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Dec 11, 2014

Psychologist says U.S. Senate’s CIA report makes false charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of the two psychologists who devised the CIA’s harsh Bush-era interrogation methods said on Wednesday that a scathing U.S. Senate report on the torture of foreign terrorism suspects “took things out of context” and made false accusations.

“It’s a bunch of hooey,” James Mitchell told Reuters from his home in Florida when asked for his response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings released on Tuesday. “Some of the things are just plain not true.”

Dec 10, 2014

Report slams psychologists who devised Bush-era interrogation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA paid $80 million to a company run by two former Air Force psychologists without experience in interrogation or counter-terrorism who recommended waterboarding, slaps to the face and mock burial for prisoners the U.S. suspected of being terrorists, according to a U.S. Senate report.

The two men are referred to in the report by the pseudonyms “Dunbar” and “Swigert” but have been identified by U.S. intelligence sources as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. The CIA outsourced more than 80 percent of its interrogation program to the company, Mitchell Jessen & Associates of Spokane, Washington, for its work from 2005 until the termination of the arrangement in 2009. The CIA also paid the company $1 million to protect it and its employees from legal liability.

Dec 8, 2014

Six Guantanamo prisoners fly to Uruguay for resettlement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Six men held for more than a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were flown to Uruguay for resettlement on Sunday, the latest step in a slow-moving push by President Barack Obama’s administration to close the facility.

The release of four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian, who arrived in South America aboard a U.S. military transport plane, represented the largest single group to leave the internationally condemned U.S. detention camp since 2009, U.S. officials said.

Dec 7, 2014

Uruguay accepts six Guantanamo prisoners for resettlement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Six men held for more than a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were flown to Uruguay for resettlement on Sunday, the Pentagon said, the latest step in a slow-moving push by the Obama administration to close the facility.

The release of four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian, who arrived in South America aboard a U.S. military transport plane, represented the largest single group to leave the internationally condemned U.S. detention camp since 2009.

Dec 4, 2014

Obama’s pick to head Pentagon not always on same page as president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ashton Carter, a veteran Washington insider President Barack Obama is expected to name as his new defense secretary, built a reputation as a behind-the-scenes team player during many years in senior Pentagon posts.

But scrutiny of the 60-year-old former physicist’s views on issues ranging from North Korea to Iraq to defense spending also show an independent thinker whose opinions have not always aligned fully with those of the president.

Nov 21, 2014

Powerful U.S. pro-Israel lobby holds fire as Iran deadline looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the United States and other powers negotiate down to the wire on a nuclear deal with Iran, one voice has been unusually quiet – the main pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

Israel deeply distrusts the attempt to reach a deal at talks in Vienna that would lift harsh international sanctions on Iran in return for limits to its nuclear program, aimed at preventing it from developing an atomic bomb.

Nov 16, 2014

Obama toughens line on Putin over Ukraine at G20 summit

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Russia would remain isolated by the international community if President Vladimir Putin continued to violate international law in Ukraine, some of his toughest remarks yet on the crisis.

Putin has come under intense pressure from other leaders at this weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane over his government’s backing for pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, where a conflict has killed more than 4,000 people this year.

Nov 16, 2014

U.S., Japan and Australia vow to oppose Russian action in Crimea

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – The leaders of the United States, Japan and Australia lined up together against Russia on Sunday, vowing to oppose Russian incursions into Crimea during a rare trilateral meeting held at the G20 summit in Brisbane.

President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they would oppose “Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea and its actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine,” and were committed to “bringing to justice those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17.”

Nov 15, 2014

In veiled message to China, Obama renews commitment to Asia-Pacific pivot

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought on Saturday to reassure Asia-Pacific allies about Washington’s strategic shift toward the region as he sent a veiled message to a rising China with a vow to “deepen our engagement using every element of our power”.

Speaking in Australia on the final stop of a three-country regional tour, Obama insisted that Asia’s security order must not be based on “coercion or intimidation … where big nations bully the small, but on alliances for mutual security”.

Nov 14, 2014

Obama says barring Suu Kyi from Myanmar presidency ‘doesn’t make much sense’

YANGON (Reuters) – Standing next to Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that the law barring her from becoming president “doesn’t make much sense”.

It was the clearest statement Obama has made on Suu Kyi’s political future, but he stopped short of explicitly urging that changes be made to allow her to run for the presidency.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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