Top of the Agenda: CIA Waterboarded Libyan Prisoner, HRW Says
A Libyan militant fighter held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan in 2003 was allegedly subjected to waterboarding by CIA interrogators (NYT), according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. The report, to be released today, is based on Libyan government documents from the era of Muammar al-Qaddafi, as well as interviews with fourteen detainees that were ultimately transferred to Qaddafi's prisons in 2004. At least five of those detainees--most of whom were members of the anti-Qaddafi Libyan Islamic FightingGroup--were held in Afghanistan by the CIA, the report says. Mohammed Shoroeiya, who was detained in Pakistan in 2003 before being held by U.S. custody in Afghanistan, claimed his interrogators strapped him to a board and poured water on his head until he felt like he was suffocating. The CIA has previously said that only three prisoners were waterboarded.
"The May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden and revelations regarding the trail of intelligence that led to his whereabouts also rekindled the Guantanamo debate over whether the use of so-called enhanced interrogation methods employed under the Bush administration but banned under Obama, has been vindicated," says this CFR Backgrounder on the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"There are a few common themes in the administration's detention and targeted killing policies. First is the idea that the United States remains at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and that the government can therefore wield very potent and coercive powers. Second is the principle that the U.S. government's actions are constrained by domestic and international law, but within those constraints the executive branch should exercise flexible pragmatism," says CFR's Matthew C. Waxman in this recent CFR Interview.
China Charges Former Police Chief From Bo Scandal
Chinese prosecutors charged Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing and deputy to senior Communist leader Bo Xilai, with defection, abuse of power, and corruption (NYT). Wang unleashed a scandal that toppled Bo when he fled to the U.S. Consulate in February and claimed that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, had killed British businessman Neil Heywood.
The Afghan military has dismissed or detained hundreds of soldiers (WSJ) for alleged ties to insurgents in an effort to limit "green on blue" killings of coalition troops, defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi announced yesterday.
PAKISTAN: Human Rights Watch today called on the Pakistani government to "urgently act" to protect minority Shiite Muslims (AFP) from increasing sectarian attacks that have left hundreds dead this year.
Egypt's Morsi Issues Warning to Syrian President
Speaking at an Arab League meeting in Cairo yesterday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsicalled on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and "end the bloodshed" (al-Jazeera) between the regime and opposition fighters that erupted nearly eighteen months ago.
South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union refused to sign a deal with platinum company Lonmin to end a four-week strike at the Marikana mine (Reuters) northwest of Johannesburg that resulted in the police shooting dead thirty-four striking miners last month.
On his blog Africa in Transition, CFR's John Campbell writes about the impact of the mining unrest on South Africa's ruling ANC.
Global stock markets jumped today ahead of a crucial European Central Bank meeting, at which President Mario Draghi is expected to announce a new bond buying program (AP) in order to alleviate the ongoing eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
IRELAND: The International Monetary Fund yesterday approved a $1.16 billion loan tranche (WSJ) for the Irish government, part of a 2010 bailout package with the European Union to combat the debt crisis in Ireland.
The ongoing eurozone debt crisis continues to threaten the future of the single currency, even as European policymakers work to forge a closer political and fiscal union, explains this CFR Issue Guide.
After two failed voice votes, the Democratic Party's platform language was changed Wednesday night to include God and refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (Politico). President Obama is said to have ordered the change.
President Obama's national security and foreign policy successes have rebranded Democrats as foreign policy leaders, neutralized the Republican Party's traditional political advantage on national security, and improved the United States' standing in the world, writes the Progressive Policy Institute's Will Marshal at Foreign Policy.