Weekly Review — May 18, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Devils Galore, 1875]

Devils Galore.

Members of Congress were given a private viewing of unreleased photographs and videos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; some showed Pfc. Lynndie England having sex with other soldiers in front of prisoners; other images showed prisoners cowering before attack dogs, Iraqi women being forced to expose their breasts, naked prisoners tied up together, prisoners being forced to masturbate, and a prisoner repeatedly smashing his head against a wall. “It was pretty disgusting, not what you’d expect from Americans,” said Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. “There was lots of sexual stuff ?? not of the Iraqis, but of our troops.” New York Post, New York TimesOne photograph showed an Iraqisodomizing himself with a banana. “My conclusion is that was probably coerced somehow,” said Representative Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona.New York TimesIt was reported that the Abu Ghraib torture fiasco was a product of a covert Pentagon operation ?? a so-called special-access program, authorized by Donald Rumsfeld and run by his undersecretary Stephen Cambone ?? that applied unconventional interrogation techniques developed for use in Afghanistan to the situation in Iraq.New YorkerAnd it was revealed that in 2002 White House council Alberto Gonzalez wrote a memo arguing that the war on terror “renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.”NewsdayPresident Bush told Donald Rumsfeld that he has been doing a “superb job.”New York TimesRumsfeld, who this week made a surprise visit to Abu Ghraib prison, compared the Iraq war to the American Civil War and said that “the carnage was horrendous, and it was worth it.”New York Times

An American businessman named Nick Berg was decapitated on video by Iraqi militants.TelegraphMore than 120,000 Israelis demonstrated in support of withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, andNew York TimesPalestinian families in Gaza fled their homes, often with their belongings piled on donkey carts, as Israeli forces surrounded a refugee camp and prepared to demolish hundreds of homes.ReutersSecretary of State Colin Powell said that U.S. troops would leave Iraq if an interim government asked them to.New York TimesThe Bin Laden Construction group was selected to build the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai.Pacific News“Nothing good or just can be built on the destruction or suffering of others,” said President Bush at a commencement address, and aNew York Timessuicide bomber killed the president of Iraq’s Governing Council.Washington PostNew documents emerged about the CIA’s friendly relationship with a number of former Nazis after World War II, and theNew York TimesEuropean Union’s envoy to Slovakia said that Gypsy children should be taken from their parents and put in boarding schools so that they can learn “European values.”ReutersPrime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India resigned after his Hindu nationalist party lost in parliamentary elections; the Indian National Congress party, led by Sonia Gandhi, won a plurality and was expected to form a coalition government. Gandhi was expected to become the first foreign-born Indian premier.New York TimesMayor Richard Daley of Chicago asked the Illinois legislature to approve a city-owned casino, andNew York TimesCitigroup agreed to pay $2.85 billion to people who invested in WorldCom.New York TimesCrude oil prices were over $40 a barrel.New York TimesSarin nerve gas was found in a small partly detonated shell in Baghdad.BloombergThe president of Cyprus fainted.ReutersA new report found that almost 10 percent of prisoners in federal and state prisons are serving life sentences.New York TimesThe United Nations was investigating accusations of sexual abuse by its staff in Bunia, Congo, and theReutersVatican warned Roman Catholic women not to marry Muslims.TelegraphThe pornography industry lifted a moratorium on film shoots that was imposed after several actors tested positive for HIV.ReutersAustralia’s treasurer promised to pay $2,000 for every child born in the country; “You go home,” he said, “and do your patriotic duty tonight.”UPI

South Korea’s constitutional court reinstated President Roh Moo Hyun, who was impeached in March.New York TimesThe president of Brazil tried to expel a New York Times reporter who wrote an unflattering article about his drinking problem, and scientistsNew York Timesreported that the amount of sunshine that reaches the surface of the earth has dropped significantly in recent decades.New York TimesA company called Orbital Recovery announced that it will launch a space-going tugboat in 2007.New ScientistJapanese scientists discovered that dandruff helps dolphins swim faster.Institute of PhysicsGreenpeace went on trial for “sailor mongering,” in violation of an archaic law that was last prosecuted 114 years ago, andReutersDavid Duke got out of jail and began performing his community service hours by working for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.New York TimesTurkmenistan outlawed child labor.ReutersAn EPA study found that household “air fresheners” could be causing a carcinogenic smog in people’s homes, and theNature.comWorld Wildlife Fund said that world cod stocks could be wiped out by 2020.New York TimesMammals that live in colder climates benefit from having a large penis, scientists said, and trillionsNature.comof 17-year cicadas were preparing to swarm, mate, and die in the Eastern United States.BBCHomosexuals were lining up to get married in Massachusetts, and President Bush again called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.CNNA clinical trial suggested that stem cell therapy might be able to heal broken hearts.Nature.com

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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