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Thursday, Oct 30th

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Pentagon rules out transferring secret Bagram detainees to Guantánamo

BagramThe Pentagon has ruled out transferring its most secretly held detainees from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay, an official told the Guardian, and is signalling it wants to resolve their years-long plight by the new year.

While US military officials scramble to figure out what to do with an estimated 13 non-Afghan detainees they hold without charge on the outskirts of Bagram airfield, “none of the detainees will be transferred to Guantánamo Bay,” Lt Col Myles Caggins, the Pentagon’s detentions spokesman, told the Guardian.

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US bid for secret Gitmo force-feeding hearings challenged

gitmo hearings challengedMedia organizations and rights groups are challenging an attempt by the U.S. government to exclude the public and press from hearings relating to the treatment of a Guantánamo Bay hunger striker.

In a motion filed Sept. 26, Justice Department lawyers requested that sessions relating to Abu Wa’el Dhiab — a Syrian national held at the detention camp since 2002 — be held in closed court. “An open hearing risks unauthorized disclosure of classified or protected information. The record in this case is large, with classified and protected information often inextricably intertwined with unclassified information,” the department argued. But on Tuesday, representatives of Dhiab and 16 U.S. human rights and news organizations filed a counter motion.

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Gitmo hunger strikes are a cry for help. Why is the US fighting back with secret torture?

gitmo hunger strike“Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent”: so goes the slogan of the world’s most famous offshore prison. It’s an Obama-era rebrand, a bid by Gitmo’s PR people to persuade Americans that today’s is a kinder, gentler Guantánamo Bay. There’s just one wrinkle: Gitmo is stilldangerous, nasty, lawless and secretive – and the evidence just keeps piling up.

At the forefront of this war over the truth is the first-ever trial concerning the practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike, due to start Monday. My client, Abu Wa’el Dhiab – a Syrian man who has never been charged, and indeed has been cleared to leave Guantánamo by the US government for more than five years – has been fighting for over a year to reform the way he and other hunger-strikers have been treated. He’s finally about to have his day in court.

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U.S. may keep secret prisoners in custody after Afghan war exit

secret prisoner in AfghanistanThe fate of a group of prisoners held in near-total secrecy by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan is hanging in limbo, the facility's commander said, as Washington gropes for options after its legal right to hold them there expires in December.

The inmates - all foreign nationals captured on battlefields around the world - could be transferred to the U.S. court system or, as a last resort, to the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Brigadier General Patrick J. Reinert told Reuters.

The quandary over what to do with the detainees held in a prison near Bagram airfield, north of Kabul, has rekindled the outrage over the U.S. policy of rendition in the early phases of the Afghan war.

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California protesters block Israeli-owned ship

Zim shanghaiOfficials say a group of pro-Palestinian protesters are again blocking an Israeli-owned ship from unloading its cargo at a port in California.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees says dockworkers at the Port of Oakland did not unload cargo from the ZIM Shanghai on Saturday because of safety concerns raised by the presence of police and protesters.

He said the protesters blocked workers from driving into the terminal during their morning and evening shifts.

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Edward Snowden honored with ‘alternative Nobel’

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden was among the winners Wednesday of a Swedish human rights award, sometimes referred to as the “alternative Nobel,” for his disclosures of top secret surveillance programs.

The former National Security Agency contractor split the honorary portion of the 2014 Right Livelihood Award with Alan Rusbridger, editor of British newspaper The Guardian, which has published a series of articles on government surveillance based on documents leaked by Snowden.

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Emma Watson tells men in powerful UN speech: 'Gender equality is your issue, too'

emma Watson at UNActress Emma Watson not only stirred the Internet with her recent moving speech before the United Nations, but she also joined a cadre of celebrities who have used their star power to bring attention to gender issues.

Watson, best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" films, spoke Saturday as part of the launch of a new HeForShe campaign, which is aimed at getting men involved in stopping violence against women. (HeForShe is a U.N. initiative for gender equality.) The actress was appointed as a goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago and advocated for everyone to be involved in the movement.

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