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Author Archive | Marjorie Cohn

Stop Lecturing Cuba and Lift the Blockade

Surrounding President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on March 20, there is speculation about whether he can pressure Cuba to improve its human rights.  But a comparison of Cuba’s human rights record with that of the United States shows that the US should be taking lessons from Cuba. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights […]

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Challenging American Exceptionalism

President Barack Obama stood behind the podium and apologized for inadvertently killing two Western hostages — including one American — during a drone strike in Pakistan.  Obama said, “one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional, is our willingness to confront squarely our […]

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National Lawyers Guild, Other Legal Organizations Urge International Criminal Court to Investigate War Crimes by Israeli, U.S. Leaders in Gaza

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists (Asociación 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 […]

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Voices From the Drone Summit

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.  I found […]

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

The 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.  “What we are talking about here […]

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

The 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.  “What we are talking about here […]

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Death Is Preferable to Life at Obama’s Guantanamo

More than 100 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo are starving themselves to death.  Twenty-three of them are being force-fed.  “They strap you to a chair, tie up your wrists, your legs, your forehead and tightly around the waist,” Fayiz Al-Kandari told his lawyer, Lt. Col. Barry Wingard.  Al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti held at Guantanamo for […]

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The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges including possessing and willfully communicating to an unauthorized person — all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure.  The charges carry a total of 20 years in prison.  For the first time, Bradley spoke publicly about what he did and why.  His actions, now confirmed by his […]

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Zero Dark Thirty: Torturing the Facts

On January 11, eleven years to the day after George W. Bush sent the first detainees to Guantanamo, the Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty is making its national debut.  Zero Dark Thirty is disturbing for two reasons.  First and foremost, it leaves the viewer with the erroneous impression that torture helped the CIA find bin […]

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Compensate Victims of U.S. Chemical Warfare in Vietnam

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government.  One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring. H.R. 2634, the Victims […]

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Prisoners Strike against Torture in California Prisons

The torture of prisoners in U.S. custody isn’t confined to foreign countries.  For more than two weeks, inmates at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison have been on a hunger strike to protest torturous conditions in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) there.  Prisoners have been held for years in solitary confinement, which can amount to torture.  […]

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Bradley Manning: American Hero

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of leaking military secrets to the public.  This week, his supporters are holding rallies in 21 cities, seeking Manning’s release from military custody.  Manning is in the brig for allegedly disclosing a classified video depicting U.S. troops shooting civilians from an Apache helicopter in Iraq in July 2007.  The […]

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Rwandan Arrest of U.S. Lawyer Motivated by Politics

Professor Peter Erlinder, noted criminal defense lawyer and past president of the National Lawyers Guild, was arrested Friday morning in Rwanda for “genocide ideology.”  Erlinder’s representation of high-profile defendants before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has incurred the wrath of government officials, who have charged him with “negation of the Tutsi genocide” for […]

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