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Wednesday, Mar 04th

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Not just torture: Senator says CIA stalling over bogus intelligence that led to Iraq war

John BrennanCIA Director John Brennan, under fire over the Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture, is facing new heat over his role in what a senior lawmaker calls an apparent coverup involving bogus intelligence used by the George W. Bush administration to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Carl Levin, D-Mich., who’s ending 36 years in the Senate, plans to press Brennan one last time to fulfill a pledge to support the full declassification of a CIA cable debunking the claim that the leader of the 9/11 hijackers met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in the Czech capital of Prague just months before the attacks.

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Senate report on CIA torture could lead to prosecutions of Americans abroad

ICC at the HagueUS officials and military officers implicated by the Senate report on torture could face arrest in other countries as a result of investigations by their national courts, human rights lawyers said on Wednesday.

The report, released on Tuesday by the Senate intelligence committee, found the CIA misled the White House, the Justice Department, Congress and the public over a torture programme, launched in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, that was both ineffective and more brutal than the agency disclosed.

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Congressional leaders hammer out deal to allow pension plans to cut retiree benefits

US CongressA measure that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut is set to be attached to a massive spending bill, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.

The rule would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets.

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Congress relaxes whole grain standards for schools

whole grain program stoppedCongress is taking some whole grains off the school lunch line.

A massive year-end spending bill released Tuesday doesn't allow schools to opt out of healthier school meal standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama, as House Republicans had sought. But it would ease standards that require more whole grains in school foods.

The bill also would put off rules to lower sodium in school meals. Those rules were supposed kick in by 2017.

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The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’

Torture reporthe CIA’s rendition, interrogation, and detention programs were even more nightmarish than you could imagine.

Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.

Here are some of the most gruesome moments of detainee abuse from a summary of the report, obtained by The Daily Beast:

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Senate report on CIA interrogation methods has tortured history

CIA torture reportAfter a long and drawn-out process involving multiple branches of the U.S. government, the summary of an exhaustive report detailing Bush-era CIA detention and interrogation policies could be released as early as Monday. The report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) examines the CIA’s use of torture after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and looks at the efficacy of such intelligence-gathering methods.

The report, which cost the federal government more than $40 million to produce, is said to cast doubt on intelligence gains gleaned from an interrogation program that embraced torture.

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Congress takes another crack at war memorial cross

War Memorial CrossCould one of the nation's longest-running church-state conflicts be nearing a conclusion?

As part of a bill setting defense policy, Congress would authorize the defense secretary to transfer a scenic parcel of federal land in the La Jolla section of San Diego, to a private group. The parcel contains a memorial to the nation's veterans and a 43-foot-high cross that federal courts have determined is an unconstitutional effort by the government to endorse a religion.

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