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

Pictures at an Exhibition

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Steve Mumford, presented by Postmasters

Known for his drawings from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, Steve Mumford was commissioned by Harper's Magazine to go to Guantanamo. He made two trips in February and May 2013. [October] issue of Harper's includes a portfolio of his drawings along with Lawrence Douglas' cover story A Kangaroo in Obama's Court...

"Why stop with Cheney...

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photo c/o

What about Bush himself and John Yoo? The case is strong that every member of the Bush/Cheney and Obama regimes is a criminal. -- Paul Craig Roberts

Toronto Star on Eve of Cheney Canada Visit: Arrest Him

when everyone is the enemy

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As the White House considers banning eavesdropping on "friendly presidents and prime ministers," vast NSA surveillance of whole populations continues unabated, thanks in no small part to John Yoo's rebuke of Constitutional law.
'growing calls ... for forceful action' aren't coming from the people, or Congressional majorities, or an expert consensus. The pressure is being applied by a tiny, insular elite that mostly lives in Washington, D.C., and isn't bothered by the idea of committing America to military action that most Americans oppose.
FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2011 photo, University of California Davis Police Lt. John Pike assaults Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.  Photo: Wayne Tilcock, Associated Press
- Photo: Paul Chinn
California Bar - Moral Character Application Information
Event Type:Meeting
Location:Room 110
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
Berkeley Law Events
Ashton Lee
Representatives for the California Bar will be here to talk to you about the Moral Character application and answer any questions you might have.  We will also distribute information about the topics covered on the California and New York Bars and review graduation requirements.  Lunch will be served.
That's news because Preston's nomination had been held up by Senator Mark Udall and became a proxy battle in Congress's struggle with the CIA over a damning 6,000-page report on the agency's torture program. The report, which cost $40 million, apparently provides definitive proof that the torture program was ineffective, even counterproductive, and was deceptively sold to Congress. The condition of Preston's confirmation was answers to questions from Sen. Udall, which were obtained by The New Yorker...

While the Pentagon's new talking head dissembles interest in "greater transparency," Kevin Gosztola at Firedoglake reminds us of the larger issues at stake:

"no persons involved in torture have been held accountable for their involvement. The Justice Department has consciously chosen not to prosecute current and former government officials. Even though the administration issued an Executive Order intended to discontinue the official use of torture or 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' the Obama administration has effectively decriminalized torture. In fact, sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation through drugs that do not cause 'permanent derangement' can still be used against detainees."

no rest for the wicked

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628x471.jpgAs general counsel at the Defense Department during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, [Jeh] Johnson was an aggressive advocate on a number of complex and contentious legal issues. He oversaw the escalation of the use of unmanned drone strikes, the revamping of military commissions to try terrorism suspects rather than using civilian courts and the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service members. He also mapped out the legal defense for the American cross-border raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden...

photo by Charles Dharapak, AP

The answer may be that the U.S. is simply targeting so-called "lawless" and "stateless" regions and peoples. In a world where states, corporations, and international organizations rule the day, with the United States perched atop the global hierarchy, the imperial concept of "order" reigns supreme, where the word 'order' is defined as control...

Under the administration of Barack Obama, America is waging a global terror campaign through the use of drones, killing thousands of people, committing endless war crimes, creating fear and terror in a program expected to last several more decades... one of the actual repercussions of waging a massive global assassination program against people around the world: they tend to not "love" the country bombing them.

dying inside

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To overcome the difficulty for people to empathize with people whose suffering is deliberately kept hidden, the new animated film, "Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes," produced by Mustafa Khalili and Guy Grandjean of the Guardian, and the animation company Sherbet, features the testimony of four prisoners, all of whom have been cleared for release but are still held (a situation in which 84 of the remaining 164 prisoners find themselves). The film, which depicts life in the prison, including the horrible reality of force-feeding, is narrated by the actors David Morrisey and Peter Capaldi.
300px-L&H_Habeas_Corpus_1929.jpgObama's Periodic Review Board will evaluate the threat to U.S. security posed by individual detainees, not the legality of their imprisonment.

Between 60 and 80 of the 164 prisoners at Guantanamo cannot be prosecuted for various reasons, but are considered too dangerous to be released.

"This process makes an important contribution toward the goal of closing Guantanamo by ensuring that the government has a principled and sustainable process for reviewing and revisiting prior detention determinations in light of the current circumstances and intelligence," a Pentagon statement said.

Government Shutdown?

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300px-Fbi_mobile_command_center_2.jpgThe military NSA is busy spying on all Americans, the lights are on at the Treasury, FBI, CIA, FAA, NRLB, IRS, EPA, NASA, and the Pentagon --just like Motel 6 ("We'll leave the light on for you"). -- Dredd

And last I heard, Guantanamo is still open"No one believes the hunger strike is over. Certainly not us. 
 -- Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale

photo: FBI Mobile Command Center
"an excellent choice... He is smart, saavy, and knows the law and policies in this area -- Cully Stimson, former Guantanamo point man for the Bush regime, currently director of the National Security program at the Heritage Foundation

see Pentagon's 'Guantánamo closer'

Read more here:

dead in the water

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The military commission system created to try 9/11 terrorists is on life support. The country would be better off pulling the plug...

"By the end of the morning, I couldn't shake the feeling that the object of all this energy, expertise and professional good will -- the modern military commission -- was fundamentally unworthy of any of it, a jury-rigged ship foundering in a heavy sea of law, politics and the struggle among the branches of government that has been a hallmark of the prolonged Guantánamo saga. The D.C. Circuit can't save it, even if it were so inclined -- which it didn't appear to be. -- Linda Greenhouse

Slipping Past the Guards

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CIMG0118.JPGWhy is one of the central perpetrators of systematic torture teaching at Berkeley Law?

105 Boalt Hall
Monday, October 07
12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

The Federalist Society presents professors Jesse Choper and John Yoo in a review of the Supreme Court's last term, and a preview of the upcoming one. Much of their presentation will focus on cases stemming from the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, DOMA, and Proposition 8. Q&A will follow their presentation.

Lunch will be provided as supplies last. Please bring a student ID to gain entrance.

Mind Tricks, Ancient & Modern

John Yoo speculated that because Afghanistan was a "failed state," those individuals captured in military operations there were not entitled to Geneva protections, because the country was no longer in possession of "the attributes of statehood necessary to continue as a party to the Conventions."

A series of memorandums from the Justice Department, many of them written by John C. Yoo, a University of California law professor who was serving in the department, provided arguments to keep United States officials from being charged with war crimes for the way prisoners were detained and interrogated. The memorandums, principally one written on January 9 [2002], provided legal arguments to support administration officials' assertions that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees from the war in Afghanistan...

keeping up appearances

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c/o Ben Fox, Associated Press:

The U.S. government has dropped its opposition to releasing a Guantanamo Bay prisoner with severe mental and physical illnesses, apparently conceding the argument that he is far too sick to keep locked up at the U.S. base in Cuba... 

[Ibrahim Idris] has been held for more than 11 years as an enemy combatant despite being diagnosed as mentally ill soon after his arrival at Guantanamo.

The court filing was couched in careful language that avoided saying why the government would no longer resist legal efforts to release Idris.

Might we be looking at an isolated act of compassion by the Obama administration? Of the kind denied Lynne Stewart and Herman Wallace?  Or is this political calculation to avoid another prisoner death at all cost (4 Guantanamo detainees have expired under Obama's watch)?

Idris' physical condition probably guarantees that he is incapable of "spilling the beans" about his treatment at the U.S. concentration camp. Whether he will receive appropriate care upon anticipated return to his native Sudan is anyone's guess.

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Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

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The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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