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Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of 'The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, and
Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.
Thursday, July 28, 2016(1 comments)
The Content of Donald Trump's Character
Though some anti-war Americans see hope that Donald Trump would pull back from foreign wars, they also must face his undeniable record of racial and sexist bigotry, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Monday, July 25, 2016(4 comments)
Killing with robots increases militarization of police
the Dallas police chose to execute Johnson with their killer robot. This was an unlawful use of force and a violation of due process. Due process means arrest and fair trial. It is what separates democracies from dictatorships, in which the executive acts as judge, jury and executioner.
Monday, July 4, 2016(1 comments)
Numbers in Obama's Drone Deaths Report Just Don't Add Up
Like his predecessor, Obama defines the whole world as his battlefield, reserving for himself the role of judge, jury and executioner. Compliance with due process (arrest and fair trial), which the U.S. Constitution guarantees all persons, not just U.S. citizens, has not been a priority in the Obama administration's "war on terror."
Wednesday, June 22, 2016(5 comments)
US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal
Secretary of State Kerry met with dissident State Department "diplomats" to hear their call for U.S. airstrikes on Syrian government troops, but the plan is both dangerous and illegal, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016(1 comments)
The Racial Divide Between Sanders and Trump
Sanders has cited Trump's demagoguery, which, the former thinks, is a reaction to fear and anger that many people feel, leading them to embrace scapegoating. "Don't go to the dark side," Sanders implores. He advocates building a strong, progressive movement. "Real change," he told us yesterday, "has never taken place from the top on down, only from the bottom up."
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 Michael Ratner's Death Is a Loss for Freedom, Peace and Justice
Michael will probably be best remembered for his victory in gaining the right to habeas corpus for U.S. detainees held in Cuba at Guantanamo. Michael was lead counsel in the 2004 case of Rasul v. Bush, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of those detained as "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo to have their petitions for habeas corpus heard by U.S. courts.
Friday, March 18, 2016 Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba
The hypocrisy of the US government in lecturing Cuba about its human rights while denying many basic human rights to the American people is glaring. The United States should lift the blockade. Obama should close Guantanamo and return it to Cuba.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016(7 comments)
Hillary Clinton's Link to a Nasty Piece of Work in Honduras
A critical difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is their position on whether children who fled violence in Central American countries, particularly Honduras, two years ago should be allowed to stay in the United States or be returned. Sanders states unequivocally that they should be able to remain in the U.S. Clinton disagrees. She would guarantee them "due process," but nothing more.
Monday, March 7, 2016(1 comments)
Clinton Still Hides Her Speeches
After serving as Secretary of State and before starting her run for President, Hillary Clinton amassed millions of dollars in speaking fees from big banks and corporate interests with business before the federal government -- and she won't say what she said, as Marjorie Cohn points out.
Monday, February 29, 2016(2 comments)
Occupy Hillary Clinton's Wall Street Speeches
Why do voters need to know what Hillary told the banks? Because it was Wall Street that was responsible for the 2008 recession, making life worse for most Americans. We need to know what, if anything, she promised these behemoths. Big banks and large contributors don't give their money away for nothing. They expect that their interests will be well served by those to whom they donate.
Saturday, February 20, 2016 How Scalia's Absence Will Affect Pending Supreme Court Cases
Cases in which Scalia was assigned to author the majority opinion will probably be set for re-argument next term, which starts in October, hopefully with a new justice. If Scalia was part of a five-justice majority, the court will now be divided 4-4. In cases in which there is no majority, the lower court decision will be "affirmed by an equally divided court."
Friday, February 19, 2016 Lessons From the O.J. Simpson Case for the Presidential Race and the Nation's Racial Divide
As we ponder whom to support in the presidential primaries, let us ask ourselves which candidate will passionately and tirelessly fight racism on the institutional level. That means creating jobs, implementing universal health care, ending the militarism of the police and advocating legislation to reduce the draconian sentences that disproportionately impact African-Americans.
Monday, February 1, 2016(9 comments)
Want Endless War? Love the U.S. Empire? Well, Hillary Clinton's Your Choice
Clinton has promised to escalate the wars in Syria and Iraq, including a no-fly zone in Syria. Since Islamic State doesn't have an air force, her no-fly zone would be likely to capture Russian planes flying over Syria. There is little doubt that a President Hillary Clinton would continue our "perpetual war." She would do everything in her power to ensure the robust survival of the American empire.
Monday, January 25, 2016(8 comments)
Saudi Arabia Is Killing Civilians with US Bombs
The U.S. government is the primary supplier of Saudi weapons. In November 2015, the U.S. sold $1.29 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. It included more than 10,000 bombs, munitions, and weapons parts manufactured by Raytheon and Boeing, as well as bunker busters, and laser-guided and "general purpose" bombs.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015(1 comments)
The U.S. Is Still Manipulating the United Nations after 70 Years
The United Nations has succeeded in some instances in slowing down an immediate resort to military force, although it has failed to broker a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or develop a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons. It is increasingly apparent to the countries of the world that the United States is a notorious lawbreaker.
Sunday, November 15, 2015(2 comments)
Close Guantanamo and Return It to Cuba
In April 2013, Obama said, "I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe ... It hurts us in terms of our international standing ... It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed." Yet it remains open.
Friday, November 6, 2015(1 comments)
Obama's Criminal Drone War
President Obama has relied on the lethal drone program as a "low cost" way to eliminate "terrorists," but the project has institutionalized an imprecise strategy of human slaughter that violates international law and creates more enemies, writes Marjorie Cohn at Truthdig.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015(3 comments)
The Kunduz Hospital Atrocity
The U.S. bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, blipped on and off the mainstream media's radar, catalogued as just one more unfortunate mistake in the last 14 years of war. But there is probable cause to treat the atrocity as a war crime, writes Marjorie Cohn for TeleSUR.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015(2 comments)
The U.S. Has a Duty to the "Tempest-Tost" Syrians
In accordance with its legal and moral duty, the United States should step up to the plate and welcome significant numbers of refugees. More than 20 former senior Democratic and Republican officials are urging the Obama administration to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees, and to contribute up to $2 billion to finance their resettlement and help international refugee efforts.
Thursday, September 17, 2015(1 comments)
Solitary Confinement Under Attack
One of the cruelest aspects of American prisons is the excessive use of solitary confinement, especially in "supermax" facilities, leaving inmates without normal human contact for years and even decades, a form of cruel punishment now under challenge in the courts, as Marjorie Cohn described for teleSUR.
Thursday, September 3, 2015(7 comments)
One Day Soon, That Drone Overhead May Be Pointing a Taser at You
Drones are increasingly used for surveillance in the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), which patrols almost half the Mexican border with drones, has loaned its drones to local agencies and other national agencies, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Drones were used 700 times for domestic surveillance between 2010 and 2012. Weaponized drones of any sort should be outlawed.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 Philippines' Terror-Inducing "War on Terror"
A largely forgotten front in George W. Bush's "global war on terror" has been the Philippines where military campaigns to crush various rebel groups and political activists have led to charges of extrajudicial killings, torture and other war crimes, reports Marjorie Cohn.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015(2 comments)
The Chickens Come Home to Roost in Baltimore
Like so many African American men before him in this country, Gray was guilty of nothing other than "walking while black." In his case, Baltimore's sordid history of racial and class oppression, combined with the war on drugs, made for a deadly combination. Under the guise of the war on drugs, Baltimore police have been harassing people for years.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015(6 comments)
Challenging American Exceptionalism
Obama maintains a double standard for apologies to the families of drone victims. If you are western and hit by accident we'll say we are sorry. Americans don't see the images of the drone victims or hear the stories of their survivors. If we did, we might be more sympathetic to the damage our drone bombs are wreaking in our name.
Thursday, April 23, 2015(2 comments)
Seeking Justice for Egyptian Massacres
Egypt's 2013 military coup killed hundreds of unarmed protesters as it overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood of Mohamed Morsi. The coup had the support of Saudi Arabia and Israel which assured that the U.S. did little. But an appeal for justice is underway in the Netherlands, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Sunday, April 5, 2015(14 comments)
Netanyahu's False Narrative
As members of the U.S. Congress bobbed up and down with applause, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spun a tale of brave little Israel fretting about its survival, but he left out the fact that Israel has a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and has often been the one to invade its neighbors, as Marjorie Cohn recalls.
Thursday, March 26, 2015(3 comments)
The Tangle of US-Israeli Double Standards
For decades, U.S. administrations have engaged in linguistic gymnastics to avoid applying international law to Israel. Now, with the fig leaf of the two-state solution gone, President Obama must confront this tangle of double standards and double talk, says Marjorie Cohn.
Thursday, December 18, 2014(1 comments)
Addressing the Cuban Five Injustice
America's hypocrisy on terrorism included the U.S. government prosecuting and imprisoning five Cuban agents who were actually trying to thwart terrorist operations in Miami. President Obama's prisoner swap with Cuba finally addressed that upside-down justice, as Marjorie Cohn reports.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014(14 comments)
Giving the Torturers a Pass
During Watergate, senior U.S. officials went to jail for lying and obstructing justice. Many politicians have gone to prison for taking bribes and for corruption. But it's somehow unthinkable to prosecute Bush administration officials implicated in torture and murder, an attitude that Marjorie Cohn rejects.
Sunday, November 30, 2014(5 comments)
The Strange Ferguson Grand Jury
There is an old saying that prosecutors can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich -- and statistics bear that out. But the police slaying of a young African-American man in Missouri received startlingly different treatment with the grand jury almost invited to exonerate the officer, says Marjorie Cohn.
Saturday, October 18, 2014(1 comments)
Shaping the Vietnam Narrative
Controlling the narrative is a key tool for propagandists who realize that how people understand a foreign conflict goes a long way toward determining their support or opposition. So, the U.S. government's sanitizing of the Vietnam War is not just about history, but the present, as Marjorie Cohn writes.
Monday, September 29, 2014 The Case of Tariq Khdeir
Even as President Obama launches a new war against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, the politics of Official Washington won't allow for pressure on Israel to end one of the principal drivers of that extremism, oppression of the Palestinians, as shown in the case of Tariq Khdeir, described by Marjorie Cohn.
Saturday, August 23, 2014(1 comments)
Seeking Accountability for Gaza
Israel and the Obama administration insist that Israel's recent slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza was justified by indiscriminate rocket fire from the blockaded area, but some international law advocates think the disproportionate response justifies prosecution of Israeli and U.S. officials for war crimes, says Marjorie Cohn.
Friday, August 8, 2014(11 comments)
Tallying Israeli War Crimes
For decades, Israel has slaughtered Palestinians with impunity, always protected by the U.S. government and its veto at the UN Security Council. But the latest bloody assault on Gaza has prompted more open talk about Israeli war crimes -- and U.S. complicity, says Marjorie Cohn.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014(4 comments)
Israel's War Crimes in Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu knows he has Official Washington so deeply in his pocket that he can get away with almost anything including the stealing of Palestinian land and the slaughtering of civilians in Gaza. Whatever his war crimes, Netanyahu will be excused, as Marjorie Cohn notes.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014(2 comments)
Reshaping the Vietnam Narrative
The Vietnam War was a turning point in U.S. history but not as many people may think. In defeat, the national security state changed the narrative into one that made American soldiers the victims and made anti-war activists into traitors who spat on returning soldiers, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
Thursday, May 15, 2014(7 comments)
Death to the Death Penalty
Oklahoma's ghoulish killing of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett on April 29 has brought new attention to America's continued use of the death penalty, a politically popular issue in some states but a practice that has many reasons justifying its abolition, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Saturday, February 1, 2014(1 comments)
"Big Brother is Watching You" -- Beyond Orwell's Worst Nightmare
On NSA reforms, President Obama cited as precedent Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, who patrolled the streets at night, "reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America's early Patriots." This was a weak effort to find historical support for the NSA spying program. After all, Paul Revere and his associates were patrolling the streets, not sorting through people's private communications.
Thursday, January 16, 2014(1 comments)
NSA Metadata Collection: Fourth Amendment Violation
This issue is headed to the Court of Appeals. From there, it will likely go the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen whether the court will refuse to cower before President Obama's claim of unfettered executive authority to conduct dragnet surveillance. If the court allows the NSA to continue its metadata collection, we will reside in what can only be characterized as a police state.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013(1 comments)
Voices From The Drone Summit
Baraa Shaiban, a human rights activist who works with REPRIEVE, revealed that 2012 was a year that saw "drones like never before" in Yemen. He described the death of a mother and daughter from a drone strike. "The daughter was holding the mother so tight, they could not be separated. They had to be buried together."
Saturday, August 10, 2013(1 comments)
The Struggle Continues: Seeking Compensation for Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims, 52 years on
Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.
Thursday, August 8, 2013(3 comments)
Manning's Upside-Down Punishment
The cruel irony of how the United States has addressed post-9/11 war crimes, including President Bush's invasion of Iraq and his use of torture, is that no major government official has been held accountable, yet whistleblowers have faced harsh reprisals, most notably Pvt. Bradley Manning
Saturday, July 6, 2013(2 comments)
Gitmo's Kafkaesque Kangaroo Courts
The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward.
Monday, June 3, 2013(7 comments)
Bradley Manning's Legal Duty to Expose War Crimes
The Obama administration, which has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior presidencies combined, seeks to send a strong message to would-be whistleblowers to keep their mouths shut. Manning fulfilled his legal duty to report war crimes. He complied with his legal duty to obey lawful orders but also his legal duty to disobey unlawful orders.
Friday, May 10, 2013(2 comments)
Who's at Fault for Guantanamo Mess?
Official Washington's "tough-guy-ism" -- no one wanting to look "weak" on "terror" -- has stopped sane and humane policies toward Guantanamo. Members of Congress have blocked President Obama's efforts to close the prison and he has shied away from a political battle to do so.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013(2 comments)
War of Aggression
The Nuremberg Charter defines "Crimes Against Peace" as "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing." Bush's war on Iraq is a war of aggression, and thus constitutes a Crime Against Peace.
Friday, January 11, 2013(3 comments)
The Dark Side of "Zero Dark Thirty"
Movie-goers across America can now see the hunt-for-bin-Laden film, "Zero Dark Thirty," and its graphic portrayal of torture as a key element in that search. But the filmmakers distort the facts and ignore the reality that torture is illegal, immoral and dangerously ineffective.
Monday, September 3, 2012(8 comments)
No Accountability for Torturers
The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those who violated our laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. By letting American officials, lawyers and interrogators get away with torture -- and indeed, murder -- the United States sacrifices any right to scold or punish other countries for their human rights violations.
Monday, July 16, 2012 Immigration, Racism & the Courts
Blocked on comprehensive immigration reform, the Obama administration has won some piecemeal victories against GOP demands for more draconian moves against "the undocumented." Deportations of "dreamers" have been stopped and much of an Arizona law was overturned, but more battles lie ahead.
Monday, May 14, 2012(12 comments)
Mitt Romney, the Bully
As a privileged preppy, Mitt Romney enjoyed humiliating suspected gays and other vulnerable people. But his bullying didn't stop when he grew older. Instead, he applied similar tactics to make a fortune as a corporate raider.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012(1 comments)
No Justice for Haditha Massacre
In 2003, President George W. Bush launched a "preemptive" war against Iraq, citing imaginary threats to the United States. The invasion inflicted massive loss of life, including massacres like the one at Haditha, but with very little accountability in the field or in Washington.
Monday, January 16, 2012(2 comments)
Close the Guantánamo Gulag
The very existence of the Guantánamo prison camp harms America's international reputation. A January 2005 editorial in Le Monde concluded, "The simple truth is that America's leaders have constructed at Guantánamo Bay a legal monster." Moreover, it has created more enemies of the United States.
Saturday, December 24, 2011(5 comments)
Bradley Manning: Hero, or Traitor?
The U.S. government considers Manning one of America's most dangerous traitors. If Manning did what he is accused of doing, he should not be tried as a criminal. He should be hailed as a national hero, much like Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers helped to expose the government's lies and end the Vietnam War.
Monday, November 21, 2011(1 comments)
GOP Candidates Advocate Torture
At last week's debate, Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michelle Bachman defended waterboarding. And after the debate, Mitt Romney's aides told CNN that he does not think waterboarding is torture.
Friday, August 12, 2011(2 comments)
Lost in the Debt Ceiling Debate: The Legal Duty to Create Jobs
The debate about the debt ceiling should have been a conversation about how to create jobs. It is time for progressives to remind the government that it has a legal duty to create jobs, and must act immediately -- if not through Congress, then through the Federal Reserve.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011(1 comments)
Compensate Victims of U.S. Chemical Warfare in Vietnam
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring. Fifty years is long enough. It is high time to compensate the victims for this shameful chapter in our history.
Saturday, July 9, 2011(1 comments)
Putting Torturers Above the Law
In another example of how Democrats deal timidly with Republican crimes, the Obama administration has closed the book on the vast majority of George W. Bush's torture scandals, including high-level approval of waterboarding and other forms of physical coercion. Only two homicide investigations will go forward.