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  1. Anita Digernes

    Computer Sciences Corporation torture link challenges Norway's ethical reputation

    Anita Digernes on 17 May 2012

    Read this blog in Norwegian.

    Despite its small size and relatively small voice in world politics, Norway is extremely wealthy. This is mostly because of the oil discovered in the 1970s, the profits of which are kept in the Government Pension Fund (better known as the Oil Fund), administrated by Norges Bank. The Oil Fund is at present worth nearly 369 billion pounds.

    Importantly, strict ethical guidelines have been put in place to ensure that this money isn’t used for or doesn’t contribute to human rights abuses. The Council on Ethics – established by Royal Decree in 2004 – evaluates ...

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  2. Clive Stafford Smith

    Murder by drone case at the Islamabad district court

    Clive Stafford Smith on 17 May 2012

    This morning we came to the Islamabad District Court. It is here that the most serious cases in the land may be decided – often, a death penalty case; today (for us) the question of whether various CIA operatives should be arrested for committing murder-by-drone.  I’ve been to the Islamabad District Court before. It’s a remarkable place, a row of buildings inside a chicken wire fence; indeed, it looks much more like a chicken run than a centre of justice.

    There are a series of concrete huts, open at the front to the elements, that local lawyers apparently erect ...

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  3. Clive Stafford Smith

    Federal Courts Reject Virtually All Habeas Petitions from Gitmo: Study

    Clive Stafford Smith on 14 May 2012

    A new study suggests that the federal courts are no longer going to grant habeas corpus petitions from Guantanamo detainees—even those who were cleared by the military long ago.

    Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay within the year. We all know how that turned out.

    Now, a decade into the sad experiment that is Guantánamo, we discover that the United States—supposedly a nation of laws—isn’t simply holding prisoners year after year without charge, but is rejecting their habeas corpus petitions almost out of hand ...

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  4. Clive Stafford Smith

    Peshawar Public Relations

    Clive Stafford Smith on 11 May 2012

    For the past several days I have been staying at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, as close to Waziristan as I can reasonably go. I have been meeting with various victims of the drone attacks. The Pearl would get two or three stars in Europe, but it has an unenviable history. It had been slated for conversion into an American consulate, but on June 9, 2009, a massive truck bomb destroyed a large section of it. Seventeen people were killed, and 46 injured. A little-known Pakistan extremist group, the Fedayeen al-Islam, claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding that the ...

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  5. Clemency wells by E.Purdon BW

    Delivering a little bit of racial justice

    Clemency Wells on 04 May 2012

    Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog about North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. A few weeks ago capital defence attorneys working on this issue had that rare thing in the world of death penalty defence: some really good news. 

    More than ten years ago in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina Marcus Robinson was put on trial for the 1991 fatal shooting of Erik Tornblom. Marcus Robinson is African-American. Erik Tornblom was white. In a county that at the time had a 40% African –American population, a jury composed of nine whites, two African-Americans and one American Indian ...

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  6. Ivan Teleguz

    Happy Birthday Protocol 13: ten years since Europe confirmed its abolition of death penalty

    Anita Digernes on 03 May 2012

    Ten years ago today, the Council of Europe’s ‘Protocol No. 13’ was signed by all member states - affirming the abolition of the death penalty in Europe.

    All countries but one (Belarus) agreed that “no one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed”. It aims to repeal capital punishment in all circumstances, including during wartime.

    Belarus is the only European state still practising the death penalty. During the past five years, 9 people have been executed under the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko, and the regime has been repeatedly condemned by the European Parliament and fellow European states.

    Though the ...

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  7. Clive Stafford Smith

    What the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay couldn’t tell me

    Clive Stafford Smith on 03 May 2012

    Last week, I travelled 3,500 miles to meet with the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay, Shaker Aamer. Under the Orwellian rules that govern legal visits with a prisoner there, everything he said to me is classified.

    I have to submit my notes – in this case, almost 200 pages – to the US censors and they decide what I can, and cannot, tell his family, his British lawyers, and the world.

    So I can tell you nothing that Shaker said. I can, though, tell you what I said to him.

    I asked him whether he was still being held ...

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  8. Clive Stafford Smith

    Buy Your Own Drone! Now Only $300 Online

    Clive Stafford Smith on 30 April 2012

    We don’t need to imagine the future anymore. In the dystopian reality of 2012, the drone can ruin your life in ways you never imagined.

    The scene is easy enough to picture: In a dark, quiet room at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., a CIA “pilot” leans back in his leather chair, sips coffee, and watches a computer screen. He manipulates the joystick of his video console as the camera provides a grainy image of a man with a beard who may just have noticed an angry-sounding buzz overhead. The bearded man—7,000 miles away ...

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  9. Clare Algar 2010 by Emmanuelle Purdon

    It's not just torture victims who should fear the 'justice and security' green paper

    Clare Algar on 19 April 2012

    It's been a good week for those who think governments should not be allowed to get away with torture.

    Although Jack Straw has always said that he couldn't have been aware of everything the intelligence agencies were doing while he was foreign secretary, over the weekend the Sunday Times reported that he had admitted authorising the rendition of Gaddafi opponents back to the dictator's torture chambers in 2004, after being confronted with the evidence by (one presumes) angry spooks, sick of taking all the flak for the excesses of the "war on terror". The news followed the ...

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  10. Cortney Busch BW 2011

    The Americans assist in an American’s defence

    Cortney Busch on 18 April 2012

    In 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (commonly referred to as ‘FOIA’) came into effect.  Its purpose was for full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information.  Its primary purpose is so that American citizens can have some oversight of what the government is doing and is meant to be a means to keep the US government accountable for what it does behind closed doors. 

    However, as demonstrated in the case of Sharif Mobley, ‘partial disclosure’ can really mean nothing at all.

    Sharif, a US citizen, was born and raised in New Jersey.  In 2008, he moved with his wife ...

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