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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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A Murder Mystery at Guantanamo Bay

GitmoThere’s more of a mystery to how three Guantanamo detainees died on June 10, 2006, than I realized when I described their deaths as suicides in a recent article about force-feeding methods at the notorious US prison. Some very experienced investigators who have examined the evidence suspect the three were victims of homicides amid the torture regime employed by President George W. Bush’s underlings.

Scott Horton, whose upcoming book Lords of Secrecy contains new insights into the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Tenet go-ahead on torture and other abuses, has supplied me with additional detail highly suggestive of foul play by CIA interrogators.

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Catholic bishops show new tolerance toward gays

Catholic bishopsCatholic bishops expressed unprecedented tolerance toward homosexuality and divorce in a document released Monday, a remarkable shift led by Pope Francis that could end the church's rigid stance on those issues.

The new openness to gay unions, though not gay marriage, is considered groundbreaking by supporters and critics alike. It expands on the tolerant tone Francis struck last year when he said, "Who am I to judge?" whether gay and lesbians could be good Christians.

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UNC legal team, rights advocates take up cause of tortured ex-prisoner

Abou ELKAssim BritelNorth Carolina human rights advocates and a legal team from the University of North Carolina School of Law are pressing for an apology on behalf of a man who was tortured in Pakistani and Moroccan prisons over nine years, and, according to documents, secretly transported by the CIA on a North Carolina-based plane.

“I would like recognition of the injustice I went through,” Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian of Moroccan descent who lives in Italy, said in an email Friday to McClatchy, written with his wife, Anna. “My honor and my dignity have been violated. I was deprived of family and freedom, or a future and career. I returned home after a 10-year exile with my health and mental state ruined, with no work and with much suffering.”

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U.S. criticized by observer groups for Syrian civilian casualties

syrian civilian casualtiesAir strikes conducted by the U.S. late last month against extremist militant positions in Syria killed several civilians, two observer groups said.

Human Rights Watch reported that American strikes on Sept. 23 in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib killed seven civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from sources on the ground in the war-torn country, said that air strikes by the U.S. against an Islamic State logistics hub in Manbij early last week actually hit a grain silo, killing several civilians.

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Judge orders Guantánamo Bay force-feeding videos to be released

gitmo feedingA US federal judge has ordered the disclosure of videotapes that show the force feeding of an inmate on hunger strike at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.

Days before the first legal challenge to the force feeding was due to begin, Judge Gladys Kessler of the Washington DC district court on Friday ordered the US government to prepare public versions of 28 videos showing a Syrian detainee, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, forcibly removed from his cell and fed through a tube inserted through his nose into his stomach.

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Judge Rebukes US Government, Keeps Gitmo Force-Feeding Hearing Open

Force feedingA federal judge has knocked down the government’s attempt to hold a secret hearing in a case challenging the military’s practice of force-feeding Guantanamo detainees who are on hunger strike.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler called the government’s desire to close the proceedings “deeply troubling,” and chastised the Department of Justice for appearing to “deliberately” make the request “on short notice.”

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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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