World Can't Wait's Chicago chapter is digging into expanding the meaning of our slogan "Humanity and the Planet Come First" with an ambitious one-day conference on what people can do about the climate crisis. With 40% of the summer polar ice cap gone, and a thousand other examples of the speed at which the global environment is warming, they are tackling a subject that paralyzes too many people.
If you're anywhere in the region, get to Chicago next Saturday February 16. Read more about the conference, the speakers, and how to register.
World Can't Wait will have a "Humanity and the Planet Come First" contingent in the XL Keystone Pipeline protest on Sunday February 17 in Washington, DC. Contact email@example.com if you want to join the contingent.
Tuesday on Democracy Now, Daniel Ellsberg pointed out that President Obama is "thinking like John Yoo." The White Paper leaked just as the drone-in-chief/assassination czar John Brennan begins hearings to become the new head of the C.I.A. doesn't rise to level of the more sophisticated memo like the one Yoo wrote to justify torture (download PDF) but it's just as chilling. Apparently the Obama administration is giving the memo which this White Paper is based on to Congress today.
An outdoor cafe was completely destroyed by a US CIA drone strike which killed Abdulrahman Al Aulaqi, 16 year old U.S. citizen in Yemen.
David Swanson summarizes the "legal justification" of targeted killing in Justice Department Leaks Memo "Legalizing" Murdering Americans (But Not Some Americans Already Murdered):
The memo, which is thought to be a summary of a longer one, says the United States can murder a U.S. citizen abroad (abroad but somehow "outside the area of active hostilities" even though killing him or her seems rather active and hostile) if three conditions are met:
"1. an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States;"
The memo goes on to base its claims on the supposed powers of the President, not of some random official. Who is such an official? Who decides whether he or she is informed? What if two of them disagree? What if he or she disagrees with the President? or the Congress? or the Supreme Court? or the U.S. public? or the United Nations? or the International Criminal Court? What then? One solution is to redefine the terms so that everyone has to agree. "Imminent" is defined in this memo to mean nothing at all. "The United States" clearly means anywhere U.S. troops may be.
"2. capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible;"
And if a high-level official claims it's infeasible, who can challenge that?
"3. the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles."
When a U.S. drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, no one had shown either of them to meet the above qualifications.
Most egregiously, I think, the paper restates Attorney General Holder's point that "due process" is not necessarily judicial process. In effect the president claims no time or geographic limits on his right to kill anyone.
With this power, one can ask, why bother to detain anyone indefinitely? They may just kill with impunity, because there is no mechanism in place — and none being put in place — to provide a check on such actions.
The U.S., according to a study which also came out this week, bribed and bullied 54 countries to help in the US global war on terror. The New York Times says, "Some 54 countries helped facilitate the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention, rendition and interrogation program in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a new human rights report that documents broad international involvement in the American campaign against Al Qaeda"
Stop NDAA Repression by Standing Together
For background on the NDAA, see: National Defense Authorization Act: Annihilating Freedom to "Save Freedom" by Dennis Loo.
Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered at federal court in New York City for a hearing in Hedges v. Obama, the case against the NDAA's provisions for indefinite detention without trial. The plaintiffs succeeded in getting a District Court judge to grant a restraining order against the government, preventing enforcement of that section of the 2011 law. That decision was very quickly stayed by the Appeals Court, leaving the NDAA provisions in effect. The 3 judge Appeals Court panel questioned both sides today, with the government asserting the plaintiffs have no "standing" because they have not been harmed by the provisions, and that no one has been detained, yet. The plaintiff's arguments were dedicated to the Korematsu family, who was detained illegally, with 100,000 others of Japanese origin in the 1940's, and whose struggle helped win reparations decades later.
Kevin Gostzola reports In NDAA Lawsuit, Government Claims It Has ‘Decade of Experience’ & Hasn’t Detained Any US Citizens:
"The government spoke about having a “decade of experience” detaining people and asserted that no US citizens or journalists had been detained yet. However, this is simply not true: Abdulelah Haider Shaye in Yemen, a journalist, has been kept in prison at the orders of President Obama. Later in the proceedings, the Justice Department attorney highlighted the case of Sami al-Hajj, an al Jazeera journalist who was held in detention at Guantanamo for a number of years.
A critical issue in the lawsuit has been what the words “substantially supported” mean in the provision because the government claims it can detain people who are suspected of “substantially supporting” Al Qaeda. The plaintiffs have felt it is vague and undefined and Forrest mostly agreed in her ruling. Forrest also concluded the standard was a new standard and did not appear in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)."
February 10, 2013 - Sunday, 4pm (Eastern Standard Time)
We encourage you to tune in to a live webcast Sunday with Raymond Lotta: Obama’s Assault on Rights…Resisting with High Standards…and the Betrayals That Can Not Be Tolerated. Raymond Lotta writes:
I am inviting you to view and take part in a webcast next Sunday, February 10, at 4:00 pm (EST). I will be speaking on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Obama administration’s ratcheting up of repression and the need to keep to high standards and principles in waging this struggle.
The NDAA is a law spearheaded by the Obama administration. It gives the government the authority to indefinitely detain, without charge or trial, a broad and vague category of people that have nothing to do with 911 or terrorism in general. The NDAA is a very dangerous development that must be aggressively fought.
But the NDAA and other such measures cannot be taken on in a way that aids the government’s efforts to single out, isolate, and target particular political forces. This, however, is precisely what journalist Chris Hedges and his legal team have done. They have decided to make a totally false and dangerous mischaracterization of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and its Chairman, Bob Avakian a pivot point in their lawsuit against the NDAA. It amounts to throwing some to the wolves in order to save one’s own skin. It is betrayal that cannot be tolerated.
by the Hawai'i Chapter of World Can't Wait
Friday night was the first night of the Chinese New Year Celebrations in Chinatown. Lions danced in the streets. Drumming bounced off the walls of surrounding buildings, and tens of thousands of firecrackers created constant noise. Thousands of residents, tourists and GI's filled the streets. Our huge grey drone replica hovered over the celebration - a sober reminder of U.S. warfare in 2013. Continue reading...
by Beatriz Costa-Lima
About 30 students and Columbia residents marched from the Islamic Center of Central Missouri to Hill Hall on Friday to protest the possible hiring of retired military psychologist Dr. Larry C. James in connection to controversial and allegedly abusive interrogation methods at U.S. detention centers.
James worked for the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib detention centers, in Cuba and Iraq, respectively. He is one of two finalist candidates to fill the position of division executive director with the MU College of Education. Dr. Matthew Burns, a researcher with the University of Minnesota, is the other candidate being considered.
Daniel Clay, the dean of the College of Education, said the search committee was aware of the allegations and will continue to interview James in the hiring process. The information provided by the individuals who came forward is appreciated and the search will continue to be open and transparent, he said. In a statement at a press conference Friday, Clay said the decision will be made in early March. Continue reading...