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Supreme Court refuses ‘extraordinary rendition’ torture case

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The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it would not hear the case of five men who said they had fallen victim to a Central Intelligence Agency practice called “extraordinary rendition,” in which suspects are sent illegally to other countries to be tortured for information.

The men, some of whom are still imprisoned, brought the case against Jeppeson Dataplan, a unit of Boeing Inc., which they claim colluded with the U.S. government to illegally transport them to foreign countries for torture.

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A San Francisco federal appeals court dismissed the case on a 6-5 vote, which was upheld by the Supreme Court today.

The nation’s highest court said that trying the case would inevitably lead to state secrets being aired.

The Associated Press reported that this is not the only case to have been dismissed for fear of disclosing dangerous or top-secret information.

“The government’s interest in national security must be deemed paramount to the interests of private litigants in pursuing civil actions,” acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal argued in court papers, according to Bloomberg.

The men, who hail from Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Morocco and Yemen, are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. They said they faced torture and sexual abuse in various countries, as well as in the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay military prison.

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Beyond this particular case, Congress may soon authorize even broader rights for intelligence gathering. A section of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 would authorize the Executive Branch to “address the continuing and evolving threat posed by these groups,” according to The American Prospect, meaning anyone suspected of a terrorist connection, anywhere in the world, would be a fair target for military force or questioning.

Chris Anders, an attorney for the ACLU, told The American Prospect that further authorization for the terrorist hunt would be a bad idea.

“This is a time when I think most Americans are thinking about how to wind down our commitments to the two wars that are out there,” Anders said. “This would be declaring a new worldwide war without any limitations by time, geography, or national interest.”

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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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