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

The military stopped providing daily updates of the six-month hunger strike in September, saying the strike was mostly over. However, the Miami Herald has continued counting. The numbers continue to hover around a dozen. As of this writing, 15 prisoners are on hunger strike, all of whom are being force-fed... 

Military Commissions Stuck on Torture

Susan Rice imposed an ultimatum on the Afghan government Monday to sign a "security agreement" (which includes $4 billion in annual funding for the Afghan military) or face the complete and final pullout of American troops by the end of 2014.

U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham quickly expressed reluctance to carry out that threat.

Angered by unrelenting U.S. drone strikes on civilians, President Karzai has added the release of Guantanamo inmates to his list of conditions.
In practice, [closing Guantanamo] means transferring the inmates to another prison... 

in anything resembling a free and just society, when a state tortures someone and messes up the chance at due process, the only possibly moral thing to do is let them go... 

releases have slowed to a halt under Obama. We need to examine a few of the rationales being used to keep these people imprisoned, and consider the deeper principles involved.

until we exhaust all available avenues to stop crimes committed with electoral sanction. And I'm not plugging writing to Congresspeople here.

"Good Germans" found themselves in the unconvincing position of claiming that they didn't know what was going on under their noses (a look at the historical record reveals the opposite.)

The "legal immunity" demanded of the Afghanistan government for American troops occupying that country could just wind up biting the rest of us in the ass. We have the relative luxury to mount political resistance not available to many of the victims of U.S. imperialism. We can still reverse the fascist direction of society, but time is running out.

As Daniel Ellsberg reminded us in a speech in 2006, it's a short jump to the dark side. It can happen almost overnight.

Interrogation of terror suspects before putting them into the federal courts system "has been a goldmine for us" he said. "The [president] and the Congress should look into codifying this into law ... because I think it's going to become an increasingly important practice. There will be a need for this sort of interrogation."

DHS Nominee Backs Controversial Interrogation Methods

"Simply put, US drones kill"

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"Can we imagine what it feels like to live in such constant terror? Do we, as Americans, understand the implications of our foreign policy on other people's lives? Are we even aware of the amount of harm, fear and insecurity that we are forcing upon other peoples? Not at all. -- Shawndeez Jadal

Members of the UC Berkeley Muslim Student Association protest 
government drone use on the steps of Sproul Hall on Wednesday.
Dressed in all black with solemn expressions on their faces, students from UC and nearby schools stood on the steps of Sproul Hall midday Wednesday to silently protest the government use of drones both domestically and overseas...

Last Saturday, for the first time, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, founded in 1986, heard a case relating to the program of rendition and torture established under George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks, with particular reference to US crimes committed on African soil.

The case was brought by the Global Justice Clinic, based at the Center for Human Rights and Justice at New York University School of Law and by the London-based INTERIGHTS (the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights), and it concerns the role played by Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, as part of the program of rendition, secret detention and torture run by the CIA on Bush's orders, with specific reference to the case of Mohammed al-Asad, a Yemeni citizen, who, as the Global Justice Clinic explained in a press release, "was secretly detained, tortured and interrogated in Djibouti for several weeks in 2003 and 2004 before being forcibly transferred to a CIA 'black site'...

see African Human Rights Commission Hears Evidence About CIA Rendition and Torture

Artists Against Torture

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450x377-equal_images_stories_portfolio_Screen_Shot_2012-06-12_at_1.06.09_PM.pngHelp kick start the ebook production of Redact This! Artists Against Torture, an artistic response to acts of torture during the U.S. "War on Terror."

 Redact This! images serve to "perpetuate the memory" of these crimes against humanity so that the people of the world never halt their struggle to end torture. 

Each of the pieces found in this book stands on its own as a unique protest against the use of torture, anywhere, everywhere, for any reason, always...

Nicolas J.S. Davies talks about the destruction of Iraq in the context of holding the U.S. government and its functionaries accountable:
The invasion was not just some sort of mistake. The invasion and occupation were a serious crime, a crime of aggression under the UN Charter as (then-Secretary General) Kofi Annan acknowledged. And aggression was defined under the Nuremberg principles and by the judges at Nuremberg as the supreme international crime...


The US military says the hunger strike at Guantanamo, which lasted more than six months and aimed to end the injustices within the prison, is officially over. The military has stopped issuing daily updates of the number of strikers. The Miami Herald, however, hasn't stopped... 

Amid Lingering Hunger Strike, Guantanamo Abuses Press On

"I have known Shaker for some time. Because he is so eloquent and outspoken about the injustices of Guantanamo, he is very definitely viewed as a threat by the US. Not in the sense of being an extremist, but in the sense of being someone who can rather eloquently criticize the nightmare that happened there." -- Clive Stafford Smith

painting by Kate Mahoney

This system was set up to ensure that the U.S. government's torture program would never face trial, and so far it has succeeded. For the past decade, Guantánamo has been a parallel universe where information tainted by torture may be admitted as evidence, where the centuries-old attorney-client privilege is subject to arbitrary interference by military officials, and where people spend a decade or more waiting for a day in court. -- Vincent Warren, Executive Director Center for Constitutional Rights 

With great fanfare, the UC Berkeley campus community will symbolically usher in the tenure of its new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, at his inauguration Friday...

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks took office in June, replacing Robert Birgeneau. His inauguration will take place in Zellerbach Hall this Friday.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks took office in June, replacing Robert Birgeneau.

The retirement of UC torture apologists Robert Birgeneau and Christopher Edley provides an opening for restoration of ethical leadership at the university, and ending school complicity in sheltering a war criminal. There is no reason to despair of revising the legacy of Berkeley Law. Indeed, respecting the student call for a now long overdue investigation of the actions of John Yoo at the Department of Justice could go a long way towards restoring the moral health at other institutions

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof says "We will be prepared for people who want their voices to be heard [here's your chance], but I think the day will be mostly positive." Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, UC President Janet Napolitano, no stranger to student protest, will present Dirks with the Chancellor's Medal. The activist group By Any Means Necessary will be on hand to advocate her replacement.

"Having worked in the White House under two presidents, I am exceptionally sensitive to the complex, ineffable boundary between policymaking and law-declaring. I know that Professor Yoo continues to believe his legal reasoning was sound, but I do not know whether he believes that the Department of Defense and CIA made political or moral mistakes in the way they exercised the discretion his memoranda declared available to them within the law. As critical as I am of his analyses, no argument about what he did or didn't facilitate, or about his special obligations as an attorney, makes his conduct morally equivalent to that of his nominal clients, Secretary Rumsfeld, et al., or comparable to the conduct of interrogators distant in time, rank and place. The law does not criminalize every immoral act, however, and there is a strong argument that these more direct actors get a 'pass' because they relied on the DOJ memoranda. -- Dean Christopher Edley, Jr

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

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