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Wednesday, Aug 27th

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The Bush administration's approval of the abuse of detainees is a toxic legacy for the next US president

New evidence has emerged in Congressional inquiries that throw more light on the extent to which early knowledge and approval of the abuse went to the highest levels. What does a country do when compelling evidence shows its leaders have authorised international crimes?

Buried away in this testimony lies the most dangerous material of all: evidence which may establish that abuses on detainees in Iraq in September 2003, in the period perhaps including the events at Abu Ghraib, were the result of decisions taken at the highest levels of the administration.

At the very least, the next US president must ensure the full facts are established. It will then be for others to decide what follows. But if the US doesn't get its own house in order and restore its reputation for the rule of law, others will surely step in. 

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Detainee's Time Served Is Challenged

The government argues that Hamdan was not entitled to any credit for his pretrial detention because he was not held at Guantanamo Bay "in connection with the charges for which he was tried, but was independently detained under the law of armed conflict as an enemy combatant," according to motions filed with the military court and released this week.

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Jewish settlers disrupt Palestinian olive harvest

Jewish settlers punched and kicked two news photographers and a British woman helping Palestinians pick olives in a West Bank town on Saturday and Israeli police responded by stopping the harvest. The scuffle in the town of Hebron was the latest of a series of efforts by settlers living in the occupied land to disrupt an annual harvest critical to many Palestinians' livelihoods.

Witnesses and Reuters television footage showed four Jewish settlers headed into a grove next to a Jewish enclave where a few dozen Israeli, Palestinian and foreign peace activists were helping to pick olives.

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Iraq War Vets Left Bloody at the Debates

I am a photojournalist that was covering the debate in Hofstra. It was one of the most dreadful and deplorable experiences I have ever been apart of. The authorities not only harassed and bullied people in the midst of a nonviolent protest, they also injured and arrested our war vets.

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Lawyers Criticize Quality of Guantanamo Interpreters

Something was being lost in interpretation. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national accused of war crimes and murder for his alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was speaking in Arabic. Ralph H. Kohlmann, a Marine colonel and military judge at Guantanamo Bay, was listening to a simultaneous interpretation in English.

A linguist working with Hawsawi's team later estimated that half of what the defendant said was rendered incorrectly by court interpreters and that Hawsawi didn't understand at least 25 percent of what was said in English. 

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Guantanamo prosecutor who quit had 'grave misgivings' about fairness

Darrel J. Vandeveld was in despair. The hard-nosed lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, a self-described conformist praised by his superiors for his bravery in Iraq, had lost faith in the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals in which he was a prosecutor.

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What is the SOA?

The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

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