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"No Torture" Banner at West Hollywood City Hall

City of West Hollywood and World Can't Wait Hold Joint Press Conference

May 21—The large orange banner hung down from near the ceiling in the lobby of West Hollywood, California, City Hall read: "No Torture." The City of West Hollywood, a community between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, had taken a stand. And in that lobby, an important press conference was held: "A Call to President Barack Obama urging him to release torture-related photos and prosecute war criminals, ex-top officials of the Bush Administration." The press conference was called by the City of West Hollywood and The World Can't Wait.
 
City Council Member and long-time defender of human rights, John J. Duran said, "President Obama must do what is right for our country's future and shed light on the last eight years of the Bush administration's half-truths, abuse of power and human rights both abroad and here at home. We will never be able to put this behind us if the truth is not fully revealed and if we don't atone for the way our country behaved." He was joined by: Debra Sweet, National Director of The World Can't Wait, the MC for the event; Mark Rapkin, a Los Angeles attorney who represented a prisoner unjustly locked up at Guantánamo and has continued to speak out against the continuing torture and imprisonment at that prison; actor John Heard; director and writer Paul Haggis, whose films include Crash and In the Valley of Elah; and actor and director Mark Ruffalo.

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John Yoo Defends Torture in California Debate: Protesters Disagree

 By MARTIN WISCKOL The Orange County Register

Orange California – John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer whose memos justified coercive interrogation tactics including waterboarding, said at a debate today that the controversial tactics were appropriate in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
 
"Three thousand of our fellow citizens had been killed in a deliberate attack by a foreign enemy," he told an audience of several hundred at Chapman University. "That forced us in the government to have to consider measures to gain information using presidential constitutional provisions to protect the country from further attack."

Yoo worked in the White House's Office of Legal Counsel and was among those who wrote the legal memos that provide the CIA with guidelines for interrogation.

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World Can’t Wait – MEDIA ALERT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   April 17, 2009
Press contact: Doreen Marshall (949.887.0297)
Bush's Department of Justice legalized torture. Now Obama's Department of Justice won't prosecute and will even provide free legal representation to torturers.  Your government refuses to bring war criminals and torturers to account. Will you remain silent or get informed, take a stand and build a movement to stop torture and demand accountability for war crimes?
WHAT: Forum on National Security, Rule of Law & Torture:  The Torture Memos of John Yoo
WHEN: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 10 AM - 2 PM
WHERE: Chapman University Law School, Kennedy Hall, Rms. 237 A&B, 370 N. Glassell (at Sycamore), Orange, CA 92866
WHY: John Yoo, while working for the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel, drafted legal memos which, some say, influenced the U.S.’s decision to legalize torture. John Yoo is currently a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law, where the controversy continues.
 
“John Yoo’s complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes Act”.  Cited from testimony provided to U.S. Congress on May 6, 2008 by Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild President.

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The Torture Memos of John Yoo

World Can’t Wait received the following press release from the Stop Torture Coalition at Chapman University
 
Stop Torture Coalition – MEDIA ALERT
 
WHAT: Forum on National Security, Rule of Law & Torture:  The Torture Memos of John Yoo
WHEN: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 10 AM - 2 PM
WHERE: Chapman University Law School, Kennedy Hall, Rms. 237 A&B, 370 N. Glassell (at Sycamore), Orange, CA 92866
WHY: John Yoo, while working for the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel, drafted legal memos which, some say, influenced the U.S.’s decision to legalize torture. John Yoo is currently a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law, where the controversy continues.
 
“John Yoo’s complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes Act.”  Cited from testimony provided to the U.S. Congress on May 6, 2008 by Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild President.

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Torturer John Yoo Protested at Chapman University

 

Reprinted from the Panther, Chapman University

"Protestors from organizations such as Code Pink, Orange County Peace Coalition and World Can’t Wait have been protesting visiting law professor John Yoo’s appointment intermittently since he began teaching this semester. The protesters are calling Yoo a war criminal because he co-authored the so-called “torture memos,” written legal opinions the presidential administration of George W. Bush used to justify controversial war interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. Organizers of the protests can be seen in front of the Rinker Law Library on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

“We would like to see [Yoo] fired and disbarred,” said Nicole Lee, a member of the Los Angeles chapter of World Can’t Wait. “The fact that he’s been teaching … law when he’s been breaking those same laws is unacceptable.”

World Can’t Wait is a national organization that aims to reject all of the Bush administration, according to its Web site. Other organizations protesting include Code Pink, a group working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Orange County Peace Coalition, which advocates peace for international conflicts."

 

March 19: A Day of Protests Against Iraq War

 

Friday, 20 March 2009 05:36
           
March 19, 2009
 
By Jennifer Mascia and Jason Grant
New York Times
 
On the eve of the sixth anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq, hundreds of protesters in New York City made it clear on Thursday that while they welcomed the change in American political leadership, they would not relent in urging President Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.
 
The protests were perhaps more muted than the massive demonstrations of years past, but no less fervent.
 
In Union Square, where about 120 people huddled together under the awning of a subway station, staying out of the rain, some protesters said that Mr. Obama, the new president, who as an Illinois state senator had opposed the war, had continued some of the Bush administration's most controversial policies.
 
Debra Sweet, 57, one of the protest organizers, said the Obama administration had continued the policy of secret renditions of terrorism suspects, and she called for "righteous anger at this occupation." Many in the crowd were high-school students.
 
 
"We're not putting everything on Obama, whether it be hope or condemnation," she said of the new president. She said of the high-school students around her: "They understand they have no voice. They're too young to vote but they will be the ones to foot the bill for this war and they know it."
 
Another protester, Sonsara Taylor, said she was also angered by American policies on Gaza and Pakistan and called for the investigation, and possible prosecution, of members of the Bush administration who argued for the Iraq war.
 
Matthis Chiroux, a 25-year-old Army veteran from Alabama who said he has served in Germany, Japan and Afghanistan, but faced disciplinary proceedings because he refused to serve in Iraq, expressed impatience with the new president.
 
"Obama's policies just confirmed to me that the president may have changed, but the war is the same," Mr. Chiroux said. "Just because we have a black president now, doesn't mean that we don't have a racist war."
 
Elsewhere in the crowd, a group of men rapped together into a microphone, "Show me what democracy looks like." An elderly woman looked up at the heavens and implored, "Why must it rain on our parade."
 
Meanwhile, in Times Square in the late afternoon, about 25 antiwar protesters stood in front of the Armed Forces Career Center, some of them carrying signs that read, "Stop Occupation and Torture for Empire! The World Can't Wait!" Others wore black garb and white, ghostly-looking masks, solemnly held up signs listing the number of citizens killed in both war-torn countries.
 
Masked Protests of War"We haven't closed our eyes to what's going on," said Heather LaMastro, 33, a protester. "Change of administration doesn't mean anything to us, really, because we're seeing the same policies carried over." For instance, she said, President Obama has continued enforcement of the Patriot Act, and has altered the time frame he'd promised for for removing troops from Iraq.
 
The antiwar demonstrations were not the only protests of the day. Around 4:30 p.m., 100 to 150 people gathered in Lower Manhattan around 70 Pine Street, the headquarters of the American International Group, to protest the bonuses the troubled insurance giant, which is mostly owned by the government, has given to executives.
 
 The protesters, who also chanted slogans outside the Goldman Sachs building, stood in front of the A.I.G. tower for 20 minutes, while organizers from the Service Employees International Union gave a speech. People shouted: "A.I.G.! Shame on you!"
 
John Adler, who studies private equity firms for the union, said in an interview: "We're here to say to A.I.G. and Goldman Sachs and other bailout banks, "You can't take bailout money and hand it to executives.'"
 
Kwame Patterson, 28, a spokesman for the union, added: "We're not aiming it at everybody in the building. We're aiming it at the institution. This is aimed at the executives who were irresponsible in the first place."

 

March 19: A Day of Protests Against Iraq War

March 19, 2009
By Jennifer Mascia and Jason Grant
New York Times

On the eve of the sixth anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq, hundreds of protesters in New York City made it clear on Thursday that while they welcomed the change in American political leadership, they would not relent in urging President Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.

The protests were perhaps more muted than the massive demonstrations of years past, but no less fervent.

In Union Square, where about 120 people huddled together under the awning of a subway station, staying out of the rain, some protesters said that Mr. Obama, the new president, who as an Illinois state senator had opposed the war, had continued some of the Bush administration's most controversial policies.

Debra Sweet, 57, one of the protest organizers, said the Obama administration had continued the policy of secret renditions of terrorism suspects, and she called for "righteous anger at this occupation." Many in the crowd were high-school students.

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Bush policymaker escapes Berkeley's wrath

 

UC Berkeley Professor John Yoo, who crafted the administration's policy on torture, is teaching at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, where the protests against him aren't as intense.
 
By Susannah Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times
February 11, 2009
 
In Berkeley, city leaders branded him a war criminal and human rights activists put up a billboard to denounce him. But in suburban Orange County, Professor John Yoo -- the primary architect of the Bush administration's policy on harsh interrogation techniques that many consider torture -- has found relatively calmer waters.

Yoo is a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, on leave from his tenured post at UC Berkeley to teach foreign relations law.
Although a handful of protesters, one in a Statue of Liberty get-up and another in an orange Abu Ghraib jumpsuit and hood, demonstrated against Yoo on campus recently, law students said they appreciate the prestige and exposure he could bring the law school.

But a small group of local activists said they hope to stir up anger at the 14-year-old law school in the thick of conservative Orange County.

"Our aim is to get the man fired -- he has no business being in our community," said Pat Alviso, 56, of Huntington Beach, who heads the Orange County chapter of Military Families Speak Out. Her son is a Marine serving in Afghanistan who completed two tours in Iraq.
Chapman law school alumnus Michael Penn agrees: "I think it's a black eye to the school. . . . To me, he's a war criminal."

Yoo, a former Justice Department attorney, achieved notoriety by crafting memos -- later withdrawn by the department -- that narrowly defined torture and argued that Bush's authorization of controversial interrogation tactics against Al Qaeda did not violate the Geneva Conventions. The memos justified harsh treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, including the controversial waterboarding technique.

"People obviously love having someone as accomplished as he is there," said first-year law student Roxana Amini, adding that she would have preferred a different visitor. "Since Chapman's relatively new, we're just getting our name more out there. . . . Any publicity's good publicity."

That seems to be what Dean John C. Eastman had in mind when he invited Yoo, a friend from their days as clerks for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to the Orange campus.

"We are working very hard at fostering a broad ideological diversity here at the law school," Eastman said. Another of Chapman law school's visiting professors this school year is human rights expert Richard Falk, who has criticized the war in Iraq.

Yoo, who has taught at a number of universities around the world, said he was eager for the chance to spend time on a smaller, newer campus and to experience living in Southern California. Students and faculty, he said, have received him amiably.

"At Berkeley," Yoo said, "if you had three or four people, weird people dressed up in costumes in the same place, that would just be like people in line buying coffee."

As a conservative voice on the liberal UC campus, and with reams of essays and articles blasting him, Yoo said he is accustomed to being in the minority.

"I certainly don't get upset about being criticized," said Yoo, sitting in his fourth-floor campus office. "I would feel I wasn't doing my job as an academic if I wasn't writing or saying things that other people disagreed with."

For the most part, students at the Chapman law school have taken Yoo's presence in stride. Even those who don't agree with Yoo's conservative-leanings aren't mobilizing for his ouster. Rather, they seem to welcome his policy experience.

"I think it's interesting to have him there," said Billy Essayli, a second-year law student who heads the campus California Republican Lawyers Assn. Still, Essayli conceded that he was surprised there wasn't a greater public outcry at Yoo's arrival in January.

Chapman law professor M. Katherine B. Darmer "vehemently" opposes Yoo's ideas on broad executive power, but respects that he has taken responsibility for his views. However, she wrote in an e-mail: "There are many other faculty members -- including others on the political right -- whom I personally would have chosen rather than someone who is so closely associated with the use of tactics such as waterboarding."

The Berkeley City Council, for one, isn't crazy about Yoo. In December, city leaders agreed to send a letter to the U.S. attorney general supporting prosecution of Yoo and other Bush administration officials for war crimes, and urged UC Berkeley to fire him if he is convicted of human rights violations.

A spokeswoman for Berkeley Law said that the university respects city officials' opinions but that the city can't direct university policy. Most agitation against Yoo comes from the community, rather than students, although some law students have worn armbands against Yoo at graduation, said spokeswoman Susan Gluss. Outside protesters crashed one of Yoo's classes at Berkeley several years ago and were escorted out by police; he's been a faculty member there since 1993.

The anti-war activist group World Can't Wait has been most active in organizing against Yoo. The group maintains a website in protest, FireJohnYoo.org, and hopes to stage panels and distribute petitions at Chapman.

Yoo's ouster is more relevant than ever, according to organizers, as last month President Obama ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA prisons, and barred torture.

For his part, Yoo has stayed true to form since arriving at Chapman: Last month, he wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal criticizing President Obama, saying he had opened the door to future terrorist acts in the U.S.
 

 

College Republicans Crash Berkeley Anti-War Protgest

The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley (CA)
November 10, 2008

Contributing Writer


Tim Maloney/Photo
 
Members of World Can't Wait protest on Telegraph Avenue as police and passersby look on.

 

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Demonstrators Stage Waterboarding

 

Demonstrators stage waterboarding in the Quad, Oct. 30

The Inquirer, Diablo Valley (CA) Student Voice

Curtis Uemura

Issue date: 11/6/08

Political activists from World Can't Wait and Contra Costa Radical Action groups simulate waterboarding, the highly criticized interrogation method used by the U.S. government on suspected terrorists. This demonstration was held Oct. 30.

Media Credit: Adalto Nascimento

Students passing by the Main Quad at 12:15 p.m., Oct. 30, would have witnessed a young man being dragged through the crowd by someone wearing army fatigues.

"What do you know about Shaheem Pedir?" the man in fatigues repeatedly shouted.

With the help of two men dressed in shirts and ties, the captive was hustled into an orange jumpsuit and informed he had no rights.

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Main Media Press & Press Releases

About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.