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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Senate report set to reveal Djibouti as CIA ‘black site’

Secret prisonThe legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity.

But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.

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Another U.S. Marine shackled in Mexican prison on gun charges

Marine shackled in Mexican prisonPrison authorities in Tijuana, Mexico, have shackled a decorated U.S. Marine veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan to his cot in a prison infirmary, restraining each of his limbs, on charges of introducing outlawed weapons into Mexico.

The Marine reservist, Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, who’s from Weston, Fla., outside Miami, drove his black Ford F-150 pickup through the San Ysidro, Calif., border crossing into Tijuana on April 1, carrying his worldly possessions, including three U.S.-registered firearms.

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Military sexual assault reports up 50 percent

Military sexual assaults up 50%Reports of sexual assaults by members of the military rose 50 percent in 2013 after the government began a vigorous campaign to get more victims to come forward. But ahead of a Pentagon report on the issue being released Thursday, officials said they are still struggling to get more male victims to seek help, and that they will put a greater focus on prevention programs — including plans to review alcohol sales and policies.

There were 5,061 reports of sexual abuse filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with 3,374 in 2012.

Officials said prosecutions for sexual assaults in the military have also gone up. The military was able to take some action against 73 percent of the accused perpetrators who were subject to the military justice system, said Nate Galbreath, the senior executive adviser for the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention office. In 2012 that figure was 66 percent.

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Expert testifies accused USS Cole bomber was tortured

USS Cole bomberThe Saudi prisoner awaiting death-penalty trial for the USS Cole bombing was tortured physically, mentally and sexually, an expert in torture treatment testified Thursday in a war court defense effort to get the captive better health care.

Dr. Sondra Crosby offered the diagnosis in open court in carefully choreographed testimony that never once mentioned that the accused Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, got to Guantanamo from four years of CIA captivity during which he was interrogated with waterboarding, threatened by a revving power drill and threats to his mother.

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A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list

Veterans on secret waiting listAt least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

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Supreme Court hears crucial Camp Lejeune water pollution case

SC to hear Cmp Lejeune caseRaw emotions bubbled just below the surface Wednesday as the Supreme Court considered a crucial North Carolina groundwater pollution case.

For experts, the case called CTS Corp. v. Waldburger centers on the relationship between state and federal laws and the ticking of the courthouse clock. Simply put, it’s about how long people have to sue polluters when they’ve been harmed. Being the law, though, it’s rarely that simple.

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US soldier accused of killing two teens in Iraq as military investigates

US soldier chargedThe two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a grove where a US army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago. But Michael Barbera, then a staff sergeant, took a knee, leveled his rifle and killed them anyway, a prosecutor said Wednesday as a preliminary hearing opened in the soldier's case.

The first boy was shot in the back, the prosecutor, Captain Ben Hillner, told an investigating officer considering whether Barbera should face a court martial in the March 2007 slayings. The second boy was shot in the chest as he raised his hands in the air, he said.

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