CIA destruction of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture fails to erase the history of, or culpability for the horrors practiced at Guantanamo. No one will be able to put that particular genie back in the bottle. U.S. and international law provide no statute of limitations on the prosecution of war crimes.

Congress Can't Make a War Crime Moral. "The Hague and Geneva Conventions and other international treaties to which the United States is a party ban the crimes that are always part of any war," posted David Swanson at Global Research, including "War Crime #55 -- Torture." (David will be presenting the second edition of his book, War Is a Lie, at multiple engagements in the Bay Area towards the end of this month.) Torture apologist Senator Richard Burr was not alone in trying to keep the Senate torture report from the public, notes Chip Gibbons of BORDC/DDF:

"The Obama Administration and the CIA have both argued in response to the ACLU's lawsuit that the report is a Congressional record, not a federal record subject to FOIA. The Department of Justice has even asked the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to refrain from commenting on whether they considered the torture report a federal record due to the ACLU's ongoing lawsuit. This is significant, because NARA has the responsibility to preserve the torture report if it is a federal record. NARA also has the authority to determine whether a record is a federal record or not and other agencies, such as the DOJ or CIA, must follow NARA's determination -- not the other way around."

ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi said in a statement that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling against release of the Report "has the disappointing result of keeping the full truth about the CIA torture program from the American public, and we're considering our options for appeal."

The federal court decision is disgraceful, but what we already know, "that captives were deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, at times with their hands shackled above their heads, and the report recorded cases of simulated drowning or 'waterboarding' and sexual abuse, including 'rectal feeding' or 'rectal hydration' without any documented medical need," is more than adequate to prosecute accomplices to the State Torture crimes carried out in our name.   
Out of ExcusesPresident chuckles at criminal legacy of indefinite detention:

"..there's one area where Donald's experience could be invaluable and that is closing Guantanamo, because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground." -- Barack Obama, White House Correspondents' Dinner, April 30, 2016
Obama's extrajudicial drone assassination program is "constitutional and legal."  

In addition to the the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Sanders supports the deployment of 250 soldiers to Syria (announced Monday), the continued presence of 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that airwars.org estimates have killed more than 1,000 civilians.

"While he may be less inclined to deploy the U.S. military than Clinton, who he has knocked for backing the 2003 invasion of Iraq," observes telesurtv.net, "he is no dove himself."
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Thanks to the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report, Guantanamo prisoner's defense lawyers can now talk in court about what was done to their clients. "By all accounts, that's made a big difference," says National Public Radio's national security correspondent David Welna

"For the first time people who were involved in implementing and designing the CIA's torture program will be compelled to answer for their conduct in federal court," adds Jameel Jaffer, who is representing the plaintiffs. "That is literally unprecedented."

"The real problem with the Guantanamo military commissions is that there's no legitimate reason for them to exist." -- Daphne Eviatar, Human Rights First 

Guantanamo's Future

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"Should and Will Guantanamo Close? is the theme of a panel discussion from 4 to 6:30 p.m. April 29 at UC Berkeley's North Gate Hall, Room 105. The event is free and open to the public."  -- Tom Lochner, eastbaytimes.com

Help us distribute the following, with orange ribbons, outside the event, 3:30 - 4:30
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"The Justice Department recently released another of the now-notorious Office of Legal Counsel memos written by John Yoo -- memos that authorized torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention," reports Patrick Toomey for justsecurity.org. "The new memo, written as a 'letter' to then-presiding FISC Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in May 2002, addresses the legal basis for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of Americans' communications under the 'Stellar Wind' program."

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Nearly 15 years later, the Obama administration continues to "embrace" Yoo's legal arguments to spy on Americans, allowing that privacy interests of US persons in international communications are "significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated," when communicating with foreigners abroad.

Obama's Cyberwarfare First Strike directive "essentially reiterates the doctrine of preventive warfare, enunciated by George W. Bush in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq," wrote Patrick Martin in 2013, globalresearch.ca. "Bush declared that the United States had the right to attack other countries, not merely to preempt an impending attack, but to prevent any potential attack at any time in the future -- a formula for unlimited worldwide aggression."
Hiding in Plain Sight closes by examining the post-9/11 landscape and the United States' increasing reliance on military force to capture--or more often to simply kill--suspected terrorists, with little or no judicial scrutiny.

Tuesday, April 12
4:00 - 5:30pm
Warren Room, Berkeley Law
Former Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of Guantánamo between 2002 and 2004, "was a no-show in a French court [last month]," where he had been summoned to answer questions stemming from accusations that he oversaw the torture of three French nationals at Guantánamo.

Andy Worthington posts the full complaint from February 2014, as a reminder of some of the horrors of Guantánamo's long and disgraceful history.
h_butoday_16-9795-DEANSYM-018.jpg"The impunity of the United States presents a big drawback in the global fight against torture," said the United Nations special rapporteur Wednesday. When the subject of torture comes up in his travels to other countries, he often hears the same refrain: "If the United States does it, why can't we?"

Juan E. Méndez discussed human rights issues facing prisoners, like force-feeding, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. 

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

The School of Public Health Dean's Symposium invited scholars and policy makers from across the country to discuss crucial questions: do humans have a right to health? And, if so, what does it entail?
obama_garland1-255x326.jpgBefore jumping on that loveboat of support for Supreme Court candidate Merrick Garland, consider his record. The DC circuit court decisions he was a part of -- and the chief of -- closed down habeas corpus options for Guantanamo prisoners. 

"As one wartime detention case after another has pitted state security powers against individual rights, he has often -- though not always -- deferred to the government," notes NY Times correspondent Charlie Savage.

Allegiance to former President George W. Bush's policy of indefinite detentions (that federal courts had no jurisdiction to hear Guantánamo detainee lawsuits, Al Odah v. United States 2003, later struck down by the Supreme Court) might endear Obama's nominee to Republican senators -- with expectation of impunity for collusion in state terror.

But "if the story is, as to me it should be, whether Justice Garland would meaningfully improve governmental accountability in the exercise of national security and counterterrorism policy, it seems clear to me that the answer is both that he wouldn't, and, without more help, that he couldn't," writes Steve Vladeck at Just Security.
c/o caucus99percent.com:

This Friday: 5pm April 1st at UC Berkeley Haas Pavilion 

"From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted--and Hillary Clinton supported--decimated black America." - Michelle Alexander, The Nation, February 10th.

On April 1st former US President Bill Clinton is speaking at UC Berkeley during the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference. His presidency engineered the structural racism of mass incarceration. The Welfare Reform Act (1996) pulled the rug out from under African American communities. The "Tough On Crime" Bill (1994) destroyed families as it incarcerated masses of jobless black men and barred them from employment, housing and welfare. In short, his presidency slashed public welfare programs and transferred the funding to a massive expansion of policing and prisons. A black child born today has a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison, a latino child 1 in 6, and a white child 1 in 17. This is on Bill Clinton.

We want to remind Clinton of the real destructive consequences of his policies. Mass incarceration and structural racism exist today. Apologies are not going to give the incarcerated their freedom back and restore destroyed families. The positive image that the Clintons' sponsorship of education and research creates should not go unchallenged. They should not be allowed to forget and neither should we. In 1992 Clinton used the execution of the mentally impaired black man Ricky Ray Rector as a publicity stunt to prove that he was tough on crime: "I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I'm soft on crime," he said afterwards. All the philanthropy in the world should not be allowed to overshadow this legacy.

This protest is organized by activists from Socialist Alternative and other organizations, on and off campus. 

We refuse to let the Clintons use our campus as tool for whitewashing their legacy. Join us at 5pm outside the Haas Pavilion April 1st to protest mass incarceration. We demand:

- End mass incarceration!
- End racist police violence!
- Defund the prison-industrial complex!

Donald Trump's pledge to murder the civilian relatives of terrorists could be considered quite modest -- and, in its bluntness, refreshingly candid -- when compared to President Obama's ongoing policy of loosing drones and U.S. Special Operations forces in the Greater Middle East. Those policies, the assassinations that go with them, and the "collateral damage" they regularly cause are based on one premise when it comes to the American public: that we will permanently suspend our capacity for grief and empathy when it comes to the dead (and the living) in distant countries... 

The American Way of War Campaign 2016

when I read about all the innocent civilians we've been killing over the years with the airpower that presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls "a blessing," I tend to think about the people left behind. Those who loved the people we've killed. I wonder how they received the news. I wonder about the shattering anguish they surely feel at the loss of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends. I wonder what memories come to them when they squeeze their eyes closed in grief. And I wonder if they'll ever be able to pick up the pieces of their lives and return to some semblance of normalcy in societies that are often shattering around them. 

-- Mattea Kramer, This Life After Loss

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