As members of the Berkeley Law faculty and staff, we write to express our despair and outrage about the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in Missouri and New York. These cases again exposed the failure of the criminal justice system to value Black lives. The Brown and Garner cases have undermined our trust as legal scholars, advocates, and educators in the fundamental fairness of our legal system. We share with our students the struggle to reconcile the constitutional values that we teach in the classroom with the reality that race determines how communities of color experience our legal system. We support the members of our community who are exercising their constitutional right to free speech through protest and peaceful civil disobedience. We call on the United States Department of Justice and other authorities to investigate further. As a community of legal scholars and advocates, we commit to addressing these issues in the days to come.
Observers of Martin Luther King Jr. Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent months during demonstrations over police brutality: "Black lives matter." - Reuters
"The problem of police brutality is real; it's going on in every major city." - Gabriel Baez, nephew of Eric Garner
..organizers said they "demand the leadership of the state take immediate action to institute meaningful, systemic policy solutions to address the worst racial disparities in the country." - AP report from St. Paul, Minnesota
In year that saw renewed calls for racial justice, over 50 nationwide demonstrations held to 'desanitize' the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. - Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
Press Conference followed by March to Office of the Dean
West Terrace of Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
"Why is one of the central perpetrators of a systematic torture regime teaching at Berkeley law school and welcomed in our most respectable opinion venues?"
Boalt Hall administrators have been dodging that question for nearly a decade. Remedy for crimes against humanity has no expiration date; apologists for the repudiated opinions of John Yoo have no legal standing, and people of conscience refuse to accept brutality carried out in their name. Release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture has strengthened resolve of justice advocates from the legal, religious, medical and campus communities around the U.S. for immediate closure of the Guantanamo Torture Camp.
Fire, Disbar, PROSECUTE John Yoo!
Prosecutions are the very best way to ensure that officials don't torture again. The freedom afforded Bush administration officials today threatens to normalize criminal behavior by "do it again" Cheney and company. The Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner applauds investigation by a German human rights group, but as Curt Goering at The Center for Victims of Torture reminds us, "It is about us. And it is up to all of us to act."
From Ferguson to Guantanamo, masses of people are challenging the legitimacy of policies that contribute to state sanctioned terror.
The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system's offspring, the working class.
-- Sam Mitrani, Class and Conflict
Patrol badge, 1858. The original police in the South hunted down escaped slaves.
On January 11, the U.S. torture camp at Guantanamo will have been open 13 years. More than 100 men are still held, the majority of whom are cleared for release. They suffer the Obama administration's practice of indefinite detention. An unknown number of hunger strikers are being force-fed in violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
By refusing to prosecute Bush-era officials for their culpability in major human rights abuses such as the CIA program and Abu Ghraib, President Obama is not just failing to enforce justice but is essentially guaranteeing that such abuses will happen again in the future. His administration has demonstrated that even if government officials perpetrate the most heinous crimes imaginable, they will still be able to rely on their peers to conceal their wrongdoing and protect them from prosecution. This not only erodes the rule of law, it also helps create a culture of impunity that will inevitably give rise to such actions once again.
-- Murtaza Hussain, c/o The Intercept
World Can't Wait joins the Witness Against Torture community to protest an era of ruthless brutality. Demonstrations at the CIA, the White House and the State Department; panels, meetings, and a symbolic fast in solidarity with Guantanamo prisoners will continue over a week, with a mid-day Bay Area action on Tuesday, January 13 at UC Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall). Watch for details at FireJohnYoo.net .
With 2014 coming to an end, we encourage all of you who value the resources and orientation World Can't Wait provides to match pledged donations of $5,000. This a great opportunity to double your impact.
Whether it's by making a donation yourself, or soliciting your personal social network, we are all needed. To make your year-end donation to support World Can't Wait, go here.
WHY should you donate now online or by mail -- why should you be part of the movement to stop the crimes of our government in 2015?
Because you know how much it matters that the work of World Can't Wait persists and grows. You know that from protests and marches, to the 'We Are Not Your Soldiers' work in high schools, top-urgency programs like the Gaza forum in NYC and the annual Close Guantanamo demos and speaking tours, to leading direct actions confronting war criminals, to organizing New York Times message ads -- World Can't Wait undertakes it all with tremendous energy, enormous heart, and with a persistence that has only deepened over the past 10 years. By donating, you take part in continuing work on this mission.
We received the following invitation from the Bay Area chapter of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, for a mobilized protest going out into the famous New Year's Eve celebration crowd on the San Francisco waterfront. Bring your signs, banners, whistles, friends and family, and your determination that police murder must END!
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
NO NEW YEAR UNDER THIS OLD SYSTEM!
WE CAN'T BREATHE!
Wednesday December 31
Meet up 9 pm at Embarcadero BART exit on Market Street
(If you arrive late, look for the large Stop Mass Incarceration Network signs and mobilization in the gathering crowd heading down onto the Embarcadero)
And on Thursday, New Year's Day 2015:
THE 5th ANNUAL NEW YEAR'S DAY MEMORIAL FOR OSCAR GRANT AND ALL VICTIMS OF POLICE MURDER
12 noon to 4 pm
Fruitvale BART Station, Oakland
Why should you join these protests on New Year's Eve and Day? Last week at a Stop Mass Incarceration Network press conference in NYC, Richard Marini of World Can't Wait explained why:
Two weeks ago the world was shocked to learn of details of how CIA operatives tortured men in Guantanamo in the salt pits of Afghanistan and in so-called "black sites" around the world. The truth is: it wasn't done by a few rogue agents. It was designed and directed by people at the top in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. It was approved by leaders of congress. And no one so far has been held accountable for these crimes.
In the last few weeks the world has been shocked that the police who are sworn to serve and protect have killed and brutalized so many Black and Brown people in this country. It seems to be approved by governments and approved by the courts. No one is being held accountable for these crimes.
Anyone with an ounce of humanity and who is outraged by this arbitrary use of force, whether at Guantanamo, Brooklyn, Afghanistan or Staten Island -- we call on those people to come out on December 31. We call on those people who think that the lives of people living in this country are not more important than the lives of other people and those who think that Black and Brown lives matter, to join protest on December 31 in NYC and across the country.
American lives are not more important than other lives.
..the discussion surrounding Brown's death quickly transcended geography and focused instead on the realities of a broader systemic racism. The vacuum of the unknown was soon filled by a chorus of voices sharing similar stories of heartbreak - and demanding action. Such a process has begun to galvanize a new generation of activists across America, including those that police chief Flynn is so quick to dismiss here in Milwaukee.
The CIA -- having carried out torture; having lied about it at the time; and having lied about it this month in response to the report -- was discussed as if it were "not who we are." But is that true?
Finding #5 in the [Senate Torture] Report blames the CIA for failing to provide accurate information to Bush administration attorneys, including John Yoo at the Office of Legal Counsel. However, John Yoo was not an innocent by-stander being mislead by the CIA. The European Court of Human Rights has analyzed the events around Abu Zubaydah's detention and interrogation, and found a clear link between a memo written by John Yoo and the inception of water boarding...
Thursday, December 18, 4 pm
Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza
14th & Broadway, Oakland
As the leading architect of the Bush torture regime throws agents under the bus, individuals who expose alleged U.S. war crimes and other misdeeds, such as whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and John Kiriakou -- who attempted to reveal CIA torture and other abuses years ago, have been aggressively targeted by the Obama administration.
A grand jury on Staten Island voted on Wednesday afternoon not to indict a police officer in the July chokehold death of Eric Garner, according to someone briefed on the matter. See related article.
It remains to be seen whether the current wave of anger against fatal police violence can coalesce into a focused movement, but a threshold of public reaction has been crossed in a way that was not quite the case with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
In television terms, ABC's interview was one of the biggest 'wins' of the year... Wilson's low profile since his murder of Michael Brown meant every media organization covering the high-profile story was eager to speak to him.
Cop's resignation from Ferguson police force doesn't cut it -- arrest this psycho before he kills again
Protesters at the West Oakland BART station held train doors open in West Oakland, preventing trains from traveling in either direction on Friday morning as officials brought in bus bridges to get people where they wanted to go...
Chained to bench on BART platform, protesters said they would stay for 4 hours, the same time they say, "Mike Brown was left on street." (@LauraAnthony7)