Tag Archives: Human Rights

Leaked Itinerary of Saudi Prince MBS Reveal Meetings with U.S. Elite

Washington, D.C.— The leader of Saudi Arabia, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS, is currently on a public relations blitz of the United States — and a leaked copy of his itinerary has revealed he will be meeting with the most influential power brokers in American society.

The leaked 36-page document, revealed by The Independent in an exclusive report, detailed the list of powerful individuals MBS has met or is expected to meet with:

On Tuesday alone in New York City, the prince is believed to have met with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, ex-president Bill and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, New York state senator Chuck Schumer, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Other notable media meetings include dinner with The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, Rupert Murdoch, the head of The Atlantic’s editorial board Jeffrey Goldberg, meetings with the editorial boards of The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as interviews with Time and Vanity Fair.  

Current government officials on MBS’s schedule include CIA director (and nominee for new US secretary of state) Mike Pompeo, vice president Mike Pence, senior advisor and unofficial Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, national security adviser HR McMaster and defence secretary James Mattis…

He is also meeting past luminaries such as Barack Obama, John Kerry, Gen David Petraeus and Condoleezza Rice, as well as paying a visit to George W Bush’s Texas ranch. 

Other notable meets outside of politics include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Tim Cook of Apple and the CEOs of Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Uber, the Walt Disney Company and Lockheed Martin. 

A major impetus for the “charm offensive” by MBS is to prime the US market for the initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi state oil company Aramco, which experts predict will have a valuation in the range of $1 trillion to $2 trillion dollars. The sale of a 5 percent stake in the company could take place at the end of 2018 or early 2019, depending on market conditions, Prince Mohammed told Reuters in an interview.

Last week MBS took part in the first televised interview with the leader of Saudi Arabia in more than a decade with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes. During the interview the Saudi monarch worked to portray himself as a reformer, while noting a distinct difference between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in understanding human rights “standards.”

“Saudi Arabia believes in many of the principles of human rights. In fact, we believe in the notion of human rights, but ultimately Saudi standards are not the same as American standards,” MBS said. “I don’t want to say that we don’t have shortcomings. We certainly do. But naturally, we are working to mend these shortcomings.”

In highlighting these “shortcomings,” The Independent reports:

The Saudi government ordered the mass arrest and detention at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton of more than 300 princes and business leaders in November last year. The move was touted as as a way to recover billions in lost revenue – but the heavy-handed tactics and reports in TheNew York Times of detainee abuse spooked markets. The Saudi government said the accusations of abuse were “absolutely untrue”, but shares in several Saudi-owned enterprises plummeted and have only just begun to recover.

“Saudi Arabia has always had a public image problem in the West because of the obvious things like women’s rights and beheadings,” Nader Hashemi, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, told The Independent.

“Ultimately, this trip is to demonstrate he has international legitimacy and support. What this itinerary shows is the immense depth and intimacy of the US-Saudi relationship, going back decades,” Hashemi said.

Report: Hillary Ignored Labor Violations, Following Donations To Clinton Foundation

A recent report claims that after the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations from the head of a Colombian oil company, the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, agreed to support a free trade agreement with Colombia in 2011, overlooking the same ongoing labor rights violations Clinton pledged to stop in 2008.

According to a report from International Business Times, at the same time that Clinton’s State Department was condemning human rights violations in Colombia, the Clinton family was also “forging a financial relationship” with the extensive petroleum company Pacific Rubiales, which is “at the center of Colombia’s labor strife.

In April 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that Clinton pledged to defeat a controversial free trade agreement between the US and Colombia, saying that it was bad for labor rights.

As I have said for months, I oppose the deal,” Clinton said. “I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”

However, by 2010, Clinton had completely changed her stance on the agreement. The report from IBT attributes this change to the fact that millions of dollars from Pacific Rubiales, supplemented by the company’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, were donated to the Clinton Foundation.

In January 2008, the New York Times reported that after securing a major uranium mining deal in Kazakhstan, Giustra gave $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation, followed by a pledge of $100 million. According to the Times, this donation secured Giustra’s spot in Clinton’s “inner circle.”

In June 2010, Investor’s Business Daily noted that Clinton seemed to have a change of heart towards the free trade agreement, and was now promoting it, saying that the deal is “strongly in the interests” of both the US and Colombia.

First, let me underscore President Obama’s and my commitment to the Free Trade Agreement,” Clinton said. “We are going to continue to work to obtain the votes in the Congress to be able to pass it. We think it’s strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.

In Feb. 2014, three Colombian labor activists claimed that they were imprisoned over a lawsuit against Pacific Rubiales, regarding protests that occurred in 2011, when thousands of members of Union Sindical Obrero in Puerto Gaitan, Meta, “went on strike in opposition to inadequate living conditions and unfair labor practices at the hands of Pacific Rubiales.

According to Colombia Reports, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union, Leo W. Gerard, wrote a letter to Clinton in Nov. 2011, asking her to protect Colombian union leaders, after the family of Juan Carlos Galvis, an executive committee member of the Sinaltrainal workers union, was attacked in their home.

The report from IBT noted that instead of responding to the Union leaders, Clinton’s State Department “publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights,” which led to the deposit of “hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid” into the Colombian military that labor activists were accusing of helping “intimidate workers” into working in inhumane conditions.

Non-Lethal Aid: US Spends $15 Million on Journalists for Anti-Assad Reports

Funding Is Pending Congressional Approval

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2015

The US State Department has announced their latest round of “non-lethal aid” for Syrian rebels, and while couched as an attempt to “support the Syrian opposition,” much of the money is going to pet projects to try to rile up international support against the Assad government.

$15 million of the funding is going to go to journalists and opposition figures “to support documentation of war crimes, human rights violations, and other Syrian government abuses.”

The State Department has been keen on this, hyping abuses committed by the Assad government for years, initially in an effort to build up support for a failed US invasion, and now seemingly just to keep that window open.

Despite talking up a $70 million figure for the non-lethal aid to rebels, the rebels themselves appear only to be getting about $25 million worth of gear, with the rest going to journalists or self-proclaimed governments-in-exile to try to buy credibility.

Much of that will be going to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) in Istanbul, which has virtually no backing by any armed rebel forces anymore, but is still regularly bankrolled by the US to keep their lights on while they hold endless meetings over who is going to be leading their ultimately powerless group.

Image by Freedom House via Creative Commons license.

Wife of American Imprisoned in Iran Details His Arrest – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

WASHINGTON—February 15, 2015 – When Naghmeh Abedini married her husband Saeed in Iran, she never dreamed she would raise their future children as a single mother in Boise, Idaho, while her husband languished for years in an Iranian prison.

A native of Iran, Naghmeh and her family left when she was nine years old and spent a year in California before relocating to Boise. Her father was educated in the United States and obtained his master’s degree at Oregon State University prior to taking his family out of Iran. “He had a green card,” says Naghmeh, “We were not refugees.”

The real reason they left Iran, however, was due to the radicalization of their Muslim faith in the school system. “My brother was being brainwashed in elementary school,” says Naghmeh, “They started war recruiting for Jihad when he was eight years old.” Students were told that if they died for the cause they would “get to meet God.” They were forced to run through active mine fields as a school exercise. The land mines would occasionally detonate. “The government arrested any parents who complained,” says Naghmeh, “So our parents quietly packed up and left.”

Her parents were unhappy with the school system in California, also, and hoped a move to a smaller city would help preserve their culture and Muslim faith. Within ten years in Boise, however, both of Naghmeh’s parents, along with herself, her brother, and a sister had converted to Christianity.

In 2001, Naghmeh spent a year in Iran. Just before she returned to Boise, her cousin invited her to a government-approved Christian church service. She heard Saeed Abedini speak and was intrigued by his passion, so she introduced herself and asked him if he would watch out for her cousins. Later, she learned that Saeed was a pastor and a leader of the growing house church movement. He was also a former Muslim who once desired to kill Christians, but he converted in 2000. When she returned to Iran in 2003 for another visit, the sparks flew between them. He proposed marriage in June of that year, and they were married in Iran the following June in a government-sanctioned Christian church.

The Abedini’s life together in Iran was cut short when the country experienced a regime change in 2005 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. Known for his religious hardline stances, Ahmadinejad was a main figure in the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran party, usually shortened to Abadgaran and widely regarded as the political front for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Revolutionary Guards.) The latter group was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2007.

After Ahmadinejad was elected, the church the Abedinis married in was forced to close, as were other Christian churches in Iran, despite current law allowing the peaceful gathering of religious minorities. Overnight, Christians were seemingly not welcome or tolerated in the country, so the couple moved together to Boise. Their daughter Rebekka was born in 2006 and their son Jacob arrived in 2008, the same year Saeed became an ordained minister through the American Evangelistic Association.

In 2009, the entire family decided to visit Iran together and see Saeed’s family, as it had been four years since he had seen his parents who had yet to meet their grandchildren. When the Boise-based Abedini family arrived at the airport to fly home to Idaho, Saeed was arrested by Iranian intelligence police. “Please leave Iran,” Saeed told his wife and children, “It will make it easier on me.”

The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.
The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.

Saeed was placed on house arrest for a month in his parents’ home while investigators determined whether or not he was still establishing Christian church groups. Before he was released, the police advised him to focus on humanitarian efforts—a move that inspired Saeed to use his grandfather’s land and an existing building to open an orphanage in the Iranian city of Rasht.

Back in Idaho, Saeed began a three-year process riddled with paperwork hurdles and setbacks in an attempt to open the orphanage he envisioned. He visited Iran ten more times in an effort to complete the approval process for the orphanage. Naghmeh, Rebekah, and Jacob joined him in October 2011, as the Abedinis were convinced that the orphanage was close to being opened. “We really wanted our kids to be able to meet the orphans,” Naghmeh recalls. However, by February 2012, the approval was still pending. The Abedinis returned to Boise once more. Four months later, Saeed traveled to Iran to finish the orphanage once and for all. “That was the last time I saw him,” says Naghmeh.

He was due to return to Boise on July 29. However, on July 27, Saeed was arrested on a bus in Turkey after looking at land in Georgia. He was placed under house arrest once again. The Iranian government seized his U.S. Passport and he was questioned for months about his activities, without being charged with a crime.

He thought he would be able to resolve his detainment with one last interrogation, scheduled for September 26 at a location to be determined by a 9:00 a.m. phone call that same day. However, Revolutionary Guards forces raided his parents’ house in Tehran at 6:00 a.m. and took Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, it was revealed that he was in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison. Saeed was accused of “corrupting a whole generation against Islam,” a reference to his pre-Revolution house church activities.

Saeed was charged with undermining the national security of Iran. At his trial on January 21, 2013, Saeed and his attorney were only given one day to make their defense. He was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and sentenced a week later to eight years in prison. Revolutionary Court trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the cases—which are final and not eligible for appeal. Details about court proceedings are revealed at the sole discretion of the court. The government says it will release Saeed if he converts back to Islam, but he refuses.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Naghmeh and her children. “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said ACLJ’s Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.”

Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband's release from a dangerous Iranian prison.
Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband’s release from a dangerous Iranian prison.

Saeed Abedini has been reportedly beaten and tortured during his incarceration and is now housed in the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, his sudden move a possible indication of defiance toward President Hassan Rouhani by the Revolutionary Guard. Saeed is denied any electronic or voice communications with the outside world, but his parents visit him almost weekly, bring him letters from home, and send his letters out—including one to President Obama just before this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Naghmeh is hopeful due to extensive support from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as remarks made by President Obama, that her husband’s release will be secured during upcoming negotiations with Iran. “We’re in a good place,” she says, “If Iran wants to make a deal, I want to make sure Saeed is not left behind.”

President Obama Continues to Ally with Nations and Leaders Accused of Human Rights Violations

President Obama meets with India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi, currently suspected of allowing a genocide, and Saudi Arabia’s  King Salman, a nation known for human rights violations and support of the 9/11 attacks.

For a nation and leader that promotes itself as lovers of freedom and justice, the United States government and President Obama sure do keep strange bedfellows. This can be seen quite clearly with the President’s most recent visits to India and Saudi Arabia.

President Obama met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the future of relations between the two nations. Despite much of the media concerns regarding a budding “Bromance” between the two leaders, or wondering whether Modi’s suit was appropriate, there are bigger issues to look at regarding the history of India’s current PM.

Modi is a former state Chief Minister for Gujarat. In 2002 a train carrying Hindu pilgrims returning to Gujarat stopped in the town of Godhra. The town is majority Muslim and has a history of hostility to Hindu’s. After a dispute someone set part of the train on fire. Riots would break out and fires would burn through cities, towns, and villages in western Gujarat. The bodies of 59 people would be put on public display in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Critics blamed Modi for the decision to allow a strike to continue at the same time, further stoking violence.

The initial three days of violence spread throughout the nation and led to three weeks of violence, widespread rape and assault, an estimated 2,000 deaths, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Despite a 2005 investigation by the Indian government concluding the fire was an accident and not intentionally caused by Muslims, the suspicion of a coordinated effort continued. Modi has since said the only regrets he has are not managing the media better. An investigation by India’s Supreme Court reopened around 2,000 cases, convicting hundreds.  Mayaben Kodnani, a top lieutenant for Modi, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in the Naroda Patiya massacre, the largest scene of mass violence during the Gujarat riots.

 John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, believes that Mr. Modi should at the least be held accountable for not stopping or controlling the riots. Human rights organization the American Justice Center has filed a criminal complaint on Modi.

At one point the United States actually took a stance against the current Prime Minister. Up until February 2014, when Modi became Prime Minister, the US had imposed a visa ban on him for his role in the riots. One day before President Obama’s most recent visit with Modi, a federal court in New York issued a summons for the leader. Modi is being sued for his role in the 2002 riots. His position as a head of state gives him diplomatic immunity.

The President had to cut his romance with Modi short however, when Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was announced dead and the new King Salman was crowned.

Rather than use the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia as an opportunity to discuss human rights violations or a conversation on why the United States continues to support nations tied to the 9/11 attacks, the Washington Post and other corporate outlets decided to talk about how controversial it was that Michelle Obama did not wear a headscarf. As expected these important factors received minimal coverage from the larger outlets.

The US government’s relationship with the Saudi royalty is not only about oil and the petro-dollar. These days the two nations are partnering together in regime change as well. The Saudi’s want President Obama to push Syria’s Bashar Assad out of power. The US wants the Saudi government to help build a coalition of Arab nations against the Islamic State. The two nations also discusses a partnership against Iran and Russia involving oil and sanctions.

Although these issues are hugely relevant and will play a large impact on the geo-political landscape we cannot ignore the actions of the nations the US government does business with, especially when that business is done using American taxpayer dollars.

Human rights groups around the world have condemned the cruel and unusual treatment and punishment of those imprisoned in the Saudi Kingdom. There are also grave concerns for the treatment of women. Less than a week since the new King has taken office five beheadings have taken place. Four of them took place while President Obama was in the country. The victims were accused of murder, rape, and drug trafficking. One of them maintained that he was framed by the police until his death.

One of the more recent violations of human rights involves the blogger  Raif Badawi. Badawi’s case has garnered international attention after he was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for writing about the nations religious laws. He has so far received 50 lashes but they were postponed following medical concerns. When asked if the President would discuss the situation with the new king he said he was going to pay his respects to King Abdullah. 

One final point to consider is probably the most outrageous.

The US government continues to partner with this nation despite elected members of Congress stating that classified documents reveal the nation was involved in the funding of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Several members of the House of Representatives recently introduced House Resolution 14 which would force the Obama Administration to declassify 28 pages of a Senate report on the 9/11 attacks.

Upon seeing the pages Rep. Walter Jones said the 28 pages would embarrass the Obama administration. Rep. Thomas Massie said while reading the documents he “had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to rethink everything.”

Former Senator Bob Graham spoke of the “denial of truth” coming from government officials. Graham asked, “Did these 19 hijackers act alone or did they have support?”. He said the 28-pages “point a strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier” of the attacks. When asked if he was speaking about the Saudi government or independent elements, he stated that he was referring to the Saudi Kingdom.

Graham called the refusal of the Bush or Obama Administrations to release the documents a “pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 by all of the agencies of the federal government which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11.”

Terry Strada, co-chair of 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism and widow of Tom Strada, said “Private citizens and Congress must take action against those who are responsible for aiding and abetting the 19 hijackers that murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people on American soil no matter who they may be, no matter what government they are, no matter what country they come from.”

Is it not time for the United States government, and thus the US taxpayer to consider where it throws its moral and financial support?

Human Rights Group Report: US Drone Strikes Killed 28 Civilians For Each Targeted Terrorist

Human rights advocacy organization Reprieve has compiled a report that challenges the accuracy of the US drone program seeking to assassinate targets named on the United States’ controversial “kill list”.

According to the report, at least 1,147 unknown civilians have been killed by US drone strikes while pursuing 41 terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen between November 2002 and November 2014. The report also claims that those 41 terrorists were inaccurately reported to have been killed more than once, sometimes multiple times.

“In total, as many as 1,147 people may have been killed during attempts to kill 41 men, accounting for a quarter of all possible drone strike casualties in Pakistan and Yemen. In Yemen, strikes against just 17 targets accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties,” the report states. “Yet evidence suggests that at least four of these 17 men are still alive. Similarly, in Pakistan, 221 people, including 103 children, have been killed in attempts to kill four men, three of whom are still alive and a fourth of whom died from natural causes.”

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them,” Jennifer Gibson, the Staff Attorney at Reprieve who organized the report, told The Guardian. “There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after.”

Reprieve collected data from media reports and leaked information from officials in the United States, Pakistan and Yemen to organize the report, and pointed out significant discoveries in its compilation:

  • 24 men in Pakistan were reported as killed or targeted multiple times. 874 people, including 142 children, were killed as a result of the strikes.
  • 17 men in Yemen were reported killed or targeted multiple times. 273 people were killed as a result of the strikes.
  • While targeting al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri 105 people were killed, including 76 children. Two attempts to target Ayman al-Zawahiri  have failed and he is reportedly still alive.
  • It took six attempts to kill targeted terrorist suspect Qari Hussain, and 128 people died during those attempts.
  • Every assassination target was reported to have been killed more than three times on average before being accurately reported as dead.

“These ‘high value targets’ appear to be doing the impossible – dying not once, not twice, but as many as six times. At the same time, hundreds of unknown men, women and children are also caught in the crosshairs,” said Gibson in a press release.”President Obama continues to insist drone strikes are ‘precise’, but when targeting one person instead kills as many as 128 others, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn – there’s nothing targeted about the US drone programme.”

Reprieve’s full report is available to read here.


Russia and North Korea Accuse the U.S. of Human Rights Violations in Ferguson

An outbreak of protests were reignited on Monday, after the Grand Jury announced its decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Those protests, which in some cases led to rioting and looting, were met by a militarized police force in the city of Ferguson.

The United States’ response to the protests has drawn criticism from countries like Russia and North Korea, which have been previously criticized by the U.S. for human rights violations.

The Guardian reported that both officials in Moscow and pro-Kremlin bloggers are comparing the recent events in Ferguson to “the Maidan protests in Kiev which began a year ago and ended in February with the overthrow of the Ukrainian president,” and claiming that there is a “double standard in Washington supporting the protesters in Kiev but clamping down on them at home.”

A statement from the human rights commissioner for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Konstantin Dolgov, criticized the United States for using “military methods against peaceful civilians,” which are only “likely to further inflame the situation.

Such a massive explosion of public indignation and the disproportionate reaction of law enforcement bodies confirm again that this is no isolated incident but a systemic flaw in American democracy, which has failed to overcome a deep racial split, discrimination and inequality.

Dolgov went on to say that the United States should focus more on the problems it has in its own country, before criticizing other countries:

The recent events in Ferguson are the latest and most worrying sign yet to American authorities that it is finally time for them to focus on the serious internal problems they have with human rights, using the recommendations of international human rights organizations, rather than using their efforts on pointless and fruitless lectures and propagandistic moralizing with regards to other countries.

A spokesman for the North Korea Foreign Ministry also released a statement criticizing the United States for its inconsistent human rights standards:

This is clear proof of the real picture of the U.S. as a tundra of human rights, where extreme racial discrimination acts are openly practiced,” said the spokesman. “The great irony is that the U.S. tries to measure other countries with its wrong human rights standard, though it is a typical human rights abuser.

Yahoo News reported that North Korea’s criticism came just a week after the United Nations “adopted a landmark resolution urging the Security Council to refer North Korea’s leaders to the International Criminal Court for possible indictment on crimes against humanity.”

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, released a statement urging the United States to practice “restraint,” and to find a “determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination.”

It is clear that, at least among some sectors of the population, there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems,” said Zeid. “I urge the U.S. authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”

US government acknowledges it “crossed the line” on torture

For many years, the US government has said it respects, protects, and promotes human rights here at home and all over the world.  However, the US admitted to the UN Committee on Torture that after 9/11, abuses had occurred during the “War on Terror.”

The US legal adviser Mary McLeod spoke to the ten member committee saying, according to the Raw Story, “In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values… we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”

After this, the committee began to ask the 30 top US officials present for the hearing, various questions regarding how the US planned to amend and atone for these acknowledged abuses.

Some of these questions revolved around Guantanamo Bay.  The committee asked the US delegates why the prison was still open after saying it would be closed and when the US government plans on shutting down the prison for good.

The delegates were also questioned on the Abu Ghraib prison incident and the lack of redress for the victims.

McLeod responded by saying, according to ABC News, “As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that… The United States has taken important steps to ensure adherence to its legal obligations.”

Amnesty International previously submitted evidence of human rights abuses to the UN Committee on Torture, outlining various violations US personnel are responsible for.  The method of water-boarding and secret detention of captives were two methods mentioned on this list.

From here, the UN questions moved from international torture to torture at home.

They questioned the delegates how the government justifies the detention of non-violent, non-criminal illegal immigrants, specifically children.  The disproportionate levels of police brutality in cases involving minorities were also brought into question.

The committee plans to publish its conclusions concerning torture and the US government on November 28.

Navy Nurse Refuses To Force-Feed Guantanamo Bay Prisoner

Described as the first known instance of rebellion against Guantánamo Bay’s enteral force-feeding policy, a Navy nurse refused to continue force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners.

The incident was revealed after Guantánamo prisoner Abu Wael Dhiab called his lawyer, Cori Crider of British legal defense group Reprieve, to inform her that a male nurse had suddenly refused to continue force-feeding him and other inmates earlier this month, sometime before the Fourth Of July. Dhiab said that the nurse declared, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”

Dhiab also said he was informed by the nurse “before we came here, we were told a different story. The story we were told was completely the opposite of what I saw.” The identity of the nurse is unknown at this time, but Dhiab described him as a Latino around 40 years of age.

Crider applauded the rebellion of the nurse: “This is a historic stand by this nurse, who recognized the basic humanity of the detainees and the inhumanity of what he was being asked to do. He should be commended. He should also be permitted to continue to give medical care to prisoners on the base but exempted from a practice he rightly sees as a violation of medical ethics.”

Navy Capt. Tom Gresback confirmed the incident but offered no additional details. “There was a recent instance of a medical provider not willing to carry out the enteral feeding of a detainee,” he stated. “The matter is in the hands of the individual’s leadership.”

Dhiab is currently in a federal court battle to end forced tube-feeding. He was arrested without charges in Pakistan and turned over to US authorities in 2002 before his imprisonment at Guantánamo. He was cleared to be released in 2009, but instead has been remained in the facility for nearly 13 years.