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Report: Alleged bin Laden aide may soon be freed

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A man accused by the Pentagon of being Osama bin Laden’s logistics chief may soon be released after nearly eight years of incarceration at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to published reports.

Fouad al Rabiah, who remains accused before a military commission of providing material support for a terrorist organization and conspiracy, has been moved to the minimum-security wing of the detention center. According to McClatchy Newspapers, the move to Camp Iguana is a sign that he will be released. Prisoners in minimum security can order food from Pizza Hut or McDonald’s and use the Internet.

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Rabiah’s civilian lawyer, David Cynamon says his client was tortured by his American interrogators at Guantanamo and has sent letters to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, the Defense Department and the Justice Department. In his letters, Cynamon notes that U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling in September included “a detailed description of the abusive and coercive tactics used by interrogators to extract patently false confessions.”

Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered Rabiah released, saying there was no credible evidence he had aided bin Laden. An unnamed intelligence analyst concluded the government witnesses weren’t believable, she said. Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog.com called her ruling “the most critical assessment of government evidence” yet.

According to Judge Kollar-Kotelly, frustrated interrogators “began using abusive techniques that violated the Army Field Manual and the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.” The Guantanamo testimony was contaminated by a sleep deprivation program, and a confession that came only after Rabiah had been advised he needed to be convicted to go free.

Rabiah, a 50-year old Kuwaiti Airways engineer and father of four, claimed his trip to Afghanistan was for humanitarian purposes. Thirty-one release orders have been issued in response to habeas corpus petitions by Guantanamo prisoners.

The Obama administration was faced with a dilemma in Rabiah’s case. It had the option of appealing the order dictating his release, after the Judge said, “If there exists a basis for al Rabiah’s indefinite detention, it most certainly has not been presented to this court.”

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Or set free a man accused of war crimes. The notification required to transfer Guantanamo detainees to a third country is classified. Cynamon told McClatchy he didn’t know if it had been made.

McClatchy has spent much of the past few years investigating related stories in a series called Guantanamo: Beyond the Law.


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Disturbing video exposes the dangerous message a State Patrol officer told team: ‘Don’t kill them, but hit them hard’

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Krystal Marx, the executive director of Seattle Pride, shared a disturbing video this week revealing the violent message an officer in the Washington State Patrol gave to his team as it prepared to confront protesters.

“Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” he said as he walked through a group of his colleagues.

“I remember shaking,” Marx told the Seattle Times of the experience filming the patrol from her office window. “Why not say, ‘Restrain them, calmly’?”

Chris Loftis, a spokesperson for the patrol, gave the Times a statement trying to explain away the comment as poor “word choice,” but it was not reassuring:

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Siberia 10C hotter in warmest May on record: EU

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Temperatures soared 10 degrees Celsius above average last month in Siberia, home to much of Earth's permafrost, as the world experienced its hottest May on record, the European Union's climate monitoring network said Friday.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said May 2020 was 0.68C warmer than the average May from 1981 to 2010, with above average temperatures across parts of Alaska, Europe, North America, South America, swathes of Africa and Antarctica.

Globally, "the average temperature for the twelve months to May 2020 is close to 1.3C above the (pre-industrial) level", Copernicus said referring to the benchmark by which global warming is often measured.

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2020 Election

Trump stokes division in Republican Party as he rages at Sen. Lisa Murkowski

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As the Republican Party is struggling to defend him in a moment of nationwide strife, President Donald Trump decided Thursday night to fuel divisions within GOP rather than make nice.

He had already lashed out on Wednesday at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who sharply criticized Trump’s response to the ongoing George Floyd protests. But on Thursday night, Trump took at aim at sitting Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

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