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UN human rights expert: US legally obliged to prosecute senior Bush officials for torture crimes

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President George W. Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to address the nation and sailors upon their return from their record-breaking 10-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Tyler J. Clements/U.S. Navy)

A U.N. human rights expert said a report that the U.S. Senate released on Tuesday revealed a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees.

Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted, along with as CIA and other U.S. government officials who committed torture such as waterboarding.

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“As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” Emmerson said in a statement issued in Geneva. “The U.S. Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”

The CIA routinely misled the White House and Congress over its harsh interrogation program for terrorism suspects, and its methods, which included waterboarding, were more brutal than the agency acknowledged, a Senate report said on Tuesday.

Emmerson, a British international lawyer serving in the independent post since 2010, welcomed the belated release of the report, commending the Obama administration “for resisting domestic pressure to suppress these important findings”.

“It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,” he said.

International law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture, he said.

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“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” Emmerson said.

Torture is an international crime and perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country to which they might travel, he added.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which reviewed the U.S. record in upholding civil and political rights in March, called for the release of the report then.

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Critics, including independent experts on that U.N. rights panel, say the CIA program set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States included harsh interrogation methods that constituted torture banned by international law.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Larry King)

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2020 Election

Georgia secretary of state: ‘There are those that are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters’

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger warned on Monday that outside groups are trying to take advantage of the "emotions" of President Donald Trump's supporters with false information about the recent and upcoming elections.

"There are those that are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation and, frankly, they are misleading the president as well," Raffensperger explained at a Monday press conference.

The Georgia official went on to announce investigations into over 250 claims of election irregularities.

"Upholding the law matters, truth matters, and your vote matters," he insisted. "Anyone telling you to boycott an election is not on your side. You're right to vote is sacred. Don't let someone con you out of it."

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2020 Election

The View hosts mock Republicans for ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ on election conspiracies

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The hosts of "The View" couldn't help but notice that the Republicans are making it more difficult to get their own voters out to support Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) for the special election in January.

The problem the GOP has to overcome is that the overwhelming majority of Republican voters believe that the 2020 election was "rigged" by Democrats. It puts Republicans in a difficult place because now they have to combat that message with assurances that the Georgia special election isn't already rigged for the Democrats.

"I'm really sick of all of this," Whoopi Goldberg bemoaned. "I'm sick of people blaming American citizens for cheating in their own elections. I'm sick of this. You're blaming Republican governors. You're blaming people who are saying, 'Actually, no.' Why would they fight against their own interests, and, again, I will say if the Democrats had done this, why has everybody still got a job? None of this makes any sense to me."

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Georgia Republicans turn on Gov. Brian Kemp: He ‘will be primaried’

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Georgia Republicans were already unhappy with Gov. Brian Kemp, and his refusal to interfere in President Donald Trump's election loss may have been the last straw.

Trump claims credit for Kemp's election win two years ago, but he and other Republicans have withdrawn their support after the governor has declined to get involved in the president's efforts to overturn his loss to Joe Biden in Georgia and other states, reported The Daily Beast.

“[Kemp] will be primaried," said Kay Godwin, the chair of the Pierce County GOP. "Just hoping and praying we get the right one this time.”

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