President Bush is doing the best he can
to ensure a steady supply of dead soldiers for us to remember on future Memorial Days.
It was the first prison abuse scandal of the post-Sept. 11 era, when scores of immigrants were rounded up and jailed in New York after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
They were never charged with terrorism — but they endured abusive treatment that Justice Department investigators concluded was outrageous and cruel. It included being slammed into walls and subjected to unnecessary body cavity searches, some of it captured on videotape.
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He also says he was physically abused. Guards slammed him face-first against prison walls, leaving him with a bruised and bloodied nose for weeks, he said. Guards often stomped on his leg chains with their boots, causing excruciating pain, he said.
"Here in Egypt, I would say 'Yes, this could happen to anybody.' In America, it was shocking and disappointing," Ebrahim said by phone from Egypt. "We learned everything about democracy and human rights from the United States."
[. . .]
Attention soon focused on the Brooklyn facility, where authorities held 84 detainees considered to be "of high interest." A report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine in June 2003 identified problems at the facility and criticized immigration and prison authorities, saying they held suspects too long and inappropriately denied them access to family members and lawyers.
Fine's investigators also found evidence of physical and verbal abuse, but were initially unable to corroborate the allegations. At the time, the guards denied they did anything wrong, and prison officials claimed that key evidence — videotapes from a prison recording system from the months after Sept. 11 — had been destroyed.
Many of the tapes later surfaced in a prison storage room — whether they were lost or intentionally hidden remains unclear — and in stark detail they revealed guards slamming inmates against walls, among other acts.
Armed with the tapes, Fine issued a follow-up report detailing myriad problems and evidence that officers "slammed detainees against the wall, twisted their arms and hands in painful ways, stepped on their leg restraint chains, and punished them by keeping them restrained for long periods of time."
The report also identified a bizarre jailhouse ritual in which guards would "escort detainees down a hall at a brisk pace and ram them into a wall without slowing down before impact." Some were apparently slammed against a wall where a T-shirt hung with a picture of the American flag. The shirt bore the slogan "These Colors Don't Run" — and bloodstains.
May 21, 2005
On May 22, 1856, the "world's greatest deliberative body" became a combat zone. In one of the most dramatic and deeply ominous moments in the Senate's entire istory, a member of the House of Representatives entered the Senate chamber and savagely beat a senator into unconsciousness.
The inspiration for this clash came three days earlier when Senator Charles Sumner, a Massachusetts antislavery Republican, addressed the Senate on the explosive issue of whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a slave state or a free state.
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Shortly after the Senate had adjourned for the day, Brooks entered the old chamber, where he found Sumner busily attaching his postal frank to copies of his "Crime Against Kansas" speech.
Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner's head. As Brooks struck again and again, Sumner rose and lurched blindly about the chamber, futilely attempting to protect himself.
After a very long minute, it ended.
The astute observer will note that in classic conservative fashion, Brooks snuck up behind Sumner and whacked him over the head with a weapon rather than facing him man-to-man. Some things never change.
Drink a toast Sunday to the memory of Charles Sumner, one of the first Americans to stand up for what he believed against chickenshit conservatives and get Pearl Harbored for his troubles.
Standing near the border, whipped by the desert wind, Simcox tells me, "This is the Boston tea party! We are reestablishing the can-do attitude! We're tough and tenacious but humane and civilized. We are the American spirit. We say no, we mean no. The word is 'temerity' -- rock-solid character! We are challenging two governments. This is about will."
. . . Calvert said he simply wants all sides of the debate to be taught in the classroom. Teaching only intelligent design “is as bad as teaching only evolution,” he said. “We're looking for an objective approach that looks at both sides.”