Torture on Death Row: Court Rules Against Automatic Use of Solitary Confinement for the Condemned

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Cell on Texas death row.

Cell on Texas death row.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty itself does not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” Yet the treatment of the condemned is nonetheless subject to Eighth Amendment protections, as well as Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process.

In the past few years, this ironic legal reality has been the subject of a renewed national debate centering on execution methods. The European drug companies that U.S. states have historically relied on to provide the materials for lethal injections have refused to replenish supplies. As a result, states have developed new drug protocols, often implementing them without testing or research. Last month, Dennis McGuire struggled and gasped for well over ten minutes before he finally died.

But at a recent Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, exoneree Damon Thibodeaux called attention to a different, rarely-discussed aspect of death…

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“REPORT: Gitmo Hiding Hunger Strikes Behind New Title: ‘Long-Term Non-Religious Fasts’”

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REPORT: Gitmo Hiding Hunger Strikes Behind New Title: ‘Long-Term Non-Religious Fasts’

REPORT: Gitmo Hiding Hunger Strikes Behind New Title: ‘Long-Term Non-Religious Fasts’

By Hayes Brown on March 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

Guantanamo FutureCREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

There will be no more hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay, according to a new document first reported on Monday night. Not because the the detainees of the military prison are giving up on the tactic, though. Instead, the military is transitioning to referring to hunger strikes as “long-term non-religious fasts.”

The shift was first reported on the newly minted VICE News which obtained a copy of the document that contained the change, a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual innocuously titled “Medical Management of Detainees With Weight Loss.” Under the new guidelines, according to VICE, the previous liberal use of the phrase “hunger strike” had vanished. Instead, the base’s Joint Medical Group (JMG)…

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44 Years a Prisoner: The Case of Eddie Conway

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Published on Thursday, March 6, 2014 by

44 Years a Prisoner: The Case of Eddie Conway

by Amy Goodman

Marshall “Eddie” Conway walked free from prison this week, just one month shy of 44 years behind bars. He was convicted of the April 1970 killing of a Baltimore police officer. Conway has always maintained his innocence. At the time of his arrest and trial, he was a prominent member of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party, the militant black-rights organization that was the principal focus of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal “counterintelligence program.” The FBI, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, surveilled and infiltrated Black Panther chapters from coast to coast, disrupting their organizing activities, often with violence.

(Image: Ars Skeptica/cc/flickr)
The prosecution alleged Conway was behind the fatal shooting of Baltimore police officer Donald Sager. The case hinged on the testimony of a police officer…

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Artist Jonas Dahlberg has been chosen to create three memorials, one of which cuts a 3.5m slit in the landscape, to remember the victims of Anders Behring Breivik

Wounded landscape: how Norway is remembering its 2011 Utøya massacre

Artist Jonas Dahlberg has been chosen to create three memorials, one of which cuts a 3.5m slit in the landscape, to remember the victims of Anders Behring Breivik
Jonas Dahlberg model for Norway memorial site View larger picture

Model of Memory Wound, a 3.5m gap cut into the Sørbråten peninsula by artist Jonas Dahlberg as a memorial for the victims of the 2011 massacre. Picture: Jonas Dahlberg Studio

A Swedish artist has been selected to create official memorials at the sites of the 2011 Norwegian massacres carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

The competition, called Memorial Sites After 22 July, was won by Jonas Dahlberg, who will create three artworks at a cost of 27m Norwegian kroner (£2.7m) to the government in Oslo.

The most striking memorial is called Memory Wound. The 43-year-old artist has sliced a three-and-a-half-metre-wide slit into the Sørbråten peninsula, which faces the island of Utøya where Breivik killed 69 people. It marks a “symbolic wound” in the landscape….

Better livestock diets to combat climate change and improve food security

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Better diets for livestock could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 23 percent by 2030. Image courtesy International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Better livestock diets to combat climate change and improve food security by Staff Writers Vienna, Austria (SPX) Feb 28, 2014

r 12% of human-related greenhouse gas emissions, primarily coming from land use change and deforestation caused by expansion of agriculture, as well as methane released by the animals themselves, with a lesser amount coming from manure management and feed production.

“There is a lot of discussion about reduction of meat in the diets as a way to reduce emissions,” says IIASA researcher Petr Havlik, who led the study “But our results show that targeting the production side of agriculture is a much more efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows…

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She Was 40 When The Nazis Took Her. Now, She´s Outlived Them And Has Something Incredible To Say

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She Was 40 When The Nazis Took Her. Now, She’s Outlived Them And Has Something Incredible To Say.

Victoria Fine           Victoria Fine        


Alice Herz-Sommer has lived through things you can’t imagine. Here’s what keeps her more passionate about life than most 20-somethings I know.

Update: Alice passed away on Feb. 23, 2014, at the age of 110. RIP.

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This Photo Will Show You Just How Terrible The Syrian Refugee Crisis Is

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This Photo Will Show You Just How Terrible The Syrian Refugee Crisis Is
By Huffington Post A sea of hungry, haunted faces looks out from a massive queue that snakes through the bombed out Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Syria

Distribution of humanitarian assistance in Yarmouk


The United Nations has set up a special site to donate to the people of Yarmouk, which you can visit here.

BEIRUT: Gaunt, ragged figures fill the streets for as far as the eye can see in the besieged Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk outside Damascus, where some 40,000 are said to be slowly starving to death.

The United Nations distributed shocking images this week of thousands of people, their faces emaciated, desperately flocking to receive food aid that only a few were lucky enough to collect.

“We live in a big prison,” said Rami al-Sayed, a Syrian activist living in…

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​Federal judge rips death penalty states for secretive execution methods

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​Federal judge rips death penalty states for secretive execution methods

                                                     Published time: February 27, 2014 03:24                                                                            
Lethal injection room (Reuters)Lethal injection room (Reuters)

A federal appeals court judge excoriated states that have resorted to secretive and unproven methods for lethal injections, calling the source of the drug Missouri used Wednesday for an execution as “nothing more than a high school chemistry class.”

Judge Kermit Bye, of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth  Circuit, ripped death penalty states for their increasingly  closed approaches in carrying out capital punishments with the  aid of anonymous compounding pharmacies that supply drugs.

Bye leveled his disapproval hours before Michael Taylor, 47, was  executed for the 1989 murder of a 15-year-old girl in Kansas  City. Taylor was put to death using pentobarbital from a  pharmacist that the Missouri Department of Corrections will not  disclose.

Though the Eighth Circuit did not stay…

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