Analysis Sat, 05 Sep 2015 05:01:14 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-us A Labor Day Story: Union Nurses Making a Difference

Landmark Gains and Continued Points of Advocacy for Union Nurses

Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--September 4, 2015.  Today, nurses continue this tradition of public health advocacy and social reform. To commemorate Labor Day, here are some important causes the RNs of National Nurses United have recently championed—and continue to work toward: Organizing thousands of RNs in previously non-union hospitals:  Since its founding 5 years ago, NNU has helped nearly 25,000 RNs in over 50 hospitals organize into NNU.  This union organizing record is among the best in the US labor movement.  By organizing to join NNU, RNs have won landmark patient care provisions in their NNU union contracts, and guaranteed their ability to advocate for their patients without fear of retaliation.  The results have led to dramatic improvements in patient care and RN retention and recruitment, and have helped defeat employer attempts to worsen working conditions, along with pay and benefits, for hospital RNs.  The addition of many thousands of RNs into NNU also strengthens NNU’s overall efforts to heal America, and provides hope and power to the American labor movement.

Safe Staffing Ratios: Studies have proven that safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios improve patient outcomes and save lives. In 1999, California became the only state in the US with comprehensive nurse-to-patient ratios, won by NNU RNs after years of battle against the powerful hospital lobby. Meanwhile, across the U.S., hospitals continue to jeopardize patient care with chronic short staffing. That's why NNU is pursuing federal and state laws mandating nurse-to-patient ratios.

Proper safety procedures to protect against infectious diseases: In 2014, NNU facilitated the U.S. arm of a global RN Ebola action. In 14 states and the District of Columbia—as well as from Ireland to the Philippines—over 100,000 nurses protested lax Ebola protections/guidelines. NNU’s work led to California Gov. Brown directing the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration to upgrade existing Ebola guidelines to the highest possible protections, including HazMat suits. Ebola may be a harbinger of future pandemics, for which U.S. hospitals are still not prepared, and NNU continues to fight at the federal level for the highest protections against infectious diseases, to ensure those with the power to save countless lives are around to do that job.

Other critical protections for patients, nurses: Each year, thousands of RNs suffer back and musculoskeletal injuries while providing care. In 2014, NNU fought for and won safe patient handling regulations in California, requiring hospital employers to have staff and equipment available at all times to assist with patient mobilization. NNU nurses also won California’s landmark Healthcare Workplace Prevention Act in 2014, to address the fact that violence against hospital workers is almost five times greater than the average worker in all other industries combined. Rather than criminalizing perpetrators, who are often mentally ill or brain injured patients, this legislation—a model for the nation—holds hospitals accountable for prevention before the violence occurs, protecting nurses, patients and families.

Medicare for All: With health care costs that account for nearly a fifth of Gross Domestic Product, the U.S. spends almost double what most wealthy countries spend on health care, and yet, by virtually every measure, has worse outcomes. RNs know that a government financed health care system—known widely as a “single-payer” system—is the answer. On July 30, 2015, Medicare turned 50, and RNs and other advocates conduced actions throughout the U.S.—part of a campaign to expand Medicare to everyone as the most cost-effective way to provide this single standard of high-quality care for all, without financial barriers.

Climate Change: A World Trade Organization study attributes one in eight deaths worldwide to air pollution. Who better to lead the battle against environmental degradation than nurses, who are on the front lines, helping to treat asthma, emphysema and other chronic respiratory diseases that are triggered and worsened by carbon emissions? Whether it be addressing international conferences in Peru, opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline or marching with striking oil workers in California for safer oil refineries, RNs and allies are working to arrest perhaps the gravest threat to public health in the 21st century.  

Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street: This tiny tax—about a nickel for every $10 exchanged—is a tax on the very Wall Street transactions that triggered the Great Recession. Economists estimate that such a tax could generate between $300 and $350 billion a year, helping to heal communities by funding a single-payer health system, eliminating student debt, ending HIV/AIDS, or building affordable housing. National Nurses United is part of a broad, worldwide coalition that supports a Robin Hood Tax.

And in the electoral arena

Campaigning for Bernie Sanders for President. NNU was the first national union to endorse Bernie Sanders for President. In announcing the endorsement, NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro noted his issues “align with nurses from top to bottom,” including those cited above, Medicare for all, a tax on Wall Street speculation to heal American communities, robust action on climate change and a host of other priorities. NNU leaders and activists continue to be a significant presence in the Sanders campaign.

Get the inside story on nurse workers fighting for public health. Talk to an RN.

With 185,000 RN members in all 50 states, National Nurses United is the source for information on how well the healthcare industry is providing quality patient care, as well as on critical social issues that impact public health. For Labor Day coverage, we can put you in touch with our nurse members and leaders—each of whom provides care at the bedside, day in and day out.



Analysis Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:11:17 -0500
Legal Marijuana States Collect Over $200 Million In New Tax Revenue

Legal Marijuana States Collect Over $200 Million In New Tax RevenueDenver, CO--(ENEWSPF)--September 3, 2015.  Taxes on the legal production and sale of cannabis in the states of Colorado and Washington have yielded over $200 million in new revenue since going into effect in 2014, an assessment by The Huffington Post reports.

Retails sales of cannabis began in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Since then, regulators have collected an estimate $117 million in marijuana-related tax revenue. An estimated $24 million of this total has been designated for public school construction funding while another $8 million is being used to fund clinical studies of cannabis's efficacy.

Washington initiated retail sales of cannabis on July 1, 2014. To date, the state has collected about $83 million in tax revenue.

Retail sales of cannabis to those over the age of 21 will begin in Oregon on October 1, 2015.



Analysis Thu, 03 Sep 2015 23:25:14 -0500
Center for American Progress Unveils New Child Care Tax Credit Proposal to Expand Access to Child Care for Working Families

Young students

By creating a new High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit, we can help families work and prepare children for school.

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--September 3, 2015.  The Center for American Progress today released a new proposal that would provide a High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit to help low-income and middle-class families afford child care. The proposal would expand child care access to roughly 6 million children under age 5 in the United States, increasing the current service level by more than fourfold while supporting financial security for working families.

“Affordable child care isn’t an issue that just affects women—it’s about economic security for all working families. Right now, child care is unaffordable for many families that need it, with the average annual price of a child care center exceeding $10,000 and growing,” said Carmel Martin, CAP Executive Vice President for Policy. “It’s time for a pathway that will significantly expand access to high-quality child care for those who need it most. When we talk about an inclusive economy, we need to make sure that all parents—men and women—can participate in the workforce.”

“Today, high-quality child care is out of reach for too many families that need child care to support employment and early education. Low-wage workers especially lack options when it comes to choosing child care. CAP’s proposal would put affordable, high-quality child care within reach for millions of families for the first time,” said Katie Hamm, Director of Early Childhood Policy at CAP. “Working families need to know that they can get child care when they need it and that children will be in enriching and nurturing environments to support healthy development and prepare them for school. That’s what the High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit would do—provide economic security to families and peace of mind at the same time.”

In the 12-year period from 2000 to 2012, child care costs for a typical middle-class family grew by $2,300. In its 2014 report, “The Middle-Class Squeeze,” CAP detailed the economic pressures felt by working- and middle-class families as a result of the growing costs of child care and other early childhood programs and supports.

For families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level—equivalent to an annual household income of approximately $97,000 for a family of four—CAP’s proposal would provide up to $14,000 per child under age 3. The size of the tax credit reflects the cost of high-quality child care, builds in higher wages for providers, and would be paid directly to high-quality providers selected by parents. Parents with unpredictable work schedules would be able to use providers that met health and safety standards if a high-quality child care provider was not available during a needed time. Families would contribute up to 12 percent of their income toward child care fees on a sliding scale.

CAP’s proposal for a High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit complements its call for universal, voluntary preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, creating access to high-quality early learning programs from birth to kindergarten entry. In addition to improving access to high-quality programs for children, the tax credit would save families thousands of dollars per year, facilitating child care arrangements that support financial security for working families.

As part of the analysis, CAP modeled the child care cost burden reduction for an average family in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with one child and earning $40,000 yearly. The state-by-state analysis can be seen in the Appendix of the report.

Click here to read “A New Vision for Child Care in the United States: A Proposed New Tax Credit to Expand High-Quality Child Care” by Katie Hamm and Carmel Martin.



Analysis Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:34:36 -0500
Nations' Climate Pledges Set Course for Disastrous Warming: Analysis

'Holding warming below 2 degrees C could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5°C beyond reach,' if committments kept at Paris summit, says Climate Action Tracker

GERMANY--(ENEWSPF)--September 3, 2015
A scene from the 2014 People's Climate March in New York.  (Photo: South Bend Voice/cc/flickr)

Greenhouse gas reduction pledges countries have submitted to the United Nations in advance of global climate talks set the planet on a path that keeps critical climate goals out of reach.

That's according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a project of four research organizations that assesses nations' climate pledges and actions. It released its findings Wednesday as talks are underway in Bonn, Germany, where global delegates are working to streamline the draft text for the UN climate change summit in Paris in December, known as COP21.

"One would have expected all the new Government climate targets combined to put the world on a lower emissions pathway, but they haven’t," said Louise Jeffery of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

CAT analyzed what are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by 15 governments, which together cover 64.5% of global emissions. Taken collectively, their plans would fail to avert a potentially disastrous level of warming, the analysis found.

"It is clear that if the Paris meeting locks in present climate commitments for 2030, holding warming below 2 degrees C could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5°C beyond reach," said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, which joins the Potsdam Institute as one of the four organizations comprising CAT.

It classified seven of the INDCs as inadequate, six as medium, and two as sufficient.

The United States was among those given the medium rating. That status, CAT states, "indicates that the U.S. climate plans are at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution."

CAT states that its "analysis shows that in order to hold global warming below 2°C, governments need to significantly strengthen the INDCs they have submitted to date."

Regardless of pledges, some climate activists expect little progress from the Paris meeting.

As Alex Scrivener, policy officer at Global Justice Now, wrote at Common Dreams last month, COP21 won't be the answer to climate change. That's because "it will not be dealing with the underlying problem—the unfair economic system that puts the interest of fossil fuel addicted corporations above those of the people," he wrote.

"So instead of being distracted by the false hope of a summit breakthrough, we should concentrate on putting pressure on our politicians to reduce emissions at home and building a broad and diverse movement to change the political context of climate policy. This means fighting trade deals that bestow rights on fossil fuel corporations. It means fighting the politics of austerity that forces us to accept ‘cheap’ coal instead of investing in clean, democratically controlled energy systems. And it also means fighting against the privatization of energy globally," Scrivener writes.

The need for mass popular mobilizations to effect such change was also stressed in a joint statement recently issued by key leaders from the global climate justice movement.

"For more than 20 years, governments have been meeting, yet greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased and the climate keeps changing. The forces of inertia and obstruction prevail, even as scientific warnings become ever more dire," the statement reads.

Yet "our actions are much more powerful than we think."

"In the past, determined women and men have resisted and overcome the crimes of slavery, totalitarianism, colonialism or apartheid. They decided to fight for justice and solidarity and knew no one would do it for them. Climate change is a similar challenge, and we are nurturing a similar uprising," they write.


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Analysis Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:56:18 -0500
Report: Extravagant CEO Pay Packages Are Fostering Planet's Destruction

Report outlines how sky-high payouts and pervasive "short-termism" are promoting reckless climate behavior from fossil fuel executives

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--September 2, 2015
Chevron is one of the many companies engaging in short-term, high-stakes gambling with the planet's future. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network/flickr/cc)

Pay incentives for the chief executives of the biggest publicly-held fossil fuel companies in the U.S. are worsening climate change by encouraging recklessness from management teams and rewarding companies' strongholds over oil, gas, and coal reserves, according to a new report published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies.

Money to Burn: How CEO Pay is Accelerating Climate Change (pdf), an annual analysis of executive excess, outlines the complex cycle in which corporate bosses are given "enormous personal financial incentive" to promote the development of fossil fuels, which in turn allows them to donate ever-increasing funds to lobbyists and lawmakers who promote climate denial policies.

In addition, corporations "lower the performance bar by super sizing the number of equity-based rewards they grant executives during stock slumps," the report states. That's the same kind of high-stakes gambling that contributed to the 2008 economic crash and set up bankers for enormous windfalls if shares increased even slightly after the recovery began.

"Our perverse executive pay system encouraged the recklessness that led to the 2008 financial crisis," co-author and IPS Global Economy Project director Sarah Anderson said on Wednesday. "These same misplaced incentives are encouraging the recklessness of fossil fuel executives that is putting the entire world at risk."

CEOs of the 30 largest publicly-held fossil fuel companies averaged $14.7 million in total compensation in 2014, while their management teams took home roughly $6 billion over the past five years. That's twice the size of the country's recent $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations body that redistributes wealth to developing countries in order to help them stave off the effects of global warming.

In another example, Exxon-Mobile spent $13.2 billion buying up its own stock in 2014, a tactic that inflates executive pay. That's double what all global corporations spent on researching renewable energy, IPS found. Chevron spent $4.4 billion.

In addition to sky-high financial rewards, the incentives most often come in the form of stock options, which encourages executives to cash in their bonuses within three or four years—while climate change takes decades to play out.

"Short-termism," as the report calls it, allows executives to "reap massive windfalls before the climate change their behaviors nurture starts hitting."

As co-author and IPS senior scholar Chuck Collins explains, "The short-term incentive system is not only bad for the planet, it’s bad for investors as well. A rational system would encourage global energy leaders to shift investment away from drilling and mining untapped reserves towards renewable energy options."

Moreover, the report continues, "Our perverse pay incentives are also encouraging executives to deploy their considerable corporate political clout against attempts to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, or introduce regulations that could speed the transition to a safe energy future."

The analysis comes just after President Barack Obama visited Alaska to promote a shift to renewable energy, even as his administration continues to approve offshore oil drilling in the Arctic's vulnerable Chukchi and Beaufort seas—remote waters just off the coast from where the president gave his speech.

"I think our numbers show that CEO pay encourages executives to behave in a way that is deepening the climate crisis," said co-author Sarah Anderson. "If we don't reverse these perverse incentives, we all remain at risk."

Some of the top-earning executives named in the IPS report include:

Peabody CEO Greg Boyce, who took home $26 million between 2008 and 2011;

James Roberts, former CEO of the now-defunct Alpha Natural Resources, who pocketed more than $15 million in one year before retiring;

Console Energy CEO J. Brett Harvey, who cashed in $19.4 million between 2010 and 2012 at the same time as the company itself laid off 600 workers and revoked retiree benefits for 4,400 former employees;

Anadarko Petroleum CEO R.A. Walker, who got $20.7 million in 2014 alone.

The IPS report proposes a number of solutions to alleviate the crisis. Among them are already-passed bills and provisions, such as those within the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law which require all U.S. corporations to reveal CEO-worker pay ratios and allow shareholders a say on compensation, among other rules.

However, as Common Dreams has previously reported, less than two-thirds of Dodd-Frank's regulations have been enacted five years after the bill's passage into law.

Robin Roberts, an accounting professor at the University of Florida, told Inside Climate News that such efforts could help limit excessive payouts, but that even increased transparency would not be able to temper the conflict between short-term incentives for executives and long-term climate impacts.

"They are depending on fossil fuels to drive their profit with very little regard for low carbon energy solutions," Roberts said. "Those remain low priorities because those aren't where they get the most money."


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Analysis Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:09:41 -0500
Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of Ingestion

Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of IngestionAtlanta, GA--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  The majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance, according to nationally representative survey data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Investigators from the US Center for Disease Control and Emory University assessed survey data from those over the age of 18 in regard to their mode of marijuana ingestion and current reason for use.

Authors reported: "Overall, 7.2 percent of respondents reported current marijuana use; 34.5 percent reported ever use. Among current users, 10.5 percent reported medicinal-only use, 53.4 percent reported recreational-only use, and 36.1 percent reported both. Use of [a] bowl or pipe (49.5 percent) [or a] joint (49.2 percent) predominated among current marijuana users, with lesser use of bongs, water pipes, or hookahs (21.7 percent), blunts (20.3 percent); edibles/drinks (16.1 percent); and vaporizers (7.6 percent)."

Use of vaporization technology, which does not result in the exposure to combustion gases, was most likely to be reported by those residing in the western region of the United States (15.8 percent) and among those under the age 24 (19.3 percent). Edible products, which are associated with delayed onset of drug effect, greater drug bioavailability, and prolonged duration of effect, were most popular in the west (38.4 percent) and among those respondents between the ages of 25 to 34 (32.5 percent). African American respondents (37.3 percent) were more likely than other ethnicities to report using blunts.

Full text of the study, "Toking, vaping, and eating for health or fun: Marijuana use patterns in adults, US, 2014," appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.



Analysis Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:31:05 -0500
New Policies Can Spark Big Increases in Renewable Energy Production From America’s Public Lands and Oceans

Power generation engineer

A power generation engineer walks beside solar panels, May 13, 2015. Source: AP/John Raoux

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  Renewable energy production has increased dramatically under the Obama administration, with solar generation increasing twentyfold and wind generation increasing threefold since 2009 alone. But a new report from the Center for American Progress argues that new policies are needed to consolidate these gains and harness more of the clean energy potential of our nation’s public lands and waters.

The CAP report analyzes the Obama administration’s renewable energy policies on public lands to determine which strategies have been most effective at encouraging responsible development and growth and outlines a four-point plan for building on areas of success over the coming years.

“Renewable energy development on America’s public lands has gone from 0 to 60 in just a few years, but our oceans and lands have far more clean energy potential that can be responsibly harnessed in the coming decade,” said David J. Hayes, CAP Visiting Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “New reforms and innovations are needed to accelerate the next generation of environmentally sound renewable energy projects on public lands and waters and to bolster the United States’ pivot to a clean energy future.”

CAP’s four-point plan to responsibly expand renewable energy on public lands and waters includes:

Institutionalizing—through legislation and regulation—recent renewable energy permitting reforms

Designating more renewable energy zones on public lands and waters, including the creation of 10 new Solar Energy Zones, the expansion of offshore wind energy zones in deeper waters for floating turbines, and the development of renewable energy zones for wind and geothermal

Cultivating community-based, distributed renewable energy resources on nearby public lands with interested communities

Accelerating investment through a new revolving loan fund to facilitate the financing of creditworthy renewable energy projects on public lands and waters

The authors note that the progress of renewable energy development under the Obama administration can be attributed to a handful of key ingredients, such as increased collaboration between stakeholders and the government and more efficient and environmentally sound permitting approaches, which have expedited renewable energy development on our nation’s lands and waters.

The current administration has permitted more than 50 renewable energy projects since 2009 on public lands, which when constructed will add an additional 15,000 megawatts of capacity to the grid—enough to power more than 2 million homes—and create almost 21,000 jobs.

Read the report: A 4-Point Plan for Responsibly Expanding Renewable Energy Production on America’s Public Lands and Oceans by David J. Hayes and Nidhi Thakar



Analysis Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:00:18 -0500
Watch: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: LGBT Discrimination (HBO)


This year’s gay marriage ruling was a milestone, but LGBT discrimination is still surprisingly legal. John Oliver explains why we need a federal anti-discrimination law.

Analysis Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:18:05 -0500
Center for American Progress Paper Says It Is Time to Deal with the Turkey We Have, Not the One We Want

HW Bush and Ozal

U.S. President George H.W. Bush meets with Turkish President Turgut Özal prior to talks in Ankara on July 20, 1991. Source: AP

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--August 25, 2015.  As a NATO member and majority-Muslim, secular democracy, Turkey has often been held up as a model partner to the United States and a model for the wider Middle East. As such, the United States has long attached great hopes to cooperation with Turkey in the pursuit of U.S. goals in that embattled region. But today, enthusiasm about the bilateral relationship has largely evaporated as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has stifled free speech and cracked down on political opposition.

A paper released today by the Center for American Progress outlines the history of how American enthusiasm for the Turkish model has ebbed and flowed over the last half-century—shaped by the political hopes of policymakers in Washington and used by Turkish leaders to pursue their own goals. The issue brief examines how the current disappointment surrounding Turkey’s democratic failings and refusal to commit wholeheartedly to the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, is the latest in a series of these cycles. Reckoning with this history, the paper argues that the United States must set aside hopes for strategic engagement with the broader Middle East in cooperation with Turkey and instead focus on fostering Turkey’s democratic institutions.

“Turkey can no longer be considered a model for a Middle East democracy, but the United States has no choice but to engage with Ankara,” said Dov Friedman, the author of the paper. “The United States should stop hoping that Turkey will unlock the Middle East to U.S. foreign policy and start dealing with Turkey’s political complexity; doing so will allow us to advance policy priorities important to both countries.”

The paper points to American focus on the use of Incirlik Air Base and the campaign against ISIS and argues that the United States would do better to focus on Turkey’s domestic political scene—particularly the AKP’s crackdown on the Kurds and its failure to form a coalition government.

Click here to read the paper.



Analysis Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:00:33 -0500
Revealed: Most Guantanamo Detainees Captured By Warlords, Not US Military

New analysis by the Guardian finds majority of men sent to military prison in Cuba captured by 'foreign partners' of U.S. with 'own interests' in roundups

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 25, 2015
Most of the men being held at Guantánamo Bay prison were captured by foreign spies, warlords, and other partners of the U.S., new reporting reveals. (Photo: Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay/flickr/cc)

Of the 116 men currently detained at Guantánamo Bay military prison, only three were captured by U.S. forces, while the rest were apprehended by foreign spies and warlords—new revelations which cast yet another layer of doubt on the veracity of their alleged crimes and the general purpose of the facility.

According to a Guardian analysis of U.S. military capture information, nearly 85 percent of detentions at Guantánamo Bay come from "foreign partners with their own interests in round-ups—overwhelmingly of Arab men in south Asian countries."

"The foundations of the guilt of the remaining 113...involves a degree of faith in the Pakistani and Afghan spies, warlords and security services," writes the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman.

In addition to Pakistan and Afghanistan, other countries that have sent detainees to Guantánamo Bay include Georgia, Turkey, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Thailand, Somalia, Kenya, and Iran, Ackerman writes.

It has been known for years that many of the men were sold to the U.S. for a bounty, a practice which Amnesty International in 2007 said created a "culture in Pakistan where abductions, unlawful detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and deaths in custody occur with total impunity."

Even still, many U.S. officials continue to take the position that those being held at Guantánamo Bay are "the worst of the worst" terrorists, as Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) recently said, even as dozens of detainees await freedom after being cleared for release.

However, Ackerman notes, that sentiment is not shared among U.S. officials who are 'in the know':

Knowledgable US officials, including former Guantánamo prosecutors, consider that assessment overblown, particularly for the 52 men approved in 2010 by a multi-agency US assessment for transfer out of the facility.

[...] “There is great reason to disbelieve claims that detainees at Guantánamo are the ‘worst of the worst’, including the fact that many were sold to the US for a bounty, not based on any real quality intelligence the US had gathered,” said Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch.

President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to close Guantánamo Bay during his first year in office, in July was reportedly in "the final stages" of planning to shut down the facility. But as Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Pentagon has intervened in at least a few cases to prevent the release of a hunger-striking inmate and several detainees who have already been cleared to go home.


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Analysis Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:36:33 -0500