And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine:
Amnesty International (search) is compiling a report alleging grim forms of torture in Iraq, including electric shock, the occasional use of the bastinado and beatings so violent they dislodged the victims' teeth. The organization says the malefactor in this case is not Saddam Hussein, but the coalition forces that mounted Operation Iraqi Freedom (search). An Amnesty official told the Agence France Presse that American and British troops committed the mayhem against jihadists and Saddam loyalists in Nasiriya and Basra. The newspaper account included no specifics or statistics, and the Amnesty researcher conceded that she had not yet sought American or British comment on her charges.
The Blair watch saga continues. A freelance writer for The New York Times, Lisa Suhay, says she complained about Jayson Blair (search) three years ago to The New York Times desk editors, only to get an editorial brush-off. The Washington Post says Blair shut down Suhay by threatening her. Suhay remembers Blair telling her he could "make sure my name was taken off the assignment list." She added, "Every time I saw his byline, I just felt sick." Meanwhile, The New York Daily News says American Express sued Blair last year for more than $3,600 in unpaid bills. He didn't pay off his debt until just after his resignation from the Times.
Setting a Precedent
The Utah Supreme Court has handed down a decision in the seven year old case of Jackson vs. Mateus, finally establishing firmly and perhaps permanently the proposition that, at least as far as Utah is concerned, only dogs are dogs. Judith Campbell Jackson, bitten by next-door neighbor Robert Mateus' cat, was hoping the court would extend Utah's "dog bite" law to include cats. The Dayton Daily News says the Utah Supreme Court rejected the notion, ruling that cat owners could not be held to the same standard of liability as dog owners. After the ruling came down, Jackson's lawyer said, "It turns out a cat is not a dog."