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As Joe Biden settles into his presidency, in addition to facing a pandemic and economic crisis, he will hear demands for accountability. If President Biden is going to help restore a robust commitment to the rule of law, he will need to reach further back…
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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The killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies.
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A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
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The Republican candidate for president of the United States speaks and writes approvingly of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He is referring to a program run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that subjected people the US detained…
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In 2004, four Iraqis filed a criminal complaint with the German federal prosecutor against senior United States officials alleging torture by US armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US government strongly protested and warned that the complaint…
CIA torture pic 3
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It’s been a year since the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a summary of a still classified 6,700-word report, revealed new information about the brutality and depravity of the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”: “rectal feedings”…
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The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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How it’s partnering with human rights abusers — and sparking blowback

Click to expand Image The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence…
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At his first inauguration, Barack Obama rejected “as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” On his second day in office, he announced plans to close the Guantánamo detention facility within a year and to end immediately George W. Bush’s…
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 In his Dec. 9 statement on the release of the Senate torture report summary, President Barack Obama insisted that the detainee abuses by Central Intelligence Agency officials revealed in the document were “inconsistent with our…
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Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on CIA Interrogations

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogations is a parade of horribles. Detainees by the dozen arrested wrongfully and later released, including innocent nobodies and even men with mental disabilities. Poorly vetted interrogators…
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The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid…
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The primary international treaty against torture, the Convention against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, contains two key requirements. First, it bans torture, without exception, as well as other inhumane treatment. Second, it requires…
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It is not every day that a prosecutor is handed 500 meticulously documented, heavily footnoted pages detailing a years-long pattern of egregious criminal activity. Yet Tuesday’s release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture…
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The summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA torture program describes in horrifying and sometimes gruesome detail the CIA’s systematic and frequent use of brutal techniques that the U.S. and the world have long banned and condemned …
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Listening to the debate in Europe on the threat from the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and returning fighters feels like Groundhog Day. Its black-and-white presentation, the existential nature of the alleged threat, the notion that governments should…