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Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
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On March 20, Utah officially repealed an anachronistic provision of state law that prohibited the "advocacy of homosexuality" in public schools.   The repeal is an important milestone, and will make a huge difference for Utah…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
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On Feb. 9, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained Irvin González, an undocumented transgender woman, inside a courthouse in El Paso, Texas, where she had just obtained a protection order against her abusive former partner. She had…
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It Gets Better, Just Not Here

Over the past year, I’ve traveled around the United States interviewing students, teachers, and administrators about the issues that LGBT people face in schools. The stories I heard were sobering. Despite some progress in laws and attitudes,…
Josh Greer, a student who has been the target of bullying and discrimination in school, writes in his journal in his bedroom in Cache Country, UT, October 2016.
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On Friday, the Obama Administration made headlines when the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidance explaining how public schools should respect the rights of transgender students.  The federal guidance has…
A sign protesting a recently introduced North Carolina law restricting bathroom access for transgender people, in Durham, North Carolina.
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The American Civil Liberties Union recently released footage of an 8-year-old student in Kenton County, Kentucky, shackled and crying in pain. In the video, the third-grader (named only “SR”), is restrained by a pair of handcuffs around his biceps,…
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Congress, or at least parts of it, is getting restless with the White House approach to human rights abuses in Central Asia. A recent hearing by the House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on the region’s terrible human rights record…
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In any normal case, in any ordinary court, judges hold preliminary hearings to narrow the issues and move the case closer to trial. But there is nothing ordinary about the prosecution of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And the…
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If the Taliban prisoners released could have been prosecuted, they should have been

Though questions have been raised about whether the Obama administration should have exchanged five Guantanamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, one thing is clear: The decision shouldn’t impede U.S. efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.…
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The sight of a man, free, who used to be in chains, is breathtaking. And so I gasped as Salim Hamdan walked into the lobby of my hotel in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, one evening in January. Now in his mid-40s, he looked heavier and happier than I remembered…
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Terrorists face real consequences in US civilian courts

The American public has had a pretty good demonstration over the last couple of weeks in how a US federal court handles a big terrorism case. The New York City trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, on charges of conspiring to kill…
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You know something is wrong when defense lawyers have to hike to Starbucks to find Internet access they feel they can—relatively, anyway—trust. But that’s exactly what lawyers for the five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks felt they…
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With Congress back in session, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester will soon consider whether to adopt new provisions in a defense-spending bill allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the U.S. for trial by federal courts. …
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The family of a Gitmo detainee twice cleared for transfer remains pessimistic, despite Obama's speech vowing reform

Muhammad al-Baidhani, an 11-year-old Yemeni boy with a mop of brown curls, only knows his father from photos and a one-hour video conference every two months. Before Muhammad was born, his father was captured and sent to the U.S. military prison at…
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Why Obama doesn’t need Congress to start to make good on his promise.

President Barack Obama finally broke his long silence on Tuesday on the need to close Guantanamo. Echoing comments he made four years ago -- when, on his second day in office he promised to close the facility within a year -- he said "Guantanamo is not…
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In the 50 years since Betty Friedan’s "Feminine Mystique" opened a discussion of the oppression behind the American ideal of domesticity, we have seen significant progress in how society views violence against women, particularly violence in the home. The…
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In spring 2011, a federal government employee in her 30s was sexually assaulted in the District by a man she met on an Internet dating site. At Washington Hospital Center, where she went for a forensic exam so medical personnel could collect evidence from…
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Zero Dark Thirty, the movie drama of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has spawned a wide array of commentary. None is as misleading or morally disturbing, however, as the one from former CIA counterterrorism chief Jose Rodriguez, who seized on the film as an…