April 2016 Archives

Obama's extrajudicial drone assassination program is "constitutional and legal."  

In addition to the the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Sanders supports the deployment of 250 soldiers to Syria (announced Monday), the continued presence of 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that airwars.org estimates have killed more than 1,000 civilians.

"While he may be less inclined to deploy the U.S. military than Clinton, who he has knocked for backing the 2003 invasion of Iraq," observes telesurtv.net, "he is no dove himself."
Thanks to the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report, Guantanamo prisoner's defense lawyers can now talk in court about what was done to their clients. "By all accounts, that's made a big difference," says National Public Radio's national security correspondent David Welna

"For the first time people who were involved in implementing and designing the CIA's torture program will be compelled to answer for their conduct in federal court," adds Jameel Jaffer, who is representing the plaintiffs. "That is literally unprecedented."

"The real problem with the Guantanamo military commissions is that there's no legitimate reason for them to exist." -- Daphne Eviatar, Human Rights First 

Guantanamo's Future

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"Should and Will Guantanamo Close? is the theme of a panel discussion from 4 to 6:30 p.m. April 29 at UC Berkeley's North Gate Hall, Room 105. The event is free and open to the public."  -- Tom Lochner, eastbaytimes.com

Help us distribute the following, with orange ribbons, outside the event, 3:30 - 4:30
Tear Down Guantanamo copy 3.jpg

"The Justice Department recently released another of the now-notorious Office of Legal Counsel memos written by John Yoo -- memos that authorized torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention," reports Patrick Toomey for justsecurity.org. "The new memo, written as a 'letter' to then-presiding FISC Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in May 2002, addresses the legal basis for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of Americans' communications under the 'Stellar Wind' program."

Nearly 15 years later, the Obama administration continues to "embrace" Yoo's legal arguments to spy on Americans, allowing that privacy interests of US persons in international communications are "significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated," when communicating with foreigners abroad.

Obama's Cyberwarfare First Strike directive "essentially reiterates the doctrine of preventive warfare, enunciated by George W. Bush in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq," wrote Patrick Martin in 2013, globalresearch.ca. "Bush declared that the United States had the right to attack other countries, not merely to preempt an impending attack, but to prevent any potential attack at any time in the future -- a formula for unlimited worldwide aggression."
Hiding in Plain Sight closes by examining the post-9/11 landscape and the United States' increasing reliance on military force to capture--or more often to simply kill--suspected terrorists, with little or no judicial scrutiny.

Tuesday, April 12
4:00 - 5:30pm
Warren Room, Berkeley Law
Former Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of Guantánamo between 2002 and 2004, "was a no-show in a French court [last month]," where he had been summoned to answer questions stemming from accusations that he oversaw the torture of three French nationals at Guantánamo.

Andy Worthington posts the full complaint from February 2014, as a reminder of some of the horrors of Guantánamo's long and disgraceful history.
h_butoday_16-9795-DEANSYM-018.jpg"The impunity of the United States presents a big drawback in the global fight against torture," said the United Nations special rapporteur Wednesday. When the subject of torture comes up in his travels to other countries, he often hears the same refrain: "If the United States does it, why can't we?"

Juan E. Méndez discussed human rights issues facing prisoners, like force-feeding, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. 

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

The School of Public Health Dean's Symposium invited scholars and policy makers from across the country to discuss crucial questions: do humans have a right to health? And, if so, what does it entail?
obama_garland1-255x326.jpgBefore jumping on that loveboat of support for Supreme Court candidate Merrick Garland, consider his record. The DC circuit court decisions he was a part of -- and the chief of -- closed down habeas corpus options for Guantanamo prisoners. 

"As one wartime detention case after another has pitted state security powers against individual rights, he has often -- though not always -- deferred to the government," notes NY Times correspondent Charlie Savage.

Allegiance to former President George W. Bush's policy of indefinite detentions (that federal courts had no jurisdiction to hear Guantánamo detainee lawsuits, Al Odah v. United States 2003, later struck down by the Supreme Court) might endear Obama's nominee to Republican senators -- with expectation of impunity for collusion in state terror.

But "if the story is, as to me it should be, whether Justice Garland would meaningfully improve governmental accountability in the exercise of national security and counterterrorism policy, it seems clear to me that the answer is both that he wouldn't, and, without more help, that he couldn't," writes Steve Vladeck at Just Security.

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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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