Posts Tagged Center for Constitutional Rights

G.W. Bush Cancels Europe Speech to Avoid Prosecution, Protest

From the Center for Constitutional Rights comes good news…  G.W. Bush has been forced to cancel a speaking trip in Switzerland next week to avoid being charged in a torture case:

“CCR, with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have spent weeks preparing a 2,500 page torture case against Bush that would have been filed on Monday, February 7 – the anniversary of the day, nine years ago, when Bush decided the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to ‘enemy combatants.’ Bush was due to be in Geneva on the 12th, and his presence on Swiss territory is required for the prosecutor to take action.

“The complaint, brought under the Convention Against Torture with the support of 50 NGOs, two former UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and two Nobel Prize winners, was on behalf of two torture victims, one who is still at Guantánamo.

“Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case. The message from civil society is clear – If you’re a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It’s a slow process for accountability, but we keep going.”

In the Guardian UK today:

The visit would have been Bush’s first to Europe since he admitted in his autobiography, Decision Points, in November that he had authorised the use of waterboarding – simulated drowning – on detainees at Guantánamo accused of links with al-Qaida. Whether out of concern over the protests or the arrest warrant, it is an extraordinary development for a former US president to have his travel plans curtailed in this way, and amounts to a victory for human rights campaigners.

Reuters reports today in Bush’s Swiss visit off after complaints on torture:

Bush, in his “Decision Points” memoirs on his 2001-2009 presidency, strongly defends the use of waterboarding as key to preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Most human rights experts consider the practice a form of torture, banned by the Convention on Torture, an international pact prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Switzerland and the United States are among 147 countries to have ratified the 1987 treaty.

Bush was to speak at a Jewish charity function.  McClatchy newspapers report:

“Protest organizers told participants to bring an extra shoe, prompting fears that someone might re-enact an Iraqi journalist’s 2008 assault on President Bush in Baghdad. The reporter hurled his own footwear as a sign of contempt.”

Whether the threat of prosecution or the threat of determined mass protest caused the cancellation of Bush’s visit, it’s a sign that people are paying attention, and acting on the necessity of holding Bush accountable for war crimes.

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Reactionary Attack on Civil Liberties Lawyers in al-Awlaki Suit

The courageous attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights who are challenging the government’s targeted killing order on Anwar al-Awlaki are getting criticism from right wing ideologues who backed the Bush regime’s war on terror for nine years now.

The Washington Legal Foundation published an ad in The New York Times yesterday, posted online today, and transcribed below.

The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, whom the CIA and Defense Department have targeted for death.  World Can’t Wait published our own ad on the subject, October 7 in The New York Times, from a completely different standpoint: Crimes are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them.

Pardiss Kebriaei, for CCR, spoke on October 20 on the al-Aulaqi case, and against yesterday on the WBAI radio program, “Law and Disorder.” She said yesterday,

“The sum and substance of the government’s arguments is that there should be no rule for the court at all in the question we presented… They have not got into the merits of why they believe they should have this authority.  They assert the US is involved in a global war against Al-Qaeda, by virtue of the war the US has the ability to target any suspect of Al-Qaeda.”

The Obama administration’s position is echoed by the far-right, in plain sight:

“In All Fairness”

Hijacking Our Courts for Terrorists

Earlier this year, U.S. national security officials authorized lethal action against Anwar al-Awlaki, a military Islamic cleric based in Yemen.
Al-Awlaki and his al Qaeda-affiliate group have been linked to the massacre at Fort Hood, the attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing over Detroit, and the recent plot to blow up Chicago-bound cargo planes.  Remarkable, al-Awlaki’s formal designation as a “Global Terrorist”: not only made him a high-priority target, it also made him the recipient of the pro bono legal assistance of American activists in a federal court action.

This lawsuit, which requests an injunction preventing attacks on al-Awlaki, opens an alarming new front in the activist campaign to judicially impose a myopic view of “civil liberties” on U.S. anti-terror decisions.  Since 9/11, these ideologues have, with the help of our courts, secured criminal defendant rights for enemy combatants; invalidated parts of the USA Patriot Act; and forestalled invaluable surveillance activities.  As a result, those who work tirelessly to keep America safe have fewer tools with which to do their job.

Now, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the architects of al-Awlaki’s suit, are going one step further — they seek direct judicial involvement in military strategy.  Their suit argues that no U.S. operation can go after al-Awlaki unless officials prove he poses an imminent threat and that no means other than lethal force can reasonable neutralize the threat.

The unconventional war thrust upon American provided activists a long-awaited opportunity to advance their radical legal theories — previously relegated to scholarly journals — in court, where they can directly undermine national security.  For instance, suits like the one brought on behalf of al-Awlaki could severely curtail the use of unmanned Predator drones, leading to increased U.S. military and civilian casualties once courts force anti-terror operations to rely on more land assaults.  Additionally, successful civilian court challenges to the detainment of terror suspects can return enemy soldiers to the battlefield.  In fact, numerous former Guantanamo Bay detainees already populate the upper ranks of the Yemen-based al Qaeda group’s leadership.

America has reached a fork in the road, and the time has come for us to make a decisive choice.  We can treat terrorists like common criminals who are entitled to Miranda rights and criminal trials, providing them an unparalleled platform for propaganda,and a rich source of intelligence for the architects of future attacks.  Or we can be fully committed to ensuring the security of our nation by rejecting misguided legal campaigns and returning control over national and homeland security decisions to the executive and legislative branches.

With so little margin for error, can America afford to have the judiciary and agenda-driven lawyers deciding how to keep us safe from foreign terrorism?

The Washington Legal Foundation  wlf.org

This political attack should be answered.

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The Definitive Guantanamo Detainee List

The Guantanamo Files

Andy Worthington's definitive history of Guantanamo detainees and the injustice they've been subjected to

Andy Worthington has spent almost 8 years learning as much as he can about the Guantanamo detainees; all the aspects of their stories before, during, and some after Guantanamo.  World Can’t Wait and other organizations working on stopping the US torture state rely on his work, and we have learned much from his 2008 book The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and 2009 film Outside the Law; Stories from Guantanamo.

Andy wrote today:

In the hope of providing an antidote to the shameful propaganda and scaremongering that is currently dominating the media (following the failed Christmas plane bombing, and the would-be bomber’s alleged connections to a Yemen-based al-Qaeda group, which includes a former Guantanamo prisoner), I’ve just updated my definitive Guantanamo prisoner list (first published last March), which provides information and links about all 779 prisoners:

I hope that it’s useful not only as a historical document, but also as reference for the cases of the 198 men still held, as those of us opposed to indefinite detention without charge or trial maintain our struggle to close Guantanamo, and to see those still held either charged or released.   Please feel free to cross-post/circulate/publicize.

With the 8th anniversary of Guantanamo’s opening just one week from today, I hope you will study this list, and use it as an indictment of “America’s illegal prison” as Andy calls it.

Beginning Monday, 12 days of a fast, protest, meetings organized by Witness Against Torture and the Center for Constitutional Rights will concentrate on exposing the gap between Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo by January 22, 2010, and the continued detention of 198 men, most all of them without charges, held indefinitely.

I’ll be there!  Join me.

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