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Tuesday, Jul 28th

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U.N. Report Asks All the Right Questions of Israel

UN report on GazaWhen the shouting dies down and folks take the time to read the actual content of the United Nations report on last summer’s Gaza war — all 183 pages plus side documents — you might see some very red faces in the world of pro-Israel activism.

Well, maybe you won’t. The leaders and friends of Israel’s current governing coalition aren’t in the habit of admitting mistakes, especially where Palestinians are involved. But this one will be hard to dodge.

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UN report on Gaza: Both sides may be guilty of war crimes

UN Gaza ReportA much-awaited United Nations report into the 2014 Gaza war released Monday found that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups may have committed war crimes during the conflict.

Both Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers quickly rejected the report's findings, which said Palestinian militants targeted civilians in their rocket attacks, while Israeli forces likely used "disproportionate" force in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip — both identified by the U.N. committee as potential war crimes.

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Controversial UK security firm lobbying for US migrant detention contracts

UK security firmA controversial British security company implicated in numerous immigration detention controversies in the UK and Australia is lobbying to secure potentially lucrative contracts to detain migrant families in the United States, documents obtained by the Guardian show.

Serco Inc, the US subsidiary of the British owned multinational Serco Group, has held meetings in Washington DC with Democratic congressional staffers, at which it has circulated a confidential briefing paper boasting of its record in detaining migrant families.

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Canada confronts ‘cultural genocide’ against aboriginal people

Canada's aboriginesOn May 31 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released a summary of its report on the history and legacy of the nation’s residential schools. The report concluded that Canada’s aboriginal policy, designed “to eliminate aboriginal governments … and cause aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious and racial entities in Canada,” has caused unspeakable and enduring suffering that amounts to “cultural genocide.”

The U.S. also had a shameful program of residential schools for its Native American children, often operated by churches with government funding. A reckoning for the destructive legacy of forced assimilation is long overdue. It’s time for the U.S. to follow Canada’s lead in establishing a truth and reconciliation commission and acknowledge the havoc its policies have wrought.

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CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation

CIA human experimentsThe Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research.

Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.

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Israel passes bill to force-feed prisoners

Khader AdnanThe Israeli government has approved a bill that will allow the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike if their lives are in danger.

The cabinet's endorsement of the controversial bill was led by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said on Sunday that prisoners observing a hunger strike, namely Palestinians, pose a "threat" to Israel.

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Israeli leader criticizes upcoming UN report on Gaza war

NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday criticized an upcoming United Nations report into last year's war in the Gaza Strip, calling it a waste of time.

Instead, he said an in-depth Israeli report — and another unofficial report compiled by a group of retired Western generals — show "the truth" behind the fighting. Both documents say Israel did its utmost to avoid civilian casualties and said Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers deliberately attacked Israeli civilians while using their own people as human shields.

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