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ACLU: Supreme Court decision won’t end torture photos fight

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Despite efforts by all three branches of the government to keep photos of abuse at US military detention centers secret, the American Civil Liberties Union vows that it won’t stand still in the face of such a “dangerous precedent.”

The Supreme Court on Monday set aside an appeals court’s ruling that the Obama administration must release the photos, citing a new law passed in October that gives the secretary of defense the right to exempt photos from freedom-of-information laws.

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That law was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in October, as part of a homeland security spending bill. This month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates used his new powers to order the suppression of the photos. The case now goes back to the lower court, which will reflect on its ruling in light of the new law.

“We continue to believe that the photos should be released, and we intend to press that case in the lower court,” said Steven Shapiro, legal director of the ACLU. “No democracy has ever been made stronger by suppressing evidence of its own misconduct.”

As the ACLU noted in a statement released Monday, President Obama’s administration initially announced it would comply with a 2008 court ruling ordering the photos to be released. But the administration then changed its mind, and argued that releasing the photos could endanger the lives of Americans abroad because of the anger they would fuel.

The ACLU described that rationale as “dangerous.”

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Releasing the photos would “both discourage abuse in the future and underscore the need for a comprehensive investigation of past abuses,” said Jameel Jaffer, head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “And we continue to believe that permitting the government to suppress information about government misconduct on the grounds that someone, somewhere in the world, might react badly – or even violently – sets a very dangerous precedent.”

At issue in the case are several dozen photos that reportedly show acts of extreme abuse carried out against prisoners at US military facilities. Raw Story has previously reported that the photos allegedly show sexual assaults on prisoners, both male and female, using truncheons, wire and phosphorescent tubes; the rape of a female prisoner by a male guard; the rape of a male prisoner by a male translator; and the rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Even former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the recorded abuse “cruel,” “inhuman” and “blatantly sadistic.”

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The ACLU has been fighting in the courts to have the photos released since 2005, when a district court ruled that the government did not show cause for why the photos should be kept secret. Since then, successive administrations have fought that ruling in appeals courts, for the most part losing their appeals until Monday’s Supreme Court ruling.


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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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