Rabbis for Human Rights – Speech Notes – PDF

2011 Rabbis for Human Rights Speech Notes

Thank RHR work here and in Israel and OT–remarkable -­ War on terror issues—as moved from one admin to another

  1. Work around torture has been esp strong-NRCAT—still a lot to be done—

Evid that some abuse continues–osi on a prison in Afghanistan, annex m, forced feeding Accountability remains a major issue-bush proudly boast about water boarding—at least codenamed (Spanish case-interference by this admin); secrecy to avoid accountability

  1. But in addition still much to do—contentious issues out there—

Indefinite Detention; hold without trial; if trial what kind-military comm. or fed trial

Obama admin embraced the detention authority and military commissions-cld get worse

  1. A few weeks ago the 9th anniversary of Military order 1-got CCR into action-coup d’etat-­

Laid the framework for what are still key issues today;

  1. Treat 9/11 terrorist acts and others -not as crimes but under a war paradigm—
  1. Outlined broad Detention authority-pres order to pick up and hold-never try-alleged terrorists (not just those cong gave authority for al qaeda-9/11people)
  2. If tried, tried not by regular court but by military commission (not even regular military trials)
  3. No right to test detention–no habeas corpus

CCR decided to rep first-no other come forward to represent-organizing; success-600 lawyers—

Won habeas right—got people there-a lot freed and stopped most of the torture and abuse there-but not stop detention without charges and trial or commissions

4. also on jan 11 entering the 10 year of Guantanamo–

Obama promised one year and getting on two years–and will be with us I fear a long time Obama statement—a few months after he had this to say re gitmo

The existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained… By any measure, the costs of keeping Guantanamo open far exceed the complications involved in closing it… That is why I ordered it closed within one year…

-President Barack Obama, May 21, 2009

Gitmo impt because of human dimensions and issues cld become a permanent part of landscape (underlying)

Gitmo by the numbers-explain some of issues-

779 in 605 out–Majority never shd have been picked up; bribes etc and nothing on them

174 remain

Why do these remain—and gets into discussion of trials as well as indefinite detention­ preventive or arbitrary

88 of these 174 or just more than half have been approved for transfer out–

Yet these 88 languish–no claim that can be held-so its arbitrary detention-no legal basis (one day of extra detention)

  1. Obama admin has asserted federal court can’t order release–crazy
  2. Can’t be brought to US cong law—Obama initially
  3. Resettlement-none here-no longer a priority-we must do it

Our ameziene-fled Algeria because he was berber-almost 9 years-chef-pu fleeing war; approved –

Also US claims that the 58 of these 88 who are from Yemen can’t be sent back because terrorist are active and govt control—

Whether true or not—not the issue for these people—no proof of terrorist connections—why can’t they go back to their country–

Arbitrary–client Mohamed Taher-before the deadline–cld be out Clear get those people back—inexcusable—

So what of the others of the 174–the 86 who have not been cleared for release-

CCR position is try them in federal courts or release–no military trials and no indefinite detention–­

Here is who they are and issues raised:

  1. 36 of 86 referred by prosecution–but how? Military commissions–or federal trials (held even if acquitted–as enemy combatants)

CCR military commission unlawful-narrow emergency-battlefield

and deprive of rights entitled to: suppression of evid from coercion; hearsay; charges are not war crimes; juries

Obama has continued them–khadr only 5 worst khadr-15 yr old (back to bush with a little more window dressing)

Now huge debates on this federal trials vs military commis or no trials

48 held indefinitely-back to bush with a little window dressing—numbers off a couple Don’t use term enemy combatant but definition largely the same–if the detainee fits a part definition–

“Louis XIV had it basically right with the man in the iron mask. The correct solution is just to lock them away unseen, unheard from and beyond the writ of any court. However, we should give them fresh hay from time to time, and wine with their meals on Sunday. Who’s to say we’re inhumane. This way you can never be embarrassed with evidence that your suspicions were wrong, and the man is actually innocent.”

supposedly tied to cong law but way beyond—

anyone anywhere in the world- outside of intern armed conflict or battlefield

Not try to explain the legal complications—we tried in court and lost–Gabor can—

CCR is straightforward: try or release no authority in current circumstances to simply capture and detain without trial anyone, anywhere in the world–

No detention without charges and conviction—

Goes back to our distinction between treating terrorist acts as crimes or acts of war­ We think legally, publicly, morally and politically better treated crimes

So we still have serious issues at gitmo and beyond: crime vs act of war Charges and trial or detention; federal trial or military commission;


Congress hopeless–feeling about it – always gets worse–whether it was dem or republican–

Now – we are faced with almost worse–must stop a preventive detention law or prohibition on federal ct trials – donna address

Actions—the 88 that must be resettled or sent home; the rest – charge and try or release; no military commission

Not get thru cong but shd here—direct action witness against torture jan 11