Stories written by William Fisher

Outrage Mounts over Bush’s Waterboarding “Confession”

After a three-year investigation, President Barack Obama's mantra – "look forward and not backwards" – appears to have trumped the rule of law as a special prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges against the Central Intelligence Agency operatives involved in the destruction of video recordings of interrogations of "war on terror" suspects.

U.S.: Few Big Fish Land in Immigration Dragnet

Putting local police on the "front lines" of immigration enforcement is distracting federal agencies from their objectives by turning over people with no criminal history, or those who have committed minor or non-violent crimes, and setting them on a course toward unnecessary deportation.

Obama Lawyers Defend “Kill Lists”

Lawyers for the Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Monday that the U.S. government has authority to kill U.S. citizens whom the executive branch has unilaterally determined pose a threat to national security.

Muslim Americans Foil Terror Threats

A new report on violent extremists in the United States finds that terrorism plots by non-Muslims greatly outnumber those attempted by Muslims, and that Muslim-American communities helped foil close to a third of al Qaeda-related terror plots threatening the country since Sep. 11, 2001.

Egypt Cracks Down as U.S. Stands By

In the face of police brutality, crackdowns on political parties and media, and a host of other violations ahead of Egypt's Nov. 28 parliamentary election, human rights advocates are calling on President Barack Obama to use U.S. leverage to persuade Egypt to reform its electoral process, allow international monitors to assess the election, and conduct transparent and accountable balloting.

Military Jury Tried to “Send a Message” in Khadr Case

A military jury at Guantanamo Bay sentenced a "child soldier" to 40 years in prison – unaware that Omar Khadr's defence and prosecution lawyers had already agreed on an eight-year sentence and further agreed that the United States would send the Canadian home next year.

U.S.: Immigration Policing Opt-Out Called into Question

Will U.S. local law enforcement be forced to participate in a programme that critics say will put city police in the position of enforcing federal immigration law and, in the process, divert scarce resources from essential community policing, discourage immigrants from working with police to solve crimes and increase racial profiling?

U.S. Slides on Corruption Index

Iraq and Afghanistan rank near rock-bottom in an index of corruption in 178 countries that found that nearly three- quarters of the countries surveyed showed serious corruption problems.

Omar Khadr Credit: Public domain

U.S.: Guilty Plea for Child Fighter Averts “Publicity Nightmare”

With tongue in cheek, constitutional experts congratulated the U.S. government Tuesday for negotiating a plea deal with Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr, thus avoiding a trial in the military commission "puppet theatre" of a defendant who was just 15 at the time of his offences.

Wikileaks Paints Grim Picture of Iraqi Civilian Casualties

Two revelations await the reader of the Wikileaks section dealing with civilian deaths in the Iraq War: Iraqis are responsible for most of these deaths, and the number of total civilian casualties is substantially higher than has been previously reported.

More Iraqi Prison Abuses Exposed on Wikileaks

The publication of a motherlode of secret field reports from the Iraq War are shining a bright light on heretofore unknown or underreported suspicions about the power of private security contractors and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by their fellow Iraqis, often with their U.S. military counterparts "turning a blind eye".

U.S.: Report Details Tea Party Ties with Hate Groups

Asserting that "the majority of Tea Party supporters are sincere, principled people of good will", the head of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP) and other U.S. civil rights leaders are calling on the populist political grouping to purge itself of known racists lest they influence the direction of the movement.

U.S. High Court to Weigh Ashcroft Detention Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear former Attorney General John Ashcroft's appeal of a lower court decision, which ruled that he could be held responsible for the wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen.

U.S.: It’s Easy to Deport the Mentally Ill

A U.S. citizen of Puerto Rican descent with mental disabilities is suing the U.S. government for wrongfully deporting him to Mexico and forcing him to endure over four months of living on the streets and in the shelters and prisons of Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

U.S.: Stuck in No-Fly Limbo

Ten U.S. citizens or lawful residents are suing the government for placing them on the "no-fly" list without notice or due process and then giving them no way to get their names off the list.

Rights Groups Condemn Ruling on Bagram Detainees

Human rights advocates are expressing shock at a federal court ruling that detainees held by the United States in Afghanistan do not have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. federal court - and dismay that their path to a successful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court may be blocked.

U.S. Urged to Probe “Second Prison” at Bagram

Pressure is mounting on the U.S. government to investigate reports that inmates from the notorious prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan have been moved to a second separate facility - known as the Tor Jail, which translates as "black jail" - where they say they were held in isolation in cold cells with a light on day and night and deprived of sleep by U.S. military personnel.

Mary Giovagnoli Credit: Courtesy of Mary Giovagnoli

Q&A: U.S. Immigration Needs an Internal Watchdog

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has come under growing fire for its poor treatment of would-be immigrants held in detention - including a number of controversial deaths, lack of medical facilities, administrative bungling resulting in loss of records, and absence of due process for detainees at ICE detention centres.

Obama Weighs Choices for Sharply Divided High Court

With the resignation of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, U.S. President Barack Obama faces an opportunity that may become a migraine - or vice versa.

Jeanne Theoharis Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Theoharis

Q&A: Treatment of New York Detainee Is “Legalised Torture”

For the past almost three years, a U.S. citizen, Syed Fahad Hashmi, has been held in isolation in a federal detention centre in New York City.

U.S.: Guantanamo Detainee Ordered Freed

After nine years in captivity, a U.S. federal court has ordered the release of a Guantanamo prisoner once described as the "highest-value detainee at the facility" - and set off a firestorm of protest from Republican lawmakers.

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