Stories written by William Fisher

U.S.: And Justice for Few

Poor defendants on death row, immigrants in unfair deportation proceedings, torture victims, domestic violence survivors and victims of racial discrimination - all these groups are consistently being denied access to justice while those responsible for the abuses are protected, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

U.S.: Judge Chastises Govt on Immigration Policing Lawsuit

Nearly a year after advocacy groups sought documents to clarify the Department of Homeland Security's "Secure Communities" programme, the government has largely failed to satisfy the requests for information, a federal judge has ruled.

Govt Accused of Fuzzy Math in Gitmo Report

A prominent public interest law firm that has defended numerous Guantanamo Bay detainees charged Thursday that a recent government report on a high rate of recidivism among former inmates is loaded with "vague and unsubstantiated claims and misinformation".

A poster in support of Julian Assange created for Credit: creative commons license

Of Wikileaks, Whistleblowers and Whipping Boys

As pro- and anti-Wikileaks forces draw their battle lines, and Wikileaks' impresario Julian Assange marks time in storied, overcrowded and very Victorian Wandsworth Prison in southwest London, a group of his supporters are taking a different tack.

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, October 2008. A U.S. citizen, he is rumoured to be on the "capture or kill" list. Credit: Muhammad ud-Deen/creative commons

Judge Declines to Rule on Targeted Killings of U.S. Citizens

A federal judge Tuesday dismissed a court challenge to the policy of the administration of Barack Obama to target and execute U.S. citizens outside combat zones who do not pose an imminent threat.

U.S.: Govt Forced to Release Docs on Spying Programme

Last week's release of 900 pages of U.S. government documents dealing with the implementation of the nation's primary surveillance law suggests that the government has been systematically violating the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

U.S. Execution Capital Reconsiders Ultimate Punishment

On Monday, Dec. 6, a district court in Texas will be asked – for the first time in that U.S. state's history – to decide whether the death penalty is unconstitutional based on the "disproportionately high risk of wrongful convictions" in Texas.

Rights Groups Fear Wikileaks Backlash Against Activists

Some of the United States' leading human rights organisations are concerned for the safety of human rights advocates in countries with repressive regimes, where disclosure by Wikileaks could put them in deadly harm.

Wikileaks Bolsters Claim of Deadly U.S. Attack in Yemen

A diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks corroborates images released earlier by Amnesty International (AI) showing that the U.S. military carried out a missile strike in south Yemen in December 2009 that killed dozens of local residents, including women and children, the rights group says.

U.S.: Senate Democrats Push for Vote on DREAM Act

As immigrant advocate groups held marches, demonstrations and hunger strikes across the U.S. and feverishly lobbied lawmakers in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, announced he would file a motion Wednesday to permit the Senate to take up the DREAM Act, thus setting up a showdown over the controversial immigration bill.

Britain Bans Exports of Execution Drug Sought by U.S.

After first resisting the efforts of human rights and legal advocates, the British government has now backed down and placed an immediate ban on the export of lethal injection drugs to be used in U.S. executions.

Leaked Cables Cast Light on Bungled CIA Kidnapping

Wikileaks' spectacular paper dump of U.S. diplomatic cables may not yet have produced any blockbusters, but many of the restricted or secret documents released to the world on Sunday have served to peel back the scabs of serious injuries inflicted by the administration of George W. Bush.

U.S.: Clock Ticks on Immigration Reform Bill

Democratic lawmakers will attempt to summon up their waning power by using the so-called "lame duck" session of Congress to pass what will likely be the closest they will get to comprehensive immigration reform.

Egypt Rejects “Interference” in Elections

Egypt's authoritarian government ramped up its crackdown on journalists and opposition politicians ahead of the Nov. 28 parliamentary elections and rebuffed a U.S. call for international observers to monitor "free and fair" balloting.

U.S.: Courts Throw Out a Third of Deportation Cases

While U.S. immigration authorities are "understandably eager to trumpet the overall number" of people they deport, close to one in three deportations recommended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is being rejected by immigration courts, according to an analysis of case-by-case government data.

New York Terror Verdict Hailed as Vindicating Civil Trials

The conviction of the first Guantanamo Bay detainee brought to New York for trial is triggering a wide range of reactions from politicians and legal experts.

U.S.: Health and Privacy Concerns Dog Airport Body Scanners

Privacy advocates called on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Tuesday to end its controversial new initiative of whole-body scans and enhanced pat-downs of airline passengers, calling the programme "dangerous to health, ineffective and unconstitutional".

Britain to Settle Rendition, Torture Case for Millions

The British government will reportedly pay millions in compensation to seven British nationals who were unlawfully "rendered" to U.S.-run prisons and tortured with the cooperation of British intelligence.

U.S.: Poll Finds Growing Aversion to Death Penalty

A clear majority of U.S. voters - 61 percent - would choose a punishment other than death for murder if given a choice, the Death Penalty Information Centre said Tuesday as it released the results of "one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted" of U.S. citizens' views on capital punishment.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit in the State Department

EGYPT: Mubarak’s Critics See Hypocrisy in U.S. Support

The Egyptian government's crackdown on political opponents continues unabated in advance of parliamentary elections Nov. 28, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week hailed the "partnership" between the two countries as "a cornerstone of stability and security in the Middle East and beyond".

U.S. Defaults on Vow to Reform Asylum System

Human rights groups say time is running out for the federal government to make good on a pledge to shift the country's immigration detention system to one that emphasises a civil rather than criminal approach.

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