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Maad El Zikry / AP

U.S. forces have been interrogating detainees in Yemen after they have been tortured in secret prisons controlled by the United Arab Emirates, according to an AP report, which is well worth reading in full. They are being held as part of a U.S.-supported hunt for suspected al-Qaeda militants.

Why it matters: Obtaining intelligence that may have been gleaned as a result of torture, even if inflicted by another party, violates the International Convention Against Torture, and could qualify as a war crime. Plus, this sounds familiar because of the CIA's torture and rendition program after September 11th, which Obama shut down and which Yemen and the UAE were involved in.

The U.S. role: Senior U.S. defense officials acknowledged the U.S. is interrogating prisoners in Yemen but denied participation in or knowledge of torture. Several U.S. defense officials and Yemeni Brig. Gen. Farag Salem al-Bahsani confirmed the U.S. has been interrogating prisoners in Yemen, providing questions for others to ask, and receiving transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies. The Yemeni Brig. Gen. said reports of torture are "exaggerated." The U.A.E. denied that the prisons exist.

The claims: The network of prisons includes locations in military bases, ports, an airport, private villas, and a nightclub. Lawyers and families claim there are about 2,000 men who have disappeared into the system. The methods of torture include "grilling" inmates — "in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire."

What's next: Human Rights Watch has documented the torture and disappearances. Amnesty International is calling for a UN-led investigation into the UAE and other countries' roles in the network of prisons

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

2 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.