Torture

Amnesty International: Pentagon Intentionally Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan

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The human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year. he U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul. ... Read More »

Ex-Chief of C.I.A. Shapes Response to Detention Report

A military base in Stare Kiejkuty, Poland, which was a suspected location for the C.I.A.’s detentions and interrogations. Credit Tomasz Waszcuk/European Pressphoto Agency

WASHINGTON — Just after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted in April todeclassify hundreds of pages of a withering report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program, C.I.A. Director John O. Brennan convened a meeting of the men who had played a role overseeing the program in its seven-year history. The spies, past and present, faced each other around the long ... Read More »

Elephant Raju Cries After Being Rescued From 50 Years Of Suffering In Chains

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This heartbreaking story is about as elephant Raju from India that had an incredibly rough life. After being poached from his mother he was thrown from one owner to another, until he was left living in terrible conditions with no shelter at night, being used as a beggars prop all day long. Raju survived only from passing tourists and sometimes ... Read More »

Dog fight

South Korea is renowned for its fondness for dog meat, but eating dogs (and cats) is also considered unremarkable in parts of China. Even in Beijing and Shanghai, the biggest cities, some restaurants serve the meat. Activists are concerned about the cruelty associated with an unregulated industry. A proposed law would make the illegal consumption or sale of dog- or cat-meat punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 yuan ($800). But although such a law would be a boost for animal rights in the country it has long been pending. For locals in Yulin the vigour with which welfare groups have attacked their tradition is puzzling. Why, they ask, is eating dog so different from eating cows or China’s favourite meat, pork?

How much is that doggy in the window?
The difference has less to do with the arguably arbitrary hierarchy into which humans sort animals into food and non-food, and more to do with rising incomes. Between 2000 and 2012 there was a 35% jump in pet ownership, according to Euromonitor International, a market research firm. Today some 33m households keep a cat or dog. Analysts attribute the popularity of pets to demographic factors, including the soaring numbers of elderly people wanting companionship and the prevalence of families with only one child. Chinese pet-owners can be especially doting. Some 50,000 people attended Shanghai’s International Dog Expo in April. Alongside dog hair-stylists, retailers selling tulle-and-chiffon ensembles and a “matchmaking wall” for breeders was a company offering 3D-printed models of beloved pets.

Awareness about civil rights is growing, too, among other social changes wrought by China's decades of economic growth and rapid urbansiation. The speed and vehemence with which Yulin’s dogs became a topic of national debate shows how moral issues can rally citizens, at least online and when the Communist Party allows. The 25th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square on June 4th passed with an eerie (if anticipated) silence from state-run media, as censors patrolled social channels. Only certain grievances can be aired—notably those about pollution—and this does put pressure on officials to contemplate change.

In 2011 a 600-year-old dog-meat festival in Zhejiang, an eastern province, was shut down after successive years of protest. The Yulin festival may face a similar fate. At this year’s event one vendor complained that while previously he would sell dozens of dogs a day, this year he could only sell a few.

(Picture credits: STR/AFP)

SINCE the mid-1990s people in Yulin, a city in the southern region of Guangxi, have gathered on the summer solstice (June 21st this year) to drink lychee wine and savour dog. Served on skewers, roasted or sliced into steaming hot pot, dog meat is considered tasty and detoxifying. The event has become a tourist draw, with around 10,000 mutts slaughtered during the festivities. ... Read More »

The Monster of Mosul: How a Sadistic General Helped ISIS Win

U.S. Army

ISIS’s success in Mosul could have something to do with the Iraqi government putting a general accused of carrying out systematic torture in charge of the city’s security. The top Iraqi officer in Mosul, whose forces fled with hardly a fight as ISIS militants and their allies took over Iraq’s second-largest city, is an accused torturer who was once targeted ... Read More »

Imprisoned Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou Thanks Supporters in New “Letter from Loretto”

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We received another “Letter from Loretto” from our friend and imprisoned torture whistleblower John Kiriakou last week. In this most recent letter, John pens a heartfelt thank-you to supporters for their efforts on his behalf: for the May 9th Day of Action in Washington, DC and across the nation, as well as for sending his two kids, Max and Kate, to summer ... Read More »

Pakistan Woman Stoned to Death by Family for Marrying Man She Loved

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LAHORE Pakistan (Reuters) – A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside one of Pakistan’s top courts on Tuesday in a so-called “honor” killing for marrying the man she loved, police said. Farzana Iqbal was waiting for the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore to open when a group of around dozen men began attacking ... Read More »

Isa Haider Alaali case: Bahraini teen fears torture after losing asylum claim

A Bahraini protester calls for Isa Alaali’s release

A Bahraini teenager fears he will be tortured when he is deported to the repressive Gulf state this week after his asylum application was rejected by the British Government. Isa Haider Alaali’s deportation comes as the Royal Family have been playing host at the Royal Windsor Horse Show to the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and his son Prince ... Read More »

Syria conflict: ‘Hundreds die in government detention’

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Nearly 850 people have died in Syrian government prisons and security forces facilities this year, activists say. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 children and six women were among the victims. They lost their lives as a result of torture, executions, maltreatment and poor conditions, it added. The Observatory – which relies on a network of activists, ... Read More »