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Iraqi group files 200 lawsuits against Rumsfeld, US security firms for torture

A Jordan-based Iraqi rights group said on Monday it has filed 200 lawsuits against US former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and American security firms for their alleged role in torturing Iraqis.

Ali Qeisi, head of the group the "Society of Victims of the US Occupation in Iraq," said the cases, relating to torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners, have been recently filed in federal courts in Virginia, Michigan and Maryland.

"Around 30 lawsuits have been accepted so far," Qeisi told AFP. The others are still under consideration.

"The torture was systemic, and those responsible for it should be punished and the victims should be compensated," he said.

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The Torture Presidency

The report concluded that Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level officials of the administration consciously adopted a policy for the torture and abuse of prisoners held in the war on terror. It also found that they attempted to cover up their conduct by waging a P.R. campaign to put the blame on a group of young soldiers they called “rotten apples.” Lawyers figure prominently among the miscreants identified. Evidently the torture policy’s authors then enlisted ethics-challenged lawyers to craft memoranda designed to give torture “the appearance of legality” as part of a scheme to create the torture program despite internal opposition. A declassified summary of the report can be read here; the full report is filled with classified information and therefore has been submitted to the Department of Defense with a request that the materials be declassified for release. (Don’t expect that to happen before January 20, however).

This report sums up all you need to know about George W. Bush’s eight years of leadership.

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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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