Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: January 2013 Archives

Let's face facts: Obama has no intention of closing Guantanamo

Four years ago, lest we forget, the closure of Guantánamo took pride of place in President Obama's concerns at his Inauguration. Now, four years on, there was not a word about Guantánamo at his second Inauguration on Monday, and those who are not seduced by fine-sounding rhetoric were left to reflect on how, four years ago, candidate Obama's fine words turned to ash almost as soon as he had issued his executive order promising to close Guantánamo within a year -- Andy Worthington

It's up to us to end 11 years of injustice.


Tuesday, January 29 at 7pm                                                             Revolution Books                                                                         2425 Channing Way, Berkeley

A discussion of Zero Dark Thirty, inspired by the film review by Annie Day. Speakers to include

Sharon Adams, Chair of the Committee Against Torture and Executive Board Member of the National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter

William Butkus, Amnesty International Western Regional Field Organizer 

Larry Everest, reporter for Revolution newspaper and author of Oil, Power, and Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda.

Not if we can help it. The future is unwritten. Which one we get is up to us.

Here then is the key message of the film: The law, due process and the idea of presenting evidence before a jury should be dispensed with in favor of extra-judicial killings. The film not only uses the moral unambiguity of assassinating bin Laden to sell us on the rightness and righteousness of extra-judicial killing, it also takes pains to show that this can be done in secret because of the checks and balances involved in targeted killings...

Rebranding the Killing Machine

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by Obama earlier this month, includes an amendment that legalizes the dissemination of propaganda to US citizens.

By repeatedly showing torture to be effective in obtaining intelligence and CIA agents bemoaning their inability to gather intelligence due to the ban on torture, while omitting nearly all of the flaws and devastating repercussions America's torture program caused, Zero Dark Thirty clearly endorses the use of torture.

During Panetta's time as CIA Director and Secretary of Defense US illegal wars have gone on un-mercilessly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen at the cost of thousands of lives of men,women and children murdered in their own beloved, innocent and poor nations. Under Panetta thugs were paid to destroy the government in the most prosperous and democratic nation in Africa before US NATO bombing took place while a near million Libyans in a population of only six million demonstrated for their Green democracy government and Gadaffi. At last count 60,OOO have died in Syria for the attempt of the former former colonial powers led by the US and satellites like Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do the same there in the face to similar massive pro-government rallies...  

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin

Statement by dean Christopher Edley about the actions of two students in Las Vegas, Nevada:

"I'm extremely troubled by news accounts of the students' actions off campus, but it's up to the Nevada legal system to examine the facts and rule in this case.  It's premature to speculate about any possible consequences; the justice system must run its course." 

Sound familiar?


it's a grim anniversary. It's the 11th year of Guantanamo. We're entering the 12th year. The U.S. has had that detention camp since January 11, 2002. The original order came down in November 2001. That's the order that the Center for Constitutional Rights and myself has been challenging since that time. And despite our challenges, despite Obama, we still have Guantanamo there. And we have a Guantanamo--and these numbers are important--that 166 people still remaining at Guantanamo, and that 86 of those, 86 have been cleared for release. That means they're innocent, they shouldn't be there anymore, and they are still there. And they've been there going on, in some cases, 11 years, ten years, nine years. Still there. So we're still running a detention camp...

panel discussion with former detainees webcast here

Justice, not Torture

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eclo0111yooprotest01.jpgThe Berkeley Federalist Society assigned Torture Memo author John Yoo (yes, the guy who sets the threshold of torture at "serious physical injury, such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions") to talk about medical insurance.

Despite the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility conclusion that professor Yoo and his boss, now federal district court judge Jay Bybee, were guilty of "professional misconduct" warranting referral to their states' bar associations to face disciplinary action including revocation of their law licenses, Berkeley Law administrators continue to provide a soapbox for the rantings of an unrepentant advocate for human suffering. Almost three years ago Truthout noted that while it may seem like a stretch to talk about health care and torture in the same breath, there is a direct link between the two issues. Indeed, it was a Medicare benefits statute and other health care provisions that were used to form the basis for one of two August 2002 torture memos.

A university that allows a war criminal to teach constitutional law and ethics courses to the next generation of lawyers and judges under prejudice of "academic freedom" is protecting war crimes. We say NO to the moral relativism that accommodates torture.

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

More photos here

Yes, you read that right. Media response to his selection has been slow,

"no one on the left or the right seems to much care about Brennan's nomination, despite the fact that he was forced to withdraw his name from consideration from the very same job in 2008 thanks to controversy over his alleged involvement with Bush-era interrogation programs. Brennan spent years at the CIA and served as chief of staff to former director George Tenet during the creation of the post-9/11 detention and interrogation programs. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer described him as a "supporter" of the programs, which included torture and the use of secret prison 'black sites' -- Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon

But Brennan has acquired the title of 'Mr. Drone' for his key role in the President's drones policy. Many experts expect use of unmanned robot plans to escalate under his leadership.

"I wonder how the people of a nation that considers itself the epitome of enlightenment and education, a so-called "civilised society," can draw such bizarre distinctions and tolerate the inhumane treatment endured by the people in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay and other US - and probably UK - prisons...

Obama's war on whistleblowers has claimed a fresh casualty, this time an agent of the President's private army.

In 2007, John [Kiriakou] became the first CIA officer to call waterboarding "torture"; to reveal that the CIA's torture program was policy rather than a few rogue agents; and to say it was wrong.

Attorney Jesselyn Radack exposes misapplication of the Espionage Act to prosecute her client, and the use of a de facto Official Secrets Act to protect torturers and their apologists.

What's Left Out of the "national security" narrative

"lawyers who dispense bad advice about law of armed conflict, and whose advice predictably leads to the death of mistreatment of prisoners, are war criminals, chargeable with potentially capital offenses... cute lawyerly evasions and gimmicks, so commonly indulged in other areas of the law, will not be tolerated on fundamental questions of law of armed conflict relating to the protection of civilians and detainees. -- law professor and human rights advocate Scott Horton

Legal Constraints Against Torture

a critical choice

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The public "controversy" whipped up by release of the new torture movie Zero Dark Thirty is actually a re-hash of an argument that had largely been put to bed, that torture works to extract reliable intelligence from suspected terrorists (and even if it did, would that make the practice morally acceptable?) But torture IS effective in getting subjects to say what you want them to say, to fabricate rationale for government venture, such as the ultimate war crime of aggression on sovereign nations that pose no imminent threat.


Film director Kathryn Bigelow's reputation alone promises to draw a sizable audience; her pornographic depictions of CIA brutality may provide the titillation for many additional viewers, including the video game junkies that play Medal of Honor Warfighter. But this may very well not be the blockbuster that the film industry anticipates. Indeed, critical reviews of the movie, and the history of its making, may prove to be its undoing. Hollywood's hard sell might not be able to overcome revulsion to this kind of "entertainment."

We refuse to buy the lie that the Central Intelligence Agency has ever been a force for good, that extra-legal assassination is ever justified, that American lives are worth more than others. World Can't Wait will be outside theaters to protest the movie, and use this opportunity to promote the truth about the crimes of our government. We encourage readers to do the same. We'll wear orange jumpsuits to represent the Guantanamo prisoners that Obama has failed to release, distribute fliers (download here), hold signs and banners, and loudly proclaim that NO! Torture is always illegal, immoral, and unacceptable.

KQED reports on the first of what we hope to be many protests in the Bay Area. Photo by Andrew Stelzer.

Channel 7 video

SF Chronicle video

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

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in January 2013.

Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: December 2012 is the previous archive.

Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: February 2013 is the next archive.

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