Hello Cruel World
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Why are people so unkind?
(Follow down quite a way for some particularly nasty allegations (evil laughter) about GW Bush's latest facial contusions.)
Soldier opposed to Iraq war jailed for desertion
By Ariel Hart in Atlanta
May 24, 2004
A military jury has found a sergeant guilty of desertion at a court martial in Fort Stewart, Georgia, because he refused to return to Iraq, saying he objected to the war.
Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia was sentenced to the maximum penalty of one year in prison, reduction in rank to private, and a bad-conduct discharge.
'I will always hate you people'
Family's fury at mystery death
Luke Harding in Baghdad
Monday May 24, 2004
The first Mohammed Munim al-Izmerly's family knew of his death was when his battered corpse turned up at Baghdad's morgue. Attached to the zipped-up black US body bag was a laconic note.
The US military claimed in the note that Dr Izmerly, a distinguished chemistry professor arrested after US tanks encircled his villa, had died of "brainstem compression".
Dr Izmerly's sudden death after 10 months in American custody left his family stunned, not least because three weeks earlier they had visited him in the US prison at Baghdad airport. His 23-year-old daughter, Rana, recalled that he had seemed in "good health".
The family commissioned an independent Iraqi autopsy. Its conclusion was unambiguous: Dr Izmerly had died because of a "sudden hit to the back of his head",
Several prisoners have been found to have died before or during interrogation. They include Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a former commander of Iraq's air defences, who died last November during interrogation at Qaim.
The original US autopsy said he had died of a heart attack. It now appears he was suffocated during interrogation when a CIA officer put him in a sleeping bag and sat on him.
Last night the family of Dr Izmerly were in little doubt he had been murdered in US custody. The reasons for his death were covered up, they believe.
"This was not natural," Rana told the Guardian yesterday, in the first interview given by the family since his death. "The evidence is clear. It suggests the Americans killed him and then tried to hide what they had done. I will hate Americans and British people for the rest of my life. You are democrats. You said you were coming to bring democracy, and yet you kill my father. By accepting your governments, you accept what they do here in Iraq.
"You offer no proof that he did something wrong, you refuse him a lawyer and then you kill him. Why?"
Dr Izmerly does not appear to be among the cases under the review announced by the US defence department last week
The professor's 60-year-old widow, Sahera Abdullah, said she had received no satisfactory explanation of why he had been arrested in the first place.
Paris Airport (Charles de Gaulle) Roof Collapse
The news gave me a flashback to our sprint down the concourse, after a very delayed late night flight arrived, to catch the bus to the train station to get to Paris. (Grief, like a tiger, is an ambush predator.) Mind you, there would have been far fewer casualties had a roof collapse happened then. One of the three people we saw in the near-dark was a friendly security guard with Alsatian who pointed us in the correct direction.
But I think the news said it was a new construction designed by an acclaimed modern architect. Hope we find what happened.
How to Make a Fake
Buy a mid-level Gauguin. Duplicate it. Slap the original papers on the copy. Sell both paintings to gullible collectors, while the art world looks the other way.
By Clive Thompson
More than a mere slap on the wrist from JMS to a speculator
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