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Supreme Court Justice Breyer raises questions over rules for Guantanamo imprisonment

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A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Monday raised questions about the scope of the government’s authority to detain terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, offering a glimmer of hope to those held for years without charge.

The high court refused to hear the appeal of a Yemeni man held for 12 years at the U.S. military prison in Cuba, letting stand a lower court ruling that he could be detained simply because he was found to be “part of al-Qaeda or the Taliban at the time of his apprehension.”

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Progressive Justice Stephen Breyer, while concurring with that decision, issued a statement outlining several areas which the court has yet to address regarding the government’s detention authority.

Breyer said the court had not looked on whether the U.S. military could hold someone who was not “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States’ in Afghanistan prior to his capture” — even if that person was a member of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

He also said that even if such detention was permissible, the court also had not weighed in on whether the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in September 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, or the Constitution “limits the duration of detention.”

Breyer explained that the AUMF allows the U.S. president to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against those deemed to have helped carry out the attacks “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

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In 2004, the Supreme Court confirmed that the AUMF was constitutional and allowed the president to detain “enemy combatants” provided the individual “was part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners in Afghanistan and who engaged in an armed conflict against the United States there.”

But Breyer’s statement indicated that he could be ready to hear an appeal on the basis of the gray areas he outlined that have not yet been addressed by the court.

Abdul al-Qader Hussain, 30, was captured in March 2002 in Pakistan on suspicion of links to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban — claims he has repeatedly denied.

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In their brief, Hussain’s lawyers had asked the high court only to assess the “level of proof” the government needed to show to justify his detention — not the legal issues Breyer mentioned in his statement.

Hussain had contested the fact that the lower courts confirmed his “indefinite detention” based on his travels in Afghanistan as a teenager, time spent in certain mosques and his possession of a rifle.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Science now supports the deadly serious warnings the Victorians gave about sleep

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“Sleeplessness is one of the torments of our age and generation.” You might presume that this is a quote from a contemporary commentator, and no wonder: the World Health Organisation has diagnosed a global epidemic of sleeplessness, and it is difficult to escape accounts, both popular and scientific, of the dangers to health of our 24/7 lifestyle in the modern digital age. But it was actually the neurologist Sir William Broadbent who wrote these words, in 1900.

So our concerns are evidently far from new. The Victorian era experienced not only the extraordinary upheavals of the industrial revolution, but also the arrival of gas and then electric lighting, turning night into day. The creation of an international telegraph network similarly revolutionised systems of communication, establishing global connectivity and, for groups such as businessmen, financiers and politicians, a flow of telegrams at all hours.

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to provide free tuition for students with household incomes under $75,000

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The tuition assistance program is expected to cover tuition and fees for about half of UTRGV students in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Beginning in the next academic year, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide free tuition and cover mandatory fees for qualifying students with household incomes under $75,000, the university announced Monday.

The UTRGV Tuition Advantage program is expected to alleviate tuition costs for more than half of the university's 21,459 undergraduate students, UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in the release. Funding will be available to incoming, returning and transfer in-state undergraduate students.

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