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Leaked cables: Police brutality a ‘daily occurrence’ in Egyptian prisons

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Leaked diplomatic cables released by secrets outlet WikiLeaks show that Egyptian police regularly torture suspects due to “unrelenting pressure” from their superiors to solve criminal investigations.

The revealing documents were published amid mass protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year regime.

During the fierce protests, Egyptians targeted police stations, with one in Suez being ransacked mid-Friday. Protesters freed prisoners and destroyed vehicles in a direct challenge to the country’s ruling regime.

In one leaked cable, an Egyptian human rights activist, whose name was redacted by WikiLeaks, said the US government’s number one human rights priority in Egypt should be urging the government of Egypt to combat the use of torture by its police force.

Although Article 42 of Egypt’s constitution prohibits the infliction of “physical or moral harm” upon persons who have been arrested or detained, the human rights activist told US diplomats that police torture was pervasive. He blamed the Interior Ministry of Egypt for putting pressure on officers to extract confessions “by any means necessary.”

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During murder investigations police regularly round up 40 to 50 suspects from a neighborhood and hang them by their arms until they obtain a confession from someone, according to the cable.

Another leaked cable notes that “credible human rights lawyers believe police brutality continues to be a pervasive, daily occurrence in [Egyptian] detention centers, and that [the State Security Investigative Service] has adapted to increased media and blogger focus on police brutality by hiding the abuse and pressuring victims not to bring cases.”

“[Non-governmental organizations] assess prison conditions to be poor, due to overcrowding and lack of medical care, food, clean water, and proper ventilation,” the cable continues.

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When confronted about the human rights violations by Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner in January of 2010, Interior Ministry State Security Director Rahman denied that any abuse occurred, saying that “in the past ten years” there has been “no abuse of prisoners at all.”

Rahman claimed that human rights organizations were dominated by “communists and extremists” that wanted to weaken the government of Egypt because it had distanced itself from the Soviet Union in the 1970’s.

A 2009 human rights report on Egypt published by the US State Department noted that police in Egypt used unwarranted lethal force and tortured prisoners during investigations. The report also said that police in Egypt arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals, sometimes for political purposes, and kept them imprisoned for long periods of time without a trial.

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The Egyptian human rights activist described in the leaked cable said that the pervasive nature of torture began when police were fighting Islamic extremists in the 1990’s.


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‘Do you love Puerto Rico?’: Fox News’ Shep Smith rips governor to shreds

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Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló was outed for cold and heartless comments he exchanged about his own island in wake of the horrific hurricanes that destroyed the island in 2017. He's also being forced to ask questions about the corruption involving the funding for hurricane relief. Nearly 1 million people have taken to the streets demanding accountability and action.

In his first interview, Rosselló may have assumed he'd meet a friendly audience on Fox News, but Shep Smith let him have it.

"The corruption is rampant in Puerto Rico," Smith said. "Economically Puerto Rico is in a fiscal crisis, $70 billion in debt and a 13-year recession. In the leaked 900 pages of profanity-laced messages, dubbed RickyGate, after you, sir, you made light of the casualties of the Hurricane Maria, you tossed homophobic and misogynistic remarks, You were calling the former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverit a whore. Of the oversight board that rules Puerto Rico's finances, you said, 'Go F-yourself. And when your representative to that board said he is salivating to shoot the woman who is the mayor of San Juan, you said, 'You’d be doing me a grand favor.' So, attacks on woman, gays, dead relatives on your own island and after that who is left to support you? Is it even safe for you to govern?"

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Puerto Ricans launch biggest protest yet against governor

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Angry protesters blocked the main road in Puerto Rico's capital on Monday as they launched what was expected to be the largest yet of a wave of demonstrations seeking the resignation of the US territory's embattled governor.

Marching under sunny skies in San Juan, the demonstrators sang, chanted, danced and carried the territory's red, white and blue flag with a lone star.

Altogether, hundreds of thousands were expected to turn out.

Puerto Ricans are up in arms over alleged corruption involving money meant to be for victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which left nearly 3,000 dead.

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‘Simply astonishing’: Retired general sounds the alarm on Trump’s ‘utter breakdown’ in foreign policy process

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Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey on Monday sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump's foreign policy team, which he said had shown no indications that it is capable of dealing with a real crisis on the world stage.

While appearing on MSNBC, McCaffrey was asked about a quote from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in which he said that the entire Trump foreign policy team is being held hostage to the president's impulsive tweets.

"I think the most important thing Panetta said here was the utter breakdown of a national security process," he explained. "It's simply astonishing! [Defense Secretary nominee Mark] Esper still hasn't been confirmed, you've had a series of acting secretaries of defense, no one really understands what [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, who is a very intelligent person, is up to."

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