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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Release of Six Detainees After Twelve Years Highlights the Historic Evil of Guantánamo

Gito evilsThe U.S. military overnight transferred six Guantánamo detainees to Uruguay. All of them had been imprisoned since 2002 – more than 12 years. None has ever been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of any wrongdoing. They had all been cleared for release years ago by the Pentagon itself, but nonetheless remained in cages until today.

Among the released detainees is Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Lebanese-born Syrian national and father of four who was seized by the Pakistani police and turned over to the U.S. in 2002 for what was reportedly a large bounty. He was cleared for release in 2009 – five years ago – and has repeatedly gone on hunger strikes inside the camp to protest his treatment. At the age of 43, he has become physically debilitated. As the human rights group Reprieve detailed:

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US sends 6 prisoners from Guantanamo to Uruguay

6 Gitmo prisoners sent to UruguaySix prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay have been sent to Uruguay to be resettled as refugees, the U.S. government announced Sunday — a deal that had been delayed for months by security concerns at the Pentagon and political considerations in the South American country.

The six men — four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian — are the first prisoners transferred to South America from the U.S. base in Cuba, part of a flurry of recent releases amid a renewed push by President Barack Obama to close the prison.

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IDF launches 8 criminal probes over incidents in Gaza war

IDF investigationThe army’s chief legal officer has ordered the military police to investigate eight new cases from the summer’s operation in Gaza, bringing the total of current criminal investigations to 13, the IDF Magistrate Advocate General said Saturday.

The eight new cases involve the deaths of some 30 Palestinians, including 27 who died in an IDF strike on the home of the Abu-Jama family in Khan Yunis. In all, the 13 cases now being probed — which include the ongoing investigations into a strike on an UNRWA school in which 14 people were killed, and an airstrike that killed four children on a Gaza beach — concern the deaths of close to 50 Palestinians.

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Mark Udall Promises America Will "Be Disgusted" at CIA Torture Report

Mark UdallThe Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein of California, is soon expected to release its summary of the so-called CIA Torture Report, the committee’s four-year-long investigation into the CIA’s Bush-era torture practices. Release of the summary is the result of months of wrangling and negotiating with the White House on what would be released to the public and when—and it will likely be heavily redacted.

During an interview conducted on Friday, November 21, by Esquire writer at large Scott Raab, outgoing senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who lost his reelection race on November 4, once again said that if the report is not released in a way he deems transparent, he would consider all options to make it public.

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The US Government Deported 438,000 People in 2013. 83 Percent Never Got a Hearing.

deporteesOf the 438,421 people deported in 2013, 83 percent received a summary removal, meaning that they were sent to their country of origin by US officials without a hearing. And according to the ACLU's research, many of these removals were illegal: Asylum seekers, unaccompanied kids, and others who may have qualified for relief routinely have been turned away.

Until the mid-'90s, virtually all immigrants at risk of being deported went through an immigration hearing before a judge. But, partly in response to immigration court backlogs, a 1996 law called the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act changed that, extending the ability to issue deportations to immigration officers—the same people who arrest and detain immigrants.

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US to appeal judge's ruling on Guantánamo Bay force-feeding videos

Gitmo forced feedingsThe Obama administration will ask a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling that it must disclose videos depicting its controversial tube feedings of hunger strikers at Guantánamo Bay.

The long-expected decision from the Justice Department, filed in court on Tuesday, comes two months after Judge Gladys Kessler of the Washington DC federal district court ruled that the government did possess a compelling rationale for preventing the public from viewing the forcible feedings and detention cell removals of a Syrian detainee.

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Edward Snowden wins Swedish human rights award for NSA revelations

Edward SnowdenWhistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance.

Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow. In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.

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