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News Briefs II

Amnesty International Urges Probe Of CIA Instructions on Torture

The Baltimore Sun

The human rights group Amnesty International called Tuesday for an independent investigation into the origin and use of CIA training manuals that instructed interrogators on the use of torture and other forms of coercion.

"Clearly the creation, use, and dissemination of these manuals raises troubling and disturbing questions about the U.S. commitment to human rights," said Carlos Salinas, a Latin America advocate in the group's Washington office.

Those responsible for the documents need to be held accountable, Salinas said. "This accountability needs to be established by a thorough, independent investigation establishing who was instructed to do what and when."

Amnesty International is a long established human-rights organization known for campaigning against inhumane treatment of political prisoners worldwide.

The CIA released two interrogation training manuals last week after The Baltimore Sun, pursuing a two-year-old Freedom of Information Act request, threatened to sue the agency.

One, titled "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983," discusses inflicting pain or threatening pain, inducing dread, depriving prisoners of food and sleep, making them maintain rigid positions for long periods, stripping them naked, and keeping them blindfolded or in prolonged solitary confinement.

California Jury Begins Simpson Lawsuit Deliberations

Los Angeles Times

Jurors in the O.J. Simpson civil trial retired behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to begin deliberations, carrying stacks of notebooks and a fat packet of instructions warning them to base their verdict on the evidence, not on the emotion that has long swirled around the case.

The five men and seven women are charged with sifting through months of clashing testimony and bitter argument to resolve the issue at the heart of the trial: Did O.J. Simpson murder Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman on June 12, 1994?

But they will not find that question on their verdict form.

As Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki explained to the jurors Tuesday, before dispatching them into the deliberation room, the civil trial involves three separate lawsuits. They all boil down to "did he or didn't he." But they are wrapped in the jargon of the legal world.

According to the verdict form, for example, jurors must ask themselves not whether Simpson killed his ex-wife but whether he harmed her without her consent - and whether he did so in a "base, vile, contemptible, wretched, loathsome, or miserable" manner that "ordinary, decent people" would recoil from.

The technical legal questions jurors must weigh in the deliberation room are so confusing that it took Fujisaki a full 45 minutes to read aloud the jury instructions Tuesday. All that, and he did not even explain that if the jurors find for the plaintiffs, they will trigger a second phase of the trial and a new round of deliberations on the question of punitive damages.