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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. An updated edition of her book, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” will be published soon. Visit her website:
Israel and US Hide Names of Companies Supporting Israeli Settlements
Israel seeks to suppress the identities of the companies that support the settlements because it is feeling the pinch of the BDS movement. The United States thinks publication of the list would be "counterproductive" because it would fuel BDS, thereby negatively impacting Israel, the leading US client state and biggest recipient of US foreign aid.
Sunday, November 26, 2017(6 comments)
The Duty to Disobey a Nuclear Launch Order
There is cause for concern that Donald Trump may order a nuclear strike on North Korea. Trump has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons. In early 2016, he asked a senior foreign policy adviser about nuclear weapons three times during a briefing and then queried, "If we have them why can't we use them?"
Friday, November 17, 2017(2 comments)
US Military and CIA Leaders May Be Investigated for War Crimes
If a full investigation of US officials proceeds as requested, it "would send a clear signal to the Trump administration and other countries around the world that torture is categorically prohibited, even in times of war, and there will be consequences for authorizing and committing acts of torture," according to Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program.
Friday, November 10, 2017(7 comments)
Robert Mueller Is Moving Toward Donald Trump
NBC News reports that Trump Jr. is "under scrutiny by Mueller." It's quite possible that Mueller is investigating both Trump and Trump Jr. for conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act. In this case, the president could potentially be named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017(8 comments)
Mattis, Tillerson Want Blank Check To Wage Illegal War
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 30 that the Trump administration has all the legal authority it needs to kill people anywhere in the world. Congress must retain the power to authorize war, which is what the framers intended. They should refrain from relinquishing it to an unpredictable and volatile president.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017(4 comments)
Trump Is Killing Record Numbers of Civilians
We can expect to see increasing numbers of civilian deaths as Trump continues the "war on terror" he inherited from his predecessors. Since Bush launched this war after 9/11, we have become more vulnerable to terrorism. Civilian killings heighten anger toward the United States and lead to stepped-up recruitment of those who would do us harm.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Trump and Netanyahu Walk in Lockstep on Iran
In spite of the fact that the IAEA has affirmed eight times -- most recently in August -- that Iran is meeting its obligations under the deal, Trump refused to certify Iran was in compliance and he decided the deal is not in the US national security interests.
Monday, October 9, 2017(3 comments)
The Vietnam War Is Not History For Victims Of Agent Orange
Agent Orange/dioxin was an herbicidal chemical weapon manufactured by U.S. chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto and sprayed by the U.S. military from 1961 to 1971. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. Approximately 3 million Vietnamese and thousands of U.S. and allied soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin.
Saturday, September 30, 2017(3 comments)
Trump Threatens Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea
By threatening to attack North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of war. By stating the intention to totally destroy North Korea, Trump has threatened genocide.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017(3 comments)
Will Judge Overturn Arpaio Pardon?
Before he pardoned Arpaio, Trump told a crowd of supporters in Phoenix that rather than violating the law, Arpaio was "doing his job." But "no President till now has proclaimed that a public official who violated the Constitution and flouted orders was 'doing his job,'" three lawyers write.
Saturday, September 16, 2017(1 comments)
Will the Courts Save the Dreamers?
The Muslim Ban case could serve as a bellwether of DACA's fate in the high court. In a temporary order, the Court left parts of the ban in place pending its decision on the merits. Three justices -- Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch -- would have allowed the ban to continue in its entirety. They would also probably defer to Trump in the DACA case.
Thursday, September 7, 2017(1 comments)
Sessions Is Wrong: There Is No Legal Justification for Ending DACA
More than 400 chief executives, many from the nation's largest corporations, signed an open letter urging Trump and Congress to protect the Dreamers. They predicted, "Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions" if DACA is ended.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017(1 comments)
Trump's Arpaio Pardon Signals to White Supremacists: "I've Got Your Back"
Perhaps most significant is what the pardon says about the president. It demonstrates beyond doubt that Trump and Arpaio share the same values. Both men are racist to the core. Neither has any respect for the law. And both retaliate against those who criticize their actions. Like Trump, Arpaio attacked judges who ruled against him.
Monday, August 21, 2017(2 comments)
Time to Impeach Trump
The president's reprehensible behavior in this moment creates a new sense of urgency. We cannot postpone consideration of impeachment until Special Counsel Robert Mueller finishes his criminal investigation. It is time to pressure the House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Trump for his abuse of power. We must stop this president before he launches a new civil war and/or nuclear war.
Sunday, August 13, 2017(3 comments)
A Preemptive Strike on North Korea Would Be Catastrophic and Illegal
As we stand on the precipice of a disastrous war, these are the right circumstances for Trump to meet with Kim Jong-un. If Trump were to successfully negotiate a peace treaty with North Korea, he would receive plaudits for being a real diplomat. The unthinkable alternative is military action that would cause the deaths of untold numbers of Koreans, Japanese people and Americans.
Friday, August 4, 2017(2 comments)
Donald Trump vs. The Rule of Law
Rather than acting to fulfill his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws, Trump is violating or advocating violation of many of them. His law-breaking renders him vulnerable to criminal indictment and perhaps eventually to impeachment.
Sunday, July 16, 2017(9 comments)
Trump Jr. Emails and Meeting With Russian Lawyer Are Probable Cause of Federal Crime
On June 9, Trump Jr., then campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. arranged the meeting with the expectation of receiving negative information the Russian government supposedly had about Hillary Clinton.
Friday, July 14, 2017(3 comments)
Courts Must Hold Executive Branch Accountable for Drone Strikes
No one from the Bush, Obama or Trump administrations has been held legally accountable for their unlawful killing of thousands of civilians. Although Bush used armed drones, the targeted killing program reached its zenith during the Obama administration. It took three years for Barack Obama to make good on his pledge to be transparent about the United States' lethal drone program.
Thursday, June 29, 2017(2 comments)
Gorsuch Leans Far Right in Muslim Ban Case
The travel-ban issue is still alive. We will see whether the Supreme Court decides the issue on its legal merits and defines the scope of executive power in national security matters, or dismisses the case as moot. Meanwhile, we would do well to note the significance of Gorsuch's affirmation of unbridled executive power.
Monday, May 29, 2017(8 comments)
The Meaning of Assange's Persecution
The long legal ordeal of Julian Assange -- and the continuing threats against the WikiLeaks founder -- make a mockery of the West's supposed commitment to press freedom and the public's right to know
Israel Hits Back Against Boycott
Israeli officials are attacking on several fronts against people who support the BDS movement as a nonviolent way to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian human rights, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Neil Gorsuch and the Deconstruction of the Administrative State
Gorsuch is a staunch, longtime conservative judge who, in spite of his refusal to tip his hand about his ideology, has taken positions that confirm his right-wing bona fides. His right-wing ideology and Bannon's frightening agenda would dismantle important protections and endanger us all.
Friday, March 17, 2017(1 comments)
Evaluate New Travel Ban in Light of International Law
International law principles require courts to reject any attempt by the President to define classes based on national origin or religion. The EO makes a distinction based on religion. All six of the listed countries have majority Muslim populations. As the brief says, "the EO does not suspend immigration from any state with a non-Muslim majority."
Friday, February 17, 2017
The Toxic Policies of "President Agent Orange"
Since taking office, Trump has moved systematically to unravel protections for immigrants, workers, the environment, Native Americans and other people of color, as well as the right to healthcare. He has moved to deregulate Wall Street, incurring a real risk of another financial meltdown. And his Muslim ban created worldwide chaos, pain and insecurity for untold numbers of people.
Sunday, February 5, 2017(4 comments)
Though Blocked for Now, Trump's Unconstitutional Muslim Ban Deserves Total Destruction
None of the 9/11 hijackers came from any of the seven countries. There have been no fatal terrorist attacks on US soil by anyone from those countries. Therefore, there is no compelling state interest for treating the two classes differently. This is particularly true in light of Trump's statements that his order would prioritize "Christians" seeking asylum over "Muslims."
Monday, January 30, 2017
Remembering People's Lawyer Len Weinglass
Tobocman's unique book is required reading for all who seek to learn about the remarkable legal career of Leonard Weinglass. It also provides a valuable history lesson of people's struggles that will inspire a new generation of political activists as we face the daunting task of resisting Donald Trump's dangerous, frightening, mean-spirited, downright cruel agenda.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017(2 comments)
The Injustices of Manning's Ordeal
For exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pvt. Chelsea Manning suffered nearly seven years in prison, an ordeal President Obama finally is ending but without acting on the crimes she revealed, says Marjorie Cohn.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Smooth-Talking Jeff Sessions Can't Hide Disturbing Record
A long-time prosecutor before joining the Senate 20 years ago, Jeff Sessions supports draconian mandatory minimum sentences that remove discretion from judges to tailor sentences to the individual and fuel mass incarceration that disproportionately targets people of color.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Obama Belatedly Says No to Israel
If President Obama had confronted Israel over its illegal settlements earlier, he might have really achieved something, but his U.N. abstention as he heads out the door is better than nothing, observes Marjorie Cohn.
Saturday, December 31, 2016(3 comments)
A Year Of U.S. Militarism
Trump favors expanding U.S. nuclear capability until the "world comes to its senses." He pledged to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out immigrants he has called "criminals" and rapists." And he continues to reiterate his pledge to ban Muslims from the United States and build a Muslim "registry." Anybody for war?
Sunday, December 4, 2016(5 comments)
The Remarkable Story of Fidel Castro
Since Fidel Castro's death, the mainstream U.S. news media has been on a flashback to the Cold War presenting one-sided denunciations of the "communist dictator," but there is another side to the story, explains Marjorie Cohn.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016(6 comments)
Tom Hayden, Courageous Warrior for Peace
The death of Tom Hayden at age 76 marked the passing of a major progressive leader who championed causes from civil rights to Vietnam War opposition to the environment, as Marjorie Cohn recalls.
Monday, October 3, 2016
Trump's Blindness Toward Slavery, Jim Crow
Donald Trump's remarkable comments about American blacks never being worse off demonstrated a stunning ignorance of or callousness toward the grotesque evils of slavery and Jim Crow, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Friday, September 30, 2016(1 comments)
President Obama: "Patron" of the Israeli Occupation
Obama increased the amount of money the U.S. provides Israel each year from $3.1 to $3.8 billion. Obama put his money where his heart apparently is with the unprecedented allocation of military assistance to Israel. The annual $3.8 billion, more money than the U.S. gives to any other country, will fund the continuing Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands, now in its fifth decade.
Iraqi Woman Uses Chilcot Report in War Crimes Lawsuit against George W. Bush
Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, first filed her lawsuit against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz in September 2013. Alleging that the Iraq War constituted an illegal crime of aggression, Saleh filed the suit on behalf of herself and other Iraqis in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
Sunday, August 28, 2016(1 comments)
Abu Zubaydah: Torture's "Poster Child"
The ugly legacy of George W. Bush's torture program continues to haunt U.S. foreign policy as the "poster child" for waterboarding, Abu Zubaydah, makes an appeal for his release from Guantanamo, writes Marjorie Cohn.
Saturday, August 27, 2016(1 comments)
California May Abolish the Death Penalty
There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime. Capital punishment has been applied arbitrarily due to inherent bias, local political pressures on prosecutors and judges, and lack of access to quality defense attorneys by those convicted. According to Death Penalty Focus, the race of the victim and the race of the defendant are major determinants in who is sentenced to death in this country.
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.
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.