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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Obama's Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

US covered up war crimes in AfghanistanThe human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.

The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.

The human rights organization alleges that the U.S. military has routinely failed to properly investigate reports of criminal behavior and, in some instances, tampered with evidence to conceal wrongdoing. On the rare occasions when servicemen are held to account, the report found that the compromised military justice system seldom secured justice for the victims of enforced disappearances, killings, and abuse that included torture.

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All About Oil: Why Americ is Dropping Bombs to Defend Erbil

Erbil oilErbil has an ancient history, but, in political-economic terms, the city is best understood these days as a Kurdish sort of Deadwood, as depicted in David Milch’s HBO series about a gold-rush town whose antihero, Al Swearengen, conjures up a local government to create a veneer of legitimacy for statehood, all to advance his rackets.

Erbil is an oil-rush town where the local powers that be similarly manipulate their ambiguous sovereignty for financial gain—their own, and that of any pioneer wild and wily enough to invest money without having it stolen.

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Before the fear of war, fear of fracking in Ukraine

Fear of fracking in UkraineLocals seemed to have consensus on who’s at war: the U.S. and Russia over control of Ukraine, they all agreed. But even now, three months past the day the first shell fell on Slovyansk, they still had trouble comprehending why their green, sleepy hometown still was trapped in this conflict.

Residents of the bombed building remembered how in April, local and Russian-assigned rebel commanders chose to set up the capital for their forces in this town.

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Saving Iraqis the US left behind

Iraqis left behindAfter the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Hakim, a 49-year-old Sunni Iraqi, helped the U.S. and NATO forces by serving as a guide in Mosul. He enjoyed this work, often traveling with American military units as they went door to door, aiming to win local support. This work financially sustained Hakim and his family, but it put them in danger.

After waiting four years, during which time his house was set afire and his younger brother killed for working as an interpreter and guide, Hakim was finally granted a special immigrant visa and resettled in New York, but without his wife. She still awaits an answer to her application for asylum. Now with renewed calls for military action in Iraq, Hakim worries that his wife will never get out of the country.

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Judge extends halt to Ohio executions

Judge extends Ohio execution haltsA federal judge has extended a months-long moratorium on executions in Ohio into next year as questions mount about the effectiveness of a new, two-drug combination being used to carry out the death penalty.

The ruling by federal judge Gregory Frost will delay executions scheduled for September, October and November and highlights the ongoing problem faced by states in obtaining drugs to put inmates to death.

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Ferguson, Mo. Fallout: Riots, school cancellations and unrest in wake of police shooting

Ferguson riotsAuthorities say more than 30 people have been arrested in Ferguson, where crowds have looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted police after a vigil for an unarmed black man who was killed by police.

St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman says two officers suffered minor injuries in the unrest. He says there are no reports of civilians being hurt.

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Obama vow to speed deportation of children at odds with public opinion

Deportation of border childrenPresident Barack Obama's pledge to fast-track the deportation of migrant children from Central America is out of step with the opinion of a majority of Americans, who say the children should be allowed to stay in the United States, at least for a while.

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll highlight the complexity of the child migrant issue for Obama, who has sought to emphasize his compassion while also insisting that his administration plans to send home most of the children, many of whom have fled violence in their homelands.

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Beyond Torture: The CIA's Shameful Kidnapping of a 12-Year-Old Girl

CIA kidnapping of 12 year old girlPresident Obama is letting the CIA play a major part in censoring a report on brutal human-rights abuses perpetrated by CIA employees. This has always been self-evidently absurd: No possible arrangement would present a bigger conflict of interest.

What many Americans might not know is that the CIA isn't just intent on covering up torture. It's also averse to the public knowing more about renditions, a euphemism for kidnapping people and handing them over to violent thugs.

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90 years on, push for ERA ratification continues

Equal Rights AmendmentDrafted by a suffragette in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment has been stirring up controversy ever since. Many opponents considered it dead when a 10-year ratification push failed in 1982, yet its backers on Capitol Hill, in the Illinois statehouse and elsewhere are making clear this summer that the fight is far from over.

In Washington, congresswomen Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., are prime sponsors of two pieces of legislation aimed at getting the amendment ratified. They recently organized a pro-ERA rally, evoking images of the 1970s, outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

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