Tortuous logic – Tortured law with Debra Sweet and Andy Worthington interviewed by Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
October 18, 2010

"It's not torture when U.S. forces are do...

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(SOAPBOX #77) – Cindy has two wonderful guests: Starting with Debra Sweet, the woman behind World Can’t Wait.  Debra came into town for the recent Berkeley Says “NO” to Torture event, October 10 – 16, and managed to drop by our studios.  Cindyalso welcomes famous Independent Journalist Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files. Continue reading

Nine Years After 9/11, US Court Concedes that International Laws of War Restrict President’s Wartime Powers

by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
8 September, 2010

Under President George W. Bush, a small group of advisors tied closely to Vice President Dick Cheney argued that neither Congress nor the judiciary should attempt to prevent the President from doing whatever he felt was appropriate as the Commander-in-Chief of a “War on Terror” that was declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As Sidney Blumenthal explained in an article for Salon in January 2006, the President and his advisors believed in the “unitary executive” theory — “the idea that the President as Commander-in-Chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat.” Blumenthal added, accurately, that this concept was “the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.”

The extreme position taken by John Yoo regarding Presidential power

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Abu Zubaydah’s Torture Diary by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
16 March, 2010

Abu Zubaydah

To coincide with the publication of my article, “What Torture Is, and Why It’s Illegal and Not ‘Poor Judgment,’” in which I revisited the scandalous whitewash of the Justice Department report into the conduct of John Yoo and Jay Bybee (the lawyers who sought to redefine torture in the notorious “torture memos” of August 2002), I reproduce below a transcript of the statements made by the “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah during interviews with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, following his transfer to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006.

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John Yoo in Austin by Daniel N. White

by Daniel N. White
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
March 11, 2010

John Yoo, the man who provided the legal rationalizations for many of our numerous and multifaceted war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush II administration came to speak in Austin last week at the University of Texas law school.  I skated out from work a little early and went to see him speak.

Got there good and early to get a seat, and waited outside the auditorium while the Federalist Society types ran around trying to tie up all the loose ends.  Clearly they weren’t my type of people–all the men were wearing identical black suit white shirt red tie outfits and looked, and acted, like a hybrid of John Belushi’s two nemeses in Animal House, Neidemeyer the preppy ROTC turd, and Marmelard, the smarmy student government sellout.  Except that all the Federalist types were all short, with short-man personalities.  Their Federalist Society women had a little more flexibility in their apparel, and all dressed well and looked physically attractive but all seemed wound rather too tight.  Seeing them reminded me of a friend of mine’s remark about Sarah Palin–he’d thought she might be worth some naked time with but somehow he suspected she’d be a lousy piece of ass.  They were both officious and incompetent–the line to the auditorium didn’t get sorted out until I stepped up and started it and gave some clear directions to the crowd milling outside there.

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Margaret Flowers: Tangled Up in Yoo

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Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

davidcnswanson
February 28, 2010

Margaret Flowers singing a song by David Swanson based on Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue.” Protest John Yoo on March 19, 2010, in Charlottesville, VA. See http://hoosagainstyoo.org

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Daniel Ellsberg: Beyond the Echo Chamber, and Racial Profiling

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GRITtv with Laura Flanders
Feb. 24, 2010

The Bush administration thrived on secrecy; Obama promised more transparency, but has yet to really deliver. What’s more, when information does come out, it seems that accountability is nearly impossible to get: the torture memos were released, but there will be no trials. We ask Daniel Ellsberg, one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers, if there’s anything the people can do to take the power back.

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Torture Whitewash: How “Professional Misconduct” Became “Poor Judgment” in the OPR Report

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
23 February, 2010

The long-awaited report by the OPR (the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility) into the conduct of the lawyers in the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel), regarding their role in approving the use of torture, has finally been published (PDF).

The report largely focuses on two memos dated August 1, 2002, and a third dated March 14, 2003. Widely known as the “torture memos,” these notorious documents sought to redefine torture so that it could be used by the CIA (and by the US military in the March 2003 memo), and the report concludes that the primary author of the memos, John Yoo, an OLC lawyer who is now a law professor at Boalt Hall, the University of California’s School of Law in Berkeley, and the senior official who signed the August 2002 memos, Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, who is now a judge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, were guilty of “professional misconduct.”

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Report: Bush Lawyer Said President Could Order Civilians to Be ‘Massacred’ by Michael Isikoff

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by Michael Isikoff
Newsweek.com
February 19, 2010

The chief author of the Bush administration’s “torture memo” told Justice Department investigators that the president’s war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be “massacred,” according to a report released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The views of former Justice lawyer John Yoo were deemed to be so extreme and out of step with legal precedents that they prompted the Justice Department’s internal watchdog office to conclude last year that he committed “intentional professional misconduct” when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects.

[…]

via Report: Bush Lawyer Said President Could Order Civilians to Be ‘Massacred’ – Declassified Blog – Newsweek.com

h/t: CLG

Justice Department clears Bush lawyers for ‘torture memos’

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By Marisa Taylor
McClatchy
Feb. 19, 2010

WASHINGTON — Two former high-level Bush administration officials who provided legal justification for harsh interrogations of overseas terror suspects are likely to escape any formal punishment now that the Justice Department has concluded they should not be held legally responsible.

In a long-awaited report released early Friday evening, Deputy Associate Attorney General David Margolis said that former department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee should not have their law licenses revoked as a consequence of their legal advice to the Bush administration signing off on the controversial interrogation methods.

[…]

via Justice Department clears Bush lawyers for ‘torture memos’ | McClatchy

see

US exonerates authors of Bush torture memos + Spanish judge to probe Guantanamo torture claims

The Makings of a Police State-Part VII: Perpetual Wars by Sibel Edmonds

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by Sibel Edmonds
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
originally published by Boiling Frogs Post
16 February 2010

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Perpetual Wars & the Permanent Wartime Presidency

With almost a decade under its belt, our multi-front war on a vaguely defined notion of terrorism targeting never-really-defined enemies across the world and here in the newly rephrased ‘homeland’ has come to define the state of our nation. Even the meager limitations on presidential powers of the last six decades have in effect been nullified and replaced with a newly declared and interpreted authority mirroring those of past emperors and kings, and of any classic authoritarian regimes’ rulers. One look at the last decade’s successfully won legal arguments on behalf of the executive, the presidency, is enough to establish the common theme that ‘the war on terror is global and indefinite in scope, and that it effectively removes all traditional limits of wartime authority to the times and places of imminent or actual battle.’

Whether it is illegal domestic eavesdropping or unlawful detention and torture, these newly claimed and boldly practiced presidential entitlements rely on one factor, and that is the extraordinary claims of presidential war-making power. Here is a perfect example of the new permanent wartime presidency in action; boldly, loudly, and unfortunately thus far successfully:
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US exonerates authors of Bush torture memos + Spanish judge to probe Guantanamo torture claims

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by Kate Randall
http://www.wsws.org
2 February 2010

Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos justified waterboarding and other forms of torture will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions, according to a forthcoming ethics report.

Unnamed sources who spoke to Newsweek magazine said the Obama Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has concluded that John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who penned the infamous memos, used “poor judgment” but will not be subject to disciplinary action. Yoo and Bybee worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, along with Steven Bradbury, who is also named in the report.

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Tortured Law + Proposed Appropriations Bill To Give Defense Department Authority To Suppress Torture Photos

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Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

torturedlaw
October 07, 2009

Tortured Law, a new 10-minute documentary by Alliance for Justice, examines the role lawyers played in authorizing torture, and calls upon Attorney General Holder to Join those calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to release the report of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, and hold accountable those who ordered, designed, and justified torture.

You can join the call by signing Alliance for Justice’s petition http://ga1.org/campaign/release_tortu…

Sign up to host a screening in your area: http://www.afj.org/films-and-programs…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Tortured Law“, posted with vodpod

h/t: ICH

***

Proposed Appropriations Bill To Give Defense Department Authority To Suppress Torture Photos (10/7/2009)

American Civil Liberties Union

Congressional Conferees Agree To Language Allowing Defense Department To Exempt Photos From Freedom Of Information Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org, or (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – According to a conference summary, House and Senate conferees today approved language for the homeland security appropriations bill that, if passed, would grant the Department of Defense (DOD) the authority to continue suppressing photos depicting the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. The language described in the summary appears to incorporate an amendment put forth by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) that would allow DOD to exempt the photos from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The photos were ordered released by a federal appeals court as part of an American Civil Liberties Union FOIA lawsuit.

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An Interview With Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Part Two) by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
9 Sept. 2009

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson served in the US military for 31 years and was Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from August 2002 until January 2005, two months after Powell’s resignation, when he left the State Department. He is now the chairman of the New America Foundation’s US-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative.

In the first part of this interview, Col. Wilkerson discussed fears within the State Department that war crimes were taking place in Afghanistan, how he suspected that the British Overseas Territory of Diego Garcia (leased to the US) was used to hold prisoners in the “War on Terror,” and, perhaps most significantly, how he had recently become convinced that the administration’s fear of another terrorist attack (which was, essentially, used to justify the implementation of “extraordinary rendition” and torture) subsided more rapidly than has been previously acknowledged, as the drive for war in Iraq took over.

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Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
8 Sept. 2009

The Spanish newspaper Público reported exclusively on Saturday that Judge Baltasar Garzón is pressing ahead with a case against six senior Bush administration lawyers for implementing torture at Guantánamo.

Back in March, Judge Garzón announced that he was planning to investigate the six prime architects of the Bush administration’s torture policies — former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who played a major role in the preparation of the OLC’s notorious “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy; William J. Haynes II, the Defense Department’s former general counsel; Jay S. Bybee, Yoo’s superior in the OLC, who signed off on the August 2002 “torture memos”; and David Addington, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff.

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We Have met The Nazis, And They Are Us By Ted Rall

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By Ted Rall
September 04, 2009 “Information Clearing House

CIA Atrocities Revealed to a National Shrug

NEW YORK–Nazis. Americans are Nazis. We are Nazis.

Godwin’s Law be damned–it’s impossible to read the newly-released CIA report on the torture of Muslim prisoners without thinking of the Third Reich.

Sadism exists in every culture. A century ago, for example, Western adventurers who visited Tibet reported that the authorities in Lhasa, that supposed capital of pacifism, publicly gouged out criminals’ eyes and yanked out their tongues. But Nazi atrocities were stylistically distinct from, say, the Turkish genocide of the Armenians or the Rwandan massacres of the early 1990s. German war crimes were characterized by methodical precision, the application of “rational” technology to increase efficiency, the veneer of legality and the perversion of medical science.

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