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Sunday, Dec 21st

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US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

5 Gitmo prisoners freedThe United States has returned four Afghans from Guantanamo Bay back to their home country.

U.S. officials say the transfer from the detention center is a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Administration officials say they worked quickly to fulfil his request to return the four detainees. They had been cleared for transfer as a kind of reconciliation and an indication of improved U.S.-Afghan relations.

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The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings

Torture program not just tortureHuman experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.

At the helm of this human experimentation project were two psychologists hired by the CIA, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. They designed interrogation and detention protocols that they and others applied to people imprisoned in the agency’s secret “black sites.”

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Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

Feds sue NYCFederal prosecutors sued New York City on Thursday to speed the pace of reforms at the Rikers Island jail complex and address what a Justice Department investigation found was a "deep-seated culture of violence" against young inmates.

The move comes a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the 10-jail lockup to announce the end of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates, a policy change initiated after the 2 1/2-year federal probe released in August.

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Judge throws out black teen's conviction from 1944

Judge throws out 1944 conviction of teenA judge threw out the conviction Wednesday of black teen executed 70 years ago for the deaths of two white girls.

George Stinney Jr., 14, was convicted of the grisly murders of Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, in Alcolu, S.C. The girls had disappeared in March 1944 while riding their bicycles, and their bludgeoned bodies were found in a watery ditch along a road in the town, about 70 miles north of Charleston.

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CIA torture: health professionals 'may have committed war crimes', report says

CIA torture health professionalsHealth professionals who assisted in the CIA’s torture programme of terror suspects “betrayed the most fundamental duty of the healing professions” and may have committed war crimes, according to a hard-hitting report released on Tuesday.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) called for a federal commission to investigate the full extent of health professionals’ participation in CIA torture following last week’s release of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on the agency’s detention and interrogation programme.

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Israeli troops kill Palestinian in West Bank

Israeli troops kill PalestinianA Palestinian has been killed overnight during an Israeli military operation in the Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah in the West Bank, medical and security sources say.

The 21-year-old man was killed when troops entered the camp to make an arrest, prompting clashes with residents, sources said on Tuesday.

The Israeli army confirmed that its special forces had launched a raid on the camp and that there had been clashes.  Another Palestinian was arrested.

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The Charmed Life of a CIA Torturer

CIA torturerMatthew Zirbel’s home in Great Falls, Virginia is filled with oriental carpets, perhaps collected from his time spent working in countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The million dollar home has “LOTS of “WOW!” You will “Oooh & Ahhh”, says this recent description on Zillow.

This isn’t the first time Zirbel’s surroundings have wowed someone. Over a decade ago, Zirbel, then a junior CIA officer, was in charge of the Salt Pit, a “black site” in Afghanistan referred to in the recent Senate torture report as “Cobalt,” where detainees were routinely brutalized and which one visitor described as a “dungeon.” A delegation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons was “WOW’ed” by the Salt Pit’s sensory deprivation techniques, and a CIA interrogator said that prisoners there “literally looked like [dogs] that had been kenneled,” according to the report.

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