PROTEST WAR CRIMES and UC COMPLICITY

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/research/korea-law-center/mentoring-next-generation/
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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

Will people living in the United States "shelter in place," speculating on possibilities to reform an illegitimate system? Or will they work to create a political situation where war for empire is repudiated, and the interests of humanity and the planet come first?

Why we're going to Philadelphia and how you can help

The ruling class faced fresh challenges to U.S. terror policy last week following the murder, by police, of two more men of color trapped in a brutal system of repression and displacement. Public outrage over the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile was substantial, spontaneous and determined. Government response to national protest has been two-fold: intimidation of participants with militarized police forces, and fabrication of a false "security" paradigm -- that suspension of civil rights is sometimes necessary, even desirable. 

NO! We reject the lie that a police state keeps us safe. The Obama administration would have you blame a "lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve" for the violence perpetrated by killer cops. The reality is that distrust of police is well-founded.

We recognize that American lives are not more precious or deserving than others. The gratuitous violence visited on challengers to U.S. domination must stop. This will require a committed core of truth-tellers with the means to challenge politics-as-usual. World Can't Wait has a plan to accomplish just that; a Call for Action has been answered by a group of 14 representatives of that vision. We want to enable others to join events surrounding the Democratic Convention:


Join us in bringing the anti-war message to the DNC. It's up to us to deliver a message to the world that there are people living in this country who represent another way, giving them heart, courage and common cause. Resistance to U.S. war on the world is needed more than ever. Sign up to join us in protest and let us know your availability. If you're part of an organization, bring them along.

Donate Now

Can't come to Philadelphia to protest? Donate to support someone else to be part of visible resistance at the DNC. Funding is needed to transport model drones and produce materials and visual displays.

Who's Counting?

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U.S. Executioner-in-Chief Barack Obama gets away with murder on a daily basis. His killer drones program administers the death penalty without trial, accountability, transparency or justice. The wars of aggression on seven sovereign states -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia -- have contributed to more than 4,000 deaths by drones. 

When all the world's a war zone, civilians find little refuge. The President's loose definition of "enemy combatants" discounts the true human cost of U.S. hegemony over so-called "areas of active hostilities."  

"The only thing those numbers tell us is that this Administration simply doesn't know who it has killed," charges Jennifer Gibson of the international human rights group Reprieve.
chicago-reparations-1.jpgNot that you'd have found acknowledgment in the news. If anything, people living in the U.S. are displaying less empathy for the abused than ever. Including for compatriots in domestic prisons.

"Much of the United States' practice of torture finds its origin in punishment methods used against slaves and Indigenous peoples," writes London Guantánamo Campaign activist Aisha Maniar. "The use of torture in and by the U.S. is not a post-9/11 phenomenon." 

The Jon Burge saga, for example, goes back decades. 

The only real change has been globalization of U.S. torture practices.

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Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo





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