The CIA destroyed videotapes showing its agents subjecting high-level al-Qaeda detainees to waterboarding after the agency's inspector general issued a classified report in the spring of 2004 that concluded the interrogation methods used on the prisoners "appeared to constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture."
A new Senate report says the physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was the direct result of Bush administration policies and should not be blamed on guards and interrogators.
The report from the Senate Armed Services Committee is the result of a two-year investigation. It directly links President Bush's policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legal memos on torture and interrogation rule changes with the abuse that was photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq four years ago.
The report says administration officials publicly blamed the abuses on low-level soldiers but called that ''both unconscionable and false.''
Currently, an estimated quarter of a million children serve as soldiers for government forces, paramilitaries and rebel groups around the world. In the past year, American tax dollars funded military assistance to six governments who use children to fight in their armed forces. The Child Soldier Prevention Act, which Congress passed today as part of a larger human trafficking bill, threatens to cut several types of U.S. military assistance to countries that continue to enlist or force children into their ranks.
The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."
Now the detainees aren't the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.
A campaign being launched Wednesday has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour. It will feature minutes of silence during concerts and festivals, said Chloe Davies of the British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees and is organizing the campaign.
UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday called on Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.
After two days of discussions, the council, which consists of 47 member states, passed a list of 99 'recommendations' of gestures for Israel to make to ease Palestinian suffering, including freeing all prisoners.
The US did not take part in the discussion, as it says the body discriminates against Israel.
Human rights advocates have called on Obama to seal the prison's fate with the stroke of a pen by signing an executive order on the day he takes office.
But the Obama transition team has said that no decision has been made on how to move ahead on the president-elect's commitment to shutter the facility. Analysts warn there is a host of complex issues that would need to be settled first, including what to do about the current military commissions system and ongoing trials.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday lashed out at settlers in Hebron who attacked Palestinians and their property in recent days, joining other Israeli figures in branding the attacks a "progrom."
Settlers in the West Bank city went on a rampage after Israel Defense Forces evicted dozens of them from a building whose ownership is disputed. The move came after Israel's High Court ordered that the settlers leave the building, dubbed the "House of Contention."
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