Saturday, March 26, 2005

Pentagon won't try 17 G.I.'s for prisoner's deaths, prozac involved in shootings?, Ward Churchill, Texas refinery blast raises questions

From this morning's New York Times, let's start by noting Douglas Jehl's "Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in Prisoners' Deaths:"

Despite recommendations by Army investigators, commanders have decided not to prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, according to a new accounting released Friday by the Army.
Investigators had recommended that all 17 soldiers be charged in the cases, according to the accounting by the Army Criminal Investigation Command. The charges included murder, conspiracy and negligent homicide. While none of the 17 will face any prosecution, one received a letter of reprimand and another was discharged after the investigations.
To date, the military has taken steps toward prosecuting some three dozen soldiers in connection with a total of 28 confirmed or suspected homicides of detainees. The total number of such deaths is believed to be between 28 and 31.

Brad says to note Monica Davey and Gardiner Harris have "Family Wonders if Prozac Prompted School Shootings:"

On Friday, as Tammy Lussier prepared to bury Mr. Weise, who was her nephew, and her father, who was among those he killed, she found herself looking back over the last year, she said, when Mr. Weise began taking the antidepressant Prozac after a suicide attempt that Ms. Lussier described as a "cry for help."
"They kept upping the dose for him," she said, "and by the end, he was taking three of the 20 milligram pills a day. I can't help but think it was too much, that it must have set him off."
[. . .]
The effects of antidepressants on young people remain a topic of fierce debate among scientists and doctors.
Last year, a federal panel of drug experts said antidepressants could cause children and teenagers to become suicidal. The Food and Drug Administration has since required the makers of antidepressants to warn of that danger on their labels for the medications.
The suicide risk is particularly acute when therapy starts or a dosage changes, the drug agency has warned.

[Note Jodi Wilgoren also contributed to the above article.]

Note the following paragraph:

Prof. Ward L. Churchill cannot be fired from his job at the University of Colorado for controversial opinions like his comparison of some victims of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack to Nazi technocrats, the university said in a report released late Thursday.

It's from Kirk Johnson's "University Changes Its Focus in Investigation of Professor." And as Kara writes, "But oh no, the story isn't over. Now they're going after him with something else." From the article:

The university wants to examine his writing and speeches for evidence that he misrepresented his background and did not follow standard procedures for crediting others' work.
Professor Churchill's lawyer, David Lane, said he believed that the inquiry was "blatantly unfair" because the professor was given no opportunity to present a defense, and that the decision to continue the inquiry was driven by politics.

Billie draws our attention to Matthew L. Wald has "Inquiry Turns to Leak as Probable Cause of Texas Blast:"

The refinery blast here that killed 15 people on Wednesday and injured 100 more was probably caused by a leak of two flammable chemicals that are found in crude oil and reworked at the refinery to make ingredients of gasoline, a member of a federal chemical safety agency said on Friday evening.
The cause of the leak is unknown, and investigators are looking for the source. They are also highly concerned about the unusually high death toll in the resulting explosion. The federal official, John Bresland, a member of the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, speaking soon after the investigators got their first tour of the periphery of the blast zone, said another important issue was why a temporary office trailer, in which several people died, had been so close, and whether brick structures should have been used instead. Mr. Bresland estimated that the trailer was 50 yards from the blast site.

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