February 2015 Archives

Contents of the Senate Intelligence Committee report are largely public record, have been for years, but lawyers for the defendants can now talk in court about what was done to their clients, thanks to its release. Guantanamo clients were brutally interrogated by the CIA. 

"It gives much more authority to the arguments that we're making, it's just not us making up things to try and convince somebody of something," says attorney James Harrington. "Now we have an independent source, and obviously a very high source that verifies the things that we would want to say."

see Report Lends Credence To Defense

Meanwhile, incoming Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr has indicated there will be no follow-up to the report: "Put this report down as a footnote in history." North Carolina Stop Torture Now has other plans.

"Had I come forward a little sooner, these programs would have been a little less entrenched, and those abusing them would have felt a little less familiar with and accustomed to the exercise of those powers... Once you grant the government some new power or authority, it becomes exponentially more difficult to roll it back."

Edward Snowden's One Regret


When the CIA looked for legal cover for its post-9/11 torture programme, it is little surprise it looked to Israel. Washington's ally has its own Guantanamo, Camp 1391, which the Israeli Supreme Court has consistently shielded from investigation.

see U.S. looks to Israel to justify torture

In 2009, the UN Committee Against Torture asked for access to this Camp, but their request was summarily denied.


photo: uruknet.info

Although American politicians and their legal advisors are often the public face of this attack, the root of this movement is a coordinated and deliberate attack by law professors hostile to its philosophical foundations, including Eric Posner, Jack Goldsmith, Adrian Vermeule, and John Yoo. In a series of influential writings, they have claimed that since states are motivated primarily by self-interest, compliance with international law is nothing more than high-minded talk. These abstract arguments provide a foundation for dangerous legal conclusions: that international law is largely irrelevant to determining how and when terrorists can be captured or killed; that the US President alone should be directing the War on Terror without significant input from Congress or the judiciary; that US courts should not hear lawsuits alleging violations of international law; and that the US should block any international criminal court with jurisdiction over Americans.

-- International Law Reporter, February 1, 2015

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Broken Laws, Broken Lives

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The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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