March 2011 Archives

Forever Guantanamo

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 It seems these days that the best way to get out of Guantanamo - other than to die - is to plead guilty to charges, Hajjar says [EPA]

On March 7, when president Barack Obama signed an executive order (E0) that varnishes the framework of indefinite detention without trial, he put the final nail in the coffin of his day-two promise to close Guantanamo. 

Those detainees who, in the government's view, can not be tried but are too dangerous to release will continue to be subject to "law of war detention" because they are deemed by official reviewers "in effect, [to] remain at war with the United States".

This means that Guantanamo can remain open as long as the "war on terror" continues. Not only is there no end in sight, no one is even speculating about what the end might look like...

Guantanamo is an evolutionary experiment


with war criminals like John Yoo praising his actions, 
one has to wonder just who the "Peace" President 
is listening to.  

Yoo's chief problem as a constitutional commentator stems not from his tendentious memos justifying torture in the weeks after 9/11 during his stint in the Bush administration, but because his underlying constitutional analysis of presidential power is literally the opposite of what the Founders intended and wrote. In Yoo's analysis, American executive power in foreign policy was copied from the British monarchy, where the monarchs once maintained a monopoly of power over war and military matters. According to Yoo, "the Constitution gives the President the initiative in war." But Yoo gets it exactly wrong. The Founders plainly rejected the British monarchy as a template for presidential power...

Don't buy the lie -- U.S. war on Libya is NOT a humanitarian mission. 

You don't "save" people by killing them.

Stephen J. Hadley, a former national security adviser to President George W. Bush and an architect of the 2003 Iraq invasion, said at a forum in San Francisco on Saturday that he feared the limited approach "could set us up for failure."

"I don't quite see what is behind the strategy in Libya," Mr. Hadley said, speaking while a small clutch of protesters -- mostly yelling chants about Iraq -- were on the streets below. "We are now in a situation where we have a mismatch of what the president said we want to do as a nation, what the U.N. Security Council authorizes, and what we are actually ready to commit in resources."
Confront war criminals, past and present.


A National Constitution Center conference, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities' Bridging Cultures program, provides a forum (Session 2) for torture advocate John Yoo. 

Right, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, another participant in the program, speaks to reporters about his and Lynn Novick's upcoming "Prohibition" series for public television.

 Photo by Matt Rourke
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union managed to obtain two Bush administration legal memos about government surveillance.  

here's looking at Yoo

The first memo, written by Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo in November 2001, contends that the president has authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to disregard the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a statute that "purports" (Yoo's word) to regulate government surveillance. It also contends that Congress doesn't have the power to regulate the president's authority to gather intelligence for national security purposes. And it contends that intelligence gathering in support of military operations "does not trigger constitutional rights against illegal searches and seizures."  -- ACLU's Jameel Jaffer

second memo by Jack Goldsmith not only fails to repudiate Yoo's views but suggests adoption of the same; more here. The Obama administration has not only continued the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, but is using cover of "state secrets" to expand Presidential power, most recently launching an attack on Miranda

Left, the 'secret room' in AT&T's Folsom Street office in San Francisco is believed to be one of several internet wiretapping facilities at AT&T offices around the country feeding data. Photo c/o Catholic Online

truthout exclusive: CIA Psychologist's Notes 

[These] documents stand as the first piece of hard evidence to surface in nine years that further explains the psychological aspects of the Bush administration's torture program and the rationale for subjecting detainees to so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Obama Bombs Libya

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CIMG0932.JPGhere we go again:

left, the scene outside St Regis Hotel in San Francisco Saturday as Iraq War Criminal Stephen 'Yellowcakes' Hadley delivers keynote speech inside, eight years to the day of 'Shock and Awe'

Heart of Darkness

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Bagram and Guantánamo are only two parts of an international network of detention facilities across the globe where western governments can escape the prying checks and balances that ought to be the measure of any civilized society....

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"...the protections of academic tenure that were denied to [Ward] Churchill have been repeatedly cited to justify the University of California at Berkeley's refusal to fire John Yoo, a law professor who authored the now infamous 'torture memos' during the Bush dictatorship. Why the disparity? Because Churchill was a liberal professor and thus the target of right-wing witch-hunters and corporate fascists determined to purge colleges and universities of alleged 'leftist' influences, while Yoo, thanks to his advocacy of torture and relationship with Bush, is endearing to these very same fascists and witch-hunters. This, of course, means that in today's America 'conservative' professors can freely express their political opinions, while liberal professors, thanks to the threat of economic retaliation, cannot. 

So America is dead, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and it succumbed to the very malady that learned individuals, like Justice Louis Brandeis, warned the nation about: 'We can have a democratic society or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.' Edmund Burke once said, 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.' -- David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru.

Support for War Crimes Tribunal against Libya includes a key exemption:

the United States insisted on including a provision in the resolution to protect Americans from investigation or prosecution by the International Criminal Court, known as the ICC. It requires that any citizen of a country that hasn't joined the ICC be investigated or prosecuted in his home country - not by the ICC - for any alleged actions stemming from operations in Libya authorized by the Security Council.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is required to deliver an initial report to the council in two months.
"This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification... It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated. No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation."

advancing the 'official' story:

"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards...They assure me that they are."     

Daniel Ellsberg tells the President to get a grip:

"I would hope [Obama] would know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they've been behaving appropriately."

photo credit: Pete Souza / White House

Choice of keynote speaker for State Convention an "outrage"; boycott anticipated.

Anyone attending this Alaska torture convention who wants a t-shirt critical of John Yoo, please contact

Fact Sheet: Detainee Security Act of 2011 

House Armed Services Committee 

Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman 

It's Not Up to the President to Impose a No-Fly Zone Over Libya


Upon taking office, President Obama immediately withdrew opinions written by John Yoo and others making these extreme claims [of executive preeminence]. And his Justice Department has refrained from asserting unilateral presidential power in the conduct of the wars Obama has inherited... 

[But] If he acts unilaterally, he will be consolidating one of the worst aspects of the Bush era, and set a precedent for further abuses by future presidents.

(I'm not suggesting, like authors of above article, that Congress should consider declaring war on Libya, but war criminals like Yoo, and Stephen "Bush was right" Hadley, have no place influencing public policy).

Kangaroo courts at Guantanamo to continue

By Kenneth J. Theisen

The Obama administration announced on Monday, March 7th that it will resume kangaroo trials at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  This ends a two-year ban imposed by President Obama the day after he took office. Back then he also announced that he was ordering the closure of Gitmo which in the eyes of the world had come to symbolize torture and the abuse of due process for the prisoners held in the U.S. war of terror. Of course Gitmo is still open and the atrocities it came to represent continue there and at other U.S.-run hellholes such as the expanded prison at Bagram, Afghanistan.

The change that Obama promised during his election campaign has not occurred. Instead the criminal policies begun under the Bush regime are now the policies of the Obama administration [allowing John Yoo to gloat over fancied exoneration]. In making the announcement the Obama administration issued a written statement about these new military commission trials.

In the written statement, Obama said he has also issued a new code for treatment of prisoners and that he reserves the right to try some accused terrorists in American federal courts. Obama wrote that the new policies will "broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions, and ensure the humane treatment of detainees." But they will do nothing of the sort.  Trying prisoners at Gitmo will reduce oversight and strip prisoners of essential due process rights.

The kangaroo proceedings under the military commissions virtually guarantee convictions for the U.S. government.  The judges are U.S. military judges.  The "evidence" consists of hearsay, secret evidence, statements obtained under torture, and just about anything else the government wants to use. The ability to cross-examine witnesses is greatly reduced.  Due process is virtually non-existent.  But this is what the U.S. government wants.  They want convictions and these kangaroo proceedings will deliver convictions. They will also ensure that the abusive treatment of the prisoners remains concealed from the public.

Despite Obama's Orwellian statement, the world will not be fooled.  Even U.S.-allied governments have condemned the "justice" provided by these military commissions.  We must expose the "justice" provided by these courts as what it really is - no justice at all.  Kangaroo courts began under the Bush regime and are being continued under Obama. 

Obama has also continued the Bush policy of trying to restrict the access of prisoners to any real due process.  While the order issued by Obama today impacts prisoners now held at Gitmo it does not affect those held at places such as Bagram.  There the Obama administration does not even bother with kangaroo trials.  In Bagram and other hellholes run by the Pentagon due process consists of "reviews" where the U.S. military decides whether to continue to hold prisoners or not.  There are no hearings or lawyers for the defendants. Obama lawyers maintain that those held at Bagram and other prisons overseas have no right to habeas corpus or other due process rights under the Constitution. They also maintain that prisoners of the U.S. war of terror can be held indefinitely.  Most of what happens at Bagram and other U.S.-run prisons overseas also receives very little, if any media attention.

The "justice" rendered by the U.S. is in fact a crime and we need to expose and condemn it. World Can't Wait will continue to do so.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -

photo by Peter Dejong 

The International Criminal Court will investigate Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his inner circle, including some of his sons, for possible crimes against humanity in the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, the prosecutor said Thursday.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Gadhafi's security forces are alleged to have attacked "peaceful demonstrators" in several towns and cities across Libya since Feb. 15, and he identified Gadhafi and several commanders and regime officials as having formal or de facto command over the forces that may have committed crimes...

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Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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