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Tuesday, Sep 30th

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Sold as 'non-lethal,' Tasers killed 400 since 2001

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and businessman Bernard Kerik made millions selling the idea to police departments across the country.

But Tasers have killed more than 400 people since 2001, according to a new study commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Police departments across Canada began banning use of Tasers by their officers after the report found that Tasers deliver more power than the manufacturer says is possible.

It is unknown if U.S. police departments will follow suit.

The study includes a medical analysis that concluded someone shot with a Taser could face as high as a 50 percent chance of cardiac arrest.

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Leading lawyer calls for Rumsfeld prosecution

The President of the legal nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, has resumed calls for a formal prosecution of ex-Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld following revelations by a Congressional report that Rumsfeld was to blame for the Pentagon's policy allowing torture.

In a statement, he said that the report reaffirms findings he spelled out in his book published this September, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution. Ratner's group was the first to volunteer an attorney to meet with one of the CIA's "ghost detainees."

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CIA Torture Tapes Destoryed After Watchdog Concluded Methods Illegal

The CIA destroyed videotapes showing its agents subjecting high-level al-Qaeda detainees to waterboarding after the agency's inspector general issued a classified report in the spring of 2004 that concluded the interrogation methods used on the prisoners "appeared to constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture."

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Panel Cites White House, Not Soldiers, for Abuse

A new Senate report says the physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was the direct result of Bush administration policies and should not be blamed on guards and interrogators.

The report from the Senate Armed Services Committee is the result of a two-year investigation. It directly links President Bush's policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legal memos on torture and interrogation rule changes with the abuse that was photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq four years ago.

The report says administration officials publicly blamed the abuses on low-level soldiers but called that ''both unconscionable and false.''

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New Law Prevents U.S. Tax Dollars From Funding Use of Child Soldiers Abroad

Congress passed a bill that restricts U.S. funding that fuels one of the world's most brutal forms of child exploitation.

Currently, an estimated quarter of a million children serve as soldiers for government forces, paramilitaries and rebel groups around the world. In the past year, American tax dollars funded military assistance to six governments who use children to fight in their armed forces. The Child Soldier Prevention Act, which Congress passed today as part of a larger human trafficking bill, threatens to cut several types of U.S. military assistance to countries that continue to enlist or force children into their ranks.
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Musicians don't want tunes used for torture

The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."

Now the detainees aren't the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.

A campaign being launched Wednesday has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour. It will feature minutes of silence during concerts and festivals, said Chloe Davies of the British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees and is organizing the campaign.

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UN to Israel: Free Palestinian prisoners, lift Gaza blockade

UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday called on Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.

After two days of discussions, the council, which consists of 47 member states, passed a list of 99 'recommendations' of gestures for Israel to make to ease Palestinian suffering, including freeing all prisoners.

The US did not take part in the discussion, as it says the body discriminates against Israel. 

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