Tag: CCR

CCR: Bush Torture Indictment

The Center for Constitutional Rights has released the Torture Indictment against former President George W. Bush!

Done In Our Names

The blowback will be felt for the coming decades, he on the other hand just wants to sell his book and reap more wealth from speaking, if one can call what he does when mouth opens speaking!

A step forward!

In an effort to derive some direction and a way forward to accountability, on March 20, 2009, Colleen Costello of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union, spoke before the Inter-American Commission Human Rights, in  Washington D.C.  The issue:  “Accountability for Violations of Human Rights in the United States.”

Colleen Costello laid forth the details of our torture, including the waterboarding of Sheik Khalid Mohamed, our detention systems, renditions, and secret prisons.

Michael Ratner spoke with passion concerning the many obstacles confronting our efforts to achieve accountability, including some of the “legal” ones put in place by the Bush Administration, such as the Military Commissions Act, a lack of habeas corpus and how all efforts, thus far, have been thwarted by the Obama administration.  That Sen. Leahy has called for a “truth commission” with immunity provisions, but would not lead necessarily to criminal prosecutions.  He spoke with a sense of urgency and there truly is one, in terms of the U.S. statute of limitations on torture, we have a window of one and half years to prosecute.  Moreover, Ratner pointed out that an Executive Order banning torture can easily be reversed by the next President and thus, accountability is the only conceivable way to assure that the U.S. is no longer a party to torture.  One of the panel members of the IACHR reminded Ratner that there was no statute of limitations on the torture in international terms.

Jamil Dakwar spoke concerning the difficulty in obtaining documents because of the “state secrecy” stance, and that they (the UCLA) were able to obtain some documentation through the Freedom of Information Act.

Also speaking was Lewis Amselem, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States (OAS).  He spoke about the immediate steps of President Obama to end torture, close down Guantanamo, close CIA prisons by his Executive Orders.  He went on and on about these accomplishments without really confronting the issue of accountability.  

A Sarah Paoletti, Division of the Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, also spoke briefly.

In the proceedings, and at the conclusion various members of the IACHR, i.e., Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Commissioner of the CIDH, asked what the Commission could do.  Santiago A. Canton, Executive Secretary of the CIDH, spoke and asked that documents be produced to the Commission, as well as any cases that have been brought for trial on torture.

The entire video may be seen here.  It is about an hour long and very worth while seeing.  (Home)

Also, written complaints filed with the IACHR will be posted here.

They Are Not People, According To Obama’s DOJ

From RawStory Sunday morning…

Obama administration: Guantanamo detainees have ‘no constitutional rights’

Joe Byrne, Published: Sunday March 15, 2009

Court documents filed Friday reveal that Obama’s lawyers are arguing that Ex-Guantanamo detainees have no constitutional rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights(CCR), a non-profit legal advocacy group, is supporting four British citizens – Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al Harith – in their suit alleging religious mistreatment and torture at Guantanamo Bay. Defendants in the case include Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The four men say that they were “beaten, shackled in painful stress positions, threatened by dogs and subjected to extreme medical care,” according to the Miami Herald. In addition, they reported being forced to shave their beards, being banned from prayer, being denied prayer mats, and watching a copy of the Koran get tossed in the toilet.

Last year, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in D.C. voted unanimously against the 4 ex-detainees. The Appeals Court claimed that the men did not fit the definition of ‘person’ in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because they were foreigners being held outside the United States. Months later, the Supreme Court instructed the Appeals Court to reconsider their decision, based on a Supreme Court ruling that Guantanamo detainees have some rights under the constitution. On Friday, the CCR re-filed their brief in the D.C. Court of Appeal.

Obama’s justice department is using an old strategy employed by the Bush administration. Their primary argument is that Ex-Guantanamo detainees don’t have any constitutional rights.

Petitioning For A Special Prosecutor: The Expanding Universe

Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Tuesday afternoon the Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR), under President Michael Ratner, issued a Call for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate U.S. Torture, and over Executive Director Vincent Warren’s signature sent an emailed Action Alert to their large subscriber list, in which they also issued a…

call to action to phone your senators with questions for Eric Holder’s hearing on his nomination to be the next Attorney General. The second is to send you a link to a report we released yesterday on the simple steps to closing Guantanamo.

While President-Elect Obama has said he will close the base, he has yet to say how or when, which are the most important questions. We are all excited at the chance for a new beginning: it is up to us to make it one we can be proud of. Please call your senators, and please download and distribute our report so we can end this terrible chapter in our history.

I. This Thursday, January 15th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to decide whether nominee Eric Holder should be confirmed as the new Attorney General. While Holder’s public statements suggest he would be a marked improvement over Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, it is critical that the American public be certain that our nation’s chief lawyer has an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law.

Senate Judiciary Committee members have a serious responsibility to put an end to subverting law to politics – and to ensure that President-Elect Obama appoints an Attorney General who will help him restore, protect and expand our human rights. And it is our responsibility to make our voices heard and stand against torture, racial profiling and other violations of human rights.

Please call the Senate Judiciary Committee members today and tell them that we need Eric Holder to make a clear statement against torture and racial profiling. Phone numbers are provided below. It will only take a few minutes to urge them to ask these two critical questions:

Are you, unlike your predecessor, willing to acknowledge under oath what U.S. military and civilian courts have recognized for over 100 years: that waterboarding is torture and therefore criminal? If so, will you fulfill your duty to ensure that justice and the rule of law apply to all by appointing a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute those who have used, ordered, and authorized the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture?

I’ve saved the CCR Action Alert email I received as a web document so that you can read it in full here, if you hadn’t received it. It includes the list of Senators you can call, with their contact phone numbers, who will be involved in Holder’s confirmation hearings later this week.