September 2010 Archives

On Thursday, October 14, 2010 as part of the "Berkeley Says No to Torture" week, past president of the National Lawyers Guild and renowned author Marjorie Cohn will be part of a panel: Forum on Torture and the Law, Torture and Human Rights moderated by retired CIA officer turned political activist Ray McGovern. Marjorie Cohn's books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent, Cameras in the courtroom: television and the pursuit of justice and the soon to be released The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse. Read Marjorie Cohn's articles at: After Downing Street, Alter Net, Atlantic Free Press, Buzz Flash, Common Dreams, CounterPunch, Foreign Policy in Focus, Global Research, The Huffington Post, Jurist, Monthly Review, MWC News, OpEdNews, Portside, Truthdig, Truthout, Znet (Zmag)

GUANTANAMO BAY AND INTERROGATION RULES, May 6, 2008 House Judiciary Committee Judiciary: Legal scholars testified about the detention to terror suspects by the U.S., treatment of detainees, and legal opinions received by the Bush administration on interrogation methods for detainees...

For detailed information on the growing number of events, participants and other news, go to:

In the months since this statement was written, courts have ruled that innocents who have been tortured may not sue, while those who advocated torture are defended by the current administration.

Join Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan, Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and thousands more in signing and publishing this statement.

Donate now

The Berkeley Says "No" to Torture coalition was joined by the Berkeley City Council with a unanimous vote on their Peace and Justice Commission's resolution "to educate the community about torture."

For detailed information on the growing number of events, participants and other news, go to:

9-26-10,  Contact: Linda Jacobs (415) 410-4484
Berkeley City Council Declares "NO To Torture" Week Oct. 10-16

In a move welcomed by civil liberties and human rights groups nationally, last week the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a resolution declaring "Berkeley Says No to Torture" Week (October 10-16).  The resolution emerged from a grassroots campaign supported by many local organizations and leaders.The campaign will present a week of public educational events, featuring prominent writers, attorneys, protest leaders, artists and religious leaders...
Going All The Way

The Obama administration's overnight assertion that presidential assassination orders of American citizens should be treated as a state secret, and thus not reviewable by any court anywhere, the most shocking assertion of unfettered presidential power we've seen since John Yoo argued that presidents have the right to order torture as long as they don't cause pain equivalent to organ failure. As Greenwald says, when Cheney worshiping neocon headcase David Rivkin thinks you've gone too far with the executive power, there's not much more to say...
The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. military is planning to retain control over part of its controversial detention facility at Bagram Air Field, even after nominal control has been handed over to the "sovereign" Afghan government.

[A US officer silhouetted at the Bagram prison. "The entire world is not a battlefield," says Melissa Goodman of the ACLU. "We cannot just capture people far from any zone of armed conflict and lock up them up indefinitely without any access to the courts or due process.(AFP)]A US officer silhouetted at the Bagram prison. "The entire world is not a battlefield," says Melissa Goodman of the ACLU. "We cannot just capture people far from any zone of armed conflict and lock up them up indefinitely without any access to the courts or due process.(AFP)

A 'prison within a prison', facility is shrouded in secrecy.
After suffering years of torture in US custody, and despite pleas from the Pakistani government for her release, neuroscientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is sentenced, prompting outrage in her native country.

A courtroom sketch of Aafia Siddiqui with Judge Richard Berman in New York.
A courtroom sketch of Aafia Siddiqui with Judge Richard Berman in New York. Photograph: Shirley Shepard/AFP/Getty Images

eyewitness accounts... serve to demonstrate that, not only is an 86-year sentence the most abominable miscarriage of justice, but also that it meshes perfectly with the notion that this whole sad story is an enormous cover-up. - Andy Worthington

"Out Yoo-ing Yoo"

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the rewrite of the Army Field Manual... removed the prohibition against "chemically induced psychosis" from the old AFM, and replaced it with their new formulation to prohibit "drugs that may induce lasting or permanent mental alteration or damage," allowing even greater latitude than John Yoo's own analysis in defense of the use of drugs for interrogation.

Truthout reports on suppression of a Department of Defense Inspector General investigation here. 

Part 1 of an eight-part series starts here...

Author Andy Worthington will be joining us for the full Berkeley Says NO To Torture week starting October 10th. 

Growing calendar of events here.

new book by Marjorie Cohn

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The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse

Waterboarding. Sleep deprivation. Sensory manipulation. Stress positions. Over the last several years, these and other methods of torture have become garden variety words for practically anyone who reads about current events in a newspaper or blog. We know exactly what they are, how to administer them, and, disturbingly, that they were secretly authorized by the Bush Administration in its efforts to extract information from people detained in its war on terror. What we lack, however, is a larger lens through which to view America's policy of torture -- one that dissects America's long relationship with interrogation and torture, which roots back to the 1950s and has been applied, mostly in secret, to "enemies," ever since. How did America come to embrace this practice so fully, and how was it justified from a moral, legal, and psychological perspective?


Condi Too

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(AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel)

Two-In-One Day
October 18, 2010

"We do not torture" Condoleezza Rice starts her visit to San Francisco with delivery of the
 Eleventh Annual Dandy Oration to a meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Moscone West Convention Center
10 a.m.

She then moves on to an event hosted by the Commonwealth Club to detail her story of a remarkable childhood

Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, 999 California Street                                                                                               11 a.m. check-in, noon program

Also know: Attendees may be subject to search. Underwritten by the Koret Foundation as part of the Principles of a Free Society Series.

Should Stanford 

University Be a Haven for 

War Criminals?

Organisers of the medal ceremony say they don't expect protesters.

Thousands held without trial 

Tens of thousands of detainees are being held without trial in Iraqi prisons and face violent and psychological abuse as well as other forms of mistreatment, Amnesty International said on Monday.

The London-based human rights watchdog estimates 30,000 people are held in Iraqi jails, noting several are known to have died in custody, while cataloguing physical and psychological abuses against others...

"Iraq's security forces have been responsible for systematically violating detainees' rights and they have been permitted to do so with impunity," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director Malcolm Smart.

new Amnesty International report here

America's Ox-Bow moment

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"Justice, what do you care about justice. You don't even care whether you've got the right men or not. All you know is you've lost something and someone's got to be punished...

Nine years after September 11 and eight years after the CIA provided a memorandum to the White House explaining that at a minimum, one-third of the detainees at GITMO were "mistakes" who had been purchased in bounty transactions. Nine years after the Department of Justice covertly elevated the President of the United States as a power above the Constitution and the laws of the United States and seven years after the Department of Justice assisted in allowing the torture of Ibn al Shaykh al-Libi to be laundered through Colin Powell to the UN and to America. So many years after so many incidents, our nation is still being flimflammed over what to do with so-called terrorist detainess.

Mary at Emptywheel offers a way out of this 

The way out of "detainee gridlock" isn't more power to a dilettante White House and dysfunctional Department of Justice and more statutes provding Congressional support for detentions on Executive whim.  It isn't collecting a worldwide assortment of human specimens to hold in the belief that the rest of the world will at some point become a Borg collective that supports the US in its every action without dissent.   That "way past" won't provide international credibility. That "way past" won't protect the innocent. That "way past" won't require leadership from the Presidency. That "way past" will guarantee more and more who hate the US. That "way past" will weaken rather than strengthen America.  That "way past" buries facts and disinforms our citizenry.  That "way past" relies on the destruction of the rule of law. 

Former United State Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be entering his second year as a professor at Texas Tech. (Zach Long)  Zach Long
War criminal entering his second year as a professor at Texas Tech. (Zach Long)
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regrets nothing, would do it all over again.
I missed this first time around:

In the majority opinion, the 9th Circuit states that it "reluctantly" concludes that state 
secrets trump the "fundamental principles of our liberty, including justice, transparency, 

British legal charity Reprieve argues that state secrets privilege effectively "makes 
Someday--and I hope and expect to live long enough to see it--the entire country will shudder with shame at how far we descended into the moral abyss.

Tim Frasca reflects on America's Moral Bankruptcy

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed. (photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed. (photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

Five men who say the Bush administration sent them to other countries to be tortured had a chance to be the first ones to have torture claims heard in court. But because the Obama administration decided to adopt the Bush administration's claim that hearing the case would divulge state secrets, the men's lawsuit was tossed out on Wednesday by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The decision diminishes any hope that this odious practice will finally receive the legal label it deserves: a violation of international law...

go to original article

Obama wins the right to invoke "State Secrets" to protect Bush crimes
"This is a sad day not only for the torture victims whose attempt to seek justice has been extinguished, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation's reputation in the world. To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture program has had his day in court. If today's decision is allowed to stand, the United States will have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers. The torture architects and their enablers may have escaped the judgment of this court, but they will not escape the judgment of history." -- Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU, responding to dismissal of Jeppesen case in Ninth Circuit Court today

Protest at Jeppesen -- Hold the Torturers Accountable!
Thursday, September 9 at 5:00 PM
in front of Jeppesen office, 225 W. Santa Clara St, San Jose

On Wednesday, September 8, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the lawsuit that charged Jeppesen Dataplan (a Boeing subsidiary) with complicity in the CIA torture flights. The Obama Justice Dept. had asked the court to throw out the lawsuit because it might reveal "state secrets."  What secrets? Bush administration officials have admitted that torture, including waterboarding (almost drowning) was used often, against detainees in various hidden prisons around the world. There should be no secrecy but rather full disclosure of all the facts around the torture flights. All participants--government agencies, corporations like Jeppesen, and individuals who planned and carried out the torture--must be held accountable. 

Torturers return to work

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While Academia has been eager to advance the positions of architects of the state torture program institutionalized under the Bush Regime, lesser actors realize their own fortunes through contract work for the CIA. Adam Goldman follows the exploits of officer "Albert", infamous for threatening a prisoner with an electric drill to the head.

This Thursday, anti-torture activists will confront Boalt Hall's own scandal, the continuing attacks on the Supreme Court by a most un-constitutional duo:

Jesse Choper and John Yoo
September 9
Boalt Hall
Room 110
12:30 pm

Bring your Cal-Berkeley IDs along with your orange attire (additional jumpsuits will be provided).
a conceptual torturer, a facilitator of torture, perhaps an inventor of torture law, an architect of the torture archipelago, a dissimulator, concealer, denier, rationalizer, minimizer and pooh-pooher of torture...

take part in BERKELEY SAYS NO TO TORTURE week, Oct 10 thru 16

What can YOU do to add your strength to "Berkeley Says No to Torture" Week?

  • Organize a teach-in, debate, lunchtime speak-out . . .
  • Arrange a poetry event, film showing, orange jumpsuit "No More Guantanamos" vigil . . .
  • Spark debate over "NO TO TORTURE" on Facebook and other conversations . . .
  • Spread the wearing of orange ribbons against torture (raise $$ for anti-torture organizations) . . .
  • Ask anti-war military veterans to volunteer for the week's Speakers Bureau . . .
  • Organize a congregation to hold a service, a vigil, or a public banner display . . .
  • Write op-eds for local and campus news media . . .
  • Recruit artists to hang a show on the week's theme . . .
  • Organize spoken-word artists for "Poetry Against Torture" events . . .
  • Make a giant freeway banner,  and let thousands see your message . . .
  • Ask your local politicians to support Berkeley City Council on Sept. 21 when it can vote to sanction this week of action, and ask them when they'll do the same in your city . . .
 And if you don't live, work, or study in Berkeley - you can still take part in any or all of these activities, and also you can spread them to your own community.

DONATE to the campaign! Make checks payable to: "World Can't Wait SF" Mail to: 2940 16th Street, Room 200-6, San Francisco, CA 94103 and write "Berkeley Says NO" on subject line of your check so it goes to the right place.

Bybee too

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while [Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge] Bybee concludes that simulated drowning of prisoners was perfectly lawful (a position repudiated even by the Bush Justice Department before it left), he concludes that leaving a bottle of water for a person stranded in a desert so as to forestall death is a crime. -- Scott Horton

In this Aug. 5, 2010, photo, NoMoreDeaths volunteer Katie Maloney checks water jugs at the group's camp before heading out to supply water stations for illegal immigrants near Arivaca, Ariz., about 13 miles north of Mexico. At 59 deaths, July 2010 was the second-deadliest month for border-crossers in Arizona - second only to July 2005, when 68 bodies were found.

Torture "Law" examined

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[The] Obama administration doesn't want to put a stop to the [Omar Khadr] case, such as by pushing a plea bargain, because it would be seen as "improper interference." But if the case is itself "improper" or even illegal, then the choice is to stop it now or see a conviction reversed later by a court on appeal. The latter choice might save the administration some immediate embarrassment before the midterm elections; but it will leave Omar Khadr cooped up even longer in a military prison on fictitious crimes. -- Daphne Eviatar 

Feb 24, 2010 at  SacBee -- Letters to the Editor 

A UC Berkeley law student says professor John Yoo, left, should receive a failing grade for his actions, despite being "cleared" in a government report.

UC should rethink 'cleared' Yoo

Re "Justice ruling clears Bush lawyers" (Page A6, Feb. 20): The headline buries the relevant facts of the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility report. Far from "clearing" John Yoo, the report concludes that he committed "intentional professional misconduct."

As a law student at the University of California, Berkeley, where John Yoo is a tenured professor, I am taught to thoroughly examine all facets of a legal controversy and provide my clients with candid advice about the state of the law. To do otherwise would be an extreme breach of professional responsibility. Yoo's conduct, detailed in the report, goes against everything I am taught.

The report finds that Yoo "knowingly provided incomplete and one-sided advice" and "put his desire to accommodate the client above his obligation to provide thorough, objective and candid legal advice, and that he therefore committed intentional professional misconduct."

I would receive a failing grade if I did the same thing on a law school assignment.

I hope my fellow taxpayers will join me in calling on the University of California to examine the report and evaluate whether a lawyer- professor who seriously breaches standards of professional conduct should be teaching future lawyers.

- Tam Ma, Sacramento

UC Berkeley Law School

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

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Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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