July 29, 2007
From Barbarism to Decadence

Does anyone know the actual source of the observation that the US is the only society to have gone from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization along the way? Wikiquote says Wilde or Shaw or Clemenceau…

‘All the way through that flight I was on the verge of screaming,’ al-Rawi said. ‘At last we landed, I thought, thank God it’s over. But it wasn’t — it was just a refuelling stop in Cairo. There were hours still to go … My back was so painful, the handcuffs were so tight. All the time they kept me on my back. Once, I managed to wriggle a tiny bit, just shifted my weight to one side. Then I felt someone hit my hand. Even this was forbidden.’

He was thrown into the CIA’s ‘Dark Prison,’ deprived of all light 24 hours a day in temperatures so low that ice formed on his food and water. He was taken to Guantanamo in March 2003 and released after being cleared of any involvement in terrorism by a tribunal.

Turns out he had been a source for MI5, and had freely given information under the strictest assurances of confidance, which were — surprise — violated. Bad move, apparently.

The report confirmed that al-Rawi, 39, was only held after MI5 sent the CIA a telegram, stating he was an ‘Islamic extremist’ who had a timer for an improvised bomb in his luggage. In reality, before al-Rawi left London, police confirmed the device was a battery charger from Argos.

The committee accepted MI5’s claim, given in secret testimony, that it had not wanted the Americans to arrest him, in November 2002, concluding the incident had damaged US-UK relations.

Yeah, that’s how I remember November, 2002. A chill in US-UK relations.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at July 29, 2007 05:12 AM
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Funny. I had always thought that the saying about America going from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization was made by the British historian, Toynbee.

Doug Scott

Posted by: Douglas Scott on July 30, 2007 3:28 PM
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