't want to die," says Rabbani, "but after four years of peaceful protest I am hardly going to stop because they tell me to. I will definitely stop when President Trump frees the prisoners who have been cleared, and allows everyone else a fair trial."
Yes, you read that right.

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz will be speaking at UC Berkeley, thanks to an invitation from Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, that allows him to bypass a campus rule requiring eight weeks notice for such a speech... 

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The last few weeks have demonstrated how inexplicably eager UC administrators have been to welcome far-right speakers to campus; Chancellor Carol Christ leads the pack of misguided academics enabling the advance of totalitarian agenda in universities across the country. 

'Torture Professor' John Yoo's colleague Alan Dershowitz has a particular interest in forms of debilitating pain: "I want more painful. I want maximal pain, minimum lethality. You don't want it to be permanent, you don't want someone to be walking with a limp, but you want to cause the most excruciating, intense, immediate pain. Now, I didn't want to write about testicles, but that's what a lot of people use. I also wanted to be explicit because I didn't want to be squeamish about it. People have asked me whether I would do the torturing and my answer is, yes, I would if I thought it could save a city from being blown up [the universally discredited 'ticking time bomb' scenario]."

We refuse to accept a torture state.
Barbra Roose.jpgWhat was it like to live as a Jewish little girl who had to hide her identity? It was very confusing for me, and I'm sure it is confusing for immigrants to the United States who should be proud of their heritage, explains Holocaust survivor Barbara Roose. 

"I see parallels [with the current political climate] -- you take away not only the physical safeties, but you take away their dreams, their homes, their talents. Unless we wake up here and say 'basta'.  

"These neo-Nazis and white suprematists are serious." Antifas aren't scary. Neo-Nazis are.
A close look at John Boalt's legacy, the Chinese Exclusion Act. Attorney and Lecturer Charles Reichmann will address the history of Berkeley Law's complicity in anti-Chinese racism.

Monday September 25, 12:45 - 2:00 pm
Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley

Ex-CIA chief Michael Morell resigned from his position as a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Thursday, in protest of Chelsea Manning's short lived appointment as a Visiting Fellow; current CIA director Mike Pompeo canceled his scheduled talk. 

Chelsea says "Good." 

"Harvard has shown exactly what [marginalized communities on college campuses] are up against," opined John Judis at New Republic. "The real chilling effect on free speech comes from those with actual power, who receive funding from sources like the military, tech giants, and anti-regulation billionaires like the Koch brothers."

Controversial visitors come to campus all the time, don't they? And isn't it the conventional wisdom that their rights must be defended at all costs, no matter how unpopular their ideas or past behavior may be? Well, that may be the case when those who visit are right-wing provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos or Ann Coulter and those who protest their visits are minority or leftist students. But apparently it's not the case when the visitor is on the left and when it's the spies who are protesting. So, no sooner than one could say "whistleblower," in an act of mind-boggling spinelessness Harvard reneged on its offer. -- academeblog.org author Hank Reichman 

A 2015 report by Vice News on the most militarized universities in America ranks Harvard number 32 on the list of 100 schools receiving a combined $3 billion in national security research and development funding.

Hate Speech Isn't Free

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Defense of white privilege costs the disadvantaged dearly. Ask someone who's been there. American "free speech" law protects people against physical harm -- and tolerates unlimited emotional harm. Victims of hate speech suffer as much as or more than victims of hate crime argues Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum.

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The liberal defense of fascists' "rights" does a lot of harm. UC Berkeley's new chancellor Carol Christ leads the pack of misguided academics enabling the advance of fascist agenda at universities across the country. "We urge you to think very carefully about the lives you are risking in giving white supremacists an even larger platform than they already have," concludes a letter to Christ initiated by members of the Berkeley Anthropology Department. The chancellor's "free speech year" premiers with the promotion of right-wing talk show host Ben Shapiro, followed by the return of infamous bigot-provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose appearance bumps the previously scheduled Annual Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Anna Tsing, Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. 

Provision of a platform is not the same thing as free speech, writes The Guardian columnist Owen Jones, "however much it is falsely and disingenuously portrayed as such. If someone refuses to lend you a megaphone, they are not infringing your right to say what you believe: they are simply not offering you their own resources to amplify your views to a broader audience." 

There is no perfect protest. "Those standing on the sidelines of the current racial-justice movement, waiting for a pristine or flawless exercise of righteous protest, will have a long wait," observe Michael McBride, Traci Blackmon, Frank Reid and Barbara Williams Skinner. "Our concern at this moment is with our moderate brothers and sisters who voice support for the cause of racial justice but simultaneously cling to paralyzingly unrealistic standards when it comes to what protest should look like."

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "Letter From Birmingham Jail"

Many mainstream media outlets have bought into Mr. Trump's "both sides" narrative of right- and left-wing extremism while ignoring the injustices that inspired the protests in the first place. 

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"Rather than critique from afar," conclude the clergy members, "come out of your homes, follow those who are closest to the pain, and help us to redeem this country, and yourselves, in the process."

Get organized for November 4, the national day to come out in the streets and don't leave until the Trump/Pence regime is gone! 

Next Refuse Fascism meeting this Wednesday September 6, 7 PM, Omni Commons, 4779 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland 
There are limits to hate speech -- such as speech that is "inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action," ruled the Supreme Court in Brandenburg vs. Ohio.

The Berkeley Patriot event does just that. "We know that his [Milo Yiannopoulos] presence is going to likely create a confrontation," says Mayor Jesse Arreguin. Conservative provocateurs "bear responsibility for inciting a violent environment." 

"So let's stop the pretending that this is about free speech," concludes East Bay columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. "Because what we're looking at is an invitation to violence."

23xp-letter1-master768.jpgIn February 1976, Edward R. Fields, a grand dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, released then state attorneys general Baxley's "kiss my ass" response. Four decades later, Mr. Baxley's example serves as inspiration for "all who seek to equivocate in times of moral crisis." Less than two weeks since a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, Baxley provides inspiration for "all who seek to equivocate in times of moral crisis." 

"There are times in the life of a nation, or a president, or a state attorney general, when one is called upon to respond directly to the voice of hate," conclude the former attorney generals. 

"Anybody that espouses that rhetoric and that doctrine is not just expressing a difference of opinion -- they're advocating the most horrific acts that you can imagine towards innocent people," says Mr. Baxley. "It just cannot be tolerated in a just society, or else you get something like you had in Nazi Germany. You just can't allow that to take root."

"Bill drew the line," says former Maine attorney general James E. Tierney. "We wanted to give his courageous act voice at a time when the country needs to hear that there are courageous voices."

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