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Saturday, May 23rd

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Human Rights Watch Accuses Sudan Soldiers Of Mass Rape In Darfur

Sudan rape accusationsA U.S.-based human rights group on Wednesday accused Sudanese soldiers of raping at least 221 women and girls in Sudan's Darfur region late last year after the United Nations said U.N.-African Union attempts to investigate were blocked by Khartoum.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the mass rape took place during three days of attacks.

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The U.S. Female Genital Mutilation Crisis

FGM crisisSince the practice of female genital mutilation was outlawed by the United States in 1996, the federal-level crackdown has been swift and unforgiving. In the following decades, 22 states would add their own bans, and “vacation cutting,” or taking minors abroad for the purpose of FGM, would be outlawed.

But now, new numbers show that these measures have done little to stanch the skyrocketing rate at which girls are subjected to this cruel form of circumcision on our shores.

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Lead U.N. investigator of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict resigns over bias allegations

Willliam SchabasWilliam Schabas, the head of a United Nations investigation into the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, has resigned due to bias allegations for his previous work with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The investigation seeks to determine if potential war crimes were committed in the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The panel's inquiries, sanctioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council, are set to be released in March.

Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation and accused Schabas of "clear and documented bias."

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Australian aims another blow at Gitmo military justice system

Guantanamo nightmare“David Hicks didn’t commit any crime,” according to his lawyer Wells Dixon, and that’s why the Australian former Guantánamo prisoner is seeking to quash his conviction by a U.S. Military Commission. If he succeeds, Hicks will have dealt a serious blow to the already embattled system created by the Bush Administration to circumvent the U.S. legal system in dealing with Guantánamo detainees.

The Australian who spent almost six years at the island prison after he was sold to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, in 2007 became the first detainee tried by a military commission. He had been one of three detainees to file the first habeas corpus petitions challenging the government’s authority to hold them without due process — a case they won before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Meet Alfreda Bikowsky, the Senior Officer at the Center of the CIA’s Torture Scandals

Alfreda Bikowski torturerNBC News yesterday called her a “key apologist” for the CIA’s torture program. A follow-up New Yorker article dubbed her “The Unidentified Queen of Torture” and in part “the model for the lead character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’” Yet in both articles she was anonymous.

The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted — even by some within the agency.

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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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U.S. Closes Afghanistan Prison, No Longer Has Custody Of Detainees

Parwan detention centerThe United States on Wednesday released the final three detainees from the Parwan Detention Center in Afghanistan, ending the U.S. operation of any prisons in the country after more than a decade of war, the Pentagon said.

Two of the detainees, including Redha al-Najar, were transferred into Afghan custody for possible prosecution, while the third wasn't considered a threat and is seeking resettlement in another country.

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