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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Some Kind of Manly

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Obushma administration, dead to morality, says torture is the American way.
Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Shame. Shame. Shame.

Molly Ivins, Common Dreams

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I can't get over this feeling of unreality, that I am actually sitting here writing about our country having a gulag of secret prisons in which it tortures people. I have loved America all my life, even though I have often disagreed with the government. But this seems to me so preposterous, so monstrous. My mind is a little bent and my heart is a little broken this morning.

Maybe I should try to get a grip -- after all, it's just this one administration that I had more cause than most to realize was full of inadequate people going in. And even at that, it seems to be mostly Vice President Cheney. And after all, we were badly frightened by 9-11, which was a horrible event. "Only" nine senators voted against the prohibition of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control the United States." Nine out of 100. Should we be proud? Should we cry?

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Analysis of war docs shows some Iraqi detainees were handed back despite signs of torture

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  • Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse.
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  • Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated
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Raphael G. Satter and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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President Barack Obama stepped into the White House pledging to end George W. Bush's gloves-off approach to interrogations and detention — but a flood of leaked documents suggests that some old habits were hard to break.

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Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse.

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Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated, Peter Beaumont, London Guardian | UK

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  • Why did we not investigate allegations of murder and torture in Iraq at the time, when it was well known what was going on?
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  • Thank you Wikileaks - Now Let's End Wars and Occupations
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Lawless Courts

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  • The country's 238 adjudicators in fifty-nine immigration courts rule on everything from asylum applications to whether a marijuana conviction warrants deportation. Many, especially the good ones, are burned out from their share of the massive annual caseload: 390,000 cases were initiated across the country in 2009. The laws, regulations and infrastructure are inadequate to the high stakes of prolonged incarceration or banishment.
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  • Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels
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Jacqueline Stevens, The Nation

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One day in April, J. Dan Pelletier, a government adjudicator, faces a video camera in an Atlanta immigration court. At the same moment, in a Stewart Detention Center mini-court in the Georgia hinterland, two dozen men in orange and blue jumpsuits seated behind a low rail are watching Pelletier on a monitor wheeled in front of a vacant dais. Pelletier addresses the men brusquely: "I have been told each of you has admitted the allegations and conceded removability back to your home country. Is there anybody in this group that does not want an order of removal to their home country?"

Giving the men no time for comprehension or to summon the courage to reply, Pelletier pushes on, ignoring the rule requiring him to ascertain whether each individual is abandoning a claim to remain in the United States. The interpreter, also in Atlanta, repeats in Spanish, "Nobody said anything. Does each one accept this? Please respond in the affirmative." The men sit there, mute, befuddled, watching the cranky old man like they might watch any other bad TV. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prosecutor sits quietly in front of the rail.

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Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels, Says Survey, Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

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  • The truth is that as a nation, we face nothing short of a justice crisis. It is a crisis both acute and chronic, affecting not only the poor but the middle class. The situation we face is unconscionable. -- Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe
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  • Need a Lawyer? Good Luck
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  • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return
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Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated

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  • Why did we not investigate allegations of murder and torture in Iraq at the time, when it was well known what was going on?
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  • Thank you Wikileaks - Now Let's End Wars and Occupations
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Peter Beaumont, London Guardian | UK

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

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Iraqi soldiers guard a blindfolded detainee during an operation outside Baquba, north of Baghdad. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The most shocking of the revelations in the current batch of leaked Iraq war logs is that most of the acts of torture and murder were committed in the open. They weren't secret. They were tolerated, sanitised – justified, even. Take the Wolf Brigade, the 2nd battalion of the interior ministry's special commandos.

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Everybody knew about them. You would see them in their pick-up trucks wearing balaclavas. When there was a sectarian murder people would talk about the wolves, until they became a shorthand to describe a certain kind of cruel violence. The wolf commandos became killers in the uniform of the Iraqi police.
I recall speaking to UN human rights investigators, western police advisers, diplomats and army officers about what was going on. In 2005 an Iraqi government official confirmed a list of places where she believed torture and murder were taking place. A British police mentor described entering the office of a notorious figure at the interior ministry and found a man with a bag over his head standing in the corner of the office.

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Thank you Wikileaks - Now Let's End Wars and Occupations, Debra Sweet, The World Can't Wait

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  1. Abuse, rape, torture, murder of detainees
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  3. Civilians are dying in greatest numbers
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  5. Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints
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  7. Private contractors non-uniformed, unsupervised, wreak havoc
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  • WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety
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  • Wikileaks Iraq: data journalism maps every death
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