One of the British men released from Guantanamo Bay said through his lawyer Friday that US authorities beat him, interrogated him at gunpoint and subjected him to "inhuman conditions" during his detention. \nLouise Christian, Tarek Dergoul's attorney, said his family believed his experiences had damaged him psychologically. \nHe was among five Britons returned home from the US Navy base in Cuba and released this week. \nHe is the second of the group to publicly describe conditions at the camp, where former fellow detainee Jamal al-Harith said earlier he had suffered beatings, humiliation and interrogation for up to 12 hours at a time. Families of all the freed men, who were not charged, have said they were innocents caught up in the US war on terrorism. \nUS Secretary of State Colin Powell told a British television network it was "unlikely" abuses were taking place at Guantanamo. "Because we are Americans, we don't abuse people who are in our care," he said, according to a transcript released by ITV. \nChristian said Dergoul had begun telling her and his family about "the horrific things which happened to him during detention at Bagram (US air base in Afghanistan), Kandahar and Guantanamo Bay." He alleged "gross breaches of human rights" and demanded that the 640 detainees still in Guantanamo be freed immediately, she said. \nUS authorities say prisoners at the camp are suspected of links to Afghanistan's fallen Taliban regime or the al-Qaeda terror network. The US military repeatedly has denied that Guantanamo prisoners have been mistreated. \nDergoul described "botched medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings and inhuman conditions" and condemned the US and British governments, Christian said. \n"Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma he has suffered," she said. \nShe declined to give any further details and said Dergoul, 26, of east London, would not be speaking to journalists any time soon because of health problems. \nHe reportedly flew to Pakistan in 2001 to learn Arabic after giving up his job caring for the elderly and was allegedly captured in Afghanistan. His family has insisted he has no links to terrorism and said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. \nAl-Harith told Britain's ITV network that interrogators at Guantanamo had applied intense psychological pressure, telling him that authorities in Britain would seize his family's home and all their money, turning them onto the street if he did not admit he was involved in terrorism. \n"He was obviously trying some mind game but I said `I don't believe you,'" said al-Harith, 37. \nMany detainees were given regular injections, after which "they would just sit there like in a daze and sometimes you would see them shaking," he said. \nHe said he was beaten and put in isolation because he refused injections and was sometimes forcibly given unidentified drugs. \nAl-Harith said he had never had any ties to terrorism and would seek compensation from the US government for his two years at Guantanamo. \nThe five detainees were flown back to Britain on Tuesday. Al-Harith was freed after several hours of questioning and the others were released on Wednesday. \nPowell told ITV that charges of abuse were unwarranted and that it was "not in the American tradition to treat people in that manner." \nHe said the prisoners' long detentions were justified. \n"They were picked up in very dangerous circumstances, and we had to protect ourselves by bringing these people to Guantanamo to see what they knew about terrorism and see if they were responsible for any of the kinds of things that have been happening in the world," ITV's transcript quoted him as saying. \nBritain and the United States are continuing discussions about the remaining four Britons at the camp. Britain has insisted its nationals either receive fair trials or be returned home.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent