Weekly Review — May 4, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian Lion, March 1875]

Babylonian Lion, March 1875.

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

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2019

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Good Bad Bad Good·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Article
Constitution in Crisis·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

Article
Life after Life·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Article
Power of Attorney·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

Article
Secrets and Lies·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A federal judge authored a 69-page ruling preventing New York City from enforcing zoning laws pertaining to adult bookstores and strip clubs.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today