June 16 2005
DURBIN COMES UNHINGED, TRIBUNE YAWNS: Normally, when
a paper's home state Senator has an out-of-mind experience on
the floor of the United States Senate it makes for good copy.
Not at The Chicago Tribune. As almost everyone in America
knows by now, Dick
Durbin said something remarkable yesterday:
you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred
here—I almost hesitate to put them in the RECORD, and
yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you
what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:
a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a
detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the
floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated
or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18–24
hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been
turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the
room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold.
. . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been
turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room
well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious
on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently
been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night.
On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably
hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the
room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee
chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent
describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control,
you would most certainly believe this must have been done by
Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol
Pot or others— that had no concern for human beings. Sadly,
that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the
treatment of their prisoners.
follow up AP story saying Durbin has no intention of apologizing
for his comments. On The Tribune's web site, however,
we get two round-ups of the debate over detainee rights on Capitol
Hill yesterday - one reprinted from The
Los Angeles Times and one taken from Newsday
- neither of which mention Durbin's over-the-top remarks. On the
other hand, the Trib's online editors do see fit to inform us
savvy news consumers this morning that three
former SIU students are suing Hooters Air.
more on the substance of Durbin's remarks a little later. -
T. Bevan 9:30 am Link | Email
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UPDATE: I see the Trib finally managed to link to Nedra
Pickler's AP dispatch on Durbin at 1:22pm central time today
- just in time to reach the 5 people in Chicago coming back from
lunch who haven't already heard about the story somewhere else.