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The CIA’s black marks on humanity

CIA tortureOne recent afternoon in Arlington, Virginia, I found myself doing pushups alongside a host of military and civilian attorneys, paralegals and other employees of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel. It is part of the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, which oversees war court proceedings for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and I was visiting at 1 p.m. — designated pushup time.

That wasn’t my original plan: I’d been scheduled to attend April pretrial hearings in Guantánamo for five high-value detainees (HVDs) accused of involvement in 9/11, but when the hearings were canceled by the case’s military judge, Arlington seemed to be the next best destination.


100 Years Ago, 1.5 Million Christian Armenians Were Systematically Killed. Today, It's Still Not A 'Genocide'

Armenian genocideOn April 24, 1915, Ottoman Turkish authorities hauled off Daniel Varoujan, a leading Armenian poet of the time, along with over 200 other intellectuals in the capital Constantinople. To the crumbling Ottoman Empire, the poets, painters, writers, booksellers and politicians at the beating heart of the Armenian community posed too much of a threat.

Soon, much of the empire’s Christian Armenian population would be targeted and nearly wiped out, accused of conspiring against the empire with the Russians. Many Armenians say the genocide was collective punishment for the actions of a few.


US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’

entrapmentThe recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.

The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS).


Slavery taints global supply of seafood

Thai seafood slavery The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home.

Just a few yards away, other workers loaded cargo ships with slave-caught seafood that clouds the supply networks of major supermarkets, restaurants and even pet stores in the United States.

Here, in the Indonesian island village of Benjina and the surrounding waters, hundreds of trapped men represent one of the most desperate links criss-crossing between companies and countries in the seafood industry. This intricate web of connections separates the fish we eat from the men who catch it, and obscures a brutal truth: Your seafood may come from slaves.


'2014 Was A Catastrophic Year,' Amnesty International Says

Human RightsGovernments "must stop pretending the protection of civilians is beyond their power," Amnesty International says in its human rights report for 2014. The group faults the U.S. on a range of issues, from the use of excessive force by police to rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism.

"Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians," Amnesty says. "And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need."


America's Deadly Transgender Backlash

transgender deaths in USThe anti-LGBT backlash is here, and transgender populations are suffering the most—even though they hadn’t won that many legal victories in the first place. They’re getting the backlash before winning anything to lash back against.

Let’s start with the worst. Five transgender women of color have already been murdered in 2015, and just last weekend, a (white) transgender woman was stabbed to death by her own father.


Here's What's Being Done To Get Child Laborers Working 16-Hour Days Off Of U.S. Tobacco Fields

child tobacco laborAdvocates are speaking out on behalf of child workers' health and well-being after a bill that would have regulated Virginia's tobacco farming industry failed to pass last week.

Minors would not be allowed to work directly with tobacco plants or their dried leaves, had Virginia House Bill 1906 passed, NBC 29 News reported. Children working on family farms as part of tradition would have been exempt from the law.


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