U.S. involvement in torture cases well documentedThe Jan...

Letters

February 16, 1997

U.S. involvement in torture cases well documented

The Jan. 27, article ''Torture was taught by CIA,'' was of special interest to me. I began going to Central America in 1979 and visited the area throughout the 1980s. Michael Pakenham's Feb. 9 review of Duane R. Clarridge's book, "A Spy for All Seasons: My Life in the CIA," confirms my impression of the rogue-like character of the CIA during this period.

It is not a new revelation that the United States was involved in torture in Central America in the '80s. This was made dramatically clear to me during a long meeting with political prisoners in 1983 in the Mariona prison (the Hilton for male inmates) in El Salvador.

The inmates spoke to our faculty group about the psychological and physical torture they had suffered. We were shown physical scars, and told of the involvement of the U.S. in interrogation and torture sessions. This information was shared with members of Congress. We sent President Reagan an affidavit from a prisoner who swore that an American adviser was present on two occasions when he was tortured.

Ramon Custodio, a physician and long the chief advocate for human rights in Honduras, whom we brought to the United States in 1984, courageously shared his knowledge of abuses that were well documented in the excellent four-part series published by The Sun in June of 1995. The Sun is providing a significant service by printing the facts about U.S. abuses in Central America.

Chester Wickwire

Towson

Judge needs training in another vocation

I was appalled at Judge Thomas J. Bollinger's insensitive remarks during a rape trial four years ago.

I had hoped that the ensuing clamor and repercussions would have taught him to keep his revolting opinions out of his practice.

But now I see that nothing has changed.

Instead of sensitivity training, what Judge Bollinger needs is vocational training in a field as far from the judicial system as possible.

Megan Carberry

Lutherville

Author pans rival's Vietnam book review

Like other unreconstructed radical boomers, David Harris' narcissism burns so brightly as to blind him to anyone else's reality but his own.

His Feb. 9 review of my book, "Radical Son," discusses the Vietnam war at length but fails to mention the 2.5 million Indo-Chinese peasants who were slaughtered by the Communists as a direct result of his efforts to force America out of the war.

But, then, Mr. Harris has written a whole book about the war which ignores this reality and repeats the same arguments he made 20 years ago that history has now refuted.

Infused with an ignorance as invincible as this, it is small wonder that he doesn't understand or appreciate my book.

David Horowitz

Los Angeles

Delaware's threat to Maryland racing

The Sun article of Feb. 10 on Maryland and Delaware racing misleadingly suggests to your readers that the introduction of slot machines at Delaware race tracks does not threaten our Maryland horse breeding and racing industry.

The article's message that the ''average'' daily purses in Maryland and Delaware are about equal inaccurately understates the comparison between the purse structures in the two states.

The Maryland computation wrongly includes a handful of special races like the Preakness with exceptionally high purses that artificially inflate the Maryland ''average.''

When these races are excluded, the Maryland average daily purses fall significantly below Delaware's average daily purses. Delaware has no equivalent big races.

In fact, a far more significant measure of competitiveness is the average purse per race. According to The Sun's own figures, Laurel's average per race is already lower than Delaware Park's.

If the Preakness, Pimlico Special and Black-eyed Susan are excluded from Pimlico's numbers, Pimlico's average purse per race also falls below Delaware Park's level.

The most meaningful approach to comparing purses is to do what horse owners do when deciding where to race their horses. They compare purse amounts published in each track's Condition Book for similar categories of races.

Such a comparison reveals that Delaware purses now exceed Maryland purses in the race categories that comprise more than 95 percent of the total races run.

Moreover, the executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission predicts that Delaware purses will increase more than 33 percent this year.

The explosion of Delaware purses is remarkable in any case because just two years ago that state's horse racing was an ''also ran'' in the industry.

The article's attempted comparison is further flawed because the money Delaware tracks have available for purses from slot-machine proceeds in 1997 will be far more than the amount available in 1996.

In each quarter of 1996, Delaware slot-machine revenues increased by leaps and bounds from $34.6 million to $42 million to $51.8 and finally to $55.9 million in the last quarter.

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