Monday, July 18, 2005

Pre-emptive linking

We'll make a note of two awkward news stories that may work their way into reactionary spin before too long:

[, subs. req'd] Conditions in Irish prisons make the notorious Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq "look like a retirement home", a Labour TD has claimed.

Labour justice spokesman Joe Costello also said the true state of penal facilities in the State will be never known because the Inspector of Prisons is "gagged" by the Department of Justice.

Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen sends his findings on his prison inspections to the Minister for Justice, who then publishes them. But Mr Costello said the department should not be allowed to present "sanitised versions of his report, often censoring the most critical sections" ... "Conditions in Irish prisons make Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq look like a retirement home," he said.

And in a seemingly unrelated story:

[AP newswire] Inmates on Friday beat up a suspected al-Qaida cell leader jailed on charges he helped plot the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, breaking his jaw, nose and a tooth and injuring one of his eyes, Spanish officials said.

Imad Yarkas, 42, a Syrian-born Spaniard, was set upon by other prisoners in the dining hall of a prison in the eastern city of Castellon, said officials at the Interior Ministry department that oversees Spain's prisons ... Yarkas and two other men of Syrian origin went on trial in late April in Madrid on charges of using Spain as a staging ground to help plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ...

The Europa Press news agency reported that prisoners involved in Friday's events accused Yarkas of also being responsible for last year's al-Qaida-linked train bombings in Madrid, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500. The prison system officials said they could not confirm the report.

[Insert favoured spinner phrase such as "Heh" or "Indeed"]

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