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Friday, Mar 27th

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How Obama handed Afghanistan a prisoner dilemma

bagram prisonAfghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, who visits the White House next week, has not held back on criticizing the U.S. over its handling of detainees. Reacting to the contents of a damning Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture in December, he expressed shock, declaring “that the principles of human rights — as well as the Constitution of the United States and universally accepted ethics — had been violated by the CIA and its contractors.”

But when it comes to the status of six detainees now in the hands of his security forces after the U.S. turned over control of the Parwan Detention Facility near Bagram air base in his country, Ghani has been noticeably less vocal.

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UN Human Rights Commission to hear oral report on the Gaza probe on March 23rd

UNHRC probe of Gaza invasionThe United Nations Human Rights Council is scheduled to hear an initial oral report on the Gaza probe into IDF actions during last summer’s conflict with Hamas on March 23rd, during its 28th session in Geneva this month.

The Commission of Inquiry’s full report on possible human rights violations and war crimes during that time will be presented to the UNHRC in June, during its 29th session.

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The battle to be Israel’s conscience: B'Tselem

hagai El-AdOn 15 August last year, five weeks into the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Hagai El-Ad, the director of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, appeared on a morning radio show to discuss the conflict.

Throughout the fighting, B’Tselem did what it has done for 25 years since it was founded during the first Palestinian intifada: document human rights violations by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. It compiled film and testimony gathered by volunteer field researchers on the ground, tallied daily casualty figures that were used by the local and international press, and released names of individual Palestinians killed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

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Pentagon Teacher Accused of Running ‘Death Squad’

Pentagon teacher accused of tortureCarlos Alberto Ospina Ovalle was deep in the Colombian mountains in the autumn of 1997, directing an Army brigade in a major offensive against a group that Washington formally designated that year as terrorists, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. He achieved some battlefield successes, and five years later, he was appointed chief of the Colombian armed forces.

Flash forward to this month: Ospina was in a military classroom in Washington, lecturing at the National Defense University to an elite group of U.S. and foreign military officers and civilians from a podium set before a row of Latin American flags. Colleagues at the school, which is chartered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say Ospina is particularly respected there for his experience under fire and his deep knowledge of counterterrorism strategy.

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Supreme Court rejects cases on Guantanamo detainee treatment

Supreme Courty rejects detainees casesThe Supreme Court on Monday spurned two appeals involving U.S. treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees, barring a Syrian man from suing the United States over alleged torture and blocking the release of images purported to show evidence of a Saudi man's mistreatment.

The justices in both cases left intact lower-court rulings in favor of the U.S. government.

In one case, the court left in place a January 2014 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against a Syrian former detainee, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko. He had sought to sue the United States for damages stemming from his treatment during seven years at the U.S. facility in Cuba.

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Torture of Palestinian detainees by Israel soared in 2014 – report

Torture of Palestiians by IsraelThe instances of torture of Palestinian prisoners by Israeli services soared sharply in the second half of 2014, after the killings of three Jewish teenagers in June, says data from military courts and anti-torture bodies, collected by Haaretz.

All in all, 51 cases of torture were reported in the second half of last year, according to an attorney representing those accused of security offences. The data was obtained by Haaretz from military courts, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

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Justice Dept Finds Years of Racial Discrimination By Ferguson PD: Report

Ferguson bias against minoritiesAccording to the forthcoming report on the Justice Department's investigation into the Ferguson, Mo. police department for alleged civil rights violations, the department has demonstrated a history of racial profiling that has intensified race relations in the St. Louis suburb.

The investigation was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last September after the shooting and killing of unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, and the ensuing violent protests that erupted in the city in the days thereafter.

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