December 2012 Archives

The CIA had a bad week, with the approval of a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the agency's post-9/11 interrogation program and a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that treatment of prisoner Khaled el-Masri "violated the most basic guarantees of human decency."

Hollywood to the rescue? 

A new government-sanctioned film Zero Dark Thirty tries, and fails, to make the case that torture "works." The premier of the film has released a torrent of reviews by critics of the U.S. torture program who are outraged by that lie, that exceptions to universal prohibition of the practice would even be proposed, that the U.S. would place itself above international law.

Inside Story posits "Has torture become acceptable?" Of course not. Video here.

Zero Dark Thirty opens in the Bay Area January 4th

a series of articles by law professor Benjamin Davis exposes the scramble to whitewash government crime, re-writing history to protect torture apologists and silence resistance.

Capitalizing on a more trusting public, and the free pass given the administration by progressives who manage to reconcile themselves somehow to its despicable methods, the Obama Administration has embraced secrecy and non-disclosure even more fulsomely than its unholy predecessor.

Obama's Murder Memos

We called those threats to peace and tranquilty "piracy," and every government had both the right to use force against pirates and the obligation not to succor them, at penalty of being treated itself as outlaw...

Time to end the legal fiction that we're at war

The European Court of Human Rights held that Mr. Masri's forcible disappearance, kidnapping and covert transfer without legal process to United States custody nine years ago violated the most basic guarantees of human decency. Notably, the court found that the treatment suffered by Mr. Masri in 2003 "at the hands of the special C.I.A. rendition team," at an airport in Skopje, the capital of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, "amounted to torture."

see Rendition Condemned

it's no secret...

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America's tradition of brutality predates the advent of video. Attempts to erase that history are destined to fail.

"public release of the requested [torture] videos would harm relationships between the United States and its allies since it would raise 'serious questions' about whether or not the US has been acting in accordance with the Geneva Conventions -- William Lietzau, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy

Pentagon's Guantanamo videos to stay classified

this guy doesn't rest

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The 'everyone has a right to their opinion' defense that Berkeley Law employs to protect John Yoo is easy to discount, but his 'theories' have had serious consequences when applied as law. When the former deputy assistant attorney general ruled specific torture techniques 'legal,' real people suffered.

Despite repudiation by peers, and rejection of his work at the Office of Legal Counsel by the same (Bush) regime that hired him to legalize the unconscionable, Yoo continues to be given credence as an authority on executive privilege to kill. His name is no longer attached only to torture (Yoo also played a key role in supporting illegal government surveillance and use of U.S. troops against people on American soil, advocates for militarization of outer space, and stumps for a lethal strike on Iran). The 'torture professor' now volunteers cover for assassination by the current executioner-in-chief Barack Obama, in an article for the New York Law School Review:

Targeted Killings After 9/11

It would be a huge mistake to think John Yoo is alone in his arguments. He is not some lone wolf with wacky ideas but is influenced by and representative of a school of thinking that has come from the so-called 'best law schools' of this country: Harvard, Yale, Berkeley. Yoo's veneer of legitimacy should have been stripped away years ago. 

It's not too late. The crime of murder has no statute of limitations. 

"the moral risk of torture is not so different from the moral risk of targeted killing. Indeed, the moral risk of torture provides a template for the moral risk of targeted killing. What was introduced as an option of last resort becomes the option of first resort, then the only option. Sullivan always understood that torture was a temptation, and that the day would come when it was applied not in emergency, "ticking-clock" situations, but as a matter of routine. Well, that day has come, only now with targeted killing, where the option of first resort meets the court of no appeal -- Tom Junod

by David Rovics
c/o Lyrics Mania

davidrovics.jpgWe'll get rid of the dictator, rebuild your country Make sure all your kids go to school We'll clean up the cities, get the sewage plants running 
Institute parliamentary rule We'll bring you autonomy, senators and judges And a shiny new blue banner We'll bring you pride and prosperity, food in your bellies In every home a phone, fax and scanner 
After we torture our prisoners...

Beyond the practical reasons that warrant closing Guantanamo, humanitarian concerns make it nonsensical to keep the prison open. Most of these prisoners have never been formally charged with a crime -- the U.S. government simply reserves the legal authority to detain anyone they choose until the War on Terror comes to an end.

As a result, the government is able to abstain from giving each prisoner held in Guantanamo a firm sentence and trial, violating very basic rights that all other prisoners receive. -- Ryan Townsend, voice of conscience at the University of Southern California

"When the Cheney/Bush crime crew dredged up the likes of law school professor John Yoo from the shoe bottom of academia to torture the language to justify state sponsored torture of living human flesh, liberals properly raged against the criminality. Now, however, far too many of my liberal/progressive brothers and sisters sit mute in the face of war crimes done by one of our own -- Mark L. Taylor, The Daily Call 

Defending the Indefensible

The real issue raised by a recent Government Accountability Office report on transfer of Guantanamo detainees to federal prisons is not whether there is enough space in those facilities or whether they can hold prisoners more cheaply.


"Clearly there are facilities in the US that can house 66 or 166 individuals. The bigger issue here that nobody wants to touch is the extent to which the majority of people who remain at Guantanamo are in fact not terrorists -- Brent Mickum 

Attorneys working with the prisoners argue that the report does not touch on whether moving detainees would help the transparency or human rights issues that have plagued the facility since it was first built:

GAO Report on Guantanamo Doesn't Touch Indefinite Detention

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

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