Weekly Review — November 22, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: President George W. Bush and friends]

White House photo.

At least 162 people were killed in violence in Iraq,The New York Timeswhere 173 malnourished Sunni Arab prisoners, many of whom had been severely tortured, were found in the basement of an Iraqi Interior Ministry compound. “You know what happens in prison,” explained the Interior Ministry’s undersecretary for security. “Their skins,” said one witness, “got stuck to the floor.”Democracy Now!Common DreamsTwo Iraqi businessmen accused U.S. troops of caging them with lions in 2003. The men were also severely beaten after they were not able to tell Army interrogators where to find Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. “I thought he was joking, so I laughed,” said one of the businessmen. “He just hit me.”The Washington PostIn Basra two British-trained policemen had tortured at least two civilians to death with electric drills.The StatesmanAfter repeated denials, the Pentagon finally admitted to using white phosphorus during the 2004 attack on Fallujah. “It is an incendiary weapon,” explained a spokesman.Common DreamsRepresentative John Murtha (D., Pa.), called for the halt of U.S. troop deployments to Iraq. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.), seeking to cut off debate over Murtha’s statements, countered by proposing a measure that required that U.S. troops be brought home immediately. Jean Schmidt (R., Ohio) addressed Murtha, a decorated veteran and former Marine colonel who previously supported the invasion of Iraq, by quoting a Marine Corps reserve officer who told her that “cowards cut and run.” She was booed by Democrats. “You guys,” yelled Marty Meehan (D., Mass.), “are pathetic!” Harold Ford (D., Tenn.) ran across the House chamber’s center aisle to the Republican side. “Say Murtha’s name!” he shouted. Schmidt asked that her comments be struck from the record, and Hunter’s resolution was rejected 403 to 3, with Murtha among those voting against it.The Washington PostThe House approved a $50 billion budget cut that will increase Medicaid fees and reduce funding for student loans and food stamps,The Hartford Courantand Congress voted itself a $3,100 annual pay raise.APThe Pentagon revealed that since September 11, 2001, it has detained more than 80,000 prisoners at facilities around the world,Guardian Unlimitedand UN human rights experts decided not to visit Guantnamo Bay because the United States refused to allow them full access to detainees.Turkish Press/AFPA CIA official revealed that the agency’s annual budget, which is classified, is $44 billion.International Herald TribuneThe Justice Department was considering an investigation into how the Halliburton Company was secretly awarded noncompetitive multibillion-dollar contracts for oil-field repairs in Iraq.The New York Times

A White House document showed that executives from large oil firms met with Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force in 2001; the document was released a week after representatives from those firms testified before a Senate committee that they had not met with the task force.CNN.comWashington Post journalist Bob Woodward admitted that a “senior administration official” had revealed the identity of Valerie Wilson to him one month before administration officials revealed Wilson’s identity to anyone else. The official is apparently neither I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. nor Karl Rove. Condoleezza Rice denied any involvement.Democracy Now!UPIPatrick Fitzgerald announced that he would call a new grand jury to investigate the Valerie Wilson case.BBC NewsBill Clinton referred to the Iraq war as a “big mistake.” “We never sent enough troops,” he said.Common DreamsDaniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, said that history was repeating itself.Common DreamsThe German intelligence officials who interrogated “Curveball,” an Iraqi who provided intelligence that the Bush Administration used to justify the war in Iraq, said that they repeatedly warned the United States that Curveball (who may have been lying in order to obtain a German visa) could not be trusted. “Mein Gott!” said an intelligence official. “We had always told them it was not proven.”The Los Angeles TimesAhmad Chalabi met with Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Washington, D.C.APIn Australia a ten-year attempt to create pest-resistantpeas was cancelled after it was found that the peas cause lung damage in mice.New ScientistA Swedish study linked oral sex to mouth cancer.News24.comA Florida woman was run over by ten different cars while attempting to walk across a highway. Police marked parts of her body with traffic cones. “It is crazy out here,” said a trooper, “to try to cross the median.”Florida TodayThe U.K. was building a database that will track the movements of every vehicle on its roads.The RegisterSupreme Court nominee Samuel Alito attempted to distance himself from his statement, “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion,” which he wrote in an application for a job in the Reagan Administration. “It was a political job,” he clarified, “and that was 1985.”The Boston Globe

A Congressional investigation determined that the FDA decided to bar over-the-counter sales of the “morning after” pill before a scientific review of the pill was completed.Democracy Now!Eight possibly pregnant South African Boer goats were missing in Lincoln, Nebraska.KIROTV.comOne Milwaukee, Wisconsin, man was in trouble for drunkenice-cream-truck driving,GMToday.comwhile another was in trouble for severely beating his girlfriend with a cactus.The Milwaukee ChannelPeter Drucker died,The Economistand Prince Albert ascended to the throne of Monaco.CNN.comThe Night Safari Zoo was preparing to open in Thailand; its buffet will feature tiger, lion, elephant, and giraffe.Canadian PressIn Georgia a 37-year-old woman married a 15-year-old boy,Seattle Post-Intelligencerand the Kansas Board of Education had redefined “science” so that it is “no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.”The IndependentThe Vatican announced that Intelligent Design was not science and did not belong in science classrooms.KSAT.comPresident George W. Bush visited China, where he went to church.BBC NewsChina announced that it will vaccinate 14 billion poultry against bird flu.NewsdayBodies were still being found in New Orleans.TimeAn Oklahoma man confessed that he killed two elderly women because he wanted to do something exciting.KTUL.comThe Senate refused to consider a Democratic resolution to honor Bruce Springsteen.Common DreamsAt a convention center in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, a sparrow flew in through an open window and knocked over 23,000 dominoes. The sparrow cowered in a corner until it was shot and killed.USA TodayScientists found the gene that regulates fear in mice and created mice that are not afraid.NewsdayIn Chhattisgarh, India, a three-day-old baby died from an infection when her parents were unable to afford surgery. The baby had been born with her heart in her hand.MSNBC

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Ihave had many names, but as a sniper I went by Azad, which means “free” or “freedom” in Kurdish. I had been fighting for sixteen months in Kurdish territory in northern Syria when in April 2015 I was asked to leave my position on the eastern front, close to the Turkish border, and join an advance on our southwestern one. Eight months earlier, we had been down to our last few hundred yards, and, outnumbered five to one, had made a last stand in Kobanî. In January, after more than four months of fighting street-to-street and room-by-room, we recaptured the town and reversed what was, until then, an unstoppable jihadi tide. In the battles since, we had pushed ­ISIS far enough in every direction that crossing our territory was no longer a short dash through the streets but a five-hour drive across open country. As we set out to the north, I could make out the snowy peaks in southern Turkey where they say Noah once beached his ark. Below them, rolling toward us, were the wide, grassy valleys and pine forests of Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris where our people have lived for twelve thousand years.

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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.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
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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.

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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.’ ”

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