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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.
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.
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.
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."