November 2010 Archives

Witness Against Torture

| | TrackBacks (0)
hand-with-wire-for-website.jpgThis January 11, the prison at Guantanamo will enter its 10th year of operation. The prison is both a site and symbol of a legacy that includes rendition, extralegal detention, and torture. This legacy endures, despite the promise of President Obama to close Guantanamo and break with Bush-era policies. With President Obama's continued betrayal of his promise and with the Republican gains in Congress, the nightmare draws closer: that the prison at Guantanamo will become permanent. We can't let this happen! We demand that Guantanamo be closed immediately and that those who designed and carried out torture policies be held to account.

There are 174 men still imprisoned at Guantanamo, and we hope to have at least that many people as part of our procession (sign up here). 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scrambling to contain fallout from the leak of secret diplomatic cables yesterday. She will have some "face-to-face explaining" to do at a European security summit in Kazakhstan. (photo CBC News)

"We have long known that both the Bush and Obama administrations have shielded perpetrators of torture and rendition from accountability for their illegal acts. We now know that U.S. diplomats have also sought to shut down accountability efforts abroad. The United States' employment of diplomatic pressure to influence the legal proceedings of a democratic ally was improper and unseemly, particularly where the goal of that interference was to shield U.S. officials from accountability for torture. - Ben Wizner, Litigation Director of the ACLU National Security Project

close the torture school

| | TrackBacks (0)
UPDATE: While nonviolent resisters are being sent to prison, those responsible for the use of torture manuals at the SOA have never even been charged for their crimes. Father Louis and David are presently in a Georgia county jail. Write to prisoners David Omandi, a member of the Catholic Workers from Los Angeles and Father Louis Vitale, a Francisan priest from California.

David Omondi, c/o The Los Angeles Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033.  
Louis' mail may be sent to the Nuclear Resister for forwarding at P.O. Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733.
c/o Pace e Bene: Fr. Louis Vitale sentenced

Franciscan peacemaker and Pace e Bene co-founder Fr. Louie Vitale appeared in a Columbus, GA courtroom this morning where he was sentenced by US Magistrate Stephen Hylas to six months in federal prison for crossing the line at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning this past Saturday.  He began serving his sentence immediately...
When we learn how to contact Louie, we will post this on the Pace e Bene website.

one of 26 28 people arrested at SOA vigil


Amidst a heightened police presence around the gates of Ft. Benning... thousands heeded the call of "We are One America!" and manifested their opposition to the School of the Americas and oppressive U.S. foreign policy.  The voices of torture survivors, immigrant farm workers, people of faith, students, musicians and activists carried the message of peace with justice over the barbed-wire fences, guns, and lies that protect the School of Assassins. 

left, Louie reads from "Reckoning with Torture" (scroll about 5 minutes into video) October 15

"I believe torture is wrong, and I won't tolerate it. If there were only four people here, I'd still be with them. - Lisa Porter, Berkeley

"Tortured Justice"

| | TrackBacks (0)
CNN video: Yoo stands by 'torture memos', calls for suspension of detainee trials 
until after 'war on terror'
Who, then, is the client? Is it an individual president? The presidency? Federal agencies? Some notion of the nation or the people? All of these have been identified as the client of the attorney general and the Justice Department...

The Alaska Bar Association has chosen John Yoo as keynote speaker for their annual convention, not without controversy:

The Alaska Bar Association has kicked up a major fuss by inviting Professor John C. Yoo to speak to its state convention in Fairbanks this spring. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel, working for Attorney General Gonzales during the George W. Bush presidency, Yoo wrote a number of legal opinions which have incited controversy and profound disagreement, particularly for their extremely expansionist interpretation of presidential powers under the "commander in chief" clause. But the opinion which has given fits to legal communities here and around the globe provided the Bush administration with a justification for its use of torture, famously providing the "newspeak" definition of "torture" as not including "waterboarding"...

Waterboard torture isn't topic we can take lightly

Will Bunch takes a look at the Ghailani verdict. Far from a "showcase" for how effective civilian trials can be in punishing terrorists, the decision sanctioned the "post-acquittal detention power" [holding so-called "enemy combatants" indefinitely] claimed by Obama. 

"Let's be clear: if time in the extra-judicial limbo of black sites, and the torture that caused some evidence to be excluded, makes prosecutors' jobs harder, the problem is with the black sites and the torture, and not with the civilian trials that might eventually not work out quite the way everyone likes. It's a point that bears some repeating.  Our legal system is not a machine for producing the maximum number of convictions, regardless of the law.  Jurors are watching the government, too, as well they should. Ghailani today could be anyone tomorrow. - Amy Davidson, senior editor at The New Yorker

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was convicted of one out of two hundred and eighty-five counts, and faces a sentence of twenty years to life. But that doesn't satisfy torture protagonist John Yoo, who had the effrontery to comment on the case; video here.

Reset the line on torture

| | TrackBacks (0)
The line on torture, on detainee treatment, on disclosures to Congress and the public, has never been reset. As Bush and Yoo [John Yoo, former attorney in the Bush administration, who wrote memoranda, which have been widely criticized for offering shoddy legal analysis, supporting the use of torture in interrogations] chat with Oprah and appear on talk shows touting their books, and waterboarding becomes the stuff of late-night jokes, Americans may no longer even know or care what constitutes illegal conduct during war.

In plugging his new book, George W. Bush has proudly proclaimed his approval of waterboarding. It is one more example of a growing contempt for the rule of law at the highest levels of power. 

Send your responses to; we'll post them here.

letter to torture survivors

| | TrackBacks (0)
In just three weeks in October, North Carolina Stop Torture Now collected signatures from about 800 residents of over 80 communities in North Carolina.

Press release here
I don't agree that the most "responsible" action on the crimes of the previous administration is a congressional commission to investigate the use of torture; criminal prosecution is possible and called for. But, David Cole does explain how "universal jurisdiction" could accomplish just that.

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 16: Former U.S. President George W. Bush kisses Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice as Former First Lady Laura Bush stands by during the George W. Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony on November 16, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. The George W. Bush Presidential Center is a state-of-the-art 250 million dollar complex that will include Former U.S. President George W. Bush's presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Reunited -- Former U.S. President George W. Bush kisses Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice as Former First Lady Laura Bush stands by during the George W. Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony on November 16, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

more on The People's Response here

UPDATE: UK justice secretary proposes legislation to permanently suppress disclosures. 

britishguantanamoprisoners-300x187.jpgCiting "a situation in which the reputation of the 
security services has been called into question", 
Guantanamo detainees to settle lawsuit. 

Andy Worthington has more on the payout here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues its 

Beyond "Hope"

| | TrackBacks (0)
You can Vote... hell, you can Pray. But elected officials will not repudiate the torture policies of this government without masses of people like you demanding accountability.   


Another day, yet another broken promise. But we are not about to give up. World Can't Wait will be out confronting waterboarding advocate George W Bush at every opportunity. Check here for book tour appearances. If you can't join us in person, contribute financially so that we can say NO! to torture in your name.
Note: You may remember Professor Hajjar from Berkeley's Town Hall debate, June 27 2008, "No To Torture! John Yoo Must Go!". Video of that event is available through the San Francisco chapter of World Can't Wait, .

According to [Professor] Hajjar, three significant issues were brought to light during Khadr's trial: the veracity of the government's evidence, which the defense contends was derived through torture; the legitimacy of militarily prosecuting a person who was a child at the time of arrest; and the legal legitimacy of the Bush-Obama reformulations of the laws of war that have, in essence, fabricated new kinds of war crimes.
"These abuses occurred on European soil. We simply can't allow Europe to join the US in becoming an 'accountability-free' zone. The tide is slowly turning with some countries starting investigations but much more needs to be done." - Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office 

Yoo Watch

| | TrackBacks (0)

Friday November 19
The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia

(202) 347-3000

International: America as Hegemon and International Law

3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

  • Prof. Barry E. Carter, Director, Center for Transnational Business and the Law, Georgetown University Law Center

  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, Stanford Clinton Sr. and Zylpha Kilbride Clinton Research Professor, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Prof. Margaret E. McGuinness, Saint John's University School of Law
  • Prof. Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Director of the International Law and Organizations Program, Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
  • Prof. John C. Yoo, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Moderator:  Hon. Michael Chertoff, Senior of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP, former Secretary, United States Department of Homeland Security

Palm Beach, FL: David Horowitz's "Restoration Weekend"

The Beakers Hotel

November 18 - 21

confirmed speakers are: 

Newt Gingrich, David Horowitz, Liz Cheney, Ann Coulter, Andrew Klavan, Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney, 

Monica Crowley, John Yoo, Marc Thiessen, Michael Barone, Ralph Peters, Caroline Glick, Pastor John Hagee, 

Rob Pollock, Fred Barnes, Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressmen Ed Royce and Steven King, Emmett Tyrrell, 

Bill Gertz, Doug Schoen, Ron Radosh, Steven Moore, Arizona State Senators Russell Pearce and Thayer 

Verschoor, Mark Krikorian, S.E. Cupp, Lee Smith, General Paul Vallely, Congresswoman Michele 

Bachmann, Fred Barnes and Pat Caddell. 

Each year, as a part of this event, we honor the troops and their families. This year we will be joined by 

representatives from the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, inlucing Colonel John Carney, Dr. Jim Lewis, 

Country music star and former Army Ranger Keni Thomas and a keynote by former Army Chief of Staff General 

Peter Schoomaker. 

We will have many more to announce in the coming weeks! 

For more information, contact Michael Finch at (818) 849-3470 x212 or

Bolton and Yoo: Why Rush to Cut Nukes?

The Moustache and The Lawyer team up to write the stupidest op-ed in the known universe, making the case that the Founding Fathers' constitutional intent, recently reaffirmed and ratified by The People, would be to deny ratification of nuclear-arms treaties, which as we all know, was a burning issue in the late 18th century. But seriously. Isn't the Boalt School of Law at U.C. Berkeley just a wee bit embarrassed that it still employs (the tenured) John Yoo? What were the editors of The New York Times thinking? Why would they publish something this ridiculous? - TAPPED

It seems to be a conviction, shared by Yoo and Bolton, that the US should make its own rules on the world arena and damn the consequences. As Bolton himself once said:

There is not that much difference between me and the people who want a world where no government has nuclear weapons. I only want one government to have nuclear weapons.

Waterboarding is Immoral

| | TrackBacks (0)
Under international law, waterboarding is torture. But more to the point.... it is immoral.

2010-03-12-Juan_Mendez_International_Human_Rights_4.0_A-thumb.jpg"Mr Bush hides behind the fact that he is not a lawyer and he has this folksy you know kind of cute way of say, well the lawyers told me it was legal, as if he didn't know that it's immoral. You know? Immoral and illegal. I mean he can't really hide behind his lawyers... [their] memos were, they don't even deserve the name of legal memos because they are completely flawed from the legal reasoning. But even worse they are morally flawed as well."

The new United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez is the first person in that position to have been tortured himself, by officers of the then Argentine junta in the mid 70s. A Visiting Professor at the American University - Washington College of Law, Mendez headed Americas Watch at Human Rights Watch for many years, served as president of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, and headed the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Journalist Dahlia Lithwick shares Professor Mendez's view that torture is both illegal and immoral, and challenges Americans' growing acceptance of the practice with a question: 

which is hardly surprising considering the key witness wasn't questioned

What Durham, Holder and Obama need to know is that there is a community of people who believe that our country should abide by the rules of civilization and that when torture occurs, those responsible for giving the orders need to be held accountable. They should also know that the international community considers these crimes to be war crimes, and under that framework there are no statutes of limitations and no possibility for pardons or mitigating circumstances. By actively suppressing the investigation of war crimes, are Durham, Holder and Obama making themselves accessories to them?

qna--feat-nixons-ghosts.jpgDaniel Ellsberg visits Honolulu this weekend under the aegis of the Davis Levin First Amendment Conference, which takes place 10am-1pm, Sat., 11/13, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

Campaigning for the President, Ellsberg did not expect Obama to relinquish powers "bequeathed" by his predecessor. But he could hardly anticipate the expansion of abuse perpetrated by the current administration. 

Read his interview with the Honolulu Weekly here.
"Sell those books, George W, you may need the money for legal fees yet!" - Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights

Money - the essential ingredient for Bush's presidential library and privately funded policy institute in Dallas - has been steadily flowing in to the former president's foundation since he left office almost two years ago... The Dallas Morning News reports on George W. Bush book tour  

In [his] memoir... Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

Bush's admission of guilt exposes the former president to prosecution (waterboarding has been widely confirmed as an act of torture, and not a "policy choice" as the current administration has suggested) and refreshes calls by human rights advocates for war crime accountability of government officials. 

The Indict Bush movement is mobilizing to expose him as the war criminal he is, with protests at book signings and at groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center on November 16.

For a complete listing of George W. Bush appearances, go to War Criminals Watch.
provides cover for newly found e-mails
Thumbnail image for rizzo-mug.jpg
During his time as the Acting General Counsel after 9/11, [Rizzo] requested the famous "Torture Memo" from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice, in which OLC Head Jay Bybee expressed the opinion that waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques ("EITs") were not prohibited under U.S. law... Rizzo said that most of his dealings at the time were with John Yoo, who is believed to have drafted the memo.

The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat. Government lawyers made that claim in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration's asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments from both sides today...

what Yoo has wrought

| | TrackBacks (0)


"I'm not a lawyer, but you gotta trust the 
judgment of people around you and I do."
- George W. Bush in an interview with
 Matt Lauer

UK's Abu Ghraib?

| | TrackBacks (0)
Evidence of systematic and brutal mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at a secret British military interrogation centre that is being described as the UK's Abu Ghraib emerged today during high court proceedings brought by more than 200 former inmates...

updated Nov 6

Thumbnail image for 32867a.jpg
About 15 protesters wearing black bags over their heads sat silently through professor John Yoo's lecture forum yesterday at Baker Center Theater. The lecture, which is part of the Washington Forum, is titled "Crisis and Command" after Yoo's most recent book. Pat Holmes reports. (photo by Lisa Bernheim)

'Torture' official the wrong choice for George Washington Forum,

"As a group of concerned history students, we feel obligated to speak out against the invitation of Yoo precisely because of his well-documented involvement in the disregard the U.S. Constitution and the American tradition of opposing torture practices as official policy, through the authoring of the 'torture memos.' We are unimpressed with the defense that Yoo's status as a 'consequential figure' in recent U.S. history merits such an appearance. Those defending the invitation on the basis of free speech should also take note of Yoo's documented rejection and open pursuit to eliminate the 4th and 8th amendments of the U.S. Constitution for non-U.S. citizens...

schedule counter-event for 5pm Monday, Baker Center room 242. Report here

Torture: so MUCH to hide

| | TrackBacks (0)

Humans Against Torture*

| | TrackBacks (0)
Reckoning with Torture one of many events put together for a torture awareness campaign by the  John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. (Video of Berkeley Says No To Torture adaptation of this material now posted here). 

Manfred Nowak, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, gave a special address at the event. He has interviewed thousands of torture victims across the world to present a report at the annual session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

c/o the Stanford Progressive:

Adam Hudson traces the links between the imperialism that took us to Iraq, the torture that sullied our reputation, and the racist Islamophobia that appears to have run rampant in the previous administration's decision-making.

article here

Human rights campaigners on Thursday expressed disappointment at the Obama administration, saying it had failed to remedy abuse in Iraq and bring those responsible for the torture of terror suspects to justice.

Speaking before the United States faces its first public review by the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, representatives of US and international groups said Washington had been unable to turn the page on violations under the previous administration...

Above, a representative listens to the United Nations Human Rights Council debate
photo c/o AFP
Plastered on poles along Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley near Sproul Plaza are posters exclaiming "John Yoo -- War Criminal." Yoo, of course, was the prime legal enabler of torture in the Justice Department of President George Bush, and now teaches at Cal's Boalt Hall School of Law. Given the most recent torture revelations by WikiLeaks, and the shameful mainstream media responses to them, I am proud of whoever put those posters up... - Jay Youngdahl, East Bay Express 

Thanks to the concerted effort of activists like George (pictured), this blog's sponsor continues to meet the need for an independent, mass, political movement to confront the crimes of our government, including the cruelty advanced by the likes of Berkeley's own torture advocate, John Yoo. 

Give Sustenance to a Movement with Substance & Heart: The World Can't Wait!
John Yoo's speech should be condemned

"While I understand the notion that universities must be spaces for academic freedom and debate, simply allowing Mr. Yoo that platform is to entertain the idea that torture, war crimes and flagrant violations of international law may have legitimacy... - Eric Miller

will Berkeley Law panelists have the courage to do the same?

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

Donations via PayPal
are not tax deductible.

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 November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2010 is the previous archive.

December 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.