17 Years Since the Notorious Yoo-Bybee “Torture Memos,” the US Still Finds Itself Unable to Successfully Prosecute the Men It Tortured

Andy Worthington | August 5, 2019

yoo-bybee-torture-planeAugust 1 was the 17th anniversary of a particularly grotesque and dispiriting event in modern US history, one that has ramifications that are still being felt today, even though it was completely unnoticed — or ignored — by the US media. 

On August 1, 2002, Jay S. Bybee, then the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the branch of the Justice Department responsible for advising the executive branch on what is, and what is not legal, signed off on two blatantly unlawful memos written by OLC lawyer John Yoo, which attempted to re-define torture, and approved its use on Abu Zubaydah, a prisoner of the “war on terror” that the US declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who was being held in a secret prison — a “black site” — run by the CIA.


Italy: Convictions of Former CIA Agents for Kidnapping, Rendition Upheld

by Kevin Gosztola

The highest appeals court in Italy upheld verdicts against twenty-three Americans, all of whom are CIA agents except one. They were found guilty of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar in 2003. Omar was flown to Egypt and tortured.

Though they each were given sentences of seven years or more, none of the American intelligence agents, including former Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady, will ever serve a day in jail in Italy. However, they will be (and have been) limited in their abilities to travel to Europe since their convictions.


September 13: Blowing the Whistle Coast to Coast...

blowthewhistleunionsquareFrom Revolution Newspaper

On Stop-and-Frisk... Racial Profiling, Police Brutality and Murder and the Pipeline to Mass Incarceration

On September 13, in cities coast to coast, people blew the whistle on stop-and-frisk, racial profiling, police brutality and murder, and the pipeline to mass incarceration.

As the Stop Mass Incarceration Network put it: “These whistles were a declaration of refusing to suffer abuse any longer from the criminal ‘injustice’ system in silence. They were a way for those who bear the brunt of this injustice to join in the resistance to this abuse. A way for people to go from blaming themselves for this abuse to having each other’s back and looking out for each other in the face of this abuse. And they represent another nail in the coffin of stop-and-frisk.”


Statement from Lawyers for Adnan Latif, Most Recent Prisoner to Die at Guantánamo

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latifby Andy Worthington

Over the weekend, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni, became the ninth prisoner to die in Guantánamo. Adnan had been repeatedly cleared for release — under President Bush and President Obama, and by a US court — but had never been freed, like so many others in that disgraceful prison, which remains an insult to the rule of law ten years and eight months since it first opened.


National Office Volunteer Spotlight on: Bennett (Ben) Weiss

World Can’t Wait has volunteer-run national office in New York City. We will be spotlighting some of our wonderful volunteers and our sustainers over the next several weeks. We are thankful to have them. You can sustain our work by making a monthly recurring donation at

In his 1963, I have a dream speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment…the whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

It is that fierce urgency of the “now,” that drives Ben Weiss, a nearly 45-year anti-war (starting with the Vietnam War) and justice activist. As part of that activism, Ben has donated his time and talents to WCW since its founding in 2005.  Currently, Ben creates political buttons and badges—a skill that springs from his work in the jewelry and gift business. His buttons and badges promote World Can't Wait causes, including the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” and "STOP Stop and Frisk" campaigns. Ben has also donated a button-making machine and how-to training, so World Can't Wait can, in his words, “make buttons when needed and not have to wait for me to crank them out.”

Why World Can’t Wait?
Ben first met Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait’s director, prior to the organization’s launch in 2005, at an anti-war rally in front of West point. The rally’s location was motivated by the graduation day’s commencement speaker, George W. Bush, who was trying to stir up support for the war in Iraq. 


Steering Committee Member Spotlight: Samantha Goldman

SamanthaSamantha Goldman has given her time and passion to World Can’t Wait since its inception in 2005. In high school, Samantha was a founding member of the Not In Our Name Youth and Student Network in Philadelphia. She first encountered World Can’t Wait at a Refuse and Resist conference where she heard Debra Sweet speak (introducing the idea of World Can’t Wait) where she was deeply moved by the Call. Samantha says that Debra, “epitomizes how I want to live my life. I heard her speak at a conference years ago, and she motivated me then to take action. She still motivates me every day.” After that, Samantha took the Call to Drive Out The Bush Regime to people at the Live 8 concert and continued to become an active member throughout college.

She believes she was able to mobilize students to protest at her college because of the leadership she received from the national office. She came to New York to spend her freshman winter break volunteering at the national office—that evolved to her leaving college and spending the spring semester as a full-time volunteer. She made the sacrifice and took the risks because “I wanted to make my life matter, to be part of making history, she says. “I had to answer the urgent need. I was surrounded by wonderful people like Debra Sweet who modeled how I can live a life that is meaningful and the difference we can make.”

She says, “It’s important to think outside yourself and to think about humanity. I believe that a whole other world, one free of exploitation and oppression, is possible. I wanted to be part of changing the world when I signed on at the beginning, and I still do.”

“I have a special love and respect for the national office; there’s no place like it” she says. “It’s a dynamic place full of lively discussion about the most pressing issues. It is full of life because of the incredible people who compose the office, young and old, new volunteers and veteran activists working together. Everybody discusses and debates what a better world would look like. but everybody is uniting on stopping the crimes of this government. So much is going on: conversation, getting materials ready, writing thank you notes, creating fliers—it’s so exciting. The devotion and passion that fills the small office is contagious! It’s an absolutely amazing place with amazing volunteers.”

Samantha did earn her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education. She now lives in Philadelphia and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education while working with World Can’t Wait’s national office. Samantha works hard for World Can’t Wait and its mission, as member of the Steering Committee since 2006, development director (previous position), fundraiser, strategist, forums and events organizer, and integral part of the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour, partnering with military veterans and their families to speak to high school students.

She calls Debra Sweet and the national office “amazing.” Back at you, Samantha.

Staff Spotlight: Marie, National Office Intern

By Ronnie Moore

As a child of physician parents who, in the 1980s, provided vaccinations and other medical care to the people of Afghanistan and Yemen, Marie grew up in a culture of public service and social consciousness—with a passion for justice.

Now, as a college student, Marie chose World Can’t Wait as the organization to which she wanted to devote her time and passions, so she has come all the way from France to intern in the national office in New York City.

“For me, it’s about serving, and it’s about fighting against crimes and torture. I want to help achieve real democracy, transparency, and accountability in government” she says “That’s why I came to World Can’t Wait.”


Sustainer Spotlight: Scott Trent


Scott Trent

World Can’t Wait has a volunteer-run national office in New York City. We will be spotlighting some of our wonderful volunteers and our sustainers over the next several weeks. We are thankful to have them. You can sustain our work by making a monthly recurring donation at In addition to being an activist, Scott is also a sustainer of World Can’t Wait.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I used to play in a political horror punk band that wore makeup and spit fake blood, now I have nightly band practice with my three year old son who is a thrashing drummer.

How long you have been sustaining World Can’t Wait (giving a monthly contribution)?
Since 2007 

What motivates you to sustain World Can't Wait?
World Can't Wait has stuck to its internationalist principles since it began in 2005. They weren't taken in by the re-branding of the American empire under a new presidency, and have played the crucial role of continuing to give people a way to act from a deep moral conviction against war and torture, and the dismantling of democratic rights in this country.   

Why do you think more people should join you in sustaining?
We've learned a lot over the past two years about what our government has done, the criminal behavior it has excused and continues to commit. Whistleblowers and resisters have come under escalating attack. We need organization on a national scale that can unleash resistance to wars of aggression, expose and demand accountability for crimes against humanity, and defend resisters and whistleblowers. World Can't Wait is the best organization to do this. We have a long way to go and need everyone's help.  

As a World Can't Wait organizer, what do you to create visible resistance in addition to sustaining?
For ten years I've been involved in building opposition to epidemic police brutality amongst all kinds of people, from public housing to college campuses. Over the past year, I've also gotten more involved in the struggle for abortion rights and defending clinics from harassment from Christian fascists...and I spend way too much time on Facebook.  

National Office Volunteer Spotlight: Eileen Ryan

Eileen Ryan

Eileen Ryan

World Can’t Wait has a volunteer-run national office in New York City. We will be spotlighting some of our wonderful volunteers and our sustainers over the next several weeks. We are thankful to have them. You can sustain our work by making a monthly recurring donation at In addition to being a national office volunteer, Eileen is also a sustainer of World Can’t Wait.

How long you have been a national office staff volunteer?
I have been volunteering with World Can’t Wait since the beginning, since Stephanie asked me.

Why do you volunteer at World Can’t Wait’s national office?
I’m here because I was a volunteer for "Not in Our Name" and when they folded Stephanie asked me to stay on to help World Can’t Wait   I volunteer and sustain because I want to see an end to the wars and believe in the efforts of World Can’t Wait to bring charges against those who perpetuate war and torture.

What do you do as a national office staff volunteer?
As a volunteer I thank donors for their contribution, try to participate in demonstrations, and help when needed for other tasks.

As a national office staff volunteer, what difference does having sustainers make?

Sustainers certainly help in knowing we are be able to meet monthly expenses.  They are also an encouragement to the staff to know this movement has a faithful following.


National Office Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Rugoff

Stephanie Rugoff

Stephanie Rugoff

World Can’t Wait has volunteer-run national office in New York City. We will be spotlighting some of our wonderful volunteers and our sustainers over the next several weeks. We are thankful to have them. You can sustain our work by making a monthly recurring donation at

How long you have been a national office staff volunteer?
I started working at World Can't Wait about six months after World Can't Wait began (World Can’t Wait began in July 2005).

Why do you volunteer at World Can’t Wait’s national office? 
The situation on our planet is so disastrous in so many ways that I feel I have to do something to try to change the direction in which we're going.  A good place to start is to build a stronger and more visible political movement to end the ever-expanding wars of occupation, which began, this latest round, in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I enjoy working with people who feel the same dedication I do.

What do you do as a national office staff volunteer? 
I have two main areas of responsibility.  One is to maintain our donor database.  Without the support of our donors we would not be able to accomplish very much.  The other is coordinating our War Criminals Watch project.  I also do other things such as supervise our high school and college interns and help plan events.

As a national office staff volunteer, what difference does having sustainers make?
Sustainers give us security in that we know our rent and basic expenses, such as telephone and internet connections, will be covered.  Without the sustainers, we would have constant anxiety.  By knowing we have enough to cover those expenses, we don't have to worry that money would need to be taken from our only “paid” staff member - the one who is totally crucial to maintaining the direction and clarity of World Can't Wait - Debra Sweet.  It would be a tremendous blow to us and to the movement as a whole if Debra had to work outside part-time in order to supplement her stipend.

Any wish-list items for the office?
It would be great to have additional heads for the track lights in our new office.  It gets difficult to see in the late afternoon and evenings.  Of course, it would be nice to have a little cushion when we plan events, such as rent when we can't find a free location or travel expenses for speakers. 


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  • Debra Sweet

     Debra SweetDebra Sweet is the Director of World Can’t Wait, initiated in 2005 to “drive out the Bush regime” by repudiating its program, forcing it from office through a mass, independent movement and reversing the direction it had launched.  Based in New York City, she leads World Can’t Wait in its continuing efforts to stop the crimes of our government, including the unjust occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the torture and detention codes, as well as reversing the fascist direction of U.S. society, from the surveillance state to the criminalization of abortion and immigrants.  She has worked with abortion providers for twenty-five years, organizing community support and helping them withstand anti-abortion violence.  Since the age of 19, when she confronted Richard Nixon during a face-to-face meeting and told him to stop the war in Vietnam, she has been a leader in the opposition to U.S. wars and invasions.  Debra says, “Stop thinking like an American, and start thinking about humanity!”

    She can be reached at debrasweet (at) You can read her writings at

    Debra's Regular E-Newsletter

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  • Dennis Loo
     Dennis Loo is an award-winning sociologist, co-editor of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and an honors graduate in Government from Harvard. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a former journalist and his research specialties include polling, public policy-making, social movements, and criminology.He can be reached via his blog:
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  • Elaine Brower

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  • Jamilah Hoffman
    Jamilah Hoffman is a young World Can't Wait organizer in Houston, who is "determined to leave this world a better place than she found it".
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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.