Results matching “indefinite detention is torture” from FIRE JOHN YOO!

This January 11th, 2020 will mark the 18th year anniversary of Guantanamo's opening in the War on Terror in 2002. Witness Against Torture will join other human rights organization in once again calling attention to the brutality of the prison, including indefinite detention and for an end to any and all uses of torture.

Drawings done in captivity by the first prisoner known to undergo "enhanced interrogation" portray his account of what happened to him in vivid and disturbing ways.

Abu Zubaydah suffers indefinite detention -- in itself a form of torture -- while the architect of American torture techniques, the subject of drawings published by the New York Times, enjoys University of California protection from prosecution for his crimes. The most protested professor in the legal academy also finds refuge at Stanford's Hoover Institution.  

pict0055-thumb-275x366-1504.jpgA California Law Review debate about the treatment of detainees during wartime will likely include discussion of the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp, where 800 years of Habeas Corpus law -- the right to know why you are being held captive by the State -- came undone.

The Symposium on Habeas Corpus in Wartime will take place at Berkeley Law in Booth Auditorium on April 6, 2018 from 9:00am to 4:00pm with a reception to follow. For speakers and event details, visit 

Should constitutional law be applied to U.S. wars of aggression? What happens when you don't deal with the crime of indefinite detention? University of Texas panelist Stephen Vladeck advocates closing Gitmo (good) but he, and others, are prepared to subject "Forever Prisoners" to Obama-era Periodic Review Boards. True "closure" of the detention camp can only be accomplished with a determination to charge or release all inhabitants. 

"Closing Guantánamo the right way requires ending indefinite detention without charge or trial; transferring detainees who have been cleared for transfer; and trying detainees for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing in our federal criminal courts here in the U.S.," asserts the ACLU. "If a prosecutor cannot put together a case against a detainee, there is no reason that person should continue to be imprisoned."

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," wrote Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The House of the Dead. The cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment -- torture -- inflicted on disfranchised subjects, from Pelican Bay in California to Bagram, Afghanistan, must not only end; the presumption of American immunity to international law must be repudiated. Dismantling of U.S. torture camps can't wait. And that is up to us.

Take Torture Off the Table

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," wrote Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The House of the Dead. The cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment -- torture -- inflicted on disfranchised subjects, from Pelican Bay in California to Bagram, Afghanistan, must not only end; the presumption of American immunity to international law must be repudiated. Dismantling of U.S. torture camps can't wait. And that is up to us.

On New Year's Eve 2011, President Obama signed an appropriations bill into law that effectively reneged on his election promise to close Guantanamo. The duties he assumed as Commander-in-Chief, "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution," are not supposed to be negotiable. Journalist Andy Worthington notes Obama's failure to effect closure, even though he had the means to do so. 

The human cost of this failure has been documented. The New York Times maintains a docket of the roughly 780 men detained at Guantanamo over the years, nine of whom died while in custody. A new book by Jeffrey Kaye, Cover-up at Guantanamo, explores the the circumstances of three suspicious deaths. His Guantanamo Truth website contains documentary material for Naval Criminal Investigation Service reports on Abdul Rahman Al Amri, Mohammed Salih Al Hanashi and Adnan Farhan Abd Latif "suicides." 

It's time to be honest. You can't blame it on Congress. We say no more excuses and mixed messages. Release the 61 illegally detained men left at Guantanamo, including 20 uncharged "forever prisoners." Raise your voices everyplace Obama and presidential contenders appear. 

While Obama dallies, Congress threatens to institutionalize the indiscriminate application of criminal laws and the wanton treatment of suspected criminals at Guantanamo. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would block transfers of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the U.S. mainland or any foreign country, reports Sputnik News. Security Human Rights expert Elizabeth Beavers urges a presidential veto, and speaks to election season silence on the issue. "It is unfortunate that they [candidates] don't talk about it because the decisions that the future president will make will have implications for generations to come."

What happens when you don't deal with the crime of indefinite detention? 800 years of Habeas Corpus law, the right to know why you are being held captive by the State, comes undone. We witness no savior from the Democratic Party. It's up to people living in the United States to mobilize against agents of denial and neglect. 

Deferring responsibility for the closure of Guantanamo, on an arbitrary timetable, to President Obama has prolonged the misery of illegally held prisoners. It implies legitimacy for the lawless practice of military tribunals employed to sidestep due process. The Periodic Review Boards instituted by Executive Order 13567 on March 7, 2011 enable a legal limbo for victims of warrantless prosecution.

One of those victims, former child prisoner Hassan bin Attash, is the last to face Obama's Periodic Review Board. Deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release, he languishes at Guantanamo while authorities quibble over applicability of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Attash was just sixteen or seventeen when he was captured). 

"Closing Guantánamo the right way requires ending indefinite detention without charge or trial; transferring detainees who have been cleared for transfer; and trying detainees for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing in our federal criminal courts here in the U.S.," posts the ACLU. "Our federal courts routinely handle high-profile terrorism cases. If a prosecutor cannot put together a case against a detainee, there is no reason that person should continue to be imprisoned."

Close Guantanamo NOW. 

Why Guantanamo Still Matters

There are 61 illegally detained men left at Guantanamo, including 18 uncharged "forever prisoners." Not a single senior official has yet faced accountability for the systematic torture of detainees.

Guantánamo's ill-conceived structures cannot provide justice. "Instead of fair trials in federal court, the U.S. government chose to create a pseudo-court system from scratch, in the form of military commissions that fall short of international fair trial standards," writes Amnesty International USA's Elizabeth Beavers. "The failed military commissions could continue without change and without justice, if the public continues to ignore that they're happening."

"Indefinite detention is a violation of international human rights law," continues Beavers... "By continuing to prop up a parallel detention system in which individuals can be held for more than a decade without charge or trial, the United States has a built a dangerous precedent upon which human rights violations can be normalized and then expanded upon. 

Ba Odah v. Obama

Make no mistake: indefinite detention is torture. Just ask Tariq Ba Odah.

"There is no shortage of blame to go around for Guantánamo's continued operation," wrote Omar Farah, NYU Press. "In Tariq's view, the courts, lawmakers, and the president are all part of the same system that keeps him locked up and far from his family. I am hard-pressed to disagree. But, surely, as the person with ultimate power over Tariq's fate, President Obama bears unique responsibility for the fact that, as of this writing,* Tariq remains in isolation at Guantánamo, having passed the eighth anniversary of his hunger strike, bracing himself for his next feeding session."

*Tariq Ba Odah was transferred to Saudi Arabia on April 16, with no small thanks to the people who have stood by him.  

Good Law is Not Made in Secret

"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 "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, "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."

To Hell With Obama's Legacy


Closing Guantánamo is seen as a legacy issue for Barack Obama. Yet, while the media focuses on the impact his failure to close it will have on Obama's place in history, there is no consideration of the long-term physical and psychological impact almost 15 years of indefinite detention and torture will have on the prisoners. They remain, as always, pawns in other people's power games...

there is no real plan to close Guantánamo or end indefinite detention

On Monday January 11, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, a group of people in orange jumpsuits representing the Guantanamo prisoners will walk thru busy downtown San Francisco. People walking alongside them will explain our message with words and flyers to those we meet. This is about bearing witness AND engaging many more people to challenge and change what they think about this horrible crime of torture and indefinite detention. 

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Look for signs and people in orange jumpsuits
We'll make several stops en route to City Hall

As this illegal, immoral prison enters its 15th year, with 103 men still behind its bars, protests demanding CLOSE GUANTANAMO NOW! will hit the streets in D.C., Miami, New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. World Can't Wait is joining together with other movements and organizations to make these actions happen and we urgently welcome you to join us.

Under two U.S. presidents -- and now about to be handed over to a third -- what has been going on at Guantanamo is an insult to humanity. And although what 779 prisoners have experienced there is no secret (indefinite detention, brutal torture, and the total trashing of due process and any semblance of legality), Guantanamo is not supposed to be a topic of conversation in polite society generally, or in the current discourse about the 2016 presidential elections in particular. But that just means that it's on us, the impolite activists, journalists and writers, human rights and legal fighters, to speak up. It is on us who reject the thundering silence of complicity, to keep exposing the facts and demanding an end to the torture which is a war crime, and a crime against humanity.
Think about this: we have been shouting for justice for years. But it was the prisoners themselves, through their heroic and collective hunger strike, who two years ago forced Obama to break his silence, acknowledge that Guantanamo is illegitimate, and place blame on Congressional opposition to close Guantanamo. Excuses aside, this President has the authority as commander-in-chief to close the prison. 
But whether the powerful abide by law or not, there is still a more fundamental question of right and wrong. The Guantanamo prisoners have for years done all they could to put their plight before the world. Now, who will stand with them, who will ensure their voices are not silenced?

And there's more to the need for January's actions than just marking the anniversary. Current events have led to a situation where "protecting America against terrorism" has taken new wind into its sails. The "keeping Americans safe" mythology being spun to legitimize and to suck people into supporting every new Big Brother measure that intensifies political surveillance and repression -- and makes Muslims, immigrants, and others unworthy of rights and respect -- is an ugly, fraudulent and dangerous sinkhole. If no one challenges this atmosphere, where will it all go?   

If your organization can endorse the action that's welcome (please reply to this email to affirm the endorsement). But what we most want and need is for many groups to send two or more people to take part in the action (walk with us). PLEASE RSVP. 

You are welcome to publicize this action, to bring your own flyers for handout and your own signs, and to issue your own press releases. In any of that, please acknowledge action sponsors: World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Occupy SF Action Council, School of the Americas Watch West, Cindy Sheehan, and The Nuclear Resister.

Free the Guantanamo 112


I was very happy to wake this morning to news that long term Guantanamo survivor Shaker Aamer has triumphed over the barbaric U.S. practice of torture. We have cause to celebrate not only his release, but also the precedent he sets for freeing the remaining 112 men facing death by attrition. 

At lunchtime on October 30, 2015, a plane carrying Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, back to the UK as a free man, to be reunited with his family after nearly 14 years without charge or trial in US custody, landed at Biggin Hill airfield. Soon after, Shaker was whisked away by his UK lawyers to receive medical care and to be reunited with his family, writes Andy Worthington, co-director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign. I am led to believe, he is doing remarking well considering his long ordeal.

Indefinite detention constitutes torture above and beyond the physical depredations of the body suffered -- including the lawless constructs approved by U.S. government lackeys -- and endured. Mr Aamer has inspired his fellow prisoners to transcend both with dignity and honor. He should be proud of his contribution towards ending the American war of terror on hapless civilians (many Guantanamo prisoners were bought from bounty hunters and never charged). His story emboldens us to demand a better future for subscribers to justice.

World Can't Wait Calls for Immediate Release of Shaker Aamer. Not One More Day of Torture for the Last British Resident of Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter's notice of intent to repatriate the illegally detained "terror suspect" -- Mr Aamer has never been charged with a crime -- is a welcome development.

It would be premature to celebrate the prisoner's release, as this is hardly a done deal, but we call on people of conscience to seize the moment to redouble efforts to free Shaker Aamer and all 113 remaining survivors of extrajudicial incarceration.

We condemn the 30 day waiting period for Congressional deliberation, and hold that the delay constitutes unconscionable punishment on top of the 13 year disruption of his life. Mr Aamer has yet to meet his youngest son, born after his detention.

It is up to us to "walk the talk" to see that President Obama's promise to close Guantanamo becomes a reality. We will celebrate Shaker Aamer's repatriation when he boards a plane for London. We will not rest until he's free and all the prisoners are free and those responsible for this crime of indefinite detention and torture are brought to justice.

Berkeley Law Shelters a War Criminal: Indict John Yoo

Friday May 15

Berkeley Law Commencement

Hearst Greek Theatre

8:00 am sharp, to be in place for arrival of Processional; Ceremony begins at 9:00 

John Yoo was a UC Berkeley Law professor when he took a leave of absence to accept a position in the Bush Department of Justice. He was the principal legal author of justification for the torture program exposed to the world thru Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Employing a dangerous philosophy of exceptionalism -- that American lives are worth more than other people's lives -- Yoo provided advice and cover for illegal policies inherited and embraced by President Obama. 

Last week's international conference, Reflections on the Legacy of Nuremberg, sponsored by the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies provided an excellent venue to protest the University of California's advancement of state torture policy. World Can't Wait activists were on hand to demand accountability for John Yoo -- and his enablers.


A university that allows a war criminal to teach constitutional and international law courses to the next generation of lawyers and judges under prejudice of "academic freedom" is protecting war crimes. There is historical precedent for prosecuting Berkeley Law's resident torture advocate. 

In the case U.S. v. Altstoetter, judges, prosecutors, and Ministry of Justice officials who had served the Nazi regime were charged, tried, and convicted of war crimes because their "legal" work enabled the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust under color of law. Recall the role of Adolf Eichmann, sometimes referred to as "the architect of the Holocaust" because he facilitated and managed the logistics of mass deportations of Jews and others to the Nazi extermination camps. His bureaucratic role was critical to the death of millions in the Holocaust

John Yoo utilized his employment in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush regime to promote crimes of torture, massive surveillance, unlawful and indefinite detention, and war. As a direct result of Yoo's legal memos thousands have been subjected to torture, tens of thousands incarcerated, tens of millions spied upon, and a million have died in U.S. imperialist wars. Without the provision of "legal cover" many of these crimes would not have been possible.

End the Silence.

Say NO to normalization of war crimes.

Fire, Disbar and Prosecute John Yoo and ALL the Torture Lawyers.

Fire, Disbar, PROSECUTE John Yoo!


Tuesday January 13, 1:00 pm
Press Conference followed by March to Office of the Dean 

West Terrace of Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley

The U.S. torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been open 13 years. More than 100 men are still held, the majority of whom are cleared for release. They suffer the Obama administration's practice of indefinite detention. An unknown number of hunger strikers continue to be force-fed in violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 


World Can't Wait joins the Witness Against Torture community to protest an era of ruthless brutality. Demonstrations at the CIA, White House and State Department and a symbolic fast in solidarity with Guantanamo prisoners will continue over a week. The special Bay Area action on January 13 demands long-overdue investigation of professional misconduct by "Torture Professor" John Yoo, author of Department of Justice opinions that enabled the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" employed at Guantanamo and revealed in the horrific photos from Abu Ghraib.

The Prohibition of Torture is Absolute.

The debate over whether torture "worked" presupposes an outmoded belief in American Exceptionalism, an assumption of moral superiority that belies the hard reality of U.S. exploitation of people and resources across the globe. International law and basic human decency deplores the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment employed to maintain control over victims of capitalist democracy.


The President is obliged to hold war criminals and their agents accountable; refusal to do so invokes application of the U.S. federal conspiracy statute, which supplies independent authority to prosecute those who evade oversight. ACLU/Human Rights Watch letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calls for investigation by a Special Prosecutor.

The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.-- New York Times joins call for Prosecution of Torturers and Their Bosses  

Prosecutions are the very best way to ensure that officials don't torture again. The freedom afforded Bush administration officials today threatens to normalize criminal behavior by "do it again" Cheney and company. The Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner applauds investigation by a German human rights group, but as Curt Goering at The Center for Victims of Torture reminds us, "It is about us. And it is up to all of us to act."

From Ferguson to Guantanamo, masses of people are challenging the legitimacy of policies that contribute to state sanctioned terror. 

By Sharon Adams, Vice-President, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

the facts: 

Choudhry represented Omar Khadr, a 15-year old boy removed from Afghanistan* and rendered to Guantanamo in 2002, in a case heard by Justice Abella and the other Justices of the Canadian Supreme Court. John Yoo is infamously known for writing the legal memos stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to so-called "enemy combatants" detained in Guantanamo and other black sites outside of the United States.

While Choudhry was a faculty member at the law school of the University of Toronto, he filed an intervener's brief before the Canadian Supreme Court on behalf of Khadr in which Choudhry condemned Guantanamo as a "legal black hole". He quoted with approval a statement by the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights that "the choice of the site in Guantanamo Bay was the first marker that there was an attempt by the U.S. administration to manage the war on terror outside the legal framework." Choudhry did not mince words, and identified the question before the Canadian Supreme Court as "what constitutional duties Canada owes [Khadr] under [Canadian law] in light of this flagrantly illegal conduct of the American government."

The particular issue was the legal validity U.S. military commissions to try detainees, and use of information gathered by Canadian agents. Choudhry stated that Canada profited from "violation of [Khadr's] rights under international law by the American authorities" that the "proceedings in Guantanamo Bay violate international law" and that the legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay "do not meet the minimum standards of due process under international law."

In considering what happened to Khadr in Guantanamo, the Canadian Supreme Court, in Minister of Justice et al. v. Omar Ahmed Khadr, 2008 SCC 28, unanimously agreed that "the conditions under which Mr. Khadr was held and was liable for prosecution were illegal under both U.S. and international law ..."

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