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Six American soldiers, including a general, were facing court martial over the torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, which was famous for its torture chambers under Saddam Hussein. Photographs of the abuse were broadcast on U.S. television; one image depicted a hooded prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his genitals.BBCOther photos showed prisoners masturbating; several showed U.S. soldiers smiling and posing next to their victims.New York TimesSome of the soldiers blamed mercenaries for the abuses;Guardianothers said that military intelligence was in control of that cellblock.New York TimesPhotographs were published of British troops beating an Iraqi man and urinating on him; the pictures also showed a soldier striking the man in the genitals with a rifle; the victim’s jaw was reportedly broken and his teeth were smashed before he was thrown off the back of a moving truck.Daily MirrorPresident Bush condemned the abuse. “Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people,” he said. “That’s not the way we do things in America.”Associated PressThe Urban Institute released a study showing that in some U.S. counties 30 percent of the population is in prison, and anNew York Timesabortion provider in Kansas City was accused of practicing fetal cannibalism.Wichita EagleThe United States used F-15E and F-16 warplanes, F-14 and F-18 fighter-bombers, AC-130 gunships, and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters to bomb Fallujah. British Tornados were also used. Some three dozen laser-guided 500-pound bombs were dropped, and at least one building was blown up by accident.New York TimesA Cobra helicopter fired a missile at a mosque and knocked over its minaret.New York TimesU.S. forces, fearing a public relations disaster, pulled back from the city and left a new Iraqi force in charge under the command of General Jasim Muhammad Saleh, who served in the Republican Guard under Saddam Hussein. There was some confusion among American officials, however, as to whether the general was really in charge and whether he had actually served in the Republican Guard.New York TimesIraq’s Governing Council unveiled a new national flag that was immediately condemned for its strong resemblance to the flag of Israel, which features the same shade of blue.Washington Post
“Brother Guide” Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya arrived in Brussels, along with his white stretch Mercedes limo and four female bodyguards wearing tight uniforms, to meet with European officials. He called on the United States and China to rid themselves of nuclear and chemical weapons. “Hopefully,” he said, “nothing will force us to go back to the days when we used our cars and explosive belts.”New York TimesTerrorists in Syria fought with police and blew up a bomb outside a former United Nations office in Damascus, and militantsScotsmanin Saudi Arabia attacked the offices of a Western engineering company and killed several people; one American engineer was dragged away behind a car.New York TimesThe United Nations Security Council voted to ban “non-state actors” from possessing nuclear weapons.New York TimesPolice killed more than 100 Muslim militants armed with machetes in southern Thailand.ReutersVandals defaced 127 graves with swastikas and other Nazi symbols in a Jewish cemetery in Alsace, and theNew York TimesAnti-Defamation League released a report showing that European anti-Semitism is on the decline, though negative attitudes toward Israel are up.Jewish Telegraphic AgencyThe Likud Party, in a referendum, rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, where a pregnant Israeli woman and her four daughters, ages two to 11, were murdered by Palestinian gunmen.New York TimesChild abductions were on the rise in Afghanistan, and the United Nations was having a hard time recruiting peacekeepers for its mission in Haiti.New York Times
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney met for several hours with the 9/11 commission, though they refused to permit the interview to be recorded or transcribed; two Democratic members of the commission had to leave early because they had other appointments.Seattle TimesIt was reported that more than $5 billion in antiterrorism money for local governments and agencies has been held up by red tape, andNew York Timesthat last year the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control assigned only four employees to work on terrorist cases; in contrast, almost two dozen were investigating violations of the Cuban embargo. Since 1990, the office has opened 93 investigations into terrorist finances and 10,683 relating to Cuba.Associated PressPresident Bush declined to investigate China’s unfair trade practices, and tenCleveland Plain Dealernew countries joined the European Union.Associated PressBosnian Serb officials revealed six new mass graves containing victims of the Srebrenica massacre.ReutersCalifornia banned Diebold’s electronic voting machines, and expertsNew York Timessaid that the United States is losing its dominance in science and technology.New York TimesScientists developed a type of computer made of DNA that they hope could someday diagnose and treat diseases from inside the particular human cells that require treatment.UPISARS continued to spread in China.International Herald TribuneResearchers discovered a molecule, used by some cancer tumors, that prevents cells from dying.New ScientistArchaeologists found an underground Egyptian maze filled with mummies, and scientistsNew Scientistdiscovered that women tend to marry men who look like their fathers.New ScientistA Russian museum of erotica announced an exhibit featuring Grigory Rasputin’s penis.Moscow News
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:
A loggerhead turtle in a Kobe aquarium at last achieved swimming success with her twenty-seventh set of prosthetic fins. “When her children hatch,” said the aquarium’s director, “well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.”
In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Year’s Eve party.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."