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Human Rights Law

Marjorie Cohn Marjorie Cohn

Legal and political analysis of criminal justice, human rights and U.S. foreign policy.
By Marjorie Cohn

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Last Entry: March 03, 2015 at 23:36:00

Recent Entries: 177

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Netanyahu, ?Censored Voices,? and the False Narrative of Self-Defense

Posted on March 03, 2015
On March 3rd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an impassioned plea to Congress to protect Israel by opposing diplomacy with Iran. Referring to ?the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States? which includes ?generous military assistance and missile defense,? Netanyahu failed to mention that Israel has an arsenal of 100 or 200 nuclear weapons...

Obama to Congress: Rubber-Stamp My Perpetual War

Posted on February 18, 2015
As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF) to Congress, he declared, "I do not believe America's interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing." Yet Obama's proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants...

?How Human Rights Can Build Haiti?

Posted on February 02, 2015
Book Review: ?How Human Rights Can Build Haiti? Fran Quigley, Vanderbilt University Press (2014), 223 pp.Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has suffered a devastating earthquake followed by a deadly cholera epidemic, both set in the backdrop of a history of oppression by corrupt rulers and foreign exploitation...

Supreme Court Upholds Auto Stop With No Traffic Violation

Posted on January 29, 2015
Ignorance of the law is no excuse - that is, unless you're a police officer. For the first time, in December, the Supreme Court upheld a traffic stop even where there was no traffic violation. The court, in Heien v. North Carolina, continued its steady erosion of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures...

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Interview of Marjorie Cohn about 'Drones and Targeted Killing'

Posted on January 12, 2015
By John WilkensSan Diego Union-TribuneMarjorie Cohn has been a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego since 1991, specializing in international human rights law. She?s a former president of the National Lawyers Guild and testified before Congress about torture...

Marjorie Cohn on Drone Warfare: Illegal, Immoral and Ineffective

Posted on December 26, 2014
Leslie Thatcher (Truthout): Marjorie, could you describe the genesis of this project? Marjorie Cohn: George W. Bush prosecuted two illegal wars in which thousands of Americans, Iraqis and Afghans were killed. Although Barack Obama continued those wars, eventually he reduced the numbers of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan...

?Cuban Five? at Heart of US-Cuba Deal

Posted on December 17, 2014
In the course of delivering his historic speech dramatically altering US Cuba policy, President Barack Obama briefly mentioned that the United States released three Cuban agents. These men are members of the ?Cuban Five,? who were imprisoned for gathering information on US-based Cuban exile groups planning terrorist actions against Cuba...

Torture Report Confirms Team Bush War Crimes

Posted on December 16, 2014
Reading the 499-page torture report just released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a disgusting experience. Even after many years of writing books and articles about the Bush torture policy, I was unprepared for the atrocious pattern of crimes our government committed against other human beings in our name...

Prosecutor Manipulates Grand Jury Process to Shield Office

Posted on December 03, 2014
You know the fix is in when a suspect who shot an unarmed man voluntarily provides four hours of un-cross examined testimony to a grand jury without taking the Fifth.On August 9, Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson gunned down 18-year-old African American Michael Brown...

US Government Sanitizes Vietnam War History

Posted on October 17, 2014
For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the "Vietnam syndrome," in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam...

?I?m Just a Kid?: Tariq?s Ordeal

Posted on September 28, 2014
Last summer, Tariq Khdeir, a 15-year-old American citizen from Baltimore, accompanied his parents to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat for a six-week visit with relatives. The first friend Tariq made when he arrived was his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whom Tariq had not seen since he was four years old...

Obama Declares Perpetual War

Posted on September 18, 2014
President Barack Obama escalated the drone war he has conducted for the past five and a half years by declaring his intention to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or ISIL. Since August 8, Obama has mounted at least 154 airstrikes in Iraq...

US Slammed for Failure to Fulfill Legal Obligation to Eliminate All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Posted on September 08, 2014
Three weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published a report detailing how the United States has failed to fulfill its legal obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Convention)...

National Lawyers Guild, other legal organizations urge International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes by Israeli, U.S. leaders in Gaza

Posted on August 22, 2014
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists (Asociacion Americana de Juristas) sent a letter on Friday, August 22 to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by U...

US Leaders Aid and Abet Israeli War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity

Posted on August 08, 2014
By sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza...

Israel Inflicts Illegal Collective Punishment on Gaza

Posted on July 15, 2014
Israel has commenced full-scale warfare on the people of Gaza. The recent tensions began about six weeks ago when Israeli forces abducted 17 Palestinian teenage boys in the occupied West Bank. Then, on June 12, three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the southern West Bank; Israel blamed Hamas...

Will Supremes Apply Cell Phone Privacy to Metadata Collection?

Posted on June 30, 2014
In one of the most significant Fourth Amendment rulings ever handed down by the Supreme Court, all nine justices agreed in an opinion involving two companion cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, that police generally need a warrant before reading data on the cell phone of an arrestee...

Obama on the Brink: War or Peace?

Posted on June 19, 2014
Once again, we are poised on the brink of a war that could violate US and international law. President Barack Obama faces a critical decision: will he meaningfully pursue a peaceful solution - even collaborating with Israel's archenemy Iran - or will he succumb to pressure from the hawks responsible for destabilizing Iraq during the misnamed "Operation Iraqi Freedom?"The Crisis in Iraq and "Operation Iraqi Freedom"After two horrific wars that killed millions of people, the countries of the world adopted the United Nations Charter "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war...

U.S. Nearly Used Nukes During Viet Nam War

Posted on June 10, 2014
We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Viet Nam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion of the Stanford Anti-Viet Nam War Movement in May 2014. He said that in 1965, the Joint Chiefs assured President Lyndon B...

Death to the Death Penalty

Posted on May 15, 2014
The recent torturous execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma has propelled the death penalty into the national discourse. The secret three-drug cocktail prison authorities administered to Lockett ? the first to render him unconscious, the second to paralyze him, and the third to stop his heart and kill him - didn?t work as planned...

BDS: Non-Violent Resistance to Israeli Occupation

Posted on March 23, 2014
Thanks to Scarlett Johansson, the American Studies Association (ASA), and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has entered our national discourse. Representatives of Palestinian civil society launched BDS in 2005, calling upon ?international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South African in the apartheid era ...

Beyond Orwell?s Worst Nightmare

Posted on January 31, 2014
?Big Brother is Watching You,? George Orwell wrote in his disturbing book 1984. But, as Mikko Hypponen points out, Orwell ?was an optimist.? Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day...

NSA Metadata Collection: Fourth Amendment Violation

Posted on January 16, 2014
Edward Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed a secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), that requires Verizon to produce on an "ongoing daily basis ... all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls...

Voices From the Drone Summit

Posted on November 17, 2013
Last weekend, I participated in a panel on the illegality of drones and targeted killing off the battlefield at the conference, ?Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance,? in Washington DC. Nearly 400 people from many countries came together to gather information, protest, and develop strategies to end targeted killing by combat drones...

Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

Posted on August 28, 2013
By Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne MirerThe drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria?s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong...

The Struggle Continues: Seeking Compensation for Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims, 52 Years On

Posted on August 10, 2013
By Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne MirerToday marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring...

Bradley Manning's Revelations Saved Lives

Posted on August 06, 2013
This is a historic verdict. Judge Denise Lind correctly found Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy because the evidence failed to establish that Manning knew information he provided to WikiLeaks would reach al-Qaida. A conviction of aiding the enemy would have sent a chilling message to the news media that if they publish leaked classified information, their officers could face life in prison...

Key Mistakes Sway Jury in Zimmerman Trial

Posted on July 19, 2013
A Southern jury of six women ? none of them black ? found 28-year-old George Zimmerman's shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to be justifiable homicide because he acted in self-defense.The jurors were prohibited from considering race. They were instructed only on the parts of self-defense law that helped Zimmerman, and the chief police investigator improperly testified that he believed Zimmerman...

Five "High-Value" Guantanamo Detainees Improperly Presumed Guilty

Posted on July 05, 2013
It is a bedrock principle of our system of justice that everyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. That includes "high-value detainees" awaiting trial in Guantánamo's military commissions. Yet pre-trial hearings held June 17-21 in the cases of five men charged with planning the 9/11 attacks revealed a clear presumption of guilt on the part of the government...

Snowden's Case for Asylum: An Interview With Marjorie Cohn

Posted on June 30, 2013
Despite U.S. government pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is balking at demands that he extradite Edward Snowden from Moscow to face espionage charges for leaking secrets about America?s global surveillance operations. Still, Snowden?s status remains dicey, as Marjorie Cohn explains to Dennis J Bernstein...

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