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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.