Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

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Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

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‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Tag Archives: torture

Canada gets human rights failing grade from Amnesty International

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The Star
Dec. 19, 2012
By Olivia Ward

For Canada’s international human rights standing, 2012 was an annus horribilis.

This year three UN expert committees rated the country’s performance on meeting rights commitments — and returned a failing grade.

“These mandatory reviews are carried out every four or five years, and it just happened that this year Canada was the focus of three,” said Alex Neve, who heads Amnesty International Canada. “It’s a wake-up call that although we have things to be proud of, there are many fronts where we have long-standing issues that need to be addressed.”

An Amnesty report released Wednesday says that committees on racial discrimination, prevention of torture and children’s rights found “a range” of “ongoing and serious human rights challenges,” especially for indigenous peoples.

CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, human rights court rules

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Guardian
Dec. 13, 2012
By

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness

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Guardian
Nov. 30, 2012
By

Shortly before Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq under suspicion of being the source of the vast transfer of US state secrets to WikiLeaks, he is alleged to have entered into a web chat with the hacker Adrian Lamo using the handle bradass87. “I’m honestly scared,” the anonymous individual wrote. “I have no one I trust, I need a lot of help.”

That cry for assistance was a gross under-estimation of the trouble that was about to befall Manning, judging from his testimony on Thursday. In his first publicly spoken words since his arrest in May 2010, delivered at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland, the soldier painted a picture of a Kafkaesque world into which he was sucked and in which he would languish for almost one excruciating year.

Over more than six hours of intense questioning by his defence lawyer, David Coombs, Manning, 24, set out for the court what he described as the darkness and absurdity of his first year in captivity. The more he protested the harsh conditions under which he was being held, the more that was taken as evidence that he was a suicide risk, leading to yet more tightening of the restrictions imposed upon him.

Bradley Manning lawyer argues soldier’s confinement was too harsh

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NBC News
Nov. 28, 2012
By John Bailey

FORT MEADE, Md. — During a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, the defense for Army Private First Class Bradley Manning — accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the website Wikileaks – began making the case that Manning’s charges should be dismissed, saying the Army private’s confinement conditions constitute illegal punishment.

Pfc. Manning’s defense team alleges he was improperly classified as a high security risk and as a risk to himself while confined at Quantico, which resulted in Manning being kept on 23-hour lockdown in a small cell. At one point, his clothes were taken from him at night.

David Coombs, Manning’s lead attorney, spent more than six hours questioning retired Marine Corps Col. Daniel Choike (pronounced CHOY-kee), who was commander of the Quantico brig at the time. Coombs asked Choike about a number of emails sent among the brig staff indicating that some at the facility believed that Manning did not require such harsh confinement.

Bradley Manning offers partial guilty plea in WikiLeaks case

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Guardian
Nov. 8, 2012
By

Bradley Manning, the US soldier who is facing life in prison for allegedly having leaked hundreds of thousands of state secrets to WikiLeaks, has indicated publicly for the first time that he accepts responsibility for handing some information to the whistleblower website.

Manning’s defence lawyer, David Coombs, told a pre-trial hearing ahead of his court martial that the soldier wanted to offer a guilty plea for some offences contained within the US government’s case against him. This is the first time the intelligence analyst has given any public indication that he accepts that he played a part in the breach of confidential US material.

The statement is technically known as “pleading by exceptions and substitutions”. By taking this legal route, Manning is not pleading guilty to any of the 22 charges brought against him, and nor is he making a plea bargain. He is asking the court to rule on whether his plea accepting limited responsibility is admissible in the case. Coombs set out the details in a statement that was posted on his website after the hearing.

Donald Rumsfeld Can’t Be Sued By American Contractors Allegedly Tortured By U.S. Forces: Court

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Associated Press
Nov. 8, 2012

CHICAGO — A federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled that two American contractors allegedly tortured by U.S. forces in Iraq can’t sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The 8-3 decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a ruling by a three-judge panel of the same court.

Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel claim in their lawsuit that U.S. forces detained them in 2006 after they alleged illegal activities by their Iraqi-owned employer.

Italy Court Upholds American Convictions

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Associated Press
Sept. 19, 2012

ROME (AP) — Italy’s highest criminal court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of 23 Americans in the abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect from a Milan street as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, paving the way to possible extradition requests by Italian authorities.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation marks the final appeal in the first trial anywhere in the world involving the CIA’s practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture is permitted.

The Americans were convicted in absentia following a three-and-a-half-year trial, and have never been in Italian custody. They risk arrest if they travel to Europe and one of their court-appointed lawyers suggested that the final verdict would open the way for the Italian government to seek their extradition.

Secret courts could suppress evidence of UK role in torture, says UN official

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Guardian
Sept. 11, 2012
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The new generation of secret courts proposed by the government could suppress evidence of British collusion in torture, according to the chief UN official responsible for investigating wrongdoing by security and intelligence agencies.

Concern about the government’s plan – contained in the justice and security bill – was expressed by Prof Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture. “If a country is in possession of information about human rights abuses, but isn’t in a position to mention them, it hampers the ability to deal effectively with torture,” he said. Méndez, himself a victim of torture in his native Argentina in the 1970s, was speaking at the thinktank Chatham House on Monday night.

After attacking the US for what he called the “extensive use of state secrets” to suppress evidence of torture and other abuses, Méndez referred to the so-called control principle, which allows governments to determine how its intelligence can be used once shared with another state.

Rights advocates cheer ruling against U.S. government Guantanamo abuses, secrets

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examiner
Sept. 7, 2012
By Deborah Dupre

A federal judge on Thursday upheld rights of detainees by blocking the U.S. government from restricting lawyers’ access to them and information about their cases at the nation’s military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ruling that proposed measures would violate detainees’ right to challenge their confinement in the courts.

Rights advocates cheer ruling against U.S. government

“The government has never accepted the right of the detainees to effective legal representation,” said David Remes, who represents 17 of the prisoners, including two who challenged the new restrictions.

“Instead of picking fights over the detainees’ access to counsel, the government should focus on what really matters — sending home the detainees it does not intend to prosecute.”

CIA faces new waterboarding claims from Libya

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Telegraph
Sept. 6, 2012
By

The assertions were made by Libyan opposition figures arrested by the Americans and handed over to Col Muammar Gaddafi in the middle of the last decade when Washington was seeking rapprochement with the late Libyan dictator.

They are contained in a report by Human Rights Watch, which interviewed 14 former prisoners after the fall of Col Gaddafi. Most belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that had worked to overthrow him for 20 years.

Two out of the men interviewed said they were submitted to interrogation tactics that match previous instances of waterboarding.

After his arrest in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2003, Mohammed al-Shoroeiya said he was flown for half an hour to a location he later came to believe was in Afghanistan.