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US terror 'watchlist' risks stigmatizing hundreds of thousands, says ACLU

US watchlistThe U.S. government's “massive” watchlist database risks stigmatizing hundreds of thousands of people as known or suspected terrorists – including some its own citizens, a leading civil liberties group has warned.

Around 875,000 names are believed to be on the list, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said. Many are included "based on information that is often stale, poorly reviewed, or of questionable reliability," it added in a report published Friday. Moreover people are being put onto the watch list based on secret evidence and secret standards, with no meaningful process to challenge mistakes, the ACLU warned.


US 'deeply concerned' about death of Chinese human rights campaigner

Cao ShunliThe US is “deeply disturbed” by reports of the death of prominent Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli, who was detained in September for staging sit-ins at the country’s foreign ministry, the State Department said on Saturday.

The news of Cao’s death came on Friday, soon after the start of a session in Geneva of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body to which China was elected amid controversy last November.


US responds to Guantánamo Bay and NSA criticisms made by UN committee

US human rightsThe US has put up its defence at the United Nations in Geneva over charges that it is guilty of widespread human rights violations, claiming that the military commissions at Guantanámo Bay meet – and exceed – fair trial standards and that agencies engaging in mass surveillance are subject to “rigorous oversight”.

The US delegation delivered its rebuttal on Friday to the strong criticism it has faced from members of the UN human rights committee. Over two days, the committee has pressed hard questions about the US human rights record, from National Security Agency data mining to racial discrimination and rampant gun violence.


US criticised by UN for human rights failings on NSA, guns and drones

US human rights violationsThe US came under sharp criticism at the UN human rights committee in Geneva on Thursday for a long list of human rights abuses that included everything from detention without charge at Guantánamo, drone strikes and NSA surveillance, to the death penalty, rampant gun violence and endemic racial inequality.

At the start of a two-day grilling of the US delegation, the committee’s 18 experts made clear their deep concerns about the US record across a raft of human rights issues. Many related to faultlines as old as America itself, such as guns and race.


Senate Investigation of Bush-Era Torture Erupts Into Constitutional Crisis

Senate investigationA gripping battle between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee broke into public view Tuesday morning, as Senator Dianne Feinstein openly accused the CIA of spying on congressional staffers as they investigated the agency’s illegal detention and interrogation programs under President George W. Bush.

Feinstein’s allegations raise grave questions about how the executive branch interprets constitutional separation of powers, along with raising serious concerns about the integrity of congressional oversight of US intelligence agencies. And lurking in the background is the country’s dirty history of torture following the September 11 terror attacks, which top officials—including those appointed by President Obama—seem determined to brush into the dustbin of history.


Guantánamo hunger-strikers endure 'water cure' torture, federal court hears

Emad HassanHunger-striking Guantánamo detainees are being subjected to a form of torture known as the “water cure” that was widely used in the Spanish Inquisition, lawyers are claiming, in the first legal challenge to force-feeding at the military base brought before a US federal court.

The case was lodged on Tuesday in the US district court for the DC circuit that has jurisdiction over Guantánamo. It was brought on behalf of Emad Abdullah Hassan, a Yemeni who has been on hunger strike in the detention camp intermittently since 2005 and continuously since 2007.


Immigrant detainees on hunger strike in Washington state

detainees hunger strikeHundreds of detainees at an immigration holding center in Tacoma have gone on hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility and an end to U.S. deportations, their attorney said on Saturday.

While advocates for the strikers put their numbers at 1,200, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that, on Friday evening, meals had been refused by 750 of a total 1,300 inmates at the Northwest Detention Center, operated by the GEO Group.


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