Internal Rifts on Road to Torment
Interviews Offer More Nuanced Look At Roles of CIA Contractors, Concerns Of Officials During Interrogations
By Joby Warrick and Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 19, 2009
In April 2002, as the terrorism suspect known as Abu Zubaida lay in a Bangkok hospital bed, top U.S. counterterrorism officials gathered at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., for a series of meetings on an urgent problem: how to get him to talk.
Put him in a cell filled with cadavers, was one suggestion, according to a former U.S. official with knowledge of the brainstorming sessions. Surround him with naked women, was another. Jolt him with electric shocks to the teeth, was a third.
Child labour used in cosmetics industry
From The Sunday Times
July 19, 2009
Deep in the jungle of Jharkhand state in eastern India, at the end of a rutted track passable only by motorbike, a six-year-old girl named Sonia sat in the scorching midday sun, sifting jagged stones in an open-cast mine in the hope of earning enough money for a meal.
Sonia was halfway through her working day and she was already exhausted and dishevelled. Her hair was matted and her pretty flower-patterned dress spoilt by dust.
She barely had enough energy to glance at her eight-year-old cousin Guri, toiling intently beside her as they searched the stones for pieces of mica, a shiny material whose many uses include putting the sparkle into make-up.
Defying Slump, 13 States Insure More Children
By KEVIN SACK
Published: July 18, 2009
Despite budgets ravaged by the recession, at least 13 states have invested millions of dollars this year to cover 250,000 more children with subsidized government health insurance.
The expansions have come in the five months since Congress and President Obama used the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to vastly increase its funding and encourage states to increase enrollment. Although the federal government covers the vast majority of the cost, states set their own eligibility levels and must decide whether to spend state money in order to draw even more from Washington.
Diversity a touchy topic at Sotomayor hearings
What Sen. Jeff Sessions calls an ‘honest discussion’ on race, some observers say is an attack on ethnic pride.
By James Oliphant and David G. Savage
July 19, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Two months ago, Sonia Sotomayor’s Latino heritage was viewed as an overwhelming asset. And though history will be made if she becomes the Supreme Court’s newest justice, there wasn’t much talk about that during three days of grueling testimony last week. For some, her confirmation hearings left a bitter taste.
“This is a great first, but we are not being allowed to celebrate it in the way we are allowed to celebrate Thurgood Marshall as the first African American on the court,” said Laura Gomez, a University of New Mexico law professor.
That’s because Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee attempted to shine a negative light on Sotomayor’s earlier statements about what she as a Latina could bring to judging and on her connections with a Latino advocacy group. In wave after wave of questions, they suggested that statements by the New York federal appellate judge indicated an inability to remain impartial on the bench.
Dublin braced for more killing as feuds take a grotesque twist
Shootings and grenade attacks are common, but a defiled corpse marks a new low in gangland battles to control the drug trade
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
The Observer, Sunday 19 July 2009
Dublin’s gangland murder rate is now running at almost three killings per month, with the turf wars taking a ghoulish twist last week when a corpse was defaced by rivals who broke into a funeral parlour.
On Friday, Anthony Cannon became the 20th, and latest, victim of the feuds running between gangs in the city. He was targeted because he fired into the home of the grandparents of a well-known gangster, garda sources revealed this weekend. Gardai had recently warned him that his life was in danger. At the time of his murder, he was on bail awaiting assault charges.
Cannon was the 15th person murdered in the so-called “Crumlin-Drimnagh feud” between two rival gangs running the illicit drugs trade in Dublin’s south inner city.
Human rights group pulls out of Chechnya
Activist’s murder highlights the chaos, corruption and crime infesting Russia’s North Caucasus region
By Shaun Walker in Moscow
Sunday, 19 July 2009
The human rights organisation Memorial said yesterday that it would cease to work in Chechnya and close its office in the republic, as it could not guarantee the safety of its staff.
The organisation took the decision after the kidnapping and murder of Natalya Estemirova, one of its employees, on Wednesday. The decision will be another blow to those who seek to uncover human rights abuses in Chechnya and the other unstable republics of Russia’s North Caucasus region.
“After a long meeting in Grozny, we have decided to close indefinitely,” said Dokka Itslaev, a lawyer who works for Memorial. “We don’t know if we’ll reopen. We will meet in the autumn and discuss it again.
Hamid Karzai says bring Taliban to table
From The Sunday Times
July 19, 2009
The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has urged the West to develop a new strategy for his country, warning that more troops will not necessarily improve security.
“Military operations are no longer enough,” he said as the deaths of British and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan reached their highest monthly total of the eight-year war. “We have to rethink the way we do things – without that there won’t be any improvement.”
Karzai called for negotiations with the Taliban. Even Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, should be encouraged to attend talks, he said.
Speaking yesterday in an office so heavily secured that journalists are no longer allowed to take in pens or lipstick, the president expressed his sorrow at the mounting toll of British troops but cast doubt on the value of sending more.
Indonesia police reconstructing face of suicide bomber
Sun Jul 19, 2009
By Sunanda Creagh and Ed Davies
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian police said on Sunday they were reconstructing the face of one of the suspected suicide bombers from a severed head in a bid to push forward a probe into deadly attacks on two luxury Jakarta hotels.
Nine people died and 53 were wounded in Friday’s attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, according to police. The two hotels were popular with business executives and diplomats and considered to be among the most secure buildings in the capital.
The blasts, which are suspected of being carried out by Islamic militants, left some bodies so badly mutilated they were difficult to identify and two decapitated corpses were believed by police to belong to the suicide bombers.
Once world’s bread basket, Iraq now a farming basket case
By Mike Tharp | McClatchy Newspapers.
MISHKHAB, Iraq – Once the cradle of agriculture for civilization, the Land Between Two Rivers – the Tigris and Euphrates – has become a basket case for its farmers.
Just ask Naji Habeeb, 85. His family has been growing rice in this village 135 miles southeast of Baghdad for generations. Thin green shoots stick out of the flat paddies, shin-deep in brown water.
The Iraqi government, he claims, still owes him half of what he’s due from last year’s crop. He turned it in months ago and still hasn’t been paid. “Shall I suck my fingers and eat like a baby?” he shouted. “The Ministry (of Agriculture) will never know my family is hungry!”
Rafsanjani’s main message: Don’t write off reformists
Within hours of the Friday sermon, grainy cellphone videos surfaced showing crowds surging away from tear-gas plumes and kicking the canisters back toward police.
By Iason Athanasiadis | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the July 18, 2009 edition
Athens – Intermittent clashes between police and protesters persisted in Tehran tonight after an emotional Friday sermon by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most powerful political opponent, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, that has prolonged Iran’s political crisis.
The influential former president broke a month-long silence to deliver a politically ambiguous sermon drawing parallels between the popular rallies that “broke the back of the arrogant Pahlavi regime” in 1979 and the street demonstrations following the disputed election last month.
Mr. Rafsanjani, a key supporter of defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi’s presidential campaign, stressed his own revolutionary credentials and called for the release of political prisoners. In a voice trembling with emotion, he called for national reconciliation, stressing respect toward the families of those killed during the protests that claimed at least 20 lives. The sermon was carried by BBC Persia, but by none of Iran’s state TV channels.
Drugs ‘Taliban’ declares war on Mexican state
At least 19 police officers and soldiers died last week as a narco gang called La Familia launched a counterattack against a government crackdown on cartels. But as well as hitmen, the group uses social handouts and TV propaganda, report Jo Tuckman in Mexico City and Ed Vulliamy
Jo Tuckman in Mexico City and Ed Vulliamy The Observer, Sunday 19 July 2009
The male voice on the line was not a typical contributor to the Voice and Solution TV programme where residents of the Mexican state of Michoacán air their everyday grievances.
“We want President Felipe Calderón to know that we are not his enemies,” the caller said, after introducing himself last Wednesday as Servando Gómez Martínez, nicknamed La Tuta, one of the leaders of La Familia drug cartel. “We are open to dialogue.”
It was a rare and chilling public intervention by the leader of a cartel fighting a war that has claimed 11,000 lives in three years. And the jibe to Calderón that “we are not his enemies” was a taunt marking a dramatic turn in the course of the war: a co-ordinated spate of savage attacks not between narco cartels but by La Familia against the Mexican state.