Sunday, May 09, 2004

Women Prisoners in Connecticut, Saudi Torture of British Citizens, Brave Heroes During the My Lai Atrocities and the State Boys Rebellion

A really good episode of 60 Minutes this week.

(CBS) “Couldn't Keep It To Myself” is an anthology of stories written by female inmates at Connecticut's only maximum-security prison for women.

But the story of how this critically acclaimed book came to be, and what happened to the women who wrote it, is as interesting as the book itself.

The women weren't profiting from their crimes. They didn't write about them. Instead, they wrote about their lives.

And they did it so well that just a few weeks ago, the PEN literary organization gave one of the imprisoned writers its most prestigious award.

But what's truly amazing is the state of Connecticut's reaction, both to the publication itself, and to the award. Correspondent Steve Kroft reports.

Read/View Couldn't Keep It To Myself

(CBS) Why did the Government of Saudi Arabia frame seven westerners for a series of car bombings they didn't commit?

Those car bombings, which began in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in November 2000, killed three members of the expatriate community and severely injured several others. To Western observers, they were clearly the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

But the Saudis were not about to admit that. So five Britons, a Canadian and a Belgian found themselves arrested, systematically tortured into false confessions and eventually convicted of those bombings.

Since the release of the men from a Saudi Arabian jail last summer, it's emerged that the Saudis were secretly using them as pawns in a bigger game - a game that for two of the men almost ended in a terrible death. Correspondent Ed Bradley reports.

Read/View Saudi Justice

(CBS) President Bush was "shocked, and appalled" by what American soldiers did to Iraqi POWs.

Now, meet an American hero who says he felt the same way more than 30 years ago in a different American war: Vietnam.

Hugh Thompson was a helicopter pilot in 1968, on a day American soldiers gunned down more than 500 unarmed civilians in a village called My Lai.

The dead were women, old men and children. And even more of them would have died if Thompson had not confronted his fellow soldiers, stopped their murderous rampage and airlifted a number of civilians to safety. Correspondent Mike Wallace reports.

Read/View An American Hero

(CBS) One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments. And the federal government did nothing to stop it.

The justification? The kids had been labeled feeble-minded, and were put away in conditions that can only be described as unspeakable.

Now, a new book, “The State Boys Rebellion,” by Michael D'Antonio, reveals even more: A large proportion of the kids who were locked up were not retarded at all. They were simply poor, uneducated kids with no place to go, who ended up in institutions like the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass.

The Fernald School is the oldest institution of its kind in the country. At its peak, some 2,500 people were confined here, most of them children. All of them were called feeble-minded, whether they were or not.

The people who ran Fernald back in the bad, old days are no longer alive, but many of the victims still are -- victims like Fred Boyce, who was locked up there for 11 years. He came back to Fernald with Correspondent Bob Simon.

Read/View State Boys Rebellion

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