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17 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Mohamedou Ould Slahi remains in Guantánamo despite having never been charged with a crime

Mohamedou Ould Slahi remains in Guantánamo despite having never been charged with a crime.

Guantánamo Diary exposes brutality of US rendition and torture

Memoir serialised by Guardian tells how Mohamedou Ould Slahi endured savage beatings, death threats and sexual humiliation

The groundbreaking memoir of a current Guantánamo inmate that lays bare the harrowing details of the US rendition and torture programme from the perspective of one of its victims is to be published next week after a six-year battle for the manuscript to be declassified.

Guantánamo Diary, the first book written by a still imprisoned detainee, is being published in 20 countries and has been serialised by the Guardian amid renewed calls by civil liberty campaigners for its author’s release.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi describes a world tour of torture and humiliation that began in his native Mauritania more than 13 years ago and progressed through Jordan and Afghanistan before he was consigned to US detention in Guantánamo, Cuba, in August 2002 as prisoner number 760. US military officials told the Guardian this week that despite never being prosecuted and being cleared for release by a judge in 2010, he is unlikely to be released in the next year.

The journal, which Slahi handwrote in English, details how he was subjected to sleep deprivation, death threats, sexual humiliation and intimations that his torturers would go after his mother……………..

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supreme court gay marriage

Doma was struck down in June 2013. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

US supreme court agrees to hear cases on right to same-sex marriage nationwide

Advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage have been anxious for once-and-for-all ruling after Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013

The US supreme court announced on Friday that it will take up the question of whether the US constitution grants every American the right to marry whom they choose, regardless of sex.

In a brief announcement, the justices said they would take up the issue later this year, after a narrow ruling last year unexpectedly resulted in state marriage bans across the country falling in waves on appeal.

Advocates, opponents and lawmakers have been anxious for a once-and-for-all ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the US after the court in a landmark ruling struck down key parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (Doma) in June 2013……………………

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Drought in California : hottest and driest on record  summer on record

Campaign groups say the milestone report should spur new efforts to fight climate change. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

2014 officially the hottest year on record

Nasa and Noaa scientists report 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures

The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – was the hottest on record, with global temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average, US government scientists said on Friday.

A day after international researchers warned that human activities had pushed the planet to the brink, new evidence of climate change arrived. The world was the hottest it has been since systematic records began in 1880, especially on the oceans, which the agency confirmed were the driver of 2014’s temperature rise.

The global average temperatures over land and sea surface for the year were 1.24F (0.69C) above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) reported. Nasa, which calculates temperatures slightly differently, put 2014’s average temperature at 14.67C – 0.68C above the average – for the period 1951-80………………

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US Money kids school

Second graders watch as President Obama delivers a back-to-school address to school children in Denver, Colorado. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

More than half of US public school students live in poverty, report finds

Problem is growing, especially among children, as report finds the majority of public school students in nearly half of US states live in poverty

Want to know the real state of the US economy? Visit a local public school and find out how many student qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

A new report found that, at 51%, the number of children who qualified for federal programs for free or reduced-price lunches is the highest in at least 50 years, according to the Southern Education Foundation. In other words, in 2013, more than half of the students attending public school lived in poverty.

Those numbers are representative of the growing problem of child poverty in the US. Overall, one in five US children live in poverty. It has only recently been dropping, with 14.7 million US children living in poverty in 2013, down from 16.1 million in 2012. In 2012, out of 35 economically developed countries, only Romania had a higher child poverty rate than the US………….

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shaker aamer

Shaker Aamer, a British resident who was born in Saudi Arabia and who has been held at the US base since 2002. Photograph: Handout

Barack Obama to ‘prioritise’ case of Guantánamo detainee Shaker Aamer

David Cameron discusses case of the last Briton held at Guantánamo Bay, amid fears he could be sent to Saudi Arabia

Barack Obama has given an undertaking to David Cameron that he will prioritise the case of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held at Guantánamo Bay, amid fears in the UK that he could be deported to Saudi Arabia.

The president told the prime minister in talks at the White House that he understood that the Aamer case is a matter of great interest in Britain, though he said that he would act in a way that protects US national security.

Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokesperson, said: “Prime minister Cameron raised this case with the president, and the president told him that he understands why this case is of great interest to the prime minister and the British people. The president committed to the prime minister that we will prioritise this case, while making sure any action taken is consistent with our national security.”………….British officials fear that Aamer, a British resident who was born in Saudi Arabia and who has been held at the US base since 2002, will not be safe if he is deported to Saudi Arabia. Aamer who has not been charged with any offence despite being held at Guantánamo Bay since 2002 after being detained in Afghanistan in 2001 where he said he was working for a charity………….

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Opinion

Guantánamo Bay pictured in 2002

Guantánamo is not just an abstract concept. It is a real place where real people have spent years wondering if anyone will ever come back for them.’ Photograph: Shane T McCoy/AFP/Getty Images

Where is justice for the men still abandoned in Guantánamo Bay?

By  

A man who is no more a terrorist than Forrest Gump was remains incarcerated four years after he was cleared for release

“I will be back soon,” I said, as we stood up and shook hands. Then I turned and walked a few steps to the gate, and waited for the guard to unlock it so I could leave. Those were the last words I said to Mohamedou Ould Slahi after I met him in the tiny compound he shared with Tariq al-Sawah in the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. That was seven and a half years ago. I have never been inside the camp again. Slahi has never been out.

I didn’t know, that afternoon in the summer of 2007, that in a few weeks I would send an email to the US deputy secretary of defence, Gordon England, saying I could no longer in good conscience serve as chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions. I reached that decision after receiving a written order placing Brigadier-General Tom Hartmann over me and the Pentagon general counsel, Jim Haynes, over Hartmann.

Hartmann had chastised me for refusing to use evidence obtained by “enhanced” interrogation techniques, saying: “President Bush said we don’t torture, so who are you to say we do?” Haynes authored the “torture memo” that the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, signed in April 2003 approving interrogation techniques that were not authorised by military regulations – the memo where Rumsfeld scribbled in the margin: “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing [for detainees during interrogations] limited to 4 hours?” Rather than face a Hobson’s choice when they directed me to go into court with torture-derived evidence, I chose to quit before they had the chance………….

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One Response to “News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective”

  1. 1
    theoleary Says:

    A huge stain on our constitutional democracy and on Obama’s legacy.

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